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Brief chronicles of our sporting times.

Video: ‘Do Sports Teams Need Government Welfare?’


An interesting policy debate from AEI. The summary:

In the wake of controversial plans to build new, taxpayer-subsidized stadiums in Minneapolis and Atlanta, economists of all stripes have been skeptical of the actual economic gains created by these projects. At an AEI event on Thursday, Travis Waldron of the Center for American Progress and the University of Maryland’s Dennis Coates suggested that this issue has been muddied by dubious claims that new stadiums will create an economic boon in the surrounding community. Coates noted that the benefit the average citizen receives from stadium subsidies is far less than the benefit he or she receives from other public goods such as police patrols and crime prevention. Waldron argued that bureaucrats should call it like it is and acknowledge that taxpayers are paying to keep their local professional teams in service.

AEI’s own Kevin Hassett raised the question of whether state-sponsored stadiums have different kinds of positive utility for society that might allow them to be considered public goods. Sports teams foster a sense of geographical loyalty, which allows citizens to feel more connected to the cities they inhabit. Steve Marsh of Grantland agreed, describing stadium subsidies as necessary public assets that create a unique type of value for local citizens.

Video here


Jameis Winston Allegations Not Going Away


The alleged victim’s lawyer is asking the state attorney general to investigate, questioning the outcome of the Tallahassee Police probe. NBC 6 South Florida:

A lawyer for the woman who accused Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston of sexual assault asked Friday for Florida’s attorney general to independently examine the rape investigation, claiming it was riddled with problems.

Attorney Patricia Carroll called on the attorney general to investigate the Tallahassee Police Department’s handling of the case, saying that detectives failed to interview key witnesses and that forensic tests were unreliable and incomplete.

The problems with the investigation “are so significant and so multiple,” Carroll said.

The lead detective got a search warrant for her client’s cellphone and social media accounts but failed to do the same for Winston and his two companions immediately after the accusations were made, Carroll said.

Investigators also focused an unusual amount of attention on the fact the alleged victim had the DNA of her boyfriend on her underpants in addition to that of Winston, Carroll said. The consensual sexual encounter with the boyfriend happened before the encounter involving Winston and wouldn’t have been allowed to be introduced in a courtroom, she said.

The rest here.

Tags: NFL


Bush 43 Sends a Personal Letter to Alamaba’s Kicker, No. 43 Cade Foster


Wow. President Bush sent a handwritten note to Alabama’s kicker after his miserable kicking-performance in the Iron Bowl, which Foster then posted to this Twitter account:



Tags: NCAA

Olbermann’s Cooperstown Rant


Here’s a delicious five-plus-minute Keith Olbermann rant on Major League Baseball Hall of Fame voting, from his new ESPN2 show earlier this week:

It’s good to have you back, Keith.

Please, please, please don’t ever again turn your back on sports.

Tags: MLB

Report: RGIII Done for the Year


Via the Washington Post:

The Washington Redskins plan to start Kirk Cousins at quarterback Sunday at Atlanta, a move that would lead to them sitting down Robert Griffin III with three games left in his second NFL season, several people familiar with the situation said Wednesday.

It is expected that Griffin will be deactivated for the remainder of the season, according to two people with knowledge of Coach Mike Shanahan’s thinking, and that Rex Grossman will take over as the second-string quarterback.

Shanahan said Monday that if he did choose to replace Griffin with Cousins, Griffin would not play for the rest of the season.

The Redskins made no formal announcement, though Shanahan was scheduled to address the media later in the day Wednesday. Griffin also was scheduled to hold his weekly news conference.


Tags: NFL


Meet Magglio Ordonez, Socialist Mayor


Remember Magglio Ordonez, former White Sox and Tigers slugger?

Now meet Magglio Ordonez, the newly elected mayor of Sotillo, a city in eastern Venezuela.

Ordonez is a member of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and a supporter of President Nicolas Maduro, who announced the six-time All Star’s election at a rally Sunday.

Maduro is known to turn to celebrity candidates to help bolster support in the midst of rising anger with his economic policies.

Ordonez is among a majority of pro-government candidates who won one of the 335 races nationwide.

The article did not mention whether Ordonez, who hit 294 home runs over 15 big-league seasons, will redistribute the $133,470,746 he earned along the way.

More here.

Tags: NFL

Halladay: Pitcher of the (13-Year-Old) Century?


Marc Normadin of SB Nation makes the case that future Hall of Famer Roy “Doc” Halladay, who announced his retirement earlier today, has been the most successful pitcher in the bigs since the new century began:

From 2001 through 2011, Halladay threw exactly 2,300 innings, an average of 209 per year. His ERA+ in that stretch was 148, and he struck out 4.5 times as many batters as he walked. He had more complete games (64) than he did hit batsmen (60), managed a sub-three ERA (2.98), and, on the aesthetically pleasing side, won games at nearly a .700 clip, racking up 175 victories against 78 losses. In 2010, he threw a perfect game against the then-Florida Marlins, and five months later, twirled the second-ever postseason no-hitter to open up the National League Division Series against the Reds. Those were the highlights from a season in which Halladay threw 250 regular season innings, struck out over seven times as many batters as he walked, and faced just under 1,000 batters in the regular season alone. . . .

In short: Halladay was the pitcher in baseball from 2001 through 2011, and even if you compare him from 2000 through the present, rather than just his extended peak years, he’s still the best example of quantity and quality that the game has had to offer this century. While [Randy] Johnson and [Johan] Santana both feature slightly higher ERA+ from 2000 onward — 137 and 136 to Halladay’s 131 — Halladay threw 561 more innings than Santana has to this point, and 701 more than Johnson ever will.

More here.

Tags: MLB

No Tailgating at Super Bowl XLVIII in NJ


No longer content to regulate player behavior, the “No Fun League” is now going after fans:

The Super Bowl XLVIII committee has spoken: There will be no tailgating allowed at MetLife Stadium on Feb. 2, 2014 prior to the NFL’s championship game.

Committee CEO Al Kelly told’s Jane McManus: “You will be allowed to have food in your car and have drink in you car. And provided you’re in the boundaries of a single parking space, you’ll be able to eat or drink right next to your car. However you’re not going to be able to take out a lounge chair, you’re not going to be able to take out a grill and you’re not going to be able to take up more than one parking space.”

Kelly also revealed more plans for the logistics of this season’s Super Bowl, and they’re somewhat unusual. Fans will not be allowed to to park and walk to the East Rutherford, N.J. stadium; nor will they be able to arrive via taxi or limo, because only vehicles with parking passes will be allowed near the premises.

The rest here.

Tags: NFL

Jon Gruden Staying at ESPN


With the coaching vacancies already announced and those forthcoming, perennially rumored-to-be-hired Jon Gruden has announced that he’s staying at ESPN through 2014. Details here.

Tags: Sports Media

Reveille 12/9/13


Good morning.

Here are several links from the past week that will make your offseason Monday a bit more bearable:

  • I’m guessing it’s a good thing Jay-Z and his No. 1 client didn’t read this piece from Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times about turmoil within the Mariners management before agreeing to sign with the club? 

[Manager Eric] Wedge left at season’s end, fleeing what he describes as “total dysfunction and a lack of leadership.”

The sentiment is echoed by current and past Mariners baseball operations employees beyond Wedge, who has remained silent since leaving and only reluctantly agreed to talk. More than two dozen people who spoke to The Times say any manager — and the players under him — will fall short of success without a halt to ongoing interference from Lincoln and whomever succeeds Armstrong, who will retire Jan. 31.

The sources also raised serious doubts about the GM tasked with reversing years of futility in one offseason, saying Zduriencik has kept his job only because Lincoln and Armstrong won’t admit another critical hiring mistake. The sources question Zduriencik’s credentials to properly build a roster, saying he sold Lincoln and Armstrong on hiring him five years ago with a job application package prepared not by him, but by recently dismissed Mariners special assistant Tony Blengino.

Because of new rules that will be implemented, the most the Golden Eagles could receive in exchange for Tanaka’s rights is $20 million. Before Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball started to discuss setting limits on how much MLB teams could bid for Japanese players, there was speculation the Golden Eagles could receive more than the $51.7 million the Nippon Ham Fighters received for the rights to Yu Darvish two years ago.

“We have an obligation to explain to our stakeholders whether it’s fair,” Golden Eagles President Yozo Tachibana said to Sponichi.

Carl Yastrzemski was recently fined $500 for loafing and I’ve been keeping an eye on him. Sure enough, he hit a ball to second base today and loafed all the way to first. I’m afraid Yastrzemski has a bit of dog in him. Always did, and people around baseball knew it all the time. When things are going good Yastrzemski will go all out. When things aren’t going so well he’ll give a half-ass effort. But he’s got so much ability that the only thing you can do is put up with him.

I asked a few of the Red Sox if they thought he deserved the fine and thought they would defend him. But they said, “He deserved it all the way.”

  • Perhaps the most overlooked transaction last week was the trade between the Brewers and Royals that sent right fielder Norichika Aoki to Kansas City in exchange for emerging reliever Will Smith. Craig Brown of Royals Review endorses the move, noting both that the Royals had a surplus of bullpen talent and that Aoki’s ability to get on base is likely to give a badly needed boost to the leadoff spot.   

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Tags: MLB

Congratulations to the Michigan State Spartans


As NRO’s resident Ohio State fan, let me say congratulations to the Michigan State Spartans and their victory last night in the Big 10 championship game (I’m a purist a refuse to use B1G). 

But Michigan State’s victory shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody. Just four days ago, Mark Dantonio was named the Big 10 coach of the year. I even predicted a Ohio State loss earlier this week (I’m an honest fan.)

Michigan State’s only loss of the year was a heartbreaker to Notre Dame. A game in which the Spartan defense committed five drive-sustaining penalties that let Notre Dame stay in the game. If not for that sloppy play in September, it would be the Spartans in the title game vs. FSU and not the Auburn Tigers.

As for Michigan State’s coach, Mark Dantonio, he was a fan favorite when he was with Ohio State during the Tressel era as the defensive coordinator and he left a huge hole to fill when he became head coach at Cincinnati in 2003:

Dantonio admits leaving Tressel’s staff wasn’t easy. He left behind a defense that was the nation’s second stingiest against the run last season, allowing 62.3 yards per game. The year before, Dantoni’s defense lifted OSU to a 14-0 record and its first national championship in 34 years.

“Losing him was a big loss,” OSU senior cornerback Dustin Fox said. “Any time you lose a great leader like him, it’s going to be a loss. It will be fun to play against him, but it will be weird. We still talk on the phone a lot. And I tell him, ‘I’ll be on the sidelines harassing you.’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll have my eyes on you if the play comes my way.”

And of note, Dantonio’s record at Michigan State (starting in 2007) vs. Ohio State is 2 – 5. Michigan’s record vs. Ohio State during that same period of time is 1 — 6

Again, congratulations to Michigan State and I look forward to the rematch on November 8, 2014.



Tags: NCAA

Kubiak Fired by the Houston Texans


Gary Kubiak is out as the head coach of the Texans and Wade Phillips has been named as Kubiak’s interim replacement. 

Of note, Phillips’s past head-coaching stints include Dallas, Atlanta, Buffalo, Denver, and New Orleans. Every time I think he’s done as a head coach, he pops back up. 

Tags: NFL

Cano Heads Out West, Granderson Crosses the Whitestone


Robinson Cano has agreed to a ten-year, $240-million deal with the Mariners.

Curtis Granderson has agreed to a four-year, $60-million deal with the Mets.

Tags: MLB

Italian Football Team Offers Contract to Tebow


Tim Tebow has indicated that he doesn’t want to play football in Canada, but what about Italy? The Milano Seamen of the Italian Football League have reportedly offered the former Denver Bronco and New York Jet quarterback a four-month, $200,000 contract.

“We would be more than happy to have him,” team president Marco Mutti told the Associated Press.

The Seamen hope that, in addition to his contributions on the field, Tebow will serve as a “sort of ambassador” for the sport in Italy, where calcio (soccer) dominates the sports scene.

After his release from the Jets during the off season, Tebow signed with the New England Patriots, but failed to make the final roster. He has reportedly received offers from a wide assortment of second-tier leagues, including the Canadian Football League, the Arena Football League, and a Russian football league.

Tags: NFL

ESPN Reports: No Criminal Charges Against FSU’s Jameis Winston


Details here.

Note: This is just an ESPN report as of now. An official announcement by the prosecutor’s office is expected later today.

Making Sense of the Ellsbury Deal


As you know, superagent Scott Boras and the Yankees front office reached an agreement on the services of client Jacoby Ellsbury: seven years totaling $153 million. (Ellsbury will be paid $148 million for his first seven seasons; the club has an option to keep him for an eighth season at $21 million or buy out his contract for $5 million. The contract includes a no-trade clause.)

Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron endorses the acquisition and scoffs at comparisons to another outfielder beneficiary of a lucrative, long-term contract:

You’re going to hear Carl Crawford‘s name a lot over the next 24 hours. Carl Crawford was a speed-and-defense outfielder heading into his 30s and the Red Sox gave him $142 million over seven years, only to see the deal become an albatross almost immediately. Everyone who was skeptical of aging speed-and-defense outfielders was instantly vindicated. Everyone who is still skeptical of aging speed-and-defense outfielders is going to instantly point to the Carl Crawford deal when they hear that the Yankees have agreed to pay Jacoby Ellsbury $153 million over the next seven years.

Crawford is a data point in their favor, absolutely. He was a similar player to Ellsbury, and he got a similar contract to Ellsbury, and it didn’t turn out to be a very good idea. Crawford is absolutely evidence that this contract could be a big mistake. Crawford is a reminder that big free agent deals often turn out badly. But if you’re going to use Carl Crawford as the sole data point in your belief that players like Ellsbury are bad investments, you’re simply ignoring the fact that history doesn’t actually agree with you. . . .

Carl Crawford’s production is not Jacoby Ellsbury’s fait accompli; it’s one possible path of many. Every player’s future is a probability distribution, bottoming out at completely and utterly useless. Every single player could turn into a total dud tomorrow. And every single player could actually play better in the future than they have in the past. There is no single example that represents the expected outcome for any other player, no matter how similar they might appear to be. . . .

The Yankees paid a lot of money for a very good player. That very good player is probably going to remain a very good player for the next few years, and then, like nearly every free agent, he’ll be an overpaid albatross in the last few years of the deal. For the price, the Yankees probably overpaid relative to the going market rate of wins. But because they’re the Yankees, the fact that they overpaid by $20 or $30 million doesn’t matter all that much.

Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation remains unconvinced, citing the center fielder’s injury history:

Sure, if he’s healthy. Ellsbury just turned 30, and figures to have another two or three outstanding seasons in him. If he’s healthy.

But this isn’t a two- or three-season deal. It’s a seven-season deal. And before you say it doesn’t matter because after two or three seasons the Yankees will just find someone else to produce all those runs and play center field, just consider how difficult it’s been for the Yankees to just cut Alex Rodriguez loose. Or Mark Teixeira. Even in this era of wine and roses for practically everybody associated with professional baseball, it’s difficult to bench, let alone flat-out release, anybody who’s making $22 million per season. What’s more likely is that by 2017 or ‘18, Ellsbury’s sucking up a lot of dollars (who cares) and a lot of valuable plate appearances (whoops).

(It is worth noting that both major injuries Ellsbury have suffered — ribs and collarbone — were the result of on-field collisions and ought not affect his play going forward.)

And Ken Davidoff of the New York Post believes that this deal makes it more likely that Robinson Cano will seek safety in Safeco:

For with Ellsbury set to arrive in New York on Wednesday for his physical, after essentially agreeing to bolt the Red Sox for a stunning, seven-year, $153-million contract with the Yankees, Cano departing The Bronx for the Pacific Northwest seems like more of a possibility than it did 24 hours ago.

After all, if there’s one subject on which we’re most certain the Yankees aren’t bluffing, it’s that they intend to get their 2014 payroll under $189 million. And with Ellsbury set to draw such a huge paycheck and the Yankees still in need of two starting pitchers, their threat to stick at seven years and $170-ish million for Cano seems more legitimate.

So if the Mariners, profoundly desperate for offensive production, offered, say, eight years and $214 million for Cano? Another $44 million guaranteed, when Jay Z is trying to establish himself as a force in athlete representation?

It wouldn’t be anywhere as good as getting that sort of figure from the Yankees. But it might be better than getting well under $200 million from the Yankees.

More here, here, and here.

Tags: MLB

Obama Wants to Work for ESPN


Dream big, Mr. President:

If you have any doubt as to how much of a sports junkie Barack Obama is, check in with the entertainment moguls who attended a private briefing with the president Nov. 26 before his speech at Jeffrey Katzenberg’s DreamWorks Animation campus in Glendale.

At the end of the conversation — which touched on a myriad of topics, from piracy to Iran — Obama revealed what’s at the top of his bucket list post–White House: “At least I know what I want to do when I retire . . . host ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 list,” Obama quipped as he turned to Disney’s Robert Iger, whose empire includes ESPN.

The highlights countdown can feature everything from major sports to bull fighting to high school basketball. Other than having a good laugh, Iger apparently didn’t respond.

“Everyone had a good giggle,” says one person who attended.

WV Governor Upset Jacoby Ellsbury Leaving Red Sox


Turns out West Virginia’s Democratic governor Earl Ray Tomblin is quite upset by Jacoby Ellsbury’s departure from the Boston Red Sox to the rival New York Yankees:

The tweet has since deleted from Tomblin’s account.

On Tuesday, the Yankees announced that they had agreed in principle to a seven-year $153-million deal with Ellsbury.

Via Dusty Hoylman.

Tags: MLB

NBA Rookie Demonstrates Fiscal Restraint


This is a fantastic idea and more rookies should do it:

A rookie NBA player for the Philadelphia 76ers is being lauded for his financial prowess in putting his salary in a trust that he can’t touch for three years, possibly avoiding the fate of a famous basketball player who donned the same jersey and now can’t pay child support.

Drafted 11th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, Michael Carter-Williams, 22, is guaranteed $4.5 million over his first two seasons, but his salary is being put into a trust he can’t touch for three years, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. In the meantime, he is living off his endorsement deals with Nike and Panini trading cards, the newspaper said.

A trust is probably something that one of the most famous 76ers, Allen Iverson, could have used. A “Sixer” from 1996 to 2006 then 2009 to 2010, Iverson said this year that he is broke and can’t pay child support. The ex-wife of the 36-year-old former Georgetown University player demanded that he put over a million dollars into a trust fund for child support.

David Friedman, president of Wealth-X, which provides data on high net worth individuals, said that it was surprising that Carter-Williams’ money is in a trust, because the player is very young and doesn’t have a family of his own yet. Trusts are typically structures to pass wealth in a tax-optimized way and they allow control for the heirs, Friedman explains.

“Since he does not have to worry about either of these as the purpose of this type of structure, it’s not apparent what his goal is,” Friedman said. “On the other hand, in the wake of copious bankruptcies and mismanagement of finances by professional athletes, it shows he is trying to be a good steward over the money he is making.”

Not only does the trust force Carter-Williams to save his money, he can tell the hangers-on and distant relations looking to leech off him that he can’t touch the money. The rest here.

Tags: NBA

Florida State Fan Attacks Florida Fan with a Machete


One Florida State fan seems to have taken the school’s “scalp ‘em” lyrics just a little bit too seriously. Via the Gainesville Sun:

A Florida State fan who police say tried to come to the aid of a woman involved in an altercation inside a Gainesville bar Saturday was arrested after police say he began threatening people with a machete.

The incident was quelled by an out-of-town police officer in FSU garb who managed to calm the man.

Brant W. Brown, 37, identified by Gainesville Police as an intoxicated FSU fan, went up to a man and woman arguing inside the EndZone Bar and Grill, 1209 W University Ave.,

and invited the man outside to fight, according to a report.

Several Gator fan bystanders stopped Brown, who invited all of the Gator fans to meet him outside in the parking lot, the report said.

Brown went outside, followed by the manager, who was calling 911 and giving police Brown’s description. Brown got a machete from his truck then threatened and charged at the manager, who retreated.

Tags: NCAA


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