We don't need no stinkin' TiVo
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2

The hour of 4 a.m. can mean a lot of things to a lot of Cooler-dwellers. If you're up at 4 a.m., here's what it can mean:

Brazilian fans
If you've got to be up at 4 a.m., watching some of the Brazilian fans isn't a bad way to pass the time.
1. You're on a big-league bender with pals, and one of you had the foresight to make the liquor store run before the 2 a.m. closing time, meaning you're now knee-deep in empties at your buddy's place, and at the point of voices raised over Bonds vs. Sosa; Magic vs. Larry; or Salma vs. Britney. Well done.

2. You're on the road to getting lucky, or have recently gotten lucky and are trying to navigate a graceful exit. Again, well done.

3. You're a criminal, walking the streets, casing joints. Can't endorse that nocturnal stroll.

See, here at The Cooler, if you're up at 4 a.m., it's for a good reason.

Which brings me to me.

In my sweatpants and a T-shirt. Alone in my living room. At 4 a.m. PT. Watching the World Cup final.


Yeah, baby.

These are the sacrifices we make in order to be first-class citizens of the World of Sports. Hey, any jerk can show up in the third inning of a Dodgers game. Any blowhard can glance at a Knicks game in a bar and offer his take on Latrell Sprewell. Any tool can take his company's club-level seats, not know a thing about the ballclub, and still brag to co-workers he was there when Luis Gonzalez "hit a four-run homer!"

That guy? Not a Cooler-dweller.

The guy in sweats at 4 a.m., alone, shunning a toasty bed, to catch Germany-Brazil?

Well, he's either me, in search of a lead Cooler item, or some damn fool who doesn't realize the magic of TiVo could have bought him three precious hours of sack time.

Either way, a dweller.

Ronaldo's two goals were definitely worth the early wake-up call.
But that's the rub! No TiVo allowed for the World Cup final!

This is our message today: We exist in the World of Sports for the massive sacrifice, to prove our mettle. We exist in this world to pay the most for a scalped ticket, say the most outrageous thing to get the most hasty ejection, or absorb the most noxious fumes of low-grade paint for our waiting faces.

Because we can.

Because Germany was playing Brazil in Japan.

And it mattered on the Pacific Coast of North America, for reasons both so profound and so simple, they're perfect.

So there I was, trying to keep quiet so my girl could rest, watching the sun peek its way over the San Francisco skyline, and hoisting my arms in the air, silently, when Ronaldo scored his first goal. At that point, the dark San Francisco night was turning the faintest shades of indigo outside our hilltop view, and my arms stayed raised, and Ronaldo ran in joyous satisfaction and I thought ... dammit, I could be bagging some serious Zs right now, taking a hard right into an REM that involved Elle Macpherson and trapezes.

But in reality, there was nowhere I'd rather be.

Well, that's an overstatement. Had California law allowed our fair taverns to serve between 2 and 6 a.m., there was one place I'd rather be. But a dry hour? There was no place else to be, but alone, in the sweats, on the couch, arms raised, patiently awaiting a Sunday sunrise, carving another sports memory for a lifetime, with the World Cup final playing out on its verdant pitch.

The things we do for love, dwellers. The things we do for love.

On to the Weekend List of Five:

1. Hail the true world champs
Immediately, a ban on all American use of the words "world champions."

This is no breaking news, but it is news that bears repeating.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is a three-time NBA champion ... but he ain't a world champion.
The Lakers are NBA champions. The Patriots are Super Bowl champions. The Yankees are champions.

Brazil is world champion.

Don't even start. I tried once, in Europe, 10 years ago to defend the use of "world champs" with the same, tired act you've tried: No other country plays basketball at our level. No other country plays American football like we do. Of course we're the best in the world.

Put a sock in it, chief.

I was eventually shamed into silence, and into the knowledge that there really is no need for us to put the word "world" in front of our sports champions unless the world is involved. It's a pretty simple concept. The Lakers play in the NBA, the Lakers won the NBA, the Lakers are NBA champions.

Brazil played in the World Cup, Brazil won the World Cup, the Brazilians are world champions.

Any questions?

Good. Just so you know, the appropriate time to use the word "world" in arguments or conversations: World beat music is just another name for reggae. World B. Free had one of the great jump shots of our time, and one of the great names of our time, although there was really nothing wrong with "Lloyd," excepting the consecutive "l"s. The world-famous BBQ sauce featured at a BBQ hut near you is not world-famous. The basketball game "Around the World" is really "Around the Key," but is acceptable in playground jargon. WorldCom is in a world of hurt.

Then again, the dirty little secret on the "World" Cup -- its finals have only matched teams from South America or Europe, and what's so "world" about that? That's more like, two parts of the "world."

But man, I can't wait for Euro-South America Cup '06!

2. More World Cup thoughts
Was it me, or did Brazil coach Luiz Scolari bear a startling resemblance to Gene Hackman? I found this distracting, and nominated this for a "Here's Looking at You" on Page 2.

Gene Hackman
Luiz Felipe Scolari
The idea of Scolari as Hackman's Norman Dale is priceless, though: Visiting a Brazilian farm to talk Ronaldo (Jimmy) back on to the team, while Ronaldo fires goal after goal into an empty net; or Scolari telling his team in the locker room just before kickoff, "I love you guys," only to see the camera pan the locker room and see each player on a mobile phone, talking to agents and Nike reps ...

Seeing Germany and Brazil in the finals was classic, pure stuff, like a Yankees-Cardinals Series with the dearly departed Jack Buck at the mike. Only Jack Buck would have said, upon seeing Ronaldo's haircut, "I don't understand what I just saw! I don't understand what I just saw!" ...

Can't beat a World Cup final with Italian Pierluigi (Don't Call Me the Dude From Midnight Oil) Collina as ref. I read where fans are so obsessed with this guy, they've taken photos with him while he was asleep on a plane. Imagine American football fans doing the same while Red Cashion sawed logs in first-class en route from Dallas to New York, although Cashion might be worthy for the best "First down!" call in NFL history ...

I'm not sure, but I believe I saw Brazilian goalkeeper Marcos in a sky-blue fright wig shortly after the final whistle. Actually, I am sure. I'm just not sure what to make of it ...

Notwithstanding Brazil's two goals, because Brazil scores with the frequency and surety of Warren Beatty in the early '70s, Oliver Kahn had the greatest stint of goalkeeping in history. This guy makes Dominik Hasek look like Charles Dimry trying to cover Jerry Rice.

3. Wimbledon, and why it makes me think of the city desk
So we're at the halfway point of The Fortnight, and all I can think of is the old anecdote about hard-bitten city desk editors at old metro newspapers. As the story goes, these guys were as hard as beef jerky under a noontime sun, and if a tragedy was phoned in to the city desk, a veteran metro editor would never look up from his typewriter as he yelled: "How many dead?"

Andre Agassi
If you blinked, you missed Andre Agassi and the other American men at Wimbledon.
This, apparently, would gauge the tragedy's news value.

That's how I feel about Wimbledon in the first week.

Rip the reports off the wire, shout the results to me and I'll still bang at my typewriter, shouting: "How many dead?"

Well, Agassi and Sampras and Safin and every American ... man, lots of dead.

Anybody for another Venus-Serena final?

4. A toast to Jose Hermandez and Richie Sexson
Milwaukee is playing host to the All-Star Game, and Jose Hernandez and Richie Sexson are their men.

Man, can I relate to every teenager in Brew City, or what?

Jose Hernandez
Jose Hernandez, right, won't be alone representing the home team in next week's All-Star Game.
My squad, the Giants, pretty much sucked from 1973 to 1987, and All-Star time meant the one time that the league-mandated socialist rule of one player per team gave you your bit of glory. God bless socialism.

So in 1984, when sad old Candlestick Park was host to the All-Star Game, Bob Brenly and Chili Davis made it, and both made it pretty much because the host team should have two, not one.

I remember swelling with pride when Brenly was introduced, tipping that cap as he stepped off the baseline in introductions.

Viva Jose Hernandez! Hurray for Richie Sexson!

In other words, Brewers fans, I can relate, baby. You ain't alone.

5. Final World Cup thought
I sat on the couch in the gaining dawn, wondering what Jack Edwards might do if either team won. For Germany? What, the Scorpions? "Here they are, rocking you like a hurricane, the German World Cup champions!"

And what of Brazil? Certainly, he would have go to with the unofficial national anthem, "Girl from Ipanema.' " I anticipated an Edwards bark of: "Tall and tan and young and lovely ... the Brazilians are World Cup champions!"

Nah. Edwards played it straight, going with: "The Kings reign again!"

Fair enough. Well-played.

But, for the record, you can never go wrong with "Girl from Ipanema."

Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes the "Weekend Water Cooler" every Monday for Page 2.



Brian Murphy Archive

Complete 2002 World Cup coverage

Makin' It Better: Brazil uniforms

Murphy: A clothes call in World Cup

Murphy: An artful gallery at Bethpage

Murphy: Conned by an ex-con

Murphy: The Kings who would have been king

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