And that means one thing: people writing articles implying that there's something wrong with the U.S.
because we don't care about soccer. Or futbol
, or whatever. Yes, it's true, soccer is the #1 team sport in the world, and it's a distant fifth, by my reckoning, in the U.S. So what? Are newspaper readers in Canada subjected to this crap because they like hockey? How about Cuba? Does Fidel Castro berate his nation and tell them they must give up beisbol
if they want to be taken seriously on the national stage? And who is poor Afghanistan going to compete against in the World Cup of Buzkashi
The ignorance of the writer of that article regarding the worldwide popularity of sports besides soccer is astounding, implying that America's "troika" of baseball, basketball, and football is only enjoyed in the U.S.A. while the rest of the world is soccer-mad. In reality, football is the only one of those major team sports born in America that has not become widely popular in the rest of the world. Basketball is very popular in Eastern Europe, with the Basketball World Championship
being dominated in recent decades by the USSR and Yugoslavia. Argentina
is the reigning Olympic basketball champion.
And how thick-headed are some people that they still insist that baseball "hardly reigns supreme anywhere else?" Baseball is the top draw in many Caribbean nations, as well as Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. It's the #1 or #2 sport in just about every Western Hemisphere country north of the Equator. And it's catching on in Australia, Europe, China, and South Africa. And hey, remember the World Baseball Classic
earlier this year, where the final featured a competition between one team from across the ocean and the other one of our most outspoken enemies on the world political stage? So much for baseball only being an American game.
And by the way, we "console ourselves" by calling the Chicago White Sox "world champions" because the Major Leagues are acknowledged to be the highest level at which baseball is played. And by the way, those 2005 White Sox featured, on their roster
, players born in Cuba, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Japan, and, yes, the United States.
One last irony that the article alludes to is that "Nothing would trigger more anti-American resentment worldwide than the U.S. winning the World Cup someday and hardly noticing that it had done so." Indeed, in the latest FIFA rankings
, the USA stands at #5, higher than France, higher than England, higher than Italy, and fourteen slots higher than host nation Germany. It could happen, and after dutifully watching the final, American sports fans could then go back the next day to managing our fantasy baseball teams or worrying about the upcoming NFL preseason.