[gallery columns="4" ids="1051591,1051592,1051593,1051594"] One full week has gone by and I can honestly say this is the GREATEST WORLD CUP EVER. There have been upsets (like Costa Rica representing CONCACAF in style) and comebacks (like Japan getting Drogba’d). There have been stunning early exits from past champs (thanks for playing, Spain!) and upstart teams making the most of rare World Cup appearances (nice work, Colombia). There have been world-renowned stars doing world-class things (Messi!), word-renowned stars breaking World Cup droughts (Rooney!) and world-renowned stars returning from injury just in the nick of time (Suarez!). There have been breakout stars (Colombia’s James Rodriguez) and unlikely heroes (our favorite German-American John Brooks). There has been the closest thing you’ll see to a buzzer beater in soccer (thanks, Switzerland and Ecuador) and even damn exciting scoreless draws (thanks, Mexico and Brazil). But, above all else, there have been goals. People that don’t like soccer like to point to the sport’s lack of scoring as a reason why – but this tournament is shaping up to be the highest-scoring World Cup ever. And many of the goals have been dramatic and beautiful. Here now is a list of our five favorite goals to this point: 5. USA’s Clint Dempsey vs. Ghana American bias? Perhaps. But the three touches the U.S. captain makes are brilliant and his finish is a perfect one. And don’t act like you didn’t jump off your couch screaming when this goal happened in the first minute of the game. [nbcsports_video src=http://player.espn.com/player.js?pcode=1kNG061cgaoolOncv54OAO1ceO-I&width=576&height=324&externalId=espn:11095373 width=620] 4. Costa Rica’s Oscar Duarte vs. Uruguay There have been a lot of great headers for goals in this tournament but this one is certainly one of the best – not only because it was the game-winner in Costa Rica’s massive upset over Uruguay but because a defender’s foot was practically in his face when he dove for the ball. [nbcsports_video src=http://player.espn.com/player.js?pcode=B4a3E63GKeEtO92XK7NI067ak980&width=576&height=324&externalId=intl:1881933 width=620] 3. Ivory Coast’s Gervinho vs. Colombia Who doesn’t like a bit of individual dribbling brilliance? That’s exactly what Gervinho did against Colombia, splitting a couple of defenders and dancing around another one before scoring a beauty to the near post. [nbcsports_video src=http://player.espn.com/player.js?pcode=B4a3E63GKeEtO92XK7NI067ak980&width=576&height=324&externalId=intl:1894342 width=620] 2. Netherlands’ Robin Van Persie vs. Spain Most people would have tried to settle this long ball. Most people are not Robin Van Persie, who opted to fly instead. [nbcsports_video src=http://player.espn.com/player.js?pcode=B4a3E63GKeEtO92XK7NI067ak980&width=576&height=324&externalId=intl:1878442 width=620] 1. Australia’s Tim Cahill vs. Netherlands The force and precision behind this one-time volley is hard to fathom. One of the greatest goals you’ll ever see. And I hear this guy plays in MLS. [nbcsports_video src=http://player.espn.com/player.js?pcode=B4a3E63GKeEtO92XK7NI067ak980&width=576&height=324&externalId=intl:1891216 width=620] --- And since this is purportedly a local blog, we should also highlight the goal from Colombia’s James Rodriguez against Ivory Coast because it led to an epic dance party on the Colombia sideline – led by none other than ageless former Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon. (Look for the guy right next to James, who then tries to go for a piggy-back ride on him). Also, great call from former Union forward and color man Alejandro Moreno, who’s been calling the Colombia forward James “Don’t call me James” Rodriguez. (You have to listen to it to get it.) [nbcsports_video src=http://player.espn.com/player.js?pcode=B4a3E63GKeEtO92XK7NI067ak980&width=576&height=324&externalId=intl:1894334 width=620] One last sorta local story: former NBA star Rip Hamilton – our favorite native son from Coatesville – is on his way to Brazil to give one his signature masks to Dempsey, who broke his nose in the last game. Gotta love that American solidarity.
What is there to say about the Philadelphia Phillies?
In doing my usual postgame perusal of the Internet after their 7-2 loss on Wednesday night, I visited Phillies.com to see what kind of "highlights" they could have possibly posted from another crushing defeat at the hands of the Colorado Rockies.
Thankfully, the first thing that caught my eye was a video titled, "Phanatic tries to comfort crying baby."
It was not Larry Andersen in the Phanatic's arms. Nor me.
And that's the Phillies season in a nutshell.
"You gotta question the parenting skills here," John Kruk said on the telecast. And he's right! What kind of parent would raise their kid to be a Philly sports fan?!?
The Phillies now have the worst record in all of baseball. They're 4-20 in their last 24 games. It's their worst start to a season since 1960.
Even the Phanatic doesn't have enough popcorn to mask all the pain.
If you want to read about the upbeat approach Pete Mackanin is taking, go give this a gander.
"In a long season, these things sometimes happen," Mackanin told reporters. "I remember Atlanta, the first half last year, was terrible. They had a real good second half. I believe we just need to get something going. We're going to put something together. I believe that."
That makes one of us.
It appears the Big3 League media blitz is already underway.
Allen Iverson and his Killer 3s team doesn't start play until the end of June and doesn't roll through Philadelphia until the middle of July, but that hasn't stopped the Answer from doing a little promo for the gimicky league.
A.I. sat down with actor and general hoops junkie Michael Rapaport for Fox Sports 1 for a segment that will air next month but they shared a teaser online.
In it, the topic of trash talking comes up. Iverson says he wasn't much of a talker himself but witnessed plenty from the likes of Michael Jordan who used intimidation to get to Aaron McKie.
You can check out the Big3 League's full season schedule right here.