Category Archives: sports

Jared Allen has a few things to say about his mullet

By which I mean he likes to party. With two R’s.

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The slopes are safe again

Legendary Austrian skiier Hermann Maier retired yesterday, leaving the slopes from Gstaad to Chamonix just a bit safer for the rest of us. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, this is Hermann Maier crashing during the downhill at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano:

Days later, Maier won two gold medals.

Three years after that, Maier almost lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. Three years after that, he won two World Cup gold medals.

Maier says he’s retiring because of off-season knee surgery that has hampered his training. I doubt that’s the real reason. My guess is he realized his hobbies are a bit dangerous.

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Golf gets even dorkier

Pax Arcana

Baseball is famous for the volume of statistics used to analyze individual performance. Because there are a limited number of quantifiable results on any given pitch — and there are hundreds of thousands of pitches thrown every season — it is relatively easy to measure the success of a given player over the course of a season.

MiniGolf2Other sports, like basketball and hockey, are harder to analyze via statistics. How do you measure the success of a forward whose coach insists he play point guard? Or the value of a hockey center whose would-be assists were wasted by poor-shooting teammates?

It seems funny that golf doesn’t get analyzed the way baseball does. After all, a golf tournament produces thousands of shots at a time — all on the same turf in the same weather. Why don’t the announcers talk about Tiger’s stroke-average when hitting from the rough? Why don’t they ever talk about Rocco Mediate’s sand average or Boo Weekley’s bump-run-rate? Actually, maybe they do but we’re asleep on the couch and don’t hear it.

Anyway, a group of researchers recently decided to rectify this situation by studying about 200 professional golfers from 2004 to 2008. The first breakthrough finding of the study: golfers are more likely to hit par putts than birdie putts of comparable difficulty. The reason? Something that can be best be described as “bogey aversion“:

Even the world’s best pros are so consumed with avoiding bogeys that they make putts for birdie discernibly less often than identical putts for par, according to a coming paper by two professors at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. After analyzing laser-precise data on more than 1.6 million Tour putts, they estimated that this preference for avoiding a negative (bogey) more than gaining an equal positive (birdie) — known in economics as loss aversion — costs the average pro about one stroke per 72-hole tournament, and the top 20 golfers about $1.2 million in prize money a year.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I blogged this story and chose that quote just so I could make a “stroke per hole” joke at the end of the post. Well, you’re wrong. I just thought it was a cool story about statistics and sports.

Plus I couldn’t think of a good one.

Putting Strategy Comes Up Short, Study Finds [NYT]

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Gisele will pop a cap in your ass

Pax Arcana

gisele2Not only is Gisele Bundchen the world’s highest-paid model and an accomplished equestrian, she is also a straight up gangsta who will flush em and watch em go down the drain quick. That is to say she will regulate. Which is to say she will bust a cap in your ass.

According to Boston.com, two paparazzi say Gisele’s guards opened fire on them while they were just totally like way over on the other side of street just like taking pictures of the trees and stuff. Oh wait, they were taking pictures of Gisele’s wedding to some football player or something:

The trouble apparently began as the two photographers were returning to their car after using long lenses to shoot pics of the nuptials. The snappers were then confronted by security and “frogmarched” to the Brazilian beauty’s villa, where they were asked to turn over their film, according to INF. (Gisele, it seems, has an exclusive picture deal with a Brazilian magazine.) The men refused and, trailed by security, ran back to their jeep. “As they started the engine, a live round pierced the back windshield…and hit the front windshield directly between the two mens’ heads,” according to a post at INF’s blog.

In Gisele’s defense, Brazilian magazines are really strict about their contracts. I once slept through a photoshoot for Thong Fancy Magazine and they killed my parents. The joke was on them though — I’m adopted!!

Boom boom goes Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen’s second wedding [Boston.com]

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Yi needs to adjust himself

Father Scott

If you’re anything like me (and I know you’re trying really hard to be), you dream of starting an NBA expansion team and building it around two players: Rajon Rondo and Yi Jianlian. Both are freakish figures, wildly entertaining, unique, and now have one other thing in common: both are bloggers.

Rondo’s Yardbarker has been around for a while, but this NetsDaily translation (ht: TrueHoop) is the first I’ve seen of Yi’s blog. And man oh man is it lovely. Amongst Yi’s general athlete musings comes the following gem:

After this, we need to go against Cavaliers… I have to adjust myself. Today I missed some opportunities. The balls were supposed to go through but fell out…(sigh)

Balls falling out? I’d say an adjustment is in order, indeed, Yi.

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The more interesting tournament features Muffin Lord

Pax Arcana

muffin_lordI have lost interest in the NCAA basketball tournament already now that Maryland is out. Not because I’m a Terrapins fan, but because Maryland guard Grievous Vasquez has the best name in college sports since Craphonso Thorpe hung up his spikes a few years ago.

Thankfully, there’s an entire tournament to satisfy my giggle lust at those who give their children funny names.

The Name of the Year 2009 tournament features actual names of human beings such as Muffin Lord, Calamity McEntire, Nutritious Love, Uranus Golden, and Barge Upender. Some are standard Asian names that just sound funny in English, like Chew Kok, Long Wang, and Hung The Dang. Others are otherwise unremarkable names paired with last names that make them sound goofy — like Cherish Frankenstein and Iris Macadangdang.

My favorites are the names with titles embedded — such as Rev. Valentine Handwerker and my personal pick for the overall champion, Dr. Shasta Kielbasa. According to Google, Dr. Kielbasa is, in fact, a doctor. A doctor of awesome.

Go here to download the entire bracket. The tournament is underway already, but it’s worth checking out the whole thing.

Name of the Year Blog [Home]

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Is Deadspin relevant anymore?

Father Scott

Long ago, Pax wrote a post saying that Deadspin was necessary reading for sports fans. I’m not sure this is the case anymore.

Since Leitch’s departure last year, the site’s content isn’t the same. Daulerio’s just not as good of a writer. From a purist standpoint, there are a lot more errors. From an entertainment standpoint, it’s not as funny. The only guy on staff who can hold his own with Leitch is Dashiell Bennett, whose posts are few and far between (comparatively). There are really only about 40 must-read columns a year — Drew Magary’s and Leitch’s weekly football posts. For a site that posts 25 times a day, this is probably a problem.

It also has veered from its mission statement: without access, favor, or discretion. The discretion part is partially true, but as Daulerio has gotten closer and closer to ESPN, Deadspin is becoming an insider now. They have access to things. They interview Linda Cohn. They have Simmons on speed dial. They have plenty of sources; this isn’t some rogue operation. And the idea that they are, or have ever been, without favor is laughable. They pick on the same athletes repeatedly (often justifiably, but at the root we are talking about favor), and natually like the teams they like.

The other problem is this: Deadspin has seemingly always been about the community it fosters, where people go on and try to outdo each other in the comments section of articles. Most of them aren’t funny and are just crass — it becomes sports radio in print. And with the options available to people for expressing themselves on the Internet, what’s the point in spending your time in the dregs of Deadspin? You can get your information from all kinds of sources. There are a gazillion (official count) places to get breaking news, reaction, or humor for your sports information, and I think Deadspin is getting passed on all accounts.

As Simmons is constantly saying these days (for specific examples, check out his two-part podcast with Chuck Klosterman), the best thing about the Internet is that it’s forcing you to be good. If you’re not talented, you won’t last. Leitch lasts. Magary lasts. The best sports guy on the Internet, JE Skeets, will have a long career. (Note: His takeoff of the Costas Now video about Deadspin is the funniest thing in the history of the Internet.) But Deadspin as currently constructed is failing on its mission statement and doesn’t have the talent to hold up. It has name recognition, but is there any substance behind it?

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