The Premier League Season Kicks Off Tomorrow: After a short post-WC break, the season in England's top flight begins tomorrow. The first manager to quit or get fired has already left the building, in the form of a man who seems almost unrecognizable minus the hat. Don't forget to join the SpoFi Fantasy Premier League mini-league (anyone know the SpoFi league code?). Post your season predictions inside.
Euro 2012 Confidence Pool (Final Standings): Congrats to our winner, goddam, who narrowly pipped second-place finisher owlhouse (and apologies to those of you whose entries the software ate). Full standings inside.
Euro 2012 Confidence Pool (Standings Post-Group Round): Standings after the group round inside.
Euro 2012 Confidence Pool: For those not interested in playing a full-blown Euro fantasy league or (like me) interested in both, click the link for the SpoFi Euro 2012 confidence pool. Additional details inside.
SportsFilter Euro 2012 Fantasy League: If you are interested in joining a fantasy league for the European Championships, see details inside.
An Anatomy of Three Hits: Hall of Fame goalie Ken Dryden pens an essay at Grantland about hits and their consequences in the NHL of today and yesteryear.
The Forgotten Story of 17 November 1993: Rob Smyth at The Guardian gives a rundown of an incredible night of football in the final matches of European qualifying for the 1994 World Cup.
Shake-up in top 5 of College Football: As Alabama and LSU completed their march to a November 5 death match with undefeated records intact, the top of the college football rankings saw a major shake-up with Michigan State blowing a two-score, fourth quarter lead over No. 4 Wisconsin only to win on a hail mary and Texas Tech holding on in a weather-delayed game to snap No. 1 (Coaches' Poll)/No. 3 (AP) Oklahoma's 39-game home winning streak.
Albert Pujols does Albert Pujols Things, Powers Cardinals to 2-1 World Series Lead: After a couple of tight, tense affairs in St. Louis, Albert Pujols (roundly criticized just the day before for failing to meet with the media after Game 2) broke out in a major, historical way to lead the Cardinals to a rout of the Rangers, 16-7 in Game 3 of the World Series (a game in which the "human element" reared its ugly head on a tag play at first).
Hard Lessons: It's time for the USMNT and its fans to grow up and realize that progress is not measured by narrow victories over Central American countries or avoiding embarrassment at the World Cup. At Grantland, Bill Barnwell (late of Football Outsiders) proposes a different approach for the U.S. Men's National Team.
The Toll of Fighting on Hockey Enforcers: In a development that may influence discussion and debate regarding the future of fighting in hockey, researchers have found that deceased NHL enforcer Bob Probert's brain exhibits the same condition (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) that has afflicted former NFL players.
Was Tim Lincecum's Performance Better than Halladay's?: The New York Times and Joe Posnanski take a look at which of the two postseason gems thus far is most impressive.
SpoFi FIFA World Cup Fantasy League: Interested in a little World Cup fantasy? This set-up through FIFA is somewhat similar to the EPL set-up (pick an overall squad and then a starting XI for each round of games), although with different overall squad size and budget and a different scoring/points approach. League code is 522952-114999. (Somewhat cumbersome registration process required.) Apologies for the late start on this, but registration and team set-up are due in less than 3 days.
13 Year-Old's Everest Quest : Thirteen year-old Jordan Romero, who has summited the highest peak on 5 of 7 continents, is currently in the process of making an attempt at the summit of Everest, an attempt that has set off some debate in the climbing community.
Twins' Denard Span Hits Mother with Foul Ball: During a spring training game Wednesday, Minnesota Twins outfielder Denard Span was batting in the first when he fouled off a pitch that struck his mother as she watched near the third base dugout. See the video. She was examined at the game and not seriously hurt. "As soon as the ball was in the air, I realized it was going after my mom," said Span, who left the game to check on her. "When I saw her go down, I couldn't do anything but just run after her and make sure she was OK."
US Striker Charlie Davies Injured, Woman Killed in Car Accident: Charlie Davies, a striker for the U.S. Men's soccer team, was injured at 3:15 a.m. Tuesday in a DC-area car accident in which one woman was killed and another person was injured. Davies has undergone surgery for "non-life threatening" injuries, according to the Washington Post. Ashley J. Roberta, 22, died at the scene.
Steven Wells: a few memories of a unique and acerbic voice: Steven Wells, the Guardian columnist whose biting British-observer-of-U.S.-sports-culture pieces provided fodder for some lively SportsFilter threads (see, for example, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here) and has to be the most-linked author in SportsFilter history, passed away on Tuesday after a battle with cancer (the treatment of which is chronicled here).
Baseball Tickets Too Much? Check Back Tomorrow: The San Francisco Giants experiment with dynamic, demand-based pricing.
The end of the line for America's most hated soccer commentator?: No more Champions League color commentary or "analysis" from the man referred to affectionately by some as "the biggest tit on the air."
Working for Lenny Dykstra: An inside look at working for Nails -- Wild and wacky antics! Racism and homophobia! Shady business practices! Borderline lunacy!
Most meetings are simply extended hang-out sessions, with Lenny cracking up at his own jokes or asking us to watch the Real Sports segment over and over, especially the moment where Lenny points to his seat on his private plane and says, “This is where the Big Man sits.” He also seems to relish letting go a long, leisurely fart for the amusement of his employees or showing off his silk tie and saying, “You see this tie? I paid $500 for it” as he rubs it on his crotch and laughs at our embarrassed expressions.
Topps Baseball Cards Go 3-D: Apparently the bubblegum tastes even more chalky and cardboardy in 3-D.
Walking His Way to Cooperstown.: Joe Posnanski takes a look the impressive numbers of a man who, among his many on-field exploits, arguably did more than anyone else to legitimize references to oneself in the third person.
MLB MVPs Announced: Albert Pujols wins the NL MVP; Dustin Pedroia takes the AL honors. Rob Neyer makes a pretty compelling case that it could have been Lance Berkman in the NL and Joe Mauer in the AL, King Kaufman weighs in on the voting, and Baseball Prospectus takes a look at the AL candidates.
Some Athletes’ Genes Help Outwit Doping Test.: Studies suggest that about 2/3 of Asian men and nearly 10 percent of Caucasians lack both copies of a gene used to convert the testosterone into a form that dissolves in urine, calling into question the efficacy of certain drug tests.