Two things happened this week that helped put in perspective the impact of pinoys in team sport. The MLB All Star Game and the FIFA Final . Oh sure some people still chest beat about Manny winning over Lucas Martin Matthysse . My thoughts have not changed about Manny since I last devoted a blog to him here. Interesting to note that ESPN boxing analyst Teddy Atlas elaborated on his prediction that Manny could win the fight yet lose big in the long run. You can hear the details from his mouth here.
Your victory is only as good as your opponent. Up to you if you see Matthysse as a significant fighter. His resume is here. I had no idea Malaysia was a venue that attracted boxers in their prime. Gone are the days of the expensive pay per views since this fight was shown on ESPN + which requires a 5$ per month subscription. Meaning if you were already a subscriber to ESPN + to watch the other sports they show live then you got the live fight at no extra charge. Sure Manny, way to go out on top.
I was watching the Major League Baseball All Star Games and Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes was at bat. The graphic declared he was from Brazil. Brazil is obviously known for their historical dominance of football. Brazil’s best players reads like a list of the best players in the world: Pele, Neymar, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo . Brazil had a basketball team that beat David Robinson and the Americans for the gold in the 1987 Pan American Games. Historically Brazil’s mens team has three Olympic bronze medals and six FIBA World Cup medals. Not bad for a nation “obsessed” with football. Yet they have a catcher in the All Star game of the best baseball league on the planet. To help the tambays count that is three sports. In one country known for its excellence in football.
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Gomes is not the only All Star who is not American. According to mlb.com the other countries represented in the all star game included Venezuela ( 7 players) , Puerto Rico (5), the Dominican Republic (3), Cuba (2), Curaҫao (2), Canada (1) and South Korea (1). That is almost half of the total players in the all star game not born in the US. A look at the rosters of all the major league teams at the start of the season reveal that a total of 21 countries around the world contribute to the highest level of baseball. Including our “neighbors” Japan ( 7) , South Korea (6) and Taiwan (1) . On that list are such baseball hotbeds like Aruba, Germany and the Netherlands.
This is a new low in the pinoy effort to credit grab and jump on the bandwagon. ” Filipino-French footballer Alphonse Areola celebrates World Cup win ” or so the ABS CBN headline says. The nation of France celebrated that win. The people who bet their money on France ( +850 as of June 28) in Las Vegas celebrated. None of them are on the team. But then again this is the Philippines we are talking about. Insert themselves in a world event that they have no business being in.
ABS CBN has to use the “c” word celebrate because they could not use another “c” word which is CONTRIBUTE. France has three goalkeepers. Lloris started 4 games and Mandanda started 3 games. They are the only goalkeepers on the stat sheet for the tournament. The input of the Filipino culture to the ability of Alphonse Areola to make the French roster matches his save total for the tournament: zero. Unless you count the Philippines inability to create financial opportunities for its own citizens including the parents of Areola that they gave birth to him in a “better” place.
The only people who say let’s go eat Filipino (food) are cannibals.
Not to be outdone GMA responds with their own ridiculous headline “2018 World Cup winners France has a hot Filipino goalkeeper”. I had no idea a player could get hot while never leaving the bench. Unless GMA was trying to get the attention of Noynoy with that adjective that is so out of context in a sports story. But hey sex sells just like the video VIva Hotmen. ABS CBN with what ranks as their second strangest headline “FIFA World Cup has Pinoy flavor with France goalkeeper Areola “. Excuse me but when your soup has a tamarind flavor that means there is tamarind or a tamarind substitute is IN your soup. Not sure how much flavor you contribute to the World Cup not seeing the field. We should ask the cannibals about flavor.
A good cannibal is not choosy and does not leave leftovers, Ever since June 2013 I have been talking about the concept of leftovers. One incarnation centered around the notion that only the Philippines devotes its male athletes to basketball since there is a local vacuum of quality team sports outside of basketball. Yet all the other countries that prioritize soccer or American football or rugby beat us easily with their leftovers. There is no athlete on another sport that you wished would improve the basketball team.
The first incarnation of the leftover theory came from the observation that the Azkals were almost entirely composed of hyphen Filipinos . Look at the Azkals roster. Lots of Fil- Danish, Fil -Ams, Fil- Spaniards, Fil – Germans. There is a reason why there is no significant player who is Fil-Fil is because we suck in soccer. Like anything else in life you will suck if you don’t care. We don’t care so much that we have to resort to hyphen Filipinos.
So when the ABS CBN article says ” As far back as 2011, Dan Palami had already asked the 6-foot-5 keeper ( Alphonse Areola ) to consider suiting up for the Azkals.” This is the leftover theory and the hyphen theory manipulated by a KSP press to try to give the pinoys some pansin to grab onto. The more talent you have the better options you have. If you were a Fil – Spaniard who had the choice to play for Spain I have no idea why you would choose the Azkals over a team and country that has a rich tradition that likely taught you the game.
Areola was eligible to play for the Azkals but was both too talented and too calculating to exercise the default option of pinoy hyphens. . Better to be in a contender for a country that cares about football 24 x7 than play for a country where nobody watches football games played by their own countrymen on a regular basis. He was the rare hyphen and maybe the first hyphen who was not a leftover therefore he did not end up on the Azkals.
Many times GRP critics besides telling us we should not write about sports also say we don’t offer solutions. Here is your solution: CARE! Care about sports. Don’t care about one sport, care about several sports. Care enough sports that you stop playing the racial victim card. Isaiah Thomas scored 53 points in an NBA playoff game and he is well under 6 feet. Croatia became a country in 1991 and has a population of less than 5 million but they care. Pinoys only care about basketball and how is that working out??? No significant team around the world poaches Filipino basketball players even to glue their butt to the bench.
Another aspect of care that Filipinos can do? Expand your scope of care beyond Araneta Coliseum, Mall of Asia and Rizal Memorial. Somebody please enlighten me what other places around the country garner any portion of the national spotlight at even an annual basis. In the US, many times during the year the games that have the nation buzzing are played in Green Bay, Wisconsin or Tuscaloosa, Alabama or South Bend , Indiana or Chapel Hill , North Carolina. All of them are a far cry from New York , Chicago or Los Angeles. What regular sporting event is intrinsic to Cebu or Davao that resonates in Manila? If you don’t care about sports then please don’t seek attention from other nations who care about sports and achieve in sports. Coffee is for closers.
Twenty one countries have populations that usually care about soccer or NFL football more than baseball yet they all produce fine baseball players. Because they still care about baseball despite caring more about another sport. The Filipino government did not care to offer Michael Christian Martinez one cent before he was carrying the flag at the previous Winter Olympics in Sochi. Yet Edwin Lacierda cared to brag about him. Don’t credit grab just because two Filipinos who chose to leave the Philippines had sex and raised their child in France. Your culture did not care to make that child what he is today. Not growing up in your tambay culture is why he will forever be listed on the team that won the World Cup in 2018. Celebrating an achievement that happens despite of you and not because of you is a Noynoy move.
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