Recent Comments by Amateur

Top 30 New Extreme Sports

More fun with "birdman" suits.

posted by Amateur at 05:25 PM on February 06, 2009

Tabloid Catches Michael Phelps Smoking a Bong

You'll notice that the offenses on the FINA list were for in-competition tests. I can't say specifically what out-of-competition rules Phelps might be subject to. However, in general out-of-competition testing only includes substances that are known to assist with out-of-competition training, e.g. steroids, hormones, etc. Cannabinoids would not be included, since their long-term use is not performance enhancing.

posted by Amateur at 04:52 PM on February 01, 2009

Lance Armstrong to return to pro cycling

I get that he's doing good work for cancer, lbb. I just don't see why that requires a cycling comeback. Really one has nothing to do with the other.

posted by Amateur at 09:00 PM on September 10, 2008

Lance Armstrong to return to pro cycling

I agree that the "I have decided to return to professional cycling in order to raise awareness of the global cancer burden" rings pretty hollow. There are surely other motivations as well.

posted by Amateur at 07:39 PM on September 09, 2008

Carlos Sastre wins Tour de France

Ricco confessed.

posted by Amateur at 10:12 AM on July 30, 2008

The LA84 Foundation Library

Great link, Fence.

posted by Amateur at 07:05 PM on May 30, 2008

Female ski jumpers taking VANOC to court

Hey, I'm all for women's ski jumping getting in. Sign me up for the petition to the IOC. I just don't see how suing VANOC -- who have no control whatsoever over the sporting programme -- is anything other than a publicity stunt. And lbb -- I do think that according to the charter as you've quoted it, the IOC has an obligation to put pressure on the FIS to develop women's ski jumping. I don't think they have to automatically have exactly the same events (or even the same number of events) for women as for men; but they should have policies that move sport in that direction. From where I sit, there is plenty of evidence that the IOC is putting exactly that kind of pressure on most of the Olympic sports.

posted by Amateur at 07:46 PM on May 22, 2008

Female ski jumpers taking VANOC to court

VANOC is being targeted despite the fact that local organizers have no decision-making authority over which events are on the Games agenda. I'm sure there is some lawyer out there who can explain this but it seems like they've chosen the wrong target. Ms. Corradini said VANOC is being sued because it is the B.C.-based representatives of the IOC. Hmmm. That's not how I understand it, but maybe the courts will agree.

posted by Amateur at 05:53 AM on May 22, 2008

NHL Playoffs Pick 'Em, Conference Finals round results.: Plus Finals round rules inside.

Wings in six. Zetterberg and Malkin. Osgood wins the Conn Smythe.

posted by Amateur at 07:52 PM on May 20, 2008

NHL Playoffs Pick 'Em, round 2 results.

I also want some second-round points because I would have got it all correct. Except for Philadelphia. And Dallas. And Franzen. And Morrow.

posted by Amateur at 08:37 PM on May 09, 2008

NHL Playoffs Pick 'Em, round 2 results.

OK, I think I've spotted you all enough of a lead. Detroit (Zetterberg) over Dallas (Morrow) in 5 games Philadelphia (Briere) over Pittsburgh (Malkin) in 7 games

posted by Amateur at 09:10 PM on May 05, 2008

New and Improved NHL Playoffs Pick 'Em Thread.

Alright, a decision has been made (by me): The goalie must have played 2 complete games for his GAA to be counted. Excellent decision, O fearless leader.

posted by Amateur at 11:27 PM on April 10, 2008

Olympic torch put out by protests.

grum, that Wikipedia article nowhere states that Smith and / or Carlos was "banned by the IOC for life." You exaggerate. However, your central point is correct -- an athlete making such a political statement today would almost certainly suffer the same fate as far as the IOC is concerned -- have their accreditation revoked and therefore be out of the Games. But this honestly seems reasonable to me. Would you treat it differently?

posted by Amateur at 11:24 PM on April 10, 2008

New and Improved NHL Playoffs Pick 'Em Thread.

Montreal (Plekanec) over Boston (Murray) in 5 Pittsburgh (Malkin) over Ottawa (Heatley) in 5 Philadelphia (Briere) over Washington (Ovechkin) in 7 New Jersey (Parise) over New York (Jagr) in 7 Detroit (Zetterburg) over Nashville (Dumont) in 4 San Jose (Cheechoo) over Calgary (Iginla) in 4 Colorado (Stastny) over Minnesota (Gaborik) in 6 Anaheim (Selanne) over Dallas (Morrow) in 7 Goalies: Price / Nabokov Does the "lowest GAA" category have a minimum number of minutes played requirement?

posted by Amateur at 10:08 PM on April 08, 2008

How to Tell When a College Basketball Game is Out of Reach

I think it's a bit confusing, but from the article: That doesn't mean a team with a 10-point lead and the ball with 10 minutes to go has only a 9 percent chance of winning. Rather, it means they're 9 percent of the way to having a completely insurmountable advantage. Although this is not quite a quantitative definition, we can imply that 73% safe = much higher percentage of winning.

posted by Amateur at 10:32 PM on March 20, 2008

Hurricanes/Senators in Four Player Deal.

I hope, for Ottawa's sake the sake of Amateur's team in the office hockey pool, that Stillman can find his scoring touch again.

posted by Amateur at 10:38 PM on February 11, 2008

When Octopuses Are Flying in Detroit It's . . .

Fun article ... but is it really from 1996? I would think that doesn't meet the guidelines.

posted by Amateur at 05:30 AM on December 10, 2007

"If you're not confrontational, you're not doing your job."

And now there may (or may not) be another candidate for the job.

posted by Amateur at 11:39 AM on November 16, 2007

"If you're not confrontational, you're not doing your job."

I think it's obvious that the existence of WADA is a very good thing -- when it comes to exposing cheating, the International Federations and the National Olympic Committees proved that they could not be trusted to expose the cheaters that they had so much invested in. The creation of WADA and the WADA Code is a critical first step in making sure that anti-doping enforcement is uniform across countries and sports. Since Pound played a critical role in creating WADA and getting it off the ground, you've got to say that he's been a major positive force. I have been critical of Pound's public statements in the past and I don't agree with all points of his philosophy. But the rant lbb linked to is a bit off the mark on some topics, too. For example: "Dick Pound may be a part of the reason that doping is much discussed by sports journalists, fans and bloggers, but he is only a small part. But the biggest reason that doping is discussed so much is that so many more scandals are reported these days, rather than quietly covered up or brushed aside." The reason it's so much harder to cover these things up or brush them aside is because of the existence of WADA, which has no particular interest in the earning power or the attraction of star athletes.

posted by Amateur at 06:50 PM on November 15, 2007

Confidential files reveal fortunes of Leaf Empire

I like the story in the sidebar: Why It's Your Fault the Leafs Stink. That means you, grum.

posted by Amateur at 07:51 PM on October 30, 2007

Landis appeals

apoch didn't say people couldn't disagree with him. And let's face it, jhk's comment is basically content-free. But we won't survive around here very long if we object to every instance of that particular sin. I have not had time to look over the AAA decision in detail. However, I have gone carefully over a number of CAS decisions in the past and I will say that the panels usually give athletes a very fair and detailed hearing, and most importantly they have a strong tradition of sticking by the letter of the law. I don't always agree with the decisions, but they are always rational and carefully argued.

posted by Amateur at 07:36 PM on October 10, 2007

NHL Tournament of Logos

Well, that was too easy. I am sorry I missed all the earlier rounds but obviously the Habs did not need my help.

posted by Amateur at 09:42 PM on September 26, 2007

HGH + The Clear = HR(50%)

the Wired article: "But then, how to explain the explosion of home run hitting from about 1995 onward?" the Tufts press release: "In the 1990s, home run totals skyrocketed to historic levels, notably dropping off after steroid testing was instituted in 2003." Somebody show me this "explosion" and then I'd especially like to see the "notably dropping off." (Here's a picture to help you out). the physicist: "If you look at other sports, you don't see radical changes in performance. No one is running a 6-second 100-meter dash, no matter what they are taking." Oh, for fuck's sake, you call yourself a scientist? Show me the baseball player who's doing the equivalent of running 100m in 6 seconds.

posted by Amateur at 09:38 PM on September 26, 2007

Bill Henry is Not Dead

That is one odd story.

posted by Amateur at 01:39 PM on September 07, 2007

Texas 30 - Baltimore 3

An inning with fourteen batters, an inning with twelve batters, and an inning with ten batters... I'd love to see somebody's scorecard for that one.

posted by Amateur at 09:05 PM on August 22, 2007

A WHA mystery: where is the 'faux' Avco World Trophy?

Nice link. Also a local (to me) connection: Apparently there are three “legitimate” Avco World Trophy’s: two are on display – one at the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame, one in Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame – and the one in Winnipeg. I volunteer to go down and inspect that first one more carefully.

posted by Amateur at 11:22 AM on August 14, 2007

Beijing 2008:

I just got back from six days in Beijing. The pollution was very bad on the first two days, but the skies cleared markedly for the rest of the trip. I would say that for four days it was typical-big-city air -- not exactly clean, but nothing that experienced athletes would worry about. Whether that was a happy coincidence -- I was there with delegates from 200 other NOCs -- or due to BOCOG's good management, I can't say. Probably mostly luck, but still hopeful. BOCOG still has some short-term solutions (or cunning plans, as Abiezer calls them) in its pocket for showtime. During the seminar it was clear that the "Green Olympics" theme was central to BOCOG's message. We were bombarded with material (posters, books, brochures, speeches, and newspaper articles) assuring us that things are getting better, environmentally speaking. Here's another article on this subject, from today's papers.

posted by Amateur at 10:19 AM on August 14, 2007

Bivariate Baseball Score Plots...?

I felt a little pang of regret when I found "Montreal Expos" under "Historical National League."

posted by Amateur at 08:51 AM on August 04, 2007

"The future of this sport is one where we have to get back to basics,"

I think it's true that the blame can't only be pinned on the riders. However, I have some concerns about the involvement of sponsors in the decision-making process. All they are interested in is their image, which is to say the public perception of cheating. They have little interest in protecting the rights of the athletes, nor do they have any interest in exposing cheating, as long as it is well-hidden. Take Rasmussen as an example. I understand that Rabobank pressured the team managers to withdraw him from the race. I suppose they looked at the fact that he was getting booed by the crowds and decided that enough damage had been done to their good name. But that's not the process Rasmussen was due. Rabobank apparently didn't care -- as long as most people believed he was a cheater, that was good enough for them. The opposite could also happen, of course. What if a known cheater was still wildly popular with the public? Or the sponsor finds out that an athlete is cheating, but hasn't yet been caught? In this case, I think most sponsors would be thrilled to have that athlete flying their flag, at least until the scandal breaks.

posted by Amateur at 07:46 AM on July 31, 2007

"The future of this sport is one where we have to get back to basics,"

Now Mayo, too.

posted by Amateur at 08:28 PM on July 30, 2007

Anyone interested in a game of fantasy Tour de France?

I am definitely in ... I'll post my team name when I'm done my picks.

posted by Amateur at 10:25 PM on July 04, 2007

Rogge unveils plan for Olympic programme

Rogge's plan requires a change to the Olympic Charter, which means it needs two-thirds approval from the delegates to the upcoming Congress (more here -- self-link) on what the Charter says about this issue). This seems like bad news for baseball and softball, although it at least offers hope that they can get into the Games on a sporadic basis. I like the idea overall. No speculation from Rogge about which of the current 26 sports will be excluded from the core group.

posted by Amateur at 09:41 PM on June 24, 2007

IOC appealing to youth.

The UCI might have enough sway to add skateboarding as a new medal event without dropping an existing event ... FINA has successfully done it with Open Water swimming, for example. However, as noted at the outset the UCI did have to drop a couple of track events (the wrong ones, IMO) to add BMX. So probably this would mean the subtraction of something else from the cycling program.

posted by Amateur at 06:12 PM on June 14, 2007

IOC appealing to youth.

Yes, this seems like a complete dodge. If skateboarding is a 'discipline' of a cycling then the addition doesn't require modification of the Olympic Charter or approval of the IOC members -- it can be accepted by the Executive alone. I don't think this will help the IOC's credibility at all. To me, they are as different as speed skating and figure skating. Speed skating and figure skating are, in fact, the same "sport" in this sense -- they are both governed by the ISU. What does it take to be an IOC recognized federation? The General Association of Recognized Sports Federations. The IASC is not a member. There are requirements on the number of member national federations, participation in World Championships, and the like. In general the IOC will not recognize more than one federation for the same sport, although there are exceptions.

posted by Amateur at 08:59 PM on June 12, 2007

'Hubba Hubba and Other Grunting Sounds'

Interesting that the "Unofficial fan page" cited in the Post article is now defunct.

posted by Amateur at 05:43 AM on May 30, 2007

LeMond lets it all hang out:

Strange stuff, especially the bit about "Will." This whole public-hearing thing is turning out to be much more entertaining than I expected.

posted by Amateur at 09:41 PM on May 17, 2007

Bode goes indy:

Getting back on topic: It's always been there in the fine print, that athletes could go independent and compete outside the "US Ski Team", but still represent the US. lbb, is there a limit to the number of US skiers who can compete in a World Cup event? What about the Olympics? And if there is a limit, who chooses those representatives? This is generally where those "governing organizations" get their power -- for example I assume that the FIS asks the USSA (with the USOC's stamp of approval) to name the USA team for the Olympics.

posted by Amateur at 03:11 PM on May 14, 2007

Best footballing nations per capita

Most of these per-capita measures are bullshit... which doesn't stop people from trotting them out to "prove" whatever point they want to make. A more correct analysis would be beyond the mathematical comprehension of the masses, I'm afraid.

posted by Amateur at 05:46 AM on May 10, 2007

Ice Hockey gets its own Champions League

Something else from the linked article: On February 29, 2008, there will be a global hockey game. Calling smithers...

posted by Amateur at 12:53 PM on May 09, 2007

NHL playoffs confidence pool update

We're bigger than the sum of our parts, apparently. We'd surely be even bigger if "some" of those "parts" (like me) just departed.

posted by Amateur at 12:02 PM on May 09, 2007

Ice Hockey gets its own Champions League

Transactions shouldn't be any more an issue than they are in football -- qualification for the Champions League is similarly based on domestic performance the season before (right?). I'm pretty interested in the contractual issues, though. Playing in the Olympics or world championships is quite a bit different; for starters, it's a team of volunteers; and second, the resulting revenue flows to organizations that are formally not-for-profit (Hockey Canada and/or the COC). I'm presuming that the NHL and/or the qualifying NHL team are going to get some money out of this Victoria Cup -- how much of it will flow to the players?

posted by Amateur at 12:01 PM on May 09, 2007

Possession gets you life:

Yes, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I still don't think the Olympic ideal has anything to do with a parade, but i guess I said enough on that subject at the time. And as for "the code" as you defined it, still not bull -- the vast majority of Olympic athletes are not cheating and do believe in that moral imperative. (And no, I can't prove it -- but is that where the burden of proof is supposed to lie?)

posted by Amateur at 09:07 PM on April 27, 2007

Possession gets you life:

I went and read the current version of the Code and here's what it says. For "Possession of Prohibited substances and methods," the first-offense ban is for 2 years and the second-offense ban is for life (WADA Code article 10.2). However, there are other possible charges. See article 10.4: 10.4 Ineligibility for Other Anti-Doping Rule Violations: ... 10.4.2 For violations of Articles 2.7 (Trafficking) or 2.8 (administration of a prohibited substance or prohibited method), the period of ineligibility imposed shall be a minimum of four (4) years up to lifetime ineligibility. ... Article 2.7 just says "Trafficking in any prohibited substance or prohibited method," which seems fairly straightforward. Article 2.8 describes "Administration or attempted administration of a prohibited substance or prohibited method to any athlete, or assisting, encouraging, aiding, abetting, covering up or any other type of complicity involving an anti-doping rule violation or attempted violation." From the tone of the quotes in the Eurosport article it sounds like they are basing the ban on a violation of article 2.8. So technically lbb's clever headline is inaccurate. I'll be curious to see whether the lifetime ban holds up at the CAS.

posted by Amateur at 08:55 PM on April 26, 2007

Possession gets you life:

The IOC web site seems to be down at the moment. Can I plug my previous musings on this? I do not have a problem, in principle, with a ban that arises without a positive test. It is difficult to tell from a press release whether the case met an acceptable burden of proof. I also do not recall where in the WADA Code it allows for a lifetime ban for a first offense. I am not that familiar with the most recent revisions, though. Good on the IOC, even if the "code" and the olympic ideal are a bunch of bull. I strongly disagree. Neither the WADA Code nor the olympic ideal are a bunch of bull.

posted by Amateur at 08:31 PM on April 26, 2007

Positively Landis?

I think what BikeNut said bears repeating: the information contained in this leak is worthless when it comes to assessing the case against Landis. The lab results themselves might be damning, but an unsourced rumour about the lab results is not. On the fact that Landis' representative was excluded from witnessing the new tests because the USADA people didn't show -- what the fuck? The USADA and Landis are adversaries in this case. Under what logic do you let the USADA dictate whether Landis' representative can watch the tests? I also would recommend (again) Trust But Verify as the world's best information clearinghouse on this case. The blogger is not unbiased but provides a forum for all parties.

posted by Amateur at 09:08 PM on April 24, 2007

Blade Runner

Here is a graphical representation I made last year of Pistorius' position amongst the world's best 400m runners (click the photo to enlarge).

posted by Amateur at 08:01 AM on March 28, 2007

Fantasy Tour de France

Despite my complete destruction in the NCAA tournament pool, you can count me in too.

posted by Amateur at 06:57 PM on March 25, 2007

Somebody's getting all up in Manny's grill.

Barbaro Lives

posted by Amateur at 02:14 PM on March 22, 2007

Better late than never

TerpFan: Does this equal pay system apply to all rounds, or just for the champions? From the article (ahem): The announcement Friday by the French Tennis Federation extends last year's decision. The French Open paid the men's and women's singles champions the same for the first time, although the overall prize fund remained larger for men. "In 2007, the parity will be total,'' federation president Christian Bimes said. TerpFan again: It's tough to stomach the possibility that a woman who loses 6-0, 6-1 in the first round would get as much prize money as a man who loses a first round match by, say, 6-4, 6-7, 5-7, 7-6, 5-7? That's 60 games played for him, 13 for her, but they get the same first-round loser prize money. Yikes! And, um, vice versa, is that it? First-round loser man who loses 6-2, 6-2, 6-1? Does he deserve more or less than the woman who loses 7-5, 5-7, 7-5? Maybe all the fans who bought tickets to the 6-0, 6-1 match should get a partial refund on their tickets, too.

posted by Amateur at 07:22 AM on March 20, 2007

Better late than never

If the prize money is now going to be equal, the women should be playing best of 5 sets. Isn't it more than a little bit silly to somehow equate (as some have done here) the length of the contest with its value? In athletics, is the 200 m race more or less interesting than the 100 m race? Would you pay more to go to a football game that was 100 minutes long? Or a baseball game that was 15 innings? Changing women's tennis matches to best-three-out-of-five sets would (subtly) change the nature of the contest. For better or for worse? It isn't clear to me. At any rate, prize money is not a salary -- they don't get paid by the hour. The prize money is only there because people are willing to pay to watch, either in person or on television.

posted by Amateur at 07:15 AM on March 20, 2007

And you thought Duke fans would be upset

As long as we're talking cricket: Flintoff stripped of vice-captaincy, left out of Canada game following drunken binge; promises to redeem himself. "There's no secret we had a few drinks on Friday. I'm not disputing it happened and it's something I'm embarrrassed about, ashamed of and I'm suffering the consequences of it. The ins and outs of it, there was water involved and there was a pedalo as well. It's something I don't want to go into in too great detail." (Oh ... Abiezer brought this up above.)

posted by Amateur at 01:46 PM on March 19, 2007

Gary Sheffield seeks The Calmness

ESPN: You have said that you never knowingly took steroids. But while working out with Bonds after the 2001 season, you wrote that you received some cream from his trainer Greg Anderson -- which you applied to some busted stitches -- and you also took some vitamins from Bonds, who got them from Anderson, who got them from BALCO head Victor Conte. Later, you made a check out to BALCO, linking you to this scandal forever. For the record, were those substances -- the vitamins and cream -- tainted? And if not, how can you be sure? Now that's journalism. Um, what about the cheque? Sheff: I know they weren't tainted. Tell me how rubbing something on me will make you feel any different? That's the most preposterous thing I've ever heard. Tell me this: Have you ever gone to a store and had a steroid-based cream put on you? Can't say that I have. OK then, so are you on steroids? No. OK, that's my point. If it's that simple, why do I have to debate this with anyone? I'm so glad you cleared that up for me, Mr. Sheffield.

posted by Amateur at 11:22 AM on March 16, 2007

March Madness Bracket Challenge

and one of my Elite Eight choices (long shot Stanford) is gone ... and in rather spectacular fashion, too. Don't feel too bad -- according to the (fascinating) Overall Pick Distribution, 20.2% of Yahoo! Fantasy players picked Stanford to win that first-round game ... only slightly fewer than the number who picked Virginia Commonwealth.

posted by Amateur at 10:43 AM on March 16, 2007

Rose admits to betting on Reds every night

There's no wonder he's not in the Hall, they haven't voted anyone in three of the last five years. Is there no one worthy? 2003 Eddie Murray, Gary Carter 2004 Paul Molitor, Dennis Eckersley 2005 Wade Boggs, Ryne Sandberg 2006 Bruce Sutter 2007 Tony Gwynn, Cal Ripken Jr. The last year there was a shutout was 1996.

posted by Amateur at 08:06 PM on March 14, 2007

Rose admits to betting on Reds every night

He is not banned from baseball because he is a "crappy human being." He is banned from baseball because he bet on B A S E B A L L games involving his own team. I can't believe I just read that: even if he bet against the Reds, he deserves to be in the Hall. I guess there's no stain upon the integrity of the game that would warrant a lifetime ban from the game (as long you're a great ballplayer, of course).

posted by Amateur at 07:23 PM on March 14, 2007


Kansas City has an almost-finished new arena and has been seeking a hockey team. And will continue to do so, much to the delight of other NHL franchises seeking large public handouts.

posted by Amateur at 11:54 AM on March 13, 2007

Wendel Clark is Barry Melrose's cousin

Hey! One of those Wikipedia sportspeople is my little brother.

posted by Amateur at 03:31 PM on March 01, 2007

The "old NHL" lives on.

Well, Emery put a pretty good lickin' on Biron, but it was over by the time Peters came in. I guess he wasn't getting any satisfaction beating up on Heatley and Spezza. Does the NHL need more or less of this? Neither.

posted by Amateur at 03:48 PM on February 23, 2007

The German World Cup Baby Boom.

My daughter was born on January 27, too early to be a World Cup baby. There is also no truth to the rumour that she was conceived on May 12.

posted by Amateur at 05:18 PM on February 22, 2007

Home Snow Advantage:

with the slalom and GS -- historically Paerson's strongest events -- still to come And also, in my impression, the ones that are most predictable -- in other words, more difficult for the underdog to win.

posted by Amateur at 08:02 AM on February 12, 2007