Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Baseball

Life just published these photos from the 1955 World Series. Pretty incredible stuff. Can you imagine...

1) A time when baseball was the #1 thing that anybody cared about.
2) A time when New York had two teams that mattered, staring at one another from across the river.

And those two things come together. Amazing.

World Series starts tomorrow. I still don't know who I will be cheering for. I never really did get 100% behind San Francisco. But we'll see where it all takes me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Why (Postseason) Baseball is Awesome

Almost all postseason sports are good. But, I've lost interest in basketball the last few seasons. And my interest in hockey dries up pretty quickly if I don't have a team that I'm actively following. But I always come back to playoff baseball. There's always a team to get behind.

I think part of this is that we're just so far removed from any baseball team that it's easy to start cheering for others.

As well, it's possible to hate a team through one series and then cheer for them the next. I mean, Philadelphia last year? No way. Until they start playing the Yankees. Then I like them. Now they have Roy Halladay and I want to cheer for them. Same thing this year. I wanted the Rays to win and Texas beat them. Boooooo Texas. But now that I'm watching Texas play and I can follow all their storylines, I love 'em.

As well, the game, while not slow, has enough breaks that you get all these little stories about what's going on behind the scenes. Cliff Lee's kid had leukemia and he had to jump from his cab last year and hop on the Subway to make it to the game on time? Awesome. Not the leukemia part, but you know what I mean.

But the chief thing that people don't get about baseball...it can break open at any moment. A team can be down by 5 runs, they get a few hits and all of a sudden another hit can tie the game. Maybe 10% of games are blowouts decided before the final couple of innings. How many hockey games are like that? Every single pitch has a tremendous amount of anticipation to it. It's beautiful.

Lastly. Greg Zaun. Man, Greg Zaun is awesome. Best commentator in sports. He doesn't get to say much as he only comes up every few innings during commercial breaks, but he's just so interesting. Stories about everything.

I fell in love with him a few years ago when he first started. At the end of the coverage they had the "Jerry Whatever His Name is wardrobe furnished in part by Z-Zegna. Greg Zaun's wardrove furnished by..." and then there was this little dis-embodied Greg Zaun voice saying "Greg Zaun." Just so awesome.

Watch baseball.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

It gets worse, sports fans

So I'm happy to learn I'm not the only one reading Puck Daddy over on Yahoo sports. This little item alarms me. It's about new fan-participation arena games that use motion sensor technology, and it's coming to a live hockey game near you.

A long time ago, a playwright named Bertolt Brecht wanted to shake up playhouse audiences. He developed a whole bunch of different techniques for this ("Brechtian" ones, yep). He wanted play audiences to be more like audiences at sporting events: loud, taunting, exuberant. Presumably, although he never said so, drunk.

But most of all he wanted play audiences to be know-it-alls. Sports audiences will boo an athlete if he performs badly. They'll question coach and strategy. They'll let the ref have it when a call gets blown. They'll do this all in real time as the game unfolds. Brecht wanted these kinds of boisterous, engaged spectators at his plays.

But look at where we're headed instead. Some fucked up mass Pavlovian experiment. Stadium sized bar trivia and Wii games. Virtual tug of war? Seriously? I've been to NHL games; I know a lot of people aren't there for the virtuosity of athletic endeavor, or for the slow unfolding of strategy and matchups. But christ, you don't have to encourage the bright-lights-loud-noise set. Too many of them can already, inexplicably, afford tickets. Why they go to hockey games and not a laser light show is beyond me.

Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't suspect that whoever designed this garbage isn't laughing his head off every time he sees 15,000 people screaming and waving their arms like someone set their shoes on fire.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Life isn't so bad

I found this off boingboing. Anyhow, it's one guys recollections of his two years in prison. It's long, but very interesting. It gets fairly philosophical at the bottom. Worth a look.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Love to win, hate to lose

I like to read Yahoo sports blogs. I check the hockey one quite consistently and keep apprised of the other ones when the seasons dictate. They're easy to find...over on the right hand side of each one are links to one another.

Anyhow, Puck Daddy, the hockey one, has this Justin Bourne guy writing for them who, it sounds like, used to be a minor league hockey professional. Interesting, interesting stuff. Especially this post.

He talks about love to win vs. hate to lose and it makes total sense. However, I think we need to extrapolate this further. Into the real world.

Think about it. How many of us are content to just kind of hit the cruise button once something (life, generally) is good enough? How many of us have a good idea, but just don't hav the drive, ambition, whatever to take it to the next step? It's all the same thing. There's just some people out there that are hungry for things to a level that the rest of us are not.

I know, it's not that simple. But I think if you were to look at the difference between the top 1% of achievers and the rest of us, you would see some of these qualities in them. Lots and lots of people have the talent/brains/eye/ideas. Not many know what to do with it or how to make the most of it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Football. No, the other kind. No, the other other kind.

Random sports headline of the week: the two teams in the Australian Rules Football championship game played to a tie. In the event of a tie, the Aussie Rules say you have a re-do. Not overtime. No shootouts. You play the whole game again.

(A week later they replayed it and one team blew the other team out.)

I think the Aussies might be on to something. FIFA should pay attention. Except in soccer they should make them play it over on the spot. Fuck you, get back on the field and do it over. Think that wouldn't change the strategy of all those teams playing for the tie?

Actually. Couple other Aussie rules they could think about while they're at it.