Week of August 25, 2014

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Jerry Jones Has a Great Life.

This profile on Jerry Jones is incredibly long, and you probably don’t have time to read it all. Which is why we’re here, with the best tidbits from a really good read:

  1. Jerry Jones is 6 feet, ½ inch tall. I always thought he was like 6’4.
  2. Jerry Jones played college football.
  3. George Strait fans really love George Strait. $1000 for parking spots?!
  4. Jerry claims he spent all the money he had at the time ($150M) buying the Cowboys. Forbes now values the team at $3.2B. Billion! Seems like a wise investment.
  5. Sports radio guys are idiots. I did not learn that from this story. But I did learn that one of the dumbest is in Dallas, who stated in this story that being GM of the Cowboys is maybe one of the most important jobs in the world. The world. Ugh.
  6. Jerry Jones uses a flip phone. For the record, I love flip phones.
  7. Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson were teammates in college?!
  8. Romo talking about how Jones is all about substance and not style, and that is why he passed on Johnny Manziel, right after reading how angry Jones was that they did not take Manziel, is really funny.
  9. Romo drinks Miller Lite. Of course.
  10. While the reporter was there, Adrian Peterson called Jerry Jones and told him he’d like to play for the Cowboys. Jones expressed that the interest is mutual. I can’t wait to see what the Vikings’ response is to this.
  11. Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson were ROOMMATES in college??
  12. With outside financial backing, Jerry Jones almost bought the San Diego Chargers when he was just 23 years old. His father talked him out of it. That is wild.
  13. Years ago, Jones gave up alcohol to lose weight. But his own mother convinced his wife to get Jones drinking again, because he was too much of an asshole sober.
  14. God I wish I was rich: “He and Jones were drinking heavily in Austin one night and stumbled into a dance club at 2:30 a.m. when the bartender told them that last call had long passed. “Either you start servin’ drinks,” Jones said, “or I buy the bar and you’re the first son of a bitch I get rid of.” Ten minutes later, Jones tells Hansen, “Go to the bathroom.” Inside, Hansen discovered a bartender sitting behind a hastily assembled but fully stocked bar; Jones, Hansen and another 10 pals enjoyed mixed drinks until 5 a.m. Hansen was shipwrecked with a hangover until late the following afternoon. “Jones was on ‘Good Morning America’ at 7 a.m.,” Hansen says in awe.)”

As I said, Jerry Jones has a great life. -TOB

Source: Jerry Football”, by Don Van Natta, Jr., ESPN The Magazine (08/28/14)

Note: Jerry Jones is one of the primary reasons I love sports. When it all comes down to it, we want characters. Give me more weirdos, drunks, oddballs; give me a second helping of Mark Cuban, Dennis Rodman, and Lawrence Taylor. While of course I want the Twins* to win the World Series, it’s not happening more than 5 times in my life (stop laughing – a guy can dream – they’re 40% of the way there already). At some point we all recalibrate our definition of ‘hero,’ and Kirby Puckett, Michael Jordan, Joe Montana, etc. are replaced with mom, dad, brother, and teacher. It’s a liberating moment, actually. What we really want from sports is characters – characters we like, characters we hate, and characters we like to hate/hate to like. Keep on keepin’ on, Jerry. More strippers. More plastic surgury, you dirty ol’ man.  – PAL

* I want the Giants to win, too. There – I said it. I like – no, I’m a fan – of the San Francisco Giants. If the Twins aren’t in it, then I’m rooting for the Giants. They’re my sidepiece.


Inner. Inner City. Inner City Pressure.

How will the recent Little League World Series, where an all-black team from inner-city Chicago and a diverse team from inner-city Philadelphia dominated the headlines, change the way MLB approaches baseball in major U.S. cities? One idea in this article is that MLB teams should start baseball academies in their city to promote the game and develop talent who might not otherwise have a chance to play. The article suggests one issue is that teams would not want to develop a talented player, only to have him be drafted by another team. Of course, an obvious solution, one I first heard suggested right here by our own Phil Lang, is that MLB teams should follow the MLS rule – teams who develop a player in their academy should be able to select him before anyone else has the chance. Do it, MLB. My son is 2 months old. I can’t wait to send him to the San Francisco Jr. Giants Academy that does not yet exist. -TOB

Source: “A Catalyst for Change”, by Anthony Castrovince, Sports on Earth (08/21/14)

Note: Steve Bandura articulates it perfectly. I’ve been circling around this point, but I couldn’t flesh it out. Let’s get past the soundbite (the number of African Americans playing in the MLB is dwindling) and talk about the cause so we can explore possible solutions. “The African-American kids in the suburbs play,” Bandura said. “So what, if they go inside a certain boundary, all of a sudden they’re not interested in the game? None of those stereotypes make any sense. A six-year-old kid is not saying, ‘Well, I’m not going to play baseball because there are more scholarships in football for college.’ It doesn’t make any sense, and I’m tired of people running out those stereotypes.” – PAL


Everybody Seems to Be Coming Around…

Since I was a kid, I have rooted against the darlings of the sports media. So, I never liked Peyton Manning. When he was in college, I did not want him to win the Heisman, and I was really excited when Charles Woodson beat him for it. I have reveled in Peyton’s playoff failures over the years. I have no idea why, looking back. He seems like a decent guy. Part of it is because I’ve been reading/seeing the same stories marveling at how much film he watches for two decades now, and it gets old. On the other hand, I also really enjoy players continuing to excel far beyond an age when they should. I also like improbable comeback stories. Peyton’s comeback from the neck surgeries, at this age, is pretty remarkable. So I decided to read this profile, and I’m glad he did. He’s a strange dude, but I am actually beginning to like him.

Source: Inside Manning”, Dan Pompei, Sports on Earth (08/25/14)

Note: Peyton Manning can work as hard as he wants – it will never make up for the $40 he cost me on the halftime score of the Super Bowl last year. Jerk. What the hell is this OCD nutcase going to do after he retires? If there’s any poetic justice left in the world, for the love of god, please let Manning’s son love soccer. Also, he owns 21 Papa John’s in Colorado. Papa John’s pizza stinks.


“Mama, If That’s Movin’ Up, Then I’m Movin’ Out”

While reading this story, I couldn’t help but think of Todd Marinovich (if you haven’t seen this 30 for 30, do yourself a favor and watch it soon). It lacks the angle of the parent maniacally engineering a star athlete, but it is a fascinating look, not often seen, into the mind of a once promising athlete who didn’t quite make it, and how he has adjusted to the fact that he will not be a star. Many people think how great it would be to be a professional athlete – but what happens when an athlete falls a little short of riches and fame, and his sport becomes a job? -TOB

Source:The Making and Unmaking of Preston Zimmerman, American Soccer Player”, Brian Blickenstaff, originally published in XI Quarterly (Fall 2012)


 

Track & Field Has a Great Idea

When do you care about Track & Field? Every 4 years, just like the rest of us. How exciting is it to watch? I love it. This article brings to light a new approach to Track & Field that makes a lot of sense, and it’s based off of the following take: “Track is a sport crippled by two evils: the stopwatch and the Olympics. The stopwatch tries to find validation in the thousandth of a second, and the Olympics wants to have one big hoopla every four years. Both are complete crap.” Quick read. Fresh opinion. Good idea.

Source: “Jenny Simpson Is Better Than Any Gold Medal Or World Record”, Jon Gugala, Fittish (8/29/14)


VIDEO OF THE WEEK:


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“Well, everyone knows Custer died at Little Bighorn. What this book presupposes is… maybe he didn’t.”

-Eli Cash

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Week of August 11, 2014

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Click on the pic to get the joke.


The Tiger Effect: Overrated?

“Tiger will do more than any other man in history to change the course of humanity.” – Earl Woods. I didn’t buy that even when I was 14, but I did buy into the notion that Tiger Woods was one of the very few transformative athletes. While his impact can’t be summarized by the almighty $, Matt Brennan’s examination of Tiger’s financial, social, and cultural impact on the game is revelatory. This could be one of the best original pieces I’ve read on Deadspin. -PAL

Source: “What Happens To Golf After Tiger?”, by Matt Brennan, Deadspin (8/14/14)

TOB: I have always liked Tiger Woods. But whenever I think of how Tiger’s career has fallen apart over the last five years, I think of this. At the 2009 Big Game, a game that underdog Cal would win over Toby Gerhart and Andrew Luck, Stanford honored Tiger Woods. As Tiger tried to give his speech, the Cal fans that had taken over Stanford Stadium began to boo him mercilessly. And the look on Tiger’s face is priceless. He is a true Stanford Man – smarmy and entitled – and he had no idea how to react to a negative reception, even some good-natured ribbing like this. Cal fans rightfully take credit for jinxing his career.

PAL: Did you guys know that Tommy went to Cal?


Think Different

Chip Kelly is a great football coach because he doesn’t think like a typical football coach. He doesn’t do things just because that is the way they’ve always been done. He questions why things are done a certain way and whether there is a better way to do them. This method has allowed him to be extremely successful everywhere he has coached. In short, I’m glad he’s not coaching Oregon anymore (did you know I went to Cal?), and this story is why. -TOB

Source: “The Influencer”, by Chris B. Brown, Grantland (08/14/14)

PAL: I’m not the biggest NFL fan in the world, but this is a good read on innovation, especially for anyone who’s coached or thinking about coaching. My favorite part: “The practice field is not where we talk. It is where we do the skills. We want to keep the words there to a minimum. The words you do use must have meaning. [Players] do not want to hear you give a 10-minute clinic in the middle of the field.”


The Next Great American Hope

I am not exactly a soccer nut, but I do enjoy it, and I feel as though I know more about it than most American sports fans. So while my soccer knowledge is not great, it was impossible not to notice 21-year old Deandre Yedlin every time he entered the game for the U.S. at this summer’s World Cup. It was really freakin obvious – he was fast as hell, and caused havoc all over the field. The world took notice, too – and Yedlin became one of the most sought after young players to emerge from the World Cup. Since the article was published, the Seattle Sounders agreed to transfer Yedlin to the English Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspurs (former team of current Sounder Clint Dempsey) for about $4M, to begin in 2015. If you want to know what it’s like to go from being a fairly unknown athlete to being chased by some of the top teams in the world in a very short amount of time, read this. -TOB

Source: “America’s Most Wanted”, by Jordan Ritter Conn, Grantland (08/12/14)

PAL: This is the first time I’ve heard about the MLS Homegrown Rule, and I think we should immediately implement it in all major sports (TOB: Agreed). Also, I buy into the belief that it has/will take generations before US Soccer can legitimately compete for a World Cup. The infrastructure has been there in youth leagues for about 25 years now, and I think we’re starting to see it bear fruit on the world stage.


The guy behind ‘The Guy’.

Listen, I’m over the PED in sports stories, too, but this article is about the disposable men in illegal schemes. Does the name Yuri Sucart mean anything to you? I didn’t think so. He’s Alex Rodriguez’s cousin. He’s the guy A-Rod threw under the bus the first time he tested positive for PEDs, and Sucart was up to his elbows in the Biogenesis scandal that will more than likely end A-Rod’s career (don’t forget – A-Rod was on track midway through his career to become one of the best 5 players to ever play the game by any standard). I found this mini-profile interesting, sad, a bit pathetic, and quietly dark when you look at the facts. – PAL

Source: “Yuri Sucart Faces a Decade in Prison After Years of Doing A-Rod’s Dirty Work”, by Tim Elfrink, Miami New Times (8/11/14)

TOB: If you need more confirmation that Barry Bonds is great and A-Rod sucks, you have it here. Bonds’ Guy, Greg Anderson, served time in jail instead of testifying against Bonds, and I guarantee that Bonds didn’t cut the guy off. Even the mob knows (in the movies) that you take care of your loyal soldiers. A-Rod sucks.


Too good to be true. 

Grantland’s “30 for 30” shorts are admittedly hit or miss (Steve Nash’s ‘The Finish Line’ series had its moments, but any doc in which the feature is also an Executive Producer is a bit suspect). Danny Almonte captivated the Little League World Series, striking out 32 out of a possible 36 batters in the first two games. That stat turned out to be literally unbelievable. At just under 18 minutes, don’t feel the need to watch the entire thing if it doesn’t grab you, but watching the highlights of him dealing is pretty funny, especially for those of us who vaguely remember Almonte. Spoiler alert: he’s filled out. Also, parents in youth sports can be the worst. No embed available. -PAL

Source: 30 for 3o Shorts: ‘Kid Danny’, directed by Andrew Cohen, Grantland (8/13/14)


Video of the Week: 

Mike Schmidt should be number 1, for crying out loud. I’ll give TSN – a Canadian network – a pass here, but that squeal at the end is the capper.


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Herman Blume: So you’ve changed your mind and you want the job.
Max Fischer: No, I’ve got an idea and I need some money.

– Rushmore