Sports Biblio

The Imagination Of Sports In Books, History And Culture

Category: Sports History (page 1 of 8)

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

Monday Night Football At A Crossroads: Sports Biblio Digest 11.5.17

Does “Monday Night Football” matter any more?

Kicking Off the Week, Monday Night FootballYes, it’s still an exclusive-window game held the day after the usual Sunday NFL regimen, and it counts in the standings just the same.

Since its experimental beginnings in the late 1960s—just as the age of the Super Bowl was beginning—then-commissioner Pete Rozelle’s idea to build a highly-rated “event” around a single game in prime-time weeknight hours helped solidify the professional game atop the American spectator sports heap. Continue reading

The Rebirth of the Los Angeles Dodgers: Sports Biblio Digest 10.22.17

Before the Los Angeles Dodgers could get back to the World Series, they had to undergo a dramatic upheaval at the very top of the org chart.

The Best Team Money Can Buy, Los Angeles Dodgers, Molly KnightAfter Walter O’Malley moved them from Brooklyn 60 years ago, the Dodgers remained in generally good ownership hands until recent years.

The disastrous stewardship of Jamie and Frank McCourt, and their bitter divorce, distracted and devastated what had been a relatively stable franchise. In 2013, with a new ownership group that included former Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson, the Dodgers gradually began to reclaim their reputation. Continue reading

An Uncertain Future for U.S. Soccer: Sports Biblio Digest 10.15.17

Long before a disastrous 2-1 loss this week to Trinidad & Tobago in the final match of World Cup qualifying, an uncertain future for U.S. Soccer had been the subject of intense speculation within the American soccer community and its small, but devoted media contingent.

Chasing the Game, Future for U.S. SoccerFor the first time since 1986, the American men’s team will not be going to the World Cup. All it had to do against the last-place team in the CONCACAF hexagonal round was get a draw.

Instead, the U.S. fell behind 2-0 in the first half, then slipped around in the rain in the tiny stadium in Couva, uninspired, as Panama earned a spot in Russia, and Honduras nailed down a playoff berth against Australia. Continue reading

A College Basketball Scandal, Or Not? Sports Biblio Digest 10.8.17

What was instantly dubbed the biggest college basketball scandal in history has already led to the firing of Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino at the University of Louisville, and comes at a fortuitous time in the history of the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Sole Influence, college basketball scandalWhen the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York City last month indicted four assistant coaches and several influential athletic apparel company officials on charges of bribery and conspiracy, the news was greeted with apocalyptic predictions.

As the FBI-led investigation continues, ripples through the college basketball community have focused on how deep, and widespread, the alleged corruption may go.

Was this—ahem—the other shoe finally dropping about how high school stars are exploited by colleges and the sneaker makers? Continue reading

Revisiting ‘Battle of the Sexes:’ Sports Biblio Digest, 9.24.17

On Friday the heavily anticipated “Battle of the Sexes” film was released, starring Emma Jones and Steven Carell, and is getting generally positive reviews (here, here and here). But most of the treatment of the film is tied to the current American political atmosphere, which is becoming a default media position for just about any subject.

Battle of the SexesFor those of us who remember the Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs match in 1973, the cultural dynamics of that evening in Houston (and more importantly, in the weeks leading up to it) cannot be properly treated in a film.

Selena Roberts’ “A Necessary Spectacle,” published in in 2005, is a solid account that puts the political and cultural contexts in a largely proper perspective. Continue reading

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