Your morning roundup for June 15, the day America finally got what it needed: more Fran Drescher.
What we watched: Jozy Altidore, from distance. Yes, it was a goal against Guadeloupe, and, yes, it was the only goal against Guadeloupe, but if anything could make a U.S. fan feel better about limping into the CONCACAF Gold Cup's knockout stages with a 1-0 result against a team from the Lesser Antilles, it was this. Have a look:
Altidore has now scored twice in Gold Cup play, and neither goal was characteristic of what we've come to expect of him. The first, a fluky thing against Canada, nevertheless required a first touch that Altidore has rarely shown, and the second was cannonfire from 25. It's hard to fathom now, but there was a time — long before all that "Lazy Out-The-Door" stuff — when Altidore made serious American soccer fans sit up, when he was the symbol of what our Euro-style developmental academy would soon produce in volume. It's nice to be reminded now and again of why people once felt that way. (Tommy Craggs)
What we're watching: Reluctantly, the panicked end to the year of LeBron James. We know there should be some kind of grace period on the deal that we'd happily contribute to — a week or two? a month? — but one thing we weren't quite prepared for is the random LeBron questioning of athletes in other sports. Yesterday, Alex Rodriguez and Rory McIlroy were targeted for the task; Rodriguez being like James in that he his reviled by most of America and McIlroy being like James in that he struggled to win in the final round on the biggest stage in his sport. This, I guess, is like newspapers gathering reaction quotes for the pile-up on I-95, or something: we like hearing what other humans have to say about the spectacle because it proves either our own thoughts about the matter or our own thoughts about other humans.
A-Rod reminded us that it's not easy to win a championship: "We need to remember this kid is 26 years old, and celebrate his talent." It was a perfect validation of our sense that A-Rod just wants to be loved, too. McIlroy, who it turns out is friendly with LeBron, thinks he has been "unfairly scrutinized. Everyone is going to have bad days… And with sports these days everything is over-analyzed, stats here, stats there, how has your team combined points in the last quarter of the Finals or whatever." Also confirmed: Irish golfers should never be asked about the NBA, and yes, there is indeed going to be a slow and painful end to this year's pro basketball coverage. (Emma Carmichael)
Oh no, LoMo: "Marlins left fielder Logan Morrison has been told to tone down his comments by president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest after Morrison's reaction last week to the firing of hitting coach John Mallee. Morrison said he was told he can't "point fingers at the owner, stuff like that," after he said it was not "right" and not "just" that Mallee was dismissed last Wednesday." [Hardball Talk]
Did James Dolan ruin this deal too?: "Last summer, some observers were still optimistic that Carmelo Anthony might remain a Denver Nugget. But their confidence was shaken when he put his Polo Ridge Estates mansion on the market for $9.5 million. A year later, the spread has finally sold for $6.2 million — more than $3 million under the asking price and $6 million less than the $12.2 million he paid for it in 2007. And if you think that's funny, Nugs fans, just take a look at the place." [Westword]
Only in northern Ohio: "The district took quick action to mitigate any potential health risks following last week's tip that urine had been poured on the pitcher's mound, Superintendent Joseph Bergant said. "It was brought to my attention by an anonymous caller that apparently there was some urine that was poured on the pitcher's mound and I called the Geauga County health department immediately - even before we investigated, even before we called anybody else - and said, is there a process to disinfect it, if indeed it truly happened. We don't know if it did or not," Bergant said." [News-Herald]
Some bloodthirst with your soccer?: Fans of Chilean club Universidad Catolica [took] to the streets looking for blood last Sunday after their team lost the Apertura Championship game, 4-1 (4-3 aggregate), to hated Universidad de Chile. Soon enough they found what they were looking for and ambushed a group of rival supporters outside a local supermarket, throwing rocks at their targets while the store quickly shut its doors and people scattered for safety. The security footage, which was uploaded to YouTube by a user named "sinfoniabelika," shows some of the victims escaping serious harm, while the unluckier ones (specifically, anybody wearing a Universidad de Chile jersey) get jumped, punched, mugged, stripped and even chain-whipped by their brutal attackers. [New York Daily News]
4. Live up to the promises of an ad: "Was just going through archives for a project and found this ad — ft. the old Tiger— in our 1997 Open section" [@lindsapple]
Jay Caspian Kang on Ichiro, and more: "I could watch Ichiro stretching in the on-deck circle and conjure the image of Jackie Robinson sliding home in 1947, but that association never brought hope, but rather a wariness that both told me that the association was wrong and that the only reason why I was cheering for Ichiro was because someone, something else had lumped us together. Even back then, at the age of 19, I knew that the comparison was catastrophically wrong. But I still made it, and even today, when I certainly am old enough to know better, every time I see Ichiro, I still feel both the warmth and the embarrassment of that particular misappropriation. In my defense, I will say that when you are a first-generation immigrant, the templates for assimilation always belong to somebody else. You can staple your assimilation to Ichiro, Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, or Hank Greenberg, but you will always be wrong. But I don't know how else anyone is supposed to stumble toward American-ness than through these categorically wrong, sentimental avenues." [Grantland]
Your freestyle canoe interlude, Ridin' Dirty edition:
Baseball on the radio: "In my younger years I spent many a foolish evening driving hell-for-leather between distant points, holding on to the faintest strand of the Mets' radio broadcast as distance and storms chewed away at it. Those nights are mostly gone: I now live in the same city as my team, watch them on a humongous, crystal-clear TV, and even when I'm on the road the telephone I carry in my pocket can summon up WFAN's feed with a few taps on its glass screen. It's Jetsons stuff that would have left the 20-year-old me agog and eager for such a wonderful world to hurry up and arrive. And he would have been right, mostly. Except Friday night MLB's servers were on a smoke break, and no matter what we did the radio feeds on At Bat '11 returned only the message CONNECTION ERROR. So up through Connecticut and out across Massachusetts we went with the old analog radio as companion, and by the far side of Worcester WFAN was fading in and out, whining and dipping and threatening to be replaced by the babble of some other station on a nearby frequency. You know what? It was great." [Faith and Fear in Flushing]
Yes, this is the issue we really need to press Mitt Romney on, America: "But PuckBuddys.com, D.C.'s gay hockey blog, has doubts about Romney's dedication to Boston's team. Co-founder Craig Brownstein, a PR exec and hockey devotee, was surprised that the former Massachusetts governor never talked, texted or tweeted about the Bruins during this remarkable season; the very first mention was at the debate. More damning: Brownstein went back to Romney's years in office and couldn't find any evidence the governor attended even one Bruins game. ‘He's got some explaining to do,' Brownstein told us. ‘Hockey fans are an unforgiving bunch at times. And they're especially harsh toward bandwagon fans who jump on a winning team's achievements.'" [Washington Post]
Scott Raab gets his happy ending: "His joy at James's failure, he said, was like that of a child receiving a pony for Christmas." [New York Times]