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200 Miles From the Citi


May 13, 2010 9:05 PM

The Big Sidekick and Boring Science

ShaqSI.jpg

I've been telling you for weeks about the Sports Illustrated reviews written by a friend of mine, Justin, who writes for Sports Crackle Pop!

He's got some best man duties this weekend (he leads the league in best man appearances...and is quite a toast writer - plus, he even married a couple - a true wedding renaissance man.), so I'm taking care of the baby that is the Sports Illustrated review this week.

His review has changed the way I read the magazine - I used to let SI kind of sit for a couple of days, take my time with the articles, and one magazine would lead right into another.  But since Justin started writing these, I've begun to rush through them, so that I could read his review.  (I should say, the review is designed to advise you on what to read or not read, but since I'm crazy and don't like that, I rush through the magazine and then see if I agree with Justin.)

So I'm psyched to get the chance to do this, if only for a week.  (A week that features a long, long science article and another story on murder, unfortunately.)

I'll do my best to fill Justin's shoes.  He cracks me up...I don't know if I can be as funny. I certainly won't be cursing like he does. But I promise you this - at least I'll proofread.


THE PREGAME

Weird picture in leading off - synchronized divers, before they hit the water, but they used some kind of digital scanning technique to make it look like there's a splash.  What's the sense? The picture is kind of cool (I could do without the scantily-clad men, to be honest) without the change.

Does anyone else read Faces in the Crowd every week?  I always think I'll read about some future star and actually remember that I read about them in this section.  It's never happened.  Anyway, I thought it was notable that there's a fifth grade golfer in there this week playing golf for a high school.

I may have drawn a short straw when it comes to articles, but at least the "Inside" section is strong - MLB, NFL, and NASCAR.  Especially good is the MLB piece on the Padres - goes a long way in convincing me they might hang tough for a while.

THE ARTICLES

Did Yeardley Love Have To Die?  by L. Jon Wertheim

The answer is no.  The article is mostly about the many aggressive warning signs the men's lacrosse player showed that were ignored.  Pretty depressing.

Happy Mother's Day by Tom Verducci

Kind of expecting more from Verducci here.  Just kind of a run-of-the-mill Dallas Braden perfect game story.  I almost found the sidebar by Stephen Cannella, a little more stat-driven, better than the article.

The Devil Is in the Details by Michael Farber

Interesting timing of this article on Miroslav Satan and the Bruins' goal-scoring rebirth. Since this article was written the Bruins have blown their series lead and face a Game 7.

Justin likes to comment often on the writing styles each week - here's my one for the week.  I could have done without all the Satan jokes, but I like how Farber talked about the unintentional Americanization of Satan's name (and the absence of the 'upside-down hat' over the S in the last name):

When you leave Slovakia for the NHL, you have a better chance of keeping your identity as a sweet-handed goal scorer than your diacritical mark.

Now that I've re-written that, though, it makes it sound like the diacritical mark once had a reputation as a sweet-handed goal scorer.

The Big Sidekick by Chris Ballard

I feel like I've come full circle on Shaquille O'Neal.  What was it, 1992?, when Sports Illustrated had the "Shaq takes New York" article, about his first trip to Madison Square Garden to take on Patrick Ewing and the Knicks.  My favorite memory of that article is that they had a picture of Shaq at a shootaround at the Garden early in the day before a night game, and the scoreboard that hangs over center court was sitting on the basketball court.  Coolest thing I had seen to that point - maybe even now.  (Here's why Justin and I are such good friends - he remembers this exact article, and we've had multiple conversations about it over the years.)

Anyway, Shaq was a developing force then.  He's now a beat-up veteran role player.  (Ballard at one point compares him to "a woolly mammoth" trying to play center in the NBA.  Ouch.)  This article makes me feel old.

Sports Genes by David Epstein

Justin texted me shortly after SI arrived, "No chance I ever read that article."  I have a self-diagnosed touch of OCD, so I would have a hard time not reading an article in the magazine.  I sucked it up and read it.

If you're a sports fan like me, without a subscription to, say, any science publication, this article will be difficult to get through.  I don't think you really need me to tell you that you probably want to skip it.

Let's put it this way - after reading the article I don't think I know anything more about any genetic athletic predispositions.  I'm not sure I even know what that sentence means.

POINT AFTER

A Selena Roberts offering.  And it's tremendous.  Jordan Burnham's story needs to be shared.  Read it.

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