LEFTOVERS: Halftime analysis gone wild

Providing halftime analysis on a live broadcast is not always an easy task.

Commentators in the studio are charged with trying to provide a nearly instantaneous take on a game they are not watching in person and don’t have the benefit of speaking with anyone on the field.

It’s understandable how someone could get caught up in overreacting to an extreme degree to either a positive or negative performance in the heat of the moment.

ESPN’s Bob Ley, however, might have gone over the top when the U.S. men’s soccer team trailed Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-0 at halftime of Wednesday’s international friendly.

“You’d have to say that so far the United States is having the same sort of day in Sarajevo that Archduke Ferdinand had 99 years ago.”


Ferdinand was assassinated in the city in 1914, triggering the start of World War I.

The U.S. merely was trailing in a exhibition match against a strong European side. A loss wouldn’t set off an international incident, either. It simply would mean the end of a historic 11-game winning streak.

In the end, the U.S. got three second-half goals from Jozy Altidore and extended the winning streak to 12 with a 4-3 road victory.

It marked the first time the U.S. ever had earned a victory after falling behind on European soil.

The win was remarkable for the team and the country.

Or, as Ley might say, the greatest thing that happened to the United States since the signing of the Constitution.

■ WHAT’S IN A NAME? — Sports fans are accustomed to the corporatization of the games they love.

It mostly started with stadiums named after everything from airlines to banks and websites. Then broadcasts started to get filled with things like the Gatorade substitution and the Rolaids call to the bullpen.

European sports started the trend of jerseys covered in advertisements, which has spread to the WNBA.

It might be time to start to rebel against these trends if what happened to English soccer club Farnborough FC starts to happen anywhere else in sports.

The team was in financial trouble and in jeopardy of folding when it got an infusion of cash from famed bookmaking operation Paddy Power.

The deal included sponsor patches on the uniforms and a naming rights on the stadium.

Now comes the kicker.

Paddy Power demanded each of the Farnborough players legally change their names to match the best players in history.

So Elvis Zark Hammond now is named Pele, and David Charles Tarpey now legally is named Diego Maradona. Even Lionel Messi, currently one of the world’s best players, has joined Farnborough in the form of Daniel Bennett.

Assistant manager Leigh James Thomas Dynan might have gotten the worst of things as his name now is Paddy Power.

A more fitting endorsement deal might be Barnum & Bailey agreeing to sponsor the Oakland Raiders, provided all the players and coaches change their names to match those of great clowns of the past.



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