Uncle Toby's profile

Uncle Toby
Member since: August 14, 2003
Last visit: September 08, 2014

Uncle Toby has posted 19 links and 174 comments to SportsFilter and 0 links and 2 comments to the Locker Room.

Recent Links

On boxing and stereotypes: "Many years ago, more indeed than I care to number, I had a discussion with my fellow-students that had a permanent influence upon my views and attitude to life. It concerned, of all things, the ethics of professional boxing, a subject to which until that moment I had not given a moment’s thought. But youth is an age at which it is felt necessary to have a strong opinion about everything, and mere ignorance is no bar to passionate advocacy. The same is true, of course, of journalists. There is nothing like passionate ignorance to keep one young at heart." ~Theodore Dalrymple

posted by Uncle Toby to boxing at 12:04 PM on October 09, 2013 - 3 comments

Tennis in San Quentin: "...it was a group of convicted felons who were perhaps the best-behaved and most ethical group of competitors I have ever witnessed."

posted by Uncle Toby to tennis at 09:43 AM on June 17, 2011 - 1 comment

As Good As It Gets: "Another Berthelot paper, published in 2008, predicts that the end of almost all athletic improvement will occur around 2027. By that year, if current trends hold — and for Berthelot, there’s little doubt that they will — the “human species’ physiological frontiers will be reached,” he writes. To the extent that world records are still vulnerable by then, they will be improved by no more than 0.05 percent — so marginal that the fans, Berthelot reasons, will likely fail to care."

posted by Uncle Toby to general at 10:57 PM on January 29, 2011 - 0 comments

"I know a lot of rules and regulations.": A high school league championship in track and field was decided on a points deduction when Coach Mike Knowles spotted Robin Laird breaking the rules. Her infraction: wearing a friendship bracelet. Her pole vault would have helped her team win the meet, but she was disqualified. Knowles's team took home the trophy.

posted by Uncle Toby to general at 09:12 AM on May 12, 2010 - 35 comments

Muhammed and Annie: Ali-Frazier II on the cover, Annie Dillard inside. I don't read the print edition of SI much anymore; do they still publish this sort of thing? And later in the year, they also ran Jonathan Yardley's review of the year's notable books; he had this to say about her Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: If you like nature writing that is cuddly and cute, you will not like Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. If, on the other hand, you admire writing that views nature with both awe and honesty, this is for you. Dillard is no mean stylist, and she brings all of her substantial gifts to bear on what she sees in and around the creek near her Virginia mountain home.

posted by Uncle Toby to culture at 01:23 PM on March 10, 2010 - 0 comments

Recent Comments

Ravens' Ray Rice allegedly knocked out fiancee at hotel

He's the only athlete I've "followed" on facebook. I liked his engagement with the anti-bullying movement. The linked video is depressing in the extreme.

posted by Uncle Toby at 05:23 PM on February 20, 2014

SportsFilter: The Tuesday Huddle

James does that as easily as a kid working over a nerf hoop on his bedroom door.

posted by Uncle Toby at 10:15 PM on February 11, 2014

Marion Batoli Wins First Wimbledon Title

I made the mistake of reading comments, both in places like SI and on tennis forums. Very depressing.

Bartoli herself, though, is refreshing in her unique qualities. I hope she wins another Slam event.

posted by Uncle Toby at 06:37 PM on July 07, 2013

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Even seen full-speed, that didn't seem like a knockout punch. One that might wobble a guy some, maybe, but I guess when you don't see it coming at all, good night and thank you for playing.

posted by Uncle Toby at 06:34 PM on July 07, 2013

Adam Scott Wins the Masters

Gosh, I wish we had mefi-style favorites here, because JJ's comment is great. Enough to change my mind.

Since I can't help seeing things through the tennis lens, maybe a fair comparison is the spaghetti string racquet, or even the extra long racquets that were banned some years ago.

posted by Uncle Toby at 04:34 PM on April 19, 2013

Adam Scott Wins the Masters

On the anchored putting thing, yes, it does seem arbitrary--as arbitrary, for example, as ruling that tennis players cannot use two-handed groundstrokes, or the old rule that when serving, their feet must remain on the ground until they strike the ball.

I don't know about golf, but there is a brisk online market for vintage tennis racquets. Many players are enthusiastic users of decades-old racquets and go to great lengths to acquire them--and not just to hang on the wall, either.

posted by Uncle Toby at 02:41 PM on April 15, 2013

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle

New Mexico's loss to Harvard in the NCAA Tournament has had a deep and lasting affect on a veteran NM sportswriter.

UIowa sports fans will recognize this stage of "getting to know Steve Alford."


posted by Uncle Toby at 10:43 PM on March 25, 2013

Nobody Voted into Baseball Hall of Fame

hincandeza, I love the Pyramid of Fame idea, expanded to everyone. It'd be like an organized tour of the old fashioned Baseball Encyclopedia.* The context would be so much richer--what was a career like in the Thirties? The Seventies? That'd give you a chance to compare Bonds with, say, Hank Greenberg, or George Foster--a true education in baseball history.

* I'm in my forties. Was my generation the last to spend long, rainy afternoons flipping back and forth through that kind of physical book, digging into the obscure stories buried in its pages? Probably not. I hope not.

posted by Uncle Toby at 08:36 PM on January 10, 2013

SportsFilter: The Sunday Huddle

Actually this seems like a video demonstration of what we'll someday (fairly soon, probably) call "the way football used to be." And that's fine with me, because I'm okay with it becoming a different sport where things like that don't happen.

posted by Uncle Toby at 03:24 PM on December 04, 2012

Serena Still Unapologetic About Outbursts

The link goes to a summary of a memorable passage from the NYT piece, but why not just link the Sullivan essay itself? (I know it's linked in the article.) It's one of the more fascinating tennis essays I've read since David Foster Wallace's "Roger Federer as Religious Experience." In some ways, it reads like a sketch for a longer article or book, which I would read tomorrow, if I could.

Quibble aside, I've always been conflicted about this incident. I like Serena in so many ways, from her game to many parts of her persona. Her total destruction of Sharapova at the Olympics was some of the most complete tennis I've ever watched. She's an intriguing mix of candor and reserve off the court. She is, for lack of a better word, complex.

However. While part of me totally gets the objection to ticky-tack (and possible incorrect) footfault calls, she should have handled that better. Nothing that happens on the tennis court merits that kind of reaction. The only thing actually at stake was the size of a pile of money. And officials have an obligation to call them like they see them, regardless of the score, so Serena is effectively arguing that the lineswoman's job is to decide when and where the rules apply, not whether they've been broken.

I guess I'm really just (selfishly) saying that I wish she were sorry, because then I'd like her a little more, and in a way that's important to me.

posted by Uncle Toby at 03:28 PM on August 24, 2012

Chinese Swimmer's Amazing Time Raises Questions

But Hugh, it does seem surprising that a teenager female would suddenly turn in a time faster than a male in his prime, doesn't it?

posted by Uncle Toby at 10:20 PM on July 31, 2012

Chinese Swimmer's Amazing Time Raises Questions

I've never heard a country raise questions about their own athletes' performances when they defy expectation, so it is, by default, sort of left to everyone else to say, hey, wait a sec. I believe this happened to Michelle Smith, an Irish swimmer several years back.

Graphing a racer's stats and having someone with no special interest in sport look at them might be one way to go.

As for how China develops athletes, I admire that model in some ways. I also agree with lbb that other, less intensive ways into sport don't seem so prone to unhealthy "cog in the machine" endgames for young people. However, I think that story is, in many sports, demonstrably unrealistic these days. I know you were only speaking to aerials, but watching my somewhat-talented kid run up against intensively-trained 12 year olds in semi-rural Iowa in practically every sport he tries has been a come-uppance for us. And we haven't even thought about wrestling.

posted by Uncle Toby at 03:49 PM on July 31, 2012

Jason Smith Clobbers Blake Griffin

I love the look in Smith's eyes at about 1:40--for all his bravado, his face betrays his realization that, "Crap, I'm nobody, and I just decked one of the league's marquee players. Lots of people hate me now."

posted by Uncle Toby at 03:06 PM on March 23, 2012

For Your Soul

Dan Gable, 72 Olympics. Didn't surrender a single point en route to the gold.

posted by Uncle Toby at 08:56 AM on February 08, 2012

Alabama Wins BCS

Stewart Mandel had a good take on the game:

"But imagine if Alabama and LSU had never met a first time. Imagine if the 11-1 Tide had faced a 13-0 team from another conference on the season's final night, with the exact same result.

Imagine how dazzled we'd be by the clinic that took place.

The Tigers were 13-0. They'd beaten three teams that finished in the Top 10 of the final polls. They averaged 40.1 points against their 12 opponents not named Alabama. The Tide shut them out. LSU had averaged 215.2 rushing yards per game. Alabama held the Tigers to 39 yards on the ground and 92 total."

I really, really dislike Alabama for irrational reasons related to really, really disliking Saban. BUT, that aside, when I looked away from the ball and watched the rest of the field, the Tide were simply amazing. I seriously doubt Oklahoma State or Oregon or anyone could've moved the ball against them last night.

It reminded me, in a sad way, of my Hawkeyes beating Georgia Tech a couple of years ago. The Hawks were totally prepared and a bit faster, and Tech had no Plan B. Sad because I recognize that what I watched last night was defense-first football on a vastly higher level.

So, props to the Tide, begrudgingly, and to the SEC, where they're better at football.

posted by Uncle Toby at 09:52 AM on January 10, 2012