Frank Deford http://wlrn.org en Time To Root, Root, Root For Final Innings http://wlrn.org/post/time-root-root-root-final-innings Sometimes the most disparate of people end up as pairs. As baseball begins, here's your 2014 All-Star Odd Couple: Bud Selig and Derek Jeter. Wed, 09 Apr 2014 07:35:00 +0000 Frank Deford 30500 at http://wlrn.org Time To Root, Root, Root For Final Innings There's A Reason They Call It Madness http://wlrn.org/post/theres-reason-they-call-it-madness More than any other nation, America is awash in teams. There are the pro teams, the college team, the high school team, the fantasy teams.<p>Well, at a certain point, something has to give — and apparently, the team sport that's given way the most is men's college basketball.<p>Yes, college hoops has its fleeting moment in the vernal equinox. It's fun. You make out brackets — but it's not like other sports where you're familiar with the principals.<p>Take fantasy football. Fans make up their own teams, yes, but they know who the players are. Wed, 19 Mar 2014 09:08:00 +0000 Frank Deford 29441 at http://wlrn.org There's A Reason They Call It Madness An Olympic Shame: Vladimir Putin Plays Host To Winter Games http://wlrn.org/post/olympic-shame-vladimir-putin-plays-host-winter-games You know those commercials for prescription medicines on television when they devote the first 15 seconds to the benefits of the drug and then take the next 45 telling you all the bad things that could happen if you use it? Vladimir Putin's Olympics remind me of that. For all the happiness his Winter Games are supposed to bring us, you need considerably more time to hear about all the things that could go wrong.<p>Let's not forget that Putin was given these games by the perennially inept International Olympic Committee. Wed, 05 Feb 2014 08:32:00 +0000 Frank Deford 27446 at http://wlrn.org An Olympic Shame: Vladimir Putin Plays Host To Winter Games In Ice Skating's Biggest Story, The Media Were Poor Sports http://wlrn.org/post/ice-skatings-biggest-story-media-were-poor-sports It's difficult to understand why certain athletes are harshly singled out by the media, but one of the most baffling examples has to be the criticism displayed toward figure skater Nancy Kerrigan after she was clubbed in the leg at a practice session just weeks before the 1994 Olympics.<p>The ex-husband of another member of the U.S. women's team, Tonya Harding, was convicted of arranging the attack. Wed, 22 Jan 2014 10:23:00 +0000 Frank Deford 26779 at http://wlrn.org In Ice Skating's Biggest Story, The Media Were Poor Sports Women's Team Sports: Where Is The Love? http://wlrn.org/post/womens-team-sports-where-love Two recent sporting disappointments underscore the state of interest in women in sports. The first: Lindsey Vonn, sadly acknowledging that her injuries were too serious, announced that she would not be able to compete in the Olympics next month. The second: The owners of the Los Angeles Sparks, acknowledging that they were overwhelmed by debt, just gave up the franchise.<p>Now, even if you aren't a sports fan, you've probably heard about Vonn's fate. Even if you are a sports fan, you might well have not heard about the plight of the Sparks. Wed, 15 Jan 2014 10:17:00 +0000 Frank Deford 26491 at http://wlrn.org Women's Team Sports: Where Is The Love? No Rest For Ye Merry NBA Players This Christmas http://wlrn.org/post/no-rest-ye-merry-nba-players-christmas Holidays have long been made for sports. Football has all but replaced the turkey as the signature of Thanksgiving. For decades, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day meant stadiums filled for baseball double-headers. It's almost as if games are now an excuse for holidays, rather than the other way around.<p>So I now wish you a Merry NBA Day! There will be five nationally televised pro basketball games, lasting 13 straight hours, on Wednesday.<p>Of course, Christmas is of religious heritage, and there are Christians who believe that games have no place on Christmas. Wed, 25 Dec 2013 08:22:00 +0000 Frank Deford 25617 at http://wlrn.org No Rest For Ye Merry NBA Players This Christmas Why The American Dream Is Still Alive In Sports http://wlrn.org/post/why-american-dream-still-alive-sports Political innocent I may be, but I find great irony in that, while everybody agrees there is massive inequality in the United States today, it's in sports where the American dream still lives — more than ever.<p>It used to be, when social mobility was at its apex here, that was the reverse in sports. The leagues were invariably dominated by dynasties. The Yankees, of course, were the American pharaohs. The Celtics ruled basketball; the Canadiens, hockey; the Browns and then the Packers, football. Once it got to the top, a team or a franchise tended to stay in the social register. Wed, 18 Dec 2013 08:01:00 +0000 Frank Deford 25290 at http://wlrn.org Why The American Dream Is Still Alive In Sports Should Character Count In Sports Awards? http://wlrn.org/post/should-character-count-sports-awards The Grammy nominations are in, and the talk now is of what actors will be chosen for the Academy Awards, but not once have I heard anyone suggest that any of the singers or actors may not be nominated because of some character deficiency.<p>Likewise, when it comes to awards in theater or television or dance or literature, I don't ever recall any candidate losing out because of a personal flaw.<p>Only sports applies that peripheral off-the-field standard. Wed, 11 Dec 2013 10:07:00 +0000 Frank Deford 24945 at http://wlrn.org Should Character Count In Sports Awards? To Liven Up NFL Pregame Shows, Take A Cue From 'The View'? http://wlrn.org/post/liven-nfl-pregame-shows-take-cue-view The Sunday pregame shows feature interchangeable ex-players and ex-coaches saying the same banal things, one after another.<p>"They've got to cut down on turnovers."<p>"They've got to convert more third-down situations."<p>And so on. There's no human interaction, just mirthless recitations. But on female-centered shows like <em>The View</em> and <em>The Talk, </em>the hosts actually discuss, argue, hash things out, laugh for real and behave like flesh-and-blood human beings. Wed, 04 Dec 2013 08:07:00 +0000 Frank Deford 24601 at http://wlrn.org To Liven Up NFL Pregame Shows, Take A Cue From 'The View'? The Horse Who Picked Up A Paintbrush http://wlrn.org/post/horse-who-picked-paintbrush <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3IxwuFw3E8</p> Wed, 27 Nov 2013 08:25:00 +0000 Frank Deford 24286 at http://wlrn.org The Horse Who Picked Up A Paintbrush In Basketball, It's Always About What's Next http://wlrn.org/post/basketball-its-always-about-whats-next College basketball seems to get started sooner every year, like puberty in American children. Why does everything have to begin so early now, before you have time to get ready for it?<p>Things move so fast in college basketball that there are <em>three</em> players this year who are being called "the next LeBron James. Wed, 20 Nov 2013 08:00:00 +0000 Frank Deford 23959 at http://wlrn.org In Basketball, It's Always About What's Next Why Has Football Become So Brutish? http://wlrn.org/post/why-has-football-become-so-brutish Not surprisingly, in the explosive revelations about the Miami Dolphins team turmoil, most attention has been paid to the fact that, in the midst of a locker room predominately composed of African-American players, a white, Richie Incognito, slurred a black teammate, Jonathan Martin, with the ugliest racial epithet –– and was actually publicly supported by some blacks on the team. Wed, 13 Nov 2013 08:24:00 +0000 Frank Deford 23597 at http://wlrn.org Why Has Football Become So Brutish? Root, Root, Root For The Home Team? http://wlrn.org/post/root-root-root-home-team Does a citizen of any country, not just the good ole U.S. of A., have an obligation to support its national teams? For goodness sake, it's just a game, not Horatius at the Bridge standing between us and national defeat.<p>The fact is, too, that because the U.S. is so powerful, our team is usually the favorite, and, hey, it's natural to root for the underdog. Somehow I don't think it makes you a traitor if, say, you take a liking to somebody like itsy-bitsy Lithuania when it battles our juggernaut of NBA all-stars in international basketball competition. Wed, 06 Nov 2013 08:02:00 +0000 Frank Deford 23249 at http://wlrn.org Root, Root, Root For The Home Team? Can NASCAR Steer Itself Back Into Popularity? http://wlrn.org/post/can-nascar-steer-itself-back-popularity As the NASCAR season climaxes, America's prime motor sport continues to see its popularity in decline. For several years now, revenues and sponsorship have plummeted, leaving an audience that increasingly resembles the stereotype NASCAR so desperately thought it could grow beyond: older white Dixie working class.<p>Both ESPN and the Turner Broadcasting Co., longtime NASCAR networks, took a look at the down graphs and the down-scale demographics and didn't even bother to bid on the new TV contract.<p>Economics, of course, are part of the problem. Wed, 30 Oct 2013 09:03:00 +0000 Frank Deford 22886 at http://wlrn.org Can NASCAR Steer Itself Back Into Popularity? Frank Deford: 'Some Of Us Are More Valiant Than The Rest' http://wlrn.org/post/frank-deford-some-us-are-more-valiant-rest As a child, your heart is broken when you learn that your grandfather really can't pull real quarters out of your ear. And if you're a baseball fan, that disillusionment happens once more to you in life when you first hear the numbers mavens tell you that there is no clutch hitter. None. No such thing.<p>Oh my, but if you have any romance in your soul, you do so want to believe that there are people in all walks of life whom we can count on to rise to the occasion. Don't you want that?<p><em><em>Click on the audio link above to hear Deford's take on this issue. Wed, 23 Oct 2013 09:19:00 +0000 Frank Deford 22545 at http://wlrn.org Frank Deford: 'Some Of Us Are More Valiant Than The Rest'