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Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

Turn Off the Lights When You’re Finished

In Basketball, Long form on April 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm

A trip to Newark for the Nets anti-climactic farewell to the State of New Jersey.

It was not the most embarrassing thing ever to happen in Newark.

The players did not remain on the court to wish a final good-bye to a half-filled Prudential Center, and, as live footage of Bruce Springsteen performing “Born to Run” flashed across the Jumbotron, what remained of the New Jersey Nets fan base didn’t stick around for them to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

Pon de (Instant) Replay

In Baseball on April 26, 2012 at 12:25 pm

The limits of MLB’s instant replay program were center stage at Tuesday’s Cardinals-Cubs game.

It’s fitting that a relic from baseball’s dead-ball era contributed another chapter to one of the game’s major 21st century issues. Wrigley Field is the second-oldest stadium in Major League Baseball. Some hail it for its preservation of baseball tradition. Some malign it for its turn-of-the-century anachronisms like obstructed-view seats, cramped arrangements and trough-equipped bathrooms. Opinions on Wrigley come down to traditionalist versus modernist. The same goes for instant replay, and the outcome of Tuesday’s game reignited that debate. Read the rest of this entry »

The Curious Case of Jamie Moyer

In Baseball, Long form on April 18, 2012 at 9:17 am

He left it up. Damn. He thought he could sneak another changeup past Martinez, but he had left it up, and Martinez had knocked it out into left field. The scoreboard flickered: 3-0 Astros. You’re welcome, cheap seats. Enjoy your souvenir.

He’d gotten careless. He’d fooled the rookie Martinez into biting on the 1-0 change. Rookies ate that kind of stuff up. You’re just up from the minors. You need to impress someone — this might be your only chance. So, you wait for that fat 1-0 pitch, and you’re going to knock the hell out of it. But instead of cowhide, all you hit is air — not a crack, just a whoosh. Rookies were a lot of things, but smart wasn’t one of them. Rookies didn’t know 1-0 was the perfect count for a changeup. Read the rest of this entry »

Most Valuable Player(s)

In Basketball on April 11, 2012 at 4:44 pm

No one over the age of 10 likes to re-watch a movie.

There are exceptions, of course. If you sit me down in front of a television and “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” or “Pulp Fiction” is on, it’s a Men’s Warehouse guarantee that my overall productivity for the day will be cut in half (like Zed!)[1].

The level of enjoyment people receive after the first viewing has a short half-life. The most compelling element of any good comedy, drama or thriller is unpredictability. And while that suspense is a function of high-quality writing, acting and directing, it is also the only thing that keeps us in our seats for movies like “The Fast and the Furious,” which had none of the above.

The same unpredictability is true in sports. Any team can beat any other team on any given day.

But there is one key difference. Read the rest of this entry »

Validation of an A**hole: The John Calipari Story

In Basketball, Long form on April 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Dear John,

Congratulations, you bastard.

I really want to yell at you, but I can’t, you smug son of a bitch. There’s absolutely no way this will be taken away from you, is there? Unless it comes out that Anthony Davis’s conspicuous 1-for-10 shooting night was the product of some half-brained, pointshaving scheme manipulated by the Miller Lite version of Arnold Rothstein, there is no way the chickenshits at the NCAA will take this away from you. Read the rest of this entry »

Baltimore Chopped

In Baseball, Long form on April 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm

The Baltimore Orioles begin their 2012 season tomorrow. The team wrapped up its spring training with a 2-1 loss to the State College of Florida Manatees, No. 5 in the Florida College System Activities Association coaches’s poll. A quick stop in Norfolk Wednesday, an off-day today, and then the Orioles begin what will most likely be an excruciating 162-game schedule. At worst, the 2012 season will be a tragedy. At best, it will be a farce.

Baltimoreans view the Orioles the way a parent might view a young child who is struggling in school. We may occasionally snicker along with the other parents, and we may often compare them to their better-looking, more successful older sibling (the Ravens). And God knows we don’t attend parent-teacher conferences anymore. But we still love them, and when they demonstrate a flicker of aptitude, like a low B on a pop quiz, we still take them out for ice cream. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s in a Name: Fantasy Edition

In Baseball on April 4, 2012 at 11:02 am

The 2012 Major League Baseball Season is finally upon us, bringing what only spring baseball can bring: new rosters, renewed hope and Fantasy Baseball. Across the country, groups of friends will gather in living rooms freshly stocked with snacks and drinks. With updated spreadsheets of player data and team transactions in hand, they will aim to squeeze out every statistical advantage to dominate the most time-consuming (and, ultimately, least-fulfilling) fantasy game.

But the true test of the Fantasy player isn’t the win-loss record. It isn’t player stats, and it isn’t money won. No, the true test of the Fantasy star is a much more difficult accomplishment: the Fantasy team name. A good team name can make or break an entire Fantasy season. Read the rest of this entry »

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