Hall of Fame

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Baseball

The swag that saved Toronto: Brett Lawrie’s reign

The allures of Major League Baseball are unlike those of other North American sports. Quite typically, the pace and tradition of the game work to its benefit, establishing within the sport a sense of timelessness thoroughly appreciated by anyone receptive to its subtleties and summer afternoon tranquility. On the other hand, its relative lack of punch has left some fans – younger generations in particular – wanting. And then there was Brett Lawrie. Though Lawrie,…

Baseball

Shaun Marcum at home with dominant Brewers

After missing the entire 2009 season due to injury, Shaun Marcum led a young Blue Jays pitching staff in 2010  to successfully rebound from Tommy John surgery, tossing a career-high 195 innings in 31 starts. The then-Jays ace not only ate innings, but cut down his walks and increased the frequency with which he threw first-pitch strikes; encouraging signs as he forged ahead into 2011 as the eldest member of his club’s starting rotation. That…

Baseball

The Crack of the Mini-Bat: A broadcaster’s tribute to baseball’s past

In addition to his contributions to The Good Point, Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is the full-time broadcaster of the Toronto Blue Jay-affiliate Lansing Lugnuts, of the Class A Midwest League. What follows is a personal account of what has become a yearly tradition in his broadcasting booth; a tribute to the radio giants of baseball’s past. In August of every year, I broadcast a baseball game without watching it. The game is real, the score is accurate… and…

Basketball

AND None: The Fast Rise and Hard Fall of AND 1

Yesterday, people were briefly brought back in time to year 2000. AND 1, the shoe company founded in 1993 that gained prominence in the NBA during the late nineties and early aughts, was sold to New York-based brand management firm, Global International. This is the latest news for a brand that has seen its worth and exposure fall from where it was once primed to be one of the dominant brands in basketball. That is,…

Basketball

Shawn Kemp: The Cleveland Years

The narrative of Shawn Kemp’s life is familiar. The name alone instantly yields memories of substance abuse, grabbed crotches, punch lines of illegitimate children and the 1996 NBA Finals. One chapter that often gets lost among the confusion of the overwhelming tale, however, revolves around a three-year stint in which the dominating forward uncharacteristically donned the uniform of a late-90s Cleveland Cavaliers team following an alleged fallout over contract terms with his former Supersonics. Despite…

Hall of Fame

Drew Doughty and something to prove

Drew Doughty has been hammered by the media all summer long due to lingering contract negotiations with the Kings. But who cares, right? At 21, a contract hold-out would be relatively unprecedented, and certainly unruly, so it’s safe to say Doughty will wear the black, silver and purple of the Los Angeles Kings for the 2011-12 season. With training camp around the corner though, the game of chicken between both sides is becoming risky, testy…

Baseball

Justin Masterson: True ace of the Indians’ rotation

Before Ubaldo Jimenez arrived in Cleveland, the Indians already had a pitcher who was performing like an ace. It’s no secret that Justin Masterson has had a spectacular year, anchoring an Indians starting rotation that has been the main reason why the team sits within striking distance of first place in the AL Central. Just how Masterson has been so dominant this season is even more spectacular. Feeding opposing hitters an almost exclusive diet of sinking fastballs, Masterson has benefited immensely…

Hall of Fame

The new MSG: Not such a fan favorite

While hockey fans in one area of New York are complaining about not getting a new arena, fans in another area are thinking negatively about new renovations being made to their arena. This is the case when it comes to the New York Rangers and the changes to the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” Madison Square Garden. Currently, the NYC mainstay is being gutted on the inside and transformed into something even more corporate and new…

Hall of Fame

Putting Shaun White and Travis Pastrana in perspective

Over the past weekend, Shaun White and Travis Pastrana were busy adding to their own legends at the 17th annual X-Games in Los Angeles, California. The popularity of the X-Games has grown steadily since they began in 1995. Sponsorship for and attention towards the ESPN-owned mega-event has skyrocketed, throwing once-called “extreme” sports into the mainstream and making household names out of the X-Games’ biggest athletes. This year the X-Games took over the Staples Center in…

Baseball

Life in the organization: Jays prospects battle one game at a time

A writer for Baseball America is on the phone. She asks for Jake Marisnick and Marcus Knecht. The two Blue Jays prospects are found next to one another in the Lansing Lugnuts’ home clubhouse. Earlier today, they were practicing a new handshake routine on the field. Now they sit and count the minutes before they need to shower and dress for the evening game against Beloit. The carpeted hallway outside the clubhouse is dimly lit and stained, leading down past a…