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Figure Skating Is Not a Sport

In Sports Philosophy on February 13, 2014 at 6:34 pm

With the 2014 Winter Olympics in full swing in Sochi, CDH has caught Olympic fever. Bobsleigh, ‘boarding, bathrooms — we can’t get enough of it. But this week, we turn to the Winter Games’ dirty secret. What is a “sport?”

Figure skating is the uncontested king of competitions at the Winter Olympics. That’s especially true at the 2014 Games. Host country Russia’s reputation as a figure skating powerhouse is well known, and a crop of young Americans, led by fan favorite Gracie Gold have reaffirmed the event’s prominence at the Games. Emphasis on event, because, like it or not, figure skating is not a sport.

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This is not an attack on figure skating. No one is saying that figure skating is easy or pedestrian. It’s incredibly difficult, takes years of training, and, as Russian skater Evgeni Plushenko can attest, it can be incredibly dangerous. It really is an art form, combining the most complicated elements of athleticism, grace, movement and dance. But it’s not a sport. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Olympic Football Needs to Happen

In Football on February 5, 2014 at 1:16 pm

With the Winter Olympics set to begin on Thursday, CDH has the games on the mind. But we’re not thinking bobsled — we’re thinking football. Today, Ian Brickey takes a closer look at the possibility of American football as an Olympic sport.

Will an Olympic gold medal rival a Super Bowl championship as the top achievement in football? It could happen sooner than you think.

The International Federation of American Football received provisional recognition from the International Olympic Committee in a Dec. 10 vote. Fox Sports’ Alex Marvez reported that the IOC could vote as soon as 2017 to approve football as a full-fledged Olympic event, with competition beginning at the 2024 Summer Games.

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The IOC cited football’s international growth in popularity as the rationale for the decision. The IFAF currently features 64 member countries and offers three versions of the game: tackle, flag and beach. Football was previously featured as a demonstration program at the 1904 and 1932 Summer Games. Read the rest of this entry »

Reading Time, Five Minutes

In Baseball, Basketball, Football on February 1, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Crim Del Harris’s weekend update of the week’s top sports stories. 

Jeff Goldblum has a great line in the 1984 film The Big Chill that all bloggers should take to heart. Talking about his dead-end job at People, Goldblum’s “Michael” discusses the magazine’s one editorial rule: “You can’t write anything longer than the average person can read during the average crap.” It’s with that sentiment in mind that CDH debuts an irregularly recurring feature — Reading Time, Five Minutes. Borrowed from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz, RTFM will give you a run down of the big stories in sports, with some witty comments and a funny Vine, or something. We haven’t quite figured it out yet. Anyway, let’s begin!

Earlier this week Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced the league’s actions to protect pitchers from line drives. Beginning in spring training later this month, pitchers will have the option of wearing a cap with extra padding around the cranium to protect against head trauma and brain injury. While the league’s effort to protect players is admirable, these caps look…pretty terrible. [Cue Great Gazoo joke.] Read the rest of this entry »

Jhonny Peralta

In Baseball on January 23, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Baseball’s Hot Stove League is burning up, but the St. Louis Cardinals are sitting on the sidelines with their biggest signings already made. What can Cardinals fans expect out of new shortstop Jhonny Peralta?

It’s the middle of January, which means we’re less barely one month away from Major League Baseball spring training. In this winter of polar vortexes (vortices? Math was never my strong suit), the sun and warmth of the Grapefruit League is particularly tantalizing, but until pitchers and catchers report, fans will have to settle for the action of baseball’s annual hot stove league. With roster spots to fill and money to spend, general managers are draining their iPhone batteries negotiating trades, contracts and mocking the new Chicago Cubs mascot.

It took less than an hour for those rapscallions at Deadspin to take advantage of Clark's pantslessness.

Deadspin took advantage of Clark’s pantslessness in less than an hour.

Read the rest of this entry »

Manufacturing Points

In Football on January 8, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Frequent flier miles with your season tickets? It could happen if Ian Brickey’s economic development plan went through.

If you’ve followed St. Louis media at all in the last few weeks, you’re probably aware of the effort to land (wow, what a pun) Boeing’s 777X passenger jet manufacturing contract. With labor unrest in Washington — Boeing’s manufacturing hub — both city and state leaders sought to entice the aerospace behemoth to the Show-Me State.

After weeks of closed-door meetings and negotiations, the state and the city each offered tax concessions of nearly $1.8 billion a piece for Boeing to build a new factory in St. Louis County. But those efforts were not, as machinists in Washington approved a new labor deal Saturday ensuring the work would stay in Seattle.

With St. Louis’s bid effectively over, I can now reveal my own part in the Boeing bonanza. You see, a few weeks ago, I got a call from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon. It was a surprise to say the least. Jerry — I call him Jerry — and I haven’t spoken in a while.

“Ian,” he says, “I want you in on the Boeing thing.” Read the rest of this entry »

Freese Frame

In Baseball on November 27, 2013 at 11:24 pm

CDH’s Ian Brickey is a dyed-in-the-wool Cardinals fan. Read how he thinks the Nov. 22 trade of third basemen David Freese helps the team, but hurts from a fan perspective.

Just in time for Thanksgiving, the St. Louis Cardinals hot stove league heated up. On Nov. 22, the Cardinals traded third baseman David Freese and relief pitcher Fernando Salas to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for center fielder Peter Bourjos and outfield prospect Randal Grichuk. On its face, the trade appears to benefit both teams. With Bourjos, St. Louis gets improved outfield defense over a regressing Jon Jay, and Matt Carpenter’s shift to the hot corner from second base improves the team’s infield defense. Meanwhile, the Angels get a veteran third baseman with power and an experienced reliever with closer capability.

The trade came at a surprise to no one, least of all Freese. “I definitely would look myself in the mirror and say, ‘Where am I going to be in March?’” Freese said to ESPN. “I was ready to go anywhere.” Freese knew, the teams knew, and all parties — even Freese, the St. Louis native — appear to be better off for the deal. So why does the deal leave me with a bad taste in my mouth? Read the rest of this entry »

Reporting on Athlete Infractions

In Basketball, William & Mary on November 17, 2013 at 5:14 pm

William and Mary basketball player Brandon Britt was suspended from the team Nov. 7 for violating team rules. The media’s handling of the details surrounding his suspension has been criticized by followers of Tribe athletics. CDH’s Ian Brickey weighs in on the suspension, the controversy and when sports becomes news.

On Nov. 7, William and Mary head men’s basketball coach Tony Shaver announced that senior guard Brandon Britt had been suspended from the team for violating team rules. Shaver’s announcement and the corresponding press release did not provide any reason for Britt’s suspension. Later that day, the Virginia Gazette linked the suspension to a drunk driving charge filed against Britt in Williamsburg-James City County General District Court Oct. 25.

Last week, Jared Foretek of Shadesof48.com wrote an article criticizing the media’s handling of Britt’s suspension and the release of details surrounding the drunk driving charge. I worked with Jared at William and Mary’s newspaper, The Flat Hat — he in sports and I in news. He’s a great sports writer, and I generally like his take on Tribe athletics. But on this issue, I think he’s 100 percent wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

2013 World Series Hangover

In Baseball on November 13, 2013 at 2:41 pm

With their mourning period over, CDH’s Ian Brickey and Becky Koenig are ready to talk about the 2013 World Series, the hot stove league, the St. Louis Cardinals’ prospects for 2014 and, of course, beards.

IB: Well, it’s been two weeks since the Red Sox romped their way into the Boston night after their Game 6 victory in the 2013 World Series. I know you and I were disappointed that the St. Louis Cardinals’ season ended two games short, but if you had told me before opening day that the Cardinals would win the National League pennant and take arguably the best team in baseball to a sixth game in the Fall Classic, I’d have taken it in a heartbeat. It’s never fun to lose, especially when your team comes so close to winning it all, but that’s the great thing about baseball — there’s always another season, and that six month offseason is never as long as it seems. But with our cursory mourning period over, let’s take stock on a remarkable season for the Redbirds. Read the rest of this entry »

World Series Extravaganza 2013

In Baseball on October 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm

The St. Louis Cardinals will take on the Boston Red Sox in the 2013 World Series beginning tonight. For the next week, Cardinals fans and CDH writers (in that order) Ian Brickey and Becky Koenig will discuss their membership in Cardinal Nation, make game picks and exhibit the general classiness that defines the Cardinal Way. Today, the preview.

Ian Brickey: Becky, I’m a Cardinals fan, and I know, deep down, you are too. But, since I was initiated at birth, and you’re still learning the ropes, I figured I would give you a primer on Cardinalia. Despite all the trolling from the national media, there really is something that makes the team and its fans special. Does some of that come from the superior moral sense, down-to-earth mentality and general Norman Rockwell-esque character of Midwesterners? I don’t know. But there definitely is an element of tradition. I don’t say that as a homer — although, homer I am — it’s a certifiable fact. Let’s just look at a few examples. Read the rest of this entry »

MVP: Most Valuable Plays

In Baseball on October 23, 2013 at 12:29 am

Are the most important plays in a baseball game the ones we see on the highlight reel? The answer might surprise you. Today, CDH’s Ian Brickey looks at Win Expectancy and the top five plays from the 2013 NLCS and ALCS.

When we think of important baseball plays, we usually think of the highlight reel. The important plays are the ones that dazzle us, that sing the “momentum” of the game the other way, that beg to be accompanied by the theme from The Natural. Both of the 2013 League Championship Series had their share of Roy Hobbes-ian moments. David Ortiz demonstrated again why he’s one of the most clutch hitters in baseball history with his grand slam in Game 1 of the ALCS, while St. Louis’s Carlos Beltran single-handedly won Game 1 of the NLCS with his bat and his glove. Those plays were important, no doubt. But the highlight reel plays aren’t always the most significant events in the game. In fact, a seemingly unremarkable strikeout or base hit can actually have more of an influence over the outcome of a game than towering home run or diving catch in the outfield. This was fully on display in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

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