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United States Soccer Blows 2-Goal Lead, Falls 3-2 To Brazil In Confed Cup Final

What could have been the biggest soccer win in American history turned into one of the biggest collapses of all time. Brazil scored three second-half goals to beat the United States 3-2 to win the Confederations Cup in South Africa. Now, the ESPN announcers would have you believe that this was a spirited effort and that the Americans should be proud of the way they played. And that is why American soccer will never catch on with the masses. Excuses, excuses, excuses. Granted, this is ESPN announcers, which were horrible the entire game, but they are the ones being broadcast to the country, so their voices count. If this was a great American effort and something to be proud of, I don't want to be part of it. If my team is up 2-0 at the half - in soccer especially - there is no way the game should end losing 3-2 in regulation. That second half was an embarrassment. As good as the US was in the first half they were just as bad in the second half. Every scoring chance went nowhere. Every pass that should have been made, wasn't. Goalie Tim Howard started playing inside the net inside of attacking the ball. He still made some great saves, but he just looked tight in the second half. On two goals (one counted, the other didn't) he was defending the ball inside the goal. At least Landon Donovan understood what this loss meant after the game. "We don't want respect, we want to win," he said. Now if everyone would take that same stance, United States soccer may actually go somewhere. That, and not blowing a two-goal lead in a championship game.

(AP photo)

United States Soccer Leads Brazil 2-0 At Halftime Of Confed Cup Finals

I hope you're watching. The United States has a shocking 2-0 lead at the half against heavily-favored Brazil. Goals by Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan and some amazing saves by goalie Tim Howard have the United States on the verge of history.
(AP photo)

Today Is All About Soccer, That's Right, Soccer ... Turn On US Soccer Game Now

I don't care if you hate soccer, turn on ESPN or ESPN 360 right now and watch the Confed Cup finals between the United States and Brazil. Big games don't come around like this very often and this is as big as it gets. Root for the U.S. to pull off one of the biggest upsets in our history.

(AP photo)

Cavs Taking One More Shot At An NBA Title By Trading For Shaq To Team With LeBron

It looks more and more like the Cleveland Cavaliers believe they have just one more shot at an NBA title and that the window to win with LeBron James on the team is growing smaller and smaller. The Cavs just pulled off a long-rumored blockbuster trade that brings Shaquille O'Neal to Cleveland to team with James. Shaq has an expiring contract, so this is just a one year experiment. That, to me, means the Cavs believe they really don't have a shot (or a small one at that) to resign James after next season. I still believe James will be back in Cleveland, but the Cavs aren't taking any chances.

Of course, the Knicks are watching this closely as they would love to sign James to a huge contract in 2010. The Cavs traded Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic to Phoenix.

Red Sox Closer Jonathan Papelbon Says He Would Play For The Yankees When His Contract Is Up

So, Mr. Boston himself, Jonathan Papelbon, says that he's ready to leave the Red Sox and play for ... the Yankees. That's right, if 2011 rolls around and the closer doesn't have a long-term contract extension, he says he will go to the rival Yankees.

Here is what he told Sirius XM radio: "Not only the Bronx, but anywhere, I think anywhere is a possibility. You always have to keep that in the back of your mind because you can’t just be one-sided and think that, 'Oh I’m going to be in a Red Sox uniform my entire career.' Because nowadays that is very, very rare. ... There’s no question I would love to stay in a Boston Red Sox uniform, but I have to do what’s best for me and play in an atmosphere where I’m wanted and play on a team where I’m wanted and that’s all I can really say about that, you know?"

Couple things on this:
1. This is pretty much all about leverage, which is what you would expect from a guy who has no class. We all saw what kind of person Papelbon was last year during the All-Star break, and this just continues that pattern. The only difference is that he's disrespecting Boston now, not protecting it.

2. There is no way the Yankees should be interested in this bum. Sure, he may be a great closer, but after having Mariano Rivera show everyone how you can be great on and off the field, replacing him with a classless, me-first prima donna is not the way to go. So, Yankees, just say no to Papelbon.

(AP photo)

It's Time To Release The Names Of Every Single Player On 'The List'

There was no surprise here that Sammy Sosa was on the 2003 list of cheaters in baseball. Even though there wasn't concrete proof, he was still considered by many, myself included, to have taken some type of steroid during his playing days. So, for that reason, the New York Times report that he took performance enhancers was no big deal. But now that two big names have been exposed from the 104 players on the now infamous list (which makes the Mitchell Report look like a pile of you know what), it's time for everyone to know the full truth. What's the point in having names creep out every couple of months when we could know them all now?

Major League Baseball needs to stop the bleeding, deal with the mess when the names are released, and put the whole thing behind them. The only way this steroids mess goes away is if the names are released together. Otherwise, having names exposed every couple months will only let the steroids mess continue for years to come. Sure, the players association will fight like crazy to keep the names confidential - which is what they were supposed to be. But some kind of agreement has to be reached. I definitely don't feel sorry for Alex Rodriguez or Sammy Sosa, but it's not fair that they were named publicly while the others haven't been. Who knows, maybe the players feel the same way. Those 102 players are probably sweating every day out knowing that they could be the next big name exposed. It's time for the list to become public.

(AP photos)

Mets Closer K-Rod Goes After Yanks Reliever Brian Bruney Before Subway Series Finale

If anyone ever disputed the fact that the Mets organization, players and workers, and their fans, have an inferiority complex when it comes to the Yankees there comes this most recent example. Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez went crazy before Sunday's Subway Series finale, going after Yankees reliever Brian Bruney. Rodriguez was seen on television charging and yelling at Bruney during batting practice at Yankee Stadium. Bruney, however, did nothing except stand his ground.

Now, if you haven't heard, Bruney called out Rodriguez after talking about the Yanks' wild win over the Mets on Friday night.

"Unbelievable. I've never seen anything like that. I have, but in high school," Bruney told reporters in Trenton, N.J. "It couldn't happen to a better guy on the mound, either. He's got a tired act. I just don't like watching the guy pitch. I think it's embarrassing."

Bruney, like many others, believe the wild celebrations Rodriguez does after a save is getting lame.

Rodriguez responded with this on Saturday: "He better keep his mouth shut and do his job and not worry about somebody else. If it came out from somebody big, I might pay attention to it. But somebody like that, it doesn't bother me."

He also basically said that he's never heard of Bruney.

Bruney responded with this: "I'm not going to get into a media war with K-Rod. He's had a great career. He set the save record and besides, he doesn't know who I am. So it doesn't matter what I think. I stand by what I said. I don't know that it makes any difference, since the guy's never heard of me."

Of course, Rodriguez could have gotten out of the war of words cleanly, as he handled the situation as good as he could have. But he quickly proved that he indeed has no class by rushing up to Bruney (who he doesn't know, by the way?!?) and basically challenging him to a fight on Sunday. And if he says otherwise, anytime someone rushes at you yelling and pointing in your face, to me, that is an aggressive action. The best part about the whole episode was the fact that I originally thought Rodriguez was a bat boy or something, as some little guy was pointing and yelling at Bruney. It was almost comical watching this little guy going crazy. Bruney just stood there, probably laughing the whole time, as he would have easily killed the little guy if it did turn into a fight.

So, what does it all mean? Well, we see once again that the Mets will always be second-class citizens in New York. If a Yankees reliever who has spent more time on the disabled list than the mound this season can actually cause a "superstar" closer to go out of his mind, what does that tell you? I feel sorry for Met fans out there ... but then again, the dumbest fans in baseball will probably come up with some wild excuse or reason or explanation of what happened today. Of course, Rodriguez will be a hero and the Yankees will be evil.

Either way, Met fans can't talk away the Yankees beating Johan Santana 15-0 today.

Jets Make QB Mark Sanchez The Highest Paid Player In Team History

Let the Mark Sanchez era begin in New York. Well, it's the first step toward that anyway. Sanchez and the Jets have agreed to a contract the team announced. Multiple reports says the deal is for five years with $28 million in guarantees and could be worth over $60 million total.

The contract makes Sanchez the highest paid player in team history. It's a big contract, but that's what comes with being a Top 5 draft pick. The best part about this is that Sanchez won't miss any training camp time, which is huge if he wants to win the starting job over Kellen Clemens. So far in the Jets' mandatory minicamp, the two quarterbacks are neck and neck.

We're Back With The 'Team Of The Season' Vote, Michael Vick, Brett Favre, Brad Lidge And Sox In Bristol

After an unplanned and very long vacation from the blog, I'm back and promise to update as much as I can through the rest of the baseball season. We all know I'll probably update 20 times a day during football season, but I'll try to get you news and opinion from the rest of the sports world starting now.

** First, we have a "Team of the Season" poll on the right side of the page. Vote now as you will crown our winner for the spring season. Only one team is still alive in state tournament play, and that is Lewis Mills boys volleyball, which plays tonight. The obvious favorite is the Bristol Central baseball team, which was ranked No. 1 in the state this season and No. 2 going into the postseason, but lost in the Class LL state quarterfinals. My vote would go to them, but there are plenty of teams to choose from. Also, fans can vote multiple times. All I ask is someone doesn't put up 100 votes for one team in a couple of minutes. Those votes will be deleted. But, otherwise, vote early and often and pass the word around so your favorite team gets the recognition you think they deserve.

** Phillies closer Brad Lidge was supposed to be the anchor of my fantasy team's bullpen this season, but instead, he's been a disaster. I lost this past week for the first time since Week 2 and he’s a big reason why. Now, today, he goes on the disabled list. Nice. I had the chance to trade Lidge for 2B Brandon Phillips two weeks ago and past it up. I’m kicking myself for that one. I dropped from first place to second, but still have the most wins in the league. Johnny Burnham jumped to first in my division after my horrible week.

** There is more talk of Michael Vick possibly playing in the UFL, which is interesting news for us in these parts because one of the four teams in the league is in New York. In addition to playing, possibly, at Hofstra Stadium or Citi Field, the team will play one game at Rentschler Field to gauge interest in possibly putting a team there. With teams in Orlando, Las Vegas and San Francisco, New York seems like the best option for Vick. The media attention would be huge and he would have his stage to prove he can play again in the NFL. Of course, it would be great to have Vick play just a few minutes away for us here in Connecticut as well. I've always thought Vick was the most overrated player in football, but this would bring a huge buzz to an otherwise lame pro sports state. Even playing just one game here would be the biggest story of the year. So, for that reason, I hope he does end up with New York in the UFL. Will it happen? I'd say there is a 1 percent chance, so don't get excited about it. If Vick's going to play, it'll be in the NFL. But if he doesn't get reinstated right away or if there isn't a team willingly to take him on (and you know that won't happen) he might be forced to play in the UFL. I, like everyone else, believes the guy’s a scumbag for what he did to those dogs. But putting that out of mind, having him play here would be a big sports story. (He’ll always be a scumbag, though).

** If you haven't noticed, I've pretty much ignored the Brett Favre saga this spring. It's embarrassing and depressing to watch this guy do what he's doing because it has nothing to do with football. It's about hurt feelings. He hates Packers GM Ted Thompson for choosing Aaron Rogers over him last season (the right move, by the way) and wants to make the guy pay for that choice by playing for the Vikings. The best part about it is that I wouldn't be surprised if Green Bay is hoping Favre plays for its rival. The Vikings have a better shot at winning this season with Sage Rosenfels or even Tavaris Jackson playing quarterback than with Favre. Believe me, I've seen what Favre can do first hand and it ain't good. Will Favre play? Well, the latest news is that Favre's family and friends have booked 25-30 hotel rooms in Green Bay for November 1. That would be when the Packers are playing the Vikings. Now, the group can back out because they have until 45 days before the date to cancel, so it's not a done deal just yet. I will say that I love the fact that the Vikings are giving Favre till the end of the day, apparently, to give them a decision. If they stick to that deadline, great. If not, oh well, Favre proves he can baby his way onto another team and ruin team chemistry along the way.

** Former Red Sox players Bill “Spaceman” Lee, Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, Sam Horn, Kenny Ryan and Jim Corsi will be in Bristol on June 12 for a charity softball game at Muzzy Field. In addition to the game, there will be a chance for autographs and pictures afterwards. Money raised will help support the Bristol Police Explorers program. Tickets will be available at the door for a suggested $10 donation.