Here is a bunch of World Cup-related stuff I wrote for the Friday newspaper, including items on ESPN targeting avid fans this time around, on the network's cool "I Scored a Goal" series, on a British guy calling the England-U.S. game for American TV and on the potential for South Africans' noisy vuvuzelas disrupting television audio of games.
Regarding the last of those topics, here is the complete version of a comment from ESPN executive VP for content John Skipper that got cut down for the newspaper for space reasons:
"We are enthusiastic about the vuvuzelas. I believe that anybody trying to tell South Africans how they ought to celebrate their game is in bad territory.
"They've had a long tradition of people telling them what to do, and I do not intend to enter that tradition. They want to blow those horns, I'm happy. Blow away.
"I was there at the games [last year]. Some people were irritated. I was not. It's part of the beauty of the game to be going to somebody's country. They do it differently there than they do in Germany.
"I didn't tell the Germans how to celebrate and I'm not telling the South Africans how to enjoy the games."
(UPDATE: Watching South Africa-Mexico now. Vuvuzelas sound like a massive beehive hovering over stadium.)
Should be an interesting tournament. It's come a long way since I watched most of the 1982 World Cup on Spanish-language TV because I had nothing better to do while being an unemployed recent college graduate during a huge economic downturn.
I also watched way too much of that year's College World Series.
Then just after Labor Day Newsday hired me as a part-timer to take high school results on the phone. And here we are.