Posts Tagged ‘pro sports’

U.S. Open Tennis: The Men Have Fuzzy Balls

August 30, 2022

Émile Vernon (1872 – 1919)

At the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, the men have fuzzy balls. The women have smooth balls, and they’re not happy about it.

To explain: Wilson makes both “regular-duty” and “extra-duty” tennis balls. The regular-duty balls are sold as “ideal for clay and indoor surfaces,” while the extra-duty are “ideal for longer play on hard court surfaces.” The U.S. Open is outdoors, a hard-court event. Men’s matches are played with “extra-duty” balls, as you’d expect, but women play with “regular-duty” balls.

The felt on the men’s “extra-duty” balls is fluffier, and the racquet strings get a better purchase on the thicker surface. The felt on the “regular-duty” women’s version has a tighter weave, feels lighter on the stringbed, and the balls play faster and go farther because they’re more aerodynamic.

Men and women play on the same courts, with the same type of racquets. No other major tennis tournament uses different balls for men and women. To make matters even worse, the “extra-duty” ball is used in the Open’s mixed doubles, a severe disadvantage for women doubles partners who have been playing with the “regular-duty” ball in the tournament’s women’s matches.

More:

“Women use faster balls than men at U.S. Open. Some players are over it.” Julian Mark, Washington Post

“‘You’ve just started a war’: Iga Swiatek wades into row over US Open balls,” Tumaini Carayol, The Guardian

“Badosa joins Swiatek as she hits out at U.S. Open balls,” Anita Kobylinska, Reuters

“New Balls Please,” Giri Nathan, Racquet

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Trump’s Ex-Employee Hershel Walker Stumbles Downfield

August 25, 2022

Trump's Ex-Employee Hershel Walker Stumbles Downfield

Georgia’ GOP candidate for the US Senate is Hershel Walker, a former University of Georgia Heisman winner, All-American, and  NFL veteran. He was endorsed by Donald Trump, who was his pre-NFL employer as the owner of the failed New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League. In just a few short years, as Mr. Walker raced down the field, Mr. Trump managed to tank the entire USFL.

Hershel Walker and Donald Trump have something else in common: they are both phenomenal liars. Mr. Trump told over 30,000 lies while he was in the White House, and continues to lie about losing the 2020 election. Mr. Walker lied about graduating from college, then lied about lying that he graduated from college. He lied about being a policeman and an FBI agent. He lied about his business ventures, including his “mini-Tyson’s chicken empire“. And while Dr. Oz can’t remember all the houses he owns, Walker can’t recall all the children he’s sired.

Despite his sports celebrity and Trump endorsement, the drip of revelations has raised been understandable questions about Herschel Walker’s electability. All that lying doesn’t help when you’re running against an incumbent who’s a Baptist minister. Weird statements blaming China for US air pollution, evolution denial, claims the US has 52 states, and accusations of spousal abuse should raise even more concern that the ex-Georgia Bulldog is a dog of a candidate.

Herschel Walker was a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice TV show in 2009. Donald Trump fired him. He might want to fire him as a Trump-branded political endorsee, too.

More:

“Herschel Walker declines invitation to debate Senator Warnock in Macon,” Justin Baxley, WMAZ-TV

“Herschel Walker’s ex-wife recalls him threatening to ‘blow my brains out’ in campaign ad released by opponents in Georgia Senate race,” Dave Goldiner, NY Daily News

Related:

“Republicans rue price of fame as celebrity Senate candidates struggle,” Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian

“Donald Trump’s Less-Than-Artful Failure in Pro Football,” Joe Nocera, New York Times

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Image (“Commander-In-Chief of the Jersey Generals”) by Mike Licht. Download copies here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.

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LIV Golf: Trump Welcomes His Saudi Masters to New Jersey

July 29, 2022

LIV Golf: Trump Welcomes His Saudi Masters to New Jersey
While Joe Biden was criticized for his recent fist bump with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Donald Trump has given a big, wet, sloppy kiss to the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Toursportswashing” campaign. The third tournament of the new pro golf league‘s tour is being held at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Mr. Trump may have embraced the insurgent tour because he’s peeved at the U.S.-based PGA for pulling its 2022 championship tourney from Bedminster, but he has backed upstart sports leagues before, and this is not the first time Donald Trump has taken Saudi money. Far from it. Saudi cash saved Trump from bankrupcy, and, despite anti-Saudi rhetoric during his 2016 campaign, he and son-in-law Jared Kushner have kept their shoddy businesses afloat on an Arabian Gulf of Saudi money.

There have been strong objections to Trump’s embrace of Saudi golf money by the PGA, of course, but also by survivors of the victims of 9/11, and National Press Club members who remember the “grisly-bonesaw” murder of their collegue Jamal Khashoggi.

More:

“Trump Seeks Money and Revenge in Hosting the New Saudi Golf League,” John Cassidy, The New Yorker

“Hosting Saudi Golf Tourney, Trump Has Forgotten He Used to Blame Kingdom for 9/11,” Nikki McCann Ramirez, Rolling Stone

Updates:

“Trump: LIV Golf tournament a ‘great thing’ for Saudi Arabia,” Jared Gans, The Hill

“LIV Golf’s latest stop brings together Trump, Saudi Arabia and plenty of criticism,” Bryan Armen Graham, The Guardian

“The marriage of LIV Golf and Donald Trump is the stuff schemes are made of,” Eamon Lynch, Golfweek

“Bill Maher mocks Trump over golf course comments, suggests US trade him for Griner’s release,” Chloe Folmar, The Hill

“LIV Golf Tournament at Trump Club Sees Thin Crowds, $1 Tickets: Reports,” Jason Lemon, Newsweek

“LIV Golf spectator yells, ‘Do it for the Saudi royal family’ at Phil Mickelson,” Riley Hamel, Golfweek

“Golf takes back seat at Saudi-backed, Trump-hosted event,” Bryan Armen Graham, USA Today

Updated Updates:

“LIV Golf sellouts bailed on the PGA Tour. Now they want back in?” Sally Jenkins, Wasghington Post

“Judge rules LIV golfers can’t play in PGA Tour postseason,” TuAnh Dam, Axios

Related:

“Donald Trump’s Sketchy Playbook for Blowing Up a Pro Sports League,” Ian Ward, Politico

“Remembering The Tour De Trump, Donald Trump’s Failed Bike Race,” Patrick Redford, Deadspin

“Does Saudi Arabia Own Donald Trump?” NotionsCapital

“Tiger Woods turned down offer in ‘neighborhood’ of $700M to $800M to play in Saudi-backed tournament, Greg Norman says,” Sarakshi Rai, The Hill

“Ivana Trump was buried near the first hole of Trump National Golf Club. Her gravesite could offer tax breaks for the business.” Katherine Tangalakis-Lippert and Isabella Zavarise, Business Insider

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Image (“Trump Welcomes His Saudi Masters to New Jersey”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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New Pro Sport: Pillow Fighting

July 22, 2022

The fighters swing official two pound pillows, foam-filled and queen-sized, in nylon sailcloth cases. It’s the new sport of Professional Pillow Fighting.

More:

“Pillow fighting could be the next great combat sport – no, seriously,” Jordan Blumetti, The Guardian

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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DC NFL Team Moving to the French Riviera?

June 23, 2022

DC NFL Team Moving to the French Riviera?
Washington DC’s professional football team fled the District of Columbia back 1997 for a grand-new stadium in suburban Maryland. It’s pretty shabby now, and owner Daniel Snyder has been trying to get a sweetheart deal on a shiny new stadium in Maryland or Virginia, but locals aren’t eager to pony up. He’s now in Cannes, France, for a “business meeting.” Is he looking for a French stadium deal? After all, the Riviera has featured gladitorial sports before, in its ancient Roman amphitheaters.

On the other hand, Mr. Synder refused to testify before a U.S. Congressional committee about alleged financial and sexual irregularities with his team management, and he brought his 305-foot yacht and private jet to Cannes. Several non-extradition countries are only a short hop away across the Mediterranean.

Billionaire Dan Synder, long regarded as pro football’s worst owner, stubbornly retained the team’s former racist name until well into the 21st century, meddled in team coaching, and was long rumored to fiddle with the books and his female employees. There was an NFL investigation of the latter charges, but Mr. Snyder tampered with it, hence the Congressional investigation into his “workplace misconduct.” After the testimony no-show, the House Oversight and Reform Committee will issue a subpoena for Dan Snyder.

More:

“Commanders owner Dan Snyder interfered with NFL probe: House panel,” Emily Crane, NY Post

“Dan Snyder’s plane, yacht arrive in Cannes as attorney pushes back against Congressional committee,” Michael Phillips, Richmond Times-Dispatch

“4 Entirely Plausible Reasons Dan Snyder Is in Cannes Instead of Appearing Before Congress,” Andrew Beaujon, Washingtonian

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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NFL May Remove Dan Snyder as DC Team Owner

May 25, 2022

NFL May Remove Dan Snyder as DC Team Owner

Dan Snyder, owner of DC’s professional football team, may finally be ousted by the NFL. The league wasn’t upset that Mr. Synder, long regarded as pro football’s worst owner, stubbornly retained the team’s former racist name until well into the 21st century, or meddled in team coaching, or was rumored to fiddle with the books and female employees. When these last became subjects of congressional investigation, though, perhaps the other owners felt the league’s monopoly was at risk, and took another look at Dan. It will take the votes of 24 (out of 32) team owners to oust him. They’re counting the votes.

More:

“Daniel Snyder’s issues force other NFL owners to mull drastic options: ‘We are counting votes,'” Jarrett Bell, USA Today

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Generic DC NFL Team Renamed

February 2, 2022

Generic DC NFL Team Renamed
DC’s NFL team shed its long-held racist name and adopted a place-holder generic name, Washington Football Team, in July 2020. It announced a new permanent name today, February 2nd, suggesting the team would be called the Washington Groundhogs. Alas, the new name is the Washington Commanders.

It’s not “Commandos,” since NFL players really should wear undies. It could have been Salamanders, since the mediocre team is owned by lizardman Dan Snyder, but no. The new logo seems to be a sort of stenciled W, since the Nats already have the cool curly one. There’s also some sort of goofy crest.

Anyway, football fans in the DC area have seven months, until the start of the 2022 season, to practice saying “How ’bout them ‘Mandos?” Probably while shaking their heads.

More:

“Washington Football Team announces Commanders as new NFL nickname,” Steve Gardner, USA Today

“Like It Or Not, the Washington Commanders Are Officially Here,” Kelyn Soong, Washington City Paper

“Washington Has A New NFL Team Name: The Commanders,” Elliot C. Williams, DCist

“Washington Commanders Is an Appropriately Boring Name,” Benjamin Hart, New York Magazine

“The Commanders name lands ‘with a thud’ for some Washington fans,” Andrew Golden, Washington Post

Updates:

“Experts Aren’t Wowed by New Commanders Branding,” Andrew Beaujon, Washingtonian

“On Capitol Hill, ex-Washington NFL employees levy new harassment claims against Daniel Snyder,” Liz Clarke, Washington Post

“The Best (and Worst) Reactions to the Washington Football Team’s New Name,” Lauren Mccaffrey and Anna Spiegel, Washingtonian

“The Rebrand Is the Least Bad Thing About the Washington Commanders,” Matt Terl, Washington City Paper

Related:

“Washington Commanders investigating sexual harassment allegation against owner,” Chloe Folmar, The Hill

“NFL says it will control investigation into Commanders owner Dan Snyder, not the team,” Jonathan Franklin, NPR News

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Image (“WFT NFL Uniform”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Renaming the Generic DC NFL Team

January 12, 2022

Renaming the Generic DC NFL Team

DC’s NFL team, having shed its long-held racist name and become the generic Washington Football Team, will announce its new name on February 2nd, which suggests the team will be know as the Washington Groundhogs.

Other name candidates include the Commanders, Admirals, Armada, Brigade, Sentinels, Defenders, Red Hogs, Presidents and “Washington Football Team.” If only they could replace Dan Snyder with a generic “Washington Football Team Owner.”

Related:

“Washington Football Team Awaits a New Name, But the Mediocrity Remains,” Matt Terl, Washington City Paper

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Image (“New DC NFL Uniform”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Professional Disc Golf

June 30, 2021

Paul McBeth, the world’s top-ranked disc golfer, has become the richest athlete in the sport’s history after signing a record $10m endorsement contract with Discraft to represent the manufacturer through 2031.”

— “Driving ambition: Pro disc golfer Paul McBeth signs unprecedented $10m deal,” The Guardian [links added]

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Baseball: Negro League Stars

June 14, 2021

Between 1920 and 1948, when baseball’s Major Leagues were segregated, some 3,400 players competed in the Negro Leagues. Neil Paine introduces some Negro League stars who should be household names.

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