Nov. 16th, 2007

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* Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man indicted for perjury and obstructing justice
It looked like might have gotten Greg Anderson to flip on him, since most of the perjury charges are about Bonds lying about conversations/actions with Anderson. Anderson, Bonds' personal trainer, spent most of the last 16 months in jail to avoid testifying against Bonds, but was released at the same time as the indictment.

This will almost certainly end Bonds' career. He's clearly one of the five greatest players in baseball history, based solely on his on-field achievements. He was my favorite player as a Pittsburgh Pirates fan in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Even until 1998, when he was a star for the Giants, I considered him the best player of my lifetime and I was willing to overlook his surly disposition.

Apparently, he became massively jealous of the attention paid to Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during the great home-run chase, since neither of them could hold his jockstrap as an overall player. He knew they were cheating and becoming popular megastars, and decided that he would do it too. Instead, even while putting together the greatest five-year stretch that any hitter has ever had, he became a pariah outside of San Francisco.

He's one of two great baseball players that I've never seen in person, and, despite everything, I will always regret that.

* Pistons agree to blockbuster trade with Lakers
You might have missed this, but the Pistons agreed to trade Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince and Amir Johnson to the Lakers this week. In return, they would get one of the few athletes I dislike more than Barry Bonds, Kobe Bryant. Luckily for me, and in my opinion, for the Pistons, Kobe vetoed the trade.

I interviewed Kobe for the first time at a high-school all-star game, and was amazed by his poise and maturity. Sadly, that didn't survive his transformation into an NBA star.

* Lions playing two huge home games in five days
The Lions don't usually play at home on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, but they've got [profile] marcy_italiano's beloved New York Giants on Sunday and my dad's beloved Green Bay Packers on Turkey Day. If they win both, they are in fantastic shape for their first playoff appearance since 1999. If they lose both, it could get ugly down the stretch.

* Dave about to be REALLY BUSY
Michigan-Ohio State on Saturday. Lions-Giants on Sunday. Lions press conference on Monday. Tuesday off. OU-Auburn women's basketball at 6:00 on Wednesday, followed immediately by Pistons-Knicks at 8:00. Lions-Packers on Thursday. Four high-school football championship games on Friday, followed by four more on Saturday. Pistons-Utah on Sunday.

So, in a span of nine days, I'll cover 11 football games, a football press conference and three basketball games.

* Huge soccer weekend coming up

Saturday and Wednesday are the final qualifiers for the 2008 European Nations' Championship, and there are three groups that are still up for grabs and of great interest to me. In Group A, my beloved Finns still have a slim, slim chance of qualifying for their first major tournament ever. They have to beat Azerbaijan on Saturday, which should be pretty easy, and then they have to beat Portugal in Portugal on Wednesday, which will be awfully tough. Even then, they need Serbia to draw or lose of their final two games.

In Group B, Scotland is in if they beat Italy tomorrow and out if they lose. If they draw, the Scots would get in if the Ukraine beats France on Wednesday.

(Speaking of Scotland, how many of you realize that my last name is pronounced with a long "o", not like "hog"? My grandfather always said that "hoag" was the Scottish pronunciation and "hog" was English, but I suspect he made that up.)

In Group E, England needs Israel to at least get a draw with Russia tomorrow, then needs to beat Croatia on Wednesday. If the Russians beat Israel, England would have to beat Croatia by 2-0, or if Croatia scores, by at least three goals.

The other groups are simpler. In Group C, defending champ Greece is in, and will be joined by the winner of Turkey-Norway. In Group D, the Czech Republic and Germany are already in. In Group F, Sweden and Spain are in, barring a serious of ridiculous upsets. Austria and Switzerland are already qualified as co-hosts.

There's also World Cup qualifying in South America, and the MLS Cup match in the United States, between New England Revolution and Houston Dynamo. This is a rematch of last year's MLS Cup, when Houston won on penalty kicks. Being a traditional soccer fan, I'm more interested in who wins the regular-season title (DC United, for the second year in a row), but a good Cup final is always fun.

NHL apparently still exists
The Red Wings are in first place in the Western Conference. Henrik Zetterberg is really good.

Seattle needs a name
Seattle will have an expansion team in MLS in 2009, and they are having a contest to name the team. Purists seem to be getting behind Seattle City or Emerald City, but there's also the tradition of the Seattle Sounders name.

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