FC Dallas and the college conundrum

When the news came through that FC Dallas had hired former Penn State head coach Barry Gorman as their new technical director, the reaction wasn’t hard to predict. FCD owner Hunt Sports Group has lost a few fans. Among the issues: FCD’s head coach is Schellas Hyndman, the longtime Southern Methodist coach whose former players in college happen to include Clark Hunt. So when you tell a few Dallas fans that the team is hiring a friend of Hyndman’s who has been in the college game for a few decades, that’s akin to announcing a Beatles reunion with Yoko Ono … Continue reading FC Dallas and the college conundrum

Bellator nets nice ratings despite uneven distribution

Bellator has the numbers from its April 8 debut on Fox Sports Net, and they have reason to be pleased. The company says Bellator increased FSN’s Thursday night 25-54 male audience by 180 percent. Not exactly sure how they compute national ratings when FSN affiliates can choose different programming, but they share one local success story: 0.85 for a live airing on FSN Pittsburgh. Not bad for something with no obvious Pittsburgh tie-in. The trick is getting more affiliates to show the fights live. That’s not easy during the overlap of baseball with the NBA and NHL playoffs, but judging … Continue reading Bellator nets nice ratings despite uneven distribution

‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Season 11, Episode 4: The doors of perception

To review from last week (check the recap for a full rundown of the episode and the teams):

– Chris Camozzi’s jaw injury forced him to leave the house and show. Seth Baczynski, who lost a close decision to Court McGee in the prelims, took his place.

– Charles Blanchard gives massages, which some insecure people in the house find funny.

– Brad Tavares beat James Hammortree on every scorecard except that of Tito Ortiz, who apparently blacked out for the last 3:30 of the fight. Luckily, his card doesn’t count.

– Crabman (Jamie Yager) is getting closer to being this season’s Junie Browning.

On to this week …

We start with a recap of last week’s fight, and we learn that Yager was cheering for Tavares. Tavares is not on Yager’s team. Yager’s teammate, Nick Ring, isn’t happy about that. Ring already had feuded with Crabman, but they patch things up. We think. Yager has formed his own “team” that he calls “Minority Report.” It’s Yager (African American), Tavares (Hispanic), McCray and Kyle Noke (Australian). The others call it “Team Yager.” And worse.

Continue reading “‘The Ultimate Fighter’: Season 11, Episode 4: The doors of perception”

World chess championship delayed

Iceland is once again playing a role in the confused history of the world chess championship, and this time, Bobby Fischer isn’t involved. Thirty-eight years after Fischer beat Boris Spassky to break the Soviet Union’s Cold War stranglehold on the title and two years after Fischer died in Iceland as a wanted man in the USA, the 2010 title match has been delayed one day because champion Viswanathan Anand had trouble getting to Bulgaria, where challenger Veselin Topalov already has home advantage. Anand had trouble getting to Bulgaria because — you guessed it — that giant ash cloud from Iceland’s … Continue reading World chess championship delayed

The marketing of Landon Donovan

If you stopped by the soccer page at Yahoo! yesterday, you saw this video link: “Landon Donovan gets mad at a reporter.” Naturally, I clicked — Donovan isn’t the type to blow up at anyone. He’s heard it all before. At worst, you’ll get a mildly sarcastic answer, not hostility. The video paints a different picture: http://d.yimg.com/nl/yahoo%20sports/site/player.swf If it seems unbelievable, well, it is. Donovan has plenty of experience answering inane questions. And it’s hard to imagine a reporter asking about Gatorade unless it was a precondition of the interview. (Many reporters decline those preconditions.) In any case, there’s no … Continue reading The marketing of Landon Donovan

What I’m doing; what I’ve done

After 10 years, 4 months and a few days, I left USA TODAY at the end of March 2010. In my time there, I wrote about soccer, mixed martial arts and Olympic sports. I edited the online sections for soccer, boxing/MMA, Olympics, golf, hockey, high school sports and horse racing. (Not all at the same time, but many at the same time.) I dug into the technical side to help with IT work on our automated stats and scores. And I was a guinea pig on blogs, backpack journalism (with video), Twitter and some other things I’ve probably blocked from … Continue reading What I’m doing; what I’ve done

Monday Myriad: MMA apology time

Quick reminder: Boston Marathon this morning on Universal Sports. So what happened this weekend? SOCCER (Americas) – MLS: The Galaxy look great. The bottom teams look terrible. Full roundup already up. – WPS: Six and a half years ago, Abby Wambach scored both goals in the last WUSA final as the Washington Freedom defeated the Atlanta Beat. On Sunday, Wambach had a goal and two assists as the Freedom won their first WPS meeting with the Beat 3-1. Trivia, true to the best of my recollection (let me know if I forgot someone): The only two players from the Beat’s … Continue reading Monday Myriad: MMA apology time

MLS Week 4: Cool is a rule, but bad is bad

Did MLS suddenly adopt the Scottish system of splitting the top half of the table from the bottom? That would explain why the bottom four teams in the MLS East all faced off this week in a macabre mini-tournament of sorts. Meanwhile, Los Angeles and Salt Lake played a terrific rematch of last fall’s MLS Cup final. One of the bottom four matchups, Thursday’s Toronto-Philadelphia game, was already covered. On to the weekend (lineups are estimated from Match Tracker and from what was visible on the highlights; if you see someone who wound up playing elsewhere on the field, please … Continue reading MLS Week 4: Cool is a rule, but bad is bad

On D.C. United: “We’re not 1996, man”

Early in a 2-0 loss to Chicago on Saturday, Andy Najar — known to no one outside D.C. United’s staff a few weeks ago and now starting in MLS at age 17 — chased a ball down on his own endline and centered it across the face of his own goal. That’s how things are going for the once-mighty team these days. Three years of atrocious personnel decisions and a recent rash of injuries have left a team that looks incapable of winning. Santino Quaranta, now an elder statesman of sorts at age 25, pointed to the injuries — Clyde … Continue reading On D.C. United: “We’re not 1996, man”

Anatomy of a goal: Fire’s Dykstra to McBride

The dagger for D.C. United started with former Woodbridge, Va., resident Andrew Dykstra, the young goalkeeper for the Chicago Fire. Dykstra, who had 80-100 people coming to watch him, said he was looking for Brian McBride with his long distributions late in the game. He wasn’t able to get the ball to him in the corner a little earlier. Then he saw McBride drift into the box and figured he would aim there. “I trust the 36-year-old veteran,” Dykstra said, undercounting by one year. The 37-year-old veteran knew what to do next. He couldn’t see United keeper Troy Perkins, but … Continue reading Anatomy of a goal: Fire’s Dykstra to McBride