This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and this is The Score.
It's been a big week for the noble spirit of team. The Mets' collapse down the final stretch was downright painful to watch. Close-up photos of die-hard fans tell a story of deep, deep disappointment. Baseball afficionados call it the worst or one of the two worst blow-ups in the sport's history. With only 17 games remaining in the regular season, the Mets were sitting on a puffy seven-game cushion. Day by day, pitch by pitch, error by error, they unraveled at their very seams. But not one of them pointed a finger. Not one of them had a word of blame to utter. Their manager, Willie Randolph, welled up with tears but had no words of lost faith for his men. And, unheard of, Randolph's superiors have not lost faith in him, either. They will be remembered as a good team, the 2007 Mets, that lost their cool and stunningly blew their solid season. But they'll also be remembered as a band of brothers who went down with clenched teeth and squared jaws and team pride when pride at all was hard to muster.
We're told that virtually nobody watches soccer, that virtually nobody was watching the Women's World Cup over the past couple of weeks, especially when the games were played live from Shanghai and other Chinese posts in the wee hours of the morning here. But the U.S. goalie's story was rated the most closely-followed sports story of the week by several publications. Hope Solo had been defending the US goal throughout the tournament. But, for his own odd reasons, coach Greg Ryan pulled Solo and substituted former Olympian Briana Scurry for the semi-final game against the very talented Brazilian squad. Nobody could understand it. The game announcers kept harping on how strange the move was. Scurry hasn't seen world-class competition since 2004 and the Athens Olympics. Solo is game-ready.
It was a rout. It was as if Scurry died over and over again by firing squad. Brazil virtually scored against her at will and the US was made to look amateurish in a 4-zip crushing loss. Well, Hope Solo took to the open microphones of the press and reamed both Coach Ryan and Scurry. She basically called Scurry a has-been and called Ryan an idiot for trotting out a player on the basis of her long-ago credentials. For betraying her team in public, Solo was thrown off the US team and made to forfeit her place at goal again for the US third-place victory game against Norway. The team comes first. Solo crossed that line of honor and is now dearly paying for her transgression.
Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner have shared quarterbacking duties for the Arizona Cardinals the last couple of weeks. They're a pretty good team, it seems, as they upset the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday. But Leinart opened his big mouth and told the press that he's supposed to be the franchise quarterback, that he should be taking all the snaps. And this after his team WON?! Leinart should sit down and watch tape of Brett Favre's career. When Favre was losing game after game, throwing reckless, desperate interceptions, when critics told him he was making a fool himself a couple of years ago, that his offensive line was so weak that a slow grandmother could have walked through to touch Favre on the snap, Brett Favre never, ever criticized his teammates. And now that Favre is running around lit up like a Christmas Tree, his Packers 4-and-0, the pundits who pushed him to retire and save his pride are suddenly meek and quiet. And Favre, while smashing one by one the big-time NFL quarterback records, per usual cares about nothing other than team. The Mets lost but their honor is intact. Hope Solo lost and dishonored her standing with her teammates. Leinart won but crossed the code of team ethics. Brett Favre is winning but his end zone dances are in the name of the Green Bay Packers.
This is Diana Nyad for KCRW, and that's The Score.
Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images