Tap here to begin writing… I guess that’s appropriate when you’re tap, tap, tapping you way through a sentence on an iPhone. I’ll get back on the computer soon enough, but the game is on and it is easier to go this way than type, run back to the TV and repeat. Modern convenience right there.
There’s been several incarnations of this blog, the first one dating back to 2004 and I’ve been playing off and on with this format ever since. The first one is/was at JoeUser, which actually did quite well when I had the time and the muse to write to it. Unfortunately, the lack of time and muse dropped me off the radar and off the site. More on JoeUser in a bit. We moved over to Blogger, then picked off a few at MySpace and others, and the same thing happened – time was scarce and the muse was few and far between. I’ve started and restarted the Blogger site so many times, I even got bored and uninspired bringing it back up again. It is a chronic writer’s block in a casual sense – I write for a living and one of the things I don’t want to do when I come home or on a day off is sit down and write some more. Well, I should. I know that now. The more you write, the better you get. The better you get, the more quality comes through when you have to step up and put down the main story. And that’s why I’m back on the grid, back to give this another try. But with a twist…
WordPress allowed me the chance to bring what I’ve done on the Blogger site over here and begin anew. Also, the iPhone app will be a big addition as well. I’ll use that to splice in some smaller items, something to expand on when 140 characters on Twitter just doesn’t cut it and I can’t get to the site (like at work). And, I’ve plugged in the JoeUser site – the original. The WordPress blog – https://andnow42.wordpress.com – will be the main conduit, with the JoeUser site – http://andnow-rb.joeuser.com – as the supplimentary outlet. There may be some original stuff on JoeUser, but that’ll depend. Right now, you’ll see the archives of what I’ve written on the Blogger site. You’ll have to go visit the JoeUser blog to see the old stuff. As for what I’ll write about, I’m not going to limit myself anymore. Most of the time, I would hold off on writing about something or another, because it might reflect upon me in a certain way. No more. This is supposed to be fun and good for my writing fingers. I’m going to treat it that way. I’m not going to take myself seriously and you, the reader, shouldn’t take this seriously either. You have enough to worry about.
A Sound season in the MLS for the Northwest: When Real Salt Lake defender Robbie Russell’s penalty kick beat L.A. Galaxy goalkeeper Josh Saunders to end the 2009 MLS Cup in Seattle, it put a dramatic capper on the season that was successful for the new MLS champions, Real Salt Lake, but for the league’s newest club, the Seattle Sounders FC. The Sounders broke attendance records all season and played an attacking style of soccer that galvanized a region that was aching for a winner. The Northwest showed its day-glo colors in support of the Sounders, whose fairy tale season ended in Houston in the MLS Western Conference semifinals. With the Seattle Mariners playing well, but still short on talent to get into the postseason and the current Seattle Seahawks limping toward the finish line, the Sounders FC came along at the right time. Now, for the 2010 season and with the majority of the club roster intact, the Sounders need to find a proven goal-scoring forward to power the offense. Freddie Ljungberg and Steve Zakuani in midfield, Freddie Montero up front in support and a solid defense, led by Lacey goalkeeper Kasey Keller, make Seattle a threat next season. There were too many 1-0 wins and losses this season for the die-hard supporter groups to live with.
Here’s a video of the final PKs in the MLS Cup, along with the beginning of the celebration.
Copy-cat league: The talking heads on TV pound into your head that the NFL is a copy-cat league – If coaches find one thing that works well, they’ll copy it for the next season until the innovation becomes commonplace. In a begrudging way, they’re right. However, one way the league is a copy-cat is in building or rebuilding teams. The NFC West is an example of this. Currently, the Arizona Cardinals are the leaders of the NFC West, with a trip to last year’s Super Bowl in the vault. The Cardinals borrowed some of the successes the Seattle Seahawks used when the Hawks were running over their division rivals – solidify the defense, lock down the best offensive line you can buy, keep your key players in the fold and play to your strengths. Seattle, behind a Hall-of-Fame caliber offensive line, ran Shaun Alexander and the rest of the Hawks to Detroit in 2005. Seattle’s strength was its balanced offense, with a lock-down defense and a true home-field advantage. Arizona, behind Kurt Warner and his Hall-of-Fame caliber wide receivers, played to its strengths and rolled to the NFC title last year. The division is theirs until someone steps up and takes it from them. Someone like the San Francisco 49ers, which is where Seattle got its rebuilding philosophy from. Mike Holmgren knew what he was doing there. The Niners have gone back to their playbook – strength (running game and offensive line), defense (led by Patrick Willis) and players (Gore, Willis, Davis) – to regain some of their lost footing. Coach Mike Singletary changed the atmosphere of the team, which used to be a championship one, and is probably one or two years away from bringing the division title back to the Baghdad By The Bay. Seattle will get to see what San Francisco has done up close on Sunday at Qwest Field. The Seahawks currently are where the Niners used to be under Mike Nolan – injured, aging and rudderless. A few changes and some patience will bring Seattle back around, including a new GM and probably a new coach (sorry Jim Mora). Of course, if those changes aren’t made, it’ll find itself like the team it just defeated, the St. Louis Rams. The Rams have been rudderless and without direction for most of the 2000s, believing that injuries and some bad luck sent them to the bottom of the division and the entire league. The choice is simple for Seattle – copy what San Francisco is doing, which it used to do very, very well in order to overtake the Niners and the Cardinals or stay the course and become a copy of the Rams. This season is lost – time to look at 2010.
Corner kicks: The usual complaints about the length of the MLB baseball season are legitimate, especially when the dead cold of winter strikes the players in the World Series. In 3 1/2 months, pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. However, the rest of the major league sports in the U.S. aren’t that much better in length. Measured between the championship-clinching game and the start of the preseason and/or regular season, the MLS will have a four-month break between the MLS Cup and the Opening Match (Philadelphia Union at Seattle Sounders FC). The NHL had just under four months break between Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cup triumph and the start of the 2009-10 season. The NBA had an identical span, starting on Oct. 1 just like the NHL and the Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Title on June 14, two days later than the end of the Stanley Cup Finals. The NFL has the longest break, more than five months between the Pittsburgh Steelers’ win over the Arizona Cardinals on Feb. 1 and the start of the preseason on Aug. 13, six months if you go to the start of the regular season on Sept. 10. Baseball used to have more than 5 1/2 months between each season, but with commissioner Bud Selig giving FOX Sports the right to schedule the postseason, what used to be the October Classic is now the November Event. … More than two weeks after France’s disgraceful victory over Ireland in the UEFA World Cup playoff match in Paris, the vitriol from Irish fans has died down a bit. Only a bit. The event may give credence to the establishment of some form of instant replay, if the two governing bodies – UEFA and FIFA – see the errors of their ways, but it has also given a nickname for France’s Thierry Henry that he may never live down – “The Hand of Frog”, a tip-of-the-cap to the handball from Argentina’s Diego Maradona that gave Argentina the victory over England in the 1986 World Cup. Ouch. … In more somber news, the ambush on four Lakewood Police Officers made the international wires, first off on BBC News. I got a text from a friend in England who asked me if I was near what happened. I was nowhere near, but it did strike me that he knew about it out there. Maybe it was the circumstances – four officers sitting down for coffee, going over their laptops, when a gunman or gunmen came in firing. All four died, with the Police talking to a “person of interest” as of 9:45 p.m. Sunday. Honestly, if you didn’t know where this took place, you’d think the Middle East or a war-torn country. But Parkland/Tacoma? Fuck. This is the BBC link to the story – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8385421.stm – and the latest from the Tacoma News-Tribune – http://www.thenewstribune.com/topstory/story/973573.html -. An editorial – http://blog.thenewstribune.com/opinion/2009/11/29/a-crime-and-a-loss-beyond-expression/… I hate to end on a down note, but I don’t know of another way to end it. So, quietly, I’ll step away. Thanks for reading. See ya next time….