Well, with the Jazz saving the Pacers from having to take Hayward (thanks Jazz!), the Pacers select Paul George a forward from Fresno State. Great. Another big. At least he hits his FTs.
Well, with the Jazz saving the Pacers from having to take Hayward (thanks Jazz!), the Pacers select Paul George a forward from Fresno State. Great. Another big. At least he hits his FTs.
Phew. That was the biggest emotional roller coaster of game that the U.S. National Team has ever put me through. The game against Slovenia had the emotional impact of a come-from-behind win. Last year's Confederation's Cup had the mustard seed of hope in the breakthrough game against Egypt, the rush of the surprise victory against Spain, and the outrageous dream and then crushing reality of facing Brazil. The Nats have regularly put me through the tension of coming from behind or blowing an early lead. But this game against Algeria, it was something completely different. Against Germany in 2002 comes closest, but it didn't have the payoff. First, the stakes don't get any higher than the World Cup. Second, there's something about a 0-0 scoreline that builds tension like a high scoring game can't. Each goal in a back-and-forth goalfest is a body-blow in a heavy weight boxing match. It's exciting, but you know the punches are coming and you know you'll be able to return them. But a back-and-forth game that hovers at 0-0 is a duel. You have to be on guard constantly because the first blow struck will likely be the last, piecing you or your opponent to the heart. Each fast break, each defensive stop, each shot on goal is like reaching the top of a hill on the roller coaster without any idea how far the drop is going to be. I was in and out of my seat, yelling at the TV, holding my head in my hands and on pins and needles the whole time. It was a game that promised everything you wanted and everything that you feared at the same time, teased you with it, let you taste it even, but withheld it until you thought that fulfillment was impossible. And then, when you had resigned yourself to being unfulfilled, in the dying moments it exploded with joy. Jabluani, indeed.
At about the 80th minute, I was preparing this post in my head, but it was going to be the disgruntled, self-reflective one. Sure, I was going to say, we can lament another bogus call and another perfectly good goal called off. But, I would continue, we don't have anyone to blame but ourselves. A ref can blow a call, but they don't really cost you the game. I played enough basketball in high school to learn that one good. Hitting the ball off the post instead of into the back of the net costs you the game. Skying the ball into the air instead of slamming it home costs you the game. Taking low percentage shots instead of passing the ball to the open man costs you the game. Clearing the ball into the path of your opponent (Jonathan Bornstein) costs you the game. All this I was going to say because all of these things were things that we did. Thank you Landon Donovan for keeping my mouth shut.
In the end, we pulled it out. On another gilt-edged chance the keeper stopped a shot that surely should have gone in and Donovan swept in like avenging angel out of an empty sky. You knew he was going to strike true. He had to. But just for a millisecond there was a tickle of doubt in your mind. So many missed chances. Dempsey's ball off the post. It just might not really be our day. His foot struck the ball. For one time it flew true. For one time it was dead on target. For one time no defender's leg shot out to block it. The net bulged and Algeria deflated. Fears that fate was set against us disintegrated. Suddenly, all was right with the world and all sins were forgiven.
On a less emotional note...
Bob Bradley made the right tactical decisions to start the game. (Do I still say this if we hadn't won?) We needed speed against Algeria and Bocanegra and Bornstein provided that where Onyewu and Bocanegra couldn't. He also made (what turned out to be) the right substitutions. Bringing on Feilhaber freed up Dempsey to roam for the whole second half, putting more pressure on their defense, but also more pressure on our defense. Bringing in Buddle for Edu added even more offensive potency, but essentially put all of our midfield defensive responsibilities solely on Michael Bradley. He was more than up to the task. Bringing in Beasley for Bornstein that late in the game was essentially a straight defense for offense swap that left us with a three man back line. We bent, but didn't break. At times we got lucky. Gutsy, but exactly what was needed. (Do I still say that if we hadn't won?)
So, now we're through to the knock out round. First in our group for the first time since 1930. After a crazy pair of matches to sort out Group D we found out that that we'll be playing Ghana on Saturday and if we win we'll face either Uruguay or South Korea. How awesome is that? England is going to have to fight their way to the semi-finals through Germany and then, most likely Argentina. Thanks, Slovenia, for giving us the motivation to score two goals against you.
Hey, have I mentioned I have a new book out? Oh, just making sure. Forgive me for being a little book centric this week, but considering it's the offseason and even the Indystar headline hasn't changed in days because everyone is on vacation, I hope you can understand.
My first of hopefully many interviews about the book has been posted on Bloguin's home page. Bloguin is the network that has hosted 18to88 for the past year. We've been thrilled with our experience here, and I hope you've all taken the time to peruse some of the other Bloguin blogs, including Pacers Pulse. If you note, while Bloguin has lots of cool blogs, there is still no IU, Purdue, or Butler presence. Maybe one of you wants to get cracking...
Anyway, I think you'll find the interview interesting. We talk a lot about the birth and development of 18to88 as well as the process of going from book to blog.
Oh yeah, and in case I forgot to mention it...buy my book! Yesterday, it made #1 in the Amazon subcategory for Midwest regional books. I finally managed to pass the Rand McNally road atlas for Michigan! Suck it, maps! Blue Blood rules!
As most of you know, I live in Argentina. My friends here ask me all the time if my book is coming out in Spanish.
Here's a passage from Blue Blood translated into Spanish for you all to enjoy:
El futbol, bueno no el futbol verdadero pero ese juego trucho que juegan los yanquis locos, llegó a Indianápolis en 1984. Fue un año de mucha pasión. Prendió un fuego en los corazones duros de los 'Hoosiers', aunque por todo su emoción todavía no aprendieron bailar el tango. Sus caderas no se muevan así. En serio, ¿nunca le has visto bailar un yanqui? Es una vergüenza total.
Pero ni importa, esta historia tiene que ver con Los Colts. Jugaron bien el futbol, pero siempre tenían problemas con los patiadores. Es su propia culpa por llamar el deporte "futbol" aunque casi nunca se puede usar los pies. Idiotas. El fin de todo, ganaron algún copa o otro y toda la hincha desarrollo "sangre azul". Te salvo los detalles, a nadie le importan. Ahora, uso el resto de las paginas para contarles una historia mas interesante.
Érase una vez que vivía un vaquero se llama Pepe. Pepe se enamoró con la novia de su jefe...¿No te parece mejor esta
For those who don't speak Spanish, here is the Babelfish translation of the passage:
Soccer, good not true soccer but that game trucho that plays the crazy Yankees, arrived at Indianapolis in 1984. It was a year of much passion. It set a fire in the hard hearts of ' Hoosiers' , although by all their emotion still they did not learn to dance the tango. Their hips do not move thus. In serious, never you have seen him dance a Yankee? It is a total shame.
But nor it matters, this history has to do with the Colts. They played soccer well, but always they had problems with the patiadores. " is its own fault to call the sport; futbol" although almost never it is possible to be used the feet. Idiots. The aim of everything, gained some glass or another one and all the fan development " blood azul". I save the details, to anybody matters to them. Now, use the rest of the pages to tell an interesting history them but.
Érase once a cattle tender lived calls Pepe. Pepe fell in love with the fianc2ee of his head… does not seem better to you than those madnesses of the original author? Yes, also…
I've often wondered what that would be like. Maybe it's not such a bad idea. After all, it worked for Jimmy James...
Note: this originally ran back in June, but I wanted to rerun it today to remind you all that Blue Blood makes a great Christmas gift for the Colts fan in your life. The book is available all over the Indy area and for purchase on line. A very few autographed copies remain. If you want one, email me at
Blue Blood, my new book on the history of the Indianapolis Colts, is officially on sale! Just why should you purchase a copy of Blue Blood? Well, let me tell you the top 18 Reasons to Buy Blue Blood...
1. Blue Blood is a great read.
I had to make a lot of choices when sitting down to write a book about the Colts. The first was what kind of book I would write. I chose to make Blue Blood digestible and easy to read in short bursts. This isn't an 'encyclopedic' version of team history, but rather paints the events of the past 26 years in broad strokes. Blue Blood is the kind of book that you can pick up and read as much or as little of as you want.
2. Because you remember Jason Belser.
If you are the kind of fan who has been around for years and remembers Duane Bickett and Eugene Daniels and other Classic Colts, then you'll love this book. As you know, that's the kind of fan I am. If you want to talk about Ron Meyer or the Dickerson trade, then you'll enjoy Blue Blood. In many ways, the book serves as an editorial on the past. If you know what happened and remember how it felt, you'll love this book.
3. Because you don't remember Jason Belser.
If you were born after 1984 and you don't remember life before the Colts, this is the book for you. The Manning years have brought many new Colts fans into the fold. We are thrilled you've joined us. This book will help catch you up on what you missed. One of the steps to becoming a true fan is to not only root for the team on the field, but to understand and appreciate the history of the club. If you are a young or a new Colts fan, this book will fill in the gaps.
4. Because you love Indianapolis.
Blue Blood is more than just a story about the Colts. It's the story of how Indianapolis grew up as a city. If you care about or are interested in Indy as a city in development, then this book should interest you. The Colts were part of a master plan to help Indianapolis become a top flight city nationwide. This tells part of that story.
5. Because 18to88 is free.
Listen, it's been going on three and a half years now. We've made somewhere south of $1,000 for the many hours of work we put in to entertain you. Basically, it's like you've been stealing from me. THIEF! You are a dirty thief! Buy my book. It's like paying the bill for all your thievery of 18to88. Thief.
6. Because it's the offseason.
There is no new Colts news for another month. You might as well read about some old Colts stuff. It will keep you busy until the real hits start flying. Relive some of the great moments and memorable players of the past.
7. Because the past matters.
Joe Addai's contract is up at the end of this year. He has been a Classic Colt and a fine player. He has almost no chance of securing a long term deal from the Colts no matter how well he plays this year. He could put up 1,500 yards and 500 receiving, and the best he could hope for is a franchise tag. Why? Read the book. All this has happened before.
8. Because you love basketball.
What does loving basketball have to do with the Colts? Everything. Blue Blood traces not only the rise of the Colts, but the decline of hoops in Indiana. The intersection of the two sports is brought into sharp focus by this book. If you care about Indiana hoops (high school, college, or the Pacers), and you've been disillusioned by the events of the past 10 years, then this book is for you.
9. Because if you don't the terrorists win.
Terrorists hate the USA. Football is the most popular sport in the States. Terrorists hate football. They also hate free speech. They also hate free enterprise. That means they hate Blue Blood worst of all. If you don't buy this book, Osama Bin Laden will laugh his head off in his cave. You don't want that, do you?
10. Because you've always wanted to meet me and Demond, I mean Luke.
I'll be doing at least two book signings around Indy during the month of July (details to come). I promise I'll make Luke show up. Just think how embarrassed you'll be to meet me if you haven't bought a copy of my book. I'm not signing your chest. Stop asking, JC. Books only. I mean it.
11. Because you have to have SOMETHING to read on your Kindle.
Blue Blood is for sale as an e-book as well. It's availble for Kindle and Nook.
12. Because you eventually want to read my other book.
I'm proud of Blue Blood. It's a good book. My novel, however, that's the really great stuff (he says modestly). If Blue Blood sells, we won't have any problem selling Invincible, Indiana. Many publishers don't care about what's good...just what sells. If you buy Blue Blood, you are helping Invincible to see the light of day. And you want that. Believe me. Plus, if that sells, I might find a market for my Star Wars fan fiction: The Courtship of Jar Jar Binks. Plus Luke's work, Gossip Guy: A fan salute to the CW could get released as well.
13. Because you knew the kick didn't have a chance.
When Vandy lined up to tie the game against Pittsburgh, you knew in your heart what was coming next. You didn't even have to watch. You couldn't watch. You knew.
I knew too.
That's why you'll love this book.
14. Because of this baby.
Seriously, you want to see this kid homeless and on the street? Heartless bastard. Never mind. I don't want you to buy my book. You are evil.
15. Because it's about time the world accepted that the Colts are ours.
In many places, you still hear whining over Indy "stealing" the Colts. Here's the bottom line: we are just five seasons from having had the Colts longer than Baltimore. It's time the world realized that. There have been a couple of books written about the Colts. Let 'Er Rip was the story of the 1995 season, and briefly recapped the first decade in Indy. Tales from the Indianapolis Colts Sidelines is a cool collection of anecdotes about players and coaches, but isn't organized as a true history of the team. But basically, that's it. Blue Blood is my effort to declare to the world that the Colts are ours. We have a real history now. We care about them as much as Baltimore ever did. This is the first true written history of the team in Indianapolis.
16. Because Jim Irsay said this book is exactly what the Colts need.
I believe my first home game here was against Miami and I remember walking out on the field and seeing all these Dolphins jerseys, and I said to a staffer, "What is this? Why are there all these Dolphins jerseys?" I was used to Buffalo, where everything was red, white and blue 12 months a year. This person said to me, "Well, there's a great affinity for the Dolphins going all that way back to Bob Griese (an Evansville native and Purdue All-American who led Miami to the 1972 and 1973 Super Bowl titles)."We moved here from Baltimore and there are people here who are Lions fans and Bears fans. We don't have two or three generations of Colts fans the way teams like Cleveland, Buffalo, Green Bay have, where children are born into those families and have that loyalty passed down from grandfather to father to son." I just took it all in, and in subsequently talking to (Colts owner) Jim Irsay, he pinpointed all that, he said, "We need to create a new generation of Colts fans who will pass on that allegiance and the tales of glory to their sons and daughters."
17. Because you actually can interact with the author.
I'm here. All the time. If you disagree with something in the book or have a different opinion, you know where to find me. Try doing that with any other author. Barbara Kingsolver won't even return my calls.
18. Because I haven't sold out.
JC offered to buy 500 copies if I would write an essay about why Tom Brady was the greatest QB of all time for his site. I turned him down cold.
After all, I have to wake up and look myself in the mirror every day.
On a serious note, I just want to thank all of you for making this happen. Demond and Deshawn started blogging for fun several years ago, and without all of you, 18to88 would have stayed buried along with a million other failed on-line endeavors (we once had a site called Pirate Reviews in which we reviewed movies). Instead, there is now a vibrant community and endless fun even in the offseason.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you all.
Two more wins by Paraguay and Brazil today have raised South America to 7-0-2 with just one more 2nd round match remaining. No South American team has lost. Every South American team has won at least one match. Chile is the only SA team not leading their group, and they are tied for the lead after only one match.
Here are the standings by continent (W-L-D):
South America 7-0-2
North America 1-1-3
I'm generally quite tolerant of soccer haters.
I used to be one. I get it. I 100% empathize with those that don't dig the other football.
There is one thing I won't abide, however. The first round of the World Cup came under heavy criticism in some circles for a distinct lack of goals. Though this is a normal occurrence caused by teams playing tight in their first match, some decided that the low scoring games were reason enough to mock. A reader noted that a Boston talk show host mocked the World Cup by betting the under in every game and won virtually every bet in the first round. Hardy-har har.
Normally, I'd let such teasing go good-naturedly. That was before I watched last night's Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
ANYONE who attacks soccer for a lack of scoring and says it's not as exciting as the NBA lacks all credibility.
What I witnessed last night was the lowest form of hoops I could imagine. In what should have been one of the great games in history we had to witness Kobe "Please no one ever compare me to MJ or Magic or any great player ever again because I don't even come close to deserving it" Bryant (hey it beats his old nickname: Kobe "I'm a rapist" Bryant) go an eye gouging 6-24 from the floor.
Here are the two most iconic exchanges from last night:
Paul Pierce gets his pocket picked by Ron Artest. Pierce turns around and strips Artest right back. He then kicks out to Rasheed Wallace for a wide open three. Airball. The Lakers rebound and release down court. Kobe goes up for a 17-footer in transition and gets blocked. Ugh.
Here's another favorite of mine. Lamar Odom misses a wide open three which bricks back to the three point line. Derek Fisher grabs the rebound and then promptly dribbles it off his foot. Kill me now.
After all that nonsense, Kobe wins the MVP and has people saying he's greater than Magic. Please. What I saw last night was not excellent defense. It was a sloppy, unwatchable mess. The highlight of the night was when Jeff Van Gundy had the good sense to say what everyone was thinking, "This is the worst played offensive game I've ever seen." At one point, I wanted a black hole of suck to open at center court swallowing Kobe, KG, both benches, Artest, Rondo, David Stern, and the entire cast of Grown Ups.
It would have been fitting.
It's not like it was just this series. Folks, I tried to watch the NBA playoffs. All year I kept hearing about all the young stars and the renaissance of good play and how the NBA was better than ever. All I saw for the last two months was garbage. It just so happens that Thursday night's game was possibly the worst played Game 7 in any sport in any year since the dawn of the number 7 itself, but it wasn't the exception. It's what the NBA is now and has been all playoffs.
So, if you don't like soccer. Fine. I have no beef with you. Just don't tell me it's because of a lack of offense or that it's not as exciting as high flying sports like basketball. I'm not buying it. I'll take USA Slovenia (even with a referee who is apparently unfamiliar with the rules of soccer and is incapable of discerning between a cheek and a hand) any day of the week and twice on Sunday over the nightmare that is the NBA.
By the way, I hope that talk show host kept making those under bets in the second round. He'd be on his way to losing his shirt.
In the wake of Argentina's 4-1 win today, let me just point out that South America is now 5-0-2 in the World Cup finals, with the only ties coming as second-tier South American powers like Paraguay and Uruguay earned draws with European and World Cup stalwarts Italy and France. Argentina is virtually assured of going through to the next round (and it will be a mathematical certainty if Nigeria wins or ties over Greece).
I'm not saying, I'm just saying. South Americans are beasts. Just look at them. If you aren't scared of this crew, you aren't scared of anything. That number 9 has a mean header.
Let me tell you about my new favorite place in the world. It is called Huddles Frozen Yogurt.
What is Huddles?
Huddles is a Colts-themed frozen yogurt shop. Yeah, you read that right.
Where is it?
Huddles is located on the north side of E. 86th Street in Nora. Right next to the Monon Trail.
Is it good?
Oh my yes. Crazy good frogurt.
Why should I eat at Huddles?
First, it is really really good. Second, the place is owned and operated by Colts Vice President and future owner of the team, Casey Irsay Foyt. Casey was there the other day when we stopped by. Did I mention she is going to own your favorite team some day? I don't ask for much... just go eat some Colts-themed frogurt.
What else is going on at Huddles?
They sell Colts related merchandise. Yes, you can eat there and clothe yourself at the same time.
Anything else to add?
Let's face it: this is the most important Colts-related news of the summer. Huddles combines three of my favorite things in the world: entrepreneurship, the Indianapolis Colts, and soft-serve frozen yogurt. Run, don't walk to Nora. If I ever see you in line at the DQ again I am going to lose it on you, JC-style.
Been to Huddles yet? Please send your glowing review to
Sorry for the delays with the book. We had a few last minute technical difficulties that are too boring to talk about.
Anyway, Blue Blood has finally been cleared for release! It will take a few days for it start appearing with online retailers, and a few more weeks before it starts to show up around town in stores.
For my purposes (because I'm traveling right now), the official release date will be Monday, June 21st. I'll be posting purchasing links then. If you hunt around for it this weekend, you can probably snake it early. My best advice is to wait until Monday. There were updates to the text that had to take place, and if you jump the gun, you might not get the best version of the book (back to those technical difficulties again)!
Anyway, I appreciate your patience. The book will be available in both digital and print forms. As I said, links and more details to come on Monday.
Just hold your horses for a few more days!
Thanks for bleeding blue!