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My Take - Joining the rest of the world
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It’s called nil, not zero.

            It’s a pitch, not a field, and it’s a keeper, not a goalie.

            That’s right, it’s football – not soccer – and it’s time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

            I don’t know about you, but every time this thing rolls around, I get pretty fired up. Whenever I hear the World Series champion or the winner of the Super Bowl being referred to as the “world champ” I always chuckle a little bit.

            Silly Americans.

            Whoever wins this thing – most recently Italy and most frequently Brazil – can rightly call itself the champion of the world. For real.

            715,100,000 people reportedly watched the 2006 finale between Italy and France (actually, it was more like 715,100,001 but nobody asked me what I was doing that day) and when you compare that to the paltry 106,000,000 that tuned into the last Super Bowl, it really puts the phrase “World Champs” into perspective.

            Which brings us to the Estados Unidos de América, the Stati Uniti d'America, the États-Unis d'Amérique, yep, the good old U.S. of A. 

             Soccer (e’hem, football) is one of those sports where you love it or you hate it, and it always seems like it’s more fun to be there than it is to watch on television – you know, kind of like hockey.

            Few people, especially around here, could have named a player on the US men’s national team during the months leading up to the Cup, and even fewer can name even a handful of MLS teams.

            But the World Cup is different.

            It’s easy to get invested in the successes and shortcomings of team USA, because it’s our team. Even we non-biased media types can refer to those guys as “we” and “us” without feeling like a gigantic homer. It brings us together as a nation.

            After beating Spain and appearing in the finals of the Confederations Cup against Brazil in 2009, we even started to feel like we could be World Cup contenders.

            So let’s join fellow Georgians, southerners and even our Alaskans and Californians as we, as a nation, along with the rest of the world, watch the most important sporting event on the planet.

            And let’s try to show the rest of the world that we really do know what it means to be a “world champion.”


Back to the Boro

            It was a pretty big week for four Georgia Southern Eagles as Jake Brown, Shawn Payne, Andy Moye and recently Dexter Bobo all got the call to give it a shot in the minors.

            Those four join a host of former Eagles in the minors, and all of them have something in common – they all love coming back to J.I. Clements Stadium to cheer on their old program, and they all still consider themselves Eagles.

            To me, that’s a testament to coach Rodney Hennon and the program itself. And the more GSU players that go pro, the more future stars will want to come to GSU to play their college ball.

            And that’s all I have to say about that.


Contending or pretending?

            I’m not sure if my preseason prediction that the National League East was going to be the worst division in Major League Baseball is coming true, or if the Atlanta Braves really are reaching their potential and really are that good.

            On the one hand, you have Philadelphia, who for the first month of the season looked to be the class of the division but is currently putting a stranglehold on the apparently highly-coveted, third-place spot after being passed by the Braves and Mets.

            On the other hand, you have Atlanta, who just took two-of-three from the first-place (AL Central) Twins and have the best home record in baseball.

            If the Braves figure out how to win a road game and Kenshin Kawakami learns how to stop losing his starts, maybe the Braves really will be “that good.”

            If that doesn’t happen, well, I was probably right all along.


            Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.