Archive for the 'sports' Category

Lithwick on the Bryant Trial’s Aftermath

Friday, September 3rd, 2004

Dahlia Lithwick of Slate offers an insightful analysis of the outcome of the Kobe Bryant rape trial: Hall of blame.

Here’s just a little teaser:

Was it all District Judge Terry Ruckriegle’s fault, then, for allowing his staff to leak — on four separate occasions — humiliating details as well as the name of an accuser who had already endured a year of abuse and death threats? No. His was a tiny little courthouse, staffed by honest guppies and bunnies, overmatched by the wolves of cable television.

If I ever have the bad fortune to be put on trial, may it please be in a courtroom staffed by honest guppies and bunnies.

The Iraqi Soccer (Football) Team at the Olympics

Thursday, August 19th, 2004

I don’t normally watch soccer (what the rest of the world calls football). But when a high-profile game comes along (the US-hosted World Cup a few years back, the Olympics, that sort of thing), I’ll check it out. I’ve come to appreciate the way it can be interesting even without constant scoring; there’s an ebb and flow to the game, a continuous movement favoring one side and then the other, punctuated by the sudden excitement of an attack or counter-attack.

Anyway, I’ve been sucked in by the gutsy play and human-interest back-story of the Iraqi men’s team at the Olympics, which made this article from Sports Illustrated a must-read for me: Iraqi soccer players upset about Bush campaign ads using team.

Thanks to John F. of the Stonegauge for the link.

Stupid Olympics Linking Policy

Tuesday, August 17th, 2004

With this posting I am violating several of the extremely stupid provisions of the hyperlink policy. So there.

Titans Coach Fakes a Tantrum

Monday, September 22nd, 2003

Cool story, quoted by Donald Sensing, about how Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Jarvis threw a mock-tantrum yesterday to fake out the other side: Strategy.

Kobe Bryant and the Hit Man

Thursday, September 18th, 2003

I hadn’t noticed doing anything consciously, but apparently I’ve been expending considerable energy avoiding any information at all about the Kobe Bryant rape trial. But then this story floated past me, and I admit even I was titillated at the idea of the handing over of a big bag of movie money: Police say Swiss man solicited murder of Bryant’s accuser.

So, if the extensive comment haul that resulted from my earlier “Kobe Bryant: Adulterer (+Rapist?)” piece’s Google footprint is still in effect, throngs of concerned obsessives will be showing up to add their $0.02. So have at it, throngs. Knock yourselves out.

The Chess Geek and the Hottie

Sunday, August 17th, 2003

Not to be missed: Wells’ account of going up against a hot blonde in the State Individuals chess tournament when he was a freshman in high school: Swindled. His description of the geek-crammed gymnasium so reminded me of my time on the math team.

Thanks to Kynn at Shock & Awe for the link.

Ted, you deserve better

Tuesday, August 12th, 2003

Sports Illustrated has not one, but two stories about the current conditions of Ted Williams’s cryogenically frozen remains. The New York TImes seems to have followed up the story, and has some more details.
What a wild, wacky, and sad sad state of affairs.

FutureMap: betting on Terror

Monday, July 28th, 2003

If someone told me that there would be an organization running a stock market style pool in which the general public could “bet” cash on acts of terrorism, assissinations, and other military incidents in the Middle East — it would’t have surprised me at all. But when I never would have guessed that the Pentagon would be behind such a money making scheme. I saw it via a local station, but Google News has more links, including the scoop on how it seems to be getting shut down faster then it started.

Time on Kobe

Sunday, July 20th, 2003

Using the headline that 10,000 webloggers considered, briefly, before rejecting as too cheesy, Time Magazine has this: Say it ain’t so, Kobe. Includes some detail I hadn’t seen before.

Kobe Bryant: Adulterer (+ Rapist?)

Saturday, July 19th, 2003

So, Kobe has been charged with sexual assault, and while proclaiming his innocence of that charge, has acknowledged having sex with the 19-year-old ex-cheerleader in question: Bryant charged but declares his innocence.

Several things about this seem noteworthy to me. One of my first reactions was to be impressed by the forthright way Kobe was coming right out and acknowledging the adultery. But then I thought about it some more, and realized that, given the likelihood that Bryant’s DNA was inside the alleged victim, the forthright admission can be viewed simply as Kobe taking his best legal option, focusing the case on the issue of consent, which will be more of a “he said/she said” thing.

Yeah, he used purty words when he said it, gazing sincerely at wife Vanessa while apologizing. Reading the quotes later, I wanted to like him, to sympathize with him in his troubles. But I couldn’t help playing that scene from the movie Quiz Show in my mind; the one where Ralph Fiennes as Charles Van Doren is testifying before Congress, admitting to having been given the answers in advance. At first the congressmen are falling all over each other to praise him for his candor and courage, until one of them says hey, I don’t think we should be praising this guy just for having told the truth about a wrong he committed. Let’s not forget the wrong.

I’ve noticed this same thing lately with supporters of George Bush. There’s a conscious looking-away that happens in the run up to the damning admission, an unwillingness to see, to hear, the discordant data. Like a toddler with his fingers in his ears chanting “nonononononono”, we try to magically ward off the unwanted truth by refusing to acknowledge it.

As the situation deteriorates it takes more and more energy to resist that truth. Then comes the singularity: The repository of our trust openly admits having committed the wrong we we’ve been telling ourselves he couldn’t have. There’s shock, a moment of disbelief, and then the mind gets to work, hastily rebuilding the mental scaffolding. And there’s a powerful desire to make the new scaffolding look as much like the old scaffolding as possible.

So that was me, with Kobe, yesterday. He’s Mr. Clean Cut, Mr. Maturity, I’d been telling myself. There were rumours about his accuser; previous interactions with the sherrif, trying out for American Idol; maybe he flirted with her and she ran with it.

But no, they actually had sex. The most favorable interpretation for a Kobe fan is that he was not the clean-cut family man he’d been presenting himself as. Like lots of other young men his age, he was thinking with his penis, at least sometimes, maybe a lot, living a lie and rationalizing it. And, as Hiro pointed out, apparently so convinced of his own immortality that he was having unprotected sex with random hotties, even in the age of AIDS. I wonder how that part of the conversation with Vanessa went. I suspect it wasn’t quite like the press conference.

Anyway, my Kobe scaffolding has rearranged itself. As you can tell, in the new configuration I’m still skeptical of the rape charge. But there’s a hint less certainty to my inner voice. And there should be. I was wrong before. I believed in the old facade, and found out there was a very different reality behind it. Now there’s a new facade. What secrets does it conceal?

I don’t know. I didn’t know before, but now, to paraphrase Rumsfeld, I know that I don’t know, at least a little more. Let’s see me remember that, now.

College Coaches Gone Wild!!

Friday, June 6th, 2003

Sure, you can waste your money on those cheesy videos of promiscuous co-eds, but to see the REAL partiers you need to follow the antics of today’s college coaches! Their summer tour of the human vices such as alcohol (Larry Eustachy) and sex (Mike Price) has moved on to gambling with the recently announced troubles of Rick Neuheisel. The soon-to-be-late University of Washington football coach is sweating out his college administration’s impending decision on his future after admitting that he bet $5,000 in a NCAA basketball pool. I’ve included a national story and a local one which illustrates Coach Rick’s casual attitude toward ethics and established rules of the NCAA, and his stale act of feigned surprise that he did something wrong. This has been Rick’s MO during his tainted tenure with several college football programs now, so maybe all the Athletic Directors out there will finally wake up to his scam and not hire him to infect another school with his low-bar integrity.

With leaders like this coaching trio shaping the character of so many young athletes, it shouldn’t be surprising to see many of them merely following the example that they’re shown.

Sammy’s (and Baseball’s) Dilemma

Thursday, June 5th, 2003

What would baseball be anymore, it seems, without some controversy or scandal? This article provides a good set up of Sammy Sosa’s troubles, with some pro and con opinions. But is a corked bat really all that helpful? Some researchers seem to have some scientific doubts about it. I found two columnists who have starkly different takes on the player and the controversy. One, from Chicago , and the other, Skip Bayless, who seems to be taking some cheap shots at Sosa by piling on some other accusations that may be unfair to tag directly on him. What’s the matter Skip, did Sammy turn down an interview request one time?

For myself, I am willing to give Sammy the benefit of the doubt. Although he has never impressed me as being the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, and he tends to play the media and the baseball public with his “I love baseball and everybody” image, I don’t think he would knowingly risk his icon status with the baseball public with such an unnecessary gamble. He seems to value and respect his standing back in the Dominican Republic and takes that role model image there personally.

Can a player make an unthinking and careless mistake and grab the wrong bat from the bat rack? I’d think so. Sosa has broken many bats during his career without a similar incident. And all his other bats, have checked out clean. And based on Sammy’s eager-to-please persona, I don’t doubt he brings out a corked bat during batting practice to try to give the pre-game fans a thrill.

Then again, that same persona could tempt him to use any advantage, real or psychological, to get an extra edge and maintain that Slammin’ Sammy image.

Only he may know for sure.

Sarandon, Robbins Get Smackdown from Baseball Hall of Fame

Thursday, April 10th, 2003

Here’s a wacky story. As pointed out by the fine people at Daily Kos: Robbins-Sarandon anti-war talk leads Hall to cancel celebration. Baseball Hall of Fame president Dale Petroskey, a former Reagan administration official, has apparently chosen to cancel a scheduled tribute to the movie Bull Durham, because the tribute would have involved participation by those dangerous peaceniks Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. The story quotes from the letter Petroskey sent to Robbins announcing the cancellation:

“In a free country such as ours, every American has the right to his or her own opinions, and to express them. Public figures, such as you, have platforms much larger than the average American’s, which provides you an extraordinary opportunity to have your views heard — and an equally large obligation to act and speak responsibly,” Petroskey wrote.

“We believe your very public criticism of President Bush at this important — and sensitive — time in our nation’s history helps undermine the U.S. position, which ultimately could put our troops in even more danger. As an institution, we stand behind our President and our troops in this conflict.”

The story quotes Robbins as replying that he didn’t realize baseball was “a Republican sport.” The story goes on to quote the following from Robbins’ letter of reply:

“You invoke patriotism and use words like ‘freedom’ in an attempt to intimidate and bully. In doing so, you dishonor the words ‘patriotism’ and ‘freedom’ and dishonor the men and women who have fought wars to keep this nation a place where one can freely express their opinions without fear of reprisal or punishment.”

Right on.

Ro, Sham, … BOO YA!!!!

Tuesday, March 18th, 2003

In times like these, it’s good to see that some people still know the most fair way to settle any argument: “The third jewel in the triple crown of Rock, Scissors, Paper competitions.. The best quote of all time: “There’s a science to it, … Everyone here’s pretty much not as smart as I am.

Would-Be Streaker Knocks Self Cold at Flames Game

Friday, October 18th, 2002

While we’re talking about Canadians, how about this: A fan at a Flames/Bruins hockey game apparently wanted to scamper naked around the rink — but in climbing over the glass he tripped and knocked himself unconscious instead.

Urban Street Games For The Uninitiated

Thursday, July 18th, 2002

from the hit-the-stick dept.

For those of you who didn’t grow up in the inner city a few decades ago or never had the opportunity to be an underprivileged kid, now you can print out complete rulesheets for various street games — offered as pdf’s for the highest quality output even. The site also has various news items from the street games world such as inductees into the illustrious Stickball Hall of Fame.

Kournikova Gets Pissy with BBC Interviewer

Tuesday, June 25th, 2002

from the see?-SPORTS-coverage dept.

Anna Kournikova continues to demonstrate that in the world of professional women’s tennis, you get way more headlines with a cute nose, good skin, and nice measurements than you do with actual talent. In this case, by lashing out at a BBC interviewer after her first-round exit from Wimbledon, causing a media frenzy. This is the fourth first-round tournament loss in a row for the fetching Russian.

Fired Coach Really Did Have Two Degrees

Friday, June 7th, 2002

from the who-you-gonna-believe? dept.

Whoa. Tom Collen, you’ll remember, is that coach who was recently forced to resign a day after he was named as Vanderbilt’s new women’s basketball coach. Reporters had discovered that the resume from his previous job listed him as having two degrees, while the resume he submitted to Vanderbilt, and the transcript from his alma mater, Miami of Ohio, only listed one degree. The folks at Vanderbilt assumed this was evidence that Collen had lied in order to get his previous job, and ousted him on the basis of the supposed dishonesty. But it turns out now that he really did have two degrees all along; Miami of Ohio made a mistake on his transcript. Meanwhile, the people at Vanderbilt have hired a new head coach, and stand by their decision to replace Collen. “We’re going to be moving forward,” said Mike Schoenfeld, Vanderbilt’s vice chancellor for public relations. “We’re going to look like idiots either way, so we’d just as soon brazen it out and pretend we didn’t do anything wrong, rather than trying to correct our mistake.”

Kournikova Takes Title… As ‘Sexiest Woman’

Friday, May 24th, 2002

from the will-pander-for-page-views dept.

Professional tennis player Anna Kournikova, who has yet to win a major tournament yet still pulls down a reported $30,000 a day in endorsements and modelling jobs, came out on top in British men’s magazine FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World poll, published today.

Not-Quite-Kournikova Photographer Tearfully Apologizes

Wednesday, May 15th, 2002

from the who-says-I-don’t-cover-sports? dept.

Frank Ramaesiri, a St. Louis jewelry salesman who likes to bring his camcorder to the beach and stroll around in Bermuda shorts and dress socks taping all the young flesh, testified in the New York lawsuit against Penthouse magazine yesterday. Dabbing his eyes, he acknowledged that, upon further review, he was mistaken in believing that the topless blond whose images he sold to Penthouse was tennis star Anna Kournikova. A key issue in the trial is whether Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione was as confused as Ramaesiri, or whether he knew the photos weren’t of Kournikova, but chose to run them anyway in a shameless ploy to boost readership. In his own testimony, Guccione claimed he had spent “nearly a week” repeatedly examining the images before concluding that they really were of the tennis star. “I wanted to satisfy myself,” he explained. Hey, tell us something we don’t know.