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Recent Posts by Ufez Jones

March 10

March 06

Baseball's fight with fatigue: Last year, less than 9% of position players appeared in 150 or more games. That is the lowest such percentage in major-league history, according to Stats LLC. Run scoring in September last year was 7% lower than it was during March and April, twice as steep a decline as the historical norm. So, as full squads report to spring training in Florida and Arizona this week, teams aren’t worried so much about hitters being ready for Opening Day. They’re worried about keeping them fresh for the stretch run, and they’re exploring myriad new ways to boost their endurance.

posted by Ufez Jones to baseball at 02:09 PM - 6 comments

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.”: A Futility Infielder tribute to Rocky Bridges (1927-2015), one of the game's most colorful characters - When Don Zimmer passed away last June after 66 years in baseball, I called him the ultimate futility infielder. Allow me to amend that, for Rocky Bridges, who died last week at the age of 87, was every bit as worthy of that title, and every bit as much an inspiration for this site. The secret of futility infielders is their ability to thrive despite their shortcomings in talent, thanks to persistence, flexibility and a command of fundamentals that go well beyond the playing field. They’re the laces that hold the leather together, the very soul of baseball.

posted by Ufez Jones to baseball at 10:50 AM - 2 comments

January 28

Former Portuguese footballer Luis Figo joins crowded field looking to unseat Sepp Blatter as President of FIFA.: The 78-year-old Blatter is seeking his fifth consecutive term as FIFA President in an election to be held May 29th. Figo joins Frenchman Jérôme Champagne, Jordanian Prince Ali (who has won the backing of England's FA), Dutch FA President Michael van Pragg, and a bookmaker-backed publicity candidate. ESPN FC's Gabriele Marcotti offers a brief primer (autoplay audio/video warning).

posted by Ufez Jones to soccer at 11:02 AM - 2 comments

January 24

Ernie Banks, legendary 'Mr. Cub,' dead at 83: Banks was an 11-time all-star and back-to-back NL MVP. With career totals of 512 home runs and 1,636 RBI, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977. He is the only National League shortstop to hit 40+ home runs in a season, a feat he accomplished five times.

posted by Ufez Jones to baseball at 11:01 AM - 5 comments

January 23

Don't hit me in the mouth, I gotta play tonight: Miles Davis and boxing. "The legendary jazz trumpeter and composer isn’t the only person to ever make the comparison—George Foreman famously stated that “Boxing is like jazz. The better it is, the less people appreciate it.”—but few are as uniquely qualified to ponder the relationship between music and pugilism as Davis was. Over the course of his life and career, the man’s connection to the sweet science was almost as complex and fascinating as his music was. It was a source of childhood inspiration, a muse, and even a lifesaver."

posted by Ufez Jones to boxing at 11:06 AM - 4 comments

December 24

Hall of Fame voting raises more questions than answers: The fact of the matter is, Major League Baseball and the Hall of Fame both recognize Barry Bonds as the all-time home run leader, and now they're trying to pass the buck on the BBWAA to shell out some justice. That's not a game I'm comfortable playing. C. Trent Rosencrans fills out his first HOF ballot.

posted by Ufez Jones to baseball at 11:58 AM - 1 comment

December 18

The Boston Celtics have traded Rajon Rondo to Dallas: Rondo and forward Dwight Powell have been swapped for Center Brandan Wright, Forward Jae Crowder and whatever is left of PG Jameer Nelson.

posted by Ufez Jones to basketball at 09:19 PM - 9 comments

December 02

MLB umpire Dale Scott comes out as gay in quietest way possible.: (Scott) has worked three World Series, three All-Star Games, two no-hitters and numerous playoff games. He is gay and married to his partner of 28 years. That last fact is just part of who Dale Scott is and has had no impact on his abilities as an umpire for the past 29 seasons. Yet it is understandably the one that most people will notice, because Scott is the first Major League Baseball umpire to publicly say he is gay while active (and the first out active male official in the NBA, NHL, NFL or MLB).

posted by Ufez Jones to culture at 03:46 PM - 5 comments

Searching for Balance: The NBA’s Lopsided Conference Problem: Grantland's Zach Lowe breaks down the pros and cons of various ideas for restructuring the NBA's schedule and playoff system in order to find some parity between the East and West.

posted by Ufez Jones to basketball at 10:54 AM - 2 comments

November 19

Lisa Saxon, the woman who helped change sports writing forever.: A profile well worth a read from Vice Sports.

posted by Ufez Jones to culture at 10:01 PM - 3 comments

October 24

Steve Nash’s transcendent career has come to a close: But after all those years, all that brilliance, this voyage to worlds we’d never imagined, somehow, it wasn’t supposed to happen so soon.

posted by Ufez Jones to basketball at 10:17 AM - 1 comment

October 04

Keyon Dooling's Secret: The 13-year NBA veteran on the sexual abuse he suffered as a child, the breakdown he endured after years of holding back the memories, and finding his calling as a public speaker and life coach. [warning: article contains strong language and descriptions of sexual violence]

posted by Ufez Jones to basketball at 01:50 PM - 2 comments

October 03

Why no one wants to host the 2022 Olympics: The surest sign that the bid process for hosting the Olympics is broken is actually not the trail of bribe money or crony-rich government contracts at the feet of International Olympic Committee members... The effect is the bidding for the 2022 Winter Games, which is now down to just two cities. The final vote comes next summer. There's Beijing, China, which doesn't actually sit within 120 miles of a usable ski mountain, and there's Almaty, Kazakhstan, which in its bid touted itself as "the world's largest landlocked nation." It's down to these two cities not because the IOC narrowed the field, but because every other city in the entire world said no.

posted by Ufez Jones to olympics at 12:25 AM - 11 comments

October 02

Watch the Senators beat the Giants in the 1924 World Series. : The Library of Congress recently found nearly perfectly preserved nitrate film of a "Kinograms" newsreel showing the Washington Senators winning the World Series over the New York Giants and fans storming the field at Griffith Stadium to celebrate.

posted by Ufez Jones to baseball at 02:57 PM - 3 comments

July 29

The NBPA Makes History With The Hiring Of A Female Executive Director: Receiving 32 of 36 possible votes, Michele Roberts takes over the position left vacant after Billy Hunter was fired amid accusations of shady business practices. Roberts becomes the first woman elected to lead a union representing male professional athletes.

posted by Ufez Jones to culture at 01:34 PM - 1 comment

June 25

Mavericks, Knicks shuffle up players.: And the Summer of fun for the NBA begins. Dallas sends Jose Calderon, Sam Dalembert, Shane Larkin and Wayne Ellington in exchange for Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton. Naturally, both media markets are trying to figure out how this positions their respective teams to (re)sign certain free agents. (Dallas; New York)

posted by Ufez Jones to basketball at 11:17 PM - 2 comments

June 22

Baylor Center and NBA prospect Isaiah Austin has been diagnosed with a career-ending genetic disorder.: Austin has been diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, meaning the connective tissues in his body are weakened and he likely has an enlarged aorta. Austin, a 7'1" Center also has a detached retina in his right eye. He was pegged as a late first/early second round draft pick and would have been the first partially-blind NBA player.

posted by Ufez Jones to basketball at 04:43 PM - 3 comments

November 12

Breaking Real Bad: Inside the Sam Hurd Drug Case: On Wednesday, former Cowboys and Bears receiver Sam Hurd will likely be sentenced to life in prison for drug trafficking. Is he the cocaine kingpin the government has made him out to be, or the victim of an overzealous prosecution and excessively harsh narcotics laws? An exclusive 22-month investigation reveals how it all went wrong for one of the NFL’s most promising and well-liked young talents—and why there’s more to Hurd’s downfall than we’ve been led to believe.

posted by Ufez Jones to football at 07:07 PM - 6 comments

April 26

Russell Westbrook to have meniscus repair.: Westbrook injured his knee during the second quarter of the Thunder's Game 2 win over the Rockets Wednesday night but continued to play in that game. No timetable is set for his return. To date, Westbrook has never missed a game in his professional, college, or high school career.

posted by Ufez Jones to basketball at 01:09 PM - 0 comments

November 13

The Miami Marlins fire-sale continues.: In a multi-player deal, the Toronto Blue Jays have landed three former All-Stars from the flailing fish - Pitchers Mark Buerhle and Josh Johnson and shortstop Jose Reyes. In exchange, the Marlins receive pitcher Henderson Alvarez and shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria.

posted by Ufez Jones to baseball at 07:33 PM - 27 comments

October 28

Thunder, Rockets swap big names.: Unable to agree on a contract extension with James Harden, OKC sends him to Houston along with Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook and Lazar Haywood. In return, the Thunder acquire Kevin Martin, rookie and 12th overall draft pick Jeremy Lamb, and three future draft picks. The Rockets have already announced plans to offer Harden a 4-year, $60 million extension.

posted by Ufez Jones to basketball at 11:44 AM - 21 comments

October 26

"Worst. Uniforms. Ever.": "Inspired" by another Florida High School's fancy uniforms, "rapper" Flo Rida contacted the same "design firm" to make new uniforms for his old stomping grounds, Miami-Carol City. Response has been "mixed".

posted by Ufez Jones to football at 07:07 PM - 10 comments

August 10

Honey Badger gets cut: Tyrann Mathieu, a Heisman Trophy finalist a year ago and the most dynamic player on LSU’s preseason No. 1-ranked football team was permanently dismissed from the team Friday. Coach Les Miles said the dismissal of Mathieu, a junior defensive back/punt returner from New Orleans, was for “violation of team policy.” Neither Miles nor athletic director Joe Alleva would say which policy was violated by Mathieu

posted by Ufez Jones to football at 06:41 PM - 15 comments

June 13

North Dakota voters overwhelmingly decide to do away with UND's 'Fighting Sioux' Nickname: As a part of yesterday's primary election, more than two-thirds of voters cast "yes" for Measure 4, overturning the Legislature-passed code from 2011 which required UND to use the Fighting Sioux nickname. The measure also passed in Reservation County, which encompasses most of the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation.

posted by Ufez Jones to culture at 08:36 PM - 37 comments