While America probably never fully will embrace soccer, the level of intensity at which the game is played around the world is unquestioned.
Still, it always is a shock when bizarre stories circulate the Internet that show how deep that passion can run.
Two such stories are out there now.
The first involves the Argentinian side Club Atletico Tigre, which forfeited the second leg of the Copa Sudamericana finals to Sao Paulo.
There had to be a good reason for such drastic action.
We’ll let the Tigre coach explain.
“They pulled two guns on us; the rest of the match is not going to be played,” Nestor Gorosito told Fox Sports. “They ambushed us, and one of them pulled out a revolver and put it against (goalkeeper) Damian Albin’s chest. Their security and police also hit us; there were around 20 of them.”
Tigre failed to come out of the locker room for the start of the second half, and Sao Paulo took the trophy.
No one tell Jerry Jones about this story. The win-at-all-costs Cowboys owner might stop hiring scouts and start hiring Brazilian police officers.
He also might look at hiring Claudio Ranieri to replace coach Jason Garrett.
The Monaco coach appears to be a master motivator. He had seen enough losing after a 3-0 defeat dropped his team to second in the standings.
“I am angry. Physically we were second best, and here is the result,” he said at a news conference, according to a Reuters report. “I want to win. We have to win. Otherwise, I am going to kill them.”
He’s ready to commit mass murder on a team that is in second place. The Cardinals lost by nearly 60 points Sunday, and coach Ken Whisenhunt didn’t even look upset.
Imagine if Ranieri had to choose between Ryan Lindley and John Skelton as a starting quarterback. He might launch a nuclear weapon.
■ PLEASE STOP – A bizarre sight occurred Wednesday when referee Courtney Kirkland ran up the lane and tried to block a free throw by Brooklyn Nets forward Kris Humphries.
It was less crazy than it looked. The substitutions weren’t complete, and Kirkland was trying to avoid having Humphries put up a free throw that could have become controversial. Simple enough.
The only question is where was that effort from Kirkland when Humphries was preparing to walk down the aisle with Kim Kardashian?
■ GREEN-EYED SLUGGER – The news of Josh Hamilton’s megadeal with the Angels on Thursday was a well-kept secret that surprised most of the sports world.
The contract was especially shocking to former Angels outfielder Torii Hunter, who signed with Detroit after spending the past five years with Los Angeles.
Apparently, he was under the impression the Angels couldn’t afford another high-priced bat.
“I was told money was tight, but I guess (owner Arte Moreno) had money hidden under a mattress. Business is business but don’t lie,” Hunter tweeted shortly after news of Hamilton’s contract broke.
Amazing how that happens when the player you want becomes available.
COMPILED BY ADAM HILL
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL