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      World Cup fever

      It's been an interesting couple of weeks in the world of sports.

      There's always something, isn't there?

      The Kansas City Royals won 10 straight games. No, really, 10 straight games. The Royals.

      They've since lost seven of 10.

      Will the real Royals please stand up? That would sure be better than laying down, which they've done since 1985 --- the last year they made the playoffs.

      They are who they are. Some nights, they couldn't hit a dead fly laying on the counter with a flyswatter.

      The St. Louis Cardinals are basically in the same boat, it's just a little better and more expensive boat. They can pitch, but can they hit?


      Missouri junior basketball star Jordan Clarkson was drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft on Thursday night by the Washington Wizards.

      Good for him. Good luck, Jordan. Something tells me he'll need it.

      Jabari Brown was not drafted. Hello, Europe. But there could be worse things in life than playing basketball in France, right?

      Ooh-la-la. Just give me the rock, baby.

      Good luck, Jabari.

      The United States soccer team clinched a berth in the 16-team World Cup finals by losing 1-0 to Germany last week.

      Next up, Belgium. If you can name one player on Belgium's team --- saying keeper or defender or team water boy, don't count --- then you're a better sports guy than I am.

      In its three qualifying games, the U.S. went 1-1-1 and scored a total of four goals. That would be a 1.33 goal average --- and they're now considered one of the best 16 teams in the world.

      It is what it is.

      But soccer is making strides. While the TV ratings still stink, they're better than they've ever been.

      Take that, Ann Coulter.

      "The World Cup is essentially the most watched sporting event in the world, I think more than the Olympics," Helias soccer coach Brad Dempsey said. "I hear Americans all the time say that when players take dives and act like they're hurt ... people have to understand the drama in the game of soccer, that's the culture of the sport.

      "The twists and turns in the World Cup are just unbelievable. I think Americans are really starting to grasp the sport, unfortunately, it just seems to happen just every four years."

      Dempsey, the new athletic director at Helias, continued.

      "Hopefully, maybe this time is different. Jurgen Klinsmann (U.S. head coach) is building a program. He's brilliant. He's made the team believe they can beat anybody. And he makes adjustments during games that helps put his team in the best position to win.

      "In four years, we're going to be a ton better, I think."

      The farthest the U.S. has ever advanced in the World Cup is the quarterfinals. They can match that by beating Belgium on Tuesday.

      "I think they can beat Belgium, I really do," Dempsey said, "but I think Germany has the best talent and the best chemistry. If the United States doesn't make it, I would love to see Germany and Argentina in the finals, because they have two very contrasting styles.

      "That would be very intiruiging."

      Lastly from the world of sports, some guy named John Isner lost Monday at Wimbledon. He was the last American standing.

      So? Isner had 52 aces in the match. And lost.


      It's always something.