Why you should care
If you’re a sports fan, then you’re in heaven this week.
It’s a special time of the year if you’re a U.S. sports fan, when for just a few days it’s a rare trifecta of big bucks professional athletics. The World Series is down to the wire this week, the NBA kicks off today, and the NFL is at the halfway point, with teams jockeying for playoff positions. All that, plus college football. And hockey! We love sports here at OZY, and we’ve got the stories to prove it. Have you read these yet?
• In “Pot (Belly) Shot,” Sean Braswell tackles the question of whether baseball players — pot-bellied, tobacco-chewing, grizzled men spitting, standing around, scratching you-know-what — are real athletes. You might think they’re not, but you’d be wrong. Guess why?
• If that’s not controversial enough for you, then allow us to present Jason Whitlock in ”Sportswriting’s Saboteur.” Sports journalism is filled with controversial and opinionated figures, but provocateur Whitlock is in a league of his own. If you want to complain about something that this ESPN columnist said, tweeted or wrote, then you’ll need to take a number and get in line.
• Should student athletes be paid? A lot of people were asking that question as the college football season kicked off. But we’re all about the new and the next here at OZY, and our attitude was, Of course they do. What’s more, here’s the smart way to do it, using a technique already in place at many schools. In “Show Them the Money,” Google’s top lawyer David Drummond lays out the principled way for universities to pursue big-time athletics.
• In addition to the Big Three, we keep an eye on MMA, too. In “Bellying Up to the Armbar,” Eugene Robinson profiled one of the winning-est athletes in the field, UFC champ Ronda Rousey, who has never lost a match. And then he talked to one of the biggest losers we’ve ever seen — Joe Kavey, who has lost 24 matches in a row. In “Hope Springs Eternal,” Kavey explains why he just won’t give up.
• And finally, there’s Quidditch. Yes, the game has jumped from the pages of Harry Potter to playing fields around the world — 80 teams and 1500 players playing regional tournaments in six regions globally. Find out more in ”Brooms Up.”