Browsing All Posts filed under »ranking«

Which sports are best and worst to watch live? Part I, general observations

March 17, 2011

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At one point in the highly entertaining Champions League match between Bayern Munich and Inter Milan a couple of nights ago we were treated to an extended period in which Bayern’s back four passed the ball back and forth across the pitch. You might have thought they were simply time-wasting, except that it came at […]

Soccer vs American Sports, part 5: Does taking the hands out of play make a sport inferior?

July 31, 2010

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During the 2002 World Cup, Allen Barra, a great American sports writer (and acclaimed reviewer of books in general) published an infamous anti-soccer rant. The target of the rant was an alleged “swarm of soccer nerds and bullies reminding us how backward and provincial we [good ol’ American sports fans] are for not appreciating soccer […]

Soccer vs American Sports, Part 2: In praise of defense

July 15, 2010

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In Part 1 of this little series, I argued — well, asserted — that an appreciation of the individual and team defensive plays and strategies is an essential component of sports connoisseurship. As a corollary, a sport in which defense is either non-existent (say, bowling, golf, or most track-and-field events, for all intents and purposes), […]

Soccer vs American Sports, Part 1: Dissing defense

July 13, 2010

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We’ll get back to the 3rd part of the series on the ethics of diving soon. In the meantime, while the World Cup is still fresh, I’m starting a new series of reflections on some of the ways fans of North American team sports (principally American football, baseball, basketball, and hockey) might think about what […]

World Cup diary #3: the beginning of the end

June 28, 2010

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A busy travel schedule has allowed me to see most of the matches so far, to keep up on the press and bloggers, yet not to comment much myself. But now the real tournament has begun, in the second round. I’ll be blogging regularly from here on in. It’s hard to give a comparative assessment […]

The imperfect game, Part 2: The paradox of changing the rules to award the perfect game

June 10, 2010

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The passionate debate shows how much we all interpret baseball players as competing against all of their baseball ancestors as much as they are against their rivals this season. The blown call made absolutely no difference to the result — that is, to the result of a relatively meaningless game in the midst of a […]

Why is hockey analysis almost always so lame? Part 1

May 4, 2010

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My friend Andrew Potter (author of the sizzling new book The Authenticity Hoax) tweeted a link on Friday [when I began writing this post] to a compelling contrast between the two biggest stars in the world of ice hockey, the Russian Alexander Ovechkin and the Canadian Sydney Crosby. The column in question was by Steve Simmons, who has covered hockey […]