Actual caption A-Rod wrote for this pic: “Just another day at ARod Corp – signing baseballs for fans and managing my inbox
A Man, A Citibike, and a Dream
This story is kind of amazing. 35-year old Jeffrey Tanenhaus was working an office job he hated. Living in NYC, his one daily joy was riding Citibike – New York’s bike sharing program – to and from work. Tanenhaus loved the concept and the execution. So one day, he quit his job, terminated his lease, got a Citibike, and took off across the country. If you’ve ever used a Citibike (I’ve used the equivalent in SF and D.C.) you understand how amazing this is. Those bikes are like little tanks. They are heavy, not that fast, and they are brutal on hills. On his trip, Tanenhaus made one potential love connection in Tulsa, Oklahoma that he is still in contact with (but he was not using Tinder on his travels. Bro, you gotta get on Tinder. So I hear…) and also was nearly murdered by a crazed-man (not kidding – a man stopped his truck and attacked Tanenhaus, saying that he hates bicyclists. Later that evening the man broke a baseball bat on his roommate’s head and tried to kill his neighbor with a battle axe). It’s not clear yet what Tanenhaus plans to do next. He left NYC in August, and expects to finish his trip next weekend. But at least he’s no longer métro, boulot, dodo, as the French say. Good for him. -TOB
Source: “Everyone Has a Dream. For Jeffrey It Was Riding a Citibike Across America“, Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian (01/13/2016)
The Flip Side of Kentucky Basketball: Gopher Hockey
We are all familiar with where John Calipari has driven Kentucky basketball. He’s taken advantage of insane NBA rules prohibiting high school players from going directly to the NBA and created a feeder system. Many of the top prospects go to UK with no intention of staying on campus beyond 1+ semesters. Kentucky isn’t the only feeder in college sports. For all of my life, University of Minnesota Hockey was the dream of every kid in Minnesota. A tradition I imagine is similar to that of a storied college football team. They built an NHL stadium – for a college hockey team – and sold the joint out every game. Hell, Herb Brooks – a Bear Bryant figure in hockey – coached there. You want tradition? It wasn’t that long ago that the U of M exclusively recruited Minnesota players while consistently remaining a national powerhouse. Over the past 10 years, the hallowed – and I don’t use that term lightly – program has become a stepping stone. The team is filled with 1st round NHL draft picks. The only problem is the team now sucks. Unlike basketball, two 5-star recruits doesn’t translate to success in hockey. People are pissed, and not just fans. One NHL scout had this to say about players at Minnesota: ‘“If a kid is going to Minnesota,’ says one NHL scout, ‘concerns are openly discussed in our rooms about how it might affect his development.’”
To be fair, the role of college hockey has changed. In this story, Cory Zurowski points out that “A decade ago, roughly 20 percent of NHL rosters consisted of college players. Today, the number is closer to one in three, making the collegiate ranks the fastest-growing path to million-dollar contracts.” That is to say, the Gophers are a mess, but I shouldn’t be surprised. Thanks, Lisa Lang for passing this one along…I still live vicariously through if my niece and nephew if they donned the M sweater. – PAL
Source: “What happened to the University of Minnesota Hockey Program?” Cory Zurowski, City Pages, ℅ Lisa Lang (01/13/2016)
TOB: I have no dog in this Coach vs. Alumni fight. And while some of the excuses make sense (e.g., Minnesota fans are spoiled rotten and need to get used to the fact that there are now 60+ programs competing hard in college hockey, and thus there will be parity; the age difference between the Gopher squads filled with young stars vs. the aged veterans at smaller schools who washed out of semi-pro leagues), Coach Lucia also seems full of it. For example, when defending his offer of scholarships to younger and younger players, some as young as 15, Lucia says this:
“The hard part becomes, at some of these ages, you don’t know when you have to do it,” Lucia says. “Somebody else could come behind the scenes, bring in a kid and offer him and tell him he’s got a week to decide…. All of a sudden he’s gone. He’s off the board. And so that’s sometimes the hard part. Do we have to recruit this kid in 11th grade? Do we have to recruit him in 10th grade? Or do we have to recruit him in ninth grade?”
His excuse is that he’s simply keeping up with the Joneses. But this writer gets something very wrong, and it seems to be coming from Coach Lucia: Minnesota is not “signing” these kids at 15. Players cannot sign until their senior year (and even then, in specific periods of time during the year). Scholarship offers are not binding until that time. But Coach Lucia is acting as though, by being forced to offer young players, he is then tied to them for good. That’s simply not true.
How College Athletes Can Quickly Retake Power
As we’ve chronicled here before, college sports is an absolute mess. This is a great and well-researched op-ed published last weekend, ahead of this past Monday’s college football National Championship Game, by sports agent Donald Yee. Yee argues persuasively that college football players have much more power than they currently wield, and that it would not take much for them to take that power back. Yee argues that a mass protest, such as the players for Clemson and Alabama to refuse to play Monday’s game, would have quickly and convincingly tipped the balance of power in college football back to the players. As someone who does love a little chaos, I would have thoroughly enjoyed this. -TOB
Source: “College Sports Exploits Unpaid Black Athletes. But They Could Force a Change”, Donald Yee, The Washington Post (01/08/2016)
Jimmer: Just Go to Europe, Dude
Jimmer Fredette is just one of those guys: A great college player because of a great, singular talent: He can shoot the rock. But where Jimmer was able to excel in college, he failed in the pros. He was not quick enough, and didn’t have the dribbling ability, to consistently get a clean look at the basket. And he could not defend. At all. So, despite being one of the greatest college scorers of all time, in the NBA, he sucked. Jimmer is back, though. Sorta. He’s now tearing up the D-League, playing for the Westchester Knicks, in front of crowds far smaller than he did at BYU.
Jimmer professes in this article that his goal it to get back to the NBA – to prove he can cut it. But my question is: Why? My other question: Is the stated goal sincere? He kind of seems to be enjoying the heck out of once again being the big man on campus, so to speak. Sometimes in life, we need to accept our fate. Jimmer, you’re never going to make it in the NBA. Go to Europe, shoot twenty-five times a game, and make some good money. Stop riding the bus in Westchester, chasing the impossible. Also, I still can’t believe the Kings took Jimmer over guys like Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Brandon Knight, Jimmy Butler, Chandler Parsons and Kemba Walker. Holy hell, the Kings suck. -TOB
Source: “Jimmer Fredette is the Steph Curry of the D-League”, David Vertsberger, Vice Sports (01/07/2016)
PAL: In baseball, Jimmer would be what you call a “quadruple A player”. Too good for the minors, not good enough for the majors. And – holy shit – I can’t believe he was taken before that list of dudes in the draft…then looked up who was taken before Steph Curry, including:
- Hasheem Thabeet
- Tyreke Evans
- Ricky Rubio
- Jonny Flynn
Not so long ago we featured a story about a cool tradition of the Minnesota Vikings (Donut Club). I like stories about weird traditions amongst teams. Thanks to 123 Sports reader, Alex Denny, I had the pleasure to learn a bit more about Hawks’ youthful tradition. The notion of a bunch of millionaires playing Uno on a chartered flight is nothing but great. Al Horford: “…you can only watch so many movies.” – PAL
Source: “For Some Atlanta Hawks, a a Revved-Up Game of Uno Is Diversion No. 1”, Scott Cacciola, The New York Times (01/12/2016)
TOB: This is pretty hilarious. My favorite part is how they pillaged other Uno decks for the Draw-2 and Draw-4 cards, added them to the deck they play with to make their game tougher, and call that “Laying the Heat.” That phrase will now be added to my everyday vernacular.
Video of the Week:
Please don’t let the Browns draft Jared Goff.
PAL Song of the Week: David Bowie – “Changes”
Here is the playlist of all of our picks. You’ll love it, dammit.
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