Recent Comments by etagloh

Manchester United Fires David Moyes

Is there a quicker hook in sports than being manager of a top Premiership side?

It's not a safe job anywhere, but especially not when you have to deal with shareholders and/or micromanaging plutocrats in charge. (The rumours seemed designed to help out people trading on the US stock market while the UK was on a bank holiday.)

Fergie's first season was a lot worse, but that was another era.

At both Preston and Everton, Moyes was dealing with old-school owners with a decent amount of patience and more modest expectations that he greatly exceeded. There aren't many of them around these days, though I'm sure he'll find a place at a club sooner than later, and there's always the pundit's desk between times.

posted by etagloh at 03:52 PM on April 22

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

'Don't Sack Moyes' banner at Man City's match tonight. Ah, such fun.

posted by etagloh at 03:03 PM on April 21

Abby Wambach: Players Didn't Get Coach Fired

It's a weird situation to have a league that's very much an afterthought to the international setup and only just emerged (in semi-pro fashion) from the ashes of a failed league. You have players whose profile is defined by being in the national starting 11, no real benchmark for new selections other than international games, and not that many friendly matches.

US Soccer might want to focus on building a proper professional league for women first, and micromanaging the national team later.

posted by etagloh at 11:33 PM on April 11

In Fake Classes Scandal, UNC Fails Its Athletes—and Whistle-Blower

I do think that you can safely assume that every big time program has something in place to facilitate eligibility, and that something most likely falls along the continuum between outright fraud and bending the rules.

Past precedent suggests that the NCAA has thresholds of toleration for institutional-level shit, and only asserts itself when institutions start to get too cocky, and when there are no pending TV deal negotiations. That's to say, it's an entirely predictable hierarchy of power built upon preserving a billion-dollar product.

The linked piece gets to the heart of the collective self-delusion that sustains high-end college sports in the US: it is no longer possibly deploy the "but they get a scholarship" argument if colleges are not actually providing an education to large numbers of their "scholar-athletes".

If there were an obvious alternative arrangement that could preserve the rivalries, the local ties and the bullshit ethos, I'm sure that it might stand a chance. But there isn't an obvious arrangement, and the people who matter (i.e. those with the money) are largely not prepared to give up the spectacle and the bullshit.

posted by etagloh at 09:02 PM on March 05

How Cities Fared After the Olympics Left Town

I had to laugh at the Onion's (NSFW) video suggesting that Sochi would be turned into a resort where Russian oligarchs could take their prostitutes.

The interesting thing about Sochi is that the main stadium, which only hosted the opening and closing ceremony, was built with the intention of becoming a training facility and venue for the national football team.

Atlanta's venues were often arranged in a pretty crappy spread-out way, and I'm pretty sure it set a precedent for the IOC to demand something more coherent, even if that leaves the problem of what to do with venues afterward.

When I was in London last year, I headed out to the grotesque Westfield mall and got to see the park from the edge of the large fence surrounding it: it re-opened briefly later in the summer for a few events, but it's only going to be (somewhat) open again in April. That's a reminder of how the "legacy" requires a lot more work on top of everything done for the few weeks the Olympic roadshow is in town and access is eased by hundreds of volunteers.

posted by etagloh at 12:58 PM on February 25

Dutch Speedskating Coach No Fan of American Football

Here's the whole interview with CNBC, where you can see that he's yanking the interviewers' chains, given that the first question was about those bloody suits.

I'm going to focus on his point about 'a few lone wolves': as a rich country with a population of 300+ million, the US has enough sporting capability to compete at a high level with countries that focus on a much narrower range of sports, but there's a tacit assumption that raw talent plus a little bit of funding plus NBC's broadcast focus equals medals. Sometimes that happens and you'll see Americans representing an indifferent nation break the hearts of people who live and breathe and throw tons of investment into a sport. But not always.

Now, the counterargument would be that the foundation of American Olympic success is usually at the college level, where the 'foolish sports' subsidise everything else to some degree.

posted by etagloh at 05:38 PM on February 23

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Here's a NYT piece on the question of participation in 2018 which notes that not only do the players want to go to Korea -- and the CBA gives them a role in the decision -- but NBC can also make fairly pointed suggestions as broadcast rights-holder.

Frankly, the Islanders' GM talking about refunds would be funny if it weren't sad, given the team's performance in recent history.

posted by etagloh at 09:38 AM on February 23

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

The Tavares injury will go a long way to discouraging NHL participation in the Olympics.

Garth Snow's Olympic experience ended with fuck all, which is why he can huff and puff about how it should be an amateur competition. That horse, it has bolted. You might as well whine about the risk of playing outdoor games.

Let's revisit in four years' time. If it's still brewing, then somehow I don't think you'll see Finns and Swedes and Canadians responding particularly well to the suggestion they shouldn't travel to South Korea.

posted by etagloh at 05:29 PM on February 22

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

I do agree that EITHER of these games would have been a better gold medal game than whatever combination comes out of the semis.

Two potential classics instead of one. They won't have the intensity of the gold medal match in Vancouver, but that was never going to be replicated in Sochi because of the location.

Has anyone checked to see whether Finland has suffered a mysterious outage in its gas supply yet?

posted by etagloh at 09:13 PM on February 19

Missouri All-American Defensive Lineman Michael Sam Announces He Is Gay

It will be extremely interesting to see whether his draft status moves based on his courageous and financially risky decision to come out.

SI already has a lot of NFL personnel talking (without attribution) about how picking him would "chemically unbalance" a locker room, along with other nuggets that explain why they're without attribution.

This is the game changer for North American pro sports.

Up to a point. The SI quotes show that there was already a willingness to push him down to the lower rounds of the draft, and since it's pre-combine, it gives teams who aren't prepared to draft a player who is gay plenty of time to come up with a plausible sporting justification. If he goes undrafted, then there's also deniability in numbers.

It's a game changer to the extent that we don't know how many gay players were passed over by teams based upon stories from their campus. It's a game changer to the extent that it will put teams on the record (and off the record) regardless.

posted by etagloh at 11:28 PM on February 09

How to Watch the Olympics

It's the same thinking behind WatchESPN: streaming coverage is "earned" by paying the cable company for TV service. In 2012, I paid for a month of cable to earn the right to watch the NBC streams, and ended up watching the BBC instead through alternative arrangements.

The 9-12 hour timezone difference means that a lot of events happen overnight for US viewers, and I'd assume there'd be a small but decent audience for live coverage. But cable company relationships take precedence.

posted by etagloh at 03:57 PM on February 08

Seattle Wins Super Bowl 0x30

Grantland, on the impact of Wilson's rookie contract vs. Manning's free-agent deal: "Manning is probably a better quarterback than Wilson, but is Wilson plus $16.8 million worth of players better than Manning? On Sunday, he very much was."

posted by etagloh at 11:57 AM on February 03

Seattle Wins Super Bowl 0x30

Can't really overlook how Wilson played, though.

Wilson played a Bruno Mars kind of game: it was competent, professional and not especially memorable. And unless Chevy was going to hand out more of those grotesque trucks, they had to pick an individual for MVP.

posted by etagloh at 10:11 AM on February 03

Seattle Wins Super Bowl 0x30

#esuranceloseby35

posted by etagloh at 11:28 PM on February 02

Why Aren't More Americans Playing in Europe?

The section about scouting, agents and the successful Americans in Europe being late flourishers rings true: is a talented 16-year old going to close the door on a college scholarship in order to seek a professional club overseas, especially when European clubs are already sceptical about the US development model? The Red Bulls' GM wants a professional development league for 17- to 21-year-olds, which would be a direct competitor to the college route, but it would be a system that foreign teams understood and might be more willing to respect.

posted by etagloh at 09:18 PM on January 31

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

The Man Utd - Sunderland cup tie just ended with possibly the worst (and thus most hilarious) penalty shootout in the history of professional football.

posted by etagloh at 05:30 PM on January 22

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

Posnanski's commentary does not address the fact that 99% of all NFL players handle postgame on-the-field interviews without making an ass of themselves.

99% of all NFL players who do postgame on-the-field interviews are QBs (extra media training) and/or players who haven't come directly off a big play. When was the last time you saw a cornerback get the mic thrust in his face?

There are some weird expectations at work for people in those particular roles to switch from Berserker Mode to Interview Mode in fifteen seconds. I frankly want more berserkers.

posted by etagloh at 06:42 PM on January 20

Seahawks Edge Niners

I just don't like him.

American professional sport has relatively few genuine no-love-lost rivalries; Seattle-SF is becoming a decent one.

posted by etagloh at 05:15 PM on January 20

Seahawks Edge Niners

I don't know why all the major sports have such a hard-on for traditionalism and this idea of the infallible ref. No human can be all places at all times, so use technology to insure the right call is made at all times

The flipside there is the hard-on for technology. One person on the desk might spot something that can be zoomed in from a 4K shot covering three frames, another person might miss it. The canonical replays don't appear by technology magic.

You're basically empowering the network camera and production crew in pretty significant ways, which sets up a weird dynamic when it comes to rights negotiation. Suppose the CBS crew has a technical fubar one Sunday: a camera breaks, or an editing console has a glitch, or the producer only comes up with a definitive replay after a decision has been made.

There's also the potential for subtle changes to the interpretation of rules -- especially holding and pass interference -- through constant exposure to replay.

Of course, in the grand technical future, everyone in the stands will have a high-def ultrazoom camera on a contact lens, and every play will be reviewable from 50,000 slightly different angles, just as long as there's a datacenter hooked into the feeds.

posted by etagloh at 08:43 AM on January 20

Seahawks Edge Niners

Pretty nifty coaching from Carroll on the 4th and 7. The primary target was to draw the 49ers offside and shorten the 4th down; the free-play throw and TD was just a bonus.

posted by etagloh at 09:22 PM on January 19

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

US figure skating team picks marketable blonde girl with endorsement deals for Olympics, even though she fell on her backside in the national championships.

posted by etagloh at 07:26 PM on January 14

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

LSU punter Brad Wing was recruited from Australia, signed by the Eagles after being undrafted, and got released before the season began.

I think there's potential for punters whose skills are established in other codes, but it also means building a coverage team around them, and that's tricky when the player market is mainly comprised of conventional punters.

posted by etagloh at 07:23 PM on January 14

Seahawks Stymie Saints

Since I was also curious, Saints' non-divisional road schedule, in order:

2010: 49ers, Cardinals, Bengals, Ravens
2011: Packers, Jaguars, Rams, Titans, Vikings
2012: Packers, Broncos, Raiders, Giants, Cowboys
2013: Bears, Patriots, Jets, Seahawks, Rams

There's actually not much room to get "adverse conditions" experience in the NFC South, unless they get sent to London on a damp Sunday in October.

posted by etagloh at 12:38 AM on January 12

Patriots Run Over Colts

I don't know what they've been putting in Blount's cheerios

Idaho Punch.

And while Dierdorf was getting some grief on the twitters, you can see that he's the reason why commentators now actually show blocking patterns on replay, when it was black magic for so long. And his years as a player are taking a pretty rough toll on him.

posted by etagloh at 12:26 AM on January 12

Seahawks Stymie Saints

posted by etagloh at 08:02 PM on January 11

Hall of Fame Admits Maddux, Glavine, Frank Thomas

Rocca's argument is that he's boycotting the steroid era, including Maddux and Glavine because they had "standing" to blow the whistle. But Nomo doesn't count because Japan. Or something.

Personally, I think Halls of Fame are stupid, but like college rankings, the baseball HoF is there for the arguments, not the decisions.

posted by etagloh at 01:39 PM on January 11

Hall of Fame Admits Maddux, Glavine, Frank Thomas

Now his vote may be taken away.

Indeed it has. But given that the annual complaints against the BBWA circlejerk seem to do nothing, perhaps it's time to escalate.

posted by etagloh at 05:00 PM on January 09

49ers Edge Packers on Last-Second Field Goal

And that concludes a chilly weekend where all the hosting "cold weather" teams lost.

Similar feel to the Saints-Eagles game, this one, especially at the end.

posted by etagloh at 08:58 PM on January 05

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Well, that was a comeback. And a war of attrition in the one indoor game of the four.

I wonder if you're allowed as a Wednesday fan to be happy about that upset

You'd be more happy about Leeds getting beaten. Wednesday have a replay, but there's still the chance of a Sheffield derby in the fourth round.

posted by etagloh at 08:13 PM on January 04

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Still a little bit of magic in the FA Cup: Villa go down to Sheffield United, Leeds to Rochdale.

posted by etagloh at 12:58 PM on January 04

SportsFilter: The Friday Huddle

Oh yes. I am no fan of OSU (and particularly Meyer) but I thought Clemson played with a bit of the Dirty South there: there might not have been a game plan to bash up Miller, but that's how it played out.

The Orange Bowl is a huge fuck-off bowl of oranges? Who knew?

posted by etagloh at 12:28 AM on January 04

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Catches win matches.

posted by etagloh at 08:29 PM on January 02

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

We both had a nap during the first period.

It got less WTFish towards the end, at least. I like the Winter Classic as a spectacle, but as a game of ice hockey, it's generally a bit of a shitshow. It also reminded me of how I'll be glad to see the wide rink back in Sochi.

posted by etagloh at 11:08 PM on January 01

Houston Texans Hire Bill O'Brien as Head Coach

They also interviewed Lovie Smith which covers the Rooney Rule

And Smith just signed with the Suckaneers, probably with an option to take over the Man Utd job when the Glazers' patience with Moyes runs out.

posted by etagloh at 11:00 PM on January 01

Eagles, Packers Advance to Playoffs

Saturday night in Philly is forecast to be cold, but not snowy. That may change as the day draws nearer, but Cincinatti and Green Bay aren't going to be balmy, either.

It might be in keeping with the JoiseyBowl that wintry conditions matter in the playoffs.

posted by etagloh at 11:28 AM on December 30

Piers Morgan Bowled Over

Too bad the Ashes isn't shown on ESPN 3.

Or South Africa - India, which is the really interesting series going on right now, as both sides are clearly better than England and Australia. (Only two Tests, proving that the ICC are idiots with their scheduling.)

Willow.tv have scooped up the US rights to most of the international fixtures, especially those with a south Asian audience, so they're behind paywalls.

posted by etagloh at 08:27 PM on December 29

Piers Morgan Bowled Over

ESPN has the rights to the New Zealand - West Indies tour (first ODI here), so that's an easy way to watch for free from the US.

As deflated says, this ain't baseball. A short-pitched ball has a trajectory that should allow a good batsman to take evasive action or play a shot, but raw pace on a decent surface generates more bounce and compresses the reaction time.

A high full-toss (aka beamer) is the true equivalent of pitching at a baseball batter's head and is considered dangerous play in cricket -- here's Lee bowling one of those by mistake, apologising immediately, and receiving an official warning. Nothing he bowled at Moron fit that category.

posted by etagloh at 02:58 PM on December 29

Piers Morgan Bowled Over

owlhouse has it: Piers Moron has been twattering off about the supposed cowardice of England's batsmen against genuinely fast bowling, and so Brett Lee offered to demonstrate the experience.

to the delight of an Australian audience

ITYM 'to the delight of an audience'. I'm an English cricket fan, and it's the one highlight I'm taking from this series. (Why worry about Mitchell Johnson in the form of his life when you can throw away your wicket to a very ordinary spinner?)

posted by etagloh at 11:13 AM on December 29

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Ray Hudson is a poor man's Sid Waddell, but since Sid is no longer with us, he'll have to do.

I'm starting to think the shots in Solo's ESPN Body Issue feature were retouched, because with skin that thin you should be able to see her internal organs.

I can sort of see her point about the 'ponytail posse'. The women's game in the US basically spans two sporting generations: the older one now forms the commentariat covering the younger one, and there's a lot of false nostalgia there. No point in fighting it out on Twitter, though. You just have to wait until your career's over and the call comes in from from the networks: then you can sit alongside your former nemesis and call her an idiot during half-time analysis.

posted by etagloh at 07:31 PM on December 12

Ohio State Falls, Auburn Likely to Face Florida State

Judging from the twitters, yes.

posted by etagloh at 11:13 AM on December 08

Ohio State Falls, Auburn Likely to Face Florida State

OSU and Bama can hug it out for the Capital One Insufferable Coach Bowl.

posted by etagloh at 12:15 AM on December 08

Sporting KC Wins MLS Cup on 10th Round of Penalty Kicks

What is wrong with sudden death after the overtime period ends?

We've had this conversation before. One reason why the golden goal didn't work was that football has never been a game that puts timekeeping is the players' hands. No timeouts, no shot clock. The game ends regardless of any action on the pitch. When a golden goal ended a match, it felt weird.

posted by etagloh at 12:12 AM on December 08

U.S. in World Cup's Group G (as in Grim)

Our squad is the worst we have ever sent to a World Cup, our good young players are still too young at the moment.

Not exactly what moving to the AFC was meant to bring. Looking now at the qualifiers, and Uzbekistan must still be feeling a bit sick.

posted by etagloh at 12:06 AM on December 08

U.S. in World Cup's Group G (as in Grim)

I'm looking at group D as the hardest. One of England, Italy or Uruguay is going home early.

One of those teams is not like the other.

posted by etagloh at 07:48 PM on December 07

U.S. in World Cup's Group G (as in Grim)

Group A with Brazil, Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon is the one I'd consider group-of-death material, even more so than Group G. Interesting that the hosts get a toughie.

posted by etagloh at 03:39 PM on December 06

SportsFilter: The Saturday Huddle

Saban out-Sabaned himself. Which was nice. And that sort of works against Ohio State, as there's a chance to pick two teams without insufferable coaches.

But Auburn's home fans have had enough crazy finishes to cover the next decade.

posted by etagloh at 11:52 PM on November 30

Don't Play Thailand

It's daft, because surely one of FIFA's broader aims is to encourage large nations with lower-ranked sides to put on some decent matches to help build the game. If bigger teams don't want to play because it knackers their ratings, then those friendlies won't happen.

Netherlands-Indonesia was footballing diplomacy, reflecting the old colonial ties between the two countries, and the number of Dutch people of Indonesian ancestry (and, of course, a potentially lucrative market in SE Asia).

posted by etagloh at 06:46 PM on November 30

Panthers Edge Patriots, Win Sixth in a Row

Was it a marginal call? Yeah. Will you see more marginal end zone calls that stand, especially if it benefits the home team? Yeah.

posted by etagloh at 11:30 PM on November 19

Atlanta Braves plan to build new stadium in Cobb County

Burbsplainin'.

You'd expect Phoenix, as a pretty sprawly city, to fit the pattern here, but Chase Field is downtown (as is the US Airways Center) and both are on the light rail system, while the team operates shuttle coaches for people who are further out.

posted by etagloh at 01:57 AM on November 15

Atlanta Braves plan to build new stadium in Cobb County

And just to underline that point, here's the chairman of the Cobb County GOP:

It is absolutely necessary the (transportation) solution is all about moving cars in and around Cobb and surrounding counties from our north and east where most Braves fans travel from, and not moving people into Cobb by rail from Atlanta.

posted by etagloh at 08:32 PM on November 12

Atlanta Braves plan to build new stadium in Cobb County

I don't see why the Braves moving to the burbs is being treated like such a big deal

Read that Deadspin piece I linked. Take a look at the AJC's coverage -- and in particular, those who are cheering the move "out of the ghetto" vs those who want to rechristen the team the Cobb County Crackers. Yeah, that's the spirit of Dixie.

posted by etagloh at 07:39 PM on November 12

Atlanta Braves plan to build new stadium in Cobb County

That entire segment of metro Atlanta between I-75 and I-85 north of I-285 is a mess, with interstate-level traffic on local roads connecting the "edge cities". Braves fans coming in from the north might have complained about traffic around Turner Field -- and the area around the stadium is not the theme park experience that's seemingly demanded these days.

East-west traffic in that area -- say, from Roswell or Alpharetta, which are deep red on the ticketing map -- is going to be ugly, and nothing that can be done by 2017 will change that.

Rembert Browne's piece on what it means for the actual city of Atlanta is well worth a read.

posted by etagloh at 09:48 PM on November 11

Atlanta Braves plan to build new stadium in Cobb County

I wonder if part of this will be getting a MARTA line to the area.

No. Cobb County rejected being any part of MARTA from the outset, for depressingly familiar metro-Atlanta reasons, and metro Atlanta voted against a sales tax hike for transport improvements; And given the distribution of Braves ticket holders (north OTP) the idea of mass transit probably extends to shuttles from the other edge cities.

posted by etagloh at 04:36 PM on November 11

Red Sox Write Love Letter to Cardinals

What a lot of condescending pish.

Remember that in American team sports, the championship trophy is typically given first to the gazillionaire owner, not the team captain. A bit like horse racing.

So this is the gazillionaire ownership group of the Red Sox being nice with the gazillionaire ownership group of the Cardinals, just so they can have something to chat about at the gazillionaire owners' banquet.

posted by etagloh at 01:22 PM on November 05

Even after the NFL wised up, the Premier League still isn't sure concussions matter

There's definitely less prevalence, so less experience and not the same kind of procedures in place. As often happens, it's reactive: I suspect that top league teams are now better prepared for a heart attack than a concussion. As that link mentions, most league clubs don't know the consensus guidelines on concussion, and most of those that do don't follow them.

Could the soccer powers actually allow an injured player to be withdrawn for treatment and evaluation and then be permitted to re-enter the game?

Allowing temporary replacements is something that FIFA, the confederations and the national associations have always shied away from, even as they've gradually increased the number of substitutes. Given that concussions are regarded as rarer than the blood rule, which already forces a player off the pitch, I can't see them making an exception there -- at least, not for a while.

In that context, there's the question of whether any evaluation could be done fast enough for the team's satisfaction, given that the clock is constantly running. There was a case in AFL this year when a player gave a half-time interview where he was obviously all over the place, but the trainer had given him a quick check and let him play on; had he not been on national television, he might have been sent out for the second half. And that was after the introduction of a "20-minute rule" for evaluation with a temporary replacement following a medical study on concussion in the sport.

It'll probably take a tragedy to get FIFA to change things across the game.

posted by etagloh at 12:16 AM on November 05

Dolphins Suspend Incognito For Bullying, Intimidation Towards Miller

The stuff about rookies being used as ATMs by veterans is the most troubling part of the story.

You've got kids out of college getting decent money on a relatively short contract, regardless of the goodies that boosters might have shoved their way under the table. This might be their one shot as professionals, and they're being told that instead of using that salary to plan for the future, they need to be bankrolling the older players -- on higher NFL minimums -- because that's just what happens as part of the circle of life? Bollocks to that.

posted by etagloh at 02:07 PM on November 04

Red Sox Even World Series at 2

The strike zone is just a joke in this series, either way; the low or outside strike just comes and goes at the whim of an apparently insane umpire, mutating from inning to inning. We demand robot umpires!

Here's the pitch-by-pitch data from last night. The inside strike to lefties is where it's most marginal, but that map looks better than the outside strikes that appeared dodgy on the Fox tracker.

posted by etagloh at 03:44 PM on October 28

Red Sox Even World Series at 2

World Series amusement: FOX managed to miss the pickoff throw because its cameras were focused on a young blonde female Cardinals fan in the stands; the KMOX commentator (and Tim McCarver) questioned why Napoli was holding Wong at first base, only to eat their words.

posted by etagloh at 09:26 AM on October 28

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

The paying customers at Wembley have the advantage of not seeing many NFL games in the flesh, or in their timezone, but I think this one may only be enjoyable to people who have never seen the sport before. The people who got Pittsburgh-Minnesota tickets must be feeling pretty happy about their choice.

posted by etagloh at 02:22 PM on October 27

Cards Win Game 3 Through Game-Ending Obstruction Call

Heroic Cripple Allen Craig. How very bloody Cardinals.

posted by etagloh at 11:13 AM on October 27