As we neared the gates of a California League stadium last weekend, we could hear a woman shouting over the public-address system. It seemed as if she were in pain. Or was that anger? Her caterwauling was distressing. Discordant. Finally, through the aural pollution, dimly recognizable. That was the national anthem she was butchering. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 For that reason, and others, we have a suggestion: Let’s take the national anthem out of everyday sports events. There’s the performance issue, front and center. Many (most?) high school bands cannot make it through the music without beating it beyond recognition. Most anthem singers have tin ears or inferior voices and can’t muddle their way through a correctly pitched version of the song … over the octave-and-a-half the tune requires. How many times a day in this country does that ugly scene play out? At ballparks, gymnasiums, football stadiums? A singer or musician of modest talent and enormous ego, assaulting the eardrums of innocent people with a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” not fit for human consumption. Many singers seem to believe the national anthem is a chance to live out their “American Idol” fantasies, and riff into vocal gymnastics that usually degenerate into vocal contortions, turning the hymn into a three-minute dirge of such exquisite wretchedness it can’t help but trigger the listener’s gag reflex. Others don’t bother to learn the lyrics. If we had $1 for every “perilous night” and “for the ramparts” we’ve heard … well, we could afford professionals do get it right. Another problem: If we feel compelled to perform the anthem before the most modest sports event, where do we get the money to pay for real singers? Answer: We don’t. We turn loose rank amateurs. It shows. It’s not just the music. What connection does the national anthem have with sports? Why do we feel compelled to pair them? Francis Scott Key was watching an 1814 naval bombardment when he wrote the lyrics and matched them to an English drinking song. Baseball hadn’t been invented. Neither had football or basketball. It seems to most of us the expression “play ball” is allowed only after “home of the brave.” But it wasn’t always so. Not until 1918 was what to become the national anthem (in 1931) played at a baseball game. And then it was at the World Series, during World War I. The anthem remained an irregular sports-event prelude till the 1940s, when it returned to baseball in time for World War II. With some cynics suggesting owners’ eagerness to stage the song was an easy display of “patriotism” – as they hoped to keep patrons from wondering, “Hey, why aren’t these ballplayers off at the front?” Since WW2, the anthem has become reflex, knee-jerk, and often performed with all the dignity that implies – while TV breaks for a batch of commercials. Other issues: Some Americans are sticklers for anthem etiquette. Hats off, stand up straight, no talking, no moving, no eating, no concession sales anywhere in the stadium … and become agitated when people around them don’t comply. Others assign political weight to the anthem, and can be troubled by appearing to endorse a federal government they disagree with … before they can enjoy boys playing ball. And why should one have anything to do with the other? In times of political upheaval, it seems only a matter of time before we have a fight in the stands, an anthem stickler and a conscientious objector getting into it. The U.S. is one of the few countries in the world where the anthem is routinely connected to just-another-game sports. We play the anthem everywhere and anywhere. Right down to the high schools. The idea of performing “God Save the Queen” before an English Premier League soccer match would strike the British as absurd. Ditto for the rest of Europe and planet, and their various anthems. International events? Sure. Get busy. Olympics, World Cup, all that. Fourth of July, other national holidays, you bet. Play it, Uncle Sam. During the World Series? The Super Bowl? Bring it on. With serious musicians, rehearsals and sound systems that work. We do not need the anthem before the Angels play the Blue Jays in the middle of August. We do not need it at Cal League or Citrus Belt games or Little League games. Not if it’s going to be done poorly and on the cheap, and received halfheartedly. Give the anthem a sports timeout. Make it distinct. Special. Both how it’s done, and when. Paul Oberjuerge’s column appears Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Readers may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!
Winfrey details her decision to withdraw from Simmons film MIDFIELDERSHirving Lozano, who has scored 16 goals for PSV Eindhoven in the Dutch league, should start on the left wing. Carlos Vela, who joined Los Angeles FC from Real Sociedad last year, currently has the edge to start on the other flank rather than Porto midfielder Jesus Corona.Andres Guardado is another player who is injured and his status is uncertain. If Guardado can’t play, Erick Gutierrez will be called from the reserve squad to take over alongside Hector Herrera.Gutierrez did not make the final roster but is traveling and training with Mexico in case Guardado can’t play.Diego Reyes, a Herrera teammate who plays in the midfield, is also injured, allowing veteran Rafael Marquez to make the team despite being retired at 39 years old.If Marquez, as expected with all the injuries, plays in his fifth World Cup, he will join Antonio Carvajal and Lottar Matthaeus as the only players in history to play at five World Cups. Former Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon made the roster five times, but only played in four.FORWARDSJavier “Chicharito” Hernandez remains the main striker heading into the tournament, but Raul Jimenez is having a strong season with Benfica.Oribe Peralta, who led Mexico to the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, is the third striker.Osorio likes to use a formation with a withdrawn striker, a position where Giovani Dos Santos and Marco Fabian are contesting the starting position. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Mexico’s Colombian coach Juan Carlos Osorio (C) oversees a training session of his players at FC Strogino Stadium in Moscow on June 12, 2018 ahead of the Russia 2018 football World Cup. AFP PHOTO / YURI CORTEZMEXICO CITY — Mexicans can never be sure who will be playing for the national team under Juan Carlos Osorio.A different lineup has been deployed by Osorio in all 46 games in charge and now players are starting to question the tactical tinkering going into the World Cup.ADVERTISEMENT GROUP GAMESMexico opens Group F against World Cup champion Germany on Sunday in Moscow, where it has its tournament base. The team will then head to Rostov-on-Don to face South Korea on June 23, followed by a match against Sweden in Yekaterinburg on June 27.SQUADGoalkeepers: Guillermo Ochoa (Standard Liege), Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)Defenders: Carlos Salcedo (Eintracht Frankfurt), Diego Reyes (Porto), Hector Moreno (Real Sociedad), Hugo Ayala (Tigres), Edson Alvarez (America), Jesus Gallardo (Pumas), Miguel Layun (Sevilla)Midfielders: Rafael Marquez (Atlas), Hector Herrera (Porto), Jonathan Dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Andres Guardado (Betis), Marco Fabian (Eintracht Frankfurt), Giovani Dos Santos (LA Galaxy)Forwards: Javier Hernandez (West Ham), Raul Jimenez (Benfica), Oribe Peralta (America), Jesús Corona (Porto), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles FC), Javier Aquino (Tigres), Hirving Lozano (PSV Eindhoven)Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Osorio’s success in Colombia, where he won the championship with Once Caldas and three times with Atletico Nacional, was based on the same tactical fluidity that he brought to Mexico.His 46 games with Mexico have seen 30 wins, nine draws and seven losses.GOALKEEPERSGuillermo Ochoa, who has made 93 appearances since his international debut in 2005, is renowned in Mexico for an outstanding save from Neymar’s header at the 2014 World Cup.The 32 year-old “Memo,” who plays for Belgian club Standard Liege, will be making the World Cup trip but he might not be guaranteed to start every game. Osorio is considering using either Jesus Corona or Alfredo Talavera in the final Group F game against Sweden because Ochoa can struggle dealing with crosses.DEFENDERSThe defense is probably the weakest link on the team.Hector Moreno, who plays for Real Sociedad after a brief stint with Roma, is the strongest component of the back line and is nursing an injury that has kept him out of the last two friendly matches.Osorio likes to play with three center backs, but only Moreno — when healthy — is a guaranteed starter. The other one was Nestor Araujo, who did not make the team after sustaining a knee injury in a friendly against Croatia in March. Carlos Salcedo injured his collarbone in the same match and is hoping to be fit for Russia.Hugo Ayala and Edson Alvarez could take over but all lack international experience. LATEST STORIES “It’s time to stop with the experiments,” Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said. “We have to focus on how we play as a team.”Osorio, who replaced fan favorite Miguel Herrera in 2015, isn’t budging. The Colombian has no plans to change his strategy because it carried Mexico to the World Cup as the top-placed team in CONCACAF qualifying for the first time in two decades.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownBut changing formations depending on the opponent hasn’t fared well in all competitions.“A lot of people said that the past few years have been good, but I’m not so sure about that,” Manuel Lapuente, who coached Mexico at the 1998 World Cup, told The Associated Press. “We were a failure in the Copa America Centenario. We failed at the Gold Cup and in the Confederations Cup. We did well in the qualifiers, but, guess what? We are not going to play against that kind of rival in Russia.” China population now over 1.4 billion as birthrate falls Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Volcano watch: Island fissures steaming, lake water receding Jury of 7 men, 5 women selected for Weinstein rape trial DepEd’s Taal challenge: 30K students displaced Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew MOST READ In fight vs corruption, Duterte now points to Ayala, MVP companies as ‘big fish’ The Mexicans were consigned to their worst-ever loss in the 2016 Copa America Centenario quarterfinals, trounced 7-0 by Chile. In a pair of semifinals last year they were beaten 4-1 by Germany in the Confederations Cup and lost 1-0 to Jamaica in the Gold Cup.Progress for Mexico at the World Cup would be reaching the quarterfinals after failing to advance from the round of 16 at six successive editions. Only when the Mexicans hosted the World Cup did they make the last eight — in 1970 and 1986.Here’s a closer look at the Mexico team:COACHOsorio, a former conditioning coach at Manchester United under Alex Ferguson, won four league titles in Colombia and was managing Sao Paulo before taking over his first job as a national coach with Mexico in 2015.ADVERTISEMENT Dave Chappelle donates P1 million to Taal relief operations WORLD CUP: Since 2014 highs, a struggle for Colombia, James View comments