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updated: 7/15/2011 4:28 PM

One long, not-so-hot summer and then ... thanks U.S. soccer team

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  • Thank you, U.S. Women's soccer team, for breaking up a really boring summer of sports with your semi-final win in the Women's Soccer World Cup in Germany.

      Thank you, U.S. Women's soccer team, for breaking up a really boring summer of sports with your semi-final win in the Women's Soccer World Cup in Germany.
    Associated Press

  • Thank you, U.S. Women's soccer team, for breaking up a really boring summer of sports with your semi-final win in the Women's Soccer World Cup in Germany.

      Thank you, U.S. Women's soccer team, for breaking up a really boring summer of sports with your semi-final win in the Women's Soccer World Cup in Germany.
    Associated Press

 
 

Here comes the sun:

There have been very few bright spots in our summer of discontent, a summer full of nothing but lockout talk and middling-to-awful baseball.

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So how refreshing is it to have a team pop out of nowhere to give us something to smile about?

Sure, they'll be out of our consciousness shortly, but until then, thank you U.S. Women's World Cup soccer team.

Just dreaming:

Castro, Barney, Fielder …

Just waking up:

Castro, Barney Fielder, Baker, Soriano, Colvin, Campana, Hill …

What a relief:

Heath Bell's sprint and slide into the mound in the All-Star Game amused me a great deal.

Probably not the smartest move on his part, but he absolutely brought the funny to a game that should be fun and not carry any postseason implications. What-So-Ever.

Wow:

How buff did Patrick Kane look during his appearance Wednesday at O'Hare?

Hasn't quite reached Jody Weis proportions, but there's no doubt the summer has been good to him.

Which one?

Trader Kenny or Stand Pat Kenny?

Just remember:

Four games under .500 and only 5 games out in a weak division … umm, that would be absolute heaven for Cubs fans.

What's in a name?

They ran the Florence Henderson Stakes this week at Indiana Downs racetrack.

For those interested, Johnny Bravo won by 2 lengths over Oh My Nose with Porkchops And Applesauce a hard-charging third.

Just asking:

How lucky are we to have a young superstar who takes losing as personally as Derrick Rose does?

The Buck stopped there:

And there would be Arizona on Tuesday, where the lead Fox announcer with the recovering voice, Joe Buck, had himself one tough All-Star Game.

It began with a botched introduction and ended with him getting dissed by the normally genial Justin Timberlake during a poolside interview with Mark Grace.

That interview, by the way, now ranks as one of the most awkward of 2011.

Bizzaro British Open:

Billy Jo Tolliver returns to defend his title in the celebrity-laden American Century Championship golf tournament in Tahoe this weekend.

Yawn.

Charles Barkley also is in the field.

Now you're talking!

Btw:

Sticking with Jason Day in the British Open.

Ming's dynasty:

News of Yao Ming's impending retirement sent me back in time to when he was a rookie and came to the United Center to play the Bulls.

I remember absolutely nothing about the game, but the image of him on the floor in the center of the Rockets' locker room stretching out … and taking up nearly the entire room in the process is etched in my brain.

Yao-za.

Oops:

Spoke too soon on Viktor Stalberg. My bad.

The Stalberg era continues!

Nice to be nice to the nice:

From the Good Guys Dept:

•Steve Stricker wins his third straight John Deere Classic.

•Former Wolves coach John Anderson is hired as an assistant coach by the Phoenix Coyotes.

Unfiltered smoke:

James Harrison.

Happy (belated) birthday:

To Janine Starykowicz's racing website, Chicago Barn to Wire, which just celebrated its 11th year.

The quote:

"He never ceases to amaze me." -- Nicole Bell, wife of Padres closer Heath Bell, on her husband's sliding entrance in the All-Star Game.

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