Frank Deford http://kuow.org en Remembering How The Great War Changed U.S. Sports http://kuow.org/post/remembering-how-great-war-changed-us-sports When America entered the Great War in 1917 — a war that began 100 years ago this summer — Major League Baseball faced a special problem: It had a hefty German heritage. Its best-known team, the New York Giants under John McGraw, was even sometimes called "McGraw's Prussians" for its tough, fighting spirit. Obviously, just as sauerkraut became "liberty cabbage," that had to go, too.<p>Among the many German-American ballplayers, the most prominent was Honus Wagner, known as The Flying Dutchman. "Dutch" didn't refer to the Netherlands, but was derived from <em>Deutsch</em>. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 17:20:26 +0000 Frank Deford 38358 at http://kuow.org Remembering How The Great War Changed U.S. Sports Deford: NCAA Says Amateurism Is Alive And Well, But The Jig Is Up http://kuow.org/post/deford-ncaa-says-amateurism-alive-and-well-jig Amateurism is dead, revealed so in the trial against the NCAA now in progress in Oakland, Calif., U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken presiding. Wed, 25 Jun 2014 07:28:00 +0000 Frank Deford 37018 at http://kuow.org Deford: NCAA Says Amateurism Is Alive And Well, But The Jig Is Up Deford: How To Host A Sports Extravaganza That Won't Break The Bank http://kuow.org/post/deford-how-host-sports-extravaganza-wont-break-bank You know, it is the 21st century, and it is possible to acknowledge that <em>and</em> make both the World Cup and the Olympics more affordable. The current waste and opulence simply aren't defensible anymore.<p>For the soccer pooh-bahs to demand that Brazil build new stadiums, costing billions of dollars, is unconscionable. Wed, 18 Jun 2014 07:26:00 +0000 Frank Deford 36585 at http://kuow.org Deford: How To Host A Sports Extravaganza That Won't Break The Bank Will A Triple Crown Win Save Horse Racing? Don't Bet On It http://kuow.org/post/will-triple-crown-win-save-horse-racing-dont-bet-it At the start of a movie these days, how often do you read: "Based on a true story?" But if a movie was made about California Chrome, whether or not the horse wins the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, it would read: "Based on a dream."<p>Because the colt — of the most undistinguished heritage, bred by neophytes and trained by a kindly septuagenarian –– well, the whole thing is a ridiculous reverie.<p>California Chrome has been dubbed America's horse, and, for his owners and trainer, the American dream has been regularly invoked. Wed, 04 Jun 2014 07:39:00 +0000 Frank Deford 35742 at http://kuow.org Will A Triple Crown Win Save Horse Racing? Don't Bet On It Don't Overlook The Unsung Umpire; Referees Can Be Pretty, Too http://kuow.org/post/dont-overlook-unsung-umpire-referees-can-be-pretty-too Not so long ago, while enjoying a libation in a decorous saloon, the proprietor — who happened to hail from the fabled Windy City — suddenly jarred the genteel assembled by turning on the Cubs game. Just at that moment, a Cubby was heading toward the plate when the throw came in, and the runner (spoiler alert!), being a Cub, was tagged out.<p>Visualize the tableau: The runner. The catcher. But also a third figure: the umpire. And see him now: feet spread well apart, solidly grounded, mask off in his left hand, and his right arm flies up, thumb to the heavens. Wed, 28 May 2014 07:36:00 +0000 Frank Deford 35320 at http://kuow.org Don't Overlook The Unsung Umpire; Referees Can Be Pretty, Too Don't Judge Exceptional Players By The Company They Keep http://kuow.org/post/dont-judge-exceptional-players-company-they-keep Ty Cobb, miserable human being that he was, is still considered the greatest American athlete of his era. But did you know the Georgia Peach never played on a championship team? Still, when the first Baseball Hall of Fame elections were held, he got the most votes –– even more than Babe Ruth.<p>Ted Williams was never a champion, either. Wed, 21 May 2014 07:17:00 +0000 Frank Deford 34869 at http://kuow.org Don't Judge Exceptional Players By The Company They Keep The Olympics: A Modern Day World's Fair (And Money Magnet) http://kuow.org/post/olympics-modern-day-worlds-fair-and-money-magnet Because it's the 50th anniversary, there's been a wave of nostalgia for the last New York World's Fair. It made me wonder: Whatever happened to World's Fairs?<p>Well, it turns out that they still exist. In fact, you, too, can go to a certified World's Fair next year in Milan, where the fun theme is "Feeding the planet, energy for life" — real cotton candy stuff that helps explain why World's Fairs are not so popular anymore.<p>I bring this up because I always thought that World's Fairs and the Olympics were sort of global first cousins, but what a contrast! Wed, 14 May 2014 07:47:00 +0000 Frank Deford 34413 at http://kuow.org The Olympics: A Modern Day World's Fair (And Money Magnet) Bad Behavior From A Sports Franchise Owner? That's Not New http://kuow.org/post/bad-behavior-sports-franchise-owner-thats-not-new Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life from the NBA after he made racist comments.<p>Sports bans aren't new.<p>In 1990, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was banned from day-to-day management of the club by Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent.<p>Steinbrenner was reinstated in 1993.<p>Sterling is 80. Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:44:00 +0000 Frank Deford 33584 at http://kuow.org Bad Behavior From A Sports Franchise Owner? That's Not New Time To Root, Root, Root For Final Innings http://kuow.org/post/time-root-root-root-final-innings Sometimes the most disparate of people end up as pairs. As baseball begins, here's your 2014 All-Star Odd Couple: Bud Selig and Derek Jeter. Wed, 09 Apr 2014 07:35:00 +0000 Frank Deford 32164 at http://kuow.org Time To Root, Root, Root For Final Innings Deford: Paying College Athletes Would Level The Playing Field http://kuow.org/post/deford-paying-college-athletes-would-level-playing-field For many decades, baseball had a reserve clause, which essentially tied a baseball player to a franchise in perpetuity. Wed, 02 Apr 2014 18:19:32 +0000 Frank Deford 31783 at http://kuow.org Deford: Paying College Athletes Would Level The Playing Field There's A Reason They Call It Madness http://kuow.org/post/theres-reason-they-call-it-madness More than any other nation, America is awash in teams. There are the pro teams, the college team, the high school team, the fantasy teams.<p>Well, at a certain point, something has to give — and apparently, the team sport that's given way the most is men's college basketball.<p>Yes, college hoops has its fleeting moment in the vernal equinox. It's fun. You make out brackets — but it's not like other sports where you're familiar with the principals.<p>Take fantasy football. Fans make up their own teams, yes, but they know who the players are. Wed, 19 Mar 2014 09:01:00 +0000 Frank Deford 30819 at http://kuow.org There's A Reason They Call It Madness In Sports, There's No Such Thing As A Bad Hustle http://kuow.org/post/sports-theres-no-such-thing-bad-hustle Surely, "hustle" is the single most beloved word associated with sport. As color is to rainbows, as chocolate to the palate, as sweet nothings to love, hustle is to sport.<p>Hear it now:<p><em>Hustle up! </em><br /> <em>Hustle down the line!</em> Wed, 12 Mar 2014 15:58:36 +0000 Frank Deford 30358 at http://kuow.org In Sports, There's No Such Thing As A Bad Hustle A Star Tennis Coach And The End Of The All-Around Athlete http://kuow.org/post/star-tennis-coach-and-end-all-around-athlete Tennis coach Nick Bollettieri's deserved acceptance into the International Tennis Hall of Fame came late in life, at age 82. What makes him so important is not his long career but how he changed the way we bring up our athletic children.<p>The ultimate young athlete used to be the boy (girls didn't have the chance then) who starred in several sports. The <em>all-around </em>athlete. But Bollettieri changed that.<p>He built the Bollettieri Academy in Florida in 1978, a boarding school where young players could go to study and play tennis, if not necessarily in that order. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 17:34:07 +0000 Frank Deford 29901 at http://kuow.org A Star Tennis Coach And The End Of The All-Around Athlete It's Time To Shrink Home Plate http://kuow.org/post/its-time-shrink-home-plate It's time to make home plate smaller. I know: That's heresy; that's sacrilegious. But there are simply too many strikeouts in baseball now, and that hurts the game, because if the ball isn't in play, it's boring.<p>The size of home plate was not decreed by God. Back when it was an iron plate — where the name came from — it was, in fact, round. Wed, 26 Feb 2014 17:16:42 +0000 Frank Deford 29479 at http://kuow.org It's Time To Shrink Home Plate Michael Sam, A Distraction? Please http://kuow.org/post/michael-sam-distraction-please Now that Michael Sam, an NFL draft prospect, has announced that he is gay, there's been <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2014/02/10/274652475/defining-masculinity-down-the-mans-man-game">a lot of mumbling</a> that he would be a distraction — but it's really an issue of antipathy<em>.</em><p>What <a href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20140209/michael-sam-draft-stock/">some are saying</a>, in coded language, is that too many players and fans would hate Michael Sam because he's gay, and the media will pounce on this, and that would be bad for his team and henc Wed, 19 Feb 2014 16:24:12 +0000 Frank Deford 29034 at http://kuow.org Michael Sam, A Distraction? Please