Great performance by Bumgarner, but agree with the bunting thing in the 5th. It's not that you necessarily play for the big inning, it's that you make Bumgarner work for it.
posted by holden at 03:58 PM on October 30
As relates to baseball on TV, I was traveling last week and in Philadelphia, and my hotel did not have Fox Sports 1 as an in-room channel (although they did end up having it in the hotel bar), meaning I could not watch the Cardinals-Giants games (4 and 5) in my room -- maybe a good thing, seeing as how I could not then damage the hotel room after Matheny's mismanagement in Game 5. Maybe the idea here is that making Fox Sports 1 more "indispensable" means it gets picked up more -- from an anecdotal perspective, it seems to me that more domestic hotels now have NBC Sports Network than did 2 years ago, so maybe once the market gets big enough or public clamor reaches a fever pitch, these networks will become more ubiquitous in terms of being included in basic cable packages and picked up by hotels and the like -- but overall seems pretty non-user-friendly to park these games on Fox Sports 1 to grow that channel's brand and prestige at the expense of viewership numbers instead of having it over on Fox where it can be viewed by basically anyone with a TV (over-the-air or cable/satellite). If I was MLB, I would be kind of pissed off. (With respect to advertisers, hope their ad buys factored in the network's coverage and likely viewership numbers.)
posted by holden at 05:05 PM on October 20
Mattingly carried 12 pitchers for a short series in which he likely knew he would only go with three starters. If you're not going to use Puig as a starter, surely he has to get an at bat. Might have been helpful to have a few more position players on the bench, even if just to use as pinch runners. Hell, seems like the Royals have multiple guys who serve no purpose but to come in as pinch runners and steal bases.
posted by holden at 10:52 PM on October 07
Yes, that Maddux piece was excellent.
Makes me not want to want crack wise about the last thing you see with Maddux is the inside of your scrotum as he sews your detached eyeballs into it.
posted by holden at 03:34 PM on October 03
Some part of me still believes we're not far from a time when the IOC and FIFA get torn apart and rebuilt, but then I remember money talks. It's going to require multiple, major Western nations to skip an event or two though and I'm not sure there's enough of a common bond to make it happen for any one country, let alone many.
I keep thinking these institutions (particularly FIFA) only go away or get reformed if the sponsors start pulling out. Of course, if Nike (or Coke) says "we're out," then I'm sure Adidas (or Pepsi) would simply replace them. But considering the increasing focus on corporate social responsibility, anti-bribery/anti-corruption, etc., seems even if the companies themselves were not motivated to cease doing business with, or push for reform of, FIFA, IOC, etc., then pressure at some point might be brought to bear by their shareholders or regulators.
Here in Chicago, the hometown Olympic bid committee (and autocratic -- surprise! -- Mayor Daley) was bummed to have lost to Rio for the 2016 summer games, but I think folks now realize that the city (which is not in exactly great fiscal shape, in case you didn't know) really dodged a bullet with that one. I'm sure whatever money we could have made renting out our house out for those weeks (we live within walking distance of/easy public transport to a couple of the proposed venues) -- because we surely would have looked to get out of dodge -- would be lost through the increased taxes to pay for the cost of the games.
posted by holden at 12:18 PM on October 03
Great stuff. Interesting thing I noticed -- after Walter Johnson induces a pop up to the third baseman (around 2:40 mark of the video), the third baseman, after catching the ball, takes off his glove and starts working the ball with his hands (presumably before returning it to Johnson). Kind of similar to what you see with cricketers in polishing the ball, although obviously this is not done in baseball any longer by fielders (and not sure if it was done frequently back then) -- though pitchers obviously themselves engage in some of the same action with the ball on and around the mound.
posted by holden at 04:25 PM on October 02
A couple of years back, Lance Moore of the Saints was penalized for doing a soccer-style slide after catching a touchdown in a London game at Wembley. I thought it was a clever nod to his surroundings, but seems the officials did not want to make allowance for the setting.
posted by holden at 12:10 PM on September 30
Howard -- please don't undo the image I have of you on a nuclear sub under the polar ice cap for the past 30 years, getting periodic updates on Boston sports glories and devastations through Morse code. I know that throws the parentage of your PSU-alum son into doubt, but please allow me the latitude to construct my own little fantasies of those I know only through the other side of a computer, without being encumbered by the facts.
As for owlhouse, I am sure he is in the jungles of Cambodia training rebels as we speak, hoping to snatch some time away for a rickshaw ride to the nearest village with an internet cafe so he can post gifs of Australian cricketers taking one in the nuts for our viewing pleasure.
posted by holden at 06:12 PM on September 18
I love that this picks pool is being dominated by an Australian and a septuagenarian who spent half his life on a submarine. Take that, Canada!
posted by holden at 05:00 PM on September 18
And rcade - "Go Roadrunners!" indeed. In my later years, always wondered why the mascot was not the Bulldogs, but that probably was too highfalutin east coast for mid-70's Texas.
posted by holden at 03:50 PM on September 18
Peyton Manning had this to say in a recent interview with Peter King:
"There's some different laws out here in Colorado. Pizza business is pretty good out here, believe it or not, due to some recent law changes. So when you come to a different place, you've kind of got to learn everything that comes with it."
posted by holden at 02:56 PM on September 18
I do not recall seeing paddles at schools when I was a kid (coincidentally, I also went to school in Richardson, TX -- Yale Elementary -- for Kindergarten and 1st grade), although we left the south in the early 80's when I was in second grade. However, up until 4 or 5 years ago my wife worked for a non-profit literacy program that goes into Chicago public schools and she suggested that corporal punishment is still found in some CPS schools on the south and west sides, and that some/many parents in those communities actually want the teachers to paddle or otherwise physically discipline their kids.
posted by holden at 01:54 PM on September 18
With respect to the Peterson thing, 538 took a look at the correlation between region, religion, race, and political party affiliation and attitudes on corporal punishment, and the attitudes in the South are definitely more pro-spanking, even after controlling for the other variables.
posted by holden at 12:58 PM on September 18
Florida is an outlier because only the north part of Florida is culturally "southern."
Louisiana is an outlier because the Saints play the Vikings this weekend.
posted by holden at 09:52 AM on September 18
Glad to see the change. No ill feelings personally towards Johnson, but a bit of hubris on the part of Fox (and perhaps him as well) in seemingly thinking that you can just plug talent from one sport into another and it will work fine (and that's putting aside that he's not actually a particularly good announcer in other sports, at least to my tastes).
Good take on this in The Guardian, from someone who understands sports television on both sides of the Atlantic.
posted by holden at 09:20 AM on September 16
This is a precap not a recap and no self linking.
posted by holden at 12:26 PM on September 01
I am in the current league (el tigre negro de holden). Happy to join the new league. Some of the other participants no longer actively participate on SpoFi, so while I am sure we will add some folks, we will lose some as well. Would help to have rcade or someone who will be around in future years as the manager for the new league though, as those things just get renewed year-over-year.
posted by holden at 02:41 PM on August 26
I don't think Man Utd will finish top 4, but if one were to make the case (other than new manager), it would be the Liverpool phenomenon from last year -- only needing to battle on one front (other than domestic cups).
posted by holden at 10:29 PM on August 15
Top Four: Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool
Best Champions League Showing for an English Team: Chelsea
Relegated: Burnley, Aston Villa, Crystal Palace
Top scorer: Daniel Sturridge
Most Assists: David Silva
Most clean sheets (team): Chelsea
posted by holden at 11:42 AM on August 15
When I was in law school, Peter Gammons came in and spoke for some Sports and Entertainment Law-type organization and he brought (or the organization brought) Rob Manfred with him, together with Donald Fehr. There was some good "inside baseball" stuff from Gammons -- two I remember: (1) GWB, who was President at the time, might have never "owned" the Rangers but for Reinsdorf, which obviously burnished GWB's resume on his way to the Texas governorship and then the White House (talk about an OMFG game of "what if"); and (2) Billy Koch, then a closer for the White Sox, when in college as a drafted Junior (still eligible to hold out for more and come back to be redrafted as a Senior if he did not sign) allegedly found out from his agent he got what he wanted from the Blue Jays while taking a test at Clemson and promptly got up, went up to the proctor, handed in an unfinished exam and said "See you in the Big Leagues, man" and walked out. People were there to see Gammons, but Manfred provided some good color on labor relations, the business of baseball, etc. He struck me as a good lawyer, but largely a bureaucrat.
That view of Manfred (as an MLB guy, but not necessarily an "owners' guy") ties into one subtext here that I'm not sure has really been fleshed out in what I've read -- and that is what the commissioner of baseball is meant to be. In the past, commissioners were largely "independent" individuals who came from outside of baseball (or outside of baseball prior to being a league president, like Bart Giamatti) and were viewed as "honest brokers" who could help find peace and a middle ground between owners and players. Selig changed all that, and this succession battle, to me, is a now a battle over whether the owners feel they have a right to effectively assign someone from "ownership" to the commissioner's office vs. someone whose interests are more neutral or ambiguous (although, as has been noted in various analysis of this situation, Manfred has done a pretty good job of fighting the owners' fights). Should be an interesting process.
posted by holden at 11:00 PM on August 11
Really enjoyed this read. Gave me more of an appreciation for what Kyle Korver does and, in particular, how disruptive he is. I had viewed him as much more one-dimensional.
As an aside, Zach Lowe is probably the best thing going on Grantland. I find his articles really informative and his volume is bewildering.
posted by holden at 06:30 PM on July 29
uc -- to spare you a grumming, Johan Santana threw the Mets' first (and only) no hitter just over two years ago.
posted by holden at 11:03 PM on July 23
posted by holden at 11:00 PM on July 23
I think concussions get a big look before the next World Cup, and likely before the next European Championships. ESPN's coverage of the issue was actually pretty good (both in the booth and back in the studio), primarily because Taylor Twellman is such an advocate for better concussion protocols in part due to having his own career cut short as a result of suffering multiple concussions. No way Kramer, Mascherano, Pereira and probably others should have played on in the games in which they were concussed.
I appreciate the fact that soccer does not really afford the luxury of pulling a player to the sideline and putting someone else in for him so doctors can assess whether a player has suffered a concussion, but something needs to be done. I think there needs to be an independent doctor (hired by FIFA, the applicable Confederation, or the applicable FA or whatever) who determines whether a player has suffered a concussion and/or should not play on. I know FIFA hates implementing things at one level that cannot theoretically be replicated all the way down to the lowest leagues, but too much is at stake. Maybe even change the rules so that if the independent doctor determines a player has suffered a concussion, he/she can be subbed out and it does not count against the 3 substitutions, so as to mitigate the effect of taking a player off against his or the coach's will. I guess that could lead to some measure of gamesmanship (in terms of players trying to "fake" concussions), but FIFA needs to think outside of the box here to protect players from themselves.
posted by holden at 02:52 AM on July 14
Not the only thing one has been stunned by today, presumably.
posted by holden at 04:31 PM on July 08
In regards to Robben, my two older sons (ages 6 and 8) kept asking how that "really old guy" could be competing (and so well) at the highest level. I told them that he has looked like that since he was 20.
Another burning question has been how a guy named Fred (who they have branded as a cheat since game 1) could be allowed to play, when he clearly has the name and face of a guy "that works at Target" (their words, not mine).
posted by holden at 10:57 PM on July 06
Unless it's Madrid or Barcelona on a Bale-type deal, would be surprised if Rodriguez moves again this summer. He just was sold from Porto to Monaco last summer for 47M. I would also imagine that with that club's wealth and tax status, he might be hard pressed to find a situation with potential for greater net wages.
posted by holden at 09:34 PM on June 28
In addition to the Uruguay games, I count 9 Liverpool premier league matches this will cover (roughly 1/4 of the season) and adding in league cup matches and Champions League matches, looks like this will be a 20+ game ban in reality.
posted by holden at 10:38 AM on June 26
HOF bonus points for wearing U.S. jersey in locker room after game.
posted by holden at 12:09 AM on June 26
Shocked that Chandler is only 31. Seems like he has been around forever, which he has (as he came straight out of high school). Remember that the Bulls drafted both him and Eddy Curry? (Not totally factual -- they traded Elton Brand for Chandler on draft day). Curry has been out of the league for 2 years.
posted by holden at 11:55 PM on June 25
Nothing really to say on this, other than nice title.
Also, where is the Huddle for today?
posted by holden at 08:12 PM on June 25
Adidas was ahead of the curve with this ad:
posted by holden at 08:27 AM on June 25
Now that I think of it, didn't someone bite Bergeron in the playoffs a couple of years back?
On edit (decided not to be so lazy and actually Googled it) -- Alex Burrows of the Canucks bit Patrice Bergeron's finger in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals 3 years ago.
posted by holden at 07:41 PM on June 24
Do not think I will ever understand what would compel one to bite an opponent. I get lashing out in the heat of the moment, just not in that specific manner.
posted by holden at 07:12 PM on June 24
Anything that can break a guy's leg, basically.
posted by holden at 03:57 PM on June 24
Who doesn't love to grab a quick bite of Italian from time to time? Credit to Suarez's global outlook and adventurous palate in that he's now tried Dutch, Serbian and Italian. Bit Eurocentric, but still.
posted by holden at 03:33 PM on June 24
Have really been enjoying El Tri in this tournament. Not sure if it's just a matter of loving Miguel Herrera and his haircut and emotions, a younger generation of Mexican footballers without much of a history of bad blood with the U.S., the fact that they really have seemed to try to win games where the team (Brazil) or circumstances (Croatia) would suggest sitting back and being defensive as a viable strategy, or the general sense that we should get behind CONCACAF teams, but hard for me personally to gin up much bile for this Mexico squad.
posted by holden at 11:42 AM on June 24
With McCreary and Burns, I defy you to make a better case for best mustachioed class. Maybe the class that had Lanny MacDonald?
posted by holden at 10:55 PM on June 23
If I recall correctly, as Suarez slowly exited the stadium he was despondent and on the verge of tears. In the short time I've been obsessed with the World Cup (SportsFilter converted me), this incident is the one I remember best that didn't involve the U.S.
You remember the tears, but not the obnoxious reaction that followed.
posted by holden at 03:45 PM on June 20
Pretty impressed with Costa Rica so far in this game and in this tournament. Very fluid passing and really taking it to the opposition, instead of sitting back against allegedly superior competition.
But yes, one well-placed through ball and that back line is potentially screwed.
posted by holden at 01:26 PM on June 20
I'm surprised that the concussion protocols in soccer are so lax. At least twice in the past year, we've seen someone literally get knocked out cold (Hugo Lloris in a game against Everton and lvaro Pereira in this England-Uruguay game) and then return to the match. Considering that studies have shown that the risk of a second concussion and lasting damage are much greater in the aftermath of a concussion, it's just amazing to me that there is no automatic removal from a game or even just a real evaluative process in the event of serious head trauma. I appreciate that soccer is not the same as American football, where the substitutions are free-flowing and whether a concussion has occurred and whether a player should be removed can be assessed without losing a player for the entire game, but soccer seems to be a bit behind the curve on this one.
posted by holden at 11:37 AM on June 20
Chile's Vargas (no. 11) has a Jumpman (Air Jordan) tattoo on his neck. Bizarre and fantastic.
posted by holden at 04:59 PM on June 18
Kind of surprised Fabregas has not gotten (and will not get) a run-out in this game. I know his club form has slipped, but he can help Spain with a bit more of a direct approach, and formations in which he has played with largely the same surrounding personnel (the Euro 2012 final, for instance) have been successful.
posted by holden at 04:47 PM on June 18
Brazil have been insipid, but as Mexico and Croatia presumably will cancel one another out, I suspect it will not stop them from advancing.
Ochoa had a great game, although a couple (Neymar's last good chance and Silva's header as well) were hit right at him. Helps to be lucky and good.
On Russia, I felt bad for the goalie for about 10 seconds and then thought -- Crimea, screw them.
posted by holden at 10:36 PM on June 17
Agreed on the Ghana shirts, although let's hope the replica kit for fans is a bit less form-fitting than the Puma shirts the players wear. Players on all of the teams with those shirts (Ghana, Switzerland, Cameroon, etc.) look like they are wearing Batman suits, with chiseled physiques showing through. Doesn't nobody need a high definition look at my under-the-shirt parts.
posted by holden at 10:50 PM on June 16
The way Brooks initially seemed to almost call off the celebration after looking to the sideline made me think for a minute that the goal had been called off like that bullshit phantom foul on Maurice Edu's goal against Slovakia at the last World Cup.
Great result, pretty ugly game from a U.S. perspective. Holy cow did they give up possession cheaply. They will need better to advance.
posted by holden at 09:47 PM on June 16
Not sure why Ronaldo (who came into the WC nursing some injuries) is still in this game, but that's good for the U.S.
posted by holden at 01:08 PM on June 16
I don't know, I have a hard time recalling a headbutting of any level of force and that the ref or one of his assistants saw that did not result in a sending off. I mean, dude got a red card for this.
But yes, being Pepe did not help his cause.
posted by holden at 12:57 PM on June 16
I meant to add France and make the point about all those teams being 4-1 and the Finals ending (not by coincidence? -- Sepp Blatter Illuminati-level stuff going on here) at 4-1 as well, but totally slipped my mind.
Poor Patty Mills and the other Australian guy. Being left out and bringing down the average. And poor Canadian guy, although hockey.
posted by holden at 12:50 PM on June 16
Couple of observations from the Portugal-Germany game.
Raul Meireles has become Brian Wilson's soccer doppelganger. Apparently I'm not the only one to have tumbled to this.
Pepe really is a pantomime villain (as he's often referred to in the Guardian's MBM), but is more villain-y with the shaved head rather than what he has going on now. Perhaps if his head was still shaven, he would not have made the head-to-head contact with Muller that was guaranteed to result in a sending off. Love the weird situation that (a) head butting is relatively common in soccer as a form of aggression, and (b) is an automatic sending off, whether Zidane level or love tap.
I was initially thinking a draw would be the best result for the U.S. (as would be the case in a hypothetical group where every team is of relatively equal talent), but let's face it -- Germany are going to run away with this group, so the more points Ghana and Portugal drop, the better.
posted by holden at 12:47 PM on June 16
Not on the goal line technology front, but were Honduras so cynical/negative in their play in qualifying (I missed both of their U.S. games in the hex)? Or is this just a matter of playing the only way they thought they could be successful against France?
posted by holden at 12:33 PM on June 16
Yeah, not much more LeBron could have done. But the problem is, if all those guys elect to opt into their extensions (or not opt out of their contract, whatever applies), he is likely going to be stuck doing this again. Maybe they'll get lucky and there will be no juggernaut like the Spurs coming out of the West, but either way the Heat are a cautionary tale for teams that would try to structure things on a "stars and scrubs" approach (with multiple max contracts), although it worked for them the two years prior (they just had better/younger role players).
As an aside, nations represented by Spurs players (judging from the flags I saw on display during the trophy presentation -- Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Australia) are 3-1 in the World Cup thus far.
posted by holden at 12:23 PM on June 16
For anyone interested in participating in the SpoFi fantasy league (the FIFA/McDonald's official game), issues with the proper link/league have been ironed out -- see the details here. Just over 3 hours to first kick-off.
posted by holden at 12:38 PM on June 12
In as well -- thanks, Bill.
posted by holden at 12:33 PM on June 12
Same here in terms of a message stating "This league is private. You must enter the password to join." -- using both spofi2015 and spofi2014.
posted by holden at 04:15 PM on June 11
In on fantasy.
posted by holden at 11:10 PM on June 03
Wow. I'm amazed that the NBA let it get that high. I genuinely believed they'd step in and more or less force the sale to a non-white guy (or at least a consortium of white guys headed by a non-white guy) for about $600M as a penalty to Sterling.
At the end of the day, the NBA as an organization serves the interests of the owners, and it's hard to say that the interests of the 29 other owners are not served by getting $2B for a team and thus continuing the trend of skyrocketing valuations for NBA teams.
posted by holden at 12:18 PM on May 30
I sure do hope Rams go up. Although choosing between McClaren and 'Arry is like choosing between a colonoscopy and a root canal.
posted by holden at 12:06 AM on May 19
No need to apologize -- I just figured that a pick 'em is what inbred Derby fans called confidence pools down under.
posted by holden at 10:40 PM on May 18
Pretty entertaining match. After Arsenal equalized, had the feeling it was only a matter of time. But, of course, that was counterbalanced somewhat by the feeling that Arsenal might just find a way to bottle it (and oh my goodness was that shot skittering across the front of goal after Metersacker slipped and Fabianski was caught out quite a moment there are the end).
I probably saw about half to two-thirds of Arsenal's league games this season (not an Arsenal supporter, but just watched a lot of the Premier League this season, now that I can get my kids to watch with me instead of cartoons), and man do they look a different team with Ramsey than without. Like the RVP injury-marred seasons of old, you have wonder whether/how things might have turned out differently had Ramsey not missed most of the first four months of this calendar year. Of course, not sure it would have made a huge difference in getting blown out in some of those games against their title rivals (specifically, Chelsea and Liverpool).
posted by holden at 04:36 PM on May 18
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