Grantland’s One-Year Anniversary – Quickish’s Top 25 List

This list, from Dan Shanoff’s inimitable and essential Quickish (other than my little bits of course) is full of awesome stuff. All of them are great pieces, but I particularly recommend all the ones on here from Brian Phillips and Tom Bissell. I’m just honored to be a small piece of such a great group:

Grantland 1-Year Anniversary Greatest Hits Top 25

Today is the one-year anniversary of Grantland’s launch. After looking through the handy Quickish archive of Grantland tips, here is an assuredly incomplete list of the 25 best sports things the site has published, with designations appropriate for the occasion:

“Rushmore” — Four Things People Think About When They Think of Grantland:

“Growing Up Penn State” (Michael Weinreb)
“B.S. Report: Barack Obama” (Bill Simmons)
“The Importance of Ichiro” (Jay Caspian Kang)
“The Malice at the Palace: An Oral History” (Jonathan Abrams)

“Pantheon” — 10 More Things People SHOULD Think About When They Think of Grantland:

“The Garden of Good and Evil” (Katie Baker)
“The Future is Now” (Chris Brown)
“The Fiberglass Backboard” (Bryan Curtis)
“The Greatest Paper That Ever Died” (Alex French And Howie Kahn)
“Wilt vs. Elgin” (Dave McKenna)
“The Rise of the NBA Nerd” (Wesley Morris)
“The Long Autumn of Roger Federer” (Brian Phillips)
“Tim Tebow: Converter of the Passes” (Brian Phillips)
“James Brown’s Augusta” (Wright Thompson)
“Occasional Dispatches From the Republic of Anhedonia” (Colson Whitehead)

“Also Receiving Votes” — 11 Other Things That Represented the Grantland Ideal:

“The Murder of Tayshana Murphy” (Jonathan Abrams)
“A Requiem for the Dream Team in Philly” (Bill Barnwell)
“Madden and the Future of Video Game Sports” (Tom Bissell)
“Ode to the War Daddies” (Chris Brown)
“What Would the End of Football Look Like?” (Tyler Cowen)
“An Evening With Jose Canseco” (Bryan Curtis)
“Three Man Weave” (Chuck Klosterman)
“A Fighter Abroad” (Brian Phillips)
“Soccer’s Heavy Boredom” (Brian Phillips)
“Novak Djokovic: The Shot and the Confrontation” (Brian Phillips)
“Oden on Oden” (Mark Titus)

 

Ray Bradbury has passed away

Sad news. I was never a big science fiction fan but I always loved Bradbury’s work, and even more than that I love his raw gusto for the act of writing. He described this in his short book, Zen in the Art of Writing, which is a must read for any person who has ever tried to put words on a page, and has both struggled with it and loved it at the same time. Bradbury was a firm believer in just a few things, but among them were doing what you loved and writing every single day. He wrote Fahrenheit 451 at the UCLA library on typewriters he rented for ten cents every half hour.

My favorite Bradbury story involved his writing of the screenplay for a film adaptation of Moby Dick, to be directed by John Huston and star Gregory Peck. Bradbury struggled with the writing; indeed, he struggled with just getting through Moby Dick. Until finally the dam broke:

It was seven o’clock in the morning.’

“I awoke and stared at the ceiling as if it were about to plunge down on me, an immense whiteness of flesh, a madness of unblinking eye, a flounder of tail. I was in a terrible state of excitement. I imagine it was like those moments we hear about before an earthquake, when the dogs and cats fight to leave the house, or the unseen and unheard tremors shake the floor and beams, and you find yourself held ready for something to arrive but you’re damned if you know what.’

“I am Herman Melville.”

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Smart Links – Approval Matrix, Phil Steele, Illiteracy, Food Trucks – 6/4/2012

My radio hit with Doug Farrar and Rob Rang.

- Iceberg lettuce remains in its rightful place while something else is surely mislabeled.

- The greatest 7-on-7 team ever.

- A great — and depressing — article.

- Phil Steele ranks the SEC’s coaches.

- What an article on bankruptcy looks like when the author has clearly never read through an actual bankruptcy docket.

- The globalization of food trucks. A good thing, in my view.

- George Soros’s buzzworthy speech on the euro and the Cliff’s Notes version.

- MLB and boy shorts.

Change Your Life for the Better: Coffee Time

I’m not a coffee “guru” or aficionado or any kind of expert, but I am one important thing: an addict. I also have little patience for exotic brewing techniques, though I also frequently burn my coffee on the old-school Mr. Coffee brewer and generally get annoyed. That is, that was the case until I found the solution: The Clever Coffee Dripper. Forgive me for this (entirely unsolicited commercial), but I assure you that the quality (and quantity) of my caffeine intake is not unrelated to this website.

The device is simple, which is what I like about it. It’s literally just a cup that has a gravity held seal at the bottom; you insert a filter into the top along with hot water, and then put the dripper on top of a cup and — voila — you have coffee in your cup, and the grinds are easy to throw away. This all sounds shockingly silly and simple until one remembers the great lengths (and often expense) of brewing decent coffee. (And often the expense of brewing mediocre or bad coffee is even greater, given that Keurig machines cost around $200 bucks and your per-coffee cost hovers just shy of a dollar per cup. (Link is to a PDF.)) Here is a quick video showing how simple this little guy is:

So I highly recommend this (this post is purely out of my affection for this thing, as I am currently drinking a cup of its product), and much of my recent content, going back to the fall, can be credited in part to this device. You can check it out here, though if you Google for it you can find additional information elsewhere.

Dick LeBeau shows you how to form tackle (sort of)

An in-game demonstration from the great Steelers (and here, former Bengals) defensive coordinator, versus the old Run and Shoot Houston Oilers:

On pseudo “Scoutspeak”

One 240-pound athlete who can move like a hungry leopard is pretty much like all the others, a fact that cannot be allowed to stand between the motivated draftnik and that coveted senior draft analyst title. Luckily, there is Scoutspeak, a language designed to baffle laymen with submolecular analysis of every high-cut, sudden prospect who can high-point, bucket step and take proper angles but gets upright, runs with poor lean, and fails to syncopate his duodenum while percolating the jabberwocky.

Every Scoutspeak term does correspond with some real physical attribute, and true experts like Mayock can pepper their explanations with jargon without delving into non-Newtonian football minutiae. Others use Scoutspeak to conceal ignorance. The Paradox of Draft Analysis states that the more detailed the observations about a prospect’s kinesiology, the less likely the writer-speaker is to have ever seen the prospect play football.

That’s Mike Tanier writing at the Fifth Down. Read the whole thing.

Not what the game is about

According to the investigation, the players regularly contributed cash into a pool and received improper cash payments of two kinds from the pool, based on their play in the previous week’s game.

Williams administered the program with the knowledge of other defensive coaches and occasionally contributed funds, according to the league investigation.

Payments were made for plays such as interceptions and fumble recoveries. But the program also included “bounty” payments for “cart-offs,” meaning that the opposing player was carried off the field, and “knockouts,” meaning that the opposing player was not able to return.

The investigation showed that the total amount of funds in the pool may have reached $50,000 or more at its height during the 2009 playoffs. The program paid players $1,500 for a “knockout” and $1,000 for a “cart-off,” with payouts doubling or tripling during the playoffs.

“The payments here are particularly troubling because they involved not just payments for ‘performance,’ but also for injuring opposing players,” Goodell said in a statement. “The bounty rule promotes two key elements of NFL football: player safety and competitive integrity.”

Read the full report.

When Keeping It Real in the World of Warcraft Goes Wrong

Not football, but I found this rather, ah, dramatic:

Following a dispute over stolen “gold” in an online video game, Trevor Lucas devised an incredibly detailed and disturbing plan over the course of a year and a half to get revenge on the would-be “thief,” CG, a minor living with his mother in Wisconsin. Lucas discovered CG’s home address, drove twenty hours to CG’s home, and impersonated a law enforcement officer in an attempt to lure CG out of the house and kidnap him. When CG’s mother refused to allow Lucas into the house, he attempted to gain entry by pointing a handgun directly at her face. But CG’s mother quickly slammed the front door before he could react, and Lucas fled while she called police. He was eventually arrested in his home state of Massachusetts. Lucas pled guilty to brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence and the district court sentenced him to 210 months’ imprisonment. He now appeals his sentence, presenting a barrage of arguments claiming the district court committed error at sentencing and the sentence was substantively unreasonable. We find none of these contentions meritorious, and accordingly affirm Lucas’s sentence.

You can find the entire opinion here. The whole thing is troubling:
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Happy Valentine’s Day from Vince Lombardi

Sort of, though he knew how take care of the ladies:

H/t CoachHuey.

Smart Links – Conference Realignment, Pass Rushing, Jim Harbaugh on QBs, Madden, Derek Parfit, “Bob” – 1/19/2012

Beginner’s guide to conference realignment. Below is catlab’s take:

- Pass rush, thinking about the big picture.

- Jim Harbaugh on quarterbacking.

- Tom Bissell on Madden and the future of video game sports.

- Defensive line play in the 46 Nickel.

- “Bob,” R.I.P.

- Steve Spurrier’s coach hiring criteria: No smokers and no sloppy fatties.

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