Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saturday 08/15 (Very) Quickie

What? No Harvin last night for the Vikings? Dud.

(But not a bigger dud than Kyle Orton. PLUS a leg injury to Knowshon?)

The Mark Sanchez Bandwagon is off to a good start.

MLB: Maybe the Rays should have considered adding Halladay... Felix Pie!... Adam Wainwright is a big reason the Cards are contenders... Derrek Lee!...

Worst Cubs Fan Ever Johnny Maccione wants to apologize. Should have thought of that before he acted like such a d'bag.

Lot of discussion about that column by Gene Woj about how he'd never watch baseball again if he found out Derek Jeter ever used performance enhancers.

OK Gene: Ask Jeter if he ever used amphetamines -- including souped-up "coffee" or "power" bars -- even before they were outlawed by MLB. Hard to believe he didn't, especially before they were against the rules. But they are now -- why? Because they are performance enhancers.

Anyway, pretty quiet morning. If you missed the Tebow birthday crazy over at yesterday, check that out.

-- D.S.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday 08/14 Quickie: Vick, Vick, Vick,
Brady, Tiger, Lee, Arroyo, Madden

OK, so let's talk about Vick.

But first let's stipulate: 99 percent of fans have already gotten past the "why is he allowed back/don't sign him" thing. The questions were "when" and "where" not "if" and why."

The reality is that the Eagles were about as good of a landing-spot for Vick as possible -- a brilliant move for the team, as I lead in today's SN column:

*Complementary skills.
*Contending team's cred.
*Veteran leadership.
*Secure starting QB/possible mentor.
*No-nonsense coach.
*"Love-'em-if-they're-ours" fan base that will intimidate the earnest fans into accepting this.

The angles are unlimited:
*Will the Eagles adopt any Wildcat formations?
*What's the fantasy impact?
*How many people will buy a No. 7 Vick Eagles jersey?
*Will protesters hit the radar at all?
*Will the Philly media implode?
*December 6: Eagles at Falcons. Good god.

This story is only beginning. But I would say it is off to as good of a start for Vick as possible.

The irony is that even without Vick, this was a pretty big sports morning:

*Release of Madden -- I'm more of a "Wii" gamer than "Xbox" person.
*Tom Brady's 09 debut: Very solid, but entirely overshadowed by Vick.
*The Redskins are terrible. The Cowboys lost to the Raiders.
*Weekend in NFL: New QBs in new places... plus HARVIN!
*No, really: Cliff Lee should win the NL Cy Young!
*Bronson Arroyo's response to MLB: 2-hitter!
*Wrigley d'bag: Turns self in!
*Landon Donovan has swine flu!
*Michael Phelps was in a car accident!
*The IOC hates women almost as much as Whitlock does!
*Tiger has basically already won the PGA!

But I suspect that we will be continuing to talk about Vick today, all weekend and -- yes -- all fall.

(For great Vick p.o.v.'s, try Deadspin's Daulerio, 700Level's Campitelli and OntheDL's Levy. Not trying to dis other folks with a smart Philly perspective. Add others in the comments.)

Complete SN column here. More later.

-- D.S.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Daily Quickie Had This Down in 2003

The "attention economy" rules. That's why I built the Daily Quickie to demand -- at most -- 1-2 minutes of your time, not just in function but in premise.

It wasn't just that you could digest the Quickie in 2 minutes -- it is that when you looked at it, you understood (and perhaps valued) that you could digest it in 2 minutes.

It had actual fast-acting utility, but it also had the perception of fast-acting utility. PTI had the same thing. Blogs, too. Twitter. YouTube and even Hulu's 15-second pre-roll ads.

The other thing was that where most traditional media companies think their job is to take as much "mind share" as possible, I was very modest in my goals: "Just give me 2 minutes."

Actually, there is a back half to that: "Just give me 2 minutes... and I promise that I will make it worth your while. I will try to make this the most valuable 2 minutes of your sports-media day."

(Interesting tidbit: I really did build the Quickie to be consumed in 60-120 seconds, by design. The average time spent on the Quickie? Around 4 minutes.)

Nearly seven years later, obviously, the qualities that made the Quickie successful (by no means originating with the Quickie) have spread throughout media. Today, the Quickie is much closer to what consumers want and how they consume than your standard long-form column.

Hmm: Just realized we are right around the 7-year anniversary of my original Quickie pitch to Wow. Cripes, we've navigated some water under the bridge since then, haven't we?

-- D.S.

Obama Ball: Basketball 33, Hockey 1

Politico did an analysis of every word uttered in a speech, remark or news conference by President Obama since he took office.

As noted in the article, he has mentioned "basketball" 33 times... but "hockey" only once. (Hockey fans shouldn't be offended, the 33 for hoops is more than "gay" and "abortion" combined.)

-- D.S.

2009 Daily Quickie Readers Pick 'Em Groups Set Up For NFL and College Football

It's back! The original and the best -- or best. group. ever.: The Daily Quickie Readers group for both the Pigskin (NFL) Pick 'Em and College Pick 'Em.

No password needed. Just find the group name "Daily Quickie Readers" and join in. Winner gets my lifetime admiration and the right to create the post of their choosing at

Pigskin Pick 'Em group here

College Pick 'Em group here.

Hope to see you in there!

-- D.S.

Thursday 08/13 Quickie: Expectations,
Pedro, Pitino, Vick, ND, USC, Tyler, More

Nearing 3 years now -- and in the Daily Quickie before that -- a running theme of this blog has been the importance of expectations management.

It is even arguable that it is the most powerful force in sports.

Without a tremendously strong lead story today for today's SN column -- just couldn't get 250-words excited about Pitino or Pedro or the PGA -- it felt like we had at least a half-dozen strong examples of expectations at work:

*Pedro: Classic expectations management. He was just fine. And that is a huge win for Philly.

*Pitino: Apologize "quickly" (after 6 years of lying). Critics may gripe, but the school isn't doing anything to him. I mean, come on: Mark Sanford still has a job.

*Tiger at the PGA: Anything less than a championship is a failure.

*Vick: James Brown was totally softening up folks for the results of his "hard-hitting" (please) interview running on Sunday.

*Vick, Cont'd: Teams are waiting for the Big Redemption meme to kick in on Monday morning; at that point, you should see a couple teams angling -- publicly -- to land him.

*Tom Brady: Playing tonight! But probably for, like, three snaps.

*Notre Dame: This may have inspired the entire lead today. Joe Montana thinks that expectations are too high for Notre Dame to be a national-level contender.

He's right, of course: The team, especially under Weis, is mediocre. Montana blames the academic standards -- HA HA HA...oh, please -- but the fact is, Notre Dame enjoys more brand advantages than any team in college football. At least, until they start being mediocre enough that 17-year-old recruits' oldest memory of ND is them being mediocre. That's happening now.

Can you imagine Urban Meyer accepting low expectations for Notre Dame? Even at Florida -- simply being a fan of ND -- Meyer is probably throwing up in his mouth a little.

If Notre Dame has no aspirations -- or expectations -- of being a national powerhouse, year in and year out, they have no business enjoying the perks of being part of the BCS -- that clearing some minimum (but apparently too-high-for-Weis) hurdle of wins automatically puts them in the BCS, while non-BCS teams that would wax ND struggle to get BCS traction.

It is all summed up in the way I distilled Montana's new slogan for his alma mater: "Play like a bowl-eligible team today."

Tons more in the column -- it's actually fairly loaded. Including:
*Why Matt Barkley might steal Aaron Corp's job at USC.
*Why Jeremy Tyler is better off in Israel than college.
*Why Florida's schedule isn't as puffy as critics say.
*Why the Angels are quietly the best team in the AL.

And a lot more. Complete column here. More later, including...links for this year's Daily Quickie Readers groups of the Pigskin Pick 'Em AND the College Pick 'Em!

-- D.S.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

1995 Northwestern: Best Season Ever

Hat-tip to Holly at Yahoo's Dr. Saturday for this late-day post about Northwestern's run in 1995. I cannot believe it has been 14 years.

Not to be lost in my mid-life adoption of Florida -- understatement -- is that Northwestern's run in 1995 remains (and will always be) the greatest sports moment of my life as a fan.

Maybe that justifies all the more the frustration some seem to feel about my Florida fandom (or my seeming abandonment of Northwestern) -- I can appreciate that.

But that run from beating Notre Dame in South Bend in September 1995 through the Rose Bowl on January 1, 1996 is the kind of experience I hope every fan gets to have some day about their team.

-- D.S.

Book Club: Stefan Fatsis "A Few Seconds of Panic" (Now In Paperback!)

One of my favorite sports books of all time is now in paperback: "A Few Seconds of Panic," by Stefan Fatsis.

You can check out my post about the book from last summer here. Really, I can understand if you didn't buy it in hardback -- but in cheaper paperback? It's a no-brainer.

In a lot of ways, it is the ultimate football book. On the one hand, it is Fatsis' experience trying to be a part of the team as a kicker. It's like if your buddy was trying out (and could write a blue streak to describe it.) I'm not sure there has ever been access on an NFL team like this.

On the other hand, it is an in-depth examination of life in the NFL -- actually, not just life in the NFL, but life in the NFL at the margins, which is SO much more interesting (and terrifying) than the life of the superstars. Frankly, it made me feel better for NOT being in the NFL.

The paperback edition is updated with the news that has made the Broncos one of the most talked-about teams of the offseason: Canning Shanahan and trading Cutler.

Fatsis is one of the best sportswriters in America, this story (and the way it is told) is riveting, and this book has a place on my "Best Books I've Ever Read" shelf.

It's out in paperback! Buy it!

-- D.S.

SB Nation Makes a Strong Move:
Partners With EDSBS, Spencer Hall

Of all of the partnerships that SB Nation has created with individual bloggers, none is as important or high-profile as bringing in Every Day Should Be Saturday.

Not only is EDSBS the leading (and most influential) indie college football blog, but proprietor Orson Swindle (aka Spencer Hall) is one of the Top 5 college football writers in the country, blog or otherwise.

If that is how SB Nation is going to be using their new investment money, it is cash well-spent. Between the EDSBS deal and SBN's distribution relationship with Yahoo, SBN continues to make impressive moves in '09.

It is worth noting that SBN also imported the talented Eamonn Brennan to be an editor -- Brennan writes The Dagger college hoops blog for Yahoo. Apparently, he will continue to do so.

If things are that chummy between Yahoo and SBN, the partners would be smart to incent Hall to write for Y! Sports, too, which will be mutually beneficial.

All best to Hall on the move (he will be missed at Sporting News). Congrats to SBN on the deal. No details of the financials to share, but feel free to speculate irresponsibly.

-- D.S.

(Ironic: A year ago this week, SB Nation's leading college football blogger -- Matt Hinton of Sunday Morning QB -- left SBN to become Yahoo's lead college football blogger.)

Wednesday 08/12 Quickie: Pitino,
US Soccer, Youk, Pedro, Chargers, Vick

It is hard to decide who will have the worse Wednesday -- Rick Pitino, as he deals with the fall-out from the whole "thing," or US Soccer, which may get beat down in Mexico this afternoon.

As I lead in today's SN column, at least US Soccer provides us with yet another weekday-afternoon diversion -- nothing beats important sports events during the work day.

Maybe Rick Pitino can convince the media horde to stop following him and watch the soccer.

More you'll find in today's column:
*Unsurprisingly, Vick not going to Ravens.
*Unsurprisingly, Vick still doesn't take responsibility.
*The Chargers have no use for the Wildcat, apparently.
*Can Leon Powe guard Dwight Howard? No.
*Tiger owns the PGA.

Complete SN column here. Couple of posts coming shortly.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Leitch, Daulerio Pinch-Hit for Dan Patrick

Did you catch Deadspin's Will Leitch and AJ Daulerio subbing in for Dan Patrick this morning on his radio show?

Here is the power of expectations: Given that the duo had never hosted a radio show before -- let alone the most prominent national radio show in the country -- they did incredibly well.

No, I am not blowing smoke -- something like that is really hard, and they actually pulled it off.

The signature moment was the interview with Jason Whitlock -- on-again/off-again Deadspin critic -- and the whole thing was fairly chummy and reasonable. (Would have liked just a wee bit more conflict, but the notion of the three of them talking live was enough.)

The interview with Tim Cowlishaw was another highlight, although I would have liked to see them ask Tim -- since he himself put it on the table as an issue -- whether he thinks he has a drinking problem. If he says he does, the logical question is: "And you don't think you need help?" If he says he doesn't, his column was disingenuous at best and a cry for help at worst.

I think it helped to have a pro's pro guest like Richard Deitsch lead things off, and they benefited from the steady hand of DP executive producer "Mr. Paulie."

And I loved that they were able to bring on Michael Schur (aka Ken Tremendous of Fire Joe Morgan).

On a relatively slow sports day, they had a couple of fun ongoing topics: What would you ask Mike Vick? (Who should interview Mike Vick?) What's on your sports bucket list?

The instant reviews on Twitter were (mostly) favorable -- I would be curious to hear what DP's average listeners in non-blog/non-Twitter country were thinking about it.

One piece of constructive advice for their next guest-hosting stint -- and they deserve one, either on DP's show or elsewhere -- I love listening to Will wax, but who else wants to hear more AJ?

-- D.S.

Q&A w/ New York Times About Tebow Blog

As if the New York Times' Quad blog wasn't already on your must-read list every day for college football news and analysis, this morning they published a Q&A with me about

Among the burning issues covered:

*A site dedicated to Tim Tebow? Really?
*Is "Tebow fatigue" for real or a myth?
*What are my expectations for Tebow this season?
*Do I ever plan to do any actual, y'know, "reporting?"
*Do I think Tim Tebow reads

The answers will astound you. (Well, they won't astound you. But they might shed some light on the whole project.) Check it out here.

My sincere thanks to Connor Ennis and the Quad team for their interest in the blog, not to mention their tolerance of my long-winded answers.

The New York Times joins a crowded TimTeblog coverage bandwagon, including:

*Yahoo's Dr. Saturday! (via Holly!)
*'s Richard Deitsch!
*ESPN's Bruce Feldman!
*Deadspin's Dash Bennett!
*With Leather's Josh Zerkle!
*St. Pete Times' Antonya English!
*Palm Beach Post's Ben Volin!

If you want to talk about TimTeblog for your college football or sports-media coverage, just ping me via email.

-- D.S.

Tuesday 08/11 Quickie: Summer Dog Days,
Tulo, Pedro, Tiger, Vick, RichRod, More

Yeesh: Today was a classic "dog day" of August in sports. (No, really, I had to lean on that kind of "meta" nonsense as the lead of today's SN column.)

It's not that there weren't headlines:

*Tulowitzki hits for the cycle.
*The Red Sox get off the schneid.
*Pedro pitching Wednesday.
*The PGA messes with Tiger.
*Kane cabbie says no big deal.
*RichRod under fire on Day 1, Year 2.
*Florida's schedule isn't cupcakey.
*Vick's redemption culminates on "60 Min"
*Kurt Rambis vs. Ricky Rubio
*Lots more.

For now, I'm working on some other posts for here, for Teblog and maybe even for Varsity Dad today. Oh, and listening to Daulerio and Leitch fill in for Dan Patrick.

Complete SN column here. More later.

-- D.S.

Monday, August 10, 2009

ESPN Testing Twitter Coverage

This was a very cool experiment, and not just because I like a starting five of Simmons, Neyer, Stark, Kull and Nelson.

On its face, I could have just followed those five via Twitter, but the CoverItLive app allows for user comments, polls, ESPN Stats adds and a bit of narrative flow.

At first, my reaction was: Hmm, aren't they giving away valuable commentary But in a very disposable live event, this is a terrific model.

(And if they really want extra mileage out of it, they could curate the "Best-Of" tweets from the live event, put them in an article template and publish it this morning, for those who missed it.)

-- D.S.

(h/t: Mediaite's Steve Krakauer)

Online-Offline Balance Is The New Work-Life Balance

As someone who gets up early in the morning to go online -- and, yes, as someone whose online habits have sometimes (OK: regularly) impacted my attention and time for my kids in the morning -- I cannot judge parents who spend a lot of time online in the early morning.

I will say that "online-offline balance" feels like the new "work-life balance." I think this NYT story today just legitimizes something that has already been going on.

Again, it's not necessarily bad -- unless you are spending your entire early morning focusing on your fantasy team and Twitter stream, rather than parenting your kids.

I will suggest what I have tried to do: Get up 15 minutes earlier -- you'd be shocked at how much online consumption you can get done before your kids need your attention.

If you want to discuss, head over to Varsity Dad.

-- D.S.

(If you don't have kids, of course, you have all of your time to yourself, anyway.)

Jay Mariotti Moves From AOL To Tribune

Deadspin had this weeks ago, but SBB seems to confirm: Jay Mariotti is going to the Chicago Tribune.

Jay, what happened to all that talk about AOL being the future? About newspapers being in trouble?

In the end, I suspect that Jay didn't believe any of it, that his move to AOL was as cynical as it was self-serving and that he was lured back by the dwindling (but still very much perceived) cachet of the newspaper brand.

I have no doubt that the Trib will put Mariotti to work on its product -- online, the Trib has been getting beat by

But I suspect they will find out what AOL found out: In the relative meritocracy of online media, Mariotti simply wasn't worth the money. I wonder what kind of page views he will drive.

I also suspect that Mariotti will keep his daily TV gig with Around the Horn -- you know, the one job that Mariotti REALLY cares about.

I'll bet the Tribune even thinks that Mariotti's focus on TV will even help their newspaper brand. (Let's ask ESPNChicago, which can deploy Mariotti TV clips on their site.)

-- D.S.

Monday 08/10 Quickie: Red Sox, Yanks,
Titans, T.O., LeBron, Vick, Hamilton

Is it time for Red Sox fans to panic? Not in the least.

Today's SN column tries to soothe what will undoubtedly be a media-driven hysteria about the state of the Red Sox.

For starters, the Red Sox are still leading for the AL Wild Card. (Yes, they are now tied with Texas, but still.)

And all that matters is making the playoffs -- winning the division has been marginalized by the Wild Card, at least in the AL East.

There are 52 games left in the season for Boston -- more than enough to stay ahead of the Rangers and Rays.

Look ahead to the last 7 games of the season: The Sox play the Jays and Indians -- both hopelessly out of playoff contention -- at Fenway.

The sweep was humiliating, but -- really -- who cares about humiliation? Stay focused on the next 52 games -- and the Wild Card.

Meanwhile, more you'll find in today's column:
*TO's solid debut for the Bills.
*VY's iffy game for the Titans.
*David Ortiz's explanation: I really don't care, one way or the other.
*Josh Hamilton's humiliation: More pity than schadenfreude this time.
*LeBron: Wake up, Cavs fans!
*Vick: Tony Dungy and "the children" vs. Young Jeezy
*John Wall posterizes Jerry Stackhouse

It's a packed day. Here's the full column. More later.

-- D.S.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Sunday 08/09 (Very) Quickie

Aha, so THAT'S why the Yankees paid Sabathia so much. (Still: Doesn't mean anything until the playoffs.)

Josh Hamilton: I really want to shout "sanctimonious hypocrite!" but he really gets nothing but my pity. It's a hell of a disease he's battling.

David Ortiz leans on the "I was careless" excuse. "I was careless" is the new "I don't want to talk about the past."

Michael Vick does the single-most important thing he can possibly do to rehabilitate his reputation: Talk with kids about dog-fighting.

No, Ricky Rubio really won't be coming to play in the NBA next season.

Is Tim Tebow the greatest college football player ever? Is there ever a bad time to talk about it?

What was Patrick Kane thinking?

-- D.S.