Bronson Arroyo: Songsmith

Last week’s Sports Illustrated closed with a remembrance of Adam Dunn’s career that included the following information:

While hip-hop paeans name-checked Jeter, the only tune anyone ever composed about Dunn came from his Reds teammate, and part-time musician, Bronson Arroyo. The pitcher reworked a song to reflect his friend’s typical late September demeanor. Says Arroyo, “The lyrics were like, ‘I’m Adam Dunn, I’m so glad the season’s over, I just want to get home and be sipping on a beer by the pool and get away from this b.s.'”

Yeah, I don’t know either.

Lions-Falcons Non-Preview

Detroit football fans living in Atlanta were treated to a fleeting moment of excitement upon the release of the 2014 NFL schedule, which showed the Lions and Falcons meeting in a Week 8 home game for Atlanta. That moment of excitement fleeted as those fans noticed the kickoff time, 9:30 am, and further investigation revealed the location of the game to be London, England, Great Britain, United Kingdom. Remind me again why we fought the Revolution?

After a hot start, the Falcons aren’t looking too good lately. Up in Motown, it’s the Lions who are looking like the UGA Bulldogs, putting together the pieces and winning with their best player on the sidelines. The Lions still should consider the Falcons a dangerous opponent this week– that is, assuming the Falcons even make it to the game:

The truth is, after their team’s disappointing start, Falcons fans probably are less worried about their team showing up in Spain for a game in London than they are about the fact that there apparently are no direct flights from Hartsfield-Jackson to Heathrow.

(HT: Deadspin)

College Football Playoff Selection Committee takes credibility hit with Manning departure

With news that Archie Manning is leaving his role as a Selection Committee member, the College Football Playoff © has taken another credibility hit. Despite his personal and familial ties to Ole Miss and the SEC, Manning actually was one of the less-concerning members of the Selection Committee from a conflict-of-interest standpoint. From that perspective, his departure will serve to magnify the already significant conflicts existing with the remaining committee members.

Read more about the potential problems with the new College Football Playoff, including conflicts of interest, here.

The committee will issue its first rankings after this week’s games.

The Sports Illustrated cover curse has relocated to page 34

rachel nichols si

If it feels like the force of the Sports Illustrated cover curse has waned, that’s only because the jinx has relocated to page thirty four. There, in this week’s issue, appeared SI media critic Richard Deitsch’s article, “The Case for…Rachel Nichols,” in which Deitsch praised Nichols’ recent “interrogat[ions]” of Roger Goodell and Floyd Mayweather Jr. “on her eponymous CNN show, Unguarded with Rachel Nichols. As a result,” Deitsch proclaimed in a laudatory proclamation highlighted in the featured pull quotation, “Nichols is at the moment the country’s most impactful and prominent female sports journalist.”

That may have been true “at the moment” Deitsch wrote it, but by the time many SI readers saw it, Nichols’ show had been cancelled. That’s pretty devastating all the way around, and if you’re a fan of either Mississippi State or Ole Miss football, both of which share this week’s SI cover, you may be in for a long day today.

Grit, Grammar And Road-Grading: A Conversation With PFT Commenter (via The Classical)

pftcNo one in the NFL discourse, and maybe no one anywhere, is dumber than PFT Commenter. He is the most ill-informed, unreflective, backwards, craven, and vociferous voice in a conversation that offers plenty of competition. The difference — and what makes the PFT Commenter character such an astounding achievement — is that PFT Commenter is that dumb on purpose.

And he never, ever takes a play — or take — off. It’s funny, and a reliably vicious satire of the grunty goofiness of NFL media, but perhaps equally impressive is that it just never stops. The mind reels at the sheer endurance required to maintain this posture, both in the face of open contempt from the likes of Pete Prisco and Darren Rovell and because of the sheer effort required to be this wrong. It’s hard to think of an online performance artist that works harder, and impossible to think of one that loves Danny Woodhead more.

We are approaching satire so good that it’s difficult to laugh at. … Read More

(via The Classical)

College football coaches are not overpaid.

So say two professors, Randall Thomas, under whom a number of us studied, and Lawrence Van Horn, and anyone who’s set foot in the state of Alabama in the last few years:

The New York Times has more coverage of their study here.

For another look at this subject, and the broader subject of money and largess in college football, I strongly recommend The System.

Divided They Stand (via ESPN The Magazine)

Ferguson, however, is not Gaza. For millions of African-Americans, it is not theoretical but personal. Professional athletes know the Ferguson dynamic too well, very likely better than most. The sports world is populated by hundreds of players who come from places similar to Ferguson, with similar tensions and hostilities, where the police have never been allies but an entity to fear. If ever there was time to hear from the players, for them to peek out from behind the tinted glass of their Escalades and for their teams and handlers to have the courage to encourage them to actually speak about their experiences, it is now.

The most immediate consequence for voicing such sentiments is to be greeted with the chilling chorus of “stick to sports.” But that chorus is not just patronizing; it ignores the reality that sports hasn’t been sticking to sports for nearly a generation. More than a decade ago, after Sept. 11, sports relinquished its traditional ground as a generally apolitical entity. It joined the war movement, codified politics into the quiet pastime of going to see a ballgame. In so doing, the games contributed to the growing culture of militarism that is now everywhere in America, a movement that has manifested itself in the mine-resistant armored vehicles that were employed by Ferguson’s 53-member police force. … Read More

(via ESPN The Magazine)

Braves Break Ground on Baseball Boondoggle

The Atlanta Braves broke ground this morning on their new Cobb County stadium, which makes today a good day to remember that the whole thing is a shameful crock.

The new field will be known as SunTrust Park. The only things I know about SunTrust are that they provided bad customer service once and now are providing material support to baseball terrorists.

At the unveiling of the brand-new park, the (almost) brand-new MLB commissioner, Rob Manfred took the opportunity to say something nonsensical:

I think what is special about this project is the scope of the project itself. It could geometrically change the economics of this particular franchise and really provide it with a great foundation for being competitive for a very long time.

?

Finally, a reminder that the traditional justification for publicly funded sports stadiums is a sham. SunTrust Park is no exception.

The (Walking) Death of Sports on Earth

soe

Last month, in a story that was poorly reported to the then-staff of the site Sports on Earth, to say nothing of the general public, it snuck out that, in some order, USA Today had pulled out of its partnership with MLB that supported the site and ninety-five percent of the site’s staff had been let go. The soldiering-on of “senior writer” Will Leitch (which is far from nothing) aside, SoE exists today at best as a sort of undead shell of the vibrant self Leitch and its former staff had built in what I called an important “second chapter” of the site’s history.

As David Roth, Keith Olbermann, and even Leitch himself have commented, the whole thing came as a surprise even to the writers, many of whom found out about the great “unwinding” for the first time on Twitter.

We have tracked the rise of Sports on Earth since its birth, and we’ve highlighted plenty of their many well-done stories in the past. From a technical standpoint, SoE was designed for optimal reading on a tablet, and, for me, it held the position of go-to breakfast-table reading for a long time.

I was just a reader. For The Classical’s David Roth, the whole thing was more personal, as he was friends and colleagues of many of the dispatched writers, many of whom also had written for The Classical. I learned about Sports on Earth’s demise from Roth’s extended obituary, which also expounds upon the challenges of sustaining and supporting interesting sports writing in today’s media landscape.   Continue reading

College Football Week 2: Two Questions

msvu

College football’s second week didn’t go so well for some of the teams on which we keep a closer eye here at ALDLAND. No controversy or arguments, really. Just poor performances and bad outcomes. Two days later, I’m left with two main questions:

1. Can Michigan State fix its leaky secondary?

Saturday night’s Michigan State-Oregon game lived up to the hype, through the end of the first half, anyway. During the intermission, the Ducks figured out that the one, very real weakness of the Spartan defense was its secondary. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was having no luck creating much of anything on his own, but if he could get the ball out of his hands, his receivers often were very open and had an easy time tacking on extra yards. Everything else seemed pretty good for Michigan State, and I’m not worried about how they’ll handle their conference schedule. At least against Oregon, though, the secondary looked like a real and easily exploitable problem. My question is whether this is a quick fix or a season-long problem.

2. How soon is too soon to fire Derek Mason?

I have an extremely selective (read: poor) memory, but I don’t think Vanderbilt has had two games as bad as the two they’ve played this season in three or four years. A 37-7 loss to Temple and a 41-3 loss to Ole Miss pretty much says it all. USA Today called the latter “just total destruction.” Yes, the team lost its starting quarterback and a pretty good receiver named Jordan Matthews, but these guys look like the caught World Cup fever in the offseason and thought they were out for the soccer team. I don’t think David Williams should take the kneejerk reaction of firing head coach Derek Mason in Mason’s first year on the job, but Commodawg raised the question while we were watching the game, and the regression VU fans are seeing really is shocking. I think it’s okay to ask: If Vanderbilt continues to follow its current trajectory, would you consider firing Coach Mason in the 2014 calendar year?