WICHITA, Kan. -

I never fully got World Cup fever---it was more like an itch which needed to be scratched. For me—that’s real progress.

Cup over---

I may watch some more of the World Cup if Brazil is in the final on its home turf, other than that, this event is pretty much ended for me with the American loss to Belgium. The country that gave us the saxophone, waffles on steroids and Jean-Claude Van Damme, also gave us a 2-1 loss in the yesterday’s knockout round.

I end my World Cup experience with a growing appreciation for the game of Futbol and the athletes who play it. I doubt, however, that I will start making dates with Major League Soccer or even the British Premier League or the German Bundesliga, but at least I know they exist. For years now people have forecast a soccer boom in America, but it’s never really happened and I don’t think it will now. The niche will be deeper because of this World Cup and the American’s performance in it, but I’m still not convinced that American fans are ready to embrace in the day to day manner we do Football, Basketball and Baseball.

I chatted with a friend yesterday before the U.S. matchup with Belgium—he claimed that he’d become a ‘huge ‘fan of U.S. soccer during this World Cup. Knowing this person to big fan of all three of the American stables, I was curious what he meant by ‘huge’, so I asked him to name five players on the American team—he got to four. Like many, he was a big fan of the American effort in an incredible event that celebrates the world’s favorite sport. I get it.

I hope the sport isn’t something we just get excited about every four years—we’ll see.

Who’d have thunk it?

Normally, one wouldn’t give Ricky Nelasco much of a chance against James Shields, but the Twins punked the Royals ace pretty badly last night. The five innings against the Twins was Shields shortest start of the season and it resulted in his third straight loss—a disturbing trend.

I like the acquisition of Raul Ibanez—I know you have to use carbon dating to get an accurate age of the guy, but he’s a proven left handed bat with pop. I know the 42-year old was only hitting .157 through 57 games with the Angels, but the guy had 29 homers last year in Seattle and his price was right.

Incredibly, Ibanez was one of the last most consistent power threats for the Royals the last time he played with them in the early 2000’s. As a 30 year old in KC he had 24 jacks and 103 driven in. In three years with the Royals he had 55 homers and 247 RBI, since then Mike Sweeny and Billy Butler are the only two Royals to put together more productive power numbers over a three year stretch. That begs the question—why did they let him get away? We’re talking about the Royals, remember, which lost him in free agency.

Ibanez doesn’t have enough of a bat left to keep the Royals from looking for a hitter at the trade deadline, but he could be a nice piece of the puzzle.