Archive for June, 2010

Watching the World Cup
June 24, 2010

World Cup watch parties enjoy en vogue status this summer, made much more fun by the fact the United States has yet to lose a game.  The 2006 effort failed to even earn a single point so the 2010 campaign already proves a remarkable success.

Advancing the knockout round with the most dramatic of goals in US history sets the stage Saturday.  Team USA faces Ghana at 2:30.

Now, I watched the 2-2 tie with Slovenia at Slainte in Fells Point and came away truly impressed with the pubs ability to not only handle the futbol crowd, but make it enjoyable as well.  My colleague, Dash of Dachille, in the news room found a similar experience at Alonzo’s in Roland Park.

This week another possibility for you. Crystal Palace Baltimore, which plays Saturday evening at Calvert Hall, hosts a watch party at the venerable high school prior to its own kickoff. Details to be found here.

Watching the United States deliver such drama (the good kind) has provided amazing sports moments repeatedly the last two weeks. Moments that when shared with others will last your lifetime.

Picture Perfect
June 17, 2010

HD technology has so incredibly transformed television viewing that when forced to revert to SD, the event may as well broadcast in black and white.  And sports in HD come to life better than any other broadcast.  And of all the sports, none provide a more dramatic picture than golf.

For me, Augusta National owns the honors for most insanely gorgeous telecast.  The azaleas, crushed marble bunkers, and so completely manicured fairways are breathtaking.  That though was before today.

The last time the U.S. Open arrived at Pebble Beach, the broadcast from NBC did not offer HD.  But now, the Monterrey Peninsula in perfect 1080P leaves me transfixed.  There may or may not have been a minor hint of drool while gazing into the Pacific.  This tramples every other HD broadcast with the ease of Tiger Woods 15 stroke victory here in 2000.

Perfect sunshine dominates the forecast through the weekend leaving NBC to deliver ridiculous vista one after another.  You don’t even need to like golf, and the 16 hours of scheduled coverage will entertain.

But more than a beauty queen, Pebble Beach offers a true test and we have a wide open field (even wider now, as I type Phil Mickelson tumbles to the back of the pack with a round of 75).

Our National Championship is no better served than with a trip to wine country in perfect high definition. Enjoy…

Summer options other than the Orioles
June 16, 2010

With the Orioles kicking off their annual late season swoon three months early, the Ravens a month from training camp, and schools in recess what’s a Baltimore sports fan to do?

Logic (and maybe some spouses) says take a break.  Landscape a little, take a bike ride, go to a carnival, actually read a book. The suggestion of laundry from a Dash of Dachille was unsolicited but given the quality of Orioles play, relevant for these purposes.

In reality though, we’re not doing any of that.  We need our fix and watching the World Cup, PGA, or Nascar only helps so much.  In what can we take part right here?

A few options that at first glance might not garner a second but stay with me.  The Baltimore Mariners (indoor football) own a perfect 12-0 record.  We’re not talking about witnessing the next Kurt Warner but a bunch of these guys played major college football. They earn a paltry sum, playing simply because they love the game. Tickets are cheap, the action non-stop, and a few thousand in attendance makes for a nice atmosphere.

Also, Crystal Palace Baltimore delivers a high level of soccer. 11 nations represented on the roster for what can be considered the equivalent of double A baseball. Double A compared to the top levels of Europe. They play games at UMBC offering a season that never seems to end. If you have even the least bit of world cup fever you will enjoy a trip to the palace.

Training camp’s just over a month away, so we don’t have too much time to fill. This bit of minor league frivolity should suffice if you need your fix.