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The SportsThink Weekly Review #39
March 19, 2021
Hello and welcome to the thirty-ninth edition of the Weekly Review! I think Dominik Hasek wore #39, but the most legendary player to wear it is probably Larry Csonka. If you’re around my age, Csonka was the color commentator on the original American Gladiators, which is still one of the best shows ever (dun du du dun dun dah dah dah daahh). For good measure, the hall of fame fullback also won a couple Super Bowls and was part of the only undefeated team in NFL history, the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Trivia heads will note that Csonka also played for the Memphis Southmen of the World Football League.
And now, on to the content!
But First…A Big Announcement!
I am thrilled to announce the inaugural Playing the Long Game conference, a symposium dedicated to the future of the sports industry. I have been working on this event for several months, in coordination with my co-organizer, Jim Rooney, of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Rooney Consulting, and we are extremely excited for the event. We’ll kick things off with a keynote conversation with former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue (!!!) on April 12th. We’ll then have 4 panels spread over the the 13th and 15th, covering a range of topics from, sports after COVID to the ongoing challenges of diversity and culture in the sports workplace. We’ve got an awesome slate of panelists from the NFL, MLS, NBA, academia, and more. While this is a student-centered event, hosted by the UT Sport Management program, I think there’ll be something for everyone interested in the future of sports.
Best of all, it’s free and open to the public (via Zoom)! Full details are available here, I’d really appreciate it if you’d register and try to attend. And if you could share it with other folks who might be interested, that would mean the world to me.
Alright, NOW on to the content!
Inside the Lines: My Favorite Sports Reads of The Week
Sobering Up After the Seventh Inning: Alcohol and Crime Around the Ballpark, by Jonathan Click and John McDonald, via the Journal of Quantitative Criminology. I don’t share too many academic journal articles, but this is a cool study. The authors are pretty ingenious, using the 7th inning beer cutoff as a natural experiment to study crime rates. Not to give it all away, but here’s the conclusion: The findings provide further support for environmental theories of crime that note the congregation of people in places with excessive alcohol consumption is a generator of violent crime in cities. The consumption of alcohol in MLB stadiums appears to increase crime.
The Crazy Baseball Team That Lets Fans Catch Foul Balls for Outs, by Jason Gay, via the Wall Street Journal. God, I love Minor League Baseball. On the wonderfully named Savannah Bananas and their efforts to keep things interesting. Related: here’s SI’s Tom Verducci on MLB’s ongoing struggle to deal with the pace of play.
Three March Madness reads. Here’s Alan Blinder in the NYT on tournament players trying to use the spotlight to pressure the NCAA for progressive change. The fact that currently active players are speaking out is a pretty big deal and a sign of progress in and of itself. If you’re asking “who the hell is Grand Canyon University?” this piece from Sportico does a nice job explaining how a for-profit school evolved into a ‘non-profit’ tournament team. Oh, and you can buy stock in the university, sort of. Finally, with the entire tournament taking place in Indiana this year, here’s the always excellent Pat Forde on the legendary days of ‘Hoosier Hysteria’ and the high school basketball craziness that was the Indiana state tournament. Bourbon makes an appearance.
Jackals: How To Survive in the Underworld of Professional Basketball, by Hugo Lindgren, via GQ Sports and the Victory Journal. More basketball, but in a decidedly different way. Truly excellent piece.
There is Only One Death, by Eric Nusbaum and Adam Villacin, via Sports Stories. As regular readers know, this is my favorite sports newsletter, by far. These guys regularly dig deep for forgotten or seldom-told tales and this story on Matilde Moisant is another great example of their work. Come for the stories of the crazy early days of aviation, stay for the trivia answer to “why is MSY the New Orleans airport code?”
Keeping Up With The Sports Page
Tweets of the Week
Love to see the social media callouts for the unequal treatment of the women’s tournament players.
Here’s Oregon star Sedona Prince and the women’s “weight room” that looks like it was borrowed from Days Inn at the San Antonio airport.
And let’s not forget all the great swag the athletes get. Why do the guys need 4 deodorants? And it’s not really my place to comment, but what do you do with one (1) tampon?
And one more.
As always, thank you for reading. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re having trouble accessing any articles, happy to send them directly your way. And, if you’re enjoying the newsletter, please consider sharing it with someone else who might like it.
See you next week,