What we read after Carlos Beltran’s “foul ball”…
- The best part about watching the Stanley Cup Finals (GO DEVILS!) is listening to Mike Emrick, sports’ master of verbs.
What we read while Oprah commenced Phase Two…
What we read while jokingly telling Billy Donovan he outcoached us:
- Some absolute gangbusters college basketball journalism in the wake of a riveting weekend (and this is before seeing what the scribes have to say about VCU). The best of the bunch might be Luke Winn’s behind-the-scenes look at Butler, which includes yet another quote that makes everyone — us included — swoon over Brad Stevens: “Stevens stood on the court on Saturday night and someone asked him if what the Bulldogs just accomplished was unbelievable. ‘Believable is a better term,’ he said. ‘It’s a more positive term, it makes you live life a little bit better, it makes you a bit more thankful for the opportunities and take advantage of them.’”
- Kyle Whelliston takes down the RPI! The fight is not lost! (We wonder if Kyle’s head is going to explode with a mid-major national semifinal on Saturday.)
- We forget if we gave the official thumbs-up to Quickish already, but if not, here it is. Best thing to have open during Tourney games or really any sporting event.
What we read while they got really excited for the Pro Bowl in Cairo…
The MLB All-Star Game is next week. I generally find All-Star Games of any sport relentlessly boring. A hodgepodge of very good players united for one game seems to contradict most of the basic tenets of a sporting philosophy: team consistency, sustained competitiveness, varying levels of talent, etc.
Apparently I am in the minority, because every year every team sport in America has one. And they seem popular.
(The only thing more perplexing to me than the popularity of All-Star Games is the popularity of the Home Run Derby. It seems like what is impressive about home runs is that they are hit in game scenarios against pitchers who are not trying to give up home runs, none of which is true in a Home Run Derby. The Home Run Derby seems like it should be an event in the World’s Strongest Man.)
I do concede that the All-Star Game makes for good discussions. Every year we get to argue over who got selected undeservedly, who got snubbed, etc.
And every year someone complains about how the All-Star Game decides which league will get home-field advantage in the World Series. This is, for many people, the worst tragedy since Rwanda. Yet, despite my almost total aversion to All-Star Games in general, it makes total sense to me. Continue reading
It is currently an interesting time to be a New York baseball fan. Both the Mets and Yankees are in their opening seasons of heavily subsidized new stadiums. A common complaint about both of these stadiums is that the seat and food prices are too expensive and—unlike in past times—it is no longer feasible for middle class families to go to games multiple times per year. Wallace Matthews of Newsday critiques the owners for running the teams “as if they were hedge funds.”
I’m moderately sympathetic to this argument. I, for one, do not support using taxpayer money to fund the stadiums of two very profitable organizations. “The Yankees got $1.2 billion in tax-exempt bonds and $136 million in taxable bonds; the Mets got $697 million in tax-free bonds” to build their new stadiums according to Sports Illustrated. But, the Mets and the Yankees are not to blame; they are in business to make profit, so if the government is going to throw money their way, then it doesn’t surprise me that they take it. Ideally, I’d love them to be honorable and not take the funding, but that is too much to expect. The government, on the other hand, has the power to stop disbursing these bonds; the onus is on them to stop giving billions of dollars to already profitable organizations. Accordingly, I have trouble accepting the argument that because Citi Field and the new Yankee Stadium are subsidized, they somehow owe the fans—the taxpayers—affordable ticket prices.
It was an all-too familiar scene at PNC Park Monday night. The Mets, coming into the game with the semblance of a hot streak and cruising early with a 5-0 lead, coughed up a substantial lead, the final blows coming in the bottom of the eighth, and lost to the pedestrian Pirates—a team that each year adds to its legacy as one of history’s worst.
Mets’ fans couldn’t help feeling déjà vu. The same process had played itself out in Pittsburgh twice before. In 2007, the Amazins led 5-0 and 7-3 before allowing five runs in the final two innings—including three in the eighth—in a 10-7 loss. In 2008, they only blew a 2-0 lead, but it was three eighth-inning runs against the powder keg of a Mets’ bullpen that again felled them.
This is just exposition, though, to the larger point. There is a reason Monday night’s loss, which occurred on June 1 and after the Mets went 5-1 on a homestand, hurts more than it should. There is a reason every Mets’ loss now hurts more than it should. And it is the reason rooting for the Mets is now fundamentally different from rooting for any other baseball team.