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Second Thoughts: Soccer gives America’s pastime a run for its money

By Brian Kollars - Staff Writer

Things are heating up. Speculation is growing that LeBron James might consider a return to Cleveland. The OHSAA is trying again to level the playing field. And we’re getting an Apple store? I prefer Red Delicious and Gala. Don’t know whether I can buy such tasty fruit at the hipster hangout.

A recent ESPN sports poll indicates Major League Soccer now matches Major League Baseball in popularity among kids 12 to 17. Eighteen percent of respondents claimed they are “avid” fans of either MLS or MLB. The NFL, of course, blew away all sports with a 39 percent approval rating.

I guess soccer’s gain isn’t a shocker. Most kids can’t sit still long enough to watch an inning of baseball and the sport is difficult to play. Youth soccer? Roll out the ball, run around and everyone feels good. Really, though, baseball did this to itself. What does it expect when World Series games don’t end till after midnight?

The UD women’s basketball team will take on Fordham at 11 a.m. today (ESPNU) in the finals of the Atlantic 10 tournament. The Flyers defeated Fordham 73-64 this season at home, but trailed at halftime. The Rams hammered St. Bonaventure 73-32 in the semifinals, jumping out to a 38-4 halftime lead. Yes, 38-4. I watched for a while just to see if the Bonnies could score.

The NFL draft extravaganza is two months away. Two months! I’ve heard enough about Teddy Bridgewater’s frame and Johnny Manziel’s hands, and that the best overall prospect is a tackle from Auburn. Late February would be a great time for the draft. It would help fill the sports canyon between the Super Bowl and the NCAA tournament.

Trending up: Paula Creamer. Andrea Hoover, West Virginia. Creamer sank a 75-foot eagle putt on the second playoff hole to win an LPGA event in Singapore. It looked like one of those crazy putts you try on the practice green with your buddies. But those only go in about once a month. The Pink Panther hadn’t won a tournament since the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open, so her reaction was fun to watch. The putt took about 13 seconds from start to finish.

Trending down: Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Harbaugh, Syracuse. “The Kid” always has been a recluse, and for good reason. Griffey was strong-armed by Upper Deck trading cards — I assume he’s on the payroll — into doing a SportsCenter interview last week. Poor Linda Cohn. She drew the short straw and tried her best to get Junior to chat. Instead, he came off as reticent and rude while fielding softball questions. Check it out online. It’s painful to watch.

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