Covering the bases: World Cup, Nats

WASHINGTON — The World Cup is over for the United States and what a great event it was. We all cheered for the team at huge watch parties. I, for one, didn’t expect that kind of excitement for a sport that is an afterthought for most Americans.

But, with the U.S. now eliminated, will our attention turn elsewhere for the rest of the tournament? And, will the momentum continue until the next World Cup in 2018?

Major League Soccer continues to expand and attendance keeps growing. However, I believe Americans need to put their own imprint on the game to make it more popular in the States.

First, eliminate offsides in the box. Scoring chances are so few, speed and athleticism need to be rewarded. Also, eliminate penalty kicks. If a match goes into overtime, copy the NHL and take one player off each side to open up the field and allow more substitutions. Just keep playing till someone scores!

While most Americans are getting used to soccer…it seems many new baseball fans in the D.C. area are still searching for their comfort zone with the Nationals. The Nats are a contender for the third straight year in a relatively new ballpark, and yet large numbers show up in the second inning and leave in the seventh. What’s up with that?

I could understand if there were a lot of entertainment and dining options outside Nationals Park, but those are still years away. Also, despite having a team battling for first place, not one Nationals player is in the top five at his position in All-Star voting.

Injures may have limited candidates, but Nats fans still have Anthony Rendon and Ian Desmond.

Rendon is first in homers and RBI, and fifth in average among NL second baseman. Yes, he’s also been playing third, and at that position he’s fourth in homers and tied for first in RBI.

Desmond leads all shortstops in RBI and is second to the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki in homers.

Those are certainly credentials that make them All-Star worthy. It will be interesting to see which pitcher or pitchers are selected.

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