Frank Deford http://kuow.org en 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 An Olympic Shame: Vladimir Putin Plays Host To Winter Games http://kuow.org/post/olympic-shame-vladimir-putin-plays-host-winter-games You know those commercials for prescription medicines on television when they devote the first 15 seconds to the benefits of the drug and then take the next 45 telling you all the bad things that could happen if you use it? Vladimir Putin's Olympics remind me of that. For all the happiness his Winter Games are supposed to bring us, you need considerably more time to hear about all the things that could go wrong.<p>Let's not forget that Putin was given these games by the perennially inept International Olympic Committee. Wed, 05 Feb 2014 08:32:00 +0000 Frank Deford 28228 at http://kuow.org An Olympic Shame: Vladimir Putin Plays Host To Winter Games America's Love Affair With Football Keeps Getting Stronger http://kuow.org/post/americas-love-affair-football-keeps-getting-stronger Football fandom simply overwhelms all other sports in America, growing not just merely super, but superior, from high school right on up to this Sunday's quasi-religious festival — which celebrates our adoration of the sport<em> </em>as much as the sport itself.<p>There are multiple reasons to account for this increased devotion to football, but curiously, there's no balancing diminution in interest in other sports. Baseball may no longer be the national pastime, but it's doing quite well. Sports fandom is not necessarily a zero-sum game. Wed, 29 Jan 2014 16:31:19 +0000 Frank Deford 27841 at http://kuow.org America's Love Affair With Football Keeps Getting Stronger In Ice Skating's Biggest Story, The Media Were Poor Sports http://kuow.org/post/ice-skatings-biggest-story-media-were-poor-sports It's difficult to understand why certain athletes are harshly singled out by the media, but one of the most baffling examples has to be the criticism displayed toward figure skater Nancy Kerrigan after she was clubbed in the leg at a practice session just weeks before the 1994 Olympics.<p>The ex-husband of another member of the U.S. women's team, Tonya Harding, was convicted of arranging the attack. Wed, 22 Jan 2014 10:23:00 +0000 Frank Deford 27421 at http://kuow.org In Ice Skating's Biggest Story, The Media Were Poor Sports Women's Team Sports: Where Is The Love? http://kuow.org/post/womens-team-sports-where-love Two recent sporting disappointments underscore the state of interest in women in sports. The first: Lindsey Vonn, sadly acknowledging that her injuries were too serious, announced that she would not be able to compete in the Olympics next month. The second: The owners of the Los Angeles Sparks, acknowledging that they were overwhelmed by debt, just gave up the franchise.<p>Now, even if you aren't a sports fan, you've probably heard about Vonn's fate. Even if you are a sports fan, you might well have not heard about the plight of the Sparks. Wed, 15 Jan 2014 10:17:00 +0000 Frank Deford 27084 at http://kuow.org Women's Team Sports: Where Is The Love? No Rest For Ye Merry NBA Players This Christmas http://kuow.org/post/no-rest-ye-merry-nba-players-christmas Holidays have long been made for sports. Football has all but replaced the turkey as the signature of Thanksgiving. For decades, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day meant stadiums filled for baseball double-headers. It's almost as if games are now an excuse for holidays, rather than the other way around.<p>So I now wish you a Merry NBA Day! There will be five nationally televised pro basketball games, lasting 13 straight hours, on Wednesday.<p>Of course, Christmas is of religious heritage, and there are Christians who believe that games have no place on Christmas. Wed, 25 Dec 2013 08:22:00 +0000 Frank Deford 26061 at http://kuow.org No Rest For Ye Merry NBA Players This Christmas Why The American Dream Is Still Alive In Sports http://kuow.org/post/why-american-dream-still-alive-sports Political innocent I may be, but I find great irony in that, while everybody agrees there is massive inequality in the United States today, it's in sports where the American dream still lives — more than ever.<p>It used to be, when social mobility was at its apex here, that was the reverse in sports. The leagues were invariably dominated by dynasties. The Yankees, of course, were the American pharaohs. The Celtics ruled basketball; the Canadiens, hockey; the Browns and then the Packers, football. Once it got to the top, a team or a franchise tended to stay in the social register. Wed, 18 Dec 2013 08:01:00 +0000 Frank Deford 25676 at http://kuow.org Why The American Dream Is Still Alive In Sports Should Character Count In Sports Awards? http://kuow.org/post/should-character-count-sports-awards The Grammy nominations are in, and the talk now is of what actors will be chosen for the Academy Awards, but not once have I heard anyone suggest that any of the singers or actors may not be nominated because of some character deficiency.<p>Likewise, when it comes to awards in theater or television or dance or literature, I don't ever recall any candidate losing out because of a personal flaw.<p>Only sports applies that peripheral off-the-field standard. Wed, 11 Dec 2013 10:07:00 +0000 Frank Deford 25264 at http://kuow.org Should Character Count In Sports Awards? To Liven Up NFL Pregame Shows, Take A Cue From 'The View'? http://kuow.org/post/liven-nfl-pregame-shows-take-cue-view The Sunday pregame shows feature interchangeable ex-players and ex-coaches saying the same banal things, one after another.<p>"They've got to cut down on turnovers."<p>"They've got to convert more third-down situations."<p>And so on. There's no human interaction, just mirthless recitations. But on female-centered shows like <em>The View</em> and <em>The Talk, </em>the hosts actually discuss, argue, hash things out, laugh for real and behave like flesh-and-blood human beings. Wed, 04 Dec 2013 08:07:00 +0000 Frank Deford 24872 at http://kuow.org To Liven Up NFL Pregame Shows, Take A Cue From 'The View'?