On to the Cup!

My esteemed colleague Dan TOOK A FEW SWIPES AT THE SUN'S GARETH WHEELER yesterday. He'd better watch himself or he'll find his picture posted at every Canadian border crossing right under mine. And I'm not certain but if "Shoot on SIght" means what I think it does, well, he'll just have to forego that long-anticipated trip to Niagara Falls. I've been there, and believe me, it sure is a lot of water.

It'll also mean having to miss out on all those Canadian Ballet establishments, but with a new baby at home he's got no time for that kind of thing anyway.

All of which brings me to ANOTHER STERLING PIECE OF CANADIAN JOURNALISM this time courtesy of the Globe and Mail.

The main message of the article seems to be that once a team makes it into the playoffs, "anything can happen", a brilliant piece of analysis if ever there was one and I'm certainly not going to argue with him.

Rather, what's noteworthy to me is that the writer seems to be going for some kind of world record for the number of snarky asides he can toss into a single article.

The RedBulls are variously "the New York Energy Drink", "the Jersey Joy-Juicers" and "the pop cans". RSL is "the Salt Lake Seagulls". Personally, I'm betting that in his first draft he called Columbus "the Yellow Menace" but his editors shot it down.

He goes on to call the turf at Giants Stadium "green concrete", an astonishing comment in light of the fact that even the Canadian National team has to be herded into BMO with truncheons and cattle prods because they value their knees.

And of course he includes the requisite "we were cheated" meme common to all North of the Border commentaries: they would have been in the playoffs except for "that phantom last-minute penalty kick call in Dallas", and they'd have beaten the Fire - a team he seems to feel they own - if the "what constitutes a 'dive and a red card' rule hadn't been strangely altered late in the Reds' most recent visit to coastal Illinois."

It's a conspiracy I tell ya.

The writer is on somewhat firmer ground with his "wild and whacky league" meme, but only barely. Yes, Columbus finished three points out of the money in 2007 (which doesn't seem like "well out of the playoffs" to me, but I won't quibble) but it's hard to support the contention that NYRB "(made) huge forward strides" over last year considering that they finished 2007 in fourth place overall with 43 points and finished 2008 in eighth place overall with 39 points.

But as has been pointed out, Columbus made only one major change in their lineup over last year (essentially switching Brian Carroll for Ned Grabavoy), and NYRB is riding a wave of confidence and emotion that, while it most certainly can happen to anyone, rarely does.

So yes, if you can make the playoffs, "anything can happen". That's the whole point of having playoffs, isn't it?