Bawling over a ball

ERIC FRANCIS, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:45 AM ET

What’s more embarrassing:

Grown men writhing around on the turf in front of billions of viewers, holding their shin with hopes of turning minor contact into a free kick or yellow card?

Or.

Grown men preceding the biggest sporting spectacle in the world with incessant whining about the ball they’re going to pass for the better part of 90 minutes before someone takes the odd shot.

Yes, the bloody ball.

The bulk of the headlines heading into the World Cup have revolved around the tourney’s official ball introduced by adidas. It has some of the world’s top soccer players suggesting it’s too slow, too unpredictable and one lad said it was as bad as the bargain bin balls you buy in supermarkets.

Whatever happened to the good ol’ days when players bitched about who forgot the oranges?

Now, more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world wondering if there can be anyone left who still believes Major League Baseball should remain in the dark ages by ignoring video replay.

Around the horn

This gem from Calgary reader Gary Cochrane: “Did you hear that instead of flooding McMahon Stadium with water to make ice (for the Winter Classic), they are going to put down a thin layer of paper? Because everyone knows that Calgary has the best team on paper. At least that is what Sutter keeps telling us.” … For those who think some hockey players have lost touch due to the money they make, keep in mind Lakers legend Kobe Bryant takes a helicopter to every home game at Staples Center … Couldn’t resist this pot shot from Jay Leno: “Bad day in the market today. Stocks are dropping faster than Ben Roethlisberger’s pants.” … Despite stellar coverage throughout the playoffs, shame on Hockey Night in Canada executives for thinking their lame Phantom of the Opera schtick (complete with Don Cherry wearing a sawed-off goalie mask) to open Game 2 was better than simply airing audio of the fans welcoming the players onto the ice for what should have been a stirring TV moment.

Parting gifts

While the apparent bidding war developing between Molson and Canadian Tire to land Paul Henderson’s jersey for more than $200,000 is a noble gesture designed to reclaim a piece of Canadian history, it is also symptomatic of the inexplicable desire men have to collect jerseys they’ll never wear, display or sell … Lost in the debate over an Ottawa-area soccer rule that forces any team that wins by more than five to forfeit, is the fact losing big does indeed suck. Mercy rules are a good thing, preventing young kids from having their faces rubbed in the fact organizers did a poor job balancing teams in what is supposed to be a recreational league … Instead of being one of the most hated men in sports, umpire Jim Joyce has turned into a hero for admitting he blew Armando Galarraga’s perfect game with a botched call he owned up to and apologized for right away. Given the grace and class exhibited by the Tigers pitcher and the ump, the only man you can get angry with is commissioner Bud Selig. He has failed both men, baseball and its fans by failing to have video replay instituted years ago … Just wondering: Why don’t the players of every team in the NHL salute their fans like Chicago does after every win, if not every game? … The only surprise bigger than the solid play of little-known Niklas Hjalmarsson for the Hawks would be if Jonathan Toews isn’t handed the Conn Smythe Trophy.


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