Guess Who’s Back, Back Again…
Hey, uh. The Warriors are 10-1, with the lone loss coming in OT, and an absolutely outrageous point differential of 13.6 (Edit: Since I wrote this, they are now 13-2 with a point differential of 13.7). And they are about to get Klay Thompson back, who hasn’t played in 2 ½ years. Steph is doing Steph things,, Draymond seems rejuvenated, the young guys who got all that p/t in 2020 are seeing the benefits of that experience (especially Poole), and this team suddenly looks like the best (and most fun) team in the NBA once again. As Chris Thompson writes:
Now they appear to be one of the very best teams in basketball with Jordan damn Poole second on the squad in usage. Imagine adding any conceivable game-ready version of Klay Thompson to this! Bringing Klay back into the fold will, I’m sure, require some patience and fine-tuning, but the team’s already good vibes should immediately shoot through the roof. With a core that has always drawn so much juice from raw vibes, that makes for a thrilling, terrifying possible future. And that’s just any ambulatory version of Thompson. Imagine if he gets back to doing Klay Thompson shit! The mind reels.
More on Steph, though. Here are his last 6 games:
That is NINE 3-pointers made in 4 of his last 6 games, with games of 50, 40, 37, and 40 points. He’s the greatest show in sports. Watch what he made this opposing fan do:
(That, “Oh, ohhh” is my 7-year old, kneeling at the Church of Curry)
Future generations will truly not understand what a wonder he is. We are so lucky to get to see him play.
Meanwhile, 90 miles up the road:
Source: “Imagine Adding Klay Thompson To This!” Chris Thompson, Defector (11/09/2021)
PAL: My wife is starting to ask if the Warriors are playing tonight, so you know they are back to being so friggin’ entertaining to watch. I really don’t know what else to say about Steph. It’s just so fun to watch when he’s on fire.
I also love Gary Payton II. Dude comes off the bench, seems to immediately get 2 steals and 6 points in 4 minutes of play. He’s a menace.
This story about a softball team made up of Mayan women is a reminder of the good side of sports. So often I can become too focused on what bothers me about a game or league—be it the politics, business, or the ineptitude of favorite teams—that it’s nice to be reminded of the power within simply playing a game.
Adam Williams’ story gives the backstory on the Las Diablillas softball team and the growing popularity of softball amongst indigenous women in Mexico.
The women play barefoot (they prefer it, since they are usually barefoot and cleats just give them blisters) and wear their traditional Mayan dresses. What started as a community idea for the women to get a bit of exercise in the afternoon has become somewhat of a national sensation, playing games in stadiums with thousands of fans to see the spectacle. More importantly, the game has helped change the perception of a woman’s role within the community.
“When I first started playing, the men in my family said jokes and comments like ‘You’re just wasting your time playing softball,’” said Alvi Yajaira Diaz Poot, who plays several positions for the Amazonas. “Now when I come home from games they are eager to know how the game went and even bring me something to drink.”
And best of all, playing softball has helped the women see themselves in a different light.
“As we have improved on the field, my life has improved as well,” said Alicia Canul Dzib, who plays second base and pitches for the Diablillas. “I used to really only leave the house to help my husband with our crops. Now, thanks to softball, I have permission to leave the house, enjoy myself with friends and visit new towns. It motivates me to keep playing and set an example for my daughter.”
An excellent read, with phenomenal photos from Marian Carrasquero, that will remind you of the power of a game. – PAL
Source: “An Indigenous Women’s Softball Team Beats Opponents, and Machismo,” Adam Williams, The NY Times (11/17/21)
Brandon Crawford: A Decent Shortstop
Brandon Crawford won the Gold Glove this year, at age 34. That is pretty dang impressive. To celebrate it, Grant Brisbee utilized Baseball Savant to watch every single play Crawford made this season. He then highlighted the best – whether they were flashy or routine – that Crawford made this year. This isn’t from Brisbee’s article, but it’s a taste:
I love this article because, like those who argue dumbly against Buster Posey as a Hall of Famer, there are some players you need to see everyday in order to understand their brilliance. Crawford is one of those. One of my favorite Twitter follows this past season was Susan Slusser. She had been a beat writer for the A’s for years, but began covering the Giants this season. It seemed like every single night she would express her amazement at how good Brandon Crawford is.
And he’s really great. Watching him play shortstop is a joy. I promise you, I texted friends this season about plays made by Crawford more than anyone else. It was fun to relive those moments in this article. And, to top it off, he finished 4th in the NL MVP voting, receiving the third most first place votes. -TOB
Source: “The Defensive Genius of Brandon Crawford’s Gold Glove Season,” Grant Brisbee, The Athletic (11/08/2021)
PAL: Of all the games I’ve gone to with TOB, no other player in the field has induced more slow head shakes, as in, “Damn, that’s so goddamn good.”The plays he makes look so easy are so, so, so hard. The other variable lost on tv is this: a lot of these guys in the bigs can really get down the line, so everything has to be perfect in order to make the plays he makes all of the time.
Reason #1,459 To Not Gamble
Not a big racetrack guy, but I can appreciate this one. At some big Breeder’s Cup race that a lot of people gamble on, there was a bit of a mess at the starting gate. One horse, Albahr, flipped over and got stuck under the gate. Big delay, and that horse was scratched from the race. So, too, was the horse next to Albahr, Modern Games. So a bettor who picked either of those horses could not win. Tough break, right?
Except Modern Games did race, and the result was way worse than you could expect. I’ll leave it to Dan McQuade to explain:
The vet had been told, incorrectly, that Modern Games had broken through the starting gate. But the decision to exclude the horses had been made and so both were removed from betting pools.
That ruling stood about four minutes. After some discussion, it was announced Modern Games would return to the race, but would only run for purse money. The horse was briefly entered back into the betting, then removed again, and then the race started. It is important to note: Modern Games would’ve been the favorite in the race, winning three of his five starts coming into the race. Well, he made it four in six. Crossing the finish line first, to a chorus of boos, was Modern Games!
There were many reasons gamblers were booing. Bettors who picked the winning horse saw their horse win the race, but only got a refund on their bets. It was worse for gamblers with multi-race bets: In scenarios where a horse in a parlay bet is scratched, the bettor simply receives the favorite in place of it. The favorite for the race in the end was Dakota Gold at 8–1. That horse finished 5th. The winner for gambling purposes was Tiz The Bomb, who technically finished second. So gamblers who correctly picked Modern Games to win the race on those bets saw their horse win but their ticket lose. This shifted millions of dollars’ worth of bets.
Yikes. I would’ve booed, too. – PAL
Source: “Breeders’ Cup Fiasco Ruins Bettors’ Friday Night,” Dan McQuade, Defector (11/07/21)
Free Offensive Linemen!
Honestly, I have never understood the rule in football that offensive lineman can’t be receivers. Why make the game less exciting? If you’re not aware, there is a rule that an offensive lineman who is not an eligible receiver (which is almost always all of them) cannot be the first person to touch a forward pass. It’s a dumb rule that came into play last week on Thursday Night Football.
I have some experience with this. In JV football, I played offensive line. One game, we called a screen pass. I was supposed to half block my guy, then let him go by so that he (and the other defenders) would think they’d crush the QB, only for the QB to throw the ball over their heads to the waiting running back, who would then have a convoy of blockers in front of him. After getting “beat” I was supposed to wait until I heard the call from the running back to begin heading upfield.
On this play, though, I let my guy go by and then waited…and waited. My internal clock began to go off and I turned my head to see what was going on. As I did, I saw the ball floating right to me. Our QB had made a terrible pass, and it was to me. So I caught it and did the only thing that made sense – I ran upfield.
In that moment I appreciated the vision and awareness required to be a ball carrier. Because in a football helmet, your peripheral vision is narrow. After I caught the bell and began to run, the field was wide open. I legitimately thought I was going to score a 50-yard touchdown. Instead, after probably 15 yards, I was suddenly cut down by a tackle from my right side.
I actually knew the rule, even at 15, that I was not supposed to touch the ball. But it was coming right to me and I thought in that split second, oh what the hell. I’m glad I did – even after they announced the penalty, my coach ran over to me to celebrate. I didn’t quite do what that Dolphins OL did, but for one moment, I thought I was going to score – and that was pretty cool.
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