US defeats Germany to advance to World Cup finals

Last night in Montreal, the United States defeated Germany 2-0 to advance to the finals of the 2015 World Cup, which will take place on Sunday and pit the Americans against either England or Japan. Behind goalie Hope Solo and a staunch defensive back line, the team is riding a 513-minute shutout streak, and last night’s win makes the United States the first country to reach four Women’s World Cup finals.

I enjoyed watching the (second half of the) game last night, and I realized I probably enjoy watching the women’s team better than the men’s national team (the only other soccer-watching I do).

Pros:

  • The women seem tougher than their male counterparts. Result? Less flopping. Get that garbage outta here.
  • The USWNT is more successful against its competition than the USMNT. Result? More winning. Americans love a winner, and I’m no exception.

Con:

  • Smaller fan base, for whatever reason. Result? Less exciting viewing atmosphere. Watching every U.S. Men’s World Cup game last year was a broadly public, electrically focused experience. Here’s hoping folks come out to support the women this weekend.

In light of the fact that the number of soccer games I’ve watched in the last two years is in the single digits, further comment would overburden my limited experience with the sport. Instead, I’ll just be keeping an eye on Japan and England’s match tonight and rooting for an American victory on Sunday.

Willie Horton Can Change the World (via Sports on Earth)

Horton_cbo69kqg_715cb9noStill, nothing showed Horton’s character more than that July weekend in 1967, when rioting began on a Saturday night in Detroit. The Tigers hosted the New York Yankees for a doubleheader the following afternoon, and Horton stood in left field studying his teammates, the visitors, the fans and something beyond the grandstands at Tiger Stadium.

“I kept seeing black smoke in the distance, and I thought it was just a fire somewhere,” Horton said, and he was correct. It was carnage from the second of what would be five days of rioting that would take 43 lives and wound more than 1,000 other people. When the second game ended, Horton discovered in the clubhouse what was happening. “I was sitting there, getting ready to take a shower,” Horton said, “and then I got to thinking. I just said to myself, ‘Man, I’ve got to go.'” … Read More

(via Sports on Earth)

The Phillies have given up, finally

Back in February, before the 2015 MLB season started, I wrote that the projected-to-be-terrible Philadelphia Phillies should just give up and put themselves out to pasture. They did not immediately heed my advice. Nearly four months later, the team found itself with a 22-44 record, the worst in all of baseball. Cue the terminal sequence: Continue reading

Yes, the Cardinals hack was a federal crime (via The Volokh Conspiracy)

According to press reports, front-office personnel of the St. Louis Cardinals used a guessed password to gain access to a private database of player information held by the Houston Astros. Over at ESPN, legal analyst Lester Munson makes the startling claim that this may not be a crime . . . . This is just wrong. … Read More

(via The Volokh Conspiracy)

Go to your home: Visualizing baseball team run-conversion efficacy

go home

In my latest post at Banished to the Pen, I attempt to visualize in graphic fashion the effectiveness of all thirty Major League Baseball teams at converting baserunners into runs and, having done so, speculate only a little bit wildly about the reasons why two of those thirty teams– the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants– are not scoring as many runs as they probably should be given their large number of opportunities to do so (i.e., baserunners).

The full post is available here.

Everything’s Coming Up Black & Gold: A Remarkable Night for Vanderbilt Baseball

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Last night might have been the second-best night in Vanderbilt baseball history, surpassed only by the evening nearly one year ago when they won their first national championship. On the fourth birthday of Grantland.com, a sporting internet website named for VU’s second baseball coach, the Commodores completed their super regional sweep of Illinois and secured a spot in the 2015 College World Series.

Soon after the game ended, three Vandy starters– Dansby Swanson, Carson Fulmer, and Walker Buehler– were selected in the first round of the MLB amateur draft, with Swanson as the first overall pick.

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As they make their way to Omaha, here’s hoping this team has a few more good nights left in the tank.

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Previously
Vanderbilt wins the College World Series

How to view the Belmont Stakes

Our horse racing coverage has been derelict this year, which is inexcusable, particularly in light of American Pharoah’s chance to score a historic Triple Crown win tomorrow night at Belmont Park. To make it up to you, the very least I could do is tell you when and how you can watch (or listen to!) the Belmont Stakes, which runs Saturday night at about 6:50 pm, and the very least is what I have done.

For only the barest of bones Belmont Stakes preview, gallop, don’t trot, over to my post at TechGraphs.