Archive for category Sports
Baseball returns this week, so let’s wrap up the preseason with a look at my picks for the best baseball movies:
A League of Their Own
Gena Davis and Tom Hanks star in this terrific movie about the Women’s Professional Baseball League.
Minor league catcher Crash Davis (Kevin Kostner) tries to keep his shot at the “show” alive, while also mentoring a young pitching prospect (Tim Robbins) and trying to win the heart of the team’s biggest fan, played by Susan Sarandon.
A middle-aged fan makes a deal with the devil (Roy Walston) and becomes a major league star in this popular 1958 musical. Who said there’s no singing in baseball?
Eight Men Out
Based on the infamous Black Sox scandal that ended the careers of Shoeless Joe Jackson and his teammates on the 1919 White Sox.
Before he was Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman played Jackie Robinson, the Dodger great who broke the color barrier. An important move, and at times, difficult to watch the abuse Robinson experienced.
Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger lead the hapless Clevelend Indians from last place to first. Silly fun.
A brilliant retelling of the 1961 season, when Yankee teammates Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane) and Roger Maris (Barry Pepper), chased Babe Ruth’s single season home run record (60) amid near-constant media pressure. Directed by die-hard fan Billy Crysal. The DVD’s extras are worth a watch, too.
Robert Redford plays slugger Roy Hobbs, an aging ballplayer with a mysterious past.
High school coach Dennis Quaid promises his players that he’ll tryout (again) for the majors if the team can turn things around. Based on the true story of Jim Morris.
That’s my list — what’s on yours? Field of Dreams? The Sandlot? Moneyball?
After 5 months of action, we’ve finally reached Super Bowl week. While the Broncos and Panthers go through final preparations, let’s take a short quiz to test your knowledge of the big game.
Questions (answers below)
- Which city is hosting this year’s Super Bowl?
- Who won the first two Super Bowls?
- Player on the winning teams of the first 11 Super Bowls earned $15,000. What did the Patriots players earn after winning Super Bowl 49 last year? a) $97,000 b) $150,000 c) $237,000
- This brash, young quarterback promised a Super Bowl III victory, and then delivered the upset.
- Name one of the three teams that have appeared in the most Super Bowls (8).
- Phil Simms was the first Super Bowl MVP to tell the world, “I’m going to ____.”
- This former contestant on Dancing with the Stars holds the record for most Super Bowl touchdowns. Name him. Hint: all touchdowns came on pass receptions.
- Pittsburgh holds the record for most Super Bowl victories. How many times have the Steelers won the big game?
- Of 49 games, how many Super Bowls have been decided by 3 points or less?
- Which of this year’s two teams, Carolina and Denver, has a better record in the Super Bowl?
Bonus question – 3 points
Walter Iooss will be at his 50th Super Bowl this year. Who is he?
Hint: he does what I would want to be doing.
- This year’s Super Bowl is in Santa Clara , California. Give yourself a point if you responded San Francisco or the Bay Area.
- The Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II.
- The Patriots players earned $97,000 for winning the Super Bowl 49.
- Joe Namath promised and delivered a victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl II.
- The Patriots, Steelers, and Cowboys have appeared in eight Super Bowls.
- Phil Simms was the first MVP to say “I’m going to Disney World.”
- Jerry Rice scored 8 Super Bowl touchdowns.
- The Steelers have won the Super Bowl six times, followed by San Francisco and Dallas with five victories
- Eight Super Bowls have been decided by 3 points or less.
- Denver. The Broncos have won twice in seven games, Carolina is winless in one game.
Walter Iooss is a Sports Illustrated photographer.
1-4 You watch for the commercials
5-7 All Pro
8 – 10 MVP
I was watching morning-after news coverage of the Super Bowl and was struck by the second guessing of both the coaching and commercials. Seahawks fans are upset that the team elected to pass on their ill-fated final possession — an interception ultimately sealed the victory for the Patriots.
Others are angry at a Nationwide Insurance spot, in which a young boy spoke of the things he’ll never do because he was killed in an accident.
Whether you agree or disagree with either of these decisions, what’s interesting is the tide of negative comments on social media:
- “Too bad I don’t have #Nationwide insurance….so I could cancel it after that commercial.”
- “Seriously, who with @Nationwide’s PR/Marketing team thought a commercial during the #SuperBowl about kids dying was an idea worth $4.5M?”
- “That @Nationwide Commercial makes me want to call Geico”
Twitter also chimed in on the Seahawks choice to attempt a pass, targeting Seattle coach Pete Carroll, generally considered one of the best in the game:
- “Worst call in NFL History. Pete Carroll will never recover from this … Horrible! Horrible! Horrible!”
- “Pete Carroll just made the biggest screw-up in Super Bowl history.”
- “This was the mother of all screwups.”
Two lessons here. First, everyone has an opinion, and social media gives them a platform to share —good or bad. While these tweets (or posts) may not represent any more frustration than you’d hear at the water cooler, when combined, they create a wave of public opinion that reaches farther and wider than anything previously available to the everyday person.
Secondly, because of the potential of “bad press” in the social media world, the consequences of errors are greater. While people may not mean any ill intent by posting video of a news anchor accidentally dropping an F-bomb during a newscast, the potential damage is far beyond what existed in days past.
Your turn. Does social media magnify issues, or is it a valuable way for the public to be heard?
- The first one’s easy: Who won the World Series last year?
- In the television show Seinfeld, what was Jerry’s favorite team?
- What was Babe Ruth’s primary position when he played for the Red Sox?
- With a runner on first and one out, the batter hits a pop up to the shortstop. But before the fielder catches the pop, the umpire calls the batter out. Why?
- What is a southpaw?
- Which team did the Mighty Casey play for?
- These three brothers all played professionally: Joe, Dominic, and Vince. What was their last name? Hint: the best known one played for the Yankees.
- Name the last person to have a batting average over .400.
- In the play/movie Damn Yankees, what does the lead character do in order to play for his beloved Washington Senators?
- What is the claim to fame of Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance, of the Chicago Cubs in the early 1900s?
- This uniform number has been retired across baseball. What is the number and who wore it? Hint, the number was the title of a 2013 movie about that player.
- Name the two Major League Baseball teams with nicknames that do not end in “s.”
- What is the distance between the bases?
- Which team has the highest payroll in baseball?
- The Cy Young Award is given to the best ___ in each league.
- The popular movie series “Major League” is about a hapless team of misfits that unite and win the pennant. Name the team.
- The 2014 season really began earlier this month when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks played two games in this faraway land. Name it.
- Speaking of the Dodgers … what is a Dodger?
- What is a “can of corn?”
- Shoeless Joe Jackson and other deceased players return from the beyond to play ball in a field built at the site of an old cornfield in this 1989 movie.
- The Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series.
- Like the real-life Seinfeld, Jerry was a Mets fan.
- Babe Ruth was a pitcher with the Red Sox, and a very good one.
- The batter is called out because of the Infield Fly Rule. It prevents the fielder from intentionally dropping the ball and turning a double play (the runner would be staying on first because of the pop-up, thus being an easy out).
- A southpaw is someone who throws left-handed.
- In the poem written by Ernest Thayer, The Mighty (albeit overrated ) Casey played for the Mudville nine.
- Joe, Dominic, and Vince DiMaggio all played in the majors.
- Ted Williams batted .406 in 1941.
- In Damn Yankees, Joe Hardy makes a deal with the devil to play for the Washington Senators.
- The three Cubs ability to turn a double play was immortalized in a poem, “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon.” Written by a New York Giants fan during a game, it begins: “These are the saddest of possible words: Tinkers to Evers to Chance …”
- The number 42, worn by Jackie Robinson, has been retired across Major League Baseball.
- The Red Sox and White Sox are the only teams with nicknames that do not end with an “s.”
- The bases are 90 feet apart.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers have the highest payroll in baseball at $235 million, followed by the Yankees ($204 million) and Philadelphia Phillies ($180 million).
- The Cy Young Award is given to the best pitcher in each league.
- The “Major League” movie series portrays fictional players of the Cleveland Indians.
- The Dodgers and Diamondbacks played the first two games of the season in Australia. The Dodgers won both.
- The name Dodgers dates back to the team’s days in Brooklyn, when it was called the “Trolley Dodgers,” a tribute to the many trolley cars throughout the borough. The name was eventually shortened to Dodgers.
- A can of corn is an easy-to-catch fly ball.
- Shoeless Joe Jackson and others returned from beyond to play in Field of Dreams.
11-15 All Star
0-5 Bench warmer
But bring the camera because there are ways to capture some nice images, even if you’re not wearing a press pass. Most of the examples below are from sporting events, but the same concepts work for many situations, from high school plays to concerts.
Take your eye off the ball
The photo above is from a high school softball game. I was too far away to catch much of the action at home plate. Then I noticed the intensity of the first baseman. She had a laser focus on every pitch, and fortunately, was close enough for me to get a nice shot that really showed that intensity as she waited for the next pitch. I shot several images, and this is my favorite.
What else is going on?
Sticking with photos from the diamond, this next image (left) came at Hadlock Field, home of our Portland Sea Dogs, a minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. We had great seats for the game, but far enough away that capturing good action shots was difficult.
As fate would have it, the batters in the on deck circle were well within range, and I was able to snap off a couple of images of several players.
Remember the importance of warming-up
One of my favorite photos is of former Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas. On this particular day, our seats were in the balcony of Boston’s TD Garden, about seven stories above the ice, so anything other than a wide shot was unlikely. However, we went down to ice level to watch warm-ups, and I snagged this shot with my trusty point and shoot camera by prefocusing and waiting for Thomas to turn. Tip: to prefocus, point the camera at your subject and hold the shutter release button half-way down.
I have similar photos of other goalies, all captured in the same way. I focus my attention on the goalies because the other players move too quickly for a point and shoot to follow.
Hint: you can shoot hockey and other ice events through the protective glass. Try to find a clean spot, and hold the camera against the glass. The same holds true when shooting through a screen at baseball or softball games.
Look left, and then right
The shot on the left came at Boston’s annual Greek Independence Day Parade. I took hundreds of images of the parade, but this one, of a marcher prior to the event, is among my favorites. The shot came shortly after I arrived and was scoping out the parade route. I turned around, and there he was.
Note that the cloudy weather helped this photo, as a bright sun would have cast a shadow on his face, making it darker than the background.
In the world of photography, clouds can be helpful in the right circumstances.
Sounds like a good topic for a future blog.
Be the early bird
Finally, one of the best pieces of advice I picked up over the years is simple: get there early. Several years ago, the late Tim Russert was speaking at a conference I attended. Being a big fan of his, I wanted a good photo, but knew the hall would be packed with thousands.
Russert’s remarks were first thing in the morning, so I arrived early, scouted out the available best seat, and planted myself there. This image, taken with a basic point and shoot camera, served its purpose, and I came away with a photo of Russert that marks the day.