The Evster's top XI things to look forward to in the World Cup™

The Evster's top XI things to look forward to in the World Cup™

WARNING: THIS POST IS ABOUT SOCCER

1. Paul Pogba's Hair

With apologies to Arturo Vidal and the entire Japanese National Team, no one has better hair than Paul Pogba. I'm not even sure what Paul's got goin' on up there. It's like a half-Gumby, half-Prince, half-Peanut Buster Parfait-lookin' jawn and yes I realize that's too many halfs. Plus, he shaved some Nick Van Exel lines in his eyebrow and correct me if I'm wrong, is that dyed blonde chin hair? This dude is so cool looking, and also happens to be one of the best young midfielders in the world. Now that France has Paul Pogba (real name!) playing behind Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Yohan Cabaye (PSG) and the adorable Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille) / Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich) combo platter, Les Bleus might actually not suck beaucoup de butt this time around.

[nbcsports_video src=//www.youtube.com/embed/1yo6K1WItIA width=620 height=349]

2. Beautiful (and I mean beeeee-yooooooo-tiful) Colombian Women

Maybe it's the cocaine. Maybe it was my sheltered Jewish upbringing. But Colombia has BY FAR the most attractive fans. For those of you out there who are like, "AYO EVSTER, WHAT ABOUT PARAGUAY?" Please note that they failed to make this year's tourney. And Sofia Vergara is Colombian. And sex on cocaine seems INCREDIBLE.

3. Spain v. Netherlands on Match Day 2!

Forget about giving players time to find the cleanest hookers, FIFA has scheduled a 2010 Final rematch on the very first Friday. The defending champs (sorry, "cup holders"), Spain, return with an even more ridiculous midfield, consisting of Xavi (Barça), Iniesta (Barça), Sergio Busquets (Barça), Cesc Fabregas (OMG WE GET IT, BARCA), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Juan Mata (Man U), Rafael Nadal (Roland Garros), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Frank Dorblestam (FC Dorbsville), Koke (Atletico) and David Silva (Man City). Unfortunately, up front they'll still be starting Fernando Torres (fart noise).

The Dutch no longer have Mark Van Bommel to regulate the midfield (he retired), but they do still have the Nigerian (not Nigerian) Nightmare, Nigel de Jong.

[nbcsports_video src=//www.youtube.com/embed/J2NqS4IBLxw width=620 height=465]

Prediction: Spain 2, Arjen Robben NOPE.

4. Andrea Pirlo's Beard and Gigi Buffon's Barrettes

Gennaro Gattuso, Pirlo's ex-teammate at Milan, summed him up best, "When I see what Andrea can do with the ball, I have to ask myself whether I am a footballer." Granted, Gattuso was one of the least-skilled midfielders to ever play, but still, I'm not telling him that wasn't a good quote. That guy's crazy.

He sometimes wears an ascot, too!

5. The Return of Michael Essien, Alex Song, Didier Drogba, and other Gigantic African Dudes

The last few years in America, we've been denied the opportunity to see these African superstars because of injury (the Bison), Barcelona's depth at midfield (thanks, Sergio Busquets) and banishment to Turkey (is that where Galatasary is?). But now these three monsters are BACK, along with their adorable African mates.

It's amazing how easy it is for Africans to endear themselves to Americans. This is partly due to the unbridled joy they play with. As well as their passion. And the fact that their continent is literally riddled with dysentery. Or it could just be Samuel Eto'o's ears. Also, is that where you're supposed to put the apostrophe in "Eto'o's"? FASCINATING.

I have an amazing idea that revolves around African footballers that I've never shared with anyone... let me know what you think. Let's say you owned a mid-tier English Premier League team -- some team like Stoke or West Ham or Sunderland -- who was never in contention for a Champions League berth, but always fighting to stay up in the top flight. Every off-season you sell your best players off and scrounge for new talent. But why not sell EVERYBODY, and simply rebuild your team with ONLY Nigerian internationals? You could still be West Ham, but you'd be made up of strictly Nigerians. That would be your team. Nigeria. You wouldn't have to pay big-time salaries (John Obi-Mikel and Victor Moses would be your only bank-breakers), and the rest of the squad would just be African warriors who would PLAY THEIR AFRICAN HEARTS OUT. Every single match. They'd take it as a personal, no, NATIONAL challenge, to beat those English pig dogs every time out. Do you think Ogenyi Onazi would let his team get relegated?! OF COURSE HE WOULDN'T. I don't even know who he is, but he wouldn't let James Milner beat him. I obviously think this is a brilliant idea. There's no reason Fulham can't also be Ghana.

As a sidenote, Ghana plays Germany on June 21st.

AKA...

DA BATTLE OF DA BOATENG BROS!!!

6. Everything about Belgium

No longer just some cutesy European contender, the Belgians are HERE TO BELGE. They have potentially the best centre-back duo in the world with Vincent Kompany (Man City) and Daniel Van Buyton (Bayern Munich), plus loads of fire power up front: Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg), Adnan Januzaj (Man U), Lurf Flervswan (Made Him Up), Kevin Mirallas (Everton) and Romelo LOO-KA-KU (Chelsea/Everton/$$$).

Also, if you haven't seen it, the move In Bruges is TOTALLY worth watching. Colin Farrell. Ralph Fiennes. Some other people. Awesome flick. I actually visited Bruges a few years ago and it was really, really nice.

Pic or it didn't happs, Ev!

BOOM BABY.

Why do we live in Philadelphia again?!

This church claims to have a vile of Jesus's blood!

HORSE!

7. Mesut Özil's Eyes (and yes, I also mean his field vision)

Sure, he might look like Marty Feldman, but Özil is the smoothest, silkiest, niftiest playmaker in the world. And his eyes are so bulbous! And he might have herpes on his lip there. But that's cool with me! Get 'em Ozie! I mean Özie! Adam Oatesy!

8. There's a Guy on Greece Named Sokratis Papastathopoulos

LOVIN DAT CHEST HAIR, STEPHANOPOULOS.

9. Argentina's Attack

You know when you order nachos and you can't decide to get 'em loaded or just regular and then you decide to get 'em regular 'cuz you don't wanna spend the extra $4? Then the waiter brings 'em out and you're like, "We shoulda got 'em loaded!" Well, Argentina got 'em loaded. They got 'em so, so loaded. There's sour cream and guacamole all over the place. Leo Messi (Barça), Sergio Aguero (Man City), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Ezequiel Lavezzi (PSG) and Rodrigo Palacio (AND HIS TAIL). It's stupid how many forwards they have. It's honestly stupid. Please tell me you clicked on that "tail" link. PLEASE TELL ME YOU CLICKED ON IT.

10. The Samba Boys

Nothing else matters, folks. Nothing else matters. When push comes to shove, it's all about the Brazilians. I don't care who's partnering up front with Wayne Rooney. It doesn't matter how cute my wife thinks Clint Dempsey is. The Samba Boys are the illest. They have a guy named Fred for cryin' out loud. Fred! And Hulk. And Neymar. And Os-CAR. And their two attacking fullbacks -- Marcelo and Dani Alves -- are more skilled than any other team's wingers. I know, I know, style doesn't always beat substance, but these guys are by far the most fun team to watch, and I'm not even sure if "style doesn't beat substance" is an actual saying.

11. This Uncle Drew-inspired Football Video Will BLOW YO MIND

[nbcsports_video src=//www.youtube.com/embed/VGEfNcvntno width=620 height=349]

And now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to shit my pants.

Follow The Evster @TVMWW.

Yankees 9, Phillies 4: Cameron Perkins comes out swinging

Yankees 9, Phillies 4: Cameron Perkins comes out swinging

TAMPA -- The Phillies’ bats were slow getting started in the Grapefruit League opener Friday afternoon. The Phils did not have a baserunner through the first six innings in a 9-4 loss to the New York Yankees at Steinbrenner Field.

“First game, I’m just happy we got at-bats because the pitching is always ahead of the hitting this early,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said afterward.

Outfielder Cameron Perkins had the Phillies’ first hit, a single up the middle in the seventh inning. He added a solo homer in the ninth inning.

Perkins, 26, was the Phillies’ sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft out of Purdue University. He graduated from Southport High School in Indianapolis, the same school that produced Phillies great and Hall of Famer Chuck Klein.

A right-hander hitter who eschews batting gloves, Perkins hit .292 with eight homers and 47 RBIs at Triple A Lehigh Valley last season. He is not on the 40-man roster but was invited to camp for a look-see. He is considered a longshot to win a spot on the Phillies’ bench, but will certainly improve his chances if he keeps swinging it like he did Friday.

“I don’t think about it,” Perkins said of his bid to make the club. “All I can do is what I did today -- get my opportunity and make the most of it.”

Brock Stassi, another candidate for a job on the Phillies’ bench, also homered.

On the pitching side
Right-hander Alec Asher, who projects to open in the Triple A rotation, started for the Phils. He pitched two innings, allowed a home run to Didi Gregorius and struck out two.

Asher made big strides with his sinker last season. He’s added a cutter now.

Right-hander Nick Pivetta debuted with two scoreless innings. He gave up a hit, walked one and struck out three. The Phillies acquired Pivetta from Washington from Jonathan Papelbon in July 2015. He projects to open in the Triple A rotation, but first will pitch for Team Canada in the WBC in March.

“It’s a lifelong dream for me, right up there with whenever it is that I get my first start with the Phillies,” Pivetta said.

The bullpen
Mackanin has said he’d like to have two left-handed relievers in his bullpen. The Phillies have just one -- Joely Rodriguez -- on their 40-man roster, although it’s possible that Adam Morgan could be shifted from starter to reliever later in camp.

The Phils have brought two veteran lefties -- Sean Burnett and Cesar Ramos -- into camp on minor-league deals to compete for a job. Burnett made his debut Friday and gave up a triple, a sacrifice fly and a home run in his inning of work.

Luis Garcia was tagged for four hits and three runs in his spring debut.

Up next
The Phillies host the Yankees in Clearwater on Saturday afternoon. Morgan will start for the Phils against right-hander Adam Warren.

A Q & A with Siera Santos

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A Q & A with Siera Santos

What experience had the biggest impact on your life and career in sports and why? 
I’m often asked why I chose to be in sports broadcasting and the answer is not exactly brief. Most people aren’t familiar with my backstory. While I prefer to tell it face-to-face, here it is in a nutshell: Throughout high school, I had a lot of “problems” (that’s the gentle way of putting it). I didn’t graduate and instead got my GED while I was in a treatment center in Utah. That summer when I returned home to Arizona, I needed a healthy distraction and, although I had always been a casual Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns fan, I started watching games every day and reading the sports section with my dad over our morning cup of coffee.

When the NBA season started, I begged my dad for season tickets. This was the Nash/Stoudemire/Marion era and tickets were incredibly expensive. While we didn’t get season tickets that year, we went to several regular season and playoff games. Next season rolled around and, once again, I pleaded with my dad to get us season tickets. He finally broke down and bought a half-season package. We went to nearly every other game. I knew at that point that I wanted to go to games for the rest of my life. I enrolled in community college for the spring with my heart set on getting a degree in broadcast journalism. Not only did Suns games change the course of my future, but they also repaired my relationship with my dad. 

Who’s had the biggest impact and why?  
It’s difficult to single out one person. Obviously my parents' unwavering support got me where I am today. If I had to name someone who is currently a mentor-figure in my life, it would definitely be Jesse Sanchez from MLB Network. He always checks in to make sure I’m OK (in both my career and personal life), and he’s given me invaluable feedback and advice. There aren’t many Latinos working in sports media at national level and he encourages me to embrace who I am. 

What are some of the funniest moments you’ve experienced as a woman in sports?
When I tell people I’m a sports broadcaster, the immediate follow-up question tends to be: “Oh, so you like sports?” It’s tough to not respond with something sarcastic so I usually say, “Nope! I hate them!” I just don’t think it’s a question that you would ask a man in sports broadcasting. 

What was the most negative moment you’ve experienced ... the one that got you fired up or perhaps made you think about quitting?
Overall, most of my interactions are very positive and the majority of athletes are professionals. But I did have an issue with one player who was unbelievably disrespectful. He had been inappropriate on two previous occasions and I dreaded having to crowd around his locker to do interviews with him after games. I stopped asking him questions and after one of the scrums, he said: “If you’re not going to ask any questions, move your ass to the back.” My cameraman was still rolling and the mic was still hot. It was caught on video. Eventually, the issue was resolved with the support of my superiors. However, the entire ordeal was embarrassing and made my job more difficult. 
 
Have you had any teachable moments, i.e. someone made an ignorant comment, but had no idea you were offended – until you said something?
Double-checking the pronunciation of names that I’m not familiar with has been a priority. If you slip-up on a name, viewers will crucify you. Most male broadcasters will be forgiven for a mispronunciation, but it’s not necessarily the same for women. 

Any awkward moments?  
Whenever an athlete crosses the line and tries to be flirtatious or ask for a date. It doesn’t happen as often as you’d think, but it’s still uncomfortable. 

What are you most proud of?
I’m often asked “Well, what’s next?” The truth is I’m very happy with where I am. My end goal was to be a team reporter for a regional sports network and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I live in an amazing city and I love what I do. After I dropped out of high school, I never thought I would make it this far, much less graduate college. I’m incredibly grateful to be here and I’m proud of where I am.

A lot of girls look up to you and aspire to be on TV covering sports. What is the most important message you want to send to them?
Be someone that people enjoy working with and being around. Always be open to feedback. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re not 100 percent sure. Oh, and don’t post anything on social media that you wouldn’t want your grandma to see.