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|| News Item: Posted 2002-07-02

Dear Snappy: World Cup & World Series
By Snappy

Dear Snappy's a little cranky this month, having either stayed up way past her usual 7:30pm bedtime or gotten up way too early to watch every match of this year's world cup.

Dear Snappy,
This year's World Cup has been awesome to watch. Despite nearly every kid in the U.S. playing soccer growing up, why can't America get behind the world's most popular sport?

A Pitch-Is-Where-You-Play-Not-What-You-Throw.

Dear Pitch,
Simply put, because the U.S. hasn't won the World Cup yet. Americans hate being worse than other countries, (especially Third World countries), at anything.

If you think about it, the arrogance of Americans in sports (among other things) is simply galling. We love to win, hate to lose, and when we do lose, we find a way to rationalize it (in fact, just thinking about the way Americans "adopted" the Canadian pairs team of David Pelletier and Jamie Sale at the Winter Olympics still makes me want to puke-they're Canadians, dammit-they just LOOKED like Americans!)

We call the Major League baseball championship the "World Series"-and yet, no other country in the world even has a chance to play in the "World Series". You don't think an all-star team of Dominicans could beat an all-star team of Americans?
Check out these lineups and think again:

Photo by Brad Mangin

Photo by Brad Mangin

Barry Bonds
Dominican Republic --- United States
1B-Albert Pujols --- 1B-Todd Helton
2B-Luis Castillo --- 2B-Jeff Kent
3B-Tony Batista --- SS-Alex Rodriguez
SS-Miguel Tejada --- 3B-Scott Rolen
OF-Manny Ramirez --- OF-Barry Bonds
OF-Sammy Sosa --- OF-Torii Hunter
OF-Vladimir Guerrero --- OF-Shawn Green
C-Alberto Castillo --- C-Mike Piazza
P-Pedro Martinez --- P-Randy Johnson

Look at the N.B.A. Last year's Rookie-of-the-Year was Spain's Paul Gasol. This year's first draft pick is China's Yao Ming. Fourteen of the players drafted this week are foreigners, six were selected in the first round, and three were lottery picks.

Here's one for David Stern to mull over-if the influx of foreigners playing basketball turns the game truly global (as Stern once claimed was his aim), and teams start featuring rosters half-loaded with foreigners, will U.S. fans stay interested?

Or, horrors, will basketball become like soccer?

The point is, Americans love rooting for Americans (well, except for Barry Bonds), and we love rooting for winners. Our winners. It's the American way.

Until the U.S dominates the soccer pitch, no matter how many of us wore shin guards growing up, we're still not going to even pretend to like a game where Brazil, Portugal, Turkey, and Senegal have a chance to beat us.

Tell me I'm wrong.

Dear Snappy,
But what about the U.S. Women's team that won the World Cup and those cute girls and the blonde who ran around in her bra?

Female Fan

Dear Fan,
Dammit-they're WOMEN-not girls, and it was a SPORTS BRA, not something from Victoria's Secret.

Are all you men pigs?

Because, since men comprise the majority of fans, women still don't make a difference in sports. It's a sad, sad fact, and it sucks worse than the Ranger's pitching staff. In golf, the L.P.G.A. makes less than the men's Senior Tour in prize money. In basketball, the women have to play during baseball season. In baseball, more women's leagues have folded than Shawn Kemp has illegitimate kids.

The only sports where women are more popular than men are figure skating (the only thing that joe-average-american-male-sports-fan dislikes more than women's sports is those-they-perceive-to-be-gay-sports) and tennis (looking at Anna Kournikova is still more entertaining watching Pete Sampras-I don't care who you are).

Lastly, the woman who took her top off to celebrate the winning penalty kick for the United State that year was Brandi Chastain. I'll bet she's still more recognizable than Landon Donovan or Claudio Reyna.

Dear Snappy,

I thought this was a photo column.
Photo Geek

Dear Geek,
Fine, then.
The photo that made Ms. Chastain famous was taken by Sports Shooter's dear friend Robert Beck for Sports Illustrated.

Now leave me alone.

(Dear Snappy is a former sports photographer retired and living in Florida. You can send her questions at She might answer you.)

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