Recent Comments by dfleming

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Yeah - it seems like a lose/lose for players and teams to have a rule that you can get around by sending a guy down for two weeks. Fixing it will be a battle, but once it's fixed it will be better for everyone.

The competitiveness of the big league game takes a hit for what could easily be a straight rule on whether or not a guy plays a particular year or not. Similar to the option rules, they often mean lesser players are in the bigs for roster management reasons.

Sure, there might be edge cases where a guy gets 10 at-bats, gets hurt, and then the team loses a year of eligibility, but in general simplifying these rules would make it more likely the right guys are the right levels for the right reasons.

posted by dfleming at 03:30 PM on March 26

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Bloomsburg baseball player booted for offensive Mo'ne Davis tweet

It takes a real special kind of douchebaggery to call a 13-year-old a slut.

posted by dfleming at 10:53 AM on March 23

Obama Proposal Could End Taxpayer-Subsidized Pro Sports Stadiums

I mentioned that as one of the two conditions where it creates economic impact in my first comment - people travelling from one market to another.

But you spending money in other cities in Florida doesn't do anything for the state budget (sales tax in Viera or Orlando or Jacksonville all go to the same state, minus any local surtaxes, but those don't go to the state either), which was the whole thing that I started with - the governor of the state claiming it would cost the state $10m is a patently ridiculous statement.

With teams bordering around them in Kansas City, Tennessee, Indianapolis, and Chicago all in close proximity, and the Rams having been so lousy for the last decade, it's pretty unlikely that they are drawing thousands of out-of-state fans to the state for Rams home games. They may be drawing folks from local counties in, but that does nothing for the state budget.

posted by dfleming at 09:35 PM on March 22

Obama Proposal Could End Taxpayer-Subsidized Pro Sports Stadiums

Why do you find it hard to believe that a person who likes a specific form of entertainment will spend money on that when it is available, and keep the money when it isn't?

Because I've looked at the data on saving and spending habits. Those questions are vague because we're not talking about all the spending on one Sunday, but the spending of citizens over a year in their cities. Do they spend the same amount of money they make each year, regardless of what it's on? Yes - primarily they do.

I'm also not inventing this out of belief - I'm saying the majority of people don't do what it is that you're suggesting, no matter how irrational it is. People in towns spend almost all of their money every month regardless of whether or not it's on sports teams.

What you seem to be envisioning if the Jags leave is 50,000 people in Jacksonville who just sit at home quietly in a room on Sunday afternoons and don't consider anything else they might do with their time and money. They don't go to sports bars to watch games, or watch other sports live, or take their partners on dates, or take their families to the movies or to an amusement park, or do anything else.

And what I'm suggesting is, based on all economic data and trends I have seen to date, people have not one thing they wish to do with their money, but many things, and when one preference is unavailable, they find others that maximize the happiness of their lives in the present. People who used to go to LA Rams games do other things today than they did then.

posted by dfleming at 12:28 PM on March 20

Obama Proposal Could End Taxpayer-Subsidized Pro Sports Stadiums

When I attend sporting events, I don't usually think about whether I've refrained from other spending to make up for it.

You don't consider what your current Visa balance is at when deciding on future purchases? You've not once thought that a particular month's expenses were high, and you might rein it in for a little bit to compensate?

It's not a direct "this, therefore not that" thought process that most people use as their decision-making mechanism. It's either hitting their credit card limit (therefore I can't buy other things), a review of their bank balance, or a desire to not be perpetually in deficit that causes people to decide not to eat out that week, not to drop by the pub after work, not to grab Starbucks, etc.

The things we've bought absolutely help to dictate what it is we buy in the future.

Some people will hang onto it because none of the alternatives are enough to motivate them to part with the money they used to spend on a NFL team.

If you actually look at the data on what people do with their money, this is categorically untrue for all but a small percentage of the population.

Most people spend how much money they have, and very few look at the variety of other consumption options (including housing expenses and upgrades, electronics, food and beverage, cars, and servicing other debt) and think "well, there are literally no other options other than Jags tickets that will satisfy me. I guess I will bank that $500."

If they did, the savings rate would create significantly more stable retirement funds for all but the wealthy than exist now. Most people's net worth is the equity in their house - they aren't building it through monthly cash flow or savings theory, which is why we have to do things like incentivize 401k contributions and other things to get them to.

posted by dfleming at 09:15 AM on March 20

Can popularity ruin a sport?

Yeah, there's a certain segment of folks at any event who act as though the event exists exclusively for them and they're happy to elbow you out of the way and block your view and forget about common courtesy because it's their world.

I wonder, though, if mobs are representative of how many people really want to break stuff all the time or how many people would break stuff once a bunch of people already are and their own behaviour is now part of a collective. I suspect belief in the latter and it being about exponential growth is why I feel safer in smaller venues - more followers than leaders out there.

posted by dfleming at 01:41 PM on March 19

Obama Proposal Could End Taxpayer-Subsidized Pro Sports Stadiums

I wish we were able to nail the "investing in long-term benefits is sexy" narrative bill, but sadly, the collective "we" really love shiny new things. If we were, maybe the water and sewer infrastructure throughout North America wouldn't be crumbling daily.

posted by dfleming at 01:39 PM on March 19

Obama Proposal Could End Taxpayer-Subsidized Pro Sports Stadiums

Any time you bring tens of thousands of people to an event there are going to be increased business for grocery stores for tailgate supplies, gas stations, restaurants, bars, parking lots and stadium concessions, all of which help those businesses and their employees and generate sales taxes. Local newspapers, radio and TV stations also benefit because the team draws more eyeballs and they can sell them to advertisers.

This only works if you're enticing people to spend money they aren't spending already in the area - either by attracting people to the area, convincing them not to leave the area, or convincing them to cut their spending rate and to spend more money. The area, in the case of the Governor, is the state of Missouri.

It's the same argument that is used when a Wal-Mart opens up - that it creates jobs and tons of economic impact. Lots of economic analysis (this one is on a Lowe's where 115 jobs were created, and as many as 163 jobs were destroyed) suggests all it does is shave it from other businesses and centralize it in this one place, and very little (if any) new money is created, and often times, jobs are destroyed. In the case of big entertainment - it's money that might've been distributed at a variety of other places.

So - my point is that, while there is a centralized and clustered spending pattern that occurs in places in and around the stadium, if the Rams weren't playing that Sunday, it would be spread out at other retailers, restaurants, etc. throughout the week. The 5.5% saving number that yerfatma cites is not a normally-distributed dataset (I have a couple of local Canadian studies behind a university paywall that are similarly-focused) - it's a small number of people saving a lot, and a lot of people servicing debt like mortgages, student loans, and credit card debts, and spending the rest on survival and luxuries with nothing left over.

Similarly - if you're in a market where the governments spend all, if not more, than they earn - the capital spending on the project also is not new money. We typically shave from other budgets to accommodate a stadium build, which means that money was already cycling through the economy at status quo.

The majority people aren't spending new money at the stadium, but instead cutting back on other spending to compensate for their day out. I've made this argument to deaf ears at the local and provincial level as an economist in Canada.

posted by dfleming at 10:41 AM on March 19

Can popularity ruin a sport?

Great article - thanks for sharing.

You could sub a whole whack of stuff in there - politics, music, entertainment, ideology - and it holds that it is as though it exists for some people as an outlet to yell at others. Unfortunately, that shit is what enough people watch in droves and that means losing all the reasonable people in the process isn't bad for business.

I think it's always been this way on a micro scale, it just happens in today's day and age that the volume's gone from 2 to 11 and it's drowning everything else out. It used to be that your sporting experience might be marked by a couple of shows on TV, folks at the bar, the people in your stadium section, and your friends and family.

It wasn't that long ago (heck, it still happens in soccer) where yelling racial epithets, hurling batteries, talking about people's ugly wives, and chanting about people's dead mothers was part of the in-sport experience. Now it's done largely anonymously via the internet, and the volume of it is such that it dwarfs the reasonable folks out.

My last two stadium experiences - Foxboro and Yankee Stadium - left me feeling unsafe and largely disinterested in the in-game experience. We met a group of rough looking 49ers fans on the way to Foxboro who turned out to be really lovely people, but once we got in our section, my internal conflict turned out to be thinking about telling the Pats fan two rows down to stop yelling the N word at a bunch of 49er fans in the section below. He was ready for a fight, and quite honestly, it ruined the entire experience to think that I had to chose between being a coward or getting in a fight - both things I loathe. The game itself was awesome, but I had a lousy time.

The good news, at least, is the niche market for reasonable sports experience is out there. SpoFi, however small in the grand scheme of things, is a really great resources - in part because the moderation have been brilliant at discouraging the tribalism that begets hatred and anger here. Podcasts as a collective seem to do better than video, and there's a relatively robust analytical community in all sports that delights me to no end.

It's just a shame that we have not figured out how to keep the humanity in things as they scale in size. I now shy away from large music festivals, political rallies, and sports events, and find myself getting excited about obscure pro-ball games simply because there's a safety and human touch still left in the experience. It sucks to no longer be able to catch a live performance of a band or player because their audience has scaled, but I'd rather not have to deal with racism, sexism, tribalism, and violence just to enjoy something. It's not worth it.

posted by dfleming at 09:57 AM on March 19

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Jerry Jones: November 11th, 2014 - "There's no question in my mind, the emphasis we have on spousal abuse in the NFL and the lack of tolerance for it. It's intolerable and will be adjudicated accordingly."

Jerry Jones: March 18th, 2015 - 'Well, unless we get a bunch of sacks out of the deal.'

posted by dfleming at 04:30 PM on March 18

Obama Proposal Could End Taxpayer-Subsidized Pro Sports Stadiums

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, has said losing the Rams would cost the state at least $10 million a year.

No - they gross $10m a year in revenue. They cost the state in terms of infrastructure (stadium capital costs; busses and roads/tax breaks on land that might net higher property tax/etc.) - costs that will likely escalate if it takes a new stadium to keep them.

Considering most people spend every cent of their pay cheque anyways, the argument it stimulates activity in the local economy is bogus. People eating out on Sunday instead of Tuesday doesn't generate any new money. People shopping at this Wal Mart near the stadium vs. that Target in a business park doesn't do anything for the economy. The exceptions are:

a) Keeping dollars that would otherwise be spent out of Missouri in Missouri; or
b) Attracting dollars from other states for gamedays/sales tax on merch.

To which, as far as I can tell, the Rams are unlikely to be massive movers in either category.

I don't know why guys with control over these massive public budgets can't fucking figure out that gross revenue =/= net revenue. If you spend $12m/year on a capital project for whom there are next to no other possible tenants (therefore meaning it's Rams rent or bust for this huge, expensive stadium), and it nets you $10m a year in direct revenue, it's a god damned cost to taxpayers.

posted by dfleming at 12:19 PM on March 18

49ers Linebacker Retires at 24, Says NFL Isn't 'Worth the Risk'

There's a thread down here.

posted by dfleming at 10:26 AM on March 18

SF 49er rookie Chris Borland retires at age 24 due to worries about his future health from concussions.

I kind of wonder whether or not even base-level NFL salaries are now at such a point where the reward is enough over a couple of years to give up the long-term risk.

Borland only made a few hundred thousand last year, but he's got a free college degree and (presumably) a positive balance sheet at 24. There aren't very many people in the U.S. who weren't born rich who can say that, and he now can enter another career with a bit of a safety net under him.

These are all pieces of anecdata where guys are leaving money (MJD and Locker, a little; Worilds, Borland and Willis, a lot) on the table. It's certainly not a trend yet, but it's really inspiring to see even a few guys in their 20's analyzing research and listening to the older pros and choosing the long-term over the short-term. It's the only way the game will truly be reformed - if the star power dulls a little and the NFL can't ignore it anymore.

posted by dfleming at 12:09 PM on March 17

Tim Tebow Working Year-Round on Throwing Mechanics

Honestly, I'm not surprised that with that much dedication to his mechanics that Tebow got a look. Quarterbacking depth is so poor in the NFL and guys like Vince Young and Josh Freeman are still on the periphery because of it. It takes an hour to evaluate Tebow to determine whether or not the rest of his skill-set goes with a consistent left arm now. The prospect of that, coupled with all his "intangibles", is a lot more worthwhile than evaluating Tyler Thigpen for the umpteenth time.

These guys should pay a tithe to Kurt Warner for making GMs believe it's indeed possible for a late 20's quarterback to emerge from his previous mediocrity as Cinderella.

posted by dfleming at 10:48 AM on March 17

The NFL free-agency period begins with a slew of major moves

I think if Bradford's healthy and the offensive line gets filled out well, he'll be a pretty good compliment to a strong, multi-headed running game. Ertz and Sproles in a play-action, ball-control scheme will help limit how often he's dropping back deep in the pocket and getting killed, which has been his career to date.

If Bradford was the guy they've wanted for months, though, it makes zero sense to me to re-up with Sanchez and not to chase one of the more game-manager type veterans on the market. Sure, he knows the system (despite the fact 50% of the playmakers are gone), but he's not going to plug-and-play into an accuracy and tempo based system if Bradford goes down.

posted by dfleming at 12:04 PM on March 13

The NFL free-agency period begins with a slew of major moves

Now I'm more confused, mainly because $14 million per year for Revis doesn't seem crazy to me. That said, they may feel like it's a lot to shell out for a guy who will be 33 at the end of the deal and won't be worth the cap constraint after the first year or two.

That's my thought - it's a fine annual rate, however the third year guarantee is a big gamble. Not a lot of corners can maintain elite level skill AND elite health into their 30s. If he's Revis Island for 42-48 games in that time, it's a great deal, but I think with the cap situation in NE and the guys they need to keep, it reduces the flex they'll have in setting those deals up in years 2 and 3.

The Pats a season ago had, more or less, this secondary minus Malcolm Butler's one-off heroics. They were prone the big play, particularly against tall, elite receivers. Browner's a #2 for sure, but he's a guy whose physicality at the line can at least match up and slow 'em down. If you look at who's left on the board - Cromartie, Tramon Williams, Chris Culliver, Pat Robinson - none of them give you either #1 coverage or help you in size matchups, with the exception or Cromartie who's near a deal with the Jets, and is older and will (in theory) be more expensive than Browner.

posted by dfleming at 02:29 PM on March 11

The NFL free-agency period begins with a slew of major moves

The Revis money remains silly - but I don't understand hardballing Browner. There isn't much left on the market even as a #2 corner and the Pats have a lot of small guys in their secondary. He's been on the last two Superbowl winners and is surely going to get more money than he was cut for.

The other piece I think they're going to miss is Vereen - occasionally, when Edelman was covered, passes all over the field to Vereen were what sustained drives.

posted by dfleming at 09:22 AM on March 11

Baseball's fight with fatigue

I wonder how much the heat has to do with this - 7 of the 10 hottest years ever in the U.S. (I know that's not isolating for the ball season specifically) have been in the last 13 years and 3+ hours in increasing heat everyday is going to take a toll on guys.

posted by dfleming at 10:54 PM on March 06

Bears Receiver Brandon Marshall Traded to Jets

At least they're giving what is likely Geno's do or die season a real good shot - if you can't throw to Decker/Marshall/Amaro (even assuming Marshall's problem last year was a decline in skills rather than Cutler/Claussen syndrome), you aren't going to cut it in the NFL.

The whole Kerley/Cumberland era was one thing, but now there are legitimate NFL tools around him. Time to produce.

posted by dfleming at 01:29 PM on March 06

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I like your rationale yerfatma - McCourty was also publicly in favour of the franchise number (it's higher than all but two safeties in the NFL, I believe), which to me seemed like a bit of a peculiar negotiation move.

posted by dfleming at 08:57 AM on March 06

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Yeah - when they didn't franchise him, it meant the Pats were going to have to do a big-dollar, longer-term deal with a guy in the secondary which they pretty rarely do. Plus - Jason's been working on him to come to Tennessee, who's got the cap room.

It's entirely possible that they work some magic with all three in the next few days (and Mayo and Solder on lower cap extensions, although Mayo's got an injury guarantee which means they can't get him below $4.5m guaranteed until he passes a physical which is a few months out), but I'm not optimistic with a shallow pool of talent in all three positions once they hit the open market that the Pats will be able to make it work.

posted by dfleming at 03:29 PM on March 05

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Yeah - on the one hand, I like the "don't overpay anyone" system for its results, but when you watch guys like Devin McCourty and Vince Wilfork put on other jerseys, it's hard to not to hate it. Even the guys who bloody hate the Pats with a fiery passion like those guys.

I also remember the year when Wilfork was hurt, and thinking about that D minus McCourty (and no real free agents that replace Revis, McCourty and Wilfork with equivalents out there) it's easy to see the Pats slip a lot this year. Brady's not quite as able to throw the team on his back, and some version of that leaky Pats D is really going to make it tough to compete against the elites of the NFL.

posted by dfleming at 11:16 AM on March 05

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

That's more or less making an auction out of bowl and playoff games, which is probably happening on the black market anyways - now it's just the university keeping the money.

You can log in to your loyalty account and see how much of a donation you need to make in order to move up in the rankings - but, keep in mind, someone else might go above you yet again! Better give more just in case!

It irks me the idea that, if this succeeds, in order to go to anything special I'm going to need to create an account that tracks me and rewards me for being a good boy in the future. Maybe I'm not a normal customer (as they claim this is responding to fan desires), but all I want in terms of customer service is to pay a fair price to go to a thing, not to add more game theory to my weekends.

posted by dfleming at 12:27 PM on March 04

Is Charlie Brown the Worst Manager Ever?

Outstanding read.

posted by dfleming at 09:07 AM on March 04

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Daniel Murphy starts off by saying a weird thing about Billy Bean - "I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual" - but then actually says something relatively enlightened - "I just think that as a believer trying to articulate it in a way that says just because I disagree with the lifestyle doesn't mean I'm just never going to speak to Billy Bean every time he walks through the door. That's not love. That's not love at all."

posted by dfleming at 09:01 AM on March 04

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

The original rumours involving McCoy were about grabbing picks to move up to get Mariota. Alonso effectively replaces Cole with a cheaper, better option, but unless they bring Maclin back, there are a lot of key positions without players for Chip Kelly to be thinking about paackaging multiple picks t move up in the draft. Something doesn't quite add up.

posted by dfleming at 09:31 PM on March 03

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I guess I wonder whether or not the environment is fertile enough for Doug Gilmours to thrive again.

Kessel was DOA and a lightning rod due to the moves management made to get him. Phaneuf didn't get a ton of rope before he was the horse everyone wanted to beat. Kadri hardly had his skates on before he was too fat, too slow, and guys were convinced he should be dealt. Kaberle. Schenn. Steen. It's not a short list of guys who had a tough time winning friends in Toronto.

This is a team that's got a fundamental development problem, and the problem with Phaneuf and Kessel isn't that they are costing the team wins - it's that they're both probably too old for how much of a rebuild this squad needs. You couldn't plug a player that's been truly available since either of them arrived into this squad and turn it into a contender. Doug Gilmour as captain in his prime in place of Kessel couldn't save this squad.

They have no legitimate #1 goalie. They don't have a legitimate NHL coach. They haven't had a #1 centre since Sundin left. They have very few puck possession players, either in the NHL or coming up. They're just now developing an analytic capability. They're a decade behind some teams in terms of scouting philosophy, system development, and coaching.

They've got money, and likely a top draft pick this year, plus Reilly and a few guys like Fred Gauthier and Nylander, and some guys who may or may not play a role like Gardiner, Kadri, Bernier and Holland. That's not a lot to add a top center and defenseman that are better than Kessel and Phaneuf to.

They should deal Phaneuf and Kessel in the next year or two because their career timeline isn't going to match their rebuild. I was worried the Leafs would take a subpar deadline deal for Phaneuf simply to get him out of town and to respond to the outrage over how bad this team is.

posted by dfleming at 04:15 PM on March 03

Curt Schilling Declares War on Twitter Trolls Abusing His Daughter

The level of abuse heaped on people is a function of Twitter's design decision to show all @ replies to everyone. It doesn't happen on Facebook, where the default is to only allow responses from friends unless you explicitly allow everyone to respond.

I agree this is on Twitter's design, but none of us control that and it doesn't help an acute situation. We can control whether or not we use that platform, but it's not like the end user in 2015 can do anything except silently take it or respond.

Also - there is lots of abuse happening on Facebook in groups, via Reddit/4chan, and elsewhere. They're on anonymous newspaper and YouTube comment sections. There are specific racist hellholes, MRA hellholes, anti-semite hellholes, and all kinds of forums for specific types of hate.

Twitter's one source but a single function on one platform isn't going to stop groups from festering on those other platforms. They're everywhere.

I totally understand the desire to just walk away. It's the same thing we tell our kids on how to deal with bullies at school. The latter is effective, in part because there were structures (principals, parents, disciplinary procedures, etc) in place that make it successful.

With internet harassment, there are none - local PDs are totally inadequate when it comes to responding to it, and even if they were better, there's just too much of it to police. The builders of these tools refuse to fundamentally deal with the problems they cause even for people who don't use them.

And silence has been proven repeatedly not to be enough for internet trolls, who often don't stop even after you're dead (I lived in the town where Rehtaeh Parsons occurred and met her father at an event - his stories of what he gets from anonymous sources even six months ago is incredible.) So I guess I've given up on the idea that there's value to a higher ground in this day and age, because it's certainly not making it any easier to be a public figure, particularly a female one.

posted by dfleming at 02:28 PM on March 03

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Phil Kessel's comments regarding the media treatment of Dion Phaneuf in Toronto are really interesting. It's not quite a statement that he wants out of the city because of the media, but it's pretty damn close.

I wonder whether or not the general tone/animosity of the media in a particular city is a consideration for players when deciding where to play. The impact on players' life of a 24-7 media cycle certainly must be more than it was even 20 years ago.

I also wonder whether or not the sheer volume of negative, very personal, media attention in Toronto is actually causing the situation to get worse. I think the proportion of the media that's been devoted to Phaneuf and Kessel seems significantly disproportionate to the reasons the team is so bad. They aren't the ones who were unable to get a legitimate top-line centre for the last decade or the ones who failed to discover analytics until this year. They're also not the ones who appointed a coach who seems so bought into his "system" that the evidence - every single one of his players playing worse - doesn't seem to impact the game plan.

I get that it's hard to spruce up 80 or so "management is awful" articles a year on the Leafs (especially now that they know the coach is interim and never coming back), but on some level I wonder whether or not the media in Toronto have a role in making it tough to be a happy, motivated player in Toronto.

posted by dfleming at 02:04 PM on March 03

Curt Schilling Declares War on Twitter Trolls Abusing His Daughter

Schilling and his family will likely be targeted forever by other trolls because of how he responded to this.

I dis agree with the idea that the responsibility for further trolling is on him. He was already the target of rape threats, personally sent to him, because he showed a photo of his daughter and some pride in her accomplishments.

He's a famous pitcher who did a totally benign thing that resulted in some heinous shit coming his way. He's already in "targeted forever" territory.

But do you honestly think Schilling's actions will make anything stop? At best a few of his trolls will vanish from social media. Maybe a few others will realize that posting sexual insults at a famous person's daughter isn't harmless fun.

A few trolls stopping and realizing this is a best case scenario in 2015. The more we see trolls receiving consequences to their actions, the more likely it is that an argument outside of the sheer ethics of their behaviors stops them. It's like stealing - there's a mix of ethical and consequence-related reasons why people don't do it. Both are needed.

I for a long time was in the "stay silent" camp - but watching friends and their families get doxxed and threatened for things they said years ago shows that cowering to trolls doesn't stop them. You don't get to check in/check out anymore - once you're out there, you're there for life.

So it might be a blip in the aggregate to take a couple down, but I'm not thoroughly convinced there's an argument to be made that anything else is more impactful at this stage towards the goal of being a public figure and feeling safe. You can let them win and still spend your life in fear.

All the page views that came with this story are a chance to remind people that trolling has consequences to the end user, but also to the person doing it. That's worth something.

posted by dfleming at 12:55 PM on March 03

Curt Schilling Declares War on Twitter Trolls Abusing His Daughter

But if Schilling thinks repulsive Twitter behavior is a bad thing, how is it countering that to encourage repulsive Twitter behavior? He's not making the problem better, as much as he laments the trend in his blog post.

What's his alternative option at this point? Ignoring trolls doesn't help, as much as people wax poetic about that option. A friend of mine who vocally speaks about feminism gets steady streams of hate mail. She never responds, but it doesn't stop coming in because she ignores it.

Further - her friends, who aren't even involved, get rape threats because they know her. Her mom gets letters with cut out magazine letters threatening her. It's affected her capacity to build real-life friendships and the people around her.

I don't think Curt Schilling has the capacity to change the norms of a social media platform of over 300 million people. So in the short term, he's doing what he can to ensure people stop talking about raping his daughter. Do you have a better option?

It's great to imagine a scenario where technology lets fathers ignore this stuff in the future, but this is today and he doesn't make decisions on Twitter's policies, can't develop technology that might limit what he/his daughter sees, or anything like that. Turning trolls on themselves seems like the only real way to make it stop in 2015.

posted by dfleming at 10:08 AM on March 03

Curt Schilling Declares War on Twitter Trolls Abusing His Daughter

I have mixed feelings about this. These trolls were engaging in a hostile, destructive act. Schilling is counting on the same impulses by asking the online mob to go after them. Is that act likely to do anything but feed the Twitter monster?

Maybe I'm a little old school, but a couple of misogynist pigs spending a couple of weeks knowing what it's like to deal with guys like themselves is not the worst thing in the world. Women deal with fear, intimidation, and the threat of sexual violence which have real-world consequences for them every day. This is just desserts.

posted by dfleming at 08:54 PM on March 02

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

David Clarkson was traded for Nathan Horton, who because he's on long-term injury, doesn't count against the cap. Say what you want about Nonis, but he deserves at least a brief cap tip for getting out from under that deal.

posted by dfleming at 07:55 PM on February 26

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Has Tony the Tiger always worn underwear?!

Perhaps Tony slapped some underwear on to appease Mrs. Tiger during the great Tiger infidelities of 2009.

posted by dfleming at 12:23 PM on February 26

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

The top speculative reason is that he used cocaine a few months back, voluntarily admitted it to MLB, and is expecting to be punished for it (as he's a multiple-time offender when he was in the minors).

I kinda wonder how MLB classifies his suspensions. The final test that he failed in '03 (which was not the first) was during spring training, and it was not inconceivable that he made that Rays team. He also had the incident in 2009 where it seems his inability to actually get any cocaine one night while drunk was the only thing stopping him from failing a test.

I mean - on the one hand, non-PED drug and alcohol suspensions are draconian - but on the other, Hamilton's voluntarily admitted three times in the last five years to incidents and has had to hold press conferences to apologize to the fans. At what point does him coming forward stop being a good sign, worthy of consideration during discussions of his punishment?

posted by dfleming at 08:55 AM on February 26

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

I've run into a few "NFL concept helmet" stories in the past couple weeks and my reaction to both has been "if you touch the Bengals helmet, I will cut you."

posted by dfleming at 07:31 AM on February 26

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

More info on Bryant - apparently, whoever has it has offered it to TMZ or Bryant's team, depending on who pays more.

Allegedly screen shots have been sent around to some folks in the media attempting to shake them down too. Hell of a way to get a payday.

Roger Goodell is viciously booking a trip to Antarctica as we speak.

posted by dfleming at 04:27 PM on February 25

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

This has got to be the cagiest semi-leak ever - apparently there is a Dez Bryant video of some kind, showing him doing "something he shouldn't be doing" - but can't possibly be smoking pot or something that simple, because Adam Schefter has been working on it for a long time and there's "a lot involved" and may or may not ever be able to release anything. A source says there's some rumours it's "five times worse than the Ray Rice video."

I've gotta say, this feels insanely irresponsible to me as far as my take on media ethics is concerned. If it's not passed the sniff test of the newsroom, it's not yet a story. In the meantime, it's going to do a heck of a lot to Bryant's negotiations for his largest contract ever to have this come out right now with no actual substance.

Report on facts and stories, not on the media. This kind of hyping of things to come to me is bullshit.

posted by dfleming at 04:15 PM on February 25

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

Hey, if the folks behind the Buffalo, NY logo and slogan are any indication, you probably can just show up to some branding offices and say "I work here now" and start getting paid.

Two fonts, one which is horrific, and an animal that, while it shares the name, doesn't actually exist there. The opposite of real. Can't make this shit up.

posted by dfleming at 02:35 PM on February 25

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

They are referring to the helmet as a "logo". Interesting.

It's not the physical helmet the players are wearing that is the logo - they have a drawn version that is their actual logo. They don't put the logo on their helmet because then they'd get into a whole "helmets all the way down" drawing scenario and MC Escher seems above this kind of work.

posted by dfleming at 08:42 AM on February 25

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Is it an '89 LeBaron? #johnvoightscar

posted by dfleming at 10:30 AM on February 24

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

The Red Sox reportedly have gotten Yoan Moncada for a reported $31.5m bonus, with an additional $31.5m overage tax for going over the limit for international bonus money.

It's a bloody lot of money for a 19-year-old, although having watched him play a couple of times, he's as real a deal as a 19-year-old can be. My guess for where he's going to play - he'll come to the majors just as Ortiz is retiring in 1-2 years, and they'll shove Sandoval to DH at that time, rather than shipping Bogaerts out or making an outfielder out of him and reducing his positional value.

posted by dfleming at 02:06 PM on February 23

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

B.J. Upton is now going as Melvin Upton Jr.

Perplexing logic at work in the creation of this one:

a) His father's name is neither B.J., nor Melvin (his birth name), but instead Manny; and
b) B.J. originally stood for Bossman Jr., which was a take on his dad's nickname.

Honestly, I don't think it's the most likely M name Braves fans will be yelling about him.

posted by dfleming at 09:57 AM on February 23

Chargers, Raiders Pursue Shared Stadium in Los Angeles

I don't know if that's the answer: because they're only elected for a short time and because people tend to vote against their long-term interests for this kind of crap, isn't it more of an education issue?

I don't think so, at least not more so on this topic than any other relating to how our democratic institutions would be better if we had a more informed voter.

I think, in theory, it's a great idea for a politician to say "I want to bring a professional sports team to town" and for the public to say "I want that too!" The devil is in the details of the deal, which i s what we send elected representatives to do for us. We can vote 'em out, but for the people of Miami, that's little consequence when you're financing the deal for the next 50 years.

I was in the room for a lot of discussions about a CFL stadium (as an economist who brought in a lot of the great economic work being done on how the infrastructure and development promises rarely come to be) - and often, I felt like for the elected officials, you could move a decimal point and it doesn't matter. They're there to make a deal, and unless that happens, it's a failure. They don't negotiate well because, deep down, they're not very willing to say no.

A stadium project can revitalize a downtown.

I think, for the most part, those days are gone - at least in the sense of sustainable growth.

The last decade of fiscal constraint means we're putting these things in suburbia because the land value is lower and there's more of it. This is theorized in Carson, not downtown LA. That puts huge pressures on transportation, planning and county infrastructure to make it work. Roads need to be built and adjusted; public transportation now has huge swaths of people moving from one place to another it didn't before. Costly water, sewer, and environmental impacts as well.

It will also revitalize an area if the stadium is occupied for decades (like Camden) - so when the Braves go ahead and move out of Turner Field after 19 years, and the whole area declines, it's a problem. It's not a great city planning tool unless you know it'll be there for the length of time it takes to truly build great infrastructure.

Again - I think under the right circumstances, a stadium could be a good thing. Camden Yards, in today's dollars, cost $185 million and is likely paying dividends now that it's into its third decade of occupancy.

Marlins Park cost 4 times that, meaning in order to realize equivalent dividends, either they need to stay there 4 times as long, or do a lot more for the surrounding area each year. Lots of that ancillary investment and improvement is public, to which the public has less money due to the deal than it had before.

So - I do get what you're saying, but the nature of the current stadium deal isn't likely to do to many places what Baltimore's has, unless the collectively political realm gets a hell of a lot better at negotiating.

posted by dfleming at 02:05 PM on February 20

Chargers, Raiders Pursue Shared Stadium in Los Angeles

It's becoming more and more clear that major sports corporations are becoming more and more of a plague on the cities they're in, or could be in. It's akin economic development* in general - every place's willingness to sweeten the deal through investment and tax breaks to get someone to come to town makes the upside for the broader public a heck of a lot smaller, and then people make deals that work politically in the short-term and where the suffering comes in over the long-term.

There's no benefit to Goodell stepping in, nor would he have the backing of an ownership that makes off like bandits in this game of Russian roulette. Anything he does reduces the leverage that owners are currently using to stranglehold cities into better deals and decrease their capital responsibilities. Yeah, it's a bit embarrassing and chaotic and the media will have a field day in the short-term, but ultimately Goodell makes his coin if the league owners makes theirs - and this is big coin negotiation for 10% of the owners, plus those looking at their own stadiums and leases in the near future.

Like the Olympics, the only real opportunity for reform is a collective spinal-installation procedure for elected officials to be able to walk away from marketable shit because the dollars and cents don't make sense. Too many of them see the big headline and don't care what it costs because it temporarily bumps them up in the polls.

I predict nobody ends up in LA in the next couple of years - one, because California is broke and the public money is still going to be required for a shared stadium, and two, because deep-down there's a ton of risk moving into a market potentially at the same time as another team. Is constantly dysfunctional Oakland really reveling at the prospect of trying to rebuild the other 75% of their fan base (they estimate 25% of their fan base is in Orange County/LA) in a market they're likely to be the second best team in at least for a while? You can't even get people hyped about it being Brooklyn vs. Manhattan, or Manhattan vs. Queens, because it's the same geographic location in Carson everyone goes to.

You've got to captivate a market, one now you're sharing with another brand-spanking new team, and it's been a while since you did anything worth marketing on the field. Not exactly a market that screams "get at me, bro."

* I spent much of my career to date in economic development. It's game theory where only some of the people have gone past watching A Beautiful Mind in their studies, and unfortunately all those people are employed by the one side who's winning left, right, and centre.

posted by dfleming at 12:33 PM on February 20

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Finally, a legitimate career opportunity in play-by-play for those loyal to Winterfell.

posted by dfleming at 08:59 AM on February 20

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Why, every time that something horrifically racist/sexist/xenophobic/whatever happens, does someone feel the need to stand up and make the point that the majority of their "group" is not racist/sexists/xenophobic/whatever? In this case - the head of the supporters' association wants you to know most Chelsea fans aren't racist!

There's no way of knowing that. There's no "I'm not a racist" checkbox to become a football team fan. Most people don't do these kinds of acts, but a bunch of people on a train seem to have done nothing (or, wrote it off as fan tribalism, rather than taking what they were chanting at face value) about it. Is that really a hair worth splitting?

Most people aren't blatantly horrific, but a lot of us (myself included) could do a heck of a lot to make it tougher for people who do to function in everyday society.

posted by dfleming at 10:22 AM on February 18

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

He was entirely okay with the Twins writing off his own HGH testimony as they attempted to induct him into their Hall-of-Fame.

Naturally, even in that he committed an untimely error and had that undone by (allegedly) committing domestic violence.

Chuck, it's a lot easier for people to revise history and work the PR on your legacy when you stop being a total twat for 365 days at least. Clock's back at zero.

posted by dfleming at 01:50 PM on February 17

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

With Jason Giambi's announced retirement, there are now ZERO players in any of the four major sports (NHL/MLB/NBA/NFL) that are older than me.

Hand me my cane.

Cross your fingers Julio Franco lights it up in Japan!

posted by dfleming at 09:45 AM on February 17

McCutchen: Baseball No Longer a Sport Where Poor Kids Get Discovered

As far as baseball goes, it is what happens in High School and College ball, not youth leagues.

The quality of coaching, opposition, academy and training programs have a lot to do with your talent level in high school and college. I sniffed at it (and a few of the guys I played with got drafted) and my parents were shelling out a couple of thousand bucks a summer in travel, gear, and training programs. I ended up dropping at level at 14 simply because my parents couldn't afford to keep up.

There are a few naturally talented kids whose capabilities transcend any disadvantages - but training and coaching for most every other kid are a huge indicator as to who develops and who simply has raw talent. That's not a level playing field, where some youth coaches are paid and some are parents who are volunteers and have hardly even played the game, and the capacity to be coached in academy programs by guys who are either minor league coaches or guys with connections to college programs is a great way to get discovered.

posted by dfleming at 10:01 AM on February 16

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Will do - thanks for the support folks!

posted by dfleming at 12:09 PM on February 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I'm not sure how we feel about self-links here. If I am breaking a cultural norm - I'm sorry and delete my post.

But I've started a baseball blog where I'm going to write weekly articles on stories that I don't find elsewhere. It's called Lefty One Out Guy and my first article is on the everlasting Jamey Wright.

It'll also likely feature the trials and tribulations of a Can-Am baseball expansion team, as I moved to Ottawa this year (and they are trying another kick at the pro baseball can) and it's the first time I've had a competitive team at any level in my hometown.

posted by dfleming at 08:49 AM on February 12

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

"If you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, if you don't have a relationship [with Him], if He's not the master of your life, if you've never gotten on your knees and asked Him to forgive you of your sins, [and] you're just a pretty good guy or a pretty good gal, you're going to go to Hell." -- Nascar driver and announcer Darrell Waltrip

"...and what's why I've devoted my life to driving and talking about driving in circles. I figure, if my logic's going that direction anyways, I might as well follow it."

posted by dfleming at 12:42 PM on February 11

Semi-regular update: Julio Franco is still playing baseball.

To be frank, Oprah's net worth was about $6 when Julio took his first at-bat.

posted by dfleming at 12:27 PM on February 11

Jerry Rice Should Catch Some Hell for This

Florio's gone from chasing the Rice ambulance, to chasing the guys who aren't chasing the ambulance, to splitting hairs with ESPN, who had the feature with the quotes from Rice in it, on who is/is not reporting on it.

posted by dfleming at 02:38 PM on February 09

James Shields Signs with San Diego Padres

Interesting enough - Shields' contract is the largest ever handed out to a free agent by the Padres.

Second is Joaquin Benoit's $15.5m two-year deal. Third is none other than the famed hooker killer from San Angelo himself (in 2007.)

They've absorbed larger through trade (for example, Matt Kemp) and have re-signed players in between, but it's kind of startling to see a team with very little history building through free agency. It'd be more impressive if they won more often in conjunction, but notable nonetheless.

posted by dfleming at 12:04 PM on February 09

James Shields Signs with San Diego Padres

It's a bit of a ragtag group they've put together - I don't necessarily think they've constructed a playoff-caliber roster, and I'm not sure the Cole Hamels for Andrew Cashner/Wil Myers rumors puts them over the top either. A lot of wild cards (Morrow, Johnson, Middlebrooks, Kemp) could pull them any which way.

That outfield has the potential to be one of the worst defensively in recent memory, and in such a big park guys like Ian Kennedy and James Shields, who were both top 40 in FB% last year, may regress. They have about $55m invested in those 6 outfielders, and only 3 can play everyday, and only one (Maybin) can really say at this point in his career he`s a true center fielder.

I feel like they're amassing a roster and fell a deal or two short. Maybe there's another deal in the wings, but I don't look at this roster and think they break 85 wins without a whole lot of stuff going right.

posted by dfleming at 09:51 AM on February 09

Jerry Rice Should Catch Some Hell for This

On the one hand - I want sunshine to expose cheaters universally.

On the other hand, it sucks have "yeah, but" added to the memories of guys like Tom Brady and Jerry Rice. It doesn't really matter who you cheer for, even the prospect of the greats needing an edge to be so great is a total buzzkill.

posted by dfleming at 04:32 PM on February 06

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

The Leafs' woes are at least inspiring some decent parody songs.

posted by dfleming at 07:37 PM on February 04

I got a big charge out of seeing Ted Williams hit. Once in a while they let me try to field some of them, which sort of dimmed my enthusiasm.

The Rocky Bridges intro from " The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book" is a thing of beauty. Thanks for sharing this, it's wonderful.

posted by dfleming at 11:45 AM on February 04