The Life And Death Of The English Football Song:: Popmatters explores, with examples, the history of the terrace chant, its sporadic forays into the recorded music world and the popular music charts, and its occasional (sometimes even successful) crossing into American culture, providing (among other high and low lights) the darkest moment in Walter Payton's storied career.
An Open Letter From Roger Ebert To Jay Mariotti: Mariotti is an easy target at the best of times, but his abrupt departure from the Chicago Sun-Times, right after they paid his way to China for the Olympics, left his most distinguished now-former colleague more than a little out of joint. And no one writes a screw-you letter like Roger Ebert.
What do you get the hockey fan who has everything?: Well, Graeme Patterson in Halifax has hooked up a synthesizer/organ to a table hockey game.
"The sk1 somehow had each key hooked up to each player (eg: A=goalie, C#=right winger etc...) and when the keyboard was played they would move around and such."
(More pictures here.)
Dave Zirin interviews Ralph Nader: about the idea of a fan's bill of rights, the NBA referees' scandal, and the still-growing dangers of taxpayer-funded stadiums.
Before Ralph Nader was the guy no one wanted to be stuck talking to at the Presidential Election party, he was one of the most important consumer watchdogs the United States ever had. Here, the always-excellent Dave Zirin brings out the childhood Lou Gehrig fan in him, and lets the erstwhile politician get a few things off his chest.
An incredible collection of photos: from yesterday's Turkey vs. Switzerland rain-soaked Euro 2008 match, courtesy of Alan Taylor's phenomenal photoblog at the Boston Globe.
"...one of the most ungentlemanly, sneaky, just plain rotten things I've ever seen...":
On April 11, 1975, the New England Whalers and Minnesota Fighting Saints set a WHA record with a bench clearing brawl that resulted in 217 minutes in penalties. (In a playoff game.) To commemorate the occasion, the Whalers released a 7" single featuring Bob Neumeier & Bill Rasmussen's gleeful blow-by-blow commentary of the fight. The audio is actually kind of amazing.
The Danny Gallivan of Finland:: Or so the New York Times says. Frankly, and this piece admits as much by the end, Antero Mertaranta's announcing style transcends language and communicates a crazed enthusiasm for the game the same way the great Rick Jeannaret does.
'I'm A Diehard Atlanta Braves Fan. Does That Make Me A Jerk?': Or more to the point, where is the line between cheering for a perennial overdog and being inconsiderate toward one's fellow fans, both of your team and of others?
Fantasy Hockey League Roundup!: Inside: Final standings, a sincere congratulations to our fatherly champion, and an apology.
Back In The Swing:: In February 1962, Sports Illustrated sent the illustrator Robert Weaver to cover spring training in Florida. He then created a series of paintings that appeared in the March 5, 1962, issue of the magazine.
The drawings that follow are from his sketchbook.
Russia Is Luring Back NHL Stars:: "the Soviet Union [was] a hockey superpower for decades that was bleeding talent profusely. The sport had all but disintegrated there by the early 1990s as the empire that spawned one of the most successful sporting industries in the world melted into decrepitude. Most hockey players of international merit left Russian clubs, which began to fester in an atmosphere of poverty, gangsterism and occasional violence."
But thanks to a national economy that's starting to regain its footing, as well as the exodus of former NHLers like Oleg Tverdovsky and Alexei Yashin, the Russian Super League is beginning to bring hockey back to the forefront of the Russian sporting landscape.
The Ricky Roma of Golf:: In which Joel Waldfogel provides statistical (and literary) proof that when Tiger Woods is in the field, he makes everyone else play worse, whether he's on his game or not.
"It's generally agreed that people work harder when they are paid for performance. Anyone who has ever languished in a Paris cafe—where service compris translates roughly as "the Republic of France mandates a minimum 15 percent tip regardless of service quality"—can appreciate the power of incentives. But the effects of incentives appear to be muted when the incentives are based on relative performance and the competition is tough."
The Unsung Career of Larry Kwong: : In the wake of the celebrations for Willie O'Ree and Herb Carnegie, the Globe & Mail profiles another groundbreaking player who's received rather less fanfare: "Unlike a scoring record, his legacy as the first NHL player of Asian ancestry can never be broken, bettered or taken away. It can only be ignored."
The Playoffs, As We Know Them, Are Bunk: My (quixotic, admittedly) proposal for overhauling the playoff and regular season system for all of American sports.
Here's a BC Lions promotional campaign: featuring excellent shots of fans of the other CFL teams in various stages of anguish.
Photos of the new Gordie Howe statue outside the JLA in Detroit.: I didn't realize they didn't have one of him there yet, so this stylized entry (designed by Omri Amrany, (who also did one of Michael Jordan, as well as a few of the Tigers) is overdue.
It looks good, but it's not quite the dynamic work of art that Robert Graham's Joe Louis fist is.
SpoFi NHL Fantasy League (FFS).: Two months in, and injuries are shaking things up.
Nascar’s Drive for Diversity Is Producing Mixed Signals:: The program, which looks to expand the talent pool of drivers at the top levels of stock car racing by encouraging minorities and women, is being beset with funding shortages, equipment problems and ignorance from fans, crew and executives.
Although it's far from a total failure, it may need some tweaking. According to the father of one of the younger drivers in the program, “The program is not designed to be successful because, No. 1, it’s not properly funded... They claim that it’s a pipeline. Well, nobody came out the pipe.”
SpoFi NHL Fantasy League (FFS): After the first month, some familiar faces at the top, and some curious goings-on on the bottom.
Yahoo Spofi NHL Fantasy Draft Recap: - draft lists, confidence pool discussions and late-preseason trade requests inside.
Orioles Fans Walk Out In Protest:: At exactly 5:08 p.m. yesterday (in honor of #5 and #8), about 1,000 Baltimore Orioles fans, many wearing black t-shirts saying "For Pete's Sake/Free The Birds," walked out of the stadium en masse in the fourth inning of a makeup game against the Detroit Tigers to protest Peter Angelos' apparent disinterest in fielding a competitive team.
The O's are about to complete their ninth consecutive losing season, all under the management of Angelos.
Attention Toque-Wearing Molson Drinkers*!: We have five spots left in Spofi's Yahoo NHL Fantasy League. I know fantasy leagues have kind of blowed up this year, but this one carries no shortage of history and goof-offitude. Come be a part of it!
*Beret-wearing Guinness drinkers and balaklava-brandishing Margaritavillians also welcome.