Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

The Ballad of Big Mike

Sunday, September 24th, 2006

New York Times Magazine (September 24, 2006)

From the tape alone, Lemming couldn’t say how much Michael Oher had helped his team, just that he was big, fast and fantastically explosive. The last time he met a player with this awesome array of physical gifts was back in 1993, when he went to the Sizzler Steakhouse in Sandusky, Ohio, and interviewed a high-school junior working behind the counter named Orlando Pace.

via The Ballad of Big Mike – New York Times

First to the Ball

Sunday, February 5th, 2006

New York Times Magazine (February 5, 2006)

Willie Wood was never the fastest defensive back on the field, but he was often the first to the ball. He was never given a fixed assignment; he really was a free safety. During a game, he felt like the quarterback of the Packers’ defense. His gift was for making judgments (about the flow of the play, the weaknesses of his teammates, the strengths of his opponents) and turning them into big hits and interceptions. The Packers listed him at 5-feet-10 and 190 pounds, but he weighed only 175. He made up for the missing pounds with instinct and need.

via First to the Ball – New York Times

Coach Leach Goes Deep, Very Deep

Sunday, December 4th, 2005

New York Times Magazine (December 4, 2005)

A sound: of surgical tape ripping, as Texas Tech’s quarterback, Cody Hodges, affixed to his wrist a piece of laminated paper listing all the plays he might run tonight. Four years ago, Hodges was a high-school senior with just one other offer to be a college quarterback, from the University of Wyoming. Now, two-thirds of the way through the 2005 N.C.A.A. football season, and with a throwing arm so dead that he required a cortisone shot to move it, Hodges was the nation’s leader in yards passed, total offense and touchdowns. Three weeks earlier, against a competent Kansas State defense, he threw for 643 yards and, had Coach Leach not pulled him in the fourth quarter, might well have broken the N.C.A.A. record for passing yards in a single game (716).

via Coach Leach Goes Deep, Very Deep – New York Times

Absolutely, Power Corrupts

Sunday, April 24th, 2005

New York Times Magazine (April 24, 2005)

He could live with being the least likely player on the field to hit the ball over the wall; what drove him nuts was the thought of bigger players using drugs to widen the power gap even further between him and them. The season before, he’d actually watched some hulking bomber taking batting practice hit a high fly ball to the warning track, turn to a teammate and, referring to a steroid, say, ”One cycle of Deca and that’s out.” And he had no doubt that the slugger would make sure that, next time, the ball left the park.

via The New York Times > Magazine > Absolutely, Power Corrupts

The Eli Experiment

Sunday, December 19th, 2004

New York Times Magazine (December 19, 2004)

When Eli was a star quarterback at the University of Mississippi, Montgomery recalls, Archie would drive up from his home in New Orleans to see his son play at the school where he once filled the same role himself. Ole Miss fans still speak of these visits as a Roman Catholic might speak of a trip by the pope. There are streets in Oxford, Miss., named for Archie Manning, halls devoted to his memory, ballads written and actually sung to commemorate Archie Manning. The speed limit on the Ole Miss campus is Archie’s old number, 18. Archie played games in the late 1960’s that they still talk about.

Yet so far as anyone could tell, Eli hadn’t read his Scripture — hadn’t even bothered to skim the Cliff Notes. Archie can recall Eli wanting to discuss his legendary performances only once: ”When he called me after he got to Ole Miss and said he came across my stats in the media guide, and that they weren’t very good.”

via The New York Times > Magazine > The Eli Experiment

Coach Fitz's Management Theory

Sunday, March 28th, 2004

New York Times (March 28, 2004)

A few people, and a few experiences, simply refuse to be trivialized by time. There are teachers with a rare ability to enter a child’s mind; it’s as if their ability to get there at all gives them the right to stay forever. I once had such a teacher. His name was Billy Fitzgerald, but everybody just called him Coach Fitz.

via Coach Fitz’s Management Theory – New York Times

The Trading Desk

Sunday, March 30th, 2003

New York Times (March 30, 2003)

This article is adapted from ”Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game,” published in May 2003 by W.W. Norton & Co.

The next day, when Billy Beane sits upright in his office, a few yards from Oakland’s Coliseum, he faces a wall covered entirely by a white board and, on it, the names of the several hundred players controlled by the Oakland A’s. Mike Magnante’s name is still on that board. Swiveling around to his rear, he faces another white board with the names of the nearly 1,200 players on other major league rosters. Ricardo Rincon’s name is on that board. At this point in the year Beane doesn’t really need to look at these boards to make connections; he knows every player on other teams that he wants, and every player in his own system that he doesn’t want. The trick is to persuade other teams to buy his guys for more than they are worth and to sell their guys for less than they are worth.

via The Trading Desk – New York Times