Sep 06

The Wages of Wins, by Berri, Schmidt & Brook

Glibly called “Freakonomics meets ESPN,” this book is neither as fun to read nor as provocative as Freakonomics (or, for that matter, ESPN). But they bring up a lot of interesting things, like how scoring (especially in the NBA) is a horrible indicator of value to a team, how quarterbacks in the NFL are woefully inconsistent from season to season, and how Stanford basketball is the most wondrous and underrated sport to behold.

Okay, not that last bit. But worth reading for fantasy nerds like me.

Jun 06


Stanford played the best weekend of baseball that i can ever, ever remember seeing this weekend in the Austin Regional — we crushed UTexas and NCState. amazing. Given that we almost didn’t make the tournament, this was a really shocking development, especially on UT’s home (crappy artificial turf) field. Playing in Corvalis, OR this weekend for a trip to Omaha. The guy (Chris Minaker) pictured below went 5-5 with 2 singles, 2 doubles, a triple and a couple of free passes.

May 06

Built to Win, by John Schuerholz

This is not a book for everyone, but I liked it. It’s a pretty run-of-the-mill book by a sports executive — but in this case, it’s by John Schuerholz, the GM of the Atlanta Braves, and before that the Kansas City Royals, my two favorite professional baseball teams.

Apr 06

You Gotta Have Wa, by Robert Whiting

BJR gave me this book a few years back, but I finally got around to read it, prompted by the World Baseball Classic last month. It’s a book written in the late 1980s, about baseball in Japan, and the mixed success of American players there. It’s a really interesting book — although probably only really worth finding if you’re both interested in baseball and interested in Japan — otherwise maybe it’s a little on the esoteric side of things. I’m pretty sure that things have changed dramatically in the last 15-20 years, so would really be interested in a followup. There probably aren’t a lot of books like this, so this one was cool to have.

Mar 06

Rooting for Cuba (and other bits)

I’m rooting for Cuba tonight in the finals of the World Baseball Classic. My great experiences lately with Japan notwithstanding, I think the story of the Cuban team is just amazing. Because of the long, crappy relationship the US has with Cuba, these Cuban players have had no visibility on the worldwide stage at all — so nobody really knew how to think about the Cuban team playing against powerhouses from other countries (like the Dominican Republic, with Pujols, Colon, Tejada, Big Poppy) since most people have never seen them play. Anyway, these players clearly don’t get the worldwide recognition that they deserve, so I’m super-happy about their success to date in the WBC.

Other bit #1: TO in Big D.

Terrell Owens will be fantastic in Dallas this year, I think. Next year, he’ll lose his mind and take the whole Cowboys team with him. Good trade? I don’t know. But it’ll make awesome television. And holy cow, that guy is in incredible physical shape. If his mind were in the same shape, he’d be the richest guy on the planet. Or curing cancer. Either way.

Other bit #2: Rooting for Bradley

I was watching the Pitt-Bradley game yesterday with conflicted emotions. On the one hand, I have Pitt in my bracket going to the Elite Eight (note to self: stop betting on the Big East). On the other hand, you’ve got to root for the Braves. And underdogs in general. So my new rule, I think, is not to root for my brackets, but let the chips fall where they may — but pull for the underdogs, mostly. Exceptions to the rule: UK (even at a #8 seed, they’re not exactly an underdog), USC (always), and Duke, UConn & UNC, all perennial powerhouses. Arizona I’m on the fence about.