Friday, August 22, 2014

8/22 Friday Mo'Ne Mania Quickie

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*Mo'Ne Mania: It's over. But she won't be forgotten -- the most iconic Little League player ever.

*NFL: The Eagles are going to be awesome to watch - easy pick to win NFC East.

*MLB: That's 10 straight wins for the Nats, most of which -- like last night -- have been walk-offs.

(Is it any coincidence that the night after he takes an extra 30 seconds to sign autographs for Gabe and Jonah that Denard Span scores the winning run? I don't think so.)

*Clayton Kershaw remains ridiculous. I wish I could buy MLB on-demand just to watch his starts.

*NBA: So the T'wolves are going to end up with Wiggins, Bennett and Thad Young. Not bad!

*Great weekend read: Tommy Tomlinson on Jared Lorenzen for ESPN.

*Simpsons marathon: Today's lineup includes "Homer At the Bat," the best sports-pop culture mash-up in TV history.

*Hey, Verizon FIOS: I'm a fan, but how about finally getting on board for SEC Network?

*Final weekday before the kids go back to school. Whew.

-- D.S.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

8/21 Thursday Mo'Ne Mania Quickie

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*Mo'Ne Davis Mania: 6 Ks, but tagged for a few runs that ultimately cost Philly the game vs. Nevada. They are in a must-win vs. equally desperate Chicago.

*Kevin Durant gets $265M offer from Under Armour: Would be shocked if Nike matched, and it's the most interesting endorsement/marketing deal in a generation -- since LeBron picked Nike, arguably. UA's offer reportedly includes paying for a rec center in the name of Durant's mom, but I'd also love to see Durant and UA collaborate on an early-stage investment fund.

*Parenting: I relayed this on Twitter last night, but I took Gabe and Jonah to the Nats game last night, and we were on pace to stick around for a complete game 2-0 win until Tyler Clippard gave up the tying runs in the 8th. We had to get going. So we listened to the rest of the game in the car ride home, which is its own novel experience for the kids -- it's dark, you're hurtling down the highway and the excitable baritone of the local play-by-play person is cutting through the void. Naturally, the Nats won in a walk-off in the bottom of the 9th, and the three of us capped the night by screaming our heads off along with WJFK's Charlie Slowes. Not quite as fun as being at the park for it, but not bad.

(Oh, also: We had pretty amazing seats - first row behind first base, directly to the right of the dugout and photographer well, and new fave Denard Span took a few minutes before the game to sign autographs for kids, including Gabe and Jonah. Hat-tip to the autograph-hounding teen who crashed our row for letting us borrow his Sharpie. Then, after the top of the 4th, Adam LaRoche flipped the inning-ending ball to Gabe -- Jonah and I were on the concourse getting him Dippin' Dots, obviously. The enthusiastic 9-year-old girl sitting directly behind Gabe -- dressed in near-full Nats uniform -- later got her own ball from Nats 1B coach Tony Tarasco, along with a T-shirt from the Nats cheerleaders, after me and her parents pointed frantically at her until the cheerleaders spotted her. Between the seats and the ball and the autographs, it's possible that at 8 and 5, Gabe and Jonah had the peak at-the-game experience they'll ever have.)

*College Football lead-up: The entire SB Nation college football preview section is worth consuming, but my favorite piece is Bill Connelly on how coaches rebuild programs. People are also rightfully loving the maps feature.

(Oh, and Ian Boyd on the evolution of the read-option is also pretty fascinating -- I immediately started thinking about how to incorporate "pop plays" into the 3rd-grade flag-football playbook.)

Other stuff that I was obsessed with yesterday:

*Vox Media editorial director Lockhart Steele -- one of the smartest people I know in media -- on "the retro-futuristic future of blogging" (including a generous promo of my new email newsletter).

*SI's Pete Thamel with a profile of DC AAU impresario/drug kingpin Curtis Malone, who I think is one of the most fascinating figures not just in DC sports, but nationally.

*Quartz's Zach Seward on why "Twitter is TV," which I'm directionally in agreement with (and 100% think it makes for a catchy phrase), but I think it's much more about "live" than "TV."

*Fantasy football: Matthew Berry's annual "Love/Hate" fantasy football advice column for I look forward to it every year.

-- D.S.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

8/19 Tuesday Manziel Middle Finger Quickie

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*Johnny Manziel gives the Redskins bench the finger: He has been in the league for, like, two weeks, and already Manziel is doing things that only add to his mythology. I'm not sure how worked up you can (or should) get over it -- it's so "Johnny being Johnny" as to be hilarious -- but it's the digit that is going to launch a million hours of #HotTakes today, that's for sure.

*From the absurd to the sublime: THIS is your winning moment of the day -- the New England (Rhode Island) Little League coach talking to his kids after they were knocked out of the LLWS last night. Wonderful.

*Phil Simms not saying the name "Redskins" on the air is the most seismic shift yet in the rhetorical battle over the name (from, frankly, an unlikely source).

I wonder if Simms will backtrack -- it's too prominent, and CBS is too invested in an NFL too invested in supporting Snyder. (That said: If there is no backtracking, by extension that means that both the CBS and NFL have tacitly approved of Simms' stand, which is its own thunderous statement.)

Peter King coming out against the name -- vowing not to use it -- a year ago was a big deal. So was Christine Brennan, who followed King by a few days. Slate not using it is consistent with Slate's values (if the opposite of a #slatepitch!).

I have argued from the start that the ultimate barrier isn't even ESPN, which is far more likely to give its personnel the choice over whether to conscientiously object or not, but the AP, as a style rule.

*Ohio State loses QB Braxton Miller: Depending on how long he is out, that's worth re-doing an AP or Coaches' Top 25 ballot before the season even starts; OSU goes from consensus favorite to go unbeaten and reach the playoff to hard-pressed to even win the Big Ten.

*Oklahoma is talented enough to get by without suspended 5-star freshman RB Joe Mixon, but securing a spot in the Playoff 4 will be decided at the margins. And at the margins, Mixon was a potential difference-maker.

*The clubhouse leader for best story of the NFL season has got to be that Jerry Jones' son had to physically yank a draft card saying "Johnny Manziel" out of his dad's hand before the elder Jones could turn it in to pick the QB. It's like the Yoink Heard 'Round the World.

*Annual tradition: Football Outsiders prepares one paragraph per NFL team for Deadspin. A great preview that you walk away from smarter.

-- D.S.

Monday, August 18, 2014

8/18 Monday Mo'Ne Mania Quickie

*Newsletter update: A few more days to become an initial subscriber to my new email newsletter. If you haven't yet, sign up here. It takes about 10 seconds.

*Mo'Ne Mania: I'm all in on Mo'Ne Davis. Best sports story of the year. (No, I'm not saying she's bigger than the World Cup. But, yes, I am saying she's the best story.)

*NFL Preseason: It feels like the entire weekend was an appetizer for Browns-Redskins tonight, or -- more accurately -- Manziel vs. RGIII (even though they likely won't play any concurrent snaps).

*If there was one takeaway from the weekend of NFL, it's a continuation of last week's theme of adulation for Chip Kelly -- he's so good, he even makes Mark Sanchez effective.

*College football polls: "Who's No. 1?" has never been less relevant. For a while, it was "Who's Nos. 1 and 2?" Now, it's "Who's Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 - and who is 5th through 8th?"

*Remainders: I was/am thinking about saving this for a newsletter idea, but this NYT column about "team sports taking over kids' lives" is screaming out for a simple remedy: "Be the parent."

-- D.S.