Recent Comments by holden

U.S. Defeats Germany, Advances to Women's World Cup Final

Good work by the American women. Yes, Germany probably got jobbed on some calls (Johnston could/should have been sent off for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (although the German player did go to ground rather easily) and the foul on Morgan was marginally outside of the box), but the U.S. probably deserved it on the balance of play.

rcade's comments re Rapinoe at the end of the half notwithstanding, one thing I noticed in watching the game was the lack of cynicism in the women's game -- just a lot less embellishment and time-wasting when compared to men's soccer.

posted by holden at 01:03 AM on July 01

Pete Rose bet on MLB games while an active player in those games.

I didn't realize that evidence so critical could be kept off limits, unacknowledged, hidden from public view, and shuttled around between government bureaus like that. Even though the people keeping the documents hidden knew full well how useful they would be to an ongoing investigation. They could have redacted the documents to protect the third parties that they claim to be so concerned about.

The reasoning of the US Attorney's office for denying access to the material sounds and feels like discretionary nonsense. They were content to let the saga play out as it did without that evidence. So much time, effort, and bullshit wrangling could have been avoided.

I actually find it kind of refreshing that the government kept this under wraps as long as it did. If this investigation had happened today, it seems almost a certainty that there would have been a leak, as there was with the PED list that (to date) has provided the only evidence that David Ortiz, among others, was a PED user, and the leak of Barry Bonds' grand jury testimony (although the latter was leaked by a non-government attorney, who was duly punished).

Why should the government be compelled to assist a private (MLB) investigation? I get that it is a matter of public interest, but the fact that the government did not use its police powers to smear/impugn someone who was not a target of the investigation that secured the evidence at hand is surprising and welcome from my perspective.

posted by holden at 11:15 AM on June 23

Chicago Blackhawks Win Stanley Cup

Super tight series, but would have enjoyed an overtime or two as well.

posted by holden at 03:20 PM on June 16

St. Louis Cardinals Investigated by F.B.I. for Hacking Astros

The posting of the information to an anonymous file site would seem to suggest that the motivation, at least in part, was to embarrass Jeff Luhnow. Not sure why you would call attention to the hack if the intent was to use the information to competitive advantage. Not that motivation really matters here.

I would be surprised if anyone in the higher reaches of the Cardinals front office would be stupid enough to have authorized this or to have condoned it once known. But the good thing with the FBI involvement/criminal justice system angle is that there should be more transparency into what went down than in your typical sports league internal investigation/Robert Goodell kangaroo court.

posted by holden at 03:12 PM on June 16

Chicago Blackhawks Win Stanley Cup

This hockey game is pretty fantastic.

Quick quiz -- which of these verbs has not been used by Doc Emerick to describe game play?

Snaked
Knifed
Saucered
Feathered
Spiked
Fellated

posted by holden at 09:59 PM on June 15

American Pharoah vs. Secretariat

"He is moving like a tremendous machine!" One of my favorite calls ever.

posted by holden at 04:50 PM on June 12

Corey Crawford Comes Up Big as Blackhawks Even Stanley Cup at 2

Super tight and entertaining series so far. Teams seem really evenly matched.

posted by holden at 12:01 PM on June 11

U.S. Men Beat Germany After Beating The Netherlands

Klinsmann said after the World Cup that he thought the U.S. showed too much respect to Germany and Belgium and were tentative and reactive as a result. Still do not love giving each of Holland and Germany basically 2/3 of the possession, but the U.S. obviously did more when it had the ball than in those two World Cup games and seemed less cowed by the opposition.

posted by holden at 11:44 AM on June 11

U.S. Men Beat Germany After Beating The Netherlands

Say what you will about less-than-full-strength opposition (although the U.S. did not field its first-choice squad either), but I think these games and outcomes are very valuable for the USMNT in terms of gaining experience and reflecting positives to build on. Good way to try out some fringe players as well and see what they have.

posted by holden at 10:54 AM on June 11

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Cavs are kind of getting jobbed here in OT.

posted by holden at 11:12 PM on June 07

Lightning Beat Blackhawks to Even Stanley Cup at 1

This is shaping up to be a pretty good series. As a "neutral,"' here's hoping it's this much fun when they get back here to Chicago.

posted by holden at 11:05 PM on June 07

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Watching Cards-Dodgers on MLB Network now and might as well be the History Channel. Love Vin Scully.

posted by holden at 12:16 AM on June 07

SpoFil NBA Playoff Pick 'Em

Win - Warriors
Games - 6
MVP - Curry
Rebounds - Green
Assists - LeBron
Free Throw Attempts - LeBron
Steals - Green
Blocks - Mozgov
Fouls - Bogut
Turnovers - LeBron
3-pt % - Curry
Tech fouls - 3
Largest MOV - 14
Triple Doubles - 1
Total points - 160

posted by holden at 05:23 PM on June 04

Matthew Dellavedova and the Australian Way.

"Fuck you, bison!!! Whoops."

posted by holden at 12:53 AM on June 03

NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Stanley Cup Finals

Winner: Chicago +1
Duration: 7 games
Longest game: 2OT
TV rating: 2.5 +1
First goal: Tyler Johnson
Conn Smythe: Toews
Goals: Kane
Assists: Toews
Points: Toews
Plus/minus: Toews
Penalty minutes: Tyler Johnson
GAA: Bishop
SpoFite: cixelsyd +1

posted by holden at 05:34 PM on May 31

Golden State Routs Houston, Takes Commanding 3-0 Lead

The thing with Curry is that he's just so fun to watch -- I have a hard time thinking anyone could dislike him. He's like Mariano Rivera with a much more well-rounded skill set.

posted by holden at 12:49 AM on May 25

NFL Moves PAT Kicks Back to 15-Yard Line

I assume if a team lines up for the PAT and the defense jumps offside, that the only option is to take a 5-yard penalty to move up the kick to the 10 yard-line (as opposed to somehow electing to take a half-the-distance penalty and go for 2 from the one)?

posted by holden at 09:09 AM on May 20

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Starwood Preferred Traveler Note of the Week. The coffee at the Chariot Motor Coach Inn in Toledo is very weak, but those vibrating beds are a nice touch. Unfortunately what could have been a near-perfect stay was ruined by the woman speaking loudly on her cell phone by the pool when I was doing my morning laps. Well, that and the vomit in the pool.

Beer Nerdness. Purple Nurple American Pale Ale is a tasty brew for those who like hops, malt, and water.

Coffee Nerdness. Starbucks could do worse things than hire more employees like Briana, the barista at the Starbucks at the tollway oasis at exit 37 of the New Jersey Turnpike. She makes the perfect white chocolate macchiato. I ordered a macchiato in Italy once and it was an espresso with a little bit of steamed milk in it and all I could think was "boy, do they not know what they are missing."

posted by holden at 01:59 AM on May 20

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Is he wiping his nose as he tries (and fails) to get to his feet? Or is that just an optical illusion/weird spasm that does not have a purpose?

Guess now I know what Gollum playing soccer looks like.

posted by holden at 03:54 PM on May 18

SpoFi NBA Pick 'Em

Cleveland in 6
Warriors in 6
East Points: LeBron
West Points: Harden
East Blocks: Mozgov
West Steals: Green
Foul-out: Bogut
Off. Rebounds: Howard
REB + AST: LeBron
MOV: 23

posted by holden at 03:14 PM on May 18

NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 3

Chicago in 7 +2
New York in 7
Goals: Kane
Power Play Goals: Kane
PIM: Andrew Shaw
Save %: Lundqvist

posted by holden at 05:50 PM on May 15

Bill Simmons Out at ESPN

I think Simmons' greatest accomplishment has been the talent he has put together/curated/cultivated at Grantland (although who knows how much that is due to him vs. other editors/management), and agree with yerfatma that it will be interesting to see what they do. Suspect it will be governed in large part by what kind of contracts they have with Grantland and whether Simmons' agreement has any sort of non-solicit or other restrictive covenants that will keep him from poaching Grantland staff.

Will be interesting to see Simmons freed from the handcuffs of not being able to criticize ESPN -- its programming, other "talent," conflicts of interest and kid gloves treatment of its content licensors, making itself the story, etc. I suppose he's going to have quite a bit of motivation to rip them, and wherever he goes he will presumably have quite a big platform to do so and quite a big audience to hear/see/read it.

I can take or leave most of Simmons' writing (found this to be pretty humorous), but find myself reading quite a bit of Grantland content and curious to see how the life of that site plays out.

posted by holden at 11:35 AM on May 10

Yes, But Is It A Sport?

In the U.S., there has been a debate (and several court cases) as to whether poker is a game of chance or a game of skill. At issue in those cases is whether individuals or organizations could be prosecuted under anti-gambling laws for participating in or running poker games. In at least a couple of the cases, the court has found that poker is primarily a game of skill.

posted by holden at 11:11 AM on May 07

The Man Who Never Was, Or Who Was He?

Great read; thanks.

posted by holden at 12:01 PM on May 06

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

This weekend's sweep of the Pirates by the Cardinals was the first time that the Cardinals have swept a 3-game series in which all games went to extra innings and the first time that feat has been accomplished since 1925, when the Reds swept the Boston Braves in all extra-inning games from June 4-7.

posted by holden at 10:47 AM on May 04

SpoFi NBA Playoff Pick 'Em

Bulls in 7
Atlanta in 7
Clippers in 6
Golden State in 5
Eastern rebounds: Gasol
Western rebounds: Griffin
Three-pointers: Curry
Assists: 9.0

posted by holden at 10:43 AM on May 04

NHL Playoff Pick 'Em, Round 2

Chicago in 6 +1 (Kane) +1
Ducks in 5 +2 (Kesler)
Habs in 7 (Stamkos) +1
Rangers in 6 +1 (Ovechkin)
GAA: Price

posted by holden at 01:10 PM on April 30

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

The St. Louis vote is wonky (although nothing as egregious as leaving Cy Young off the Boston list). I predicted Pujols would be left off in favor of Ozzie Smith, for a ballot of Musial, Hornsby, Gibson and Ozzie (which should probably be Musial, Hornsby, Pujols then Gibson). But I never would have guessed that Rogers Hornsby (127 career WAR, 90+ of which came with the Cardinals) would be dropped in favor of Lou Brock (45.2 career WAR). The fact that Brock is apparently polling higher than Ozzie (76.4 career WAR) is a head scratcher as well. Guess there are a bunch of Tribe Called Quest fans in the STL.

[And yes, I appreciate WAR (all figures above from Baseball Reference) is not the end all, be all of career value analysis, but at a minimum should provide a sense of whether any ranking passes the straight-faced test, which the current Cardinals vote does not.]

posted by holden at 04:39 PM on April 23

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Canada, Brazil, and Germany being among the few countries that are represented in all 4 sports.

I am assuming Brazil is on the NHL list because of Robyn Regehr, so in light of his retirement that country probably comes off the list for next year's iteration. And depending on how "nationality" is defined/construed maybe should not be on the list at all.

posted by holden at 11:35 AM on April 23

Fan Hit in Head by Foul Ball Through Home-Plate Netting

I have been in some seating areas at some ballparks where the ushers do not let you return to your seat before other than in between batters or in between innings. That said, you can't really control the reverse of this (i.e., when people exit their seats), so there will always be risks. Seems like this is really a combination responsibility of patrons to be aware and exercise good judgment (both in terms of safety and communal etiquette) and ballparks to have nets that actually protect against this and to enforce when attendees can return to at least certain seats.

posted by holden at 12:46 PM on April 22

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Find some shade, set up the folding chair, bring a couple of novels and an esky.

Oh, owlie. Our Puritan roots effectively mean no beer in public places. We got the religious fundamentalists and you got the criminals. Thanks, England.

posted by holden at 10:22 PM on April 20

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Did any of the parents slip you some cash? I'm in the early stages of the kids-in-sorts thing (my boys are 9, 7 and 4), but some of the mind-numbing tedium has given me a much greater appreciation of/for my parents.

posted by holden at 04:21 PM on April 20

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Two hour and two minute Sunday night baseball game, as the Cardinals finish the sweep with a 2-1 victory over the Reds. Very refreshing, especially considering the 4 hour Red Sox-Yankees games we often get in that spot. Combination of two relatively fast-working pitchers (Wainwright and Leake) who pitched good not great games (very few walks, but few strikeouts as well -- lots of outs on contact) and some pretty mediocre-to-bad at bats. Oh, and no in-inning pitching changes (3 total pitchers, with both starters going 8 innings -- which is a complete game in the case of Leake).

posted by holden at 10:22 PM on April 19

NBA Playoff Pick 'Em

Howard_T -- as long as you are calling for Yannick Noah to get ejected, why not Tito Horford, Dell Curry, or Mychal Thompson?

posted by holden at 10:25 AM on April 17

NBA Playoff Pick 'Em

Hawks in 5
Cleveland in 4
Bulls in 5
Wizards in 7

Warriors in 5
Houston in 7
Spurs in 7
Grizzlies in 6

LeBron
Harden
Blake Griffin
28.5 points

posted by holden at 07:36 PM on April 16

NHL Playoff Pick 'Em Starts Now

Habs in 6 +2
Wings in 7
Rangers in 6 +1
Caps in 7 +2
Blues in 6
Canucks in 6
Predators in 7
Ducks in 5 +1

Ovechkin

posted by holden at 07:49 PM on April 15

Famous Texas Sportswriter Jim Dent Convicted of 10th DWI

I think after getting ten and filling your punch card, you should at minimum get a free entree of your choice.

posted by holden at 12:25 AM on April 12

Who are the "Franchise Four"?

Cardinals vote will be interesting. Assuming voting for a team will primarily be done by fans of that team, my guess would be that the list is Musial, Hornsby, Gibson, and Ozzie, but should probably include Pujols (at the expense of Ozzie).

posted by holden at 01:04 PM on April 09

Losing Wisconsin Coach Laments 'Rent-a-Player' Trend

Job qualifications are unfair when their intent and effect are basically protectionist. Doctors have job qualifications because a certain level of skill and training is necessary before someone practices medicine, particularly considering the stakes. Basketball is different -- we have seen that some of these players can actually compete at age 18, so there is not much of a rational basis for the "job qualification," other than protecting the current players and protecting owners and GMS from the risk of failure and the consequences of bad decisions.

posted by holden at 06:57 PM on April 07

The best 3-point shooter you never saw

Good read; thanks for passing along. I was in the same fellowship program as the author, Doc Searls, a couple of years back. Too bad I didn't know back then that he was an amateur basketball historian.

posted by holden at 02:36 PM on April 06

LA Dodgers set MLB payroll record.

That is a lot of money. Here is a complete list of opening day payrolls.

Relative to how they are expected to perform, looks like the Pirates are especially good bang-for-the-buck. Cards, Cubs, and Seattle (assuming you buy into the Cubs and Mariners hype) as well.

posted by holden at 11:34 AM on April 06

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Happy (belated) birthday, Howard_T. Waiting for you to reach the doddering stage so you can post state secrets on SpoFi from your time in the Navy, including what happened to the nuclear sub you went joyriding in with then-Senator Joe Biden and his merry band of revelers in the summer of '73.

And good luck with the umpiring -- probably less about keeping up with the kids and more about keeping up with (or on top of) the obnoxious parents. At least in today's era we will have cellphone video of any fracas you are involved in.

posted by holden at 10:56 AM on April 02

Ronnie O'Sullivan clears the table in the 2012 world snooker championships.

The article that this video presumably was posted to accompany is worth a read as well.

posted by holden at 10:44 AM on April 02

NFL Drops Blackout Rule for 2015 Season

Good to see this rule, a product of a bygone era, go. If anything, only seemed to hurt the teams it was supposedly trying to help.

posted by holden at 10:35 PM on March 23

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Great read, thanks yerfatma. Really like Philippe's analysis in the Football Weekly podcast and his written work. Another guy, like Rafael Honigstein, whose elegance and facility in spoken English belies his non-native speaker status (including his use of the British English phrasing "identity parade" to refer to a police line-up the other day).

posted by holden at 01:05 PM on March 20

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Helped my 4 year-old fill out a bracket this a.m. -- told him mascots, but that's really it. Sometimes what seems more badass to a 4 year-old boy helps lead you to the head of your family picks pool after the first 6 or so games.

"Dragons or tornadoes?" Kid looked at me like I was high.

posted by holden at 06:35 PM on March 19

Can popularity ruin a sport?

Yeah, am always amazed at Rafa's grasp of English, and in particular idiomatic English, in the Football Weekly podcast. And just does not seem fair (to us native English speakers) for a non-native speaker to have written this:

Regular "comments section" frequenters will recognise the phenomenon: newcomers to the faith, especially those who live too far away to physically congregate with their gods and prophets, seem to feel the need to compensate for those defects by adopting a fundamentalist, 100% humour-free stance in defence of their side, while those born into the religion through parental lineage or proximity can often afford a more relaxed, ambivalent and honest relationship with the powers that be, as well as more tolerance towards non-believers

posted by holden at 02:51 PM on March 19

Your 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament bracket.

Did you know Bruce Hornsby's son plays for LSU? Seems reason enough to expect they will knock off the Wolfpack in Round 1. Sorry, NoMich, but that's just the way it is.

posted by holden at 09:43 PM on March 15

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

I don't understand the Murray signing in light of the Mathews signing -- seems like a lot of money to be tied up in a position that probably does not warrant it and this coming on the heels of everyone assuming that Kelly understood the fungible nature of running backs when he traded McCoy.

posted by holden at 06:03 PM on March 12

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Nice that they've lined up U.S. TV coverage (although I suspect FS1 or NBC Sports will pick up at least the later rounds).

May try to get to the doubleheader here in Chicago. Mexico v. Cuba promises great atmosphere, seeing as how there are roughly a million people of Mexican birth or heritage in Chicago.

posted by holden at 06:00 PM on March 12

Mark Teixeira: Sharing Yankee Stadium with NYCFC Will Suck

It's a legitimate complaint both ways (playing on a baseball field will likely suck for the soccer players as well), and spectators could probably grouse as well. What's the latest on a soccer-specific stadium? I recall there were plans (or competing plans) to build something in one of the five boroughs, but seems to have stalled out at present.

posted by holden at 05:54 PM on March 12

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

yerfatma is correct, with the additional nuance that there are also some local (city) laws that address this. There are also industry-specific tax laws in some cities and states addressing other performers, such as musicians. Here's a good run-down of an Ohio lawsuit challenging Cleveland's jock tax with some good background on the phenomenon.

posted by holden at 04:50 PM on March 10

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I think it is assumed McCourty will sign elsewhere after the Patriots opted not to franchise him (franchising the kicker instead), but the Patriots could obviously re-sign him.

posted by holden at 02:46 PM on March 05

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

"Getting the best seats for University of Texas sporting events will be based on a new loyalty points system tied to how much a fan donates or spends on tickets."

Isn't this effectively how it is already done at most large universities (maybe without the formal/transparent points calculations)?

posted by holden at 12:47 PM on March 04

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

The quote "I do disagree with the fact that Billy is a homosexual" is oddly worded, and out of context I thought Murphy was effectively saying "As a factual matter, I do not believe that Billy is gay."

posted by holden at 12:45 PM on March 04

Igor Larionov reflects on playing for Red Army, and what is wrong with North American hockey

Love The Professor.

posted by holden at 09:54 PM on February 23

Chargers, Raiders Pursue Shared Stadium in Los Angeles

Hot day in the city
Running out to grab a beer
My baby don't mind, cause I got the time
Been outta work a year
Roll on up to my favorite joint
Head on in, gonna open that spout
Bartender smiles, cause together we been miles
Then I hear that familiar shout
WHO LET THE DOGS OUT...

posted by holden at 09:06 PM on February 22

Chargers, Raiders Pursue Shared Stadium in Los Angeles

Yeah, but what about the giant cigarette boat playing just the "WHO LET THE DOGS OUT?!" part of "Who Let the Dogs Out?" on an endless loop while idling near the docks looking for tourists?

Are there verses (other parts) to that song?

posted by holden at 02:45 PM on February 22

Chargers, Raiders Pursue Shared Stadium in Los Angeles

What is a "true urban ballpark"? One that is in the city as opposed to suburbs? Has to be baseball-only as opposed to dual-use? Has to be retro in styling? Has to not be surrounded by parking lots?

posted by holden at 12:47 AM on February 22

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I think self-linking is acceptable in the Huddle (or in a comments thread, to the extent linking to something germane to the discussion at hand), but not as an FPP. Look forward to reading some of your stuff.

posted by holden at 10:53 AM on February 12