Top 5 Games of Last Week (7/7/14 – 7/13/14)
With Wimbledon over, the return of MLB to the Top 5 was imminent. Sadly, this week we say goodbye to the World Cup. Luckily, its last week did not disappoint.
#5.World Cup – Germany vs. Brazil
You might look at this semifinal and think it didn’t live up to expectations, but in terms of historical impact and significance, there’s no way I can leave this out of the Top 5. Would I have liked the game to be a little closer, a little more competitive? Absolutely. But it still makes the Top 5 because of the lasting effect it’ll have on the Brazilian psyche. So devastating was this 7-1 loss that Brazil may not recover in the near future. The world’s only true soccer superpower, consistently producing the most talented players in the world, may well become a shell of itself in future international competitions.
#4. Detroit Tigers at Kansas City Royals
Facing a possible four game sweep at the hands of the rival Tigers, the Royals were looking at a 2-0 deficit for the first six innings. Verlander had started strong and was accustomed to winning at Kauffman Stadium. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, the Royals went on a tear. They scored five runs and never looked back. Traditionally a second-half team, the Royals were confident after Sunday’s game, 6.5 game deficit be damned. There’s a lot of baseball left to play.
#3. New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
If the Orioles are going to hold off the Yankees, they’re going to have to win the close games at home. This week, anyway, you can check that box. Down 2-0 early, the Orioles struck back in the fourth, and leaned on solid pitching from Gonzalez, Britton, and McFarland before scoring in the 10th. The Orioles deep bullpen came through again, and the injury-stricken Yankees are struggling to hold steady at five games back.
#2. World Cup – Netherlands vs. Argentina
Show me soccer fan who likes penalty kicks, and I’ll show you one who doesn’t. That’s how divisive this practice is, fans are split down the middle. That’s because after 120 minutes of toe to toe, neck and neck competition, teams suddenly place the ball directly in front of the goalie and try to blast it by him. No defenders. No passing. Dare I say, no skill? You can tell which group I fall into, but it’s true. I can’t think of another sport that uses an overtime practice as jarring and dissimilar to the original product as penalty kicks. Argentina may have been the better team, but it was a rotten way to find out.
#1. World Cup – Germany vs. Argentina
In terms of excitement, the World Cup Final fell somewhere in the middle of the pack. Not the worst game, but certainly not the best. There was excitement throughout to be sure, and a very strong argument could be made that the goal post was the MVP for both teams through the first 90 minutes–balls ricocheting right and left and anywhere but in the goal–but it still fell short of expectations. Why? Small things here and there: The Machine looked like it needed some oil, passing a little sloppier than usual. And Messi didn’t quite have that transcendent moment fans expect out of the world’s best athletes. Germany was the better team–the best team in the world, really–but once in a generation players like Messi can make that not matter, can lift their team and take them to victory anyway. I won’t say he couldn’t, because it’s Messi. He just didn’t.