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Saturday, May 06, 2006

Is that one 'r' or two ?

One of my favorite baseball writers, Bill James, once opined that people who think that Babe Ruth isn't the best baseball player of all time are trying to make a point. In other words, Ruth's evidence to that title is so overwhelming that people who champion Cobb, Mantle, Mays or Bonds are trying to prove that their reading of the statistics highlights something different. I feel the same way about Brazil's chances this summer. The Italians, English and Argentinians bring strong teams to Germany, but I see no reason why Brazil won't win. Their players are young, embarrassingly talented. They're able to do things with the ball and in certain situations that words can't describe. Imagine a major league baseball team figuring out how to hit home runs by swinging the bat ABOVE your head. Most important to the Brazilians is that they're very motivated. Their coach knows that his team tends to be overly cocky and wilt when they're 'supposed' to win, and he for sure doesn't want Brazil to underperform under his watch. Now, simply because he's guarding against complacency doesn't mean it automatically transfers onto his team. Every coach in every sport guards against over-confidence, but if Ronaldinho's very strange teeth aren't smiling come July 9th, I'll be surprised.