Pitching is such a vital part of the game, as far as winning is concerned.

On most teams the set up man has become more valuable, on others not so valuable.

Something to keep in mind — it’s raining lightly. The infield could be very wet on ground balls.

What is a drop and drive pitcher? He is a guy who drops and drives. Very simple.

So by guessing right you might have guessed wrong.

Giambi walks too much. He’s always clogging up the bases with all that walking.

As a new day begins in New York, the sun sets in Hawaii.

If football is a game of inches then baseball is a game of inch.

If that ball had more elevation, it would have been a home run.

If the double play is a pitcher’s best friend, what is a fielder’s choice? An acquaintance?

It’s better to have a fast runner on base than a slow one.

One thing about ground balls. They don’t go out of the ball park.

The reason we call that pitch up and in is because the arms are attached to the shoulder.

He wears his hat like a left hander!

Any ball that goes down is much heavier than any ball that stays on the same plane.

The blood on his sock looks exactly like Oklahoma!

You don't want to use too many statistics. The ones that apply to a July or August game won't be relevant on Saturday.

American McCarver

The Big Game

Today at 2pm, my family and friends will gather around the television with food, drinks and vuvuzelas left over from the 2010 Men’s World Cup. Yes, we really bought vuvuzelas. 

We will be a mixture of true soccer fans, big game soccer fans, mildly interested fans,  and fans of shouting “USA! USA!” What we all have in common in that we are fans of sports in general so all of us, even those who don’t watch soccer unless it’s the World Cup, enjoy the excitement of a big game. Whether it is the Super Bowl, the seventh game of the NBA finals or even a Little League championship game, we know there is nothing more dramatic in sports than when it all comes down to one game. 

What makes this one even more dramatic for fans of women’s soccer is that there is more at stake than just a championship. While the U.S. team has earned respect around the world what it needs today is to earn the respect - and hearts - of American sports fans. Soccer doesn’t get much respect in the United States to begin with, let alone women’s soccer. Though the road to this game has been one filled with media-friendly heroics that helped gather fans along the way and made names like Hope Solo recognizable to people who never watched soccer before, there’s still the fight to win the new fans over permanently. Perhaps a win today could propel the team and the sport into the spotlight and win over people who are fans of determination, hard play, heart and guts. 

What this game has that the World Series or Stanley Cup doesn’t is a sense of national pride, with people pulling for their country rather than just a team. The casual fan or even the not-a-fan will willingly wrap themselves in a US flag for a few hours and call themselves fans of the game if the pride of their nation is at stake.

The Empire State Building is lit up in red, white and blue this weekend for the team. Vice President Joe Biden’s wife Jill will be at the game, representing the White House, along with Chelsea Clinton. There’s an Olympic-type atmosphere in America surrounding today’s match, an anticipation of feel-good moment where a country comes together to celebrate a potential victory that’s not just a victory for the women at play, but for everyone. Everyone’s looking for that Jim Craig moment.  

Maybe after today’s game — regardless of outcome — people will talk about it for a day or two then move on to talking about the baseball season or the end of the NFL lockout. But maybe there will be a handful of people whose hearts and minds will have been won over by this team, this sport. Maybe a few young girls will decide they want to play soccer. Maybe a few young women will have new, worthy heroes. 

Whatever the outcome, the road to this match has been a hell of a ride. The women of this U.S. team deserve the same accolades and attention of any sports team in any league in America. Let’s give them what they deserve:  our attention and our respect.

If you were not planning on watching the match today, I ask that you just give it a chance. Come on over. I have some extra vuvuzelas and plenty of burgers to go around. Bring your own flag.

[Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images Europe]


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