Week of November 17, 2014

 

Guy Fieri: Mullet Club

Amateur Kickboxer Dies – How Can This Happen?

In March of this year, amateur kickboxer Dennis Munson, Jr. died after just two rounds of a fight due to repeated blows to the head. It was his first career fight. After a tragedy like that, the first question is how could this happen? There are referees. Ringside doctors. How can they all fail this young man? This article breaks down how, when, and where they failed, leading to Munson’s death. Embedded in the story is a ten minute video, where boxing experts break down the many, many times that the referee ignored obvious signs of the trouble Munson was in, and allowed him to continue to get beaten about the head. It also shows the complete failure by the ringside doctor. It is a brutal video to watch, and a brutal story to read. If you don’t have the time, Deadspin has the Cliff’s Notes version here. -TOB

Source: Death in the Ring“, by John Diedrich, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (11/16/14)

PAL Note: Brutal. Not many characters in this story come away looking good, especially the ringside doctor. Incompetence is one thing, but carelessness on nearly every level is quite another. I highly suggest reading the full story instead of summary version.


And That’s Why You Have Agents

Money and family has proven a very bad combination in sports, yet here are a couple more stories where family members of athletes act on the belief that they are entitled to some of the wealth, sometimes a whole lot of the wealth. They are not. I direct you to exhibits A and B: Ryan Howard (MLB) and Jack Johnson (NHL). I’m guessing these families aren’t getting together for Thanksgiving this year. – PAL

Source: “The family legal fight over Ryan Howard’s finances”, David Murphy, Philly.com (11/19/14); “Blind-sided: Blue Jackets’ Jack Johnson is bankrupt; who led him there is biggest shocker”, Aaron Portzline, The Columbus Dispatch (11/20/14)


San Francisco Is Smart. Hosting The Olympics Is Dumb

Larry Baer, CEO of the San Francisco Giants, is leading a committee to have San Francisco bid on the 2024 Summer Olympics. Yes, this is a long way off in the distance, and there are other cities currently showing interest, but let’s just drop this right now. This is the fourth attempt at bringing the Games to the Bay Area (2008, 2012, 2016). Everything we’ve learned about host cities in recent history tells us that hosting the Olympics is a colossal waste of money that does not deliver the economic growth promised. – PAL

Source: “San Francisco puts in chips for 2024 Olympics”, John Coté, San Francisco Chronicle (11/20/14)

TOB Note: I don’t care. BRING ME THE OLYMPICS!


The Line Between Advocacy and Amazement
For those of you who have loyally been following 1-2-3 Sports! (thank you!), you know that I’ve recently got into climbing, and Alex Honnald is the the Babe Ruth of free solo climbing (no ropes – you fall and you die). We featured his story in the May 26 digest. After 4 years of sponsorship, Clif Bar recently dropped its sponsorship of Honnald and 3 other climbers. It seems as though Clif Bar, like anyone who’s watched Honnald climb, essentially believes his life will come to an end sooner rather than later, and they don’t want to sponsor an athlete who kicks it doing what they are sponsoring him to do. The brand risks being seen as an advocate. When considered in the context of the X Games, where extreme sports are becoming exceedingly popular and life-threatening, I side with Clif Bar. This story was sent to us by 1-2-3 follower Jamie Morganstern (@jjmorganstern). Solid find, Jamie. Send us more stories, folks! – PAL

Source: “The Calculus of Climbing at the Edge”, Alex Honnald, The New York Times (11/19/14)

TOB Note: I’m going to take the other side, here. He does something dangerous, yes. But so do lots of athletes. Race car drivers (ok, they’re not athletes, but still), downhill skiers, BMX bikers, etc. Should all the companies that sponsor these athletes pull their money on the chance that the athlete will die while wearing the sponsor’s logo? Seems like a copout by Clif Bar.


Video of the Week: 


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“A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I’m a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald… striking. So, I’m on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one – big hitter, the Lama – long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga… gunga, gunga-lagunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he’s gonna stiff me. And I say, ‘Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know.’ And he says, ‘Oh, uh, there won’t be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.’ So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice.”

– Carl Spackler

 

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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