When I was but a wee lad, I would watch this Saturday morning cartoon called “Sealab 2020.”
(Not to be confused with “Sealab 2021,” a parody of the original series which ran on Adult Swim in the early 2000’s. That entire concept was blasphemous.)
Watching the show, and yearning for the day I could live in an underwater laboratory, I did the math to see how old I would be in the year 2020. It seemed impossibly far in the future, and I believed I would be dead before I reached the year 2020 and it’s underwater habitats.
Needless to say, I’ve been facing 2019 with no small amount of nervousness and trepidation.
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There was nothing wrong with the U.S. Women’s team beating Thailand 13-0. Scoring differential matters in the World Cup.
Where I have a problem is the wild celebrations of goals long after the game had gotten out of hand, and the players response to criticism over the celebrations.
First was using sexism as a defense: “Would a men’s team be criticized for celebrating?”
Yes. All the time. How do you think the phrase “Act like you’ve been there,” came into being? It was initially directed at men, chiding them for excessive celebrating after scoring, and telling them to behave as if scoring a goal/touchdown/et al was a routine event.
Then there was the “scoring a goal in the World Cup is a memorable moment, especially when it’s you’re first goal” excuse.
Yup, even when it’s in the second half of a game long decided against a beaten-down opponent. You can still celebrate without rubbing the opponent’s face in it.
Save the over-the-top display for when scoring against England. Or France. Or Sweden.
(Besides, I’m pretty sure Megan “make everything about me” Rapinoe had already experienced a World Cup goal before her elaborate celebration after giving the United States a 10-0 lead over Thailand that surely came at a crucial moment.)
Then the players decided to troll their critics with snarky celebrations during the 3-0 win on Sunday.
Let’s be blunt: The United States’s global image isn’t all that shiny these days. And here’s our Women’s National Team playing the role of the ugly Americans, stomping on and then humiliating a weaker nation.
No one cares our Women’s team beat someone 13-0. But let’s save the cool elaborate celebrations for goals that contribute to a win, not just a way to break ties in the standings.
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Felt like I was watching the Bel Air-Patapsco girls soccer regional playoff game last fall, won by the Bobcats in double digits and with the Bel Air players celebrating every goal like it was the game-winner in overtime of the state finals.
The Dundalk boys team celebrated after scoring goals to take a 3-1 lead over Sparrows Point. Of course, the game wasn’t over and the Pointers came back to win.
Sometimes, you know, it probably is safer to save the wild celebrations for after you win the game.
Which is another problem with staging wild celebrations while scoring late goals in a blowout: It’s kinda cowardly to do it against an opponent who isn’t capable of using it as incentive to fuel a rally.
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My favorites in every World Cup, men’s and women’s, are my “mother” countries: Scotland and England (with a splash of Swedish blood from my maternal grandmother).
Scotland is done, after an 0-2 start, while England is advancing to the knockout round.
I’m also a fan of Japan, the country which has given us Godzilla, manga, anime and the concept of the waifu. Not enough, however, to have rooted for Japan when it faced the united States in the past two World Cup finals.
The United States still has the best team, but I’m beginning to worry they may not matter against a motivated France.
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As I write this on Sunday night, shortly after the Orioles blew a ninth-inning lead to the Boston Red Sox and lost in 10 innings, the Orioles have a home record of 9-28.
Nine and twenty-eight.
The team battling the Orioles for worst record in baseball, the Kansas City Royals, are 14-23 at home. The other team in the running for worst overall record, the Detroit Tigers, recently won two of three in Baltimore.
For a team in the Orioles’ condition (tearing down and starting over), the road record is actually respectable: 12-22. But that home record ... ye gads.
The Yankees and the Twins have more overall losses than the Orioles have home losses.
This all leads to something I believed ever since Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened: It’s never been a great home field advantage. Back in the 1990’s, when the Orioles were competitive, they didn’t seem to have much of an edge at home.
The team went 0-3 at home against the Yankees in the 1996 playoffs, 1-2 at home against Cleveland in the 1997 ALCS. In 1992, when the Orioles finished 89-73 and were in third pace by seven games, they had a better road record (46-35) than home record (43-38).
I crunched the numbers nice, and it seemed to level out over 25+ years, but it always seemed to me that in big games, important games, playing at home never seemed to help the Orioles much.