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Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser are two of the most important cogs in the vast ESPN machine. If it weren't for the success of Pardon the Interruption—ESPN's signature debate show that has truly been responsible for a shift in the way sports are covered on television—a lot of us wouldn't be doing what we are doing.

I, personally, may not be where I am were it not for the help and direction from Kornheiser and Wilbon. So I say this with all due respect and decorum.

Wilbon needs to get the hell out of here. If he was serious with his ridiculously jingoistic rant about Jurgen Klinsmann on PTI on Thursday, Wilbon needs to get out of here with that nonsense:

The full quote (via 101 Great Goals) can be heard at the 10-minute mark of yesterday's show.

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California Chrome is the latest in a storied line of thoroughbreds to enter the Belmont Stakes with a chance to win the Triple Crown. There have been 33 horses before Chrome to win both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and less than a dozen have succeeded in taking the third leg, making the Triple Crown one of the most elusive titles in all of American sports.

California Chrome is about to ruin all of that, by finally winning it.

It was June 10, 1978, the last time a horse won the three most prestigious summer races on American soil, completing the American Triple Crown. I was 119 days old when Affirmed became just the 11th horse in history to win all three races, following Seattle Slew, who had won the year before, and Secretariat—widely recognized as the greatest thoroughbred in racing history—just four years prior to that.

No horse has won the Triple Crown since. Eleven times since 1978 a horse has raced in the Belmont Stakes with a chance to join an elite class of horses. Eleven times since 1978 that horse has failed.

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Go to any shoe store or apparel website this summer, and you will almost literally be kicked in the head with options for World Cup-inspired footwear. 

By my count, the big three international football manufacturers—Adidas, Nike and Puma—are offering more than 150 combined options for soccer cleats, flats and other footy footwear this summer.

As soon as you pick out your favorite pair of shoes from the Samba Pack or the Magista Collection, out come 15 more with "battle designs" or "snake venom" used as sewing thread or whatever crazy gimmick the companies can employ to get us to pay attention, buy more stuff and outclass our friends on the pitch.

It's no longer just Adidas and Nike either. Puma is going so rogue this summer that it is giving all its athletes two different-color shoes—one pink and one blue—to get people like me to pay more attention to those wearing Pumas. (Job well done, public relations cats.)

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The Sunday Times of London blew the lid off the worst-kept secret in the world. The 2022 World Cup was not just possibly bought by Qatar, it was absolutely, positively, unequivocally, how-did-they-get-away-with-it-for-this-long(ingly) bought by Qatar.

Mohamed bin Hammam, once a high-ranking member of FIFA's executive cabal before being excommunicated from power after daring to run against Sepp Blatter for the role of FIFA president, has been implicated—again—for lobbying on behalf of Qatar in advance of the 2010 vote that awarded the 2022 World Cup to the tiny desert nation over the United States of America.

It's time for FIFA to correct this mistake, right this amazingly transparent wrong and take the World Cup back from Qatar. Who should get it? The United States, of course.

The Times report from Jonathan Calvert and Heidi Blake claims to have obtained "millions of secret documents" that implicate Bin Hammam's role in buying votes for Qatar to win the World Cup bid.

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HARRISON, N.J. — "Experience is a big thing," Tim Howard said into a smattering of reporters hoping for quotation gold after the United States defeated Turkey 2-1 in the second of three friendlies before heading to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup.

"Experience also has baggage. So we don't have that baggage."

It's easy to take that quote—absolute gold, by the way—and make it about Landon Donovan. But maybe, just maybe, Howard's words were more about Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu and Clarence Goodson and Jay DeMerit and the old way the U.S. national team played defense in front of him.

There is very little experience in front of Howard now, with Geoff Cameron, a converted center-back who has more caps at midfield or right-back than in the center of the defense during his international career, taking a leadership role on the back line.

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If creating a World Cup roster is akin to building a car, the 32 teams heading to Brazil should be in the fine-tuning stages at this point. A little more speed here. A tad more force there. With just over two weeks before the World Cup officially kicks off, teams should be worrying about the little things.

For Jurgen Klinsmann and his U.S. Soccer 23-man squad, the little things will have to wait.

After Klinsmann's squad defeated Azerbaijan 2-0 in the first of three send-off matches before leaving for Brazil, parts are all over the garage and big things are still being decided. Do we need a new front end? Does anyone really know if the back line will hold up under pressure, or will it fall apart in the intense heat?

Following Tuesday's match, Klinsmann said, via Franco Panizo of Soccer by Ives:

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When asked how his conversation went with Landon Donovan after telling the American soccer legend he was not a member of the 23-man roster for the World Cup in Brazil, U.S. soccer manager Jurgen Klinsmann stressed how professional Donovan was in handling the news.

One has to wonder how Klinsmann feels now.

In the wake of Klinsmann's decision, Donovan posted a message on Facebook thanking the American soccer public for its near-unwavering support. Rather than leave it at that and go back to the Los Angeles Galaxy with his tail between his aging legs, Donovan went on the offensive, telling reporters in L.A. just how wrong he felt the decision was, via MLSSoccer.com:

Klinsmann held a press conference Friday to discuss the 23 players he chose, and it turned into a session exclusively about the most notable one he omitted. He refused to go into specifics as to why he left Donovan home, saying repeatedly that "at this moment we feel that the other players—without naming any of those guys­—are a tiny little bit ahead of him," as reported on MLSSoccer.com.

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Jurgen Klinsmann has way too much job security. Clearly Landon Donovan does not.

That's the only way to explain the unexplainable. Klinsmann announced his 23-man team for the World Cup in Brazil on Thursday, and the story is less about the nearly two dozen players who made it than the one who didn't.

Donovan was left off the World Cup roster, meaning he will miss out on his fourth World Cup so Klinsmann can reward 18-year-old Julian Green for spurning Germany to play for the U.S. National Team. For Klinsmann's national team.

This is a power play that is impossible to believe. Hell, I wrote just this week that we should stop pretending Donovan isn't a lock for the trip to Brazil because it would take some enormous Brazucas for Klinsmann to put together a team of 23 without the best player in American history, who has proven he can shine in the bright lights of the World Cup.

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Landon Donovan is widely recognized as the greatest soccer player in American history, and while the 32-year-old is decidedly past his prime at this stage of his illustrious international career, the ruse being put on by national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann, and the game Donovan is being forced to play because of it, is getting a bit ridiculous.

Donovan will be playing in Brazil. Stop suggesting otherwise.

This dance began in early 2013 when a burned-out Donovan decided to take some time off in an effort to recharge his depleted batteries. At the time, Donovan debated retiring from MLS and questioned whether or not he still had the passion to play domestic or international soccer at the high level he was accustomed to playing.

The timing of Donovan's announcement was curious to say the least, as the United States men's soccer team was in the middle stages of qualifying for the World Cup, a campaign for which Donovan would be counted on heavily. Or so we thought.

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Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

The NBA draft process, including the draft lottery, which took place Tuesday evening, was under intense scrutiny throughout the 2013-14 season. Team after team with little chance of making a playoff run seemed to be on a mission to lose as many games as possible in hopes of landing one of the top picks in what many are calling a once-in-a-generation draft.

Teams have tanked before, but in a draft year with this much talent at the top of the board, the tanking seemed to reach a new high, or low.

This season there were eight teams that finished the regular season with fewer than 30 wins, three of which had fewer than 25 victories, and two—the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers—fewer than 20. It wasn't just that there were bad teams, it was that so many franchises seemed to be that bad on purpose.

Milwaukee and Philadelphia were the worst of the lot, but neither won the lottery on Tuesday evening. Instead, the top pick went to Cleveland, again, despite the Cavaliers only having a 1.7 percent chance of pulling off the first-pick coup and never being accused of tanking at any point this season.