Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sports Day

Looking back on the last couple of months that we've been away, there's been some really good sporting events dotting the time.  Its not that we've been out constantly but rather there were some anchors that were pretty good to reflect on.  Here they are in no particular order.

Rogers Cup Tennis, Toronto, August 5-10

Both of us love tennis, playing or watching.  I'd prefer to play over watch but if thats not available, I'm happy to watch.  The Toronto event attracts the top players but is one of the few ATP 1000 events that has only men -- they are increasingly becoming co-ed tournaments I think because of the relative lower popularity of the women's game and their need to generate more money on the back of the highly popular men's tour.  The event has a twin women's tournament in Montreal at the same time and they switch back and forth so the men's event is every other year --- we went last time it was in town too.

We had another good crowd from our friends in Bermuda and elsewhere joining us which of course made it even better.  The weather behaved too, unlike last time.

And an underdog won, Tsonga!  What could be better?  Trouble for him is that he was knocked out of the subsequent event in the 1st round!

Chicago Cubs vs Atlanta Braves, Baseball, Chicago, July 12

This was the start of our road trip from Chicago so we just had to take in a Cubs game at one of the oldest baseball grounds still remaining.  The weather was a little drizzly and the team were yet again in a period of transition not having won anything of note since 1908.  The ground was packed which says something for the die hard supporters going back year after year hoping against hope that somehow this year would be different.

In England with the FA Cup there's a remote chance that an underdog may get a favorable draw and avoid the top teams and somehow make it all the way.  It happened a couple of years ago in fact.  But in that competition teams play only 7 rounds.  In the US baseball league, they play 162 so any failings will ultimately out.  The underdog has no chance really.

So it was here too with a moment of madness when a new pitcher threw only a couple of pitches, but both were hammered into the next state and in baseball that's all it takes sometime.

Oh well next year, maybe.

St. Louis Cardinals vs LA Dodgers, Baseball, St. Louis, July 20

We arrived in St. Louis as part of the northerly swing of our road trip to find there was a baseball game on the day we arrived and as it was only just along the road, we thought why not.  The Cardinals have been serial winners of late so the expectation was for a straight forward victory, quite different from the Cubs game.  So was the stadium.  Brand new and jam packed full of bars, restaurants and other places where 45,000 or so could spend their time and money when not watching the game.

Our seats were pretty much identical to the Cubs game too and the ground was packed out.  Same result though as another green pitcher threw away the match in one innings of madness when he gave away 6 runs in 3 mighty hits and again that was it.

I couldn't understand why the crowd weren't more unhappy until someone told us that this was a series of 3 against LA and they'd won the other 2 matches so didn't care much about this one.  In a 162 game season, you just need to win 55% or so of your games.  Which they have.

Took some of the fun out of it somehow.

Ticket prices were more expensive than the Cubs -- $89 versus $63.  That's not a cheap day or night out when you factor in everything else too.

World Cup, June-July 

We didn't go but it seemed like we did as coverage of the event was everywhere particularly whilst the US was involved, but even after it was very well supported in the US.

What an event though.  We got to share the US's agony in Charlottesville (and Brazil's humiliation) as well as Germany's triumph in Chicago.

And it was free too!  Well, apart from the beers in the sports bars...

Truly sport is one of the defining global activities.

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