Oh John Carroll

Category: sports (page 1 of 5)

Swallowing the Whistles →

After reading this Deadspin post, I wondered if the NHL might need something in between “no-penalty” and “team gets extra man advantage for 2 minutes.” What if there was simply a whistle to stop play and a faceoff? Would referees be less prone to putting the whistles away for fear of significantly impacting the game?

Joe Posnanski writes about the Phillies and their terrible general manager — a depressing, but on-point takedown.

Jimmy Rollins, one of the best Phillies ever, is about to set the franchise record for hits in a career. He remembers his five best in this piece by MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.

Deadspin has an excellent takedown of the “unwritten rules of baseball” by Dick Hayhurst, a former MLB pitcher:

I’ve heard all this stuff before, all throughout my playing days. Don’t run over the pitcher’s mound because it’s sacred ground. Don’t pimp home runs because it’s disrespectful to the game. Don’t throw inside unless you want one of your own players getting buzzed. Don’t do this or that unless you have enough service time under your belt, in which case do whatever you want.

None of the players passing along their wisdom seemed to realize that it was all completely arbitrary. No one came close to acknowledging, “You know, it’s stupid and none of us know where it came from, and before we go fracturing some poor rookie’s wrist because he looked too happy about going yard on a vet, we should really sit down and ask ourselves if the punishment fits the crime.”

Slate’s Josh Levin has a great take on the Donald Sterling situation:

Sports fans and sportswriters don’t ignore this power dynamic. They celebrate it. On NFL broadcasts in particular, announcers treat owners like royalty, bowing obsequiously to men like “Mr. Kraft” and “Mr. Rooney.” Many owners surely treat their players well, but there’s something creepy about celebrating their beneficence, as if money necessarily buys virtue. Donald Sterling is the human embodiment of the danger of giving the richest guy in the room the benefit of the doubt.

Steven Godfrey’s reports on what it’s like to be a “bag man” in college sports:

Even when I asked for and received proof — in this case a phone call I watched him make to a number I independently verified, then a meeting in which I witnessed cash handed to an active SEC football player — it’s just cash changing hands. When things are done correctly, there’s no proof more substantial than one man’s word over another. That allows for plausible deniability, which is good enough for the coaches, administrators, conference officials, and network executives. And the man I officially didn’t speak with was emphatic that no one really understands how often and how well it almost always works.

Brian Phillips wrote a great piece about Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin:

The plague of NFL suicides might by itself hint at the severity of the desperation many players seem to find below the surface of America’s favorite TV show. And that might, in turn, argue in favor of extending some basic benefit-of-the-doubt compassion toward a young player who says he’s struggling. But let’s say you don’t see it that way. You need more convincing, maybe because you’re a man and you know that compassion is a lie invented to keep you from owning a Hummer. Fine. Let’s squeeze into our thinking caps and keep going.

Deadspin’s Greg Howard explains how great NBC’s coverage of the Premier League is.

Farewell Charlie

Phillies Manager Charlie Manuel was fired this afternoon. He’s arguably the best manager in team history, and was in charge for the 2008 World Series win and a number of successful seasons before and after. I don’t really need to go into much more detail: he was beloved, and for good reason.

To put it briefly: I loved Charlie because he knew when to care and when not to. One of the most annoying things about following Philadelphia sports is a whipped-up hysteria about every sporting event or decision, most of which don’t matter. And I’m not just talking about “in the larger world” matter, but often in “the Philadelphia sports world” matter as well.

Charlie simply didn’t care. A thousand writers have probably described him as “laid-back” and “relaxed,” and I’ll do it too: he was laid-back and relaxed. He was. I can’t put it any better. And I’ll miss that. Yes, he wasn’t a king of strategy, and he believed in obnoxious sports ideas like “his gut” and “hunches” over statistical evidence.

But while he wasn’t a progressive baseball manager, he was a progressive Philadelphia sports figure, and I’ll miss having him around the team and the city.

Bye, Charlie. You were good to us and for us.

At Deadspin, Greg Howard writes about how great it’s been to watch the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team play under new coach Jürgen Klinsmann:

Jürgen Klinsmann came in promising something different from the team we’ve seen for decades, and we finally saw it—for the first time in what feels like forever, the Americans were an attacking team. In every single match, the United States dominated possession, playing forward-moving, free-flowing soccer against lesser opponents. They pinned other teams back into their own half, and either scored at will, or wore teams down until the breakthrough finally came. It was beautiful and weird to watch.

I’ve always loved following the USMNT, but it certainly was a slog at times in the past. The past few months have certainly been different and fun, and I can’t wait for a larger audience to see the team at the World Cup next year.

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