The Weekend That Was: Springsteen, Derek Jeter, and the Women’s World Cup
Before we get started, I’d like to ruin a Bruce Springsteen song for you.
I was out for a jog the other day, and “Born to Run” got stuck in my head. I am most definitely not Born to Run, but I couldn’t resist humming the tune. Then, out of nowhere, the melody morphed into a whole new song. Something similiar, yet horrifyingly different.
So, sing this out loud: “Tramps like us, baby we were born to run!”
Now sing this: “There’s nothing I can do, a total eclipse of the heart!”
I’m really, really sorry. I didn’t ask for this, either. Let’s get to the recap.
- Derek Jeter on Saturday pulled a David Price curve into the left-field stands for the 3,000th hit of his career. He went 5-for-5 on the day and knocked in the game-winning run in the eighth inning. After the historic accomplishment, his girlfriend was Minka Kelly and he had five World Series titles with America’s most storied franchise and he was the most-loved human being in the country’s biggest city. Meanwhile, A-Rod can’t even buy a dozen lava lamps in the East Village without some total wiseacre making a snide remark.
- After a spectacular 122nd-minute goal by Abby Wambach, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team beat Brazil in penalty kicks to advance to the Women’s World Cup semifinals. This was such a fantastic victory that I don’t even have a joke. Instead, I’ll use this space to pay homage to Ian Darke, the announcer who worked the game. He’s the genius behind the “oh, it’s INCREDIBLE!” call after Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria, and one of the greatest, most underrated goal calls in soccer history. He brought the goods again with Wambach’s goal, but if anything, these triumphant moments overshadow his dry sense of humor. I laugh at least five times whenever Darke calls a game, and it’s usually because of his incredible word choice. This weekend, he unleashed a classic Darke-ism when U.S. defender Ali Krieger was desperately trying to retrieve a ball from the stands in extra time. “The ball went out of play there,” said Darke, “and a retinue of intellectuals decided they’d hand it around among themselves before throwing it back.” The man is a legend.
- Fifteen players have withdrawn from Tuesday’s MLB All-Star game. Some weren’t even on the disabled list this past weekend. Michael Weiner, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, insisted the players were honored to be on the team but simply hate the sport of baseball, the fans (especially the kids), and the notion of playing an extra nine innings in a season that’s already 162 games longer than any of them would prefer.
- The Detroit Tigers took a half-game lead in the American League Central with 2-1 win over the Royals on Sunday. Detroit manager Jim Leyland says he’s thrilled about the slim advantage and plans to stay atop the division for all but like five meaningless games at the very end of the season.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates took two of three from the Chicago Cubs to finish the first half four games above .500, making 2011 their best chance yet to reverse a string of 18 straight losing seasons. “It’s tough to lose,” said Cubs manager Mike Quade, “but we’re happy for Pittsburgh. I can’t imagine what it must be like for a club to wake up every morning having to deal with the reality of a long drought. Just knowing that your entire history is a narrative of endless disappointments, year after year, to the point that it comes to define your franchise … I mean, good god. They must sit around sometimes wondering if it’s even worth the struggle. And I don’t mean just the baseball struggle — I’m talking about the big one here, guys. And you know their home life is no picnic, either. Not with that harpy of a wife. If it wasn’t for HAM radio, they’d probably have nothing.”
- The Houston Astros courageously took the field once again Sunday, bringing inspiration to millions of disadvantaged people across the world. Just by showing up, they taught us all a lesson about the enduring human spirit. Their brave efforts on the way to compiling a 30-62 record have garnered more congratulatory plaques than any baseball team in history, and donations from concerned Americans are pouring in to help pay for supplies such as gloves, orange slices, and adult diapers.
- The Texas Rangers’ recent tear continued Sunday with their seventh consecutive victory. The streak would be even longer, but Texas’ past four wins against Oakland only officially count as a half-win apiece.
- The Philadelphia Phillies, who own baseball’s best record, trounced the Atlanta Braves 14-1 to win the weekend series. In the end, their triple threat of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and Cole Hamels was too much for Atlanta’s triple threat of Derek Lowe, a bottle of old perfume, and Ted Turner’s insane, screeching laughter.
- Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones was arrested at a bar for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Other than that, though, I think we can all agree he’s a pretty good guy.
- The Boston Red Sox head into the All-Star break on a six-game winning streak. During Friday’s game against Baltimore, David Ortiz charged Orioles relief pitcher Kevin Gregg after a series of inside pitches culminated with Ortiz’s popout to center field. The two exchanged blows, and both benches emptied before order was restored. After the game, Gregg offered the strange explanation: that he yelled at Ortiz for not running to first base. “I may be a major league pitcher,” he said, “but my real dream is to be an overbearing father.”
- The NBA lockout continues with disputes over the exact financial loss suffered by the NBA in the 2009-10 season. The details are fairly complicated, but basically LeBron James stole a ton of money and kidnapped David Stern’s daughter, but then Dirk Nowitzki rescued her, but then Shaq was wearing this cool hat and got his hands on the briefcase with all the money and nobody’s sure if he’s a good guy yet, but then Carmelo Anthony invited everyone to this private Harry Potter screening this week and things will probably get weird.
- In an effort to end the recent scourge of flopping in the NBA once and for all, the Los Angeles Lakers hired Italy’s Ettore Messina as a coaching consultant.
- Thomas Voeckler took the overall lead in the Tour de France on Sunday, finishing second in the ninth stage. Voeckler, a Frenchman who has never tested positive for any performance enhancing drug, attributes his success to hard work and the fact that he has a motorized engine on his bike.