Summary of “The Men Who Have Taken Wiffle Ball to a Crazy, Competitive Place”

By the next spring he had begun work on a documentary about the sport, called “Yard Work,” and had made himself the commissioner of the Palisades Wiffle Ball League, which he now describes, on its Web site, as “The most recognized Wiffle league on the planet.”
Not yet in uniform, wore T-shirts with printed messages such as “A backyard game taken way too far” and “The 8th Annual Greenwich Wiffle Ball Tournament.” A couple of others, I gathered, responded not to their given names but to Wiffman and Johnny Wiffs, respectively.
A sidearm relief pitcher for the Chowan University baseball team, in North Carolina, he said that he prefers Wiffle ball because it allows him to deploy a more varied repertoire.
There are forces moving both around and inside the ball simultaneously as it travels; Bevelacqua told me that, as far as he understood it, once the ball reaches highway-speed-limit velocity, the swirling air inside begins to dominate and actually provides a boost of about ten per cent over the trajectory of a solid baseball.
In general an “Uncut” Wiffle ball is thought to be too inconsistent-too vulnerable to imbalances among the forces acting on the respective hemispheres of the ball-and therefore a recipe for endless walks.
“If you don’t use the yellow bat, Wiffle Ball will have very little to do with you,” Bevelacqua said.
“I started in the Hudson Valley Wiffle Ball League,” he told me.
His real-estate work was suffering, not only from all the weekends when he couldn’t show houses but from long nights editing his popular video series “This Month in Wiffleball,” and from tweeting at David Cone, the former big-league pitcher, every time Cone mentioned Wiffle ball during his YES Network commentary.

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Summary of “E-sports leagues are starting to look a lot like the NFL and NBA”

Now, some of the biggest professional e-sports leagues in the world are starting to look a lot like the NBA or NFL. That includes big-money owners, a structured schedule, and things like minimum salaries and other benefits for players.
Even the NBA has launched its own league, partnering with publisher Take-Two on the 17-team NBA 2K League.
By having permanent teams that fans can become attached to and owners can invest in for the long-term, these leagues are hoping to build something that can eventually compete with more established professional sports leagues.
For many of these owners – who reportedly paid a $20 million fee to be part of the league – the familiar structure of a traditional sports league like the NBA was comforting, in large part because the business model is proven, something that’s not true for many e-sports leagues.
If Blizzard can make good on translating the global, inclusive nature of Overwatch to the players in the Overwatch League, it could represent a significant advantage over the traditional sports leagues it’s aiming to compete with.
“It’s a really fascinating case study that a lot of leagues will look to to learn about the idea of regional teams, and building strong brands within cities,” says Hopper.
Last February, game publisher Take-Two announced a partnership with the NBA to launch a new professional league based on NBA 2K, one of the best-selling sports games in the world.
The NBA has long been one of the most forward-thinking sports leagues in North America.

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Summary of “A Way-Too-Early 2018 NBA Redraft”

Tjarks: In all seriousness, I wouldn’t let Smith’s struggles as a rookie affect my opinion of SGA. For one, I’m still really high on Smith, especially now that he’s playing with Doncic in Dallas.
There are a lot of big men at the next level who can be excellent roll men if they are playing in sufficient space.
He’s a decent shooter, but he doesn’t have much fluidity when it comes to putting the ball on the floor and making plays in space.
Robinson might fly across the court to block shots, but can he read pick-and-roll defense? Can he defend without carelessly fouling? Can he execute offensive sets? Williams was suspended in college for breaking team rules, was a low-effort player on the court, came into pre-draft workouts out of shape, missed his conference call with the media the morning after the draft, missed his flight to his first practice, and got red-flagged by multiple teams for his knee issue.
In 2015, would you not have drafted Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, or Kristaps Porzingis just because you could get Bobby Portis, Larry Nance Jr., or Chris McCullough in the late first round? Okafor might’ve been a mistake, but if that were the mind-set you might end up with a lesser player.
He’s an eyesore on defense, despite the fact he plays hard, because his reaction time is so poor.
He’s a well-rounded player who impacts the game in a lot of different ways.
The interesting thing is that his summer league team was a lot like his college team in that he dominated the ball and didn’t really have anyone else to play off.

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Summary of “Zach Lowe on winners and losers in 2018 NBA free agency”

Will the Lakers or another team step up and make a deal for Kawhi Leonard? Zach Lowe breaks down the Kawhi conundrum.
The NBA needs to get out of here with this noise about air travel and imbalanced scheduling in batting away the idea of seeding teams 1-16 without regard to conference.
The system safeguards that to some degree via Bird Rights – the ability of teams to go over the cap in re-signing their own players.
The only potential good news: A bunch of quality players saw this coming, and took one-year deals that will vault them back into free agency next summer – when a lot of those grotesque 2016 contracts expire.
Almost half of the league’s total player pool will enter free agency in a year.
The rare teams with space – or the full, $8.7 midlevel exception – used their leverage to try and squeeze good players into three- and four-year deals.
To lock players in longer, teams had to settle for second-tier wings or overpay their own free agents.
Remember the last time we freaked out about Houston losing free agency? It was 2014: LeBron switched teams, Dallas hit Chandler Parsons with a fat offer sheet, and the Rockets let Parsons walk because they didn’t think he was a star.

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Summary of “‘Bull Durham’ at 30: The Making of an All-Time Sports Movie Classic”

“If I got one shot to direct,” he remembered thinking, “I’ll make a sports movie I would like to see.” At that point, Shelton already had the idea for Bull Durham.
“You cannot make a movie about a right fielder and a third baseman,” Shelton said, “Because they don’t interact.”
At first, Shelton pitched Bull Durham as Lysistrata in the minors.
The actor’s emergence as a box-office draw, Shelton said, led to Orion Pictures financing the baseball movie.
Shelton called the weathered stadium and the city “The perfect place” to shoot the movie.
Shelton filmed one for Clown Prince of Baseball Max Patkin, who plays himself, but cut it.
“Nuke doesn’t even know what he’s getting and Crash, it’s what he’s always wanted,” Shelton said.
Unlike Crash, who set the minor league home run mark before retiring, Shelton never got a final moment of glory.

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Summary of “The Warriors Upped the Stakes This Offseason”

The Warriors won their third title in four seasons in a sweep, and LeBron James wasn’t even on the floor in the final four minutes of Game 4 because the Cavaliers were getting pummeled so badly.
Dynasties have defined the NBA every decade-Bill Russell’s Celtics to Magic Johnson’s Lakers to Michael Jordan’s Bulls-but it’s different with the Warriors: It’s felt like the road has been too easy, just like many fans and pundits feared it would be when Kevin Durant decided to join the Warriors on July 4, 2016.
Every team faces its own kind of adversity-David West even hinted after Game 4 that Golden State had behind-the-scenes issues that the public has “No clue” about-but it doesn’t change the fact that the Warriors still tip the scales on the court.
The Warriors are here to stay, as is the feeling from some fans that they’re ruining the NBA by turning every season into an inevitability.
The Warriors may be too good, but coaches, executives, and players around the league have an unsatisfied hunger to defeat them.
The offseason hot stove is already burning up just three days after the Warriors’ win.
Regardless of where he goes, his next team will need the talent and cerebral qualities necessary to defeat the Warriors.
No one expected the Warriors to turn into a force when Curry’s ankles couldn’t stay healthy and Draymond Green was just a second-round reserve.

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Summary of “Why The NBA Abandoned Roy Hibbert”

Just before Anthony’s dunk could find the bottom of the cup, 26-year-old defensive stud Roy Hibbert, Indiana’s 7-foot-2 tree of a center, managed to get his outstretched left arm between Anthony and the rim.
The league learned new tricks, and Hibbert didn’t.
“It’s surprising to me. I’ve talked to Roy about this, but he could still be playing in the league right now,” said Frank Vogel, Hibbert’s former coach in Indiana, who was recently let go by the Magic.
Hibbert was so good at doing this that LeBron James, seemingly frustrated with Hibbert and what he perceived to be uncalled fouls against the big man, once referred to it as “His verticality rule,” saying that officials allowed him to make use of it more than other players.
As Hibbert continued to protect the rim well, that skill by itself became less valuable in a changing NBA. Take, for example, the Pacers’ 2014 playoff series against No. 8 seed Atlanta, in which the Hawks surprisingly took top-seeded Indiana to seven games.
Much like a dog who’s bound by the constraints of an electric fence, Hibbert opts to stay tethered beneath the free-throw line on defense when he can, both so he can shut down shots at the rim and because his mobility isn’t good enough to defend in open space.
Hibbert spent just over 71 percent of his time on defense beneath the free-throw line on defense from 2013-14 through 2015-16, the third-highest rate in the league over that span, according to data tracked by ESPN Analytics and NBA Advanced Stats.
At the same time that Hibbert was struggling to have the same impact defensively, other players – ones with more mobility and better foot speed – began learning how to perfect the notion of verticality.

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Summary of “Bojan Krkic: ‘I had anxiety attacks but no one wants to talk about that. Football’s not interested'”

Perhaps it is no surprise that when he retires he hopes to teach football, and life, to young players.
“In footballing terms it went well but not personally. I had to live with that and people say my career hasn’t been as expected. When I came up, it was ‘new Messi’. Well, yes, if you compare me with Messi but what career did you expect? And there are lots of things that people didn’t know. I didn’t go to the European Championship because of anxiety issues but we said I was going on holiday. I was called up for Spain against France, my international debut, and it was said that I had gastroenteritis when I had an anxiety attack. But no one wants to talk about that. Football’s not interested.”
I went to the Under-17 World Cup in July and no one knew me; when I came back, I couldn’t even walk down the road. A few days later I made my debut against Osasuna, three or four days later I play in the Champions League, then I score against Villarreal, then Spain called.
“Bojan had been built up as a player to mark a generation. In his absence, Spain began the most successful era in history. After four years he departed the Camp Nou. He has played for six clubs in the seven seasons since.”It would have been easy to stay at Barcelona and not play but I needed to go,” he says.
“Maybe at times I should have been more patient but I’ve always been honest making decisions [to move]; I always wanted to play.
“One thing people have said to me, is that if I had been more of an hijo de puta, a cabrón And the higher up you get the more you have to be one. But I say: ‘I can’t.’ And when I have tried to play a nastier role on the pitch, I’ve lost it completely.”
“And the most important thing isn’t the trophies, it’s the experiences, what you lived, what’s here in your heart, what you know, what you live. No one can ever steal that from you. And those people who spoke ill of you, they’ll forget. If Víctor Valdés, the greatest goalkeeper in Barcelona’s history, has been forgotten, how could they not forget me? And then it’ll be just me and what will be left will be the pride, the moments, unique moments lots of players have never lived.”
“I love football and no one will ever take that from me. I’m proud of my career, proud of what I have lived, and even if there are hard moments, including this year, you have to be strong. I will always love football, always, I’m still young, I enjoy playing, and I have no intention of stopping yet.”

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Summary of “Will Ichiro Be Our Last Universally Beloved Superstar?”

Ichiro will go down as one of the greatest ballplayers of all time, both in his native Japan and in his adopted U.S. His accomplishments in either leg of his career are dizzying in their extremes.
Ichiro was something even rarer, perhaps, than a generational baseball talent: He was, and is, universally beloved.
To watch Ichiro was to take delight in baseball, even if he was speeding past your infielders.
“He’s really nervous right now,” his interpreter explained to Jordan as Ichiro giggled and covered his face.
The sum of our knowledge of non-baseball Ichiro doesn’t go much beyond the fact he is married and loves dogs.
Part of this mysteriousness, surely, has to do with a language barrier: Ichiro has spent the better part of two decades in a country whose language he did not speak when he arrived, becoming in the process MLB’s first Asian superstar.
How could you resent someone whose most heartily expressed opinion is a love of baseball? Ichiro was everything to everyone, a superstar who could be anything you wanted him to-and do everything, to boot.
For now, we’re getting an exit so calculatedly understated and graceful that you can’t help but admire it-a thoroughly Ichiro way to say goodbye to the plate.

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Summary of “NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Has a Game Plan”

Beyond being one of the biggest providers of sports programming, it has expanded its lines of business into adjacent areas: the WNBA; the NBA G League, a developmental league; the NBA 2K League, an e-sports league based on the NBA’s video game NBA 2K; NBA League Pass, a popular video streaming service of live games; and a host of experiments with leading technology platforms including Facebook, YouTube, and Tencent.
The 2018 Los Angeles All-Star game was the 55th anniversary of the first All-Star game we played in Los Angeles in 1963.
S+B: What role do you think video games, in particular, play in the NBA’s fan ecosystem? How is their significance similar to or different from, say, what you said about social media?SILVER: We’ve always believed that, to an extent, young fans become engaged with the NBA through our video games, and by learning about the players and the teams, they’re more likely to want to engage in the live product.
We think there’s an opportunity to capture a new kind of fan, one who currently isn’t necessarily watching our games on television, but is more of a gamer, and is interested in NBA content and enjoys playing our NBA 2K game.
We saw an opportunity to create a league with our partner Take-Two around our NBA 2K game, using a new set of competitors who are professional gamers.
What if a mobile user gets an alert that a game is close, or that Steph Curry is going for 50 points, or that a game is going down to the wire? How do we then provide an opportunity for them with one click to buy some portion of the game that they can watch on their phone? Maybe we’ll be able to set the price based on the amount of content consumed rather than selling the entire game for a set price.
Tencent has been very focused on discovery: for example, on how it alerts users that there’s an interesting part of the game on, or that a player that users have already demonstrated an interest in is playing.
Bob Johnson, the founder of BET, when he was the owner of the Charlotte franchise, said watching an NBA game [on TV] is like watching one of the old silent movies.

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