Sunday, August 31, 2014

8/31 College Football Kickoff Hangover Quickie

If the season ended today and based on quality of win (including who they played), these four teams would make my playoff ballot:

(1) Texas A&M
(2) Georgia
(3) Florida State
(4) North Dakota State

Next four:
Alabama
Oklahoma
Auburn
Oregon

 And here's my Heisman ballot:

(1) Kenny Hill
(2) Todd Gurley
(3) Marcus Mariota

Good start, Florida weather-cancellation aside.

-- D.S.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

8/29 Weekend Quickie

Republished from my new newsletter. To get it in your email in-box as soon as it's ready, subscribe here.

This weekend will kick off my 14th fall of Florida Gators football fandom.

I came by it honestly -- but not because I grew up in Florida or went to college there or had a parent who passed down the passion.

On the same first date in the summer of 2001 when I fell in love with my future wife, I fell in love with her football team.

What I found instantly addictive: The expectations -- championship or bust. (My expectations with her were slightly more modest -- just that we’d end up getting married. No biggie!)

Part of the appeal of college football is that at its highest level, it allows for merely a smidgen of error: “Every game counts.” Flukes derail contenders, but champions are not flukes.

Few teams manage to actually make it through a season unbeaten - that scrum of near-mint teams (plus gobs of cash) begat the four-team playoff system making its debut this season.

The margin of error is now slightly wider -- instead of 4 or 5 teams with a legit chance to win a national title, the pool is closer to double that.

One unintended consequence will be that, not unlike college basketball, teams will be celebrated for just making it to the (lowercase) final four, not only for winning the title.

That’s OK, though: At the core of college football fandom has always been expectations management (or mismanagement), whether that means “national champs” or “bowl-eligible.”

And if the wider playoff berth’s biggest and best outcome is that it expands the number of fans who will have myopically high expectations -- that’s an amazing outcome.*

* - Except when your team - cough - falls into a Swamp-sized rut.

*Kenny Hill: It’s an open question whether the Texas A&M QB - who had a break-out performance last night in A&M’s win at South Carolina - should be nicknamed “Kenny Football” or “Johnny Who?”

*Some worthwhile weekend reads, if you haven’t gotten to them yet from earlier this week:

"Jerry Football"
Don Van Natta, ESPN

"The Right Thing To Do vs. The State of Florida"
Michael Kruse, SBNation

"Confessions of a Fat Bastard"
Daniel Vaughn, Texas Monthly

"How to Be a Saint"
Kevin Van Valkenburg, ESPN

"Maybe the home page is alive after all"
Joseph Lichterman, NiemanLab

"The 60-Second Interview with The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson"
CapitalNewYork

"The Problem With the Black Cast Member on SNL"
Wesley Morris, Grantland

"The Glue"
Bryan Curtis, Grantland

Outtakes from SI's Kobe profile
Chris Ballard, Sports Illustrated
(Original story here.)

College football opening essay
Spencer Hall, SBNation

*What I’m watching on Saturday: Florida-Idaho and Northwestern-Cal are locked in as personal rooting interests, but keep your eye on Michigan’s rematch with App State to start the day, the late-afternoon Auburn-Arkansas grudge match (in which Auburn might score 70) and, in primetime, how defending-champ Florida State looks against a solid Oklahoma State.

*Last thought about expectations: Typically, I would say that it’s healthiest to have modest expectations about almost everything (including this email!), but it’s entirely OK to have a small, benign corner where you allow yourself to have irrationally high expectations (and the capacity to deal with the almost-inevitable disappointment). Talking to you, Alabama and Oregon fans.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

8/28 Newsletter Quickie

I published issue No. 2 of my new newsletter today -- never miss it by signing up at TinyLetter (it takes 10 seconds, max). It's coming along. I'm finding my footing. It's a work-in-progress, and probably will be for a few weeks, at least. I'd always like to make it a little faster.

I'll also probably start publishing it here, because why not? Here you go:

"Jerry, just remember: It's not a lie if you believe it."
-- George Costanza

Josh Shaw: This is the USC football fabulist (ne team captain) who claimed to have injured his ankles jumping from an upper-story balcony to save his drowning nephew -- to widespread, fevered acclaim -- only to reveal it was a lie.

The piece of this that fascinates me is not that the story turned out not to be true, but that given its uplifting, made-for-virality details, we all have been conditioned to assume it was true.

Why? As Shaw realized he would have to make up a fiction for himself, as he weighed the possibilities of believability, he decided on the most Upworthy-ish story possible. The most social story possible.

Our attention is fleeting -- we read a headline (yes, sometimes a bait-y one), we click a "like," we pass things along -- especially the feel-good stuff. That's not some cranky critique; that's how people have implicitly told us they want to consume.

This is the real "curiosity gap" -- in the moment, it didn't quite matter that it wasn't real; your Facebook feed, your favorite sports-news outlet, your in-person "did-you-hear" source made it real.

SeatGeek: The engine for finding tickets to sports and cultural events announced new $35 million funding, led by Accel, the same VC firm that led a similarly sized round in Vox Media a year ago. (I'm a fan of the product and the team, who organize the excellent On Deck Conference, which I participated in last year.)

But much of the enthusiasm is reserved for who ELSE was in the round: Peyton and Eli Manning. Nas. Carmelo Anthony (through his new VC fund). An owner of the Boston Celtics. Shane Battier. And, curiously, Stanford University Athletics. Athletes getting into early-stage investing is a pretty well-known thing at this point. But that last one -- Stanford Athletics -- feels like a harbinger, and other universities should be paying close attention.

With a free-market implosion pending for big-time college athletics, I could see more universities (who are almost all currently heavily invested in various funds, VC and otherwise) and their high-net-worth athletic departments leveraging their athletics cash flow and hedging their increasingly uncertain market positions by creating funds to invest in venture-backed early-stage companies that fit an athletic department's thesis of the future.

And if an athletic department doesn't have a thesis of the future yet, that better move up on the to-do list.

Speaking of innovation in ticketing: Re/code's Peter Kafka reports on Aziz Ansari's interesting way of using Twitter and texting to generate exclusive enthusiasm among his fans for upcoming shows. (Also: Ansari's partner is David Cho, publisher of Grantland and former GM of The Awl and all-around smart operator. I could see this working for a much wider range of entertainers and athletes.)

Parenting: If you pay your kid to do chores, this from the NYT's indispensable Ron Lieber is worth a read. (I adhere to Lieber's philosophy: We don't link kids' allowance to chores; chores are part of their responsibility as part of the family. The allowance is to help teach them financial literacy.)

Just in time for college football's kickoff tonight: Every year, Spencer Hall writes an essay to kick off the new college football season -- often only tangentially relating to college football. I look forward to it every August, and it never disappoints. This year's edition is no exception. "Sense has never made a dent in how people ****, drink, or watch football. They are inelastic ghosts with tin ears and large, bellowing mouths."

Now, I just need to get Verizon FIOS to allow me to watch the SEC Network in the out-of-SEC market that I live in.

And another fantastic football read: ESPN's Don Van Natta with a definitive profile of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Enjoy it this afternoon or save it for the weekend -- either way, put it on your list.

File away this quote: "If anything, we need to make it clear that you can use Twitter without tweeting." -- Adam Bain, Twitter president of global revenue and partnerships, on CNBC this morning (h/t @sdkstl)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday 8/27 Faves Quickie

*Finally broke the ice and published the first edition of my new email newsletter today. Sign up if you want it in your inbox. (I'm not quite sure why I wouldn't republish it here, too...)

*Mainly, I needed to just publish -- I was thinking WAY too much about it and WAY too concerned about it being profound or perfect (as if I have that capacity anyway).

*Anyway: What you'll find in today's email is a quick take on Twitch -- the money quote: "I'm not saying Twitch is the next ESPN; I'm saying Twitch looks a lot like the original ESPN."

*College football starts tonight, but things really feel like they get ramped up tomorrow night with A&M vs. South Carolina -- arguably the best game of the weekend. Get ready for the weekend via EDSBS.

*Best thing I've read so far today: Bill Barnwell on the mythology of the "It" factor in the NFL.

*And the best sports thing I read yesterday was Michael Kruse on Devaughn Darling.

-- D.S.

Monday, August 25, 2014

8/25 First Day of School Quickie

*Really had every intention of starting the new email newsletter today, but I underestimated that the First Day of School (Gabe 3rd, Jonah K) would KO my morning writing time. Still time to sign up in time to be there for issue 1.1!

*I might have talked about the first day of school, which was as emotionally mixed as ever -- especially with Jonah making the leap to elementary school.

*If you're curious, in our night-before-school Talk, we emphasize two very basic things to them: (1) Being friendly to EVERYONE (especially showing compassion for the students who are different/new/etc.) and (2) being a meaningful contributor to the class by showing respect to the teacher/classmates and trying their best.

*And, yes, we bought each kid a special back-to-school gift -- colorful Nike Elite basketball socks, which have been and remain THE fashion accessory for elementary school boys.

*I might have talked about the Quartz redesign, which I love. Their new "home page" is very Quickish-ish, which is affirming -- if (very) delayed gratification.

*I might have talked about Chris Collinsworth getting into early-stage media company investing, buying a chunk of ProFootballFocus, which is less a site for fans than a data analyst for teams.

*DraftKings raised $41M (!) to continue to dominate daily fantasy gaming (along with FanDuel) and they bought StarStreet, whose founder I first met during Quickish's very early days. Congrats to him.

*The most interesting thing I have read today is Gabe Sherman's piece in NY Mag on the decline of Time Inc., a piece that had me alternatingly snorting and smacking my forehead at executive decision-making over the past 20 years.

(Disclaimer: I was a Time-Warner employee at SI in 1998-99, working on the digital efforts - it shouldn't surprise you that Peter King was as forward-looking about it as anyone in the building, which is why he is publishing his own site right now and the rest of the place -- not SI, but Time Inc. -- is having trouble.)

*But, in thinking about it, I probably would have written about the timeless allure of the fantasy football draft (I have one tonight) and, maybe, how Gabe is ready to draft his own team.

-- D.S.


Friday, August 22, 2014

8/22 Friday Mo'Ne Mania Quickie

*Have you taken 10 seconds to sign up for my new email newsletter yet? Do it here.

*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 ESPN.com. 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.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday 8/15 Weekend Recommendations Quickie

*Would be thrilled if you wanted to sign up for my new email newsletter, if you haven't yet. It's super-simple - it takes about 10 seconds. Sign up here.

*Today's must-see TV: Mo'Ne Davis pitching for Philadelphia in the Little League World Series at 3 pm on ESPN (or watching on your WatchESPN app).

*Rob Manfred is the new MLB Commissioner: As expected. Beyond the standard labor issues that pop up every decade or so, he will preside over an inevitable evolution of the sport.

*NFL Preseason: I don't know why the Jaguars are being so strict about keeping Blake Bortles on the shelf this season -- beyond his own development, he looked pretty good last night.

(It's not like the Jaguars are making the playoffs this year. Would it be such a bad outcome if Bortles led them to a 2-win season and they ended up with a great draft prospect or a haul of picks from trading the pick so someone else could take Jameis Winston?)

*The launch of the SEC Network last night was everything you could want it to be, right down to giving Tim Tebow a birthday cake.

*The single-best way you can spend $1 today or this weekend is to pick up the e-book version of Chris Brown's "Essential Smart Football." You will be a better (yes, smarter) fan for it. Buy it here.

*Chip Kelly Mania: Speaking of Brown, his piece on Chip Kelly yesterday in Grantland was awesome. Highly recommended. (Also highly recommended: Seth Wickersham on Kelly.)

*The best piece about Ferguson this week -- and one of the best things Grantland has ever published, period -- is Rembert Browne reporting from the scene.

*In a week of excellent reads, Paul Ford's piece "How to Be Polite" (published on Medium) has stuck with me. If you haven't read it, here you go.

-- D.S.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

8/14 Happy Birthday Tim Tebow Quickie

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It seems fitting that today is both the birth day of the new SEC Network and the birthday of Tim Tebow, the biggest star on the SEC Network.

It was just more than five summers ago that I launched TimTeblog.com, offering obsessive coverage of the Tim Tebow phenomenon.

The site was fascinating to produce -- there was obviously plenty of material around Tebow during his insane senior season at Florida, his insane NFL Draft process, his insane rookie year with the Broncos, the truly insane apex 2nd year in Denver, the modestly insane debacle in New York and the not-really-insane denouement in New England last August.

I can't help but think that the moment the lights officially go on for the SEC Network, with Tebow on-air live from Gainesville, the NFL chapter of Tebow's career will really be over.

I remain biased and mystified -- that no team will give him a shot, that QBs like Brady Quinn and Rex Grossman can land on rosters, that this really might be it.

I know he continues to train -- I actually believe him when he says that his skills have never been better. I am left with one lingering question:

Why doesn't he switch positions?

Yes, I understand that the day he lines up at anything but QB is the day that his dream of being an NFL QB is over, but -- from the looks of things -- his dream of being an NFL quarterback *IS ALREADY* over.

The implication: Wait, he would really rather remain a QB and never play in the NFL again than switch to anything-but-QB (fullback? tight end? the invented-just-now "T-back?") and get a shot to contribute on an NFL roster in some other way?

It's not like he wasn't willing to do whatever it took to help his teams previously: His rookie year with the Broncos, before he took over as starting QB, he lined up as a receiver. On the Jets, he eagerly accepted a role on special teams. Anything to help the team.

The irony is that if he was on a roster as a fullback, coaches might actually be  willing to deploy him more innovatively (the way they should have when he was playing QB), in short-yardage situations or otherwise:

Four or five plays per game, what if you weren't sure if Tebow the T-back was going to plow you with a block, trample you with the ball tucked away, pitch to a running back or flip a toss over your head to a wide-open receiver?

If not a starting QB, Tebow's advantage to an NFL team has always been at the margins -- not marginalized: Helping secure the drive-sustaining or clock-killing first down, caroming in for the goal-line score, delivering the defense-distracting feint. He is a specialist at producing the handful of plays that become the difference between W and L.

The next phase of Tim Tebow's fascinating career begins today. He will be wildly successful and popular, because he has always been wildly successful and popular.

Look: I subscribe to the First Rule of Tim Tebow ("Just when you think it can't get any crazier, it does") and hold out that at least one more NFL opportunity will present itself (say, when Urban Meyer eventually takes over for Bill Belichick in New England).

Even with that faith, I can't help lamenting whether the previous phase -- Tebow's NFL career -- ends today, too.​
-- D.S.



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

8/13 Wednesday Quickie

*Have you signed up for my new email newsletter yet? Sign up here. Launching soon.

*Ballmer takes over as Clippers owner: It's a new era -- and a much, much better one for Clippers fans and the NBA at large.

*Speaking of the NBA, the 2014-15 schedule is released today, and the headliner -- as always -- is who gets to play on Christmas. Cavs at Heat is the headliner -- how many weeks will Dwyane Wade have to rest in order to be ready to play 100% for that one? -- but how about my Wiz tipping things off at MSG?

*Josh Donaldson + Jon Lester isn't just the A's formula to beat the Royals last night; it feels like the A's formula to win at least 2 games per seven-game playoff series.

*I am getting so excited about college football. Over the weekend, I went through the entire schedule, week by week, and came up with a list of the most intriguing/important games. So many, especially with double the number of playoff spots this season. I'll post that next week.

*Only meaningful to me, apparently: I don't understand how Brady Quinn (Miami) and Rex Grossman (Cleveland) can get jobs on NFL rosters and Tim Tebow doesn't even get a sniff.

*Deadspin's Greg Howard is one of my favorite writers of 2014 (earlier this summer, his longread on Jason Whitlock was one of the best pieces of media criticism/analysis/reporting I have read in a while), and this essay on Ferguson will help you understand why.

*SXSW "Panel Picker" launches: In March at SXSW, I produced a great 1:1 conversation featuring Texas Tech head coach Kirk Kingsbury. We've got another panel up for SXSW '15 -- a 1:1 with Baylor's fascinating football coach Art Briles. Learn more (and vote for it?) here.

*One more SXSW panels: I'm moderating a panel featuring ESPN's Marie Donoghue (who runs Grantland and 538, among other things) and NBC Sports Network's Ron Wechsler (who just landed Men In Blazers, among other things), along with longtime industry observer John Ourand of Sports Business Journal. The topic is "The Near-Future of Sports TV," and it should be great. Learn more (and vote for it?) here.

*And one more: My colleague Mike Foss has put together a fascinating panel on the state of the out LGBT athlete in 2015, featuring Jason Collins, Megan Rapinoe and Brittney Griner. That should be a tremendous event. Learn more (and vote for it?) here.

*My USA TODAY Sports colleagues have launched two new fantasy-related products: A brand-new hub for fantasy news and FantasyScore, a new daily fantasy game. Very bullish on daily fantasy.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

8/12 Tuesday Quickie

*RIP Robin Williams. As talented of a comedian as there has ever been. The scale and scope -- everyone has a favorite, and mine is Williams' classic performance at the Met.

Among movies, I have the most vivid memories of summer 27 years ago, as a 14-year-old away at summer camp, with me and my bunkmates playing and re-playing the "Good Morning, Vietnam" soundtrack cassette.

Depression is a horrible disease; if you are battling it, please continue to try to get help.

*It is August 12th and the Royals are in 1st place in the AL Central. Amazing.

*Best highlight of yesterday: The old Cubs fan not only reaches over the back of the Wrigley bleachers to snag a ball, but he has the presence of mind to switch the caught ball with a spare, so he can fulfill the "Throw-It-Back" mandate. Watch it here. He is an early contender for Winner of the Week.

*Still taking early-bird sign-ups for my upcoming new email newsletter. Sign up here. I'll be honest: I'm battling competing impulses to formulate it perfectly versus just launching and figuring it out along the way, even if the first (many) editions are a little rough around the edges. They will be anyway!

-- D.S.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday 8/11 Rory Buzzfeed Blazers Quickie

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*Rory wins PGA Championship in the dark. Great quote from Rory to Tom Rinaldi (which I spotted in Sally Jenkins' Twitter feed):
"I learned I can win a major ugly."
What a fabulous thing to learn, right? Especially if you are the most talented golfer in the world, sitting in their mid-20s and seemingly peaking at the perfect time.

We should all be so lucky to learn how to experience the "ugly" conditions but still succeed.

*Buzzfeed gets new $50M investment. At an $850M valuation. The bottom line is that this is a smart, aggressive, ambitious media company with an increasing war chest to do what it wants -- be an independent, public company.

*More media: Men In Blazers jump to NBC Sports. They hinted at it and you knew it was coming -- their leap during the World Cup was too big not to turn it into a bigger deal with a company that was more heavily invested in international soccer than ESPN (which should be credited for incubating -- maybe the more accurate word is accelerating -- MIB into the phenomenon it became). It's a perfect fit for NBC Sports, whose partnership/investment in BPL is a tentpole of its company. Congrats to Bennett and Davies; fwiw, ESPN will be fine.

-- D.S.