Sports Biblio

The Imagination Of Sports In Books, History And Culture

The Roots of a Gymnastics Scandal: Sports Biblio Digest 1.21.18

The gymnastics scandal that has engulfed some of America’s most recent Olympic champions, a legendary coach’s training facility and the sport’s governing body in the United States has been hiding in plain sight for years.

Little Girls in Pretty Boxes, Joan Ryan, gymnastics scandalIt’s been more than 20 years since journalist and author Joan Ryan published an expose of the cloistered, often punishing cultures of American gymnastics and figure skating, where very young girls were coaxed, prodded and often abused by mostly male coaches to reach the pinnacle of Olympic success.

In 1995, Ryan’s book “Pretty Girls in Little Boxes” did kick up a storm of controversy, and rankled the establishments of those sports. But troubling developments inside the elite gymnastics world were still to come. Continue reading

Remembering Keith Jackson and Dick Enberg: Sports Biblio Digest 1.14.18

On either side of the recent Rose Bowl, two voices synonymous with the classic New Year’s Day college football game went silent. Keith Jackson and Dick Enberg called so much more than what Jackson had famously dubbed “The Granddaddy of Them All,” but that’s the event that first came to my mind when I first heard about their deaths.

Dick Enberg, Oh My!Enberg, who called basketball, pro football, baseball, Wimbledon and much more, was 82 on Dec. 21 when he died from a heart attack.

He had retired from announcing San Diego Padres games in 2016, and just a few weeks before his death, served on a panel discussion about the 1968 UCLA-Houston college basketball game at the Astrodome, which was his breakthrough on the national scene. Continue reading

Winter 2018 Sports Books Preview: Sports Biblio Digest 1.7.18

Just a short drumroll for this: Sports Biblio’s Winter 2018 Sports Books Preview, a selection of new releases from January through March of this year.

A Season in the Sun, Mickey MantleI’ll have more frequent updates on sports books, new and otherwise, on the blog, which I’m revamping for more frequent posting very shortly, including a midweek post on new and noteworthy titles, paperback and e-book releases and more.

I’ll also have weekly posts on sports journalism and media, sports history, sports art and culture (including photography, films, music and collectibles), as well as a weekend review. This post, which will run on Saturdays, will include book reviews and essays on the broader topics examined on Sports Biblio. Continue reading

Sports Biblio’s year in sports reading, 2017

Enjoy some of the best newspaper, magazine and online reads (as well as some podcasts and a few videos) collected by Sports Biblio for the year 2017 and that we included in our newsletter, the Sports Biblio Digest (you can subscribe here if you haven’t already, and browse through the archives).

Pull Up A Chair, Vin ScullyThese 100 or so pieces are rounded up by topic and more or less appear in chronological order. They’re only a small sampling of what I would have liked to have included here.

Thanks to many of you who have passed along links along the way, and who continue to read and subscribe and make Sports Biblio better. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! Continue reading

Notable Sports Books of 2017: Sports Biblio Digest 12.17.17

The task of whittling down a rather long list to compile Sports Biblio’s Notable Sports Books of 2017 was more involved than I expected it to be.

The Pride of the Yankees, Richard Sandomir, Notable Sports Books of 2017Why I’m surprised by this I don’t know, for this has been the case since I started this blog in 2015. But to put some thought and consideration into book projects that are years in the making requires more than just a few minutes, or even a few hours.

To settle on 15 books, and to come up with a couple of sentences to describe them, was even more challenging.

Continue reading

The Sports Photography of Walter Iooss Jr.: Sports Biblio Digest 12.10.17

There aren’t many more tributes that can be applied to the stunning sports photography career of Sports Illustrated legend Walter Iooss Jr. beyond the fact that his work continues to be examined and displayed, even away from the splashy elite gallery world, with plenty of appropriate acclaim.

Classic Baseball, Walter Iooss Jr.A small exhibit of his baseball photography continues through Jan. 7 at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta, and as critic Jon Ciliberto of ArtsATL writes, there are still many new ways of seeing Iooss’ subjects through fresh, breathtaking new lenses.

The Emory exhibit, entitled “And Something Magical Happened,” is brilliant for its simple framing of everyday baseball games, whether it’s Lou Brock on the run or stickball boys in the streets of Havana.  Continue reading

The Politics of College Football, With a Tennessee Twist: Sports Biblio Digest 12.3.17

The coaching hiring season in college football has rarely had dramatics like what transpired at the University of Tennessee this week. After Volunteers fans and leading state politicians railed against the selection of former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, athletics director John Currie was spurned by several other candidates, including Dave Doeren, who has a mediocre record at N.C. State.

On Rocky Top, Clay TravisCurrie flew back Thursday from the West Coast after an interview with Washington State’s Mike Leach, but never had a chance to make a formal job offer.

That’s because Currie, after only nine months in charge, lost his job, in an incredible palace coup led by Phil Fulmer, the former UT coach Currie dismissed in a previous role as assistant AD in 2008 (the year after Nick Saban arrived at Alabama, forever changing the SEC).

 

Continue reading

Another Contentious Twist for the Baseball Hall of Fame: Sports Biblio Digest 11.26.17

This week was supposed to be an uneventful one on the Baseball Hall of Fame front, with the release of 2018 ballots that include Chipper Jones and Jim Thome, who could very well be first-ballot inductees next summer.

Cooperstown Casebook, Baseball Hall of FameBut increasing support for Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens in 2017 balloting by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America has triggered a whole new round of steroids hand-wringing that figures to hang over sportswriting voters this winter.

Hall of Famer Joe Morgan sent a letter to them, pleading that no steroids-users should get in. Except that it’s too late for that, and to suggest, as he has, that he’s speaking only for himself, isn’t gaining much credence.

Continue reading

The National Hockey League At 100: Sports Biblio Digest 11.19.17

The National Hockey League is a league and hockey is a sport I have repeatedly tried to like more than I do.

The First Season, National Hockey League While I don’t dislike them, passionate embrace has been a bit more problematic, having quite a lot to do with my hometown of Atlanta twice losing NHL franchises to Canada, the birthplace and spiritual home of the sport.

Above the border has been the place to be this week, as the NHL celebrated the centenary of its inaugural game in a gala event in Toronto, and on Saturday, in Montreal in a regular season game between the Maple Leafs and Canadiens. Continue reading

A Centenary of Olympic Films: The Sports Biblio Digest 11.12.17

The first Olympic film I ever saw was the most notorious one of all, in a college history class.

Olympia, Leni Riefenstahl, Olympic filmsThe professor was more than just a film buff with a Ph.D.; he was a dead ringer for Douglas Fairbanks (and Junior), all the way down to his stylish brim and pencil-thin mustache.

He also possessed a healthy desire to shake students out of their polite and unconflicted youthful stupor, and relished the contentious conversation that ensued after screenings of “Birth of a Nation” and “Triumph of the Will.” Continue reading

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