Friday, December 3rd, 2021 -- With the Mosconi Cup set to kick off next Tuesday through Friday, December 7th through the 10th, Sneaky Pete Mafia magazine continues to update the players and fans here with a smorgasbord of Mosconi Cup stats, data and players from both team Europe and Team USA throughout the years.
The Mosconi Cup, dubbed after straight pool legend Willie Mosconi, began in 1994 with a male and female cast of colorful characters from both Europe and USA. While the format was a bit different back then, the bold spirit of consummate competition from both sides was felt from day one, Mosconi Cup ground zero.
Team USA won the first cup and dominated in the early years, being that not as many Europeans played 9 ball back then, and notably, team Europe had many professional snooker players -- legends like Jimmy White, Steve Davis, Allison Fisher, Alex Higgins, Daryl Peach, and others. Then, in 1995, with one of the most prolific snooker savants of all times, Alex Higgins on team Europe, they took the win.
Fast forward to present day, and team Europe and Team USA stand locked, tied at 13 wins a piece, with one tie over the entire history of the event, an incredible rivalry that provides the most electric pool atmosphere the world has ever seen -- a true 9 ball clash of Titans.
And this year we have perhaps the best American 9 ball player the USA or world has ever seen -- namely Earl "The Pearl" Strickland.
Strickland in a recent interview with Matchroom, “...I got some scruples about me. I haven’t given up. I can’t stand the heckling. Of course, I’m in good shape, in case they want to heckle me, I’ll be able to handle it. That’s why I train, is for the hecklers, so that they can’t get in my head, and screw me up. But at the same time, the cheering and the audiences, they’re supposed to be there, okay. But, unfortunately you guys think it’s a carnival, and it’s some kind of side show. I ain’t trained my whole life to be treated like that. I wish they’d do golfers like that, and tennis players, heckle them and just call them names, squeak noises, clown noises, and dog barking when you miss a shot. They got all these goofy little instruments in the audience here (Alexandria Palace, London). But, like I said, I’m in really good shape, you won’t get to me this year. You won’t ever get to me again until I’m dead. Yeah, that’s something I can cherish, as I get older, or one day when I can’t play, but you know, I plan on getting another US Open or something too, something like that, but...to get 10 Mosconi Cups would be something, and you know, I’m ready to play! I don’t know about the rest of these people. I can only take care of me, you understand? And if you look at me real good, I ain’t no joke. And I’m ready to play, I just hope my teammates are ready to play, and I hope we get some breaks. And I still think the pockets should be smaller (they are 4” this year). I think it should be three and a half inches. And I want to see a guy beat me on those tables.” -- https://www.facebook.com/matchroompool
Matchroom Multi Sport now hosts, promotes, and runs the Cup -- led by Emily Frazer, managing director, who was the COO (Chief Operating Officer) before being appointed to her new title spearheading the new permeation of Matchroom that just came into existence around July 3rd, 2020.
A look at 2021 Team Europe: Albin Ouschan, Eklent Kaci, David Alcaide, Jayson Shaw, and Joshua Filler, and team coach, Alex Lely. The cast of players -- all current or former world champions -- one of the strongest teams Europe has ever touted -- a true "Goliath."
A look at 2021 Team USA: SVB (Shane Van Boening), Skyler Woodward, Earl "The Pearl" Strickland, Tyler Styer, and Chris Reinhold, with Jeremy Jones on as coach, and SVB as playing team captain -- the clear underdog from my perspective: "David" in this scenario.
Pool players and fans of the Cup worldwide are all fired up in anticipation of the event to be held in just a few days, many of the players having already arrived in London at Alexandria Palace where this veritable billiards war will waged -- the countdown to 9 ball history being made, the cast of characters complete -- the event as large as it has ever been, gargantuan.
Who will win? Who is your pick? Do you pick team USA, the obvious underdog from this reporter's perspective? Or do you choose team Europe, and that massive "Deathstar" looming ahead -- seemingly without any weaknesses -- team USA up against a true Juggernaut, the "Goliath" in this billiards fable come to life!
Will Earl Strickland make all the difference? Who will rise to the occasion and who will falter and fall short of the goal? Who will take the 14-13 lead and the upper hand in this Mosconi Cup team tie we are currently locked in? Will Earl Strickland win his 10th team Mosconi Cup win and show that he still has all the chops, if just for one final run at 60 years old, his longevity in the game tantamount to a star studded, cascading waterfall of billiards brilliance -- one of the most raw, fiery pool personalities to ever entertain billiards fans with his cue artistry?
I pick the upset, the underdog, team USA. I pick my home, my country, my people, have nothing but respect for team Europe, but I served with the best of the best in the US Army: the 101st Airborne, 1st Cavalry Division, and the Second Infantry Division; I'm all team USA.
Let's get ready to rumble! The Tallahassee Squirrel out for now. More to come...