Recent Comments by dfleming

Top women tennis players balance body image with ambition

You seem to be buying into the idea that a top female athlete (in arguably the most popular women's sport) can settle for less athletic success to pursue money and fame from being hot. Nobody tells men it's cool to do that.

I am "buying" into the notion that I think it's pretty inappropriate for a man to go ahead and suggest that a woman is "settling" for what her own stated preferences are.

I feel like you're the one imposing a dual role on female athletes.

If you think I've invented pressures that female athletes have to deal with that male ones do not that cause them to have to consider things like their femininity in addition to their skill, I feel like there's no point in continuing this discussion.

posted by dfleming at 04:47 PM on July 13, 2015

Top women tennis players balance body image with ambition

Lots of basketball forwards and centers to some degree get criticized for not bulking up after college. This would also be true in hockey and is a reason why a bunch of first-rounders never make it to the prime-time - not strong enough.

They either decide their body is the one they want or believe they can overcome a deficit in bulk through other means. I guess some people might not be able to bulk up as well.

A number of baseball players have been criticized for being fat even if they perform at a decent level (see: the Fielders, Pablo Sandoval. Kirby Puckett, Manny Ramirez, etc.) The idea being their physical form is leaving something on the table.

I don't know of any who held a particular aesthetic desire as the reason they do it, but I'm also not sure that kind of question gets asked to male athletes as much as focus on the body of the athlete is a routine question for women.

posted by dfleming at 04:09 PM on July 13, 2015

Serena Williams and the Fear of a Dominant Black Woman

But racism means that many Americans look at her refusal to be ashamed of coming from the inner city, her rejection of European beauty aesthetics, and her spectacular record and see a negro that doesn't know her place.

Given Europe's deep problems with racism and a whole whack of sports, and the Russian federation president last year getting canned for a bunch of racist and sexist crap about Serena, I don't feel like it's far to label this as an American problem. Sharapova's huge dominance in endorsements over Serena is not just occurring in America - that's a worldwide phenomenon. So while it may not cost her wins, the fact that we can celebrate Wimbledon embracing arguably the best female tennis player of all time well as a victory is telling.

I also find it really intereresting how, in the American narrative, we tend to see a lot of "overcoming" the inner city narrative, but very little "overcoming" the deep South narrative. If we're talking about crime, poverty, lack of education, etc., it seems to me a lot of white athletes emerging from Alabama get to skirt this stuff (or get to show pride in the "authentic" places they come from) vs. every black athlete needing to act as though they thrived despite the place they came from.

posted by dfleming at 03:40 PM on July 13, 2015

Top women tennis players balance body image with ambition

If those quotes are legit, I think we're seeing a reason why Kournikova didn't achieve as much as she would've liked in single's tennis. "I hate my muscles" nicely captures a top athlete who limited her own success with a counterproductive attitude.

Or one who wanted as much success as her particular preferred body image would allow, which is again why I question who any of us are to determine whether or not someone's perspective on their own body is reasonable or not, particularly in the context of the unique dual role that women are expected to play in sports vs. those men are.

Women are expected to walk the red carpet as athletes, but then get criticized for being too into it. A singularly-focused life is not necessarily a model for happiness for everyone, and it's quite possible after nearly your whole youth being consumed by a sport that some want some variety - and for Kournikova, or Radwanska, that variety might include a particular body that demonstrably society aesthetically prefers and pays handsomely for.

posted by dfleming at 03:12 PM on July 13, 2015

Top women tennis players balance body image with ambition

She says, specifically, she has no regrets except to be a little stronger physically, which could either mean pure strength or a reaction to the fact her body's injuries cut her career shorter than it could've been.

But if you want quotes on the mix of things that Anna believed:

"I hate my muscles. I'm not Venus Williams. I'm not Serena Williams, I don't want to look like they do. I'm not masculine like they are."

"A court is like a scene, people want to see attractive people."

"I think that tennis is a lady's sport, so we should look out there like ladies."

"I am beautiful, famous and gorgeous."

I'm not trying to mind-read for her, but it's pretty clear that tennis was one of a number of top-line values that she operated under. It sounds pretty clear that looking like the Williams sisters, even as she watched how successful they made her, was not something she remotely considered for aesthetic reasons regardless of whether it made her a better tennis player.

posted by dfleming at 12:01 PM on July 13, 2015

Top women tennis players balance body image with ambition

Here's a quote from her in 2008: "In a perfect world, would I have won a tournament? Yes. But I wasn't able to string those matches together. Sometimes I got unlucky, and sometimes I just lost. Regrets? Not a thing. Except to be a little stronger physically."

That quote fully validates my perspective - which is that yes, she might've like to win more as a solo tennis player, but ultimately she doesn't regret the approach she took to life.

I thought we were debating whether to win at the cost of not being the smallest top player to emphasize your feminine attractiveness.

Sure, but take the Williams sisters, who've externally to the sport received a ton of criticism for their lack of femininity. The reality for big female stars (more so than male stars) is they are expected to be dominant in their sport and then turn on a dime and be presentable and attractive women off the court at galas, on the cover of magazines, etc. So I don't fault a woman for prioritizing her looks as one part of what matters to her as a woman, not to mention as a broader way for her to maximize the revenue in a short career as a public sports figure.

posted by dfleming at 11:25 AM on July 13, 2015

Top women tennis players balance body image with ambition

Do you think Radwanska or any other top female tennis player will look back on her playing days and think "I'm glad I was the smallest woman in the top 10"? My guess is that attaching "Wimbledon winner" to your name forever would mean more.

Do you think Anna Kournikova, who made $3.5m on the WTA and has an estimated net worth of $50m today, is really upset at her life choices and what kind of life they've given her?

Sure we could give them slack -- we are beautiful snowflakes, one and all -- but realistically what fan likes to hear that when the team keeps coming close to a championship and falling short?

That's exactly the perspective that a variety of 49ers fans felt this season about the various players retiring before their time - to which I say, if what fans want are win-at-all-costs robot players without concern for their broader selves or what makes them happy, those fans are dicks.

posted by dfleming at 10:34 AM on July 12, 2015

Top women tennis players balance body image with ambition

Maybe being the smallest player in the top 10 ought to be less of a focus than reaching that last rung to win a major.

Why? If she'd prefer to be small than a champion, who is anyone to tell her that she should have other goals?

posted by dfleming at 05:40 PM on July 11, 2015

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

The slippery slope is when this concerns, say, the President or a Presidential candidate. In those types of cases, the public may well have a legitimate interest in knowing of any medical issues that the officeholder or candidate may not want to disclose. Better to have the broad immunity/privileges of the press from a legal standpoint to protect for those circumstances and hope that any sort of journalistic ethics would dictate appropriate discretion when dealing with less weighty matters.

All I am saying is - by accepting this slippery slope argument, we are effectively saying whatever collateral damage occurs to individuals/the broader collective is acceptable and whatever collateral damage a president's hidden illness might inflict on the country is not acceptable.

My point is - given how technology is significantly different than it was when the Amendment was written (i.e., JPP's missing finger would've taken days to spread like wildfire if it would've at all), isn't it at all reasonable to consider a nuanced and changing perspective based on what impacts it actually has on people?

posted by dfleming at 02:11 PM on July 10, 2015

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Do you really want a society where the media is breaking the law by reporting someone's medical condition?

What is the downside to a society where JPP decides when and where to tell the world he's lost a finger, or someone gets the opportunity to tell the world on their own terms they're going through gender therapy, or has M.S? What do we lose?

posted by dfleming at 01:03 PM on July 10, 2015

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Agreed. I feel the same way about celebrities who go to private places who get photos published of them (or of their kids) and stories about people's personal lives going into the can.

It exemplifies the worst of what we are as human beings - gossip monsters who don't care about what impact information might have on the individual so long as we're entertained. It happened during the nude photo hack - people willfully shared that information in a way that would devastate virtually everyone if it happened to them.

It would work itself out if the shit didn't sell - but man does it sell. The market here reflects our collective ethic, and our collective ethic sucks.

I do not agree with the general perspective on newsworthiness (i.e., being popularly known) somehow creating a category where anything goes, but unfortunately trying to have a nuanced debate about any of the Amendments and how maybe in the technological era some things have changed is a non-starter.

posted by dfleming at 11:52 AM on July 10, 2015

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

rcade, you're spending a lot of time arguing against people who aren't actually arguing against you here. What grum and I are saying (if I'm wrong, grum, let me know) is that it is possible for Schefter to face legal trouble under a possible set of circumstances that no one has actually provided proof (or denial) of, and that his status as a journalist and Pierre-Paul's status as a public figure aren't the absolute defenses that you seem to think they are.

Well - we could also argue that Schefter would face legal issues if he blackmailed a person at the hospital to get the information, or if he hit a pedestrian on the way to getting the document, or if he dressed as a nurse to get access to Cousins' file. There are a lot of other crimes he could've committed but publishing info protected by HIPAA is not one of them.

posted by dfleming at 11:14 AM on July 10, 2015

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

How about a state law tort claim for invasion of privacy? I think the media probably wins on that one, but that would be the basis of the claim, not a HIPAA violation.

My understanding in cases of invasion of privacy involving public figures, the plaintiff has to prove the information was not newsworthy.Clearly an NFL player losing a finger in a fireworks accident is newsworthy.

posted by dfleming at 04:05 PM on July 09, 2015

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Also, I wonder if a private citizen's health records really fall in the "newsworthy/public concern" bucket that the journalist would claim in order to use the Bartnicki v Vopper precedent as protection.

Protection from what? HIPAA only applies to people working for specific medical agencies. There's nothing illegal about asking for or receiving information protected under the act. It is the sole responsibility of the person bound by HIPAA not to give it.

posted by dfleming at 02:25 PM on July 09, 2015

Zach Lowe's NBA Free-Agency Winners and Losers

In general, I think DeAndre Jordan made himself look like a selfish twat in this whole process.

Renegging on a verbal contract is n't great, but not even taking a meeting with Cuban to man up and tell him your word means shit before you sign elsewhere is worse. Lots of reports out there saying it's been days since Dallas actually got a response from Jordan. I think Nowitzki in particular deserved better than that, as that commitment presumably meant the Mavs stopped looking for a front-line center while a bunch were still out there.

Plus the whole stardom thing - going back to the Clippers, no matter what marketing tricks they have up their sleeve, he's still their third best player. If he wanted to be a star, he'd put more work into not shooting 43% from the free throw line and costing his team points by giving freebies away.

posted by dfleming at 09:20 AM on July 09, 2015

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

The many emojis of DeAndre Jordan waffling on his commitment to the Mavs.

posted by dfleming at 04:01 PM on July 08, 2015

Federal Judge Orders Cancellation of Redskins Trademarks

The question is whether it convinces Daniel Snyder to update his team identity to one he can legally protect.

This stopped being a business-oriented decision a long while ago. I also question the actual impact of this.

My sense is - the market already has a bunch of black market stuff in it for all teams, and (assuming) the majority of NFL gear is sold through authorized dealers, at stadiums, and on websites that sell for all 30 teams - it's unlikely to make a huge dent in their bottom line unless those three sell the unauthorized stuff. Stocking unofficial gear for one team when the other 31 are sourced from a handful or less of official suppliers seems silly.

Perhaps the number of dealers in the blocks around the stadium and on Ebay go up, but unofficial jerseys are pretty easy to source today for all teams that way and official merch still sells.

posted by dfleming at 03:42 PM on July 08, 2015

Zach Lowe's NBA Free-Agency Winners and Losers

All they need is to add JR and Josh Smith to build the all headcase team.

posted by dfleming at 04:24 PM on July 07, 2015

Zach Lowe's NBA Free-Agency Winners and Losers

The Warriors save something ridiculous like $25m if that's true by getting under the tax.

I don't totally get this with the Celtics - the point of Johnson playing full-time seemed to be he, and Zeller, might defend the rim efficiently and the Celtics might become more of a Stevens college scheme team.

Now if you slot Lee in for extended minutes, you're giving up whatever you get offensively from him defensively, you take one of your better defensive bigs off the court for extended durations, and you now have to find someone to take Sullinger or Olynyk because you've got too many depth big men.

posted by dfleming at 03:23 PM on July 07, 2015

Zach Lowe's NBA Free-Agency Winners and Losers

Is that Ainge's only plan? Were there no contingencies?

My read is they didn't show enough early interest in Greg Monroe (who was interested in them) or Robin Lopez (which, meh) because of a misguided belief that Love was going to leave Cleveland for them and then paid for it when those guys went quick.

I mean - even if Love forces himself out - with the salary cap boost there are going to be a whole host of better teams out there who might be able to afford to take on his salary. Why is that a future plan worth holding onto?

posted by dfleming at 02:44 PM on July 07, 2015

Zach Lowe's NBA Free-Agency Winners and Losers

Yeah, the Celtics had a rough one - Johnson for Bass is an upgrade, and keeping Crowder was a necessity, but striking out across the board at center, not being able to cash in at the draft, and not being able to get Wallace's salary off the books means another long year ahead.

posted by dfleming at 02:37 PM on July 07, 2015

MLB All-Star Rosters (and "Final Vote") announced

In general, I think the all-star games are starting to show the cracks in what the internet is a good tool for. It took the final day of the year for Jose Altuve to pass Omar Infante who's barely above replacement because a rush was on for Kansas City players regardless of their numbers. We can go back a couple of years to Rory Fitzpatrick nearly started an NHL all-star game because some people voted it that way.

We're now seeing a mix of the true stars of the game and whatever jokes or clever initiatives spread like wildfire on the net and/or can be technically manipulated. Which is fine if you don't care about the game itself and find clever stuff amusing, but I guess for a fledgling part of sport, these kinds of cracks don't help build worth into the game itself.

posted by dfleming at 02:10 PM on July 07, 2015

MLB All-Star Rosters (and "Final Vote") announced

The fact that Brock Holt made the squad as a reserve, but his MUCH more talented teammate Mookie Betts didn't is definitely a mistake.

It's Yost being Yost - favouring something utterly silly in a game (position flexibility) where the rosters are 34 players deep and guys might go a few innings max. With the exception of his 6 starts at SS, it is very possible to find 2-3 players at every position Holt plays with better numbers across the board than him. Betts is one, and hate him or tolerate him, if you're going to have a guy as the 34th man on the roster, why not .902 points worth of OPS in Alex Rodriguez as a late game pinch hitter?

posted by dfleming at 01:59 PM on July 07, 2015

U.S. Wins Women's World Cup

It wouldn't have killed the US East Coast to stay up until 10 or 11 to watch. People in England were willing to be up at all hours to watch their team.

It surely would've killed the ratings, but it's an argument (in addition to my self-interested one) as to why the final should've been held in Montreal - a more neutral time zone for so much of the potential audience.

posted by dfleming at 09:14 AM on July 06, 2015

SportsFilter: The Wednesday Huddle

Now this appears to be a trade that truly benefited neither team, at least for the long term

Well - the Bruins now have Loui Eriksson (22 goals last year despite underwhelming), Jimmy Hayes (a 25-year-old who scored 19 goals last year who they picked up for Reilly Smith from the Seguin trade), Joe Morrow (a perpetual prospect D), Zachary Senyshyn (15th overall this year) and two second-rounders this year from the assets they got in the trade.

That's still substantially better than what the Leafs have coming back to them from the Kessel deal, which should have a bit of an asterisk attached to the value they got due to the stupid contract they gave him and needed to eat to get rid of him.

posted by dfleming at 09:34 AM on July 02, 2015

U.S. Defeats China, Advances to Women's World Cup Semifinals

Was at the game and though they weren't regularly pressed, the U.S. really cleaned up a lot of their issues defensively this game. They also generated a lot of pace considering two of their better offensive players were on the sidelines.

The Chinese midfielders continually fell for the same U.S. trap where they'd show a seemingly open Chinese forward only to take it away a second before the pass was made. I doubt the Germans will be so formulaic, but that was the first complete performance they put in so far.

posted by dfleming at 08:46 AM on June 27, 2015

NHL Playoff Pick 'Em Champion: Cixelsyd

Well done Cixelsyd!

Ufez, you're 2/4ths of the way to the Costanza Grand Slam for the year. I believe in you.

posted by dfleming at 10:58 AM on June 25, 2015

Pete Rose bet on MLB games while an active player in those games.

Dowd is expecting lawyerly precision from Rose when he interprets Rose's "I did not bet on baseball as a player" to mean "as a player or player-manager," and this furthers Dowd's attempt to portray Rose as an unrepentant liar. (You're doing the same here in how you interpret his 2015 comment.) But Rose says in his book that bets were made earlier than the 1986 postseason, so he's making an implicit admission there to betting in 1986, at least.

I'm sorry, but a favourable interpretation vs. what Rose actually said is not very convincing. He said specifically he did not bet on baseball as a player and I find it extremely unlikely that Rose does not remember his player-manager days as him playing the game.

The hit record was broken when he was a player-manager, and is something baseball has allowed him to commemorate with the team. He would have to have forgotten that hit occurred while he was a player for that logic to make any sense.

Also - Pete Rose has a lawyer handling his reinstatement. His post-report "no comment" statement was made by his lawyer. The statement did not include "Pete Rose already admitted to this." This is not Charlie Hustle in the commissioner's office and doing interviews without coaching and it is not expecting lawyerly precision to expect a definitive statement that you did not do something.

posted by dfleming at 07:37 AM on June 24, 2015

Pete Rose bet on MLB games while an active player in those games.

I find it hard to believe that anything Rose could say today would be accepted by Rose critics as a reason to trust him in the future.

For the record, I was in the camp of letting him back into baseball until we found out in this latest report that he's lying about betting on games as a player. He is still disrespecting baseball. That is, arguably the worst possible way for him to violate this rule - or at least on par with his manager bets. This is a pattern of behaviour over years, some of which he wasn't going to be honest about with the commissioner. So no - with this new evidence, I don't trust him.

I don't know why you're positioning yourself as the only voice of reason here - my position changed with new evidence coming forward that he's still lying. Yours seems to be unfazed by anything except how long his lifetime ban has been.

posted by dfleming at 09:27 PM on June 23, 2015

Pete Rose bet on MLB games while an active player in those games.

That's a Charlie Brown and the football scenario, and danging it out there when you're so adamant about continuing the ban is not serious. Be honest, Lucy. Any admission Rose made would be thrown into the pile of reasons to justify dragging this all the way to his grave.

No - I am being given yet another reason to believe Pete Rose's issues with gambling can not be taken as a guaranteed past tense problem. He's copped to as little as he can in an attempt to improve his likelihood to get reinstated and he's gotten caught at it.

Cutting through all your hyperbole - do you seriously think a still lying Pete Rose can be trusted not to gamble on baseball if he's back in a dugout or in a front office? What has he done to give you that indication, other than more time than you think is appropriate has passed?

posted by dfleming at 06:40 PM on June 23, 2015

Pete Rose bet on MLB games while an active player in those games.

Why do you feel it is important that he be banned for 27 years instead of 26? 36 instead of 26? His entire lifespan plus one day? What interest hasn't already been served that will be served with more time?

Because I don't feel confident that Pete Rose, in a team position, will not bet on baseball. I don't know why you are so confident these are past problems.

The reason I have significant doubt? He is still trying to cover up the extent of his previous problems. He is still not truthful. His remorse has entirely been related to how much he gets caught. All classic addict signs.

Ignoring the fact it's apples to oranges - your example of Mark McGwire is again irrelevant because can't take PEDs and play anymore. Pete Rose can certainly be hired by a team and put in a position that he can use to improve his odds.

posted by dfleming at 05:01 PM on June 23, 2015

Pete Rose bet on MLB games while an active player in those games.

You make it sound as if everyone affiliated with MLB wouldn't associate with Rose. They don't have the choice, so we don't know what some organization in baseball would do if the commissioner allowed it.

Professional associations hire people and give them powers to enforce the rules as a uniform body and not as a collective of individuals operating on their own rules. This is how things like bans from the game or sanctions on an owner/team can actually work. They give them the things they think are bigger than one owner or team's decisions to work on.

Those same associations have the opportunity to change those rules should they want to and have had ample opportunity to do so as a collective since Rose was banned. PED rules and penalties have been changed in recent memory.

The commissioner acts on their behalf - and from time to time, the ownership get directly involved. In the case of Marge Schott in 1993, it was a process engaged by the ownership that resulted in a owner-led committee voting to ban her from the game. Ditto for Steinbrenner. They can also toss a commissioner whose regulatory record they don't like.

The reverse for Pete Rose could be initiated by an owner (in response to a reinstatement request), however like anything related to the integrity of the game, it would need the broader support of the ownership to move forward.

Mark McGwire got coaching gigs eight years after the PED scandal sent him into hiding.

Mark McGwire did not receive a lifetime ban from baseball.

posted by dfleming at 12:29 PM on June 23, 2015

Pete Rose bet on MLB games while an active player in those games.

Grum has it exactly.

Pete Rose has benefited significantly since his expulsion from baseball because he's a former player. His records are still acknowledged widely. He makes a lot of money at it.

The only price he's paying currently is the people to whom he lied and cheated refuse to associate with him professionally in a way that earns him a place in the Hall of Fame or on a team. The idea that he's now an old man and deserves something when he's still denying the truth (and cowering behind a PR statement on his reinstatement) to me is wholly irrelevant.

He was aware of what happened to Shoeless Joe and did it anyways. Fuck him.

posted by dfleming at 11:10 AM on June 23, 2015

Pete Rose bet on MLB games while an active player in those games.

Because 26 years is long enough for his punishment. I think it's way past long enough and deeply into ridiculous territory. Baseball is hardly so pristine that his jersey should be a hair shirt for a quarter century and counting.

Alex Rodriguez was suspended for a season for being a huge PED cheat. Is what Rose did 26 times as bad?

Marge Schott was banned in 1996 for racist, anti-Semitic, anti-gay, pro-Nazi and pro-Hitler statements and reinstated two years later. Is what Rose did 13 times as bad?

Baseball didn't want A-Rod back (nor did the Yankees), but unfortunately they don't get to unilaterally ban guys from the game for PEDs. The union has a say, particularly when contracts are being negotiated.

Do I think A-Rod belongs in the game at all? No, I don't. Do you?

Marge Schott to me is entirely irrelevant, because PEDs and betting on baseball are about the integrity of the game, not about whether a person is a horrible human being or not.

You're conflating this with crimes like embezzlement which is again irrelevant. People banned from their profession are done so for life routinely because they've undermined the integrity of everyone else doing it. There's no fundamental right to be associated with the profession of your choice as there is a fundamental right to freedom after a jail sentence.

Pete Rose is still doing damage to baseball - this would not be a story if in 2004 he had've said "yes, I bet on games I was in when I was a player." He didn't, and now baseball gets to deal with entire news cycles on this stuff yet again.

Pete Rose has also been making something like a million dollars a year in speaking fees as a former player. He has a job in baseball. He's benefitted from his legacy as the hits leader, but the game won't benefit at all from letting him back in, in part because he continues to plague them with his the fact even his mea culpas (which netted him money too) were full of lies.

posted by dfleming at 07:50 AM on June 23, 2015

Pete Rose bet on MLB games while an active player in those games.

Let the old fart be a part of the game, and if there are concerns some team might put him in a prominent position, limit what he's allowed to do.

Why let him be part of the game at all?

He had a chance in 2004 to set the record straight. He chose to lie to the fans and to folks in the game - yet again.

He's still the hits leader. He works for FOX in baseball. What more does Pete Rose deserve considering he's still lying about what he did?

posted by dfleming at 08:36 PM on June 22, 2015

Pete Rose bet on MLB games while an active player in those games.

At this point, it's not even the cheating that bugs me - it's the flat out, repeated, and unrepentant lying to save whatever little bit of face is left and letting fans go out there and try to make a case for you that you know is false.

Manfried must feel like he dodged a bullet with this coming out now. The tide was turning on Charlie Hustle, and thankfully he's going to stay exactly where he belongs - outside of the game.

posted by dfleming at 03:27 PM on June 22, 2015

Tokyo 2020 Committee Releases Short List of New Sports

Roller sports? As in hockey? Or as in half-pipe/course flips/tricks?

Roller derby, man. I have never once met so many women in my life I simultaneously had a crush on and was absolutely terrified of than at a derby. Perfect TV sport.

posted by dfleming at 02:53 PM on June 22, 2015

Tokyo 2020 Committee Releases Short List of New Sports

I don't even know how American football would work in a seventeen day span - could you responsibly play more than three games in that timeframe?

posted by dfleming at 02:18 PM on June 22, 2015

Max Scherzer Has Perfect Game Through 8 2/3, But Hits Tabata

I really don't look at that play and think that Tabata meant to get hit. For one, he was lost at the plate against Scherzer and clearly not picking the ball up well. If you are, there's a split-second to react to a pitch and if you're not, it feels like less.

Second, it was a pitch tracking inside that was nowhere near the plate. Tabata moved a little down, not in. Scherzer was spotting the borders of the strike zone, which while an effective strategy, also means guys have a small viewing degree inside to deduce where a pitch is and where it's going.

And third, I don't think (neither did Scherzer in his post-game) that the impetus is on a hitter to cover up a pitcher's bad pitch so he has to lose the perfect game on a hit. I watch games with guys who think taking a walk late against a perfect game is unacceptable (particularly if ball four is a borderline strike), which is bullshit. A no-hitter is broken up by a hit, but a perfect game requires a pitcher to avoid the other ways it's broken up too.

The guy's job was to get on base and start a rally. Creating unwritten etiquette rules late in the game for how guys should break up perfect games just cheapens the whole thing.

posted by dfleming at 10:17 AM on June 21, 2015

Warriors Win Game 5, Need One More for NBA Championship

Once Golden State is making its 3-point shots, packing the defense in down low is not a solution.

I totally get you, but increased minutes and perimeter coverage from JR Smith (who isn't stopping the three or contributing efficiently on the other end) is less of a solution than Mozgov giving them ample high-percentage looks at the other end even if he's allowing some penetration opportunities.

It'd make sense if they had the personnel to match, but they so clearly don't so to me it's a strategy that's doomed to fail.

posted by dfleming at 12:30 AM on June 16, 2015

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

I can't imagine the NBA being willing to give the MVP to a member of the losing team.

I would say no too, with the caveat that Adam Silver seems like the most likely commissioner in a long time to actually consider something like this. Anyone else getting this award is going to look like a total sham and he seems like the kind of guy to favour logic over tradition, at least somewhat.

Jerry West won it in 1969 on a losing team, so it's been nearly half a century since it happened. The time is right.

posted by dfleming at 09:25 AM on June 15, 2015

Warriors Win Game 5, Need One More for NBA Championship

I do not understand playing Mozgov for 9 minutes last night - of all the things that the Cavs could have done, shortening the bench even further and taking the second most effective player they have off the floor for a game is nuts.

Dellavedova is clearly cooked, as is Thompson. The last thing I think they needed was to try to beat Golden State at its own small-ball game - all it did was further decrease the talent they had on the floor.

If Blatt really wants to get creative with lineups and what is left in the tank, get Marion out of purgatory for a little bit, throw him at C against Green (6'7 vs. 6'7), fire Mozgov up for some runs at PF against either of Lee/Barnes, LeBron full-time at PG with Dellavedova offering relief and whatever Jones/Miller/Smith can give you at the 3.

posted by dfleming at 09:16 AM on June 15, 2015

Golden State Exposes Cleveland in Game 4 Rout

It felt dangerous and a lot of effort to get the ball where he wanted it and even then they would often be left with little time on the shot clock.

You are right, but on some level I think the entry passes from Dellavedova were often haphazard. He was lobbing the ball in at such a slow speed that Barnes and/or Igoudala could pivot and position on him by the time he had control of the ball. He rarely got the ball in a position that allowed him to move immediately - rather, he had to reset and the move. But - even when he got position, he seemed to have very little power finish left in him.

Shumpert's shot selection last night was horrific - no wonder he doesn't want to shoot, because he's taking almost exclusively low percentage shots. He and Smith not only shot poorly, but shot so wildly that they didn't give a lot of second chance opportunities to maximize the fact they had a distinct rebounding advantage inside.

posted by dfleming at 10:15 AM on June 12, 2015

Golden State Exposes Cleveland in Game 4 Rout

Agreed jmd.

LeBron, even before the camera shot to the head, looked exhausted last night. He had the initial explosive step towards the basket and was able to get a good shoulder position regularly on Igoudala which typically leads to either a foul or a lay up - but his final move to the basket at times seemed very timid and often tangential to the rim. It seemed like he ran out of steam routinely by the time he got in scoring position.

That and the fact they got entirely away from his post game suggested to me his legs weren't giving him much power. At times on the bench he was getting massages/etc. so I wonder if he just had nothing to give in the lower body.

On the plus side, the blowout means he (only?) played 41 minutes last night and has two nights to rest.

posted by dfleming at 09:44 AM on June 12, 2015

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

I wonder if this is a product of putting the tournament in a country whose relationship with soccer is relatively tepid and which is sparsely populated.

I can imagine folks driving from PEI/Nova Scotia to Moncton for a game on a weekend, but I can't imagine a lot taking time off work to do so during the week unless it was the home team playing.

posted by dfleming at 07:41 AM on June 12, 2015

Golden State Exposes Cleveland in Game 4 Rout

He had three-time all-stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love with him all year and they finished second in the East. The problem isn't that he doesn't have good players, the problem is they had really bad luck with injuries during the playoffs.

posted by dfleming at 07:18 AM on June 12, 2015

Golden State Exposes Cleveland in Game 4 Rout

Oh how the tides have turned this first half. Golden State has cleaned their offensive game up significantly and the Cavs' support cast can't seem to execute at all and are resorting to a lot of mid-range jumpers.

posted by dfleming at 10:13 PM on June 11, 2015

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle

Watching Germany-Norway, I see some sections with quite a few empty seats.

Some coworkers got tickets yesterday for $20. The game started at before the government folks got out from work, but still, it's nutty in a city of over 1 million people you can't fill a 22,500 person stadium for a major sports event like this.

On the plus side, my quarterfinal tickets are sweet and cheap.

posted by dfleming at 09:40 PM on June 11, 2015

LeBron James Puts Cavaliers Up 2-1 on Warriors

In the World Series he put up an insane .471/.700/1.294 in 30 plate appearances!

Yeah, but in his second at-bat of game two he swung badly at a slider, so how good was he really?

/LeBron comments

posted by dfleming at 04:50 PM on June 10, 2015

LeBron James Puts Cavaliers Up 2-1 on Warriors

Mike Bossy in 1982 (I wasn't alive, but my dad showed me those tapes) is up there in terms of that kind of thing, but it's really hard to individualize 4/5 of the major sports the way you can 5 on 5 basketball.

posted by dfleming at 12:04 PM on June 10, 2015

LeBron James Puts Cavaliers Up 2-1 on Warriors

They'll hang 20 in a row on the Cavaliers to make a game a laugher and Stella will get her groove back.

It's been interesting to watch and I don't know if it'll sustain, but Dellavedova has done an insane job on Curry and has exploited the fact that the Warriors need him to put points on the board to get everyone else going.

He's playing him more physical than anyone seems to do and is giving him no room for uncontested quick-release threes. It doesn't help that he's now hospitalized, but his effort on D to prevent the easy 3's that get Curry in a rhythm makes the GS offense look a lot less potent.

I don't think Curry's down and out, but it's become pretty clear that Klay and company can't shoulder an off-night from Curry against a D this committed to every single defensive board and second-chance opportunity. They are getting chased around the court on every play and every lane is getting filled.

So it looks to me like it's Curry or bust for GS (or another Cleveland injury) unless they can match Cleveland's relentless heart at this point. GS hasn't shown me that they deal well with adversity or getting outworked well yet.

posted by dfleming at 11:53 AM on June 10, 2015

NBC Sports to NHL: Hey Good Lookin', Shave Those Playoff Beards

Grum is, if I recall correctly, in Toronto. A few months ago when I was in the Annex, men with buns and ponytails outnumbered women with buns and ponytails by about 3:1.

In general, I think these comments are on their face ridiculous. Put a guy in a hockey helmet and it doesn't matter if he has a black eye, beard, Lanny stache, or whatever else. People are going to know he's a hockey player.

If anything, beards, cuts, black eyes and broken noses align better to the warrior narrative which has been arguably the most unifying thing about sports heroism since the Greeks. People want to watch Tom Brady the battle-tested game hero, not Tom Brady in makeup and Ugg boots.

posted by dfleming at 11:36 AM on June 10, 2015

LeBron James Puts Cavaliers Up 2-1 on Warriors

This really is an incredible time to be a basketball fan. Regardless of the outcome, this will be the kind of series you bore your kids telling them you saw live over and over again.

Every time LeBron drives as if he's playing against shadow opponents on the playground when he was 12 (in that - this is exactly how I scripted my own solo games in the NBA finals), I feel the collective cringe from all those folks still clinging to the "yeah, but he hasn't" elements of his resume. That list is getting smaller and more insignificant by the minute.

posted by dfleming at 11:20 AM on June 10, 2015

NBC Sports to NHL: Hey Good Lookin', Shave Those Playoff Beards

Talking about beards, did something happen about 3 or 4 years ago that suddenly triggered all of the athletes to start trying to grow beards during the regular season?

MLB is FILLED with furry-faced guys now, when it used to be very rare.

It's a product of broader society. I've had a beard since I was 19 (when it was relatively rare, noticeable, and dare I say irresistible to the ladies...okay, maybe that's a LITTLE far), and now at 32 have noticed professionals in every industry I interact with now have them. I've been told that most people did it in the last few years.

The man bun is now replacing the beard (which had replaced placed funky colored socks under dress clothing) as the minor day-to-day rebellion for average joes.

posted by dfleming at 08:52 AM on June 10, 2015

James Scores Triple-Double as Cavs Even NBA Finals at 1

Isn't that exactly what they're doing Howard? I don't get how The Formula is a change from their current strategy.

The Cavs needed LeBron to take 35 shots and play 50 minutes. He shot 11/35. They pushed him on both sides of the court and the rest of the team shot 18/55 with nobody else going off. They held them to 87 points at the end of regulation.

Golden State wins that game (and nearly all others where they hold the other team to 87 points) if Steph Curry shoots within three standard deviations of his mean and both teams play that way.

posted by dfleming at 05:13 PM on June 08, 2015

SpoFil NBA Playoff Pick 'Em

Largest margin of victory: 19! Sorry - don't know how I missed that. May be invalid as it's after the game but so be it.

posted by dfleming at 07:19 AM on June 05, 2015

SpoFil NBA Playoff Pick 'Em

Win: Cleveland
Games: 6
MVP: Lebron James
Rebounds: Tristan Thompson
Assists: Lebron James
Free Throw Attempts: Lebron
Steals: Steph Curry
Blocks: Timofey Mozgov
Fouls: Andrew Bogut
Turnovers: Lebron James
3-pt %: Steph Curry
Tech fouls: 5
Triple Doubles: 0
Total points: 174

posted by dfleming at 07:49 AM on June 03, 2015

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

But over on the Dartmouth side, it seems like a stadium could be more workable. No realistic prospects there? Is Dartmouth a completely separate municipality and as such would have to form their own bid?

The cities of Dartmouth and Halifax amalgamated in 1996 into one municipality - like the GTA. There are a number of locations (Shannon Park in Dartmouth being one) that are suitable, but that's not the problem.

Halifax is a very lukewarm sports town with only 410,000 residents in the city with another 400,000 within a two hour drive. They would be building it for one use with no guaranteed other reasons to have it - which, for a $50m venture, is pretty specious.

There are a number of well-to-dos who believe a city of Halifax's size and stature needs to have a CFL team and want to build the stadium to that eventual end (with this tournament as the proposed catalyst), but there's been no evidence to date that the CFL wants to expand to Halifax, and a dismal record with major sports and music concert attendance.

Halifax likes stuff like junior hockey, university football, and small concerts, but that doesn't necessarily scale well. Regina's a smaller city, but there's a fervour around the CFL team that Halifax doesn't have for just about anything.

posted by dfleming at 01:15 PM on May 31, 2015

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

It was a bid process - I was involved in the evaluation of the case for the Halifax potential bid. There was a $25k fee just to be considered for games (and those games could be irrelevant group games) which drove quite a number of bids out. Plus - Halifax had to build a stadium as they have none remotely appropriate.

Moncton has a long history of paying exorbitant to be placed on the world stage (see the Magnetic Hill concert fiasco as an example.)

posted by dfleming at 09:17 AM on May 31, 2015

Golden State Reaches First NBA Finals in 40 Years

The first black manager to reach the World Series wouldn't happen until 1992 (a span of 17 seasons), and there have never been two black managers in the World Series.

Heck - there's only one in the league right now and depending on who you believe, he's on the hot seat and might not make it through the summer. The MLB one at this point will be miraculous.

posted by dfleming at 01:52 PM on May 28, 2015