Oh John Carroll

Tag: sports (page 1 of 3)

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.

An American Coach in London →

Tottenham Hotspur has a new coach.

At Sports On Earth, Patrick Hruby writes about the insane pricing that drives sports on cable television:

Here’s how it works: About 100 million households that get pay television also get ESPN (and in many cases, some or all of its spinoff networks) as part of their basic cable package. According to SNL Kagan and Barclays Capital estimates cited by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, ESPN charges cable and satellite companies a monthly $5.06 affiliate fee per subscriber. (The spinoffs cost extra: ESPN2, for instance, has a monthly $0.67 affiliate fee.) Do a bit of quick math — 100 million subscribers x $5.06 affiliate fee x 12 months — and voila, you’ve just surpassed a cool $6 billion. Much of that coming from suckers consumers who neither use nor care about your product, a business model that New York Times writer Adam Davison calls “one of the most clever in our modern economy,” others call a “sports tax” and the rest of the athletic world is rushing to cash in on.

At The Philly Post, Gail Shister writes about her experiences as one of the first female sports reporters:

I was totally alone. Virtually none of the sports guys spoke to me, except columnists Bill Lyon and the late Frank Dolson, both gentleman of the old school. Because the sports department was a dank man cave that was physically isolated from the newsroom, I didn’t meet another female reporter or editor for a full six months.

This is a great piece, written as a sort of accompaniment to ESPN’s Let Them Wear Towels documentary. I’m still astounded that the locker room interview occurs: it’s not even a question of women belonging or not (because, duh, of course they belong), but simply a matter of “Can’t we all wait until everyone’s dressed and able to speak in a more public and comfortable space?”

Perhaps this will be an easier transition as print newspaper deadlines become a thing of the past (because, well, print newspapers are becoming a thing of the past).

I scored a 4.

Bad Baseball Is Great Baseball

The Phillies stink this year.  If you follow Major League Baseball, you’re probably aware of this.  As a huge Phillies fan, this should bother me.  And if it continues for years and years, it will probably get old.  But for now, I actually kind of like it.

Bad baseball is great baseball.  You can laugh at, or with, bad baseball.  You can turn off bad baseball and walk away, although you don’t do so as much as you’d think.  

When your baseball team is mostly bad, you learn to love the things that are rarely good.  Dom Brown, for example, had a torrid month of May for the Phillies.  He’s long been expected to be a key player for the team, a player with All-Star potential.  And this year, he’s finally come into his own, it seems.  I’ve loved it, and try to watch all of his at-bats.  His talent is not so good or boundless or consistent to save this team from itself, but that makes it all the more interesting to watch.  Instead of expecting — or worse, needing — him to excel every time he comes to the plate, I can let him surprise me.

Indeed, the best part about bad baseball is not having to worry about good baseball turning bad.  It’s happened.  The good years were good, but they’re done.  And the dirty secret about the good years is that you spend most of them wondering when things will get worse.

I always dreaded that day, but as it turns out, it’s not as bad as I thought.  Go Phils.

James Marsh explains why he doesn’t rise for “God Bless America” at Washington National games:

This incident made me think more about the question: I love this country and don’t want to live anywhere else. But being pressured to stand up at a baseball game for a song that’s essentially a prayer seems, well, un-American. It feels like being pushed into the river for a baptism I didn’t choose. It’s an empty ritual, and one that I think doesn’t hold much theological water.

The Answer Has A Question →

If you haven’t yet read it, I recommend Kent Babb’s Washington Post story on how Allen Iverson is handling (or: isn’t handling) his retirement from basketball:

Iverson kept waiting for NBA teams to call. Last August, Iverson’s son Deuce, now 15, enrolled in a Pennsylvania school and families were invited to group counseling. Tawanna testified that Iverson skipped most of the sessions, including a lunch with his son. During a meeting he did attend, the speaker told the children about success, and how Donald Trump had seized opportunities.

Iverson interrupted, telling them that he had been the man with money and fame. Then he said something Tawanna would remember.

“What are you supposed to do,” she recalled him saying, “when, you know, they don’t want you anymore?”

A very sobering read about the most entertaining athlete I watched growing up in Philadelphia.  I hope there’s a path to a good outcome.  Some people float the idea that he should be hired for some sort of position with the 76ers, but I don’t see how anyone with the 76ers looks at his life and figures that’s a good idea.  It’s a shame, too: his appearance at Game 6 of the Celtic series last year was electric.  I was there, and his arrival seemed to take an already-important game to the next level.

Here’s an idea for Adam Aron: scrap those oft-delayed mascot plans and just hire A.I. to fire the crowd up.

Revoking →

Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn wants to revoke the tax-exempt status of national sports leagues.  You can read more above, but here’s the predictable conclusion: “Apparently, though, Coburn’s amendment is unlikely to see a vote.”

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