So What IS the Problem With Women’s Basketball?

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A couple weeks ago, the other Ladies and I were groaning over a report suggesting some unorthodox but troubling ways to “fix”  women’s basketball. Playing the Women’s Final Four in China was a suggestion, as was banning tattoos – you know, because women’s sports should have to appeal to people who can only accept women who meet a narrow definition of acceptable female behavior instead of trying to expand it.

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Hit and Run: I Was There Edition

I moved and changed jobs almost simultaneously this spring. As a result, I’m off the academic schedule for the first time in over a decade and it’s throwing off my whole concept of summer. So Tuesday night I went to check on the Cardinals score and discovered, to my dismay, that they had just finished one of the two games they are playing in NYC that I could actually attend.  Luckily, they were playing the Mets, which isn’t exactly a tough ticket to get at the last minute these days. So Wednesday night, my boyfriend and I headed out to Citifield, where around the actual game action, my blog post wrote itself.

First off — paper all star ballots!  Nostalgia!  Also, once we had established that I somehow didn’t have a writing implement in my purse, we discovered that the plug end of a pair of headphones is actually the perfect tool for punching the holes out of the ballot.

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The hardest part about filling these out was trying to remember who was on the disabled list, particularly in the AL. (That’s not a Yankees joke — entirely.)  Then we put them in the ballot box to be buried under everyone’s 35-per-person internet ballots. I’m still looking forward to the All-Star Game if only because I was out of town when it was at old Yankee the last time, and since both the marathon and Fleet Week were canceled this past year, we’ve been lacking in the crowds-of-people-in-uniforms-descending-on-the-city-to-be-ogled department.

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Just before the 7th inning stretch, this happened.  The crowd seemed primarily delighted, with an undercurrent of bemusement.  I certainly think Kidd can handle the in-game/practice side of coaching, but I’m a little unsure how the front office/roster building side is going to go, especially with a front office that can be …mercurial.

The scoreboard proved a great source of entertainment throughout the game.  The consensus in our section was that Matt Holliday has the saddest media photo ever.

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My boyfriend’s comment: “That’s totally an ‘I’m going to go 0-4 and we’ll lose by 5,’ face.”  So perhaps he’s not sad, he’s just psychic.

Also appearing on the CitiField board, periodic Stanley Cup Final updates!  I didn’t get a picture, but the updates piqued my interest enough that even though the 2 hour and 40 minute game time got us home well before 11, we then stayed up past 1 watching the 6th longest Stanley Cup game in history.

2013 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One

Happy Friday! Anyone else going to a game this weekend?

What I’m reading this week

So I know there are apps and other ways to handle “clipping” things from Twitter and your mobile phone, but when I am scrolling through and see a link that intrigues me, I just email myself the tweet. There’s no need to remember to check another app or anything like that – I’m in my inbox a hundred times a day. It’s a little old-school and probably a little silly, but it’s my comfort zone and I’m owning it.

Anyway, I realized this week I’d sent myself quite a few links, so I thought I’d pass along some of the stuff I found interesting recently:

This ESPN piece trying to understand Italian soccer, hooligans and racism is just beautifully written. The subject matter is baffling, but this is a read that’s totally worth your time. Long form journalism at it’s finest.

Carlos Gomez is having a heck of a year and he’s played enough places that I think you’ll find this interesting: if you hit a ball to center field in Miller Park, the odds are not in your favor that you’ll actually get a hit. According to ESPN.com, of 35 balls hit to straightaway CF, just one of them resulted in a hit. Carlos Gomez has caught 97% of those balls. The major league average is 78%.

But you already knew Gomez was a plus (plus) defender. This year (and the end of last season) he has also figured out how to hit for power. Turns out, his coaches just didn’t know how to harness all his skills before and were pigeonholing him as a ground-ball hitting speedster. 

Did you watch the USWNT play Canada two weeks ago? I have re-watched this Alex Morgan goal a ton of times and I’m still in awe of her first touch. Also, the first few “not touches” if you know what I mean

If you didn’t read this amazing profile of Britney Griner, you should. Great insight into a ground-breaking woman. I don’t watch basketball, but she will always get a hearty “you go girl” from me .

Deadspin ran this excerpt which tells the tale of meeting and hanging out with Muhammed Ali, which on it’s own is just stupendously cool. But then it led to commentors telling stories of randomly meeting with Ali and then I had many warm fuzzies.

That was my first intro to The Stacks at Deadspin. Talk about a rabbit hole. Do yourself a favor and go for a scroll. So much good reading.
Former Badger Hockey player Hilary Knight is probably my all-time favorite. Hard to explain, but I’m still heart-broken she never won the Patty Kaz, especially because her taking time off to play for the US in the 2010 Olympics likely had something to do with that. In those same Olympics it was said she likely has the best shot in the game – she was a Junior in college at the time. Anyway, she plays in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League and won their inaugural season MVP. Here’s an interview with her.

In the only vaguely sports related department:

There’s a gorgeous old hotel in Downtown Milwaukee that most visiting sports teams stay at. It’s supposedly haunted. The stories are apparently varied and widespread enough that ESPN the Mag did a story about it. Read all about the Pfister.

I’m a Twitter fiend. I’ll admit it. Yet there is only one account I check in on multiple times daily to make sure I haven’t missed anything – @DUPorterhouse.
Porterhouse is the live bulldog mascot of Drake University in Iowa. He’s a rescued bulldog, winner of the Most Beautiful Bulldog Contest at Drake and very, very photogenic. He’s also an advocate to help end puppy mills bc his native state of Iowa has so many of them.
His mom started him a Twitter account and well, she’s just really good at it. There are tons of adorable pictures and cuteness and Porterhouse consistently makes my day better. He goes to their basketball games and leads them onto the court by chasing the ball. He’s just great.
Seriously, though – here’s a pic of him in Shrek Underoos. Tell me that doesn’t make the whole world better.

From the “not at all about sports” filesL

If you’re a Mad Men watcher and haven’t watched Sunday’s episode, this piece contains spoilers, so be warned. But even if you don’t watch Mad Men, this is a spectacular piece from Tom and Lorenzo that gives a very detailed and interesting cultural look at what it was to be a gay man in 1968.

Hump Day Hottie: Detroit Tigers Rotation

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I recently realized how hot the Detroit Tigers’ starting rotation is. I know I might be late to the party, but until you see them in person, you just don’t realize how beautiful they are. I’m specifically talking about Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer. More so Verlander and Porcello, but Max isn’t too hard on the eyes (that is, if you can get past his weirdly colored ones).

I feel we should honor their hotness with a three-for-one Hump Day Hottie celebration. :)

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Mr. Monday: Robbie Rogers

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Sporting his national colours

So a little history took place this Memorial Day Weekend. Robbie Rogers, whom you may recall from the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Team, not only came out of retirement to join the L.A. Galaxy, but became the first openly gay male athlete to actively play in a Major League Soccer game.

There’s been some debate about this in light of many recent “firsts”, namely that some sporty media types may have neglected to point out that Andrew Goldstein was the first openly gay male athlete to play in a professional league when he was active in Major League Lacrosse in 2005 (which I didn’t know because lacrosse.) Regardless, golf claps all around as we celebrate another step towards acceptance and focus on the REAL reason for this post:

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Two Short, Unrelated Anecdotes Tangentially Related To Current Sports News

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1. A few days ago, Paul Lukas posted about the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s suprisingly robust baseball card collection. I was surprised as many people — even more so because until a month ago, I worked less than 100 yards* from said collection, and my employer had a close working relationship with the Met (though the Burdick collection would have been considered “shiny new toys” by most of my coworkers).  I probably could have even wrangled those connections to get an up close and personal view like Lukas — or at least, get in to see the part of the collection currently on display for free. Ah well. Guess I’ve found a reason to go visit the old neighborhood (especially since the Honus Wagner card is going back on display soon). For now, I’ll just browse the collection online.

2.It was March of 2006, and my entire family was in Memphis for my cousin’s wedding.  It was an evening wedding, so the day of, those of us not in the wedding party did some sight seeing. Naturally, we went to the Peabody Hotel to see the ducks. Just as we started making our way towards the door, my (then college-age, sports journalism major) brother yelped “hey, that’s Bernie Bickerstaff!”  I looked up to see a stream of extremely tall men in Charlotte Bobcats warm ups filing through the door, on their way back from morning shootaround before their game against the Grizzlies that night.  My brother, who still would consider an NBA play by play gig his dream job, named off every player as they came through the door (I only recognized Brevin Knight and Sean May).  As we left the hotel and walked up the street, he was practically bouncing. “Man, that was so cool!” he said. Then he paused. “Too bad it was the Bobcats.”

If that does not sum up the Bobcats era of Charlotte basketball, I don’t know what would.  Here’s hoping reclaiming the Hornets resurrects a bit of their dignity.

*I just spent about 10 minutes trying to think of a good baseball distance analogy and gave up. It is Friday of a three day weekend and I haven’t had even a sick day off work since February. Brain. Fried.

Brooks Laich Melts My Heart

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Chris Gordon/Russian Machine Never Breaks

So this happened on Monday. I absolutely love when my sports worlds collide, but I especially love it when my hockey world meets my Baltimore world. Being that my hockey team resides in a different city than my own, I love seeing the Caps doing things in Baltimore.

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