Futbol is underway
Austin FC is my local team
and my point of view when it comes to soccer/ futbol. I am a fan. I'll be ride-or-die with this team and the fanbase. They are off to a very rough start.
Futbol is a weird sport in that, unlike pretty much every other US-based sport, they don't just play within their league. They also will play within a variety of Cups series, which adds extra games in the middle of the week. It's bananas. But, you can also get knocked out if you lose those games. Which AFC did.
It hasn't helped that my guy, Julio Cascante, went down with an injury about twenty minutes into the new season and one of our other strong defenders, Gabrielsen, returned to Norway for family reasons. Anyway, it's not been great, but it's a long season. And I'll be there! Verde! Listos!
In fact, we have tickets to see them play next week.
Apple and MLS
Apple+ is now the home for all of MLS, which is... fine. I don't think they're actually sending the folks calling games to the stadiums, and because they're treating it almost like NCAA football coverage, they're missing what Americans depend on in some ways during long sporting seasons - we need coverage by homers.
I don't know who the people are covering games. They don't show them, they don't explain who they are, and there's a real tendency in soccer coverage to do it in a "what I would have done here" way I expect out of football games at 11:00 AM on a Saturday by ESPN's third tier guys. It's not holistic coverage recognizing the audience, it's putting the person calling the game in the position of critic and a second adversary when you're watching. I love baseball coverage by my local folks because they're living and dying with the team, an extension of that team, and they know to be merciful to the audience listening while also being honest. It seems like an easy tweak for Apple to make, but I assume that placing teams in every city if very expensive versus having people sitting at a table in New York watching the games on a feed, which is what I suspect is happening.
I was also expecting the obvious to occur and a SportsCenter style show to arrive by Sunday morning after the Saturday matches, but instead it's basically just a dry highlight reel. This is, in fact, bad. It both keeps the audience at a distance from the game, players and staff, but it also suggests that there's nothing to see here or discuss, really. Which... I'm the first person to make fun of the endless coverage of sports on 5 Fox Sports channels, 10 ESPN channels, 4 NBC Channels, etc... and the parade of dum-dums who get paid to make stuff up about sports. But I don't think 30-60 minutes per week to cover an entire sports league that gets no coverage elsewhere is asking too much.
This weekend the US Women's National Team is playing in Austin, and I failed to secure tickets. I'm a little down about it, but I think they'll be back, maybe even this year as they head toward World Cup play this summer.
And do plan to watch this summer, USWNT looks great, but in addition to the usual other power houses, England's team seems to be on an incredible roll.
But let's see what Rose Lavelle and Crystal Dunn do this year for USWNT.
The baseball season is underway! Cubs are still gelling and look middle-of-the-road so far. I didn't watch much last year, but am giving it some time again, which means figuring out who some of these guys are, especially on pitching.
And, it's hard to know how good any of these guys will be over the length of the season. You see people come in hot at the start of a season and fizzle at the end of month one. Other people get hot for a while. Others - especially pitchers - can be all over the place during a season. I'm excited one of our pitchers seems to have found a good spot as a reliever (Alzolay). But I also want to see more out of defense, especially around third base.
I never watched The Wire when it first aired. Until HBOmax, HBO was something I'd have sporadically, but didn't feel the need to watch whatever was the hot HBO show and the movie selection was usually pretty mediocre.
My brother had the series on DVD and loaned it to Jamie and me in 2007, but according to him we weren't "watching it fast enough" to demonstrate we truly appreciated it. And he took the DVD set away. It was hilarious, but I wound up just not watching the show at all.
But now I have the idiotically named HBOmax* and therefore access to The Wire
, and I'm watching it with Laura and Marshall, one episode per week. Laura is documenting her journey through The Wire via this Tumblr
I am sure my participation is frustrating for my pals as I tend not to say a lot about a TV show until the end of a season. I'm either enjoying it or I'm not, but I tend not to want to say much about a character's arc until the end of the season, because that's when you can say what worked or what didn't. Anything before is guess work.
As I mentioned in our chat, if you've worked for a large organization or one that's "political" (I suspect everyone's workplace with more than six people is political, literally or figuratively), it's a reminder of how people and their self-interest are their own worst enemies when it comes to solving the problems their paid to solve. Obviously the point of the show, but - it's kind of fascinating to also see it done in a way that isn't just a labor to watch. You can see the angles without feeling like you're watching Death of a Bureaucrat.
What Else Are We Watching?
Ted Lasso - I feel like this season is off to a good start, I'm glad it's back, etc... But, man, I hate that they added the fortune teller to predict the future for even one scene. I know you dum-dums decided astrology was real during COVID, but now we have to deal with fan speculation and, technically, wizards existing in the universe of a straightforward TV show. Other than that, it's been lovely, and they more or less seem to have found a workable and less awkward storyline for Rebecca this season.
Abbott Elementary - The only 1/2 hour network sitcom we watch. I'll be curious how long they can keep this up.
Mandalorian - I've seen nothing but the whining on twitter from people who get confused by any story more complicated than a side-scroller videogame, but pretty clearly Star Wars is expanding the timeline and storyline from a pretty narrow window to include the wider Star Wars universe, and that's... a good thing. I was not a BSG watcher, so this is my first real time spent with Katee Sackhoff, and y'all were right about her.
Superman and Lois - The weirdly undiscussed Superman show is still 2/3rds soap opera, 1/3rd Superman-ness, and that's... fine. I've settled in, and after 2 prior seasons, I know the last few episodes of each seasons are where they'll pull out the super-story and remind you how cool Superman stuff can be. In many ways, Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth "Bitsie" Tulloch are near-exact embodiments of how I think of Lois and Clark in the comics. It's honestly kind of weird how much they've got it down. There are things I wish they'd tweak or do differently, but I suspect the budget is a limiting factor for more time at the Fortress or doing Superman things. But it's a lot for a CW show, so I'm happy about just having a Superman and Lois I can completely buy.
Schmigadoon - Season 2 of the show I've not even heard my theater-pals discuss is underway and you can tell they're a lot more comfortable from jump. Rather than the Meredith Wilson style of musical, we're moving into Sondheim and Fosse, and while, yeah, maybe it helps to do your homework and this won't be for everyone, I'm *barely* a musicals guy, and this works for me. Plus, Cicely Strong and Keegan-Michael Key are endlessly funny just existing on screen as folks reacting to what is happening.
*to my dying day, I will believe this branding was the work of people who don't understand the holdings and possible reach of WB's vast library, but who really think Game of Thrones is neat