A Die Hard Vikings Fan’s Take on Adrian Peterson, by Mark Erickson

I was born and raised in Minnesota, and despite having lived more than half my life in Illinois, I still bleed purple. In my childhood, the Minnesota Vikings absolutely dominated their division throughout the 1970s. Bud Grant, Alan Page, “Benchwarmer” Bob Lurtsema, Chuck Foreman, and Sir Francis Tarkenton were household names. Tommy Kramer, Anthony . . . → Read More: A Die Hard Vikings Fan’s Take on Adrian Peterson, by Mark Erickson

The Temple of NASCAR, by Chuck Strom

Earnhardt’s #3

When I tell people that I visited the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC, they often say, “I didn’t know you were a fan.” Sometimes, they ask why I went there at all. Part of their skepticism, perhaps, comes from knowing that I don’t follow NASCAR, and I usually care little . . . → Read More: The Temple of NASCAR, by Chuck Strom

A Triple A Baseball Team, A Major League Ballpark, by Chuck Strom

Charlotte, NC has the triple-A baseball farm team for the Chicago White Sox, the Charlotte Knights. This year they opened BB&T Ballpark, and it was one of the priority items on my list to visit on my tour of the East Coast. Rather than explain too much, I will let my pictures speak for . . . → Read More: A Triple A Baseball Team, A Major League Ballpark, by Chuck Strom

Where were you when you first heard about the homecoming? by Claude Iosso

I was at work, preoccupied with the World Cup, not the next destination for King James and his cadre of close friends, the LeBrontourage. I am glad he’s going back to Cleveland and that that poor city has a chance at sports glory, but I realized that I don’t like players deciding where next . . . → Read More: Where were you when you first heard about the homecoming? by Claude Iosso

I love you. I hate you‏. By Claude Iosso

Rihanna tweeted this photo of her with Mario Goetze claiming it to be a selfie. With parts of both of her lovely arms/hands in the field of view, she clearly could not have taken this herself.

The World Cup final between Germany and Argentina delivered much. The world’s best player on the biggest stage. . . . → Read More: I love you. I hate you‏. By Claude Iosso

The Loneliness of the Middle Distance Runner, by Claude Iosso

Neymar in contention no more

Pity Brazil, for the historic pasting by Germany and  for the weight that was slowly crushing them throughout the tournament. They were a middling bunch asked by a desperate nation to sprint past cheetahs.

According to the brackets I’ve collected, most people figured Germany could take Brazil . . . → Read More: The Loneliness of the Middle Distance Runner, by Claude Iosso

What about the goals?‏ by Claude Iosso

Angel DiMaria – Reuters Photo

Yes, the Group of 16 games were all stemwinders, packed with drama to the end as scrappy underdogs repulsed the big boys time and again. The U.S. got the script too, pushing Belgium to extra time with a Herculean effort by goalkeeper Tim Howard. But I’m not satisfied. I . . . → Read More: What about the goals?‏ by Claude Iosso

King of the Ticos‏, by Claude Iosso

Bryan Ruiz

Let me introduce you to my favorite hero of the World Cup so far — Bryan Ruiz, the cheerful captain of Costa Rica — who seems bent on proving nice guys can finish first.

I had never heard of the sprightly midfielder before June. Fulham has been loaning him to Dutch club . . . → Read More: King of the Ticos‏, by Claude Iosso

Lucky little fish, by Claude Iosso

Neymar

So I had Chile beating Brazil. It didn’t happen. The weight of 75 years of history and a poor nation’s passion for futbol finally crushed the lusty lads in red. Still, my skepticism about Brazil was confirmed. Neymar is awfully good, maybe even great, but his teammates are just good. Many start for . . . → Read More: Lucky little fish, by Claude Iosso

Another Year, Another No-No, by Chuck Strom

Tim Lincecum on Opening Day

For those of you who don’t follow baseball, I am happy to report that San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum pitched his second career no-hitter against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday. At 112 pitches and only one base-runner allowed, this no-hitter was a model of decorum compared to . . . → Read More: Another Year, Another No-No, by Chuck Strom

Don’t draw too much from this draw, by Claude Iosso

Michael Bradley, hot

Sure, it’s too bad the U.S. soccer team gave up a last-second goal to drop into a 2-2 tie with Portugal, but it’s not a major disaster. The Yanks’ chances of advancing to the knockout rounds of the World Cup are still pretty good, and they’ve played well enough so far . . . → Read More: Don’t draw too much from this draw, by Claude Iosso

Another girl, another planet, by Claude Iosso

If it seems like Hope Solo’s from another planet, it’s because she is. People shake their heads at the nutty antics of the United States and Seattle Reign goalkeeper, but it’s not easy being the daughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia.

It’s boundary issues really. If you were told to go to . . . → Read More: Another girl, another planet, by Claude Iosso

Mon Dieu! Serious contenders already emerging, by Claude Iosso

Karim Benzema

Midway through the group stage of the World Cup in Brazil, the genuine contenders — and the hapless pretenders — are already emerging. Germany, Holland and France have all looked fearsome in the early going while Spain is suddenly yesterday’s news and England is doomed by a leaky defense. Argentina and Brazil, . . . → Read More: Mon Dieu! Serious contenders already emerging, by Claude Iosso

The passing of an all-time great team, by Claude Iosso

“How did you go bankrupt?”

“Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”

I think this quote from Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises” summarizes Spain’s swift demise in the World Cup. They were flattened by the Netherlands and Chile, unable to hoard the ball with their trademark stylish passing and too old and slow to keep up . . . → Read More: The passing of an all-time great team, by Claude Iosso

Heroes and Comics Night at AT&T Park, By Chuck Strom

Stan Lee is 91 Years Young

Just over a week ago was Heroes and Comics Night at AT&T Park. The highlight of the evening’s pregame festivities was the appearance of Stan Lee, creator of Spiderman and most of the rest of the superheroes of Marvel Comics. Ninety-one years young, he came out to the . . . → Read More: Heroes and Comics Night at AT&T Park, By Chuck Strom

Happy Birthday at the Ballpark, by Chuck Strom

Madison Bumgarner

My daughter Jillian turned 16 just over a week ago. The day coincided with the San Francisco Giants’ first Orange Friday game of 2014, complete with a fireworks show afterward, so we naturally decided to go to AT&T Park to celebrate. The Giants had started the season reasonably well, winning six of . . . → Read More: Happy Birthday at the Ballpark, by Chuck Strom

San Francisco Giants Fan Fest 2014: Success This Time, and Worth the Wait, by Chuck Strom

At the O’Doul Gate

At the 2013 San Francisco Giants Fan Fest at AT&T Park, I waited the entire day on the field for an autograph, left empty-handed and resolved never to do that again. This year, I had my daughter Jillian with me and didn’t want her to endure such a frustrating and . . . → Read More: San Francisco Giants Fan Fest 2014: Success This Time, and Worth the Wait, by Chuck Strom

The Chicago Cubs are Headed for 100 Losses in Wrigley’s 100th Year, By Mark Erickson

Popular Cub Jose Cardenal and his feisty coiffure won over fan’s hearts without ever winning a championship in Chicago’s Wrigley Field.

The Chicago Cubs will celebrate the 100th anniversary of playing at Wrigley Field this year! Think of the historic events. Babe Ruth’s “called shot.” Kid K’s breakout game. Harry Caray. The collapse of . . . → Read More: The Chicago Cubs are Headed for 100 Losses in Wrigley’s 100th Year, By Mark Erickson

Sochi and the Heroes of Telemark, by Mark Erickson

I watched the Sochi Opening Ceremony. Kyrgyzstan had a cool flag, and I learned that Nepal has the world’s only nonrectangular flag. I was surprised that Iceland had only five athletes. Mexico had one out of a population of 118 million. By contrast, Sweden had 111 out of a population of less than 10 . . . → Read More: Sochi and the Heroes of Telemark, by Mark Erickson

The 2014 Golden State Warriors – Well Worth The Price Of Admission, by Chuck Strom

Despite their second-round series loss to the San Antonio Spurs, the 2013 NBA playoffs were truly a coming-out party for Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors. Since 1994—basically a generation—the Warriors had been one of the least relevant franchises in all of sports, with the exception of an upset against the Dallas Mavericks . . . → Read More: The 2014 Golden State Warriors – Well Worth The Price Of Admission, by Chuck Strom