As we say goodbye to perhaps the last truly enjoyable World Cup in history, we need to realize that it is not a dream, it is a fact: the next one, in 2022, will be held in Qatar. Will the next Winter Olympics be staged in Death Valley? What the hell, it needs a little work but there are millions of euros and dollars and bitcoins to be made. They know about money in Qatar, a nation of 2.6 million people who enjoy the highest per capita income in the world. Football (soccer) in the desert! Oh well, we Americans have golf in the desert, don’t we? We celebrate diversity, at least on paper, but this is more like culture clash. Qatar is mainly under Sharia law. Alcohol consumption and illicit sexual relations are punishable by flogging. That might actually be preferable to what happens to miscreants here, who are often forced to endure game shows and televised poker. Apostasy and homosexuality are punishable by death. Apostasy, for all of you numerous secular folks out there, would be equivalent, in the United States, to not liking barbecue.
How does FIFA make these decisions? Despite my access to Wikipedia, which knows everything, I don’t know. I suspect, though, that it is much like the way that the International Olympic Committee operates, in that wire transfers and luggage containing suitable forms of currency insure that fairness applies in the selection of sites.
They don’t have any Putin or Trump types in Qatar. It’s a family affair, and guys like that are a waste of money. They have an emir, part of the Al Thani dynasty that has been ruling since 1825. The current dude is Tamim binHamad Al Thani and he gets his dough from natural gas and oil reserves. The best thing that can be said about Qatar is that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates have cut off diplomatic ties with them.
Meanwhile, the major league baseball season slogs on toward the dog days. They call everything after the All Star Game the second half, but arithmetically it is really the last third. What significant things can be tallied after the first 98 games or so?
- THE KANSAS CITY ROYALS ARE DONE FOR
- FIRING MIKE MATHENY WON’T IMPROVE THE CARDINALS DEFENSE
- BRYCE HARPER WILL NOT WIN THE TRIPLE CROWN
- CLEVELAND WINS THE CENTRAL ON THREE WHEELS
- MILWAUKEE HAS PROBABLY PEAKED
- ATTENDANCE WILL CONTINUE TO FALTER IN MORE PLACES
- PRESIDENT TWEETY WILL ATTEND NO GAMES
- OAKLAND WILL CONTINUE TO BE A PLEASANT SURPRISE
- THE RAYS WILL NOT MOVE TO OKLAHOMA CITY
- WIN OR LOSE, BRUCE BOCHY WILL RETIRE IN NOVEMBER