The short black sleeves on Alex Pappas’s jersey were offset by a triptych of white and orange lines near the shoulder. "Yaquis de Obregon" was splashed across the front in a slanted, stylized font, the dark letters bordered in orange. Pappas told the small crowd around the table about how he had hopped the border to get the jersey, which represents a team from a Mexican winter baseball league. The kid next to him, Mike Engle, wore the blue and red of the Montreal Canadiens and offered a tamer story: He’d merely custom-ordered his clothes to look like those of the team’s mascot, and replaced the usual numbers with an [...]
"[D]espite their lack of trips to the podium, American Olympians are running a healthy surplus in another area: the sheer number of excuses being made—both by the athletes and by others on their behalf."
"When you have a personal vendetta in this sport, it can sabotage your performance. This is a sport for grown-ups."
Golf does not immediately reveal its econo aspect, particularly to the uninitiated. At first glance, it appears anti-econo, a game of privilege and exclusivity, intent on performing and re-performing its superiority and the artifice of its traditions. This, at least, is true at the upper levels of the game’s ruling class, where sponsorship decisions are made and the checks come with seven or eight zeroes. Self-seriousness in golf is not so much an affect as the engine of what goes on. Jim Nantz talking about the azaleas in April, with faux profundity and a gallery full of graying white men with hairless vertically-dominant calves that somehow still taper [...]
Los Angeles Times reporter Jasmine Elist interviewed the author known as "Marie Calloway." (That is a pen name; if you don't know her, you could start here.) The Times published the interview as a Q&A on Monday. Calloway's response? "I was misquoted a lot tbf." (Old people: "tbf" stands for "to be fair." I know, it's just so many letters, thank God.) "To be fair" is a weird construction there: to be fair to whom? I asked the reporter about it, baitingly.
@Choire :) No, I don't. But I do think she'll always have a bone to pick with the people who interview her
— Jasmine Elist [...]
In honor of Opening Day on Sunday, the first of two essays today on the history of the game.
It's almost impossible to think of baseball without thinking of money. There's no better example than headline-grabbing Alex Rodriguez, third baseman for the New York Yankees. In 2000, he signed an alarming ten-year deal with the Texas Rangers for $252 million (which the Yankees traded for in 2004). This is the deal he opted out of during (like, in the middle of) Game Four of the 2007 World Series, only to sign another ten-year deal with the Yankees, this time for $275 million. Now, with Opening Day days away, [...]
"Last year, the 30-year-old Adam Greenberg set out to get out of the Cup of Coffee club once and for all. Trying to reclaim the skill set that once allowed him to play the sport at its highest level, he took hacks with the Bridgeport Bluefish, an independent team in Connecticut full of former top prospects and those no longer worth the farm club roster space. 'It's a whole bunch of guys with similar stories,' Greenberg told me. 'And we're all in this league, trying to get out.'"
Mike Tyson fought fifty-eight times in his twenty-year career. Chances are, you only remember a handful of those fights. Chances are even better that his bout against Michael Spinks on June 27, 1988, is one of them. History blessed this night with an audacious moment that should have granted it pop culture immortality, but sports got in the way: It took Tyson just eight punches over ninety-one seconds to obliterate a tentative and terrified and previously undefeated Spinks in one of the fastest heavyweight title fight KOs ever. But the real story occurred minutes before the round-one bell: Tyson’s ring entrance, the slow spectacle squeezed into every big boxing [...]
There is an old joke that goes something like this: A guy calls his bookie and says, “Okay, how’d I do on the baseball game?”
"Terrible," says the bookie. "You lost ten grand."
"Ten grand? Shit. Well, I must have broken even on football."
"No way," says the bookie. "There was an interception that totally screwed you on the spread."
"SHIT SHIT SHIT" screams the guy. "What about the basketball game?"
"Don’t even ask," says the bookie.
The guy starts weeping. “Where am I gonna find thirty frigging grand? What am I gonna tell my wife? What the hell am I gonna do?”
"Well," says the bookie, "you can always [...]
Have you ever been in a strange city for, say, just one day, but you decide you're going to make the most of it and see all of that city's Things To See? So you get a map and you rush from museum to public art installation to famous park to site of historical event to tallest skyscraper to point of high elevation where you can see all those other things. By the end of the day you've torn your map and are exhausted and thirsty and disillusioned because the Empire State Building is basically a medium-ugly art deco office building.
Do that on skis, on the side of [...]
Left: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo, age 17. Right: Irish Sweeper in Fall River Iron Works, age 17, circa 1900.
Dallas Cowboys Arlington, TX Attendance: 87047 Emigrants from Ireland in one year after the most recent recession
Washington Redskins Landover, MD Attendance: 83172 Number of people employed by the coal mining industry in the United States
New York Giants East Rutherford, NJ Attendance: 79019 Number of Americans the government was unable to recover and identify immediately after WWII
New York Jets East Rutherford, NJ Attendance: 78596 Number of people who applied for a one-way trip to Mars [...]
Baseball Season is here, and if you are not very Sporty, you might be all like: "Baseball? Big deal, I don't care about your stupid 'America's Pastime,' it's just for awful horrible stupid average people who want to Conform and be Average Americans with their Coors Light and 'Two entrees and an appetizer for $20' at Chilis, and their porky insulin-shock-at-any-moment kids and Wal-Mart—or maybe Target because it has a Starbucks now—and a minivan—or better yet a Dodge Magnum station wagon—and "relaxed fit" jeans and XXXL sleeveless "muscle" shirts from Costco and coupons for Gino's Pizza Rolls and low-fat frozen fudge bars because those are healthier and 'hey, maybe we [...]
It's time for "America's National Holiday," which means watching your favorite animal vermin on video! There is an actual "rat bowl," but it's so disturbing—it features three oiled baby rats, all sliding around and being weird, plus it is really a bowl of old cooking oil in someone's filthy kitchen—that we cannot put it on a family publication such as The Awl. Plus, the "embed code" is turned off. So enjoy this "rat bowling" instead. Do you know the difference between a common rat and a pro football player? The rat has never been arrested for assault or torturing dogs! Also most rats are not homophobic, and none [...]
I always get psyched for The Olympics and it never lets me down, especially when I see athletes being good sports and shaking hands after tough games. I'm not kidding—that’s the kind of attitude the world needs more of, instead of all the flag-waving and wearing of the flag as a cape. I mean, enough, you already get a medal.
I totally have Post-Olympics-fever fever now because Bob Costas1 or Al Michaels2 or Ryan Seacrest3 on NBC-TV on my TV said it’s only like 18 months until the next Olympics, which is gonna be the Winter Olympics in Russia, in this place called Sochi, and [...]
Sheer size is generally a strong guarantee of commercial longevity in American society. Consider Sport Utility Vehicles throughout almost every variation in gas prices. Consider the Big Gulp. But when it comes to some of our largest feats of construction—sporting facilities—immense size won’t usually even guarantee a lifespan as long as the most immemorable ranch home. How old is your house or residence? And how many people live there? The Houston Astrodome has a capacity of 67,925,and is 49 years old. It may not last to see 50.
Tastes are fickle, extortionate team demands are common, and the drive for novelty is endless, but the sheer inability of the greatest [...]
When I played hockey as a kid in the '70s and '80s, I used to love watching the Olympics, where the game was faster and less constrained than the National Hockey League version; the ice surface was bigger and there was less tolerance in the international rules for the kind of grabbing, holding, and fighting that used to really slow things down in the N.H.L. I always thought of myself as more of a "finesse" player than a fighter, so the game as played in the Olympics seemed like a perfect reflection of who I wanted to be, both on and off the ice, and I can still summon some [...]
These Broncos were stone-cold stupid. Madden's Awareness rating, as demonstrated by previous installments of this series, is one of the very most potent skill categories. Without it, normally competent players are reduced to total knuckleheads who often don't know what they're doing, what they're supposed to be doing, where the ball is, or whether they're playing a sport at all.
The Broncos' kick returner, Big Walrus, was so completely checked out that I was able to kick the ball and hit him in the ass.
That was not an isolated incident. There were lots and lots of kickoffs in this game, naturally, since I was scoring all the time. [...]
The following are excerpts from every piece in The Classical Magazine’s baseball issue, "The Same Old Game." You can read "The Same Old Game" a few different ways. The most highly recommended, if you're an Apple user, is to just get the app: it's free, and comes with a free issue, then it's $3.99 for an issue, or $29.99 for a full year of 12 issues. (There are also PDF, Kindle, and .Puig files available DIY style at the same prices. Just get in touch with Pete Beatty at email@example.com to work out a transaction.)
Why are we doing this? Well, The Classical offered us a piece [...]
Privatized prison operator GEO Group has withdrawn its foundation's proposed $6-million gift to Florida Atlantic University. Students apparently did not feel comfortable with the naming rights attached to the gift, which would have put GEO's name on their sports arena. GEO has been desperately trying to keep its Wikipedia entry clean of a rehash of all the deaths and charges of abuse that took place in its prisons, but unfortunately for them, Wikipedia knows how to resist such things and also, if there's one thing college students know how to do, it's "read Wikipedia."
GEO Group's stock was up 12 cents this morning, reaching its highest prices since [...]
Sports nerds shouldn't be the only ones who get to say smart-sounding sports stuff during this weekend's big game. So here once again to provide you with some Super Bowl small talk is Jim Behrle, Awl football picks haiku-ist. Just for you, he's assembled these highly proprietary pieces of wisdom gained from a life lived in his mom's basement, playing Madden all day. Enjoy!
• "It wouldn't shock me to see deposed quarterback Alex Smith play a key role in the outcome of today's game. Just like when Deep Blue moved its rook all the way down the board against Garry Kasparov in a [...]