March 05, 2010

Not many books get written on Ivy League athletics, which is a shame. While the Ivy League may not be particularly important to the world of sports, s

O Brother
October 30, 2009

Something wonderful, or terrible, is taking place in Philadelphia. The city's sports fans, whose only consistent love has been for an inanimate object--the statue of Rocky--are becoming warm and fuzzy. Sort of. Kind of. Well, about as nice as they are ever going to get in Philly, where fans have made their national mark with nastiness, boos, and a perverse fondness for losing. But now the city is confronted with a success story greater than any since the signing of the Constitution (which wasn't so pretty, either). It's the Philadelphia Phillies, of course.

Against 'Moneyball'
October 17, 2009

Whatever happens in the National League and American League Championship series unfolding over the next week or so, one outcome has already been decided--the effective end of the theories of Moneyball as a viable way to build a playoff-caliber baseball team when you don't have the money. That no doubt sounds like heresy to the millions who embraced Michael Lewis's 2003 book, but all you need to do is keep in mind one number this postseason: 528,620,438.

Let Vick Play
July 25, 2009

I’m fed up with the anguished deliberations about whether former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who served 21 months in jail for promoting dog-fighting and killing, should be allowed to play pro football again. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell,  who has spent his adulthood as a pro football front office guy, is going to judge whether Vick is morally fit to put on a helmet and pads and risk life and limb before thousands of screaming fans. I don’t condone breeding dogs to kill each other.

March 23, 2009

Like most, I consider the Times' A.O. Scott one of the very best critics writing in the English language, thanks not only to the elegant wit of his prose--his review of Seven Pounds may have been the most entertaining I read last year--but also to the fact that he very rarely lets his exceptional style get in the way of good common sense. When I disagree with him over a film, it is more often than not over the relative weight assigned to a particular aspect: Was Virtue A enough to overcome Flaw X, and so on.

More On The Chimp And The "conversation"
February 25, 2009

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised at the legs this chimp cartoon story has. But it almost makes me reconsider whether Eric Holder actually has something in this idea that We Need To Talk. Various friends of mine are offended by the cartoon, white and black. They say that they immediately read the cartoon as referring to Obama - but none of them are Post readers, and thus like me, they encountered the cartoon as the subject of stories about the protest.

The Most Important Fight Over The Paulson Plan
September 25, 2008

A colleague of mine likes to characterize the debate over the Paulson plan as a heavyweight title fight with a lot of undercards. He's right--the crisis has merely brought to a head a wide spectrum of battles that have been brewing for years between regulators and financial interests.

We Are All Featherweight Boxer Raynell Williams
August 15, 2008

First it was Georgia. Now, along comes another issue seemingly tailor-made for John McCain to obsess over: corrupt, pro-Chinese Olympic boxing judges. There's not yet proof, but the Washington Post reports that Olympic judges look like they've tilted to China all week--enough for the U.S. boxing team to call a foul.

Chess, Not Just For Skinny Asthmatics Anymore
July 14, 2008

According to Time, "chess-boxing" is hitting it big all over the world. The combination of chess and boxing is meant to teach conflict-resolution to kids, though in Europe "a bloodier version is flourishing." I totally support this blending of sport and board game, and think we should do more: paintball-Risk, NASCAR-Life, capture-the-flag-Stratego, hide-and-go-seek-Clue... --Sacha Zimmerman

Hillary's Fake Populism
May 05, 2008

Everybody knows that Hillary plays rough, and this morning's New York Times tells you now that she is also ruthless. Down in the body of the story there's a little riff from one Max Brantley, "an old friend of the Clintons from Arkansas," in which he contrasts Hill and Bill. "He never stops trying to convert people. She's much more clear-eyed, recognizing the imperfectability of people." So that's her calculation: if you disagree with her you are a sinner. This ruthlessness is also a promise about how she'd behave in office. She doesn't sign her autograph on red boxing gloves for nothing.