Your morning roundup for May 29, the day Roger Ebert inexplicably gave two thumbs down to those who blatantly allowed two eyes to check out two foreign boobs.
What we watched: At Wembley yesterday, Barcelona was on the ropes for the first nine or 10 minutes, but then Barca started playing like Barca and stopped letting Man United be the possession-hogging side. Wayne Rooney's game-tying goal in the first half was excellent, no doubt. But Rooney walking past a celebrating Barca in the center of the pitch told the whole story. Barca was the best team on earth, and Rooney knew it.
It wasn't a dismantling, but it was a clinic, and it was how it should be. With a big goal on a big stage (David Villa's was better, but still), Lionel Messi cemented himself as an all-time great but for in the eyes of those who think he needs to hoist a World Cup to earn the all-time greatest mantle. That argument has merit. But that argument is simplistic. Messi is wonderful. Messi is humble. And Messi didn't need to be anywhere near the camera lens when Eric Abidal hoisted the trophy just months after he worried his career (and, possibly life as he knew it) was disappearing before his eyes.
"You wanted to see the best player in the world give us the best performance, and I think he's done that," commentator Eric Wynalda said afterward.
"They are the finest side in Europe and speak a particular footballing language unintelligible to the rest," wrote La Vanguardia in Spain.
Offered The Sun, "A privileged 87,695 witnessed one of the greatest ever team performances in a European final and possibly the greatest player to have played in one in Messi. Diego Maradona, after all, never played on European football's greatest stage."
And the Guardian: "Barcelona have engineered an evolutionary leap, adding defensive rigour to the fantasy element first instilled by the dream teams of Johan Cruyff. Like Real Madrid, Milan, Chelsea, Bayern Munich and the rest, United now face the daunting challenge of raising their game somewhere closer to Barcelona levels."
This is the best team in sports because it is an absolute team; central casting for it, if you will. Sure, there are diving allegations, some warranted. But, they play together for each other, not self. It's difficult not to get all Hudson-ey, because FC Barcelona represents what sport should aspire to be. Everything else looks cheaper in comparison. [Guardian]
What we're watching: There's college baseball and softball, pro and senior golf, live and/or tape-delayed French Open tennis, the 2011 Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 all on television today. In addition to a live look-in on Kentucky softball — why not? — I'll be watching the tired-armed Phillies backup fifth starter beat the Mets because I'm drawn to kicking things when they're down [GCobb.com].
Class Acts: In the first inning of last night's Phillies/Mets game, Tim McCarver said, "Ike and Tina Turner haven't had hits like Justin Turner." Here's a little required reading/viewing for Tim:
The violent history with Ike left hidden physical scars long after their divorce. "I have had, basically, my face bashed in, and I never did anything about it," she said. "I just went through my life because I was all right. And then I started to have problems traveling with my sinuses," Turner explained.
"So when they went in to correct it, I ended up with...another nose," she added. [60 Minutes]
Oh, Phillies won 5-2. [NJ.com]
Rabbit, Run: A man in a bunny costume hippity hopped onto the field after the Twins's 10-inning one-hitter of a victory over the Angels yesterday. He eluded two security guards before falling in left field. So sad. He arrives at 1:13 of the video. [YouTube]
Dongs, dongs everywhere: There was also some streaking at the IRB Sevens Twickenham rugby contest. Dong-heavy footage, so NSFW unless you work the Sunday shift at a urologist's office, sperm bank or adult bookstore. (And yes, there will be more about the Mariners/Yankees pitch invasions posted soon). [YouTube]
Suicide, as Milwaukee's solution: Brewers pinch-hitter Jonathan Lucroy notched a walk-off hit yesterday to give the Brewers a 3-2 win over the Giants. The run was scored by Ryan Braun. The hit was a "picture-perfect suicide squeeze bunt." [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]
Who needs a high-school diploma anyway?: Jordan Spieth and his guardians chose being four-back at a professional golf tournament over capping-and-gowning his way toward a diploma with fellow high-school kids.
Q. You're not going to your graduation?
JORDAN SPIETH: No, I don't think so, it's going to be too late. [PGA Tour]
Cleveland may try to forget LeBron, Delonte with kids from Duke, Arizona: Per ESPN, "The Cavaliers are in discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Detroit Pistons about a three-team trade that would give Cleveland the top two picks of next month's NBA draft. The Cavaliers would use the picks to select Duke point guard Kyrie Irving and Arizona forward Derrick Williams, the sources said. [ESPN]
Snap into a countdown!: Here are the Top Ten "Best" Macho Man Randy Savage Tribute Songs, as judged by the posters on one blog. [Ted Williams Head]
We get emails: Big Grantland Fan Joseph Devanna totally calls us out with truth arrows from his quiver. To wit:
You 30 something(really 40's), white, suburban blogger types sure do love you some Bill Simmons don't ya ? Forget that I think he sucks ass and know that he's no different then most of the homers that you can listen to on sports radio stations everyday. But seriously, do you really think there's much difference between him and Rick Reilly or Chris Berman for that matter?
We Are All Dave McKenna CXIV: Here's your daily link to Dave McKenna's brilliant "Cranky Redskins Fan's Guide to Dan Snyder," which we'll be posting until Snyder's dumbass libel suit watches the wild-card playoffs from the sidelines again, and again, and again, with no respect for fans or self.
Your Upcoming Soccer Viewing Recommendations: Europe's club season may have ended, but the MLS is there for you, should you desire a there right now [MLS]. There's also a USA/Spain friendly on June 4 [US Soccer].The CONCACAF Gold Cup (regional champion of North America, Central America and Caribbean) starts June 5 [Gold Cup].
EPL resumes on a yet-announced August date, La Liga on Aug. 21 and Serie A on Aug. 28. UEFA Champions League qualifiying commences June 28 and competition itself on Sept. 13. Here's a list of qualifiers to-date [UEFA].