Wednesday Aug 08, 2007

Barry Bonds and the Ball

I know at least one friend who might have been watching the celebrations from the comfort of his apartment in San Francisco, but I wonder how much the ball which Barry Bonds hit in his 756th home run and which Matt Murphy caught in the stands will be worth on E-Bay.

The lucky fan who caught the home run ball was identified by the Giants as 22-year-old New Yorker Matt Murphy, who was not available for comment but other fans described the scrum in the stands for the valuable keepsake.

"It was a mess, bodies on top of bodies, four layers deep for five minutes," said 52-year-old Mark Peel, who witnessed the mass scramble for the ball.

"I didn't think anyone was going to come up."

 In the midst of all this, baseball and softball are finding fans in very unexpected places.

Friday Aug 03, 2007

Asian Soccer -- Iraq beats Saudi Arabia

You may not be aware that Iraq won the 14th Asian Football Confederation's championship by beating Saudi Arabia in a final played on July 29, 2007.

The video of the winning goal can be found here. A complete set of video clips of the goals from the championship is available here.

Most people who actually come from Asia, when they talk or think of Asia, think of the land that stretches from Beirut to Beijing and a bit beyond, from West Volga lands to East Timur and a bit beyond.

Friday Jul 20, 2007

Where I hope to be skiing this winter

My wife just handed me the August 2007 edition of the Outside magazine which a good family friend had given her while she was visiting her hometown, Santa Barbara, last week.

The magazine features a full report by Josh Dean on skiing and snowboarding the slopes around Tehran. (The photo gallery, by Alex Tehrani, can be found here. Other photos, including some from the runs and lifts at one of the resorts, can only be viewed by subscription. They were included in the magazine report but not free online.)

This is good news. Last month, I bought tickets for the whole family to visit Tehran this coming December. We are hoping to do some skiing. While the report makes me somewhat more hopeful, I'm still not sure whether there will be enough snow that early in the season but what can I do? That's when I have my vacation. In the meantime, I'll keep my hopes alive. The best thing is that we can live with rental skis and don't have to lug our own from California.

Sunday Apr 22, 2007

One Argentine Walks in the Footsteps of Another

Such is how one Argentine walks in the footsteps of another.  Pure physical skill and awareness of others meet at their apex in group sports — from soccer {football} to face-to-face meetings, the lowest-impact group-sport around. 

Thursday Dec 21, 2006

Oldest Golf Course in Germany

During a recent trip to Europe, I had a chance to try my luck at the Wiesbadener Gold-Club e.V., Germany's oldest golf course near the spa town of Wiesbaden. The staff were congenial. The professional managing the store let me use some old clubs, and the bag had some old balls in it. I bought some long T-s. Of course, I have to thank my brother who dutifully drove me there just 3 hours before my flight out of Frankfurt, walked the course with me, helping me with the clubs, and then drove me to the airport even though he had little interest in the game. Without him, I wouldn't have been able to taste the course, which is quite large by comparison to the local courses here in Cupertino. The course has 9 holes with a total distance of 2586 meters. I'm a real beginning so I won't even divulge my score.

Thursday Nov 23, 2006

Writing about Soccer

Rob Hughes must be one of the most engaging soccer writers, at least as far as the English speaking world is concerned. Here are four paragraphs from a recent story he wrote for International Herald Tribune ("Tale tales and high finance in Champions League"):

Get through to the next round, get back some of the wounded, rediscover the appetite eroded through a World Cup year, and Barça could yet be the team to beat in the Champions League.

Meanwhile, the only other fresh qualifier Wednesday was Inter Milan, which drew the largest audience of the night, 69,001, and saw off Sporting Lisbon with a solitary goal from Hernán Crespo.

This Argentine, seldom happy when he was in London with Chelsea, which still owns his registration, lives on the edge of the offside trap.

On Wednesday, he had an early goal strike overruled by a linesman's flag, but when the ball was played through at 36 minutes, Crespo sped beyond the defense and venomously struck the ball low past the advancing goalkeeper.

A stunning finishing, a goal that stood, and if there was again the question of whether he was marginally offside, he deserved to be the match winner.

Sunday Aug 20, 2006

Honking to Honor

Earlier, I'd promised to post this video.
[Read More]

Tuesday Aug 01, 2006

Northern Ridge of Tochal Summit

Originally uploaded by M.Mortazavi.

This blog entry I post from

The image, taken in early July, 2006, looks from near the Tochal summit towards north.

Turning 180 degrees and looking south, you would see Tehran stretch on a east-west axis, beneat the 4000 meter summit.

Friday Jul 28, 2006

On Top of Tochal

A 4000 m elevation so near a major capital city in the world can be dizzying.
[Read More]

Tuesday Jun 27, 2006

WorldCup Blog at the New York Times

It can be found here, too, republished by International Herald Tribune.

Monday Jun 05, 2006

Banks, Economists and the World Cup

Many consulting firms and financial institutions have opined about the effect of the World Cup, both desirable and possible.
[Read More]

Saturday May 20, 2006

A Fitting Cap

To cap it all, we got together for a soccer game near Chrissy Field, right after the end of JavaOne 2006.[Read More]

Wednesday May 17, 2006

Arsenal vs. Barcelona

When a team leader becomes an individualist player, even if it is for a short while and under pressure, the team can find itself in a dangerous corner while still working towards high stakes.[Read More]

Monday Apr 24, 2006

Master of Control

In sports, as in business, good control demands a great deal of dedicated practice. Consistency requires expert mastery.

Today, over lunch I was talking to a Milanese friend about business, sports and the upcoming game between Milan and Barcelona.

When talking about Barcelona, one cannot help pointing to Ronalndinho, the master of control.

Just a few days ago, my daughter Yasmine asked me to watch this piece of video where Ronaldinho practices his skills in a rather dramatic show. He controls the ball at the 18 meter (yards) and bounces the ball back and forth to himself off the horizontal bar several times in a row. This is no simple feat.

Although the video is part of a Nike ad campaign for the World Cup, the act looks quite real. Watch and judge for yourself! (Ronaldinho is currently number 10 at Barça.)

By the way, a couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to see a Barcelona - Madrid game and run into Zinedine Zidane. Barcelona won that game.

While watching the game on TV would demonstrate the skill level of players as individuals, watching this particular game at the stadium made Ronaldinho's contributions as a team leader quite clear to me. Not only is he a superb player, he is also a great and energetic team leader.

[Addendum: My younger daughter, Negin, notes that she did help her sister Yasmine to show me this other video showing a child Ronaldinho playing in-door soccer.]

Saturday Mar 04, 2006

A Bad Injury

On a TV newscast, I just watched the scene from Saturday's Bundesliga game between Hamburger SV and FC Bayern München where Ali Karimi's ankle was badly injured. The game was being played on a muddy field in a snow storm. The injury scene seems quite gruesome, and it is difficult to say how quickly Karimi can recover. Reuters reports he will have to wear a cast for a couple of weeks.

Only a few days earlier, Karimi had assisted the Iran team in the first half of its game with Costa Rica in Tehran, in a wonderful play filled with his technique, demonstrated most specially in the goal he scored early in the game. (He was abscent in the second half.)

Karimi is a relatively young player, starting with small plastic balls on dusty allies, and moving up through the local teams and as an international on UAE club circuit, before moving to Bayern. Many (including my children) have been following his inspiring career.

The injury is a real pity because Karimi was about to join Bayern for its game with AC Milan next week. This should have been a golden moment in his career but has turned into a silent one due to his injury.

In the same game, 60 seconds before closure in a 1-1 tie, Karimi's compatriot Mehdi Mahdavikia swung in a free-kick from the right to set up De Jong for a decisive goal, which edged Hamburg over Munich.

Saturday Jan 21, 2006

Ski Envy -- Tehran

I can only envy those going skiing this season in Tehran, and so close to the capital, near mount Tochal.

The view must be stupendous!

Talking about magnificent sites in Iran, here's a Washington perspective on another site.

Saturday Dec 31, 2005

Snow and Rain

It has been vacation time here, and we just spent several days near Lake Tahoe.

Last weekend, storms made skiing difficult. Monday proved good enough. Rain made it wet and cold on Tuesday. Wednesday was stormy again, and I found myself teaching new card games to the children. We had our best skiing day on Thursday at Alpine Meadows. (This was our first time there, and we really liked it. On Summit Six, a pristine, blue Lake Tahoe could be seen beyond the slopes.)

On Friday, the storm returned as we drove back home. Our car felt like a little submarine in a sea of giant SUVs. We are lucky to have decided to return on Friday. Today, there are reports of mud slides closing down Interstate 80 (near Donner Pass?). Reports say I-80 will be closed for two days.

Last year, a solid week of good snow and great weather delighted us all. Despite the bad weather this year, I'm still very grateful for having a chance to spend a bit of time in the company of family and friends.

Saturday Dec 17, 2005

Sudoku Zen

Some lessons from Sudoku battle:

  • Except for occupied ground, keep the battlefield clear. In this battle, there is no need for trickery and subterfuge.

  • Leverage occupied beachheads and groupings to project attacks on unoccupied ground. The small scale reflects what goes on the larger scale.

  • When a weapon runs out of ammunition, put it aside. Again, there is no need for trickery and subterfuge.

  • Have some fun — but only sparingly.

Thursday Dec 15, 2005

First "Official" Game

Silicon Valley, besides its amazing technical prowess, maintains a great sports environment for the young and expends a considerable attention to soccer ("football," as it is called in most of the rest of the world).

Recently, my daughter participated in the try-outs and got into her middle school's soccer team. I'm very proud of her for having the courage to compete and join with a number of older schoolmates on the team. This has been a very special accomplishment for her.

Today, they will be holding their first game against another local middle-school team. They have been training hard, and I think they should be in a very good position to win.

Saturday Aug 27, 2005

San Jose vs. LA

We went to the Earthquakes vs. Galaxy game tonight with the rest of the AYSO teams in our area.

It was a very good, fast game.

It would be a cliche to say that "Landon Donovan played well as did Danny Califf"—almost all the players worked extremely hard and tried to play a superb soccer.

The play was quite good but a little random and not always in striking concert.

The Earthquakes crowd was quite boisterous but a few times Donovan received a treatment from them that he barely deserved, specially as a valued member of the U.S. national team. The crowd seemed to heckle, boo and pour verbal abuses on him simply because long ago he had left San Jose and ended up with the Galaxies. (This reminds me why so many families stay away from large sports stadiums.)

In the meantime, Iran beat Lybia 4 to 0 earlier this week, mostly with its own premier league players in attendance for the game. Unfortunately, I did miss that "goal-full" game.

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