Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Weekend Roundup

Friday night I went and saw Once In A Lifetime, the documentary movie about the rise and fall of the New York Cosmos and the brief moment in the sun that soccer enjoyed in the US in the late 70s. The movie is excellent and well made, which I wasn't sure that it would be as the opening credits rolled and I realized that 1) ESPN was involved and 2) the movie was narrated by Matt Dillon. But it turned out to be well worth it. Pretty trippy to see the footage of Giants stadium sold out with 80,000 to watch a domestic league soccer match. And amazing that they paid Pele $1 million a year to come play for the Cosmos at a time when the highest paid baseball player, Hank Aaron, was making $200,000 a year. I found out yesterday that they are showing the movie on ESPN on September 20 - I recommend that you check it out if you live in a town with indie/Landmark-ish movie theater or catch it on TV next month - very good stuff.

Never saw him play, but apparently he was pretty good.

Unfortunately I didn't make it to see Ricky Bobby, but that will be remedied soon enough.

Floyd Landis' B sample came back just like his A sample, which was kind of a no brainer since they are the same urine sample placed into two different vials/bottles/jugs/whatever. The only way I can imagine that an A & B sample would ever not come out the same is if an error occurred in the testing procedure, like Kramer's makeout with the scientist screwed up Mayor Dinkins' cholesterol workup. They added this time that the testosterone was not natural to the body but came from an outside source. Either way, dude has been fired by his team, Phonak (who were already getting out of the sponsorship game entirely anyways because prior doping by their team members, most notably former lead rider Tyler Hamilton- the team will become iShares team next year). He will likely be stripped of his TDF title, which will be awarded to Oscar Periero who came in 2nd. But first will be an appeal process in front of some court.

On the one hand , the whole thing seems to weird too be believeable. Dude was tested I think 6 other times during the tour, both before and after that day, and came clean. The merits of using testosterone one time are being debated in the medical community, it just doesn't seem to make sense, but there currently are no other solid explanations for how it could have gotten into his system. I suppose all it would take is a spiked water bottle or two to do it, but that is impossible to prove definitively.

On the other hand, the fact that the failed test happend on the tail end of the most insane, superhuman breakaway performance anyone has ever seen is circumstantially tough for Floyd. Either way, it sounds like it will be a long, drawn out affair.

One interesting sidenote to all the doping allegations and suspensions this year that no one is talking about is this: can people please get off of Lance's nuts nut about him allegedly doping now? Dude was the most tested athlete on planet earth for 7 years, those tests were administered completely at random, anytime/anywhere, and he never failed a single test. Not once. With all the riders being suspended before the TDF this year and now these allegations against Floyd, those whispering (and screeaming) "dopee" towards Lance seem to have even less of a case than ever.

Invasor won the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on Saturday in very impressive fashion, first dueling with Flower Alley and putting him away, then digging in to fight off the late run by Sun King. Very, very impressive by Invasor, in a completely different way than Bernardini's win the week before where he casually romped. This was tough and gritty, and with 4 wins in a row Invasor is on a roll. Flower Alley disappointed after being put away by Invasor- he only had one race this year so perhaps this race was just to get the rust off and he will be better next time out. Also, Bluegrass Cat romped in the Haskell and will likely go to the Travers to challenge Bernardini. Lava Man runs next in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar on August 20, and then the Travers Stakes goes down on August 26.

Invasor on the rail holds off Sun King.

Sunday I went to the Stern Grove festival to catch a free concert by Spanish Harlem Orchestra. The venue is cool, an outdoor amphitheater in a redwood grove, and the music was hoppin' - salsa, latin jazz, etc. They are very similar to Buena Vista Social Club only in their 40s. The coolest part was that of the few thousand in the crowd, almost half were dancing salsa in the crowd, shaking their shit and having a great time. Very fun.

Finally, G Love & Special Sauce straight-up rocked on Sunday night at the Mountian Winery down near San Jose. Another really cool venue, an outdoor amphitheater in a winery on top of a mountain with views overlooking San Jose and the South Bay. And the show was great. The man himself seemed to like it as well: "Last night was dope also; I played at one of the most beautiful venues I've ever been to--the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, CA. Its way up in the hills above San Jose. What a view." He also did his funny ass Crazy Legs Hirsch thing when he plays guitar sitting in a chair - hard to explain but funny as hell. Happy to hear Rodeo Clowns, didn't get that last time, and the cover of Snoop's Gin & Juice at the end was fierce.

Dude fucking rocks.

I would venture to say that 80-90% of bands are not as good in concert as they are in the studio, so when you go see them you are disappointed or not all that impressed. These guys are not in that majority - they are outstanding in concert.

Also, Toigah won the Buick Open - his 50th PGA Tour win at age 30. He is only the 7th dude to win 50 PGA Tour events, and becomes the youngest to hit the milestone, by a full three years (Nicklaus was 33). Tiger is now 7th all time in Tour wins, and he may very well be in 5th by the end of the year (Sam Snead 82, Jack Nicklaus 73, Ben Hogan 64, Arnold Palmer 62, Byron Nelson 52, Billy Casper 51). Que ridiculo.

He is pretty good, too.

Oh, and Ralphie is travelling to Athens for the Georgia-Colorado game. How cool is that? Won't be as cool as when she runs out in Boulder and the place goes apeshit, but it will be cool to have (in my opinion) the two best mascots in college football between the hedges on Sept. 23.

Ralphie & UGA on the same field? Sweet.

I was kind of hoping in the back of my head to make it back for that game, but it looks like it is not going to happen. I will defintely be in Boulder in 2010 though, as well as Tempe in 2009. Keep scheduling road games out West, Damon Evans, and make those Oregon and Oregon State games happen as well, s'il vous plait. Merci.

So there it is. I hope y'all had and excellent weekend yourselves.

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