Sorry, Hugo Chavez Will Not Let You Play Through

It’s impossible for me to look at a picture of Venezuela president Hugo Chavez and not think of the scene in the Woody Allen film “Bananas,” in which Howard Cosell is reporting live from the capital of San Marcos:

“This is tremendous, Don, just tremendous. The atmosphere heavy, uncertain, overtones of ugliness. A reminder, in a way, of how it was in March of 1964 at Miami Beach when Clay met Liston for the first time and nobody was certain how it would turn out. The crowd is tense … El Presidente may be coming out. The door opens … A shot rings out! He turns… he runs back toward the building, trying to get in. This crowd is going wild. He’s caught in a crossfire of bullets. And down! It’s over! It’s all over for El Presidente!” 

Hugo Chavez with Rick Reilly's book

But the real thing is stranger than fiction, it appears. The portly Venezuelan strongman added another story of crazy recently when he launched a bitter diatribe against golf, then closing two popular courses. One of the main reasons? “Golf carts are evil.

Read more…

Venezuela Fans Are Trashing Own Star Ordonez

Maglio Ordonez is one of the more decorated Venezuelans in baseball history. He’s still a major leaguer, he’s a former All-Star and a proud countryman. All of that should make him a huge hit at the ongoing World Baseball Classic, where the Venezuelans landed a big second round victory over the Netherlands yesterday. But it isnt working out that way. Instead, Ordonez is being boooed like A-Rod in Boston, and it’s all because of his political beliefs.

hugo chavez magglio ordonez

According to the ASSOCIATED PRESS, the disagreement between Ordonez and his country’s rabid fans stems from a series of current commercials in Venezuela. In the ads, the slugger advocates for the abolition of presidential term limits, a move which is patently aimed at getting more time in office for controversial head of state/autocrat Hugo Chavez. The controversial president has long exploited Ordonez’s success and fame for his own gain (no surprise there) as you can see in the video after the break, where Chavez holds a press conference to congratulate Ordonez’s past accomplishemts. While some, like fiery White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen weren’t so receptive, Ordonez has always been happy to play Chavez’s patsy. Needless to say, that’s not going over too well with the more liberal Venezuelans (i.e., expats in the U.S. and other countries) who have to watch Ordonez’s ugly mug — and horrible hair — in ads for a guy they’ve been fighting to push away for years.

Read more…

Speed Read: Running Up The Score On Venezuela

WOOOO! YEAH! AMERICA ROCKS! OUR FOREIGN POLICY HAS JUST BEEN VINDICATED BECAUSE WE KICKED SOME ASS ON THE DIAMOND! YEAH! The score was USA 15, Venezuela 6 in first-round World Baseball Classic action last night, and with a 2-0 record in pool play, the Americans are assured of advancing to the next round. Your heroes are Chris Ianetta (3-run double in 6th inning) and Mark DeRosa (4 RBI). Wait, those guys are actually on America’s roster? Seriously?

Mark DeRosa slide
(DeRosa, proving that refs totally listen to you when you say you’re safe.)

As to whether we can glean too much joy from beating the tar out of a team from a country with a GDP that’s roughly the same as the state of Iowa? (By the way, you’ve got to click that link; I don’t know if Alabama’s or Texas’ corollary is funnier or more offensive to their residents.) Sure. For as meh a country as Venezuela is on the global stage, their lineup was filled with starting-caliber talent. The meat of the Venezuela order, consisting of Bobby Abreu, Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, and Carlos Guillen, is downright All-Star quality. If only their pitching wasn’t garbage.

In college basketball, we now know five teams that’ll be losing in the first round of the tournament, plus North Carolina smacked Duke down for the ACC regular season title, 79-71. The men of the match were Tyler Hansborough, giving the Dean Dome 17 points in his last home game, and Ty Lawson, who was doubtful to play (oh, please) with a sprained toe but poured in 13, 9, and 8 in the win.

UNC Duke Scheyer Face
(Scheyer Face alert! Code red! This is not a drill!)

UNC’s now 6 for their last 7 against the Blue Devils, who were beaten for the second seed in the ACC tourney by Wake Forest. Suddenly, even a 2 seed in the NCAAs doesn’t seem so assured for Coach K’s charges. FIRE THE BUM!

As for hockey (or as they call it in Europe, “football”), we do need to commend Washington Capitals fans with a spirited, to say the least, attack on Sidney Crosby’s worth as a hockey player and as a man. The singular fatal flaw in their plan, however, was the fact that Crosby’s still one of the five best players in the NHL. As it turns out, Crosby made Washington pay dearly: one goal, one assist, and the clinching goal in the shootout to give Pittsburgh the 4-3 victory. But hey… nice work on the signs, fans.

Sidney Crosby Crybaby
(And you can’t spell “Penguin” without “P-U-N!” Wakka wakka wakka!)

As for Alex Ovechkin, the Caps’ superstar, he had a magnificent performance of his own. No, it won’t show up in the stat sheet… but it will show up on TV and YouTube, because it’s incredible. Courtesy of the DC SPORTS BOG:

Some links to consider while you recover from being run over by a bull

  • Did you ever watch that “Real Housewives of Atlanta” show? No? Us neither. But apparently the one who’s the ex-wife former Atlanta Falcon Bob Whitfield’s being sued by Whitfield for about $87,000. Honest mistake on her part, we’re sure.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs GM, on whether the NHL will ban fighting: “I will personally challenge anyone who wants to get to rid of fighting to a fight.” Um, that’s a joke, right?
  • Fat Ronaldo’s back from that horrific injury, and his first goal is a game-winner in injury time. Naturally, it comes replete with fans going completely ballistic and fences being torn down. Because hey, it’s soccer, and that’s just, y’know, what you do.

Will Duke ever be better than UNC while Coach K and Roy Williams are around?

View Results

Brazil Tunes Up for World Cup in Brady’s Backyard

Brazil’s national soccer team will be bouncing it up in the Beantown area tonight, as the South American sharpshooters will be facing continental rivals Venezuela in an exhibition contest at Gillette Stadium.

Sexy Brazil soccer fan

The BOSTON GLOBE reports that a near-capacity crowd is expected at The House That Brady & Belichick Built, with the 8:30 p.m. ET game being broadcast to over 100 countries. Even Kobe Bryant might show up to watch - unless the fans chant reminders of his performance in last night’s Game 1.

All this for an exhibition? Well, Brazil’s last Boston visit was a big success.

Read more…