Call it a badge of honor or something like that. After all, acknowledgment is a good thing (or something).
Anyway, when I learned about the comments they were always followed up by the question, “are you mad?” My theory on why this was the question is because I’m sure the cats who asked were hoping for a little tête à tête between the GM and me. Look, I don’t associate with the most noble of folks. Actually, these are the types of people who take delight in the failure of others and love a good soap opera more so than a digging through the archives.
Yes, my friends are weasels. Then again, that’s why they are my friends.
So once I pieced together the smarty-pants comments from the GM about me on live television, the easy answer to the questions was, “No, why would I be angry?”
That was the truth, too. Angry? Nope, not with the GM. Considering I compared him to Nixon bombing Cambodia during the Vietnam War when playing us press types for fools during the Winter Meetings. Remember that? The GM told us the Phillies weren’t in the mix for Roy Halladay, but then a couple days later he made the big trade. Incidentally, Halladay pitches tonight against the team he was traded from.
Nevertheless, for those of us who like to dish it out we sure as shoot better be able to take it, too. There might be a little bit of crying allowed in baseball, but there is no place for whining. Rub some dirt on that bruised ego and get back out there is what I say.
So what does this have to do with the United States national team and the World Cup? Well, not much unless we relate it to me (and this is all about me). See, a couple of weeks ago I sat at the Linc and watched the World Cup squad take on Turkey in their last game in the U.S. before jetting off to South Africa. From that game and the reports on the previous game against the Czech Republic, my thought was Bob Bradley’s team could be setting itself up for a big crash.
I even wrote this:
Bob Bradley is a smart man. As the coach of the U.S. World Cup team headed for South Africa on Monday, Bradley has to be pretty sharp. So when listening to the coach speak after games it’s best to listen to the words he’s not saying as opposed to what is said.
Now this isn’t to say that Bradley is performing avant jazz by bebopping and scatting confusing and cryptic phrases on our ears. No, far from it. However, following the 2-1 victory over the national team from Turkey on Saturday afternoon at the Linc, it was evident that the coach believes his team has some more work to do before its first match against England on June 12.
Again, Bradley wasn’t hiding anything, but then again he really didn’t have to. There was no conspiratorial tone from Bradley whatsoever. Still, it seemed as if Bradley was trying to sell the notion that everything was going to be OK.
Certainly that’s a relative term when it comes to U.S. soccer in international competition. Still, based on the team’s painful 0-3 showing in the last World Cup and the experience of the players on the current roster, Team USA has to be a little better than OK. It’s the round of 16 or bust in South Africa for the U.S.
Yep, Bradley knew what he was saying that afternoon in Philadelphia. He outlined exactly what his team had to do in the final week and a half leading up to the World Cup opener against England and things have actually gone better than planned. Oh yes, there were some tense moments there before Landon Donovan scored in extra time to boost the U.S. to the win of Group C, and it’s not unfair to suggest that Bradley’s boys deserved a lot less stress on their run to the final 16.
But you know what? Bradley gets it. The coach really knows what he’s doing. He knows when to push his guys and when to relax on the whip a bit. Moreover, there is nothing about the undefeated round robin stage that has been a mistake. The U.S. won the group because it was the best team.
As far as dealing with the press in South Africa, it appears as if Bradley has kept it just as avant as he did that day in Philadelphia. If the quarterfinals game against Ghana comes down to strategery and acumen, the U.S. is going to march on.
So here we are with another big plate of crow, a fork and a sharp knife. In fact, if it comes to that I’m going to hold my nose and take a big bite.
No, the U.S. is not going to win the World Cup. At least not until the next Kobe Bryant and LeBron James opt for soccer instead of other sports.In other words, this could be a very good year for U.S. Soccer… that is if it can take care of a few issues before the games start. That means no more repeats of the first half of the game against Turkey in Philadelphia.
Yep, that was me. I typed that just enough arrogance to force others to believe that I knew what I was talking about. So now with it all out on the table like this, let’s entertain the thought for a moment—y’know, tempt fate, the football gods and Posh Spice with some crazy talk…
What if the U.S. wins this thing? Really, what then? Will there be an explosion, a war, a day off from work, a chance for the international community to question the very nature of life?
Yes, what if the U.S. wins the World Cup?
Is this the craziest thing ever?