Week of March 2, 2015

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It’s that time of year again, folks. Spring Training is here!

Holding Back A Running Prodigy

According to running guru Alberto Salazar, Mary Cain has “as much talent as any young athlete I’ve ever seen in running in my life.” For now, though, she needs to take it slow. Writer Elizabeth Weil uses Cain as a jump point to examine a variety of subjects, including the physiological dangers in over-training young women, the positive impacts of a more matured Title IX, and how to approach practice when the intention is to peak in six or seven years from now. Thanks for sending this along, Jamie Morganstern. It’s a great read for everyone, but I think runners – especially female runners – will be fascinated. – PAL

Source: “Mary Cain Is Growing Up Fast”, Elizabeth Weil, The New York Times Magazine (3/4/15)

TOB: My grandparents (I think) got us our first subscription to Sports Illustrated when I was a kid. I’ll never forget the first issue we got – Jennifer Capriati’s “And She’s Only 13!” cover story after her run to the finals of a tournament in 1990. I’ll also never forget her fall from grace, culminating in her arrest in 1993. It is refreshing to read about a coach and parent who are not pressuring a young prodigy into too much too soon. I hope to hear Mary Cain’s name at the next Olympics.


“The Winds of Autumn are a Pirate…”

I say this with the knowledge that it is not necessarily a good thing: But I’d put my knowledge of sports trivia up against most. A big part of this is thanks to NFL Films – whose Super Bowl recaps I watched religiously as a kid. In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, ESPN would show them in chronological order, and I would tune in everyday after school to gobble it up. These days, NFL Films get the winning team’s Super Bowl recap together in a very short amount of time, complete with footage and audio from the game, sideline and huddle – all set to inspiring music. NFL Films is the best in the business. This is an interesting look at how that sausage gets made. -TOB

Source: Monuments Men: Inside the Mad Scramble to Bring You Your Annual NFL Championship DVD”, Katie Baker, Grantland (03/02/2015)

PAL: For the past 7+ years I’ve worked at a company that shoots a lot of music performance videos. One of our biggest events is shooting concerts at the SXSW music festival. It’s a crazy amount of pre-production, man power, logistics, and media management…and that’s just for 15 bands over 3 days. The scale of what NFL Films does is staggering (covering 30 teams), and the efficiency with which they do it is masterful. A fun read on the cultural staple that is NFL Films. Also, please join me in supporting Tommy’s bid to get on Sport Jeopardy.


Game, Blouses

We all know and love the legendary Prince basketball skit from Chappelle Show. Well, here’s some evidence that Prince (5’2”) was a solid player for real, and he argued about playing time with his coach, too. The team photo alone is worth the click here, folks. A side note: while I love Bob Dylan, Prince is actually the musical icon of Minnesota. The dude still lives there, regularly goes to Timberwolves and Vikings games, and records his music right there in Minnesota. True blue Minnesotan. Got to love it. – PAL

Source: “Prince Was An Afro-Rocking, Coach- Hating Schoolboy Basketball Player”, Billy Haisley, Deadspin (3/3/15)


The Cardinals Can’t Stop Talking About Not Talking About Themselves

As far as rants go, Drew Magary dropped the mic on this one. Giants fans will get an additional kick out of this, too. The St. Louis Cardinals self-aggrandizement is insufferable, and writers who drink the punch on this line of B.S. are even worse. A writer from USA Today did a story about how the team lets its play to the talking for them. Naturally, the story is filled with quotes from several players and management talking about how “talk is cheap.”  Maybe I was only halfway into my coffee this morning, but I’m ready to loathe the Cardinals again. Ah, spring must be in the air. – PAL

Source: “Moron USA Today Columnist Thinks The Cardinals Poop Vanilla Sprinkles”, Drew Magary, Deadspin (3/4/15)


Video of the Week:

Bonus:


“About those sit-ups you want me to do. I got it right here in my contract – it says I don’t have to do any calisthenics I don’t feel are necessary. So, what do you think about that?”

– Roger Dorn

 

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Week of August 18, 2014

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But How Old Are They In Dog Years?

A follow-up to the 30 for 30 short on Almonte. This is a must-read, if for no other reason that it introduced me to this amazing video, of Tom Verducci confronting Miguel Tejada with his real birth certificate, revealing that he was two years older than thought. -TOB
Source: “After Almonte: Sports and the Age Fraud Menace“,  Katie Baker, Grantland (08/15/14)

Note: I know this makes very little sense, but I like a good fake birth certificate story (at least the ones when they are doctoring their age to make them younger). The chances of a MLB player playing long enough for a 2-year discrepancy to matter is slim. So Miguel Tejada earned more money on his second or third contract. He also grew up in extreme poverty, and every single one of us would do the same if we were put in similar circumstances. However, misrepresenting an age to make an athlete appear older (see: China’s gymnastics team) is different. Putting a 13 year-old on a stage like the Olympics is messed up. Love Katie Baker’s story. – PAL


Mo’ne is Money

There’s a lot to love about Mo’ne Davis. In case you missed it, she is the first girl to be the winning pitcher in a Little League World Series (it was a shutout, too). It’s nice to read a genuinely feel-good story. The best part of the story is how she seems to be handling it. There are some folks out there who have been critical of SI putting her on the cover, but I’m not one of them. While I think putting her story in the context of the unrest in Ferguson, MO is a stretch, Davis is far and away the best sports story going at time when football (NFL and college football) hasn’t begun, MLB is not quite into the playoff push, and NBA and the NHL aren’t playing. Let’s all just agree that she’s a badass and enjoy. -PAL
Source: “Mo’ne Davis’ success works ‘to uplift us at a time of great sorrow'”, John Timpane, Philly.com (8/20/14)

Note: I was bummed to see Mo’ne get knocked around a bit on Wednesday, and then eliminated on Thursday. It was fun to watch, especially coming off the heels of an argument my dad and I had with my wife and my mom a couple weeks back, about whether it is appropriate/realistic or inappropriate/sexist to teach my son (currently just 8 weeks old) how to not “throw like a girl” when he gets older. If he throws like Mo’ne, I’m ok with that. I also enjoyed this read about how/whether Mo’ne should monetize her popularity right now, as well as this article about how interesting it is that she pitches as well as she does. -TOB


Rule 4.12 (a) (3)

On June 16, 1986 the Pittsburgh Pirates won a protest of a MLB game. The next time it happened: August 19, 2014. In other words, protests are never won, until the San Francisco Giants did it this week. Why does this matter? The Giants are in the thick of a division race, and with a second Wild Card team added to each league, a game can make all of the difference. The best part of the story is why the grounds crew at Wrigley might of had issues – “Sources said the Cubs ordered grounds-crew staffing reductions this week to cover recent ‘overages’ in hours by the crew.” Some manager just gambled on a safe bet (there’s not going to be rain tonight) and lost big. – PAL
Source: “Staffing issue may have been responsible for Cubs ‘tarp gate’”, Gordon Wittenmyer, Chicago Sun-Times (8/20/14)

Note: As we now know, the Giants ended up losing this game on Thursday, after another rain delay. They nearly pulled it off, but did not. That’s ok, though. I might be crazy, but I feel a different mojo with the team already. I am hoping the Giants (presently just two games back in the loss column) use this quirky occurrence to rally together and streak to the division title. Also, I like the implication in this story, that there was no malfunction and that the Giants, the Cubs, and MLB worked to find a way to resume the game. A little shenanigans may have been at play. Why would the Cubs cooperate? The Giants are in the Wild Card race with the Cubs’ division rival Cardinals. It’s always fun to screw over a rival. If only they’d coughed up the game, too. -TOB


Video of the Week:

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“O God, ease our suffering in this, our moment of great despair. Yea, admit this kind and decent woman into thy arms of thine heavenly area, up there. And Moab, he lay us upon the band of the Canaanites, and yea, though the Hindus speak of karma, I implore you: give her a break.”

– Clark W. Griswold