Monthly Archives: June 2014

MLB offensive decline is due to pitching, not more home runs

Sports with Neil and friends

The decline of offense, and scoring, in the MLB since the end of the steroid era has been something that has been a topic of discussionfor a while now. With the end of the steroid era, came the end of baseball’s dominating era of offense. No longer were players juicing up and able to smash extra base hits with regularity; now batters are facing pitchers who aren’t terrified of pitching over the plate. As a result, offensive production has been trending downwards across the league.

But that doesn’t mean that fans are going to except the offensive decline without postulating a reason for said decline (like this).

The part of that article that got my attention was this:

“In modern baseball the hero’s are the guys who hit the walk-off homerun, not the guy that started a rally in the sixth inning with a one out single…

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France vs Nigeria Round Of 16 Preview

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FIFA World Cup

It will be Europe vs Africa in the Round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup. Group E winners France will tangle with Group F runners-up Nigeria in Brasilia, to see who will reach the quarterfinals.

France topped Group E after victories over Honduras and Switzerland, while playing to a scoreless draw with Ecuador. Nigeria snuck into the knockout stage by defeating Bosnia and Herzegovina, drawing Iran while losing to Argentina. This will be their first ever meeting at the World Cup.

The French have lined up in a 4-3-3 formation in their Group Stage matches, so don’t expect any changes in that regard from manager Didier Deschamps.

Karim Benzema

Karim Benzema has been the best player for Les Bleus. The Real Madrid forward has scored three times in the tournament, and has been a menace inside the 18-yard box. Expect Olivier Giroud and Mathieu Valbuena to join Benzema up in attack…

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Holland vs Mexico Round Of 16 Preview

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FIFA World Cup

A potentially mouth-watering fixture highlights Sunday’s action at the World Cup. Holland and Mexico have impressed throughout the tournament so far, and the two sides will clash to see who will go through to the quarterfinals.

Holland topped Group B by scoring emphatic victories over Spain, Australia and Chile. Mexico finished second in Group A, defeating Cameroon and Croatia, while holding the hosts Brazil to a scoreless draw. The last time these two countries faced each other in the World Cup was in 1998. It was in the Group Stage and the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

The Dutch have used three different formations in their Group Stage matches, and one wonders what coach Louis van Gaal will have up his sleeve against Mexico. One thing is certain, Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie will have an impact on the match.

Arjen Robben

Robben has had a spectacular tournament so far…

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Brazil vs Chile Round Of 16 Preview

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FIFA World Cup

The Round of 16 kicks off Saturday with an all South American fixture as host nation Brazil and Chile will clash in Belo Horizonte.

Brazil topped Group A, scoring victories over Croatia and Cameroon with a draw against Mexico sandwiched between them. Chile won their first two fixtures over Australia and Spain, before falling to Holland in their final game of the group stage.

In their first two fixtures, Brazil used a 4-2-3-1 formation. Against Cameroon, they went with the pyramid 4-3-2-1 look and found success with it. Granted, it was against a weak Cameroon side but it could be a harbinger of the future for The Samba Boys.

Neymar

As long as Neymar is scoring, it may not matter what look Brazil uses. The young superstar shares the lead with Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller with 4 goals in the competition. Spectacular and charismatic, Neymar is becoming of the stars…

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A quick look at Endy Chavez’s MLB performance in 2014

Sports with Neil and friends

Endy Chavez was first called up from the minors in 2001. He has since spent the entirety of his 14-year career bouncing the minors and the majors. The 2014 season has been more of the same for Chavez, as he started with Triple-A Tacoma before being called up to Seattle on May 30th. Chavez has been getting plenty of playing time since his call-up, a move that has generated a lot controversy among fans. That controversy is for a good reason, as his peripherals are really weird — no like really weird — but he hasn’t been a black hole for the Mariners; and most of his production has come with him at the top of the batting order.

Chavez is in his third stint with the Mariners

Chavez’s slash line this season isn’t exactly encouraging, and in fact gives you the impression of an aging athlete who is over…

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US soccer loses 0-1 to Germany, but advances anyway

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The United States men’s soccer team lost to the German national team 0-1 in the final match of group play, but is going to advance to the round of 16 anyways. Germany’s victory gave them the points victory in Group G, and the better match-up in the knockout rounds. US soccer is advancing, despite the loss, thanks to Portugal’s 2-1 victory over Ghana (US has a better goal differential than Portugal).

The match’s only goal came in the 55th minute when US goal keeper Tim Howard made an incredible save that deflected the ball out to German Thomas Müller. Müller hit the game winning shot from the edge of the box, and put all of the pressure on the United States to score an equalizer.

Müller’s goal was spurred on by the introduction of striker Miroslav Klose after the half. Klose’s play immediately made the German offensive attack more dangerous as he…

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Time For The Last Bites on Luis Suarez

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Suarez bites Chiellini

Let me start out by stating I’m a fan of Liverpool FC. I’ve supported the Reds since 1984, when the likes of Kenny Daglish, Ian Rush and Graeme Souness led Liverpool to their third European championship. Through the good (5 European titles, 18 League titles) and the bad, (The tragedies at Heysel and Hillsborough) I’ve remained supportive of Liverpool FC.

But I cannot, nor will not, defend the actions of one Luis Suarez. We all know what happened by now. During the Uruguay-Italy fixture at the World Cup, Suarez bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the shoulder. The officials did not see it, and Suarez was not penalized. Not long after the gross incident, Uruguayan defender Diego Godin headed home a corner to give Los Charruas a shocking 1-0 victory. Uruguay advanced to the knockout stage, Italy are going home.

Suarez whining

The Suarez incident made headlines around the world, and Twitter…

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