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One word for today:
An interesting development over in the world of European club soccer and I’m wondering whether an amazing story is still an amazing story if we all want bad things to happen to the Leicester football club.
You all remember Leicester, right?
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The tiny club that was basically an afterthought rose to win the Premier League title last year in one of truly incredible feel-good sports stories of all time.
After going at something like 5,000-to-1 odds, they beat all the giants and became the darlings of the sport worldwide. This wasn’t like the Philadelphia 76ers winning the NBA title, this was like the Unfortunately Named Mississaugas winning the NBA title.
Except they blew it because I think they got a bit big for their britches and axed manager Claudio Ranieri in the middle of this season when the morphed back into Leicester, stumbling and bumbling through the Premiership, in danger of relegation – not unfamiliar territory.
I’m not terribly close to it and don’t have a major rooting interest but it seemed they got a tad full of themselves and the over-reaction to not being able to sustain something that was basically a bolt of lightning lasting the entire 2016 season was a bit much.
They were no longer the darlings, they were to some just another team that showed little or no loyalty after a magical year that turned them into a worldwide phenomenon.
Well, they’re back at it.
They beat Sevilla in the first knockout round of the Champions League yesterday, 2-0 winners to take the tie 3-2 on aggregate and the minnow joins the big fish like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Barca, Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals.
I’d love to think of this as another brilliant Cinderella sports story and maybe it is. They are still a tiny club over-achieving but the off-putting nature of what looks like the knee-jerk sacking of Ranieri mid-way through the season diminishes this accomplishment in my mind.
I think we love the Little Guy Makes Good stories in sports more than almost any other narrative and sadsacks Leicester winning it all last years evoked great emotion.
Now? Now they strike me as just another club doing what it has to in order to remain relevant and it’s hard to get juiced up about the Champions League run.
That’s too bad because it could have been another magical story.
Got to listen to some of this during car rides on the road trip last week. Not bad at all.
I totally get it that we live in the north and there is weather and we just have to deal with it.
But, jeepers, this mid-March snow event is about enough, isn’t it?
We’re supposed to be having days where we can sit on decks or patios; not endless days of shovelling and heavy coats and toques.
Enough already. Please.
May as well get the mail started.
It’s going to be an odd weekend since we’re taking the Friday night game in Detroit off for some very logical reasons (tough back-to-back, deadlines, relative cost, my sanity and health) so while I’m avoiding cabbage and leprechauns during the day, there’ll be time to putter on mail.
So it’s firstname.lastname@example.org like it always is and start sending in the missives now).
There was something quite pleasing to see highlights of Josh Donaldson and Devon Travis taking at-bats in a minor league game yesterday, wasn’t there?
Not because it signals them coming back from injuries that have kept them out of the first part of the never-ending spring training season but just sight of them in a tiny park in such a relaxed atmosphere was all that spring baseball is about.
I’ve had my share of spring training assignments over the years and it’s slow and so relatively small and such an unassuming time that I miss it a lot.
Seeing those two at a minor league facility was comforting and cool.
The wackiness of the Raptors schedule continues.
Three games in four nights and four in six ends with the Dallas game and then two days off before another stretch of three in four begins here Thursday with Oklahoma City.
Every city we go to, every team that comes to visit provides another couple of stories about scheduling oddities or goofiness and the locals have lived it as much as anyone else.
I’m sure that next year, with an extra week or so tacked on to the season, will be better but there’s been no rhythm to this year at all and it cannot end soon enough.
Oh, this seemed to be the story of the day yesterday and since I need a day to coast a little bit and just do some gathering, She Who Supports Arsenal is filling in on the writing end of it so make sure to read the gems she comes up with later today.