Aldland is back with another podcast, talking about all of the hottest issues in the sports world. On tap this week is discussion of a possible new football league to rival the NCAA and a discussion on what impact David Beckham has made on soccer in the United States. Get at it, and tweet at us with ideas for discussions for future podcasts so I can stop browsing Reddit more than I already do.
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I would like to thank our fearless leader for inviting me to write for this – the holy grail of sports blogs – from time to time.
Last weekend I watched about half of a college softball game. The options for day time sports on television are slim unless you are content to soak up the blather coming out of relentless rehashing by the various sports news options.
I learned some interesting things. The first is that Michigan was first-seeded in the B1G tournament, Michigan State lost in the first round to an underdog, and that there is a mercy rule in college softball (see rule 6.13 Eight-Run Rule here [pdf]). In effect, it says that if a team is winning by eight plus runs after five or more complete innings (they usually only play seven) then they call the game. This, of course, evoked a host of confusing memories from little league baseball.
A seemingly comprehensive list of mercy rules around the world can be found here.
My immediate interest (after disregarding the twisted sadness and relief emotions from my childhood) was in similarities to MLB and why they needed this rule.
It seems to me that a sport shouldn’t have a mercy rule. It is kind of giving up – suggesting that the game is too far lost to redeem, and we should all go home. I personally like the casual way that many states do this in high school football – the running clock. It’s a nice compromise.
Anyway, the two ideas I’m here to think about today are whether the game of softball is inherently unbalanced and, if so, what can be done to fix it.
Between a possibly shifting consensus on national drug policy and the sporting world’s intense focus on performance-enhancing drugs over the last decade, one oft-repeated– usually accompanied by a chuckle– and seemingly unobjectionable statement has been that marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug. Faaaarrrr from it, Manti Te’o might say. But is that true?
There are plenty of athletes who are famous, in part or in whole, for their marijuana use. Nate Newton. Ricky Williams. Tyrann Mathieu. Randy Moss. Tim Lincecum. Michael Vick. Michael Beasley. Every UCLA basketball player ever. For example.
In 1997, the New York Times reported that “60 to 70 percent of [the NBA's] 350-plus players smoke marijuana.” A year ago, a former professional football player said at least 50 percent of NFL players smoke marijuana, while multiple NFL general managers said it’s more like 60 or 70 percent.
Read anything by John Rawls—sorry, Whitlock, the political philosopher and not the jerky cop from The Wire—and one of two things will probably happen. His crystallized intelligence will either throw up an impenetrable barrier between his ideas and your ability to get to his next sentence, or that intelligence will pull you on, through one of the great journeys in political thought. He’s not easy, in other words, but he’s great, and his seminal work painstakingly and brilliantly details how to organize society as fairly as possible. So, the answer to life, the universe, and everything, give or take, while ordinary folk like you and me face decision paralysis over which RSS client to use. It is important to understand that John Rawls was much smarter than us. It is impossible to read what he wrote and not understand that.
On most Saturdays, the shy, private Rawls would spend hours typing letters recalling past events in astounding detail. One such letter, republished by Boston Review, recalled a conversation he had some twenty years earlier—you probably had conversations with sentient beings today who have lived shorter than that—about why baseball is the best sport. In the letter, Rawls credits his interlocutor, Harry Kalven, for coming up with six reasons why baseball is “the best of all games.” Rawls had a penchant for ascribing his own brilliance to the minds of others, either out of intellectual generosity or a clever ruse to deflect criticism. Considering that he experienced plenty of criticism nonetheless, it was either an ineffective attempt at the latter or successful version of the former.
You would think, then, for Rawls—given his massive intellect and habit of applying that intellect to much nobler pursuits—that tackling something as trivial as baseball would be a weekend thing requiring very little exertion. There’s just one problem: his vision of the game just does not reflect the typical level of otherworldly intelligence I had come to expect from the American philosophical giant. In fact, it can best be described as inventing the oxymoronic genre of McCarverian eloquence. … Read More
(via The Classical)
An ESPN The Magazine story out next week profiles young American tennis star Sloane Stephens and, in discussing her relationship with Serena Williams, reveals that both women are Blackberry users.