Friday, December 30, 2016

On Tomlin-Bradshaw

There are few things dumber in sports right now than the Terry Bradshaw-Mike Tomlin "feud". If you've been living under a rock, or simply paying more attention to your relatives than to sports fluff, it's very simple. Bradshaw opened his yap and declared that he didn't think Tomlin was a good coach. Tomlin, whose record is something like 100-67, fired some shade back. And everyone went a-flutter.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

How To Beat Wake Forest

Wake Forest has taken the unusual step of firing a radio announcer for leaking game plans to opponents. The perfidy came to light when a member of the Wake Forest staff found a copy of their game plan in the bowels of Louisville's stadium, a day before the Deacons got dismantled by 30+ points, and now, finally, the school feels it can act.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

On Not Doing Anything

It's natural to want your team to make a move.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Winter Meetings

Some day I'll go to the winter meetings.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Understanding the College Football Playoff Selection Process

This just in:

The key to getting picked for the college football playoff is to win all your games. Unless you're from Michigan but aren't Michigan.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Things We Know About ACC Football, 2016 Edition

  1. The ACC is, despite some overheated statements made when it looked like Louisville was A Thing, not the best football conference in the country. It's not even second. It was fun to dream for a while, but, no. 
  2. North Carolina is the new Clemson. Every time they snuck up to the edge of the national stage, they promptly horked up a hairball. (Yes, I compared losing to Duke and NC State to a wad of stinky nastiness from the nameless abyssal depths of your cat's digestive tract. Deal with it.) If this keeps up, we'll have to stop calling it Clemsoning and start calling it Tarheeling. 
  3. Boston College is bowl eligible. Just going to let that sit there for a minute.
  4. By and large, nobody in this conference can string together three decent defensive performances in a row. See also: Pitt 76, Syracuse 61.
  5. Speaking of Syracuse, they're actually showing signs of life, as Virginia Tech found out. If Cuse and BC get their act even partially together, life suddenly gets a lot harder for all the middle-tier teams in the conference who were counting on those two gimme wins to pad their way to 8-4 every year.  Kudos to Dino Babers for making Syracuse sneak up on being relevant again.
  6. Speaking of Virginia Tech, it appears that an offense has been sighted on campus. It is frightened and skittish and prone to freeze when startled in hopes of avoiding predators, but it's there. Combine that with the standard tenacious Hokie D, and things might get very interesting. 
  7. Miami is as Mark Richt a team as ever Richted a Mark. They will beat almost everyone they're supposed to, lose to everyone they're supposed to, win somewhere between 8 and 10 games, and go to a good, not great bowl with talent that should have landed them someplace much better than the Popeyes Bahama Bowl or whatever.
  8. Funny how no one in ACC country tried to claim Notre Dame as a virtual conference member this year, isn't it.
  9. It was fun while it lasted, Louisville, especially when you put the beatdown on Florida State. But rivalry game or no rivalry game, you don't lose to Kentucky at football and expect people to take you seriously. You're talking about a program whose highlights are Tim Couch and Jared Lorenzen. You're not even allowed to think about the playoff for another two years now.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

On College Sports Polls

Yesterday I spent a good chunk of time sitting in traffic, listening to local sports talk radio types A)rage against the artificial discussion points that are college football polls B)rage that the ACC didn't have enough representation in those polls, and C)arguing that the B1G N Where N Does Not Equal Ten got too much representation because the playoff committee wanted to rig things in favor of Ohio State.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Theory of Why the ACC Keeps Tripping Over Itself

A theory:

Back in the day, Big East football could always be counted on for one thing: tripping all over themselves whenever the spotlight got turned on them. Pitt was generally the worst offender, but there certainly was enough blame to spread around - West Virginia pulled it off, and Virginia Tech, and even UConn when it accidentally wandered onto the big stage.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Cubs Win! Cubs Win!

"Now it is done. Now the story ends. And there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again." - Red Smith
Chicago and Cleveland just murdered fiction all over again. A magnificent end to a magnificent series. Nobody "choked". Nobody blew it. This was two teams going at it for all they were worth, with two managers trying every trick in the book (some more successful than others - what the hell was that bunt, Joe?) to squeeze the absolute utmost out of their teams. 

Thanks, guys, for letting us squeeze just a little bit more out of the season.

And please, Cubs fans - take a good look at Red Sox Nation. Don't be that. Just...don't.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Weekly ACC Roundup: Week 8 - Don't Let the Doeren Hit You On The Way Out

The Dave Doreen era came to an end last Saturday at NC State.

Maybe he's not gone now, but to paraphrase Bogie, they will fire him soon and for the rest of his life. Because his team lost to a legendarily bad Boston College Squad, and then in the post-game he threw them under the bus with a display of passive-aggressive coach speak for the ages. Losing to a bad team is one thing; blaming the kids while loudly proclaiming you're not blaming the kids is another, far worse one. If he hadn't lost the locker room before - and all signs suggested he had - this will surely push things past the breaking point. I don't think anything will happen until after the season, because NC State likes to toss around nickels like manhole covers, but a change is going to come.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Roger Goodell Is a Small, Awful Man

It has been a year of small men in big roles working from skyscrapers in New York.

In politics, we've got Donald Trump, a tantrum-throwing bully whose immediate response to the slightest perceived insult is a blustering threat matched with a schoolyard insult. And in sports, we've got helmet-haired vacuity Roger Goodell, the gloriously compensated commissioner of the NFL and king of self-sabotaging, awful inconsistency. 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Why NFL Ratings Are Down

I've got the secret. Are you ready for it?

It's not weird start times of games from London. It's not Colin Kaepernick, no matter what your cranky uncle might say. It's not any of the million and one convoluted reasons people are coming up with to avoid the simple truth.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Your Weekly ACC Football Roundup: Week 8 (Is More Than Enough)

Short schedule in the conference for week 8 means a short writeup.

Don't look now, but the 'Cuse is 2 wins away from being bowl eligible.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Your Weekly ACC Football Roundup - Week 7

Let's get one thing out of the way:

If you have any kind of claim of being an upper echelon team in a Power Five (or as we like to call it around here, Power Four, Texas, Oklahoma and the Mountain West-alikes), you do not lose to Syracuse. 
Like, ever.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Your Weekly ACC Roundup - Week 6

That's all you really need to know about last week in the ACC, other than the fact that Florida State managed to barely avoid losing again, thus keeping Jimbo Fisher out of Baton Rouge for another week. Oh, and Larry Fedora's high-powered passing attack apparently doesn't work terribly well in a hurricane. Who could have known?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Dear Baseball

Dear Baseball:

I know this is a crazy idea, but hear me out. Maybe, just maybe, the next time you assign broadcasters to your playoff games - you know, the ones the whole country watches, not just the local market - you might want to think about picking people who actually like baseball the way it's played now and are excited to talk about it.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Your Weekly ACC Roundup - Week 5

Important takeaways from Week 5 of the ACC football season, as we bask in the knowledge that the conference is A)sticking to an 8 game schedule and B)pulling its championship game out of North Carolina because of the misbegotten abomination that is HB2:

  • Notre Dame still isn't that good. This is important in the direct sense - steamrollering Syracuse gets you precisely zero cred these days; giving up 33 points to an Orange offense that scored just as many against Colgate gets you deductions you can't write off on your taxes - and indirectly, as we learn that Duke's surprise victory over the Fighting Irish was maybe not quite the resume-builder they thought it would be. Then again, taking it on the chin from Virginia ought to be a wake-up call in its own right.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

119 and counting

For those who have read my posts before, you may remember I am on the ultimate stadium journey to visit all 128 (soon to be 130) FBS stadiums.  As of last season I was up to 115, and this year I have already visited 4, with 8 more on the list for this season - I plan to finish up next year.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

The Patriot Under Center

Here is the state of the quarterback position for the New England Patriots going into week 4:
First stringer Tom Brady is A)suspended and B)sunbathing naked
Second stringer Jimmy Garoppolo has an injured shoulder and may not be able to play
Third stringer Jacoby Brissett has an injured thumb and may not be able to play

Which, in case you hadn't noticed, is all of the quarterbacks, potentially leaving the Patriots with none.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Weekly ACC Roundup - Week 4 (Good Things Happened)

Simply put, it was a really good week for the ACC. How good? Consider this:

  • Syracuse won.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Yard Goats and Politics

Nope, no politics here. Or baseball either.
Hartford, Connecticut, is a perfectly nice city. I went to college not to far from there, and people would actually on occasion say things like "Let's go to Hartford." Voluntarily, even.

In those days, Hartford had a hockey team, which we ignored. That team later moved to North Carolina. This appears to have changed little for either the city or the hockey team (though to their credit they did win a Stanley Cup, much to everyone's surprise) Fast forward a few years, and you find the mayor of Hartford pining for a sports team of his very own.

Which is why Hartford then spent a stupid amount of money to purloin the AA team that played down the road in New Britain. New Britain, for those of you not familiar with the fine points of Connecticut geography, is maybe 20 miles from Hartford. I'll say that again: 20. Whole. Miles. Moving the team was the equivalent of moving boxes of stuff you're not using from the closet to the garage. Functionally, it accomplished pretty much nothing, except funneling a bunch of public money to the stadium developer.

And here's where it gets fun. The stadium for the freshly minted Hartford Yard Goats - and really, this whole mess is the gods of baseball exacting their retribution on the team for going with such a God-poundingly stupid name - was supposed to be ready to go for Opening Day, 2016.

It wasn't. But hey, it would be almost ready, right? A short road trip and then it would be good to go.

Except it wasn't. And it wasn't and it wasn't and it wasn't, to the point where there was yelling about lawsuits and the contractor got fired and the Yard Goats ended up spending their entire 2016 season on the road. Which, incidentally, is what's being blamed for Rockies call-up David Dahl slumping badly in September; apparently the wear and tear of a season-long road trip took it out of him.

But hey, the worst was over, right? The city was going to find someone to finish the construction and the Yard Goats would be settled in for the 2017 season.

Really, you'd think they would have expected it. The inspection report on the work that had been done just came back. In it? Cracks in the concrete. Doors the wrong size for the gaps they're suppsoed to seal. Busted drains. Crumbling steps. Improperly poured slabs. Exposed rebar. Eroding concrete. Even a hole in the floor of one men's room that gave unobstructed views to the room below. 

This, they're going to fix during a Connecticut winter, with no contractor in place, in order to be ready for April 2017. The odds, as they say, are not good.

And once again, we are reminded that it was all unnecessary. That a bit of political grandstanding - (because the revenue numbers used to justify moving the team a few exits up I-91 are essentially inconsequential) borked the city, the team, the players, the Eastern League, and the folks who worked at the stadium in New Britain who lost their beer vending gigs for what was literally nothing. That this was done for optics and to put some cash in the pockets of people who, presumably, might support a re-election campaign or two.

There's a word for that: Politics.

Remember that the next time you hear someone talk about how they want politics out of sports, or how sports isn't the right place for politics, or something something something shut up and play because you make a lot of money something something. There are big, visible moments of politics in sports, like the 1968 gold medal protest in Mexico City, or the movement that Colin Kaepernick's started. There are small moments of politics in sports, too - everything from Luke Scott using his constitutionally protected right to free speech to say idiotic things about the president to Tony LaRussa stumping for animal rights or trundling off to a Glen Beck rally. There are ways politicans use sports, using giveaways to sports teams to boost poll numbers because they're not The Guy Who Lost The Team. And there's the politics in sports that we barely even notice because it's become normalized - think about the mandatory "God Bless America" at baseball games, or camo uniforms (and if you think that's not politics, you haven't been paying attention for the last couple of centuries).

So the next time you feel the urge to complain about "politics not having a place in sports", remember: big or small, whether you agree with a particular element or not, it's always been there. Just ask the Yard Goats. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The End of An Era

On my coffee table, there are Brooklyn Dodgers yearbooks dating back to the 1950s. They're full of pictures of guys like Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella and Duke Snider and Pee Wee Reese, and also guys like George "Shotgun" Shuba, whose memory largely rests with obsessives and nostalgics and collectors. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Weekly ACC Roundup Part 3

Things we already knew that were put on display in week 3:

  • The better teams in the conference can and will routinely beat the stuffing out of early season cupcakes. That being said, Clemson-SC State got so bad the teams agreed to knock six minutes off the second half to make sure that there were actually going to be some survivors headed back home on the SCSU team bus, a magnanimous gesture by Dabo Swinney that will no doubt come back to bite him when someone complains that Clemson's average margin of victory wasn't big enough and thus his team shouldn't be in the CFB playoff.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Central Michigan deserves win over OSU; incorrectly applied rule is dumb & should be changed

I am going to go out on a limb here, and say what no one else is even talking about on this game.  Am I the only (wannabee) sportswriter out there with the courage?  Apparently.

Central Michigan deserves the win, because the rule is dumb, and what the refs did is actually how the rule should be.  Here's why.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Weekly ACC Roundup, Week 2

Before we get to anything else, let me say this:

845 freaking yards of total offense. EIGHT HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE. That's what Louisville ran up against Syracuse. That is roughly half a mile. That's obscene. That', UNC's run defense is thanking God tonight they don't have to face that this season. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Refs Are Unfair

Yes, Oklahoma State got screwed by a bad call in their lost to Central Michigan. 

Friday, September 09, 2016

Mandatory Tim Tebow Baseball Post

In no particular order:

Tim Tebow has been signed by the New York Mets to a minor league deal for $100K. He will be assigned to Port St. Lucie. These are the facts on the ground. Beyond that:

  1. Tebow may be a freakishly good athlete, but he's 29, hasn't played baseball competitively in a decade, and apparently has the pitch recognition skills of a wobbegong. This also describes Michael Jordan, whom as you may recall hit about .202 as a minor leaguer. So the odds of Tebow achieving any kind of baseball success are minimal. In other words, Tim Tebow, you are no Michael Jordan.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Your Weekly ACC Football Review, Because I'm A Glutton For Punishment

Officially, the ACC had a good opening week. Not as good as the AAC, but hey, you pays your money and you takes your chances. 11-3 is pretty good, especially when one of those losses came from two of your own teams playing one another in Ireland, of all places.

Note to John Swofford: they have far more violent sports than football over in Ireland. You're not impressing them, and you're certainly not impressing them with a 17-13 Georgia Tech-Boston College slap fight.

The End of Season Durham Bulls Blues

There's no more baseball in the Triangle now. Not after Monday. Not out Zebulon way, where the Carolina Mudcats were well-meaning but not very good this year. And not in Durham, where the team leader in batting average for the Bulls hid under .260.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Ryan Howard's End

The Phillies are kind of awful this year, which is OK. They were supposed to be awful, and to be fair they've been quite a bit less awful than they were supposed to be. They've had some exciting moments, to with some Fred Merkle-level awful baserunning. They've had some nice moments from some young players, and they've said goodbye to pretty much everyone left over from the glory years.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

TGIS! (a.k.a. how many football stadiums have I been to?)

Thank God it's September.

For those of you who have read my posts in the past, you may recall that I am on a mission to see all of the FBS stadiums, specifically home games if possible.  The number of FBS teams currently hovers around 128, including the addition of Coastal Carolina, the rebirth of UAB, the loss of Idaho, and the likely loss of New Mexico State - so far I have been to 115 of those stadiums (or 114 or 113 or 112 of them, depending on whether you let me count UAB yet, or whether you make me take off Idaho and/or New Mexico State).

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Almost Foobaw Season Again

Your top 10 stories heading into the opening week of the NFL season:

  1. San Diego is trying to screw their #1 draft pick out of money they're eventually going to have to pay him anyway because of the slotting system. To assist in this, they've enlisted their former star running back, who once upon a time held out from San Diego to get more money. Apparently, the weather out there is too nice for irony.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The unfairness of Olympic swimming

I have never been a big fan of the Olympics, probably because there are so many sports there that really aren't, like those weird trick snowboarding events in the winter, or synchronized swimming in the summer.  Not to mention the figure skating.  But a lot of the events also seem a little unfair.

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Yes, I know that Wrangler Jeans have a long history in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Yes, the idea of "Jeansboro" sounds gloriously goofy.

Yes, there was a contest and everything.


When you make your baseball uniform pants look like jeans, you go someplace very, very silly.

I'm sorry, Greensboro Grasshoppers. You have a lovely stadium. Your stadium personnel are very pleasant and helpful. It was a pleasure to watch one of your games. But please, never take the field looking like a beer-league softball team again. For all of our sakes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Big XII Expansion Preview

The Big 12 conference (or as they like to call it, The Big XII, because Latin and stuff) is currently looking to expand. As part of the process, they invited roughly 20 - the number keeps changing - schools to participate in the interview and talent show portions of the competition this past weekend, including what appeared to be the entirety of the AAC.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Tim Tebow Wants To Play Baseball

So Tim Tebow wants to play baseball.

I mean, I'm sure he does. It's a great game. Lots of fun.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

USA! USA! USA! (a.k.a. how we are dominating the 2016 Olympics)

As of this writing, the US leads the medal count at 27, including 10 gold, 8 silver, and 9 bronze, thanks in no small part to Michael Phelps, who has already given us 3 gold.  Our closest rival (China) is in distant second place with only 17 medals.

How do we continue to dominate the Olympics?  Well, a couple of reasons, but really it is all about the Benjamins (Tubmans?).  US corporations pour money into this stuff, resulting in better training facilities for our athletes, better coaches, and superior medicine (witness the trending conversation regarding those odd purple marks on Michael Phelps' back, which are a result of cupping - a treatment to help get the blood flowing again after swimming).

Monday, August 08, 2016

Hall Of Fame Game Canceled

The first NFL preseason game of the year is the Hall of Fame game, which follows on the heels of the Hall of Fame inductions, is generally played with all the intensity of two mimes pretending to wrestle, and is considered a big deal only because it means "football is back" - as if football ever actually went away.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Lessons of the MLB Trade Deadline

In no particular order:

  • Be very careful who you put on your limited no-trade clause list. Jonathon Lucroy got to veto his trade to Cleveland, so the Brewers turned around and dealt him to Texas. I'm guessing the cool banks of the Cuyahoga are going to start to look pretty good around the fourth or fifth time Lucroy has to strap on catchers' gear in the August Texas heat. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Tale of the Killer


I'm at a baseball game. Minor league, 'cause that's what we've got around here, and I'm not complaining. I'm wearing a replica Twins jersey for no reason other than I like my replica Twins jersey and it's white, meaning I'll roast slightly less in the afternoon Carolina sun.

Great Moments In Sports Talk Radio, Conspicuous Consumption Division

Scanning the dial the other night - yes, I still do that - I came across a standard "best of/worst of" segment. Everybody does these. They're the radio equivalent of a bunt against the shift, easily available if not terribly exciting.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dignity For Sale

Before we go any further with this, let us be clear: This is probably the dumbest baseball story of the year. White Sox pitcher Chris Sale, who by any metric is having a stellar season and is his team's best player, went so ballistic over the discomfort offered by the White Sox's utterly ridiculous Veeck-era throwback uniforms that he apparently cut his up with scissors rather than wear it, then got into a fight in the clubhouse.

Monday, July 18, 2016

On the NBA Summer League, and Perceptions Thereof

One of the great joys of being an obsessive sports fan is reading the coverage of the minutiae. Take, for example, the NBA summer leagues, in all their various guises, and the media coverage thereof.

The Bill Belicheat of Baseball

You may not know who Chris Correa is, but you can bet he's a Deflatriots fan...

Formerly scouting director of the St. Louis Cardinals, Correa was sentenced earlier today to 46 months in jail, and was also ordered to pay $279K in restitution for computer hacking against the Houston Astros.  But he said he was sorry!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Our Final Word on DeflateGate

The official, final Sportsthodoxy position on DeflateGate:

  1. Read this before you say anything. Because context is important. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

All Star Game Roster Logic

There are people who want the rosters of the MLB All-Star Game to consist of the hottest players from this season. Their logic is that they want to see the players who are playing the best, and that what matters for this year's game is what the player has done this year. It's not a lifetime achievement award, they argue - what Troy Tulowitzki did last year or the year before shouldn't outweigh the fact that he's playing like a tire fire right now.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

On Buying Baseball Cards

Every year I buy 1 (one) pack of baseball cards. This is in part a nod to the collecting mania I had when I was a kid - not as an investor but as someone who genuinely loved baseball cards to play with and flip with friends and whatever - and in part annual ritual that has become part of my annual routine.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Brother, can you spare $29K? Weird sports memorabilia from eBay

I wish I was rich, because who wouldn't want to buy a bobblehead from the 1800s of an unknown jockey?  That's right, dear readers, this treasure can be yours for the low, low sum of only 29 thousand dollars.  Only $29 thousand, you say?  Wow, where do I sign?  I want that!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Last NBA Draft Thoughts - Post-Draft Analysis

In no particular order

  • It's kind of sad that the Sixers were regarded as having "won" the draft by dint of A)not doing any of the egregiously stupid things they were rumored to be doing and B)simply taking the best player available when their pick came up. This got them better players at 24 and 26 than they might have expected, thanks to a run starting around pick 13 on "Who the hell did they just draft?" guys, but after years of bad draft luck, it's about time something went the Sixers' way. They didn't screw up. That counts as progress.

Friday, June 24, 2016

About that Alabama thing

So this week in sports, we heard that the DA is not going to prosecute the 2 Alabama players who were arrested on drug charges and for illegal gun possession.  There was a lot of outrage in many circles over this, especially from the sports media.  My thoughts are as follows:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Things We Will See Today At The NBA Draft

In no particular order:

  1. The Philadelphia 76ers will take Ben Simmons #1 overall.
  2. The Los Angeles Lakers will take Brandon Ingram #2 overall.
  3. The national media will gush over the Lakers' choice and talk about how this means "the Lakers are back", never mind that you generally have to be kind of awful to get the #2 pick and one guy ain't gonna fix that.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Your Handy-Dandy Guide to NBA Draft-Speak 2016 Edition

There's a lot of coded languaged that gets used to describe NBA draft prospects, the sort of deliberately obfuscutory phrasing designed to make it sound like the people who are getting paid to be experts are, well, experts. That being said, it is possible to parse actual meaning from some of the more commonly used phrases. To wit:

If they say: "Can't spread the floor"
They mean: "Can't shoot the ball from further than six inches."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Thoughts on the NBA Draft

By all accounts, Ben Simmons is the consensus #1 talent in the draft. He is supposed to be the one game-changing talent, the one draftee who has the potential to elicit comparisons to LeBron or Magic someday. He is the best player available, and the Sixers have said he will be the first overall pick.

And then you read the scouting reports and the mock drafts, and the take on Simmons is:

  • Doesn't play defense
  • Can't shoot
  • Gave up on his team
  • Is cocky
  • Doesn't seem to want to put forth effort
  • Best-case scenario is Lamar Odom Lite

And this is the guy everyone agrees is the best player in the draft. One can only assume that by the time you get to pick 10 or so, the scouting reports will read:

  • Models his defense on Draymond Green's nut-shot technique
  • Once tried to eat the rim
  • Accidentally killed his point guard with a too-hard inbounds pass
  • Has never seen a basketball in his life
  • Ritually sacrificed an assistant coach to Arioch, Lord of Chaos
  • Is actually a full-sized Muppet

And with the 24th pick in the first round, the Sixers will pick an actual rock. Or perhaps an alpaca they can stash overseas in the Turkish League for a season.

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Quick Post-Finals Note

We have just witnessed a remarkable NBA Finals. Cleveland came back from being down 3 games to 1, an unprecedented event, and did so after being given up for dead by pretty much everyone outside their own locker room. LeBron James put on one of the great all-time Finals performances. Kyrie Irving turned into a star on the national stage. The series was as even as it was humanly possible to be  - at one point late in game 7 both teams had scored precisely the same number of points for the series - and came down to the last minute on some unbelievable plays.

It was great sports. It was great drama. 

And if your first reaction to all of this is "Conspiracy!" or "It was rigged!" or something along those lines, then kindly go eat a bowl of shut the hell up. 

Enjoy what happened.

And if you can't, remember, this is why you can't have nice things.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Simple Question About Game 7

A question:

If the Cavaliers win game 7 of the NBA Finals tonight, it cements LeBron James' legacy as one of the greatest players of all time, as well as a "champion" who single-handedly dragged his team back from the abyss and led them to victory (Draymond Green's poorly-timed attempt at a rochambeau aside). It is also an utter refutation of the Warriors' mobile small-ball, outside shooting heavy style, never mind that they had the best single-season record in NBA history.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Obscure sports facts from this day in history - June 18, 1972

Some of you may not know that baseball is exempt from anti-trust laws.  In fact, Major League Baseball is the only business in America so protected, sport or otherwise, thanks to a 1922 Supreme Court decision featuring Oliver Wendell Holmes.  Of course, back then baseball wasn't what it is today - games were local, and there was no revenue-sharing, no TV or radio, nor anything else crossing state lines, except of course for the buses carrying the players.  There just wasn't much money in it back then, it was actually all for the love of the game.  But I digress.

So the Supreme Court decision may have made sense at the time (emphasis on may).  But to date, the exemption has never been overturned, despite numerous lawsuits and legal challenges, most recently in January 2016.  And this in part led to to Flood vs. Kuhn in 1972.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Brief Message On LeBron James

From the editorial board of Sportsthodoxy, to wit:

If you are one of the tens of thousands flooding sports talk radio or comments sections on your favorite sites about the personal, spiritual, and moral failings of LeBron James, then we would like to kindly offer the following advice:

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Ryan Howard, Beer Bottles, and the Graceful End

Once upon a time, Ryan Howard was a very good baseball player. Maybe not as good as some people addicted to the adrenaline rush of a cloud-scraping home run might thing, but still, pretty darn good. His best years coincided with the best years of a franchise that's been around since the 1880s and, by and large, hasn't been very good; they certainly wouldn't have been as good as they got during that golden window in the mid-to-late 2000s without him. He wasn't the most graceful fielder, but he tried hard and worked at it, and for a while he made himself more or less passable through sheer effort, and he was by all accounts a nice and honorable and intelligent guy, exactly the sort of guy you want to be the centerpiece of your team. He was the sort of guy you wanted to root for, because he seemed like a genuinely good guy who could play well.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Short attention spans in sports?

Last weekend I saw a baseball game at Nationals Park in Washington, DC.  Great, modern ballpark with lots of cool features, including Kosher and vegetarian concessions, free cell phone charging stations, and even a nursing mother's lounge.  But I also noticed something odd - the park itself was actually pretty full that day, but a lot of the seats were empty for a good bit of the game.

How can this be, you ask?  Well, most of it can be blamed on the great amenities - "rest areas" in the concourse with tables and cooling fans, the cell phone charging stations, the mother's lounge, not to mention the very long lines at concessions.  So a lot of fans spent a good portion of the game in the concourse instead of actually watching the game.  And that got me thinking - are the games themselves starting to lose our attention?  

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Vizzini Picks a Winner in the NBA Finals

The Raptors took Cleveland to six games? Inconceivable!

The Warriors set an all-time mark for best regular season record. They are the defending champions and they have the 2-time defending MVP. Until someone beats them, I clearly cannot pick the Cavaliers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Things We Know About the NBA

They were never going to suspend Draymond Green for kicking Stephen Adams (himself, a renowned cheap shot artist) right in his Oklahoma City Thunder, for the simple reason that stars don't get suspended because people want to see stars. You can make all the noise you want about the NBA not wanting a suspension to decide the series, etc. etc. but the simple matter is that a guy on Green's level won't get suspended for anything short of attempted murder. A guy on LeBron's level probably wouldn't get suspended even then. And if Kevin Love tried it, he'd probably hurt himself in the process.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

On Surviving The Greatest Phillies Rotation Ever

Not shown: Joe Blanton
Back in the day, the Philadelphia Phillies employed what was supposed to be one of the all-time great rotations. It featured Cy Young winner Roy Halladay, Cy Young winner Cliff Lee, rising star Cole Hamels, and perennial Cy Young contender Roy Oswalt. People drooled over this rotation. It was going to be one for the ages. The Phillies were going to sling their way back to the World Series and possibly win every game by shutout along the way. (I exaggerate, but only slightly.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Conversation With An NBA Draft Lottery Conspiracy Nut

There's no possible way the Sixers screw up the #1 overall pick, right? Right?

Sportsthodoxy: So you're saying the NBA Draft Lottery is rigged?

Conspiracy Nut: Absolutely. That's how Philadelphia got the first pick.

S: But if it really was rigged, wouldn't it have been rigged in favor of LA?

CN: That's the beauty of it. LA got the second pick for the second year in a row, and there's no way that's coincidence. Also, Philadelphia's being run by the Colangelos, who do what the league tells them to do. So they'll take Brandon Ingram with the first pick claiming "fit" and then the Lakers will get Ben Simmons, who's the one real potential superstar in this draft, and the league wants a superstar in LA to replace Kobe, who just retired. It's perfect.

S: I thought the draft was rigged because Philadelphia got the first pick?

CN: Absolutely. That's the team's reward for firing Sam Hinkie as GM and installing the Colangelos, who are league favorites. They even hired the guy who was #2 in the league offices. Don't think that's a coincidence.

S: But how can it be rigged for LA and Philadelphia?

CN: We're talking about Philadelphia, right? The team with TV ratings so low Galavant re-runs looked down on them and laughed? They had to give that team something to get fans interested again, and the #1 pick is marketable. New beginnings and all that. Besides, this is the first draft in years when they can't mess it up by drafting another center.

S: Well, they kept drafting centers because they kept drafting at #3 and centers were the best players available...

CN: Why do you think they were always drafting third even when they were that bad? It was the league punishing Sam Hinkie for tanking. 

S: So they punished him by making it easier for the Sixers to tank?

CN: Not the point. Speaking of centers, you want more proof the draft was rigged, there's Dikembe Mutombo. Dude tweets out the Sixers have won the lottery four hours before it happens. If it's not rigged, explain that.

S: So of all the people the NBA is going to let know the draft is rigged, the guy who played a couple of seasons at center for the Sixers fifteen years ago is at the top of the list?

CN: Hey, he tweeted it, not me. 

S: But the NBA had reporters in the room when they pulled the numbers and the accounting firm of Ernst & Young oversees the whole thing.

CN: You mean like they oversaw the economy in 2007? Or bond ratings? Yeah, real secure there. I'm telling you, it was rigged. Besides, the way the lottery works now, with the number combinations and stuff, it's way too confusing. They did that so ordinary fans couldn't follow it and they could say the results were whatever they wanted, you see?

S: They switched to this model after the old model with ping pong balls with team logos was accused of being rigged in favor of the Knicks in 1985.

CN: See? It's been rigged all along!

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Today In Sports Stupid

Quick, loyal readers! What's the dumbest thing to happen in sports in the last 24 or so hours? Was it:

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Sportsthodoxy's 2016 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers

Every year there are guys who go undrafted at the start of the season who wind up being difference makers in fantasy baseball down the stretch. And every year, dozens of fantasy baseball publications try to identify these guys, allowing their readers to have an edge going into their drafts. Of course, since all of these publications tag the exact same guys as sleepers, their names get splashed all over the place and they're no longer sleepers because everyone knows about that, That's why we at Sportsthodoxy are taking a slightly different approach to our fantasy sleepers. Specifically, we recommend you run out and get:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fantasy Baseball Survival Tips for the Wise

The secrets to playing in a fantasy baseball league while maintaining your sanity and keeping everyone around you from wanting to kill you are simple. They are, in order:

  1. Do not talk to anyone who is not in your fantasy baseball league about your fantasy team for more then fifteen seconds, maximum. It is permissible to admit you are playing fantasy baseball, and in the unlikely event that your team name is actually funny (Note: "Nelson Cruz For President", "Feel the Bernie Brewers" and "Ben Zobrist Ghazi" are not, in fact, funny) you can mention the name. Once. To go beyond these firm limits is to risk inducing permanent brain lock in any soul unfortunate enough to hear you. And yes, this includes your spouse/partner. Especially your spouse/partner.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

On Tanking And The Dream

There's been a lot of fretful talk about "tanking" in baseball in a way that there hasn't necessarily been in other sports. I mean, sure the tire fire that is the Philadelphia 76ers has excited some notice, but only because they've been at it for so long to such little effect. But all of a sudden this year it's baseball's bete noire, the scourge that's sweeping the land and must be stopped so someone can Think About The Children.

(Everything in baseball is about The Children. This sentiment is usually evinced by middle aged men. I leave the irony as an exercise for the student.)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What Your Choice of Pittsburgh Penguins Jersey Is Really Saying For You

NHL replica hockey jerseys are expensive.

Hockey used to have a real working-class ethic in the US; historically when someone says "hockey fan" they think of a guy missing a couple of teeth who has to get up early to unload railcars or something, when in fact there are a lot more NHL fans who look like Margot Robbie than you would imagine.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

On Adam LaRoche's Daycare Issues

I do not know who said what to whom in the Affair Of The Banished 14 Year Old on Chicago's South Side, nor do I much care. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

So How Did We Do?

Yesterday, we made some predictions about the NCAA tournament bracket. Let's see how we did, accuracy-wise:

  • St. Mary's and Monmouth got jobbed out of berths, and Wichita State got tossed into a "First Four" game. Meanwhile, questionable major conference selections like Syracuse, Michigan (both of which we called out) and Vanderbilt got in.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Things You Will See On Selection Sunday

We at Sportsthodoxy boldly predict the following things will happen when the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament seedings are announced:

  • A deserving mid-major that lost in their conference tournament (Wichita State, Monmouth, St. Mary's - pick one) will get jobbed out of a bid that is instead awarded to a less impressive major conference team (Syracuse, Michigan, South Carolina - pick one?).

On Goose Gossage Getting Steamed

The general reaction to Goose Gossage's off-color, off-topic (he'd initially been asked about Aroldis Chapman) rant about Joey Bats and Bryce Harper and all those disrespectful younger players is "cranky old man yells at damn kids to get off his lawn."

I don't think this is the most accurate way of looking at it.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

The Endless Debate

Things that are more likely than anyone coming to a satisfactory resolution on the "where does Peyton Manning rank among quarterbacks all time?" sports talk radio debate:

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Staaled Out

To quote a video game a friend of mine wrote, do you want to know what the definition of insanity is? Roughly speaking, it's trying to win year after year with the same core of "stars" that has failed to make the playoffs in ages.

Monday, February 29, 2016


For the past five days, the coverage has been breathless. The dissection of the minute differences between various players' performances at things that actually have nothing to do with their chosen profession has been deadly serious and painfully intense. Every utterance by every coach, every player, every agent has been taken apart, overanalyzed, and then overanalyzed again.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Dear baseball:

I write this to you from a place of love.


You need to hire some goddamned game designers.

Like, now.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Lies, Damned Lies, No Statistics

Certain headlines repeat themselves year after year at spring training. Some are harmless. Some are true. And some are unmitigated hooey. For example:

  1. "Team X spent $400M this offseason!" - No they didn't. They may have signed contracts for $400M, spread out over however many years, but that's not the same thing as saying they plunked down a half billion dollars all in one spot. Throw in the interesting tax ramifications of player salaries (thanks for nothing, Bill Veeck), money that's coming off the books at the same time those contracts are going on, and various and sundry other factors, and the actual dollar amounts teams are "spending" at any given time is slightly less jaw-dropping - or sensational.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Chewing On Feinstein Is Pointless

The baseball interwebs are on fire these days because legendary sportswriter John Feinstein, whose shtick is largely focused around the genteel gloss applied to certain aspects of sports, said something dumb about sabermetrics. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Hot Takes On Stuff I Missed Dealing With Real Life

Each of these probably should have gotten its own post, but it's been busy around here. So in the meantime, here's some hot takes that have been left out to cool:

Sunday, February 07, 2016

On Watching Super Bowls 49 and 50

Normally at this time of year the blog would be chock full of content, with comparison-contrast pieces on the relative awfulness of Carolina's nickel back versus the karmic weirdness of Evan Mathis playing for a Super Bowl title after getting run out of Philly, or whatever. 


Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Your Handy-Dandy Super Bowl 50 Translation Guide:

Sometimes, athletes, coaches and reporters at the Super Bowl say what they mean. This has happened as recently as Max McGee admitting he was hung over after Super Bowl I. Since then, the game has hidden behind an endless curtain of genteel weaselspeak. But that's OK, we're here to clear it up for you:

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Mom and Sports: A Lesson

You may have noticed a dearth of content around these parts lately. That can be attributed to the final decline and passing of my mother, Irene, who left us on January 23rd after a 15+ year battle with cancer in which she repeatedly gave as good as she got.

In her honor, then, here's a story about Mom, and sports, and a few other things. Mom wasn't much of a sports fan - there was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan in there somewhere, but in her later years she was mainly just irritated at how much money was getting chewed up by the sports-industrial complex.  But every so often she dipped into sports and surprised me. For example:

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Monte Irvin, RIP

Now that's a baseball card

Lost in all the nonsense about the Rams moving and the Chargers maybe moving and God knows what else this week was a story you probably missed: Hall of Fame outfielder Monte Irvin, late of the Negro Leagues and the New York Giants, passed away.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Trump on Football

If you actually take what Donald Trump says about football seriously, I have four letters for you.

They are, in order:

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Takeaways from the 2016 Hall of Fame Results

Now that this year's Baseball Hall of Fame voting results have been announced and the furious hot takes about whether Jack Morris should get in have been safely buried for a year, it's time to look at those results - Griffey and Piazza in, everybody else out, Jim Edmonds off the ballot - and think about what this really means. To wit:

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Your Handy-Dandy Guide to Fired NFL Coaches

No, Chuck Pagano's not on this list. I didn't believe it, either.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

On the Chip Kelly Firing

From the Official Father of Sportsthodoxy, via email:

"Chip fell off the block. He will surface as the next Coach of the Sixers. No guess who the next Eagles Coach will be."

Compared to this, I got nothing.