Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sports. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Kylie Ireland and Michael Jordan


They're going to spend at least an hour interviewing Kylie Ireland and put that into the Michael Jordan series, right?

Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Shock of a World Without Sports


It's amazing to realize that we didn't know what we had until it was gone:
The basic stuff of the sports section is in lockdown. The leagues and schools have stopped the play of game until it’s safe to come out again.
So what are those prodigiously talented and productive journalists who cover sports to do?
I began to ask myself that question after reading a fascinating email that someone forwarded from a listserv. The author, a Seattle architect named George Ostrow, gave me permission to reprint it:
A quarter or more of US newspaper pages and news broadcast minutes is devoted to sports coverage every day. The abrupt cancellation of professional and college sports over coronavirus concerns leaves a journalism vacuum. Player and fan reactions to the cancellations can fill a few days. But then what do you do when your subject matter disappears?
My earnest suggestion is to cover the many other competitions that Americans struggle with in obscurity. The homeless camp that survives the winter. The poor family who manages to put food on the table. The pastor who counsels addicts. The nonprofit that is turning life around for victims of domestic violence.
These stories and more are real contests that our fellow citizens engage in daily. They matter more than millionaires chasing balls. News readers and viewers could follow their successes and near misses just as they would those of their favorite quarterback. Cities could root for their local governments to build more housing than their rival city.
I have the great fortune of being able to do this on a barely even part-time basis. I'm lucky if I can come up with five posts in a month, which shows you what a well-tuned engine of a blog looks like. I cannot imagine how difficult it is for the people who have dedicated their lives to writing about and thinking about sports so that they talk about it effectively in front of other people.

This is a time of upheaval, and I don't think we know what the new normal will look like when we get to the other side. The frivolous things in life aren't so silly anymore. The loss of a season of basketball, baseball and hockey is bad enough. The fact that all of those leagues and more--the minor leagues, the development leagues, the colleges and high schools that see vast engagement in sports for men and women--are shut down and have to be asterisked or put on hold should tell you how serious things are.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Professional Bowling


The Professional Bowling Association is on hiatus like all of the other major sports, but why not check them out and see what you've been missing?
The Professional Bowlers Association has placed all tournament activities at all levels on hiatus indefinitely due to coronavirus concerns, PBA CEO Colie Edison announced today. Included in the postponements is the start of the 2020 PBA Playoffs which were scheduled to start on April 6.
The announcement, made out of an abundance of preventative caution, means all PBA Tour, PBA50 Tour and PBA Regional tournaments currently scheduled will be put on hiatus as the PBA complies with decisions made nationally and locally in a concerted effort to help avoid “community spread” of the COVID-19 virus. All scheduled events will be re-evaluated in early April.
The PBA postponed the final match play elimination rounds and television finals of the Storm PBA World Series of Bowling XI animal pattern championships (Go Bowling Cheetah, Chameleon and Scorpion Championships) that were scheduled to take place at South Point Bowling Plaza in Las Vegas Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, allowing all competitors including several international bowlers to return home before federal airline restrictions took effect.
The PBA World Championship finals were conducted Sunday instead of Wednesday, as originally planned, because the five finalists were on hand in Las Vegas and wanted to complete the 2020 Go Bowling PBA Tour’s fourth major championship. Australia’s Jason Belmonte won the event before an audience consisting only of a handful of PBA players, tournament officials, and his own family including wife Kimberly, daughters Aria and Sylvie, and son Hugo who had flown in from Australia to watch. The finals aired live on FS1 and was the network’s most-watched telecast last week.

Professional bowling used to enjoy a much higher status in American society. This was when bowling was more of a thing, I suppose, but really, what other sport is more egalitarian? I don't care who you are or what you look like, you can probably bowl just as well as the person next to you. The PBA establishes some standards of professionalism and brings a hint of organization to things. What's not to love about that?
 

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Kyle Brandt



This is the sort of person who knows what they are talking about:




The great Charles Pierce identifies another corona tough guy.

You don't need any corona tough guys in your life right now. We have a broken government, a confused and chaotic response, and far too much misinformation out there.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Equal and Fair Treatment For All


A year ago, Tayla Harris was inundated with sexist and derogatory comments because someone took this picture of her.

When she decided not to be a victim, her life changed:
Harris went to bed with around 20,000 Twitter followers but by the next morning had an additional 60,000. There was an apology from Channel 7 for sending "the wrong message" by removing the photo from its social media accounts, while Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the trolls "cowardly grubs." 
With a weekend match looming, Harris restricted herself to one radio interview in the immediate aftermath, during which she described the comments as sexual abuse, and held a press conference to sate the appetite of media organizations around the world. Carlton provided her with a security guard for the next game, against Fremantle. 
"Surreal," and a "roller-coaster" is how she sums up the week. "For the most part it was all positive," she adds, "but I had to check in with myself and make sure this was something I was OK with because it was a really full on and busy, confronting few weeks. 
"The really important thing for me was not to dilute the messaging or say something that could be misinterpreted, so I made sure I was really clear and articulate."
Read the whole thing. It's a devastating indictment of where society is with regards to how it treats women and what we can do to move past the juvenile bullshit that infects so much of how we talk to one another and relate to each other.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Bill Walton is Living His Best Life


Bill Walton called a game between Arizona and Oregon this evening, and he was depicted eating peanut butter with his hand straight from the jar.

This means everything and nothing in terms of where we are as a country. If there was ever a moment where a traumatized, reeling country needed a moment of levity and distraction. Walton is a national treasure, and if you ever felt like you took it for granted that there were knowledgeable, experienced, and entertaining people out there, please don't. There are a handful of people who can claim to have been to the top of the sports world and have been able to come back down from that and find a way to be useful and engaging in our society. Walton has never become bitter.

Our country is littered with broken, horrible assholes with power and influence who only want to grab more cash for themselves and hurt as many innocent people as possible. When you find a guy who just wants to get his snack on and entertain people, celebrate it and enjoy it.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Kevin Harlan is the Best There Is




I’m probably just tired of everyone else, but Kevin Harlan has always been a favorite:
Here’s the call with the audio only because everyone has the video. You don’t need the visuals - you just need the call itself.





Thursday, October 17, 2019

China is at War With the NBA




The National Basketball Association is now at war with the nation/state of China, and the economic future of the league is, somehow, in serious jeopardy:

As the fallout from the controversy between the NBA and China continues, commissioner Adam Silver addressed how the Chinese government responded to Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's tweet.

"We were being asked to fire him, by the Chinese government, by the parties we dealt with in government and business. We said there's no chance that's happening. There's no chance we'll even discipline him," Silver said at the TIME 100 Health Summit on Thursday.

He added: "We wanted to make an absolutely clear statement that the values of the NBA, these American values—we are an American business—travel with us wherever we go. And one of those values is free expression. We wanted to make sure that everyone understood we were supporting free expression."

On Oct. 4, Morey tweeted his support for Hong Kong protestors. His tweet included a photo of protestors with the caption, "Fight For Freedom. Stand With Hong Kong." The Nets and Lakers traveled to China to play in two exhibition games one week later. 

However, a pair of NBA Cares events in Shanghai were canceled as the fallout from Morey's tweet continued. China's state-run TV network, CCTV, suspended its NBA programming due to the controversy. The Chinese basketball federation also canceled upcoming G League exhibition games between teams affiliated with the Rockets and Mavericks.

“We are an American business” is something that should resonate here, but it won’t. For the NBA to put itself into a position where losing revenue from China because of a statement made by someone in the league means that they are heavily leveraged and have no real plan to get out of this mess.

If the NBA figures this out, it will mean that their deals with China will likely not be of the size and scope that their withdrawal could cripple the NBA. Other sports leagues should pay attention. China is headed for a more repressive future, and for more surveillance of what people say and do in the public square. One person’s statements should not cause this level of consternation, but here we are.

And LeBron James should be ashamed of himself.

Monday, October 8, 2018

John Gagliardi 1926-2018




John Gagliardi was more than just a football coach:

Gagliardi is the winningest coach in college football history, accumulating 489 victories in his 64-year career. He ended his tenure with St. John's sporting a 489–138–11 all-time record, winning 77 percent of his games. 

"John Gagliardi was not only an extraordinary coach, he was also an educator of young men and builder of character," St. John's President Michael Hemesath said in a statement. "John inspired deep and enduring loyalty and passion among his players across the decades because he taught them lessons through the medium of football that served them well in their personal and professional lives long after graduating from Saint John's University. His is a legacy any educator would be extremely proud of."

If you count all of his ties, that’s five hundred times the other team on the field couldn’t beat him and his teams. Growing up in Minnesota, there was nothing wrong with wanting to go to St. John’s or Gustavus Adolphus or even one of those two fancy-pants damned colleges in Northfield. If you were okay at football, you could have ended up on Gagliardi’s team. And you would have stayed there, too—his policy was to not cut players who wanted to play and he sometimes had well over 125 players to choose from on game day.

Coach Gagliardi was an American original.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Cleveland Wins




Congratulations are in order for the Cleveland Browns. Take note, fans of sports ball. Your team sucks sometimes, too.

Talk of making it to what they call “the Playoffs” is a bit premature, however.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Russian Athletes Can't Stop Doping




Why would you cheat at curling?

A Russian curler has failed a doping test at the Winter Olympics just days after winning a bronze medal, putting the IOC’s decision not to ban all Russian athletes under the spotlight.

The Daily Mail report that Alexander Krushelnitsky, who came third in the mixed doubles curling alongside partner Anastasia Bryzgalova, tested positive for banned substance meldonium. The International Olympic Committee have yet to comment, and are likely waiting on the results of his B sample which could yet clear him of any wrongdoing.

It's important to note that you can be exonerated if you test positive for meldonium, but this does not help Russia's reputation at all. It does not appear that they have abandoned their cheating ways. Olympic victory means more to Russia than it does in many other countries. It must be a status thing.

What I don't understand is--why would you cheat when the sport is curling? Do you have to be in tip-top shape or something? I don't get it.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Michigan State Has an Endowment of $3 Billion




When your school protects a monster for decades, of course it's going to hurt your bottom line:

Moody's is weighing whether to downgrade the debt of Michigan State University because of the scandal involving disgraced USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar.

A rating downgrade could mean the school would have to pay more to borrow money. 

Nassar was a member of the MSU faculty. He pleaded guilty to charges he sexually abused his patients and was sentenced last week to 175 years in prison. 

Michigan State faces lawsuits by more than 100 women, alleging that the university allowed Nassar's abuse to persist despite victims' complaints. The suits are one of the major factors prompting the Moody's review. The school is seeking to have those lawsuits dismissed. Lou Anna Simon resigned as school president last week.

I love how no one focuses on how the victims have been impacted. Hundreds of women are victims of a serial molester and someone is worried that the interest rate on money borrowed by a land grant university is going to be too high?

Nassar was hired by Michigan State in 1986. He began molesting children in 1992. That's how long this has been going on. But, damn, let's fret over the costs of taking out a loan.

Michigan State has an endowment of $3 billion dollars, and so I really don't feel sorry for them. Start settling now because lawyers are in short supply, what with everyone who has ever met with Trump needing one right now.

Everyone knows Michigan State is going to pass the savings on to those who pay tuition. They're not touching their endowment. They're not going to do the right thing. They're going to increase tuition, cut services, and hire as many lawyers as they can.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Houston Astros Lost Their Chance to Avoid Meeting Donald Trump




The Houston Astros won their first World Series title, but they lost something tonight.

Instead of being able to celebrate their victory, they now have to plan for a future meeting with Donald Trump.

Instead of being proud of their city and their team, they now have to plan for the moment where Trump confuses them with the Yankees and offers to show them his slider.

Instead of being pleased with their victory, they now have to submit paperwork to prove that no one was born in Chad.

Instead of being able to plan for a terrific off-season where they can relax with their families, they now have to undergo the traumatic process of answering millions of questions about whether they will actually go to the White House and what they will say to Trump.

Instead of the team's foreign-born players being able to feel good about winning a World Championship, they now have to contend with the fact that Trump is America's best-known white supremacist president and that he may get confused and deport them and their families.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are going to sleep easy tonight. For the Houston Astros, the Trump dreams have just begun.















Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Don't Feel Sorry For Papa John's




The man running Papa John's is a complete and utter douchebag:

Papa John's is blaming the NFL for hitting its bottom line.

The pizza company, which has been a league sponsor since 2010, sliced its sales and profit forecasts on Tuesday. And Papa John's founder and CEO John Schnatter wasn't shy about who he thinks is to blame for the "debacle": Commissioner Roger Goodell. 

"Leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership," Schnatter said on a conference call with investors Wednesday. "The NFL has hurt Papa John's shareholders." 

NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart declined to comment on Schnatter's comments. 

NFL ratings, like the rest of network television, are in a slump. Through Week 7, NFL viewership is down 5% overall from the same point last year. 

Though the ratings slump has many causes, some NFL fans may have tuned out because of the controversy over players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police violence. 

President Trump has called on fans to boycott the NFL if the league doesn't crack down on protests. Last month, Vice President Mike Pence left an Indianapolis Colts game after San Francisco 49ers' players took a knee during the anthem.

I would feel bad for the people who work for him if the company went under, but that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about the shareholders being upset that they're not making as much profit as they would like. The owner of Papa John's does not care about his workers--he cares about being rich.

His business model is no different than that of the NFL's. Exploit labor, avoid consequences, make as much money as humanly possible with no regard for anyone else.

Tell me again why I have to feel sorry for people who don't care about anything but themselves...















Thursday, July 20, 2017

You Call This a Scandal?




Is this inappropriate? Sure. You don't use your school-issued cellphone to call an Escort service. That's a given. Is it worth losing your job?

Hugh Freeze resigned from his position as head coach at Ole Miss suddenly on Thursday evening, just a week after SEC Media Days. The resignation is effective immediately, and the school has announced co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Matt Luke will take over the head coaching responsibilities for the upcoming season as the interim head coach. It should be expected Ole Miss will conduct a search for a new full-time head coach as soon as possible, but an official hire being made before the start of the season remains in question.

It would seem that there was a lot of investigating going on over this:

Ole Miss reviewed phone records tied to Freeze as far back as 2012. Earlier in the day, USA Today reporter Dan Wolken reported Freeze had made a phone call to the number associated with a female escort service. The phone call in the report occurred in January of 2016. How many phone calls were discovered by Ole Miss is at this time unknown. Once confronted with the phone numbers by Bjork, Freeze is said to have offered his resignation. Whether he voluntarily offered to resign or if he was pushed to resign by the school may never be known for sure, but given the heat on Freeze already following recent headlines it may be pretty easy to see how this all played out behind closed doors.

It just seems like a minor offense to me. It's a morals thing, I suppose, and if your morals get crossways with a school like Ole Miss, well, you're gone. But tell me there aren't schools in other parts of the country who will ignore this and hire Freeze before the summer is out.

This certainly doesn't help:

She didn’t know how quickly it would come, but she knew it would happen.

Her husband, Hugh Freeze, would reach the upper echelon of his profession.

How did she know? 
It was her faith.

“We just claimed the promise,” says Jill, the wife of newly-hired Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze and the mother of the couple’s three daughters, ages 13, 12 and nine. 

“God says if we delight ourselves in Him, He will give us the desires of our heart. He has blessed us and given us the desires of our heart.”

Indeed.

Jill, now the “First Lady” of the Ole Miss football program, was the wife of a high school football coach just seven years ago. While a fine station in life, the Friday night lights are a far stretch from the thunderous roars and traditions of the Southeastern Conference.

Ah, but God had other plans for Jill, Hugh and girls Ragan, Madison and Jordan.

When Hugh was introduced as the Rebels new coach on a damp Monday in December, those in the audience of the Ford Center for the Performing Arts called the moment as genuine as they come. 

It certainly felt that way. Hugh said all the right things. He hit all the sore spots.

He preached about the future.

He simply preached to a congregation of fans hungry for soothing words.

But to Jill it all seemed surreal, as she and their daughters joined Hugh, chancellor Dan Jones and members of the search committee on stage.

“There is absolutely no way this should have happened the way it happened and as fast as it happened,” she insisted. “It’s just God’s hand.















Wednesday, July 5, 2017

San Francisco is How Many Games Out of First Place?




It's not even the All Star Break, and the San Francisco Giants are how many games back? 

Holy cow.

I can't remember when they have ever been this far out of contention, and I'm sure it has happened, but that's what struck me about today's look at the baseball standings. I'm not a fan nor am I a detractor, but, whatever they're doing isn't working. At all.

I get why Philly is so bad, but the Giants?

Anyway, that's my hot take on something I just did not expect to see.















Tuesday, July 4, 2017

What the Fuck is This Shit?




This is the least athletic photo ever taken of Trump. He's wearing some sort of cheap-assed throwback Yankee uniform. It has something to do with his ex-wife Marla Maples, Vanity Fair, and some event where he is supposed to represent a "baseball player."








Donald Trump and Marla Maples during Donald Trump’s NY vs Hollywood All-Star Game - June 6, 1992 at Yankee Stadium in New York



Trump? Play baseball? And is she wearing Spanx before Spanx became a thing? What in the name of all that is holy is going on here? Was someone beaten senseless after this event? Were the police called? Did something untoward happen to a burro behind the stadium? Everything about this screams fiasco to me.

Again, I say--what the fuck is this shit? Because that's all you can say when you see this picture. Good God, what have we done to this country?

Then, there's this picture:



[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="564.0"]  Donald Trump and Daughter Ivanka during Grand Opening of The Harley Davidson Cafe at Harley Davidson Cafe in New York City, New York, United States  Donald Trump and Daughter Ivanka during Grand Opening of The Harley Davidson Cafe at Harley Davidson Cafe in New York City, New York, United States [/caption]


I am done. This is more insanity than I can handle.










Sunday, June 11, 2017

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins




I have watched quite a bit of hockey this year, and I am sad to see this season end without a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals. Pens fans should have had the chance to watch their team raise the cup on their home ice, but what are you going to do?

My observations are:

Nashville's fans are amazing, but they have to stop throwing dead catfish on the ice.

The turnout around Nashville's arena is like something out of an owner's dream. The people who partied outside in Preds jerseys and brought their support of the team to downtown Nashville demonstrates that this is a franchise that will stick around.

The fans inside of the arena stood and clapped for the opposing team at the end. This is beyond classy and is unheard of in many, many arenas throughout the league. Nashville is now a real hockey town, and they should be accorded the respect that goes with it. They turned out for the series, the local celebrities showed up, and the people there made it work. Anyone thinking of signing with the Predators was just shown a damned good reason why doing so would be a no-brainer. They support their team in Nashville, and they understand the game.

The Pens are probably going to dump some players and that's good for everyone looking for playoff experience. A three-peat? Nope, don't think so. This series should have been over after the 4th game. In all four of the first games played, Nashville was the better team in every one of them. They didn't get the breaks they needed on the road, and that's what sunk them.

The NBC announcing crew is the absolute worst in all of hockey. Mike Emrick and Pierre McGuire are unlistenable. I simply do not care where these guys played their junior hockey, and the wordplay and the double entendres are difficult to endure. We have watched much of the series with the sound off. I don't care about Eddie Olczyck because there is furniture in the room with more insight. I miss Bill Clement, I wish Coach Barry was out there, and virtually all of the NHL teams have announcer pairs that could do a better job. Bob Miller will go down as one of the all-time greatest announcers in NHL history, and he never got the break he deserved. NBC's crew couldn't hold a candle to Bob Miller. 

Not impressed with the idea that we'll have a "new" franchise next year. The Las Vegas Golden Knights? Really? Okay, then.













Friday, June 2, 2017

No Justice in Happy Valley




If you're like me, and I know I am, you can't believe they still have a football program at Penn State:

A former president of Penn State and two other former university administrators were each sentenced Friday to at least two months in jail for failing to alert authorities to a 2001 allegation against ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, a decision that enabled the now-convicted serial predator to continue molesting boys. 

"Why Mr. Sandusky was allowed to continue to the Penn State facilities is beyond me," Judge John Boccabella said. 

"All three ignored the opportunity to put an end to (Sandusky's) crimes when they had a chance to do so," the judge said. 

Ex-president Graham Spanier, 68, got a sentence of 4 to 12 months, with the first two to be spent in jail and the rest under house arrest. 

Former Penn State president Graham Spanier walks to the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa., Monday, March 20, 2017. Matt Rourke / AP

Former university athletic director Tim Curley, 63, received a sentence of 7 to 23 months, with three in jail. Former vice president Gary Schultz, 67, was sentenced to 6 to 23 months, with two months behind bars. 

The judge also criticized the actions of the late head football coach, Joe Paterno, who like the other administrators failed to alert child-welfare authorities or police to the 2001 complaint, but was never charged with a crime.

These are slaps on the wrist. These are sentences designed to make old men comfortable. The punishment here does not fit any of the crimes committed. Oh well. It's not like anyone's going to atone for their mistakes or man up when it comes to Penn State. Just another day in Happy Valley.

The precedent here has been set, and this is why they still play football at Baylor--you can commit any kind of sex crime you want against a vulnerable person and the law isn't going to touch a Division I university. Some institutions are so rotted out from within and packed with filth and treasure that they simply won't be held accountable anymore.













Monday, May 15, 2017

Beth Mowins Gets to Call an NFL Game This Year




This is long overdue:

ESPN broadcaster Beth Mowins will be given the play by play assignment for the Sept. 11 game between Chargers and Broncos in Denver, the late game of the Monday Night Football opening week doubleheader. Former Bills and Jets head coach Rex Ryan is likely to be her game analyst. Ryan was hired by ESPN in April and the Monday Night Football assignment would be his debut as an NFL color commentator. Mowins and Ryan called the Florida State spring game together last April.

I have watched a lot of NCAA softball, and Mowins is a great broadcaster. She handles every broadcast with a great deal of skill and is always informed, always knowledgable about what's happening in front of her. If you don't know who she is, go and Google some of the things she has called and I'll bet the whole gender thing disappears quickly. 

The women's NCAA softball tournament is a grueling event, not only for the players but the broadcasters as well. These are not easy games to announce, and Mowins is always good. She has paid her dues to get where she's at and no one should assume that this is some sort of desperation move on the part of ESPN. Far from it--she's one of the best out there.

Her qualifications to call an NFL game are self-evident: she knows the game, she knows how to handle having two people in the booth with her (some simply cannot juggle such a thing), and she is more than capable of handling the job. I have always thought that she was good enough to move up in the sports announcing world to assignments that don't have to be gender specific, and calling an NFL game is exactly where she should be. I think she should regularly call baseball games as well. In fact, I would have guessed that she would have been given a chance to call more ballgames this summer, but the NFL is a nice price, too.