In Germany, the Bundesliga has come back with a bang in the weeks since their Winter break. The league has been promoting itself as a haven for poor, struggling young British soccer stars, who are having difficulty starring at home. It is promoting itself as a good place to play, and without salary caps prevalent in some of the UK teams.
Mentioned here and there is Bayer standout Leon Bailey, who is actually Jamaican, but who may be playing for England in the upcoming Russia World Cup. The standings do not reflect tough competition, with Bayern Munich out ahead by far, with 59 points. Bayer Leverkusen, home of Leon Bailey, is second, far behind at 38 points. Actually, several teams are clumped together there in the standings, with RB Leipzig also at 38, and Borussia Dortmund and Schalke both at 37. Just behind is Eintracht Frankfurt, with 36 points on the table.
Sunday features two games, with Augsburg taking on Stuttgart, and Borussia Dortmund vs Borussia Mönchengladbach. this is a Borussen derby crucial for both sides, with Dortmunt somewhat favored. They may be powered along by their standout player, Mario Gotze, well known to this space, at least since the 2014 World Cup. Dortmund, who won 3-2 over Atalanta in a Wednesday Europa League match, very much wants this win to cement a place in the top three of the standings.
Meanwhile, in Spain, Real Madrid star Gareth Bale has revealed that he doesn't really enjoy soccer... watching soccer that is... Better a fantastic player than a watcher. Perhaps the Italians could take a lesson... Bale has said that he is more a fan of "the golf" on television.
In the United States, the Pro Bowling Association celebrates 60 years this weekend with Sunday’s championship round of the Go Bowling! PBA 60th Anniversary Classic at Woodland Bowl in Indianapolis.
Jakob Butturff of Tempe, Arizona, won seven of his final eight matches Friday night to lead the field of five 20-something finalists into the finals. He is a 23 year old southpaw, who was near the lead all tournament, and is hopeful going into Sunday's finals. He will be joined by the other qualifiers, narrowed from a wide field. These qualifiers include four-time PBA Tour winner Marshall Kent of Yakima, Washington, who is 25, two-handed lefty Keven Williams of Springfield, Missouri, also 25, Indiana native Matt Sanders, 24, and Japan PBA star Shota Kawazoe, the oldest player in the field at 29.
The chase for the final berth in Sunday’s finals boiled down to the final game where Kawazoe struck out in the 10th frame to win the spot by a single pin over Bill O’Neill of Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Kawazoe, a 15-time Japan PBA champion, has moved to the United States to bowl full-time in PBA competition in pursuit of his life-long dream, a PBA Tour title.
In Korea, the Winter Olympics continue today...
In the United States ratings are down 8 % this year over previous Winter Olympics. The fault is not the athletes, as the competition and artistry has been tremendous across the board. The drama and challenges faced by athletes is certainly not diminished over previous years. This commentator would lay the blame at the inept and feckless administrators at NBC, who for several years have been mismanaging their network, and who have carried this neglect over to the Olympics.
Too often they have chosen to reward past heroes of the network. Katie Couric did not get off on the best foot when, on the opening day, she said that Netherlanders were excellent skaters, because in Winter their canals freeze, and they commute to work by skating. Apparently they want to bring her back to the NBC network, but she is certainly no expert on the Olympics or apparently international affairs. The commentators for ice skating, two of whom are retired skaters, seem to feel that the show is all about them, and those annoying skaters are just needed to fill time. The focus is not always or even usually on the artistry and skill of the skaters, but instead on the commentator's costumes.
On tap for the Olympics today are Bobsledding, Hockey, speed skating and freestyle skiing. Figure Skating and Snowboarding will also make an appearance