"Relievers behind Wright have surrendered an insane two home runs in 107 2/3 innings. That's one-fifth what we'd expect based on their typical performance. If Wright were to make 30 starts in a season, that would translate to roughly an extra win for his team. Starters were about a half-run better in ERA and a run better in FIP when the other team had been thrown off by Wright's knuckleball. Add it up, and Wright could be worth in the range of two wins simply by taking the ball, let alone what he could provide by pitching well."
Can popularity ruin a sport?: Rafa Honigstein on how success has changed the Budesliga.
"That rise to all-conquering prominence has attracted the country’s brightest minds and developed into a highly professional, productive industry. But football’s heightened social relevance is also reflected in the sort of insufferably grim, po-faced seriousness that used to be confined to political struggles or actual tribal conflicts.
"Why not go for 70?": An Oral History of Larry Bird's 60-Point Game.
DeflateGate Accusations Mean It's Time For Coach and Owner To Be Banned From NFL: In this case, Irsay and Pagano.
"Give 'em the works, Cubby! We ain't got a minute to lose!": Back before Super Bowl media week was a circus, Dick Schaap conspired with Fred Dryer and Lance Rentzel to turn it into a circus. "We came into the shop as guys from Southern Cal and left as 1920s reporters. Scoops was the ace reporter. Cubby was the cub. I was the mentor; he was the protégé."
Playing with the Big Boys (and Girls): How Koko, Beans and Flash, some color-coordinated socks and coaching are changing the face of grade-school basketball in Springfield, Illinois.
Moving Toward a Unified Theory of the A’s Offseason: FanGraphs thinks Billy Beane is trying to assemble a larger pool of lesser talents; Grantland mostly agrees and suggests it's an impressive piece of resetting forced by Oakland's salary constraints.
Served up on a platter for SportsFilter: the question of which is the superior sport, cricket or baseball?
The FSU Problem: 'The Florida State football program has become the Florida Man of college sports. Any story that begins "A Florida State player … " is liable to end almost anywhere except, remarkably, in jail.'
Helmetless Football?: "the latest innovation—practicing without helmets—is meant to ingrain safer tackling techniques into a new generation of players"
The Rise and Fall of The Great Kamala: how James Harris from Mississippi became a Ugandan giant.
The End of Daisy Buchanan's: a Boston institution "where anything can happen".
What's in a shirt?: "With financial fair play forcing clubs worldwide to maximize their revenue streams, the once-humble kit deal is now more important than ever before. What used to be a local, pragmatic endeavor - you sponsor it, we wear it - has become a global statement of commercial intent."
Was Belichick to New England the Best Deal in NFL History?: and how does Bill Parcells remember it all going down in his new memoir?
Concussions last longer than they used to: because the media reports on them. Thus spake Marvin Lewis, who knows about head cases.
"How Rebounds Work": stat-porn from Grantland.
The league's tracking system not only logs locations for every missed shot, it also charts the locations of their subsequent rebounds. In turn, we can map out the spatial relationships between shot locations and rebound locations with unprecedented depth and clarity. We can uncover the fundamental facts about rebounding that until very recently have been impossible to get to.
The NBA has a new TV deal.: And it's a bit bigger than anyone guessed. Zach Lowe looks at what putting all that new money into the salary cap may mean for the near future of the NBA.
“I would be all over him, trying to deny him the ball, and all Larry was doing was yelling at his teammates, I’m open! Hurry up before they notice nobody is guarding me!” then he would stick an elbow in my jaw and stick the jumper in my face, then he would start in on my coach “Coach you better get this guy out and send in somebody who’s going to D me up, because its too easy when I’m wide open like this”
Annual Patriots trade key piece right before season move: Logan Mankins has been traded to the Bucs for Move TE Tim Wright and a fourth-round pick.
Red Sox owner Tom Werner has become a dark horse candidate to be baseball's next commissioner: Co-owner John Henry says, "Tom is one of the most popular owners because he's very passionate about baseball, has a sense of duty, as evidenced by his work with veterans and the Red Sox Foundation, and because he is trusted by everyone who knows him. You won't find a more popular person in the television industry." Left unsaid: the Red Sox and a few other teams don't want Selig's lieutenant Rob Manfred taking over because they feel he will make them pay their fair share of TV revenues.
Let's all root against the Diamonbacks: "But the Diamondbacks don’t play the game 'the right way', not even close. And they offered another painful reminder of that this weekend, retaliating for an accidental hit-by-pitch by beaming Andrew McCutchen squarely in the back."