When We Held Kings: The oral history of the 2003 World Series of Poker, in which an amateur named Moneymaker turned $39 into $2.5 million and the poker boom was born.
Héctor Espino landed in Florida on Aug. 6, 1964. A helicopter reportedly flew over Jacksonville, Fla., trailing a banner with the words ESPINO HAS ARRIVED.
Frank Deford, a 50-year veteran of Sports Illustrated, once labeled Meltzer the most accomplished reporter in sports journalism. “You could cover the Vatican or State Department,” Deford said recently, “and not do as good a job as Dave Meltzer does on wrestling.”For nearly 30 years, Dave Meltzer has published the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, featuring weekly behind the locker room door insight into the business of professional wrestling. How far reaching has Meltzer's impact been? In one famous incident, Hulk Hogan, frustrated by what he perceived as consistently negative coverage in the publication, burned a copy of the newsletter during a live Pay-Per-View event.
Director's cut: "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved": An annotated look back at one of Hunter S. Thompson's greatest hits. [more inside]
The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft was held yesterday, leaving two of the most-talked-about players undrafted: QB Geno Smith and Linebacker Manti Te'o. [more inside]
Joe Posnanski, 2011's National Sportswriter of the Year, has an incredible portfolio of work. He also wrote 'Paterno', and writes for Sports on Earth. Previously, we addressed our tremendous respect and adoration for renowned film critic, courageous fighter, and man-about-town Roger Ebert. Today, on Posnanski's personal blog, an incredible treat: Roger Ebert's Opening Sentences. [more inside]
Grant Wahl tells the story of a devoted fan and José Mourinho, manager of Real Madrid. Abel Rodríguez, who works for the LA Metro system, has volunteered for Real Madrid soccer practices in Los Angeles. Last February, he traveled to see the Real Madrid-Barcelona Clásico, without a hotel reservation or even a ticket. The training facility's security guard wouldn't let him in, so he sat outside for 5 hours. What happened next sounds like a fairy tale.
Controversy struck the exalted Augusta grounds of the Masters golf tournament on Friday as Tiger Woods put himself at risk of disqualification. It all began with a situation in which Woods had the extraordinarily bad luck of bouncing his ball off the flagstick on the 15th hole into the water. Instead of dropping his ball "as nearly as possible" to it's original position, Woods dropped it a couple of yards back. In an interview after the round, Woods said: "I went back to where I played it from, but I went two yards further back and I took, tried to take two yards off the shot of what I felt I hit and that should land me short of the flag and not have it either hit the flag or skip over the back." Woods signed his scorecard without assigning himself the two shot penalty the rules of golf require for an improper drop. The following day, the Masters Rules Committee ruled that Woods would not be disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard, justifying it by using a new rule that allows tournament committees to waive rules infractions called in by TV viewers, even though the intention of that rule was to prevent disqualifications based on tiny movements of the ball or sand imperceptible to the golfer but visible on close-up HD shots. Many in the golf world were outraged at both the ruling and the fact that Woods didn't withdraw himself from the tournament. Nick Faldo suggested it would be "the manly thing to do." [more inside]
Team Hoyt has been honored with a bronze statue! Team Hoyt is a fixture of the Boston Marathon. For 30 years, Dick has pushed his son Rick the entire 26.2 miles. Rick has Cerebral Palsy and decided in 1977 that he wanted to participate in marathons and other sporting events around the country. And thus, Team Hoyt was born! [more inside]
Rutgers Fires Basketball Coach After Video Goes Public: [New York Times] Rutgers fired Mike Rice, the coach of its men’s basketball team, on Wednesday, a day after a video [ESPN] surfaced showing him berating his players during practices, throwing balls at them, kicking them and taunting them with slurs.
Becoming the All-Terrain Human: [New York Times]
"Kilian Jornet Burgada is the most dominating endurance athlete of his generation. In just eight years, Jornet has won more than 80 races, claimed some 16 titles and set at least a dozen speed records, many of them in distances that would require the rest of us to purchase an airplane ticket. He has run across entire landmasses (Corsica) and mountain ranges (the Pyrenees), nearly without pause. He regularly runs all day eating only wild berries and drinking only from streams."
"Our brackets have culled out all of the superfluous information and reduced the [NCAA] tournament to what matters most: colors and logos."
The Sporting Statues Project maintains a list of statues of sportspeople in the UK and has just added one of baseball statues in the US. Everything from 18th century strongmen and still active players to fans and little leaguers can be found in their directory. They also have some links to abstracts of papers they've presented on their research into sports statuary.
In November of 2011, Jaiyah Saelua, a center back for American Samoa, became the first transgendered individual to participate in a World Cup qualifier. [more inside]
It's the NFL Combine! Where NFL teams size up the year's top prospects; where sportscaster Rich Eisen runs the 40; and where at least one team wants to know, "Do you like girls?" [more inside]
"Like a lot of things in Alaska, the annual Mount Marathon Race in Seward is famously brutal, even dangerous. Which is precisely why Michael LeMaitre ran it--the last day he was seen alive."
"Organized crime gangs have fixed or tried to fix hundreds of soccer matches around the world in recent years, including World Cup and European Championship qualifiers and two Champions League games, Europol announced Monday. The European Union's police agency said an 18-month review found 380 suspicious matches in Europe and another 300 questionable games outside the continent, mainly in Africa, Asia and South and Central America. It also found evidence that a Singapore-based crime syndicate was involved in some of the match-fixing."* [more inside]
Japan attempts to set the world record for the greatest number of mascots dancing at once. [more inside]
From the most recent Boston Magazine. "The Boston sports media, once considered one of the country’s best and most influential press corps, is stumbling toward irrelevance. The national media not only seems to break more big Boston sports stories than the local press, but also often features more sophisticated analysis, especially when it comes to using advanced statistics. To put it bluntly, “The Lodge”—as Fred Toucher, cohost of the 98.5 The Sports Hub morning radio show, mockingly refers to the city’s clubby, self-important media establishment—is clogged with stale reporters, crotchety columnists, and shameless blowhards. " There's even a whole blog dedicated to hating Dan Shaughnessy, Dan Shaughnessy Watch, aka the CHB.
In light of Lance Armstrong's recent admissions and the failure of the Baseball Writers' Association of America to elect a single member to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, the New Atlantis examines the era that created people like Armstrong and Barry Bonds and what this subsequent rejection says about us, them, and the sports themselves.
"We're just trying to lead normal lives, doing what we want to do. Why shouldn't we?" The members [of Afghanistan women's national team], who range in age from 16 to 24, are up against widespread resentment from their relatives* and neighbors, and threats from men who disapprove of women playing sports. They managed to participate in an inclusive tournament in Berlin and they registered their first official win as they defeated Pakistan national women's team 4-0 and reached the semi-finals of the 2nd SAFF women's championship in 2012 improving on their past performance (rough 2010 SAFF footage). They're able to practice just three times a week for 90 minutes, occasionally at the stadium (2) or in its gym, but more often at a helicopter landing pad on a base for NATO troops, where practices are interrupted by takeoffs and landings. Players have some outside support from hummel, the sponsor of the women's and the men's team, and have had football clinics in Stuttgart and with Olympic U.S. player Lorrie Fair in Kabul. [more inside]
Conner and Cayden Long, 9 and 7 year old triathletes from White House, TN, are Sports Illustrated's 2012 SportsKids of the Year.. They are Team Long Brothers.
The You Can Play project was created by GForce sports, former Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke, and his son Patrick Burke to ensure that LGBT athletes have equal opportunity in professional hockey. [more inside]
"Las Vegas bookmakers make their money by balancing their risk, but sometimes they simply come out on the wrong side of too many bets." With the regular 2012 NFL season now over and the playoffs about to begin, please take a moment and shed a tear -- or more likely, raise your beer -- as you consider the terrible beating Las Vegas sports books absorbed in 2012. (LAT link, so potentially behind a paywall depending on your number of previous visits in last 30 days.) [more inside]
Sports Illustrated's 100 greatest sports photos of all time.
In the 1990's, Michael Doret was tasked with creating a new logo for the New York Knicks. Here is the story of how his ideas were scaled back to create the logo the team uses to this day.
Need some inspiration for the new year? Beautiful Moments is a short video compilation of people and animals doing interesting things at some of the most lovely locations on earth. [slyt]
Baseball Magazine, founded by Jake Morse in 1908, was the first monthly baseball magazine in the United States. The LA84 Foundation has posted free online copies of the first thirteen years of Baseball Magazine. [more inside]
If you are in the 7 foot tall club in the US there is a 16% you play in NBA. Which is a good thing, as getting all your clothes custom made isn't cheap. Sports Illustrated takes a look at what life is like when you live in a world that was not designed for the very tall.
The NFL is again thinking of getting rid of kick offs. Recently kickoffs were moved from the 30 to the 35 yard line in an effort to create more touch backs (and thus fewer returns of kicks) and reduce injuries. Now they're considering getting rid of kick offs altogether. [more inside]
Designer Matt McInerney is setting out to redesign every logo in the NFL as an uncomissioned fun side project. He's up to 20 of them and the results so far are pretty damn good. Fast Company has a bit more about the project.
The retirement of Fireman Ed is more than just an index of the toll taken by the Jets quarterback controversy on fans. It’s also a glimpse into the agonizing heart of fandom. [more inside]
Today is the 85th birthday of Hall of Fame baseball announcer Vin Scully. He will be returning next year for his unprecedented 64th season calling games for the Dodgers, in a career reaching back to the team's Brooklyn days and their move to Los Angeles in 1958. The New York Yankees tried to pry him away in the 1960s, but he remained with the team and has become an LA institution. In the 21st Century, he has inspired blog names and tattoos and even dabbled in the online world himself during a game last season -- as an experiment, he asked fans to get a topic trending on Twitter about Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis, "a nice boy." Later in the broadcast he announced sheepishly that Ellis was trending across the U.S. This coming Monday, he will be taking over the team's Twitter feed to answer questions -- tag your tweets #askvin. [more inside]
What do NASCAR's AJ Allmendinger, Joe Haden of the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants safety Tyler Sash, Carlos "Chooch" Ruiz of the Philadelphia Phillies, and many other athletes have in common? They have all used a performance enhancing substance that is growing in popularity among athletes, one that is widely prescribed and which is taken by millions of children every day. The drug in question is Adderall: The combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine is used as part of a treatment program to control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. [more inside]
Today, in Toronto, the Grey Cup will be awarded for the 100th time, to the CFL champion. What is it? What is the history? Who is playing? Why was someone riding a horse in the best hotel in town? [more inside]
With the NHL locked out for the foreseeable future, the Montreal Gazette has decided to cover Canadiens games simulated on EA Sports NHL '13 as if they were real games.
"We have little trouble recognizing that a chess grandmaster’s victory over a novice is skill, as well as assuming that Paul the octopus’s ability to predict World Cup games is due to chance. But what about everything else?" [Luck and Skill Untangled: The Science of Success]
Ronda Rousey - the first American woman to medal in judo at the Summer Olympics - is widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound female MMA fighter in the world. She has won all six of her professional fights - all but one of them in less than a minute - using a trademark armbar that is usually described as "devastating". [more inside]
Internet sensation: Nine-year-old girl shredding defenses to the tune of 25 touchdowns Sam Gordon just wanted to run with the older kids. The coaches in the local tackle football league figured, hey, why not? Maybe they could turn it into a drill: Who can outrun Max's little sister? They were shocked to find the answer: no one. "Some kids, right before the contact, they stop," Sam told her father. "I don't. I just hit 'em."