The Beauty of Nature

Look, Isaiah on vacation! (Canada-Photos.com)

The tremendous size of the humpback whale is obvious when it’s just wandering around under the water, but when it lifts itself upwards, into the air, you can really see that they are, basically, unimaginably gigantic. Yours truly just spent 5 days in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and got to glimpse a baby humpback cavorting with his/her mother in the Bahia de Banderas. It was amazing. So was the rest of the trip, including my first snorkeling adventure and lots of sitting on beaches, but wildlife has always been high on my list of things to see, so the whales take the cake.

I just saw the highlights of the Valencia match this morning and also watched the Stuttgart match, the score of which I had studiously avoided throughout my travels yesterday. Brilliant match by the team, but there’s always that extra slack-jawed amazement went the #10 grabs the ball and lets you know why he’s the best in the world. Kevin, of course, said it best:

You run out of the superlatives that try to quantify the things that he does. Sublime, absurd, ridiculous, stupid, brilliant, magisterial, staggering, blah, blah, blah, blah. And what you’re left with at the end of it all is open-mouthed astonishment, and anticipation of the next time he plays.

I returned to that, to The Yaya setting up a finish by Pedro!, to Bojan’s first touch goal, to us making the quarterfinals. Wonderful. And March Madness began at noon, making me one happy camper. Also I made it to the second round of a job interview. The weather here improved while I was gone, too, so hell yeah to that as well. It was raining and 30-something degrees when I left and now it’s raining potential trophies. Holy crap.

Apparently Xavi is injured? Okay, that sucks. One little rain shower on my parade. Busi went off with an injury against Stuttgart, but is already training normally. Some sunshine on my parade. What’s great, of course, is that The Yaya put in a mega performance and proved to everyone that he is truly a Transformer and not a human. Awesome.

Tomorrow’s Champions League draw will determine our path towards the Bernabeu (and hopefully our path to the Bernabeu–ah semantics). And, to be honest, when Madrid mercenaries players say things like what Arbeloa did (“Me dolería ver al Barça jugar la final en el Santiago Bernabéu” — “It would hurt to see Barça playing the final in the Santiago Bernabéu”), it makes me want to trash the whole place when we win the damned thing. And crush their souls.

That’s really all I’ve got for today, but tomorrow I’ll be back with much, much more (including coverage of the CL draw) as I get up to speed. And re-learn how to use American money and speak in English.

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Isaiah is a co-founder and lead writer for Barcelona Football Blog. He currently lives in the greater New York City area with his wife and daughter.

75 Comments

  1. Ethan
    March 18, 2010

    Isaiah, hope u enjoyed that game yesterday while on ur vaca!

  2. vicsoc8
    March 18, 2010

    Rooting for Vanderbilt and Syracuse in the tournament. Vanderbilt is trying to become the second team to suffer an upset right now.

      • vicsoc8
        March 18, 2010

        When you go to a school like Vandy, sports disappointments are par for the course.

        • Spencer
          March 19, 2010

          At least the girls are hot. Really, really hot.

  3. Helge
    March 18, 2010

    Wow, what an incredible week this must have been for you, Isaiah! But I don’t want to complain either, Barça made this week special for everyone of us.
    Chelsea falling to Inter added to the joy 🙂

    Humpback Whales in Mexico? I didn’t know you could see Whales in Mexico!

    • March 18, 2010

      Pacific coast only. With the exception of the Whale Shark, which can be seen in Cancun/Cozumel, if I’m not mistaken.

  4. mike in africa
    March 18, 2010

    Isaiah is represented by a whale?

  5. jordi™
    March 18, 2010

    *http://timesonline.typepad.com/thegame/2010/03/ahead-of-thegame-rooney-v-messi-our-experts-decide.html

    Wow Rooney is better than Messi because “his sheer physicality would just give him the edge over Messi.” I guess that Drogba is the best by this logic then.

    • Keano
      March 18, 2010

      funny enuff the English media(sky sports cronies) on the eve of the cl final against united compared messi with ronaldo and came to the conclusion ronaldo was better-in the areas you expect messi to be better ie passing/dribbling ronaldo was the same. Also messi couldn’t head the ball-we all know how that turned out lol

    • Liza
      March 18, 2010

      Blech. I should not have checked that link. This is even more ridiculous than the Messi/Ronaldo debate. They don’t even have similar roles for their teams!! The English media have basically just turned this into an extension of the EPL vs La Liga debate, therefore Rooney is better because he plays in the EPL.

    • fc
      March 18, 2010

      At least Soccernet is showing some sanity

      *http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=757470&sec=uefachampionsleague&root=uefachampionsleague&cc=5901

    • stowe
      March 18, 2010

      but that would mean that ibra is better than them all…but wait a second, isn’t messi having a better season than ibra?

      • Kxevin
        March 18, 2010

        Who cares who some pundits say is better? Let Messi keep making good decision with the ball while we keep winning matches, and let the pundits blather. Doesn’t matter.

  6. fc
    March 18, 2010

    I hate these trash talking agents 🙁

    *http://goal.com/en/news/12/spain/2010/03/18/1839401/barcelona

    • stowe
      March 18, 2010

      i think a lot of us would agree that messi needs to pass when ibra is wide open in front of the goal. agents like that are really annoying though and don’t help solve the problem

      • fc
        March 18, 2010

        Ibra has to learn how to be onside at first. It’s true that sometimes Messi is going for glory rather than helping teammates (I remember him not passing to Pedro yesterday). Messi should be more generous and help teammates like Ibra/Henry to come out of goal drought. But when he’s in this kinda form it’s difficult to complain. I wouldn’t mind resting Messi against the likes of Zaragoza which may affect Ibra positively.

        • Larm
          March 18, 2010

          ibra had an assist yesterday which wasnt too shabby considering he was on the field for only 25 minutes or so.

        • Kxevin
          March 18, 2010

          Being onside isn’t solely the fault of the person who is called offside. It’s also when the pass comes. If the attacker is expecting the pass to come and breaks at what he thinks is the right time, but the pass comes a fraction late, whose fault is that.

          To slag Ibrahimovic for being offside a lot doesn’t examine the entirety of the problem. He has yet to integrate fully into our system, when he will learn that our guys like to dick around with the ball a little bit before passing, and hold his runs. It’s all part of learning to play as part of a world-beating side.

          Fact of the matter is that we’ve all noted that Messi tends to be selfish. Most excuse it. I don’t, and the Stuttgart match showed why. That is the world-beating Messi, the one who knows exactly when to pass, and when to shoot. If we can keep that dude around, sky’s the limit for us this season.

          As with Henry’s first season, Ibrahimovic will have a statistically good season that will be called shit because it will be viewed in the context of his best season. That’s life for a superstar signing who comes to Barca.

          • fc
            March 19, 2010

            True, it’s actually a team responsibility to keep Ibra onside. I think coaching stuff should address this issue urgently. Now that teams are terrified about Messi I feel that Ibra will get more space and opportunities.
            Anyway the future can only get better 🙂

  7. DBarcaMan
    March 18, 2010

    Fellow cules, some assistance please.

    Been trying to find the Eto’o Barca Away 04/05 shirt for the longest while without success. Can anyone point me in the right direction.

    Pic -> //http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d90/kitbagshop/Shirt/04-05BarcelonaAwayshirt.jpg

    • Larm
      March 18, 2010

      so this is about the best i can do. not quite a shirt…

      //http://cgi.ebay.com.my/Corinthian-Prostars-Barcelona-SAMUEL-ETOO-away-CG280-/160406221604

  8. Bill
    March 19, 2010

    Alot of Ibra’s offsides arent because of mistimed passes. They are of him caught napping. He finds himself behind the defense, but he just doesn’t try to get back onside for the passes. I have been in situations where I simply stopped passing to the guy (winger in my case) unless I was sure he was onside.

    Having said that, i agree that sometimes guys can pass to him a little more. One instance that made me squirm on my seat yesterday was that Messi header. Messi and Ibra are running toward the goal, Alves looks up, and picks out Messi who is behind Ibra! I didn’t get how he could ignore a guy 6’5, to pass to a 5’5 guy. I know Alves is star struck, but c’mon now, give it to the big dude if you are crossing in!

    • fc
      March 19, 2010

      Good point about Alves’ cross. 9 out of 10 times Messi will mess those up. Feed the monsters like Ibra/Keita/Henry. I know crossing is not Barca’s game but every once in a while putting crosses from both flanks can only help. In the worst case we will lose possession but losing possession just in front of opponents post is not that bad.

      • Ethan
        March 19, 2010

        And not only the fact that throwing crosses in from our right and left backs would help keep the game spread out and the defense honest on guys like messi and ibra bc it would bring danger from all our mids as well, giving more time for messi before he is surrounded by 4 players. Throwing crosses in every now and then, especially when alves and abidal are on, just makes our game that much easier to play, as we have all seen in the beginning of the season(though dont know where it went) we were a force in the air.

    • nobody
      March 19, 2010

      If I remember it right Ibra was surrounded by couple of defenders where as Messi was not, and that made higher possibility of shot on goal, I guess.

    • March 19, 2010

      I think the last 10 minutes or so, Alves, the rest of the team and all of us were on the Messi-awe drug and just wanting another hit of hat trick.

  9. Vj
    March 19, 2010

    Candidate for a Caption this:

    Smell of Success? Bah!

    • Vj
      March 19, 2010

      Image tag gone bad! The pic is

      /http://epaper.timesofindia.com/Repository/getimage.dll?path=MMIR/2010/03/19/27/Img/Pc0270400.jpg

  10. barca96
    March 19, 2010

    i’ve im mistaken, the pass from alves to messi, ibra was actually offside. but it could just be my blurry eyes at 5am.

    ibra’s agent talking shit now. but messi can hit back and him and claim that ibra could’ve passed to him on the 79th minute, when ibra got the ball in the box from iniesta i think and instead of passing to an open messi, he decided to take on 3 man.

  11. y2k156
    March 19, 2010

    For me, Messi (or Higuain against Lyon for that matter) cannot be just judged as being selfish all the time. They are strikers and one of the things strikers do is take shots at goals from chances they think are possible. I can understand selfishness if a player has near about zero chances to score and ignores others who have much better chance. But for life of me, i cannot blame a striker for selfishness if his chances are just slightly lesser then other options. Like Brian Clough said one time, the guy in middle is playing in front of 50000 or 100000 people and has to make a decision in split second on what to do. To assume that player should get everything right all the time is just too unrealistic for me.

    For Ibra and offsides, i have observed lot of times that it is because he is slow in getting back and not just because he makes the runs that are ignored. And in any case, if this is problem, why cannot ibra stay yard or two on. He anyways does not depend on speed aka Etoo to stay on shoulder of last defender and then streek on to score a goal. I do think that Ibra is good but these are small things that he needs to adjust (and maybe Pep can help him).

    And about Alves ignoring Ibra to give ball to Messi, i find it quite amusing. In any match, Alves has like 10% accuracy in passing so i think it has to be more of fluke then design.

    Finally about Rooney and Messi, i think it boils down to personal decision. For me, it will always be Messi who is best and that will remain even if he does not have a steller season like he is having this year.

    • y2k156
      March 19, 2010

      Regarding Alves, i meant crossing rather than passing.

  12. Eklavya
    March 19, 2010

    Damn! I go all the way only for my class to be cancelled!

    But you know what really made my day today? As I got out of my tram I saw this FCB team poster advertised on the tram 8O. I was too shocked to take a picture or anything.

    Awesome. 😀

  13. Eklavya
    March 19, 2010

    This has to be the quote of the day:

    “Someday, Pep Guardiola will be put in jail for stepping on an ant”

    -Hristo Stokovich

    • Helge
      March 19, 2010

      LOL 😀 but unfortunately it’s not far away from the truth…

  14. missingpage
    March 19, 2010

    predictions anyone? i’m not hearing any!
    last time we send a pretty good Stuttgart vibe!
    Who do we want this time Bordeaux? CSKA? Lyon? or do we go for the strong ones MU for example?
    I just don’t want Inter all else is fine..:)

      • missingpage
        March 19, 2010

        so you prefer a strong team now? Man Utd is not a bad idea(Txiki disagrees though)..i just hate that we have the r. madrid three days after…so i would hope for a second leg at home

  15. Eklavya
    March 19, 2010

    The draw is at 12:00 Barcelona time (CET), meaning in 20 mins! 😀

    Bordeaux! Bordeaux!

  16. Eklavya
    March 19, 2010

    You can watch the draw here:

    *http://ngetv.net/channel-live.php?tv=1542

    or choose it from here:

    *http://ngetv.net/

  17. Eklavya
    March 19, 2010

    This one’s better:

    *http://atdhe.net/15328/watch-uefa-champions-league-draw

  18. Colby
    March 19, 2010

    I hope that we draw Bordeaux, Lyon, or CSKA Moscow for two reasons.

    1. They are the three worst sides left.

    2. More importantly, if we draw one of those three, it guarantees that at least two of the “better 4” (United, Inter, Bayern, Arsenal) have to draw each other, meaning we won’t have to play them.
    On the other hand, if we draw a “better team”, like Inter, it could end up that the other three teams have easy draws. So even if we get through inter, we would still be forced to go through two of United/Arsenal/Bayern.

    All of that having been said, I’m secretly hoping for Arsenal. It would just be a lot of fun to get a chance to destroy an English team. I’m hoping to avoid Inter, partly because they have there good days, but mostly because I want our games to be fun to watch, most of all.

  19. Eklavya
    March 19, 2010

    50 seconds to go!!!
    I’m so nervous!

  20. Eklavya
    March 19, 2010

    Bayern munich vs Manchester united!

  21. Eklavya
    March 19, 2010

    Moscow vs inter

    I’m very “meh” about the draw

  22. Eklavya
    March 19, 2010

    Semis:
    ManU / Bayern vs Bordeaux / Lyon

    and

    Inter / Moscow vs Barca / Arsenal

  23. Eklavya
    March 19, 2010

    If we go to the final we will wear pink/orange!

    • missingpage
      March 19, 2010

      well it depends cause if bayern or manchester reach it as well we will have to wear the yellow…cause their main colour(red) is very similar to our funky orange! 🙂

  24. Hector
    March 19, 2010

    Henry: “I would not mind any draw except Arsenal…”

    *Barca vs. Arsenal

    Henry: “Damnit!”

    • Eklavya
      March 19, 2010

      I was thinking the same thing hahah

  25. Hector
    March 19, 2010

    On the bright side, we play the second leg at home in the quarters and, assuming we win and go on, in the semis as well. That’s a GOOD thing.

    I would have rather faced Inter now when they will be a game without Lucio. Oh well, Lucio and Samuel are yellow/red machines so we can hope they live up that reputation against the Ruskies.

    Oh well, no looking ahead. Arsenal vs Barca should be a magnificent spectacle. The Guardian liveblog was funny: “Is it physically possible for Arsenal to beat Barcelona, given that they sort of are them, only not quite as good?”

  26. Jose
    March 19, 2010

    What a draw… not great but I’m ok with it. I like that we’re away on the first legs first, for both the quarters and semis. And that the final will be a solid home game if we actually get there.

    Also, we will indeed be wearing salmon if we reach the final, unless it’s a Lyon-Barca final, as Lyon’s home kit does not clash with ours. Otherwise, Bayern, Bordeaux and Man U all have red/blue home kits… bleh.

    • Jose
      March 19, 2010

      Careful, or you will draw the fury of a thousand insecure Gunners. 😉

    • barca96
      March 19, 2010

      i just don’t think the madristas will let that happen.
      perez will close the stadium or some shit. it’s too hard for them too take lol

    • March 19, 2010

      Again, You are the boss…you can do whatever you want 😀

      jkgdeq uigqeui iugö ouiygivb

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