Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Home cookin'

As I’ve made clear before, I think there are few pleasures in life more pure than a long, uninterrupted day of sports. In that same piece, I suggested one way to get those glorious days to occur more frequently in Major League Baseball would be to radically expand home field advantage in the playoffs and play every single wildcard, divisional, and league championship game at the stadium of the team with the better record. Two and a half years later I think it’s and even better idea and I’d like to talk more about it here.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Postcards from Addis

It’s been about a year since I went to Ethiopia. As part of a University of Michigan sponsored effort (EM-PACE), I spent a month teaching two post-graduate classes at the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAIT) and got to see, eat, and do some pretty cool stuff. I had a bunch of thoughts while I was there and even managed to write some of them down, but as you can probably tell, never quite fit everything together into a post (or posts) that I was happy with.
Welcome to Atlanta Addis Ababa
Instead, you guys get something else: sports!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A rough draft

The NBA regular season is over which means you’re either celebrating a playoff bid or you’re getting ready for the lottery.

Since the first envelope emerged from the freezer in time immemorial,* teams have schemed for ways to get ahead using the draft. Of course, the NBA has a lottery system to prevent just that. Instead of distributing picks according to record alone, the NBA introduces an element of randomness to discourage teams from losing on purpose to secure a good draft pick.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

First name basis

You know how Coors Light claims to be “cold filtered?” Well Benjamin Booker’s voice is kind of like that. Except instead of good times, football, and twins, the sieve is composed of heavy gauge railroad gravel and thumbtacks. Just how much of that is effect and how much is genuine Booker family growl is a question too sophisticated for my ears to parse; the resulting sound, however, is distinctive enough regardless to at least hint at a cannon of first name guys like Bruce, Tom, and whatever astral creature did this.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Rowing the boat

Last March* Kevyn Orr, the Emergency Manager charged with cleaning up Detroit’s balance sheet came to speak at the Michigan (University) Union. Being a frequent visitor of the city, an (I like to think) alert and responsible regional denizen, and always looking for an opportunity to blow off lab,** I went.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Hold Steady, Part II

There is a Replacements song called “Treatment Bound.” It’s a freewheeling number; like most of their stuff it sometimes sounds sloppy and sometimes comes off tight, but most of all is just perpetually threatening to fall off the highwire. It took me a while to realize it, but Paul Westerberg and company weren’t beating their chests or telling fishing stories when they sang, “First thing we do when we pull up / get shiiiiiitfaced drunk / try to sober up.” They didn’t care about labels, hits, or SNL and even if The Mats didn’t live every single line they sang, at least they could have. With the recent release of Teeth Dreams, The Hold Steady’s sixth album, I’ve come to a similar realization about Minnesota-born but Brooklyn-bred group.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The BIG EAST’s Tweet Coast Bias

On New Year’s Eve, 10 private colleges took part in the (re)inauguration of BIG EAST basketball.  The BIG EAST* kicked off the fall season several months earlier, but the primary purpose of the “new Big East” was basketball.  If the conference was born (again) with soccer and volleyball, New Year’s basketball was its baptism.

*OK, that’s enough of that all-caps thing

As a graduate of the school on the western heel of the new Big East’s footprint, I was concerned that the new conference would neglect much of the news out of Nebraska.  Just as Stephen Colbert does not see race, I do not see regionalism.  However, with this anecdote, my friend showed me that it is a legitimate concern.  He went to school out east and, when he introduced himself as being from Minnesota, his fellow student responded with “Oh, cool.  Is that in Wisconsin?”* Almost a month has passed since the coronation of the new conference and I wanted to check in on my concerns.  So, as I think to myself almost daily, thank goodness for Twitter.