Hating LeBron James
Published on November 15, 2011 by Sara Foss

I've written about my hatred of the Miami Heat in the past, and specifically LeBron's decision to team up with his pals Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.

But my hatred is mild compared to Cleveland-based writer Scott Raab, whose new book is called "The Whore of Akron: One Man's Search for the Soul of LeBron James." Deadspin calls Raab and his anti-James twitter feed as a "one-man hate machine," but has high praise for the book, which it says is "angry all right," but also "touching, sad and revelatory."

Here's an excerpt from the book:

"Hating is a full-time job. Home from Miami, I sit in the rocker with two TV trays in front of me, one for my laptop, the other for my dinner. When Cavs and Heat games conflict, I watch Miami on the television, with my laptop tuned into the Cleveland game on's LeaguePass. The boy and I used to watch The Simpsons and The Office from 7-8 before he'd start his homework; now I'm watching a game or the pre-game show on NBA TV. Google Alerts for James and the Heat arrive hourly, around the clock. I'm phoning sources in Cleveland, in Akron, in Miami, Los Angeles, New York City—I am building a one-man bureau: the Hate Index.

Twitter is now my drug of choice, a wormhole to a digital zoo where two hundred million animals fling feces at the wall and each other in 140-character chunks. Here I find players, among them @KingJames, and fans and journalists and even a few NBA team owners, like @CavsDan, wandering in and out of a fractured gabfest that never ends."

Visit Deadspin to read more.

Also, visit The Awl to read an interview with Raab.

More Righteous Indignation About Penn State
Published on November 14, 2011 by Sara Foss

Some links: 

Charles Pierce at Grantland

Dave Zirin at The Nation

Iraq war veteran, Penn State grad and product of Jerry Sandusky's Second Mile foundation Thomas L. Day at the Washington Post

Also, Salon's Tracy Clark-Flory explains how America's approach to sex offenders might be making the problem worse

And Slate's Josh Levin tries to explain why nobody at Penn State found it within themselves to do the right thing

I Miss the NBA
Published on November 14, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I write about how I miss the NBA.

This is notable for two reasons: most people don't miss the NBA, and have already forgotten it exists.

Click here to read the post.

On Penn State
Published on November 10, 2011 by Sara Foss

Boy, am I glad I didn't go to Penn State!

Of course, my goal was to go to a school where nobody really cared about football, and I succeeded, attending one game in four years. And I'm not sure a school located in a place nicknamed Happy Valley would have suited my temperament - a good nickname for my alma mater might be Angst Central. I'm also pretty glad there wasn't a man at my college nicknamed JoePa, which, let's face it, is ridiculous. That's like attending a college where a man nicknamed the Sun King is considered a saintly and humble leader of men. Also, are there still some innocents out there who actually believe big-time college coaches are good guys? News flash: If you're a big-time college coach, it means you're also a morally compromised human being. Why is this? Because you can't succeed in big-time college sports without being a morally compromised human being. Maybe you could sixty years ago. (And I have my doubts.) But not in 2011.

In any case, Joe Paterno and his legacy mean nothing to me. What his former assistant, Jerry Sandusky, stands accused of is pretty heinous, and Paterno's failure to report what he knew to the authorities is absolutely shameful. For all the ink spilled about this unfortunate situation, it's actually pretty easy to understand. Here's a simple formula: Covering up Sexual Abuse = Bad. This would be a good lesson for the students at Penn State to absorb, before they throw their next riot. 


NFL Picks, Week 10
Published on November 10, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I make my week 10 football picks.

Click here to read them.

NFL Picks, Week 9
Published on November 2, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I make my week 9 NFL picks.

Which, by the way, I am having my best season EVER.

Click here to read them.

Shaq's Memoir
Published on November 1, 2011 by Sara Foss

I just can't get enough of the Shaq/Kobe feud, even at this late date, which is why I ate up every word of this Deadspin piece, which exerpts Shaq's new memoir "Shaq Uncut: My Story." It's written by Jackie MacMullan, who did a great job with the Larry Bird/Magic Johnson book "When the Game Was Ours."

NFL Picks, Week 8
Published on October 27, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I make my week 8 NFL picks.

Click here to read them.

Stop Telling Me Tony LaRussa is a Genius
Published on October 26, 2011 by Sara Foss

I'm rooting for the Texas Rangers to win the World Series, and Tony LaRussa is partly responsible. For some reason, I can't stand him. Although I think it's more correct to say that I can't stand the fawning coverage of him. Perhaps that's why I enjoyed this short essay at The Classical, titled "Tony LaRussa's Illusion of Genius."

Favorite Childhood Games: A List
Published on October 25, 2011 by Sara Foss

15. Rock, Paper, Scissors (Seriously. This can be fun.)

14. Box Dodgeball (Great for recess.)

13. Hide and Go Seek (An oldie, but a goodie.)

12. TV Tag (I was once thrown out of a supermarket for playing this game in the aisles.)

11. British bulldog (Fun, but dangerous.)

10. Duck, duck, goose (I once thought this game was only for little kids. I've since learned that people of all ages can play it.)

9. Ga-ga (A form of dodgeball, I don't think I've played this since I was 14, but man is it fun.)

8. Buffalo tag (We made this game up at camp - basically, everyone pretends to be a buffalo, and runs around charging people.)

7. Marco Polo (I think I am the undisputed champion of this gam.e)

6. Musical chairs (The more competitive the better - this game once inspired an avant-garde youth group play at my church.)

5. Sleeping Lions (If you ever want to get a group of campers to settle down, this is the game to play. More than once I've quieted a wild room full of kids by telling them to lie down on the floor, pretend to be a lion, and see who can sleep the longest.)

4. Sardines (This reverse hide-and-go-seek is even better than hide-and-go-seek.)

3. Fruit Basket (Especially fun if you enjoy bashing people over the head with a rolled up newspaper.)

2. Capture the Flag (Lots of fun when played in the woods, and even more fun when played in a large, open field with a group of rowdy campers.)

1. Tag (The standard version.)

Dawn of the Tebow Era
Published on October 24, 2011 by Sara Foss

My friend Dave is a Broncos fan, so I like to kid him about evangelical quarterback Tim Tebow.

"How do you feel about the Tim Tebow era?" I asked Dave last year, after Tebow got some playing time.

"If only he were Jewish," wrote Dave, who is Jewish.

After Tebow engineered the Broncos' come-from-behind win on Sunday, I emailed Dave again.

"I am totally sold on Tim Tebow," I wrote, struggling to keep a straight face as I typed. "He is going to take the Broncos to the promised land. Figuratively, not literally, of course."

Dave's reply was somewhat skeptical, and possibly prophetic. "I am still a heathen non-believer," he wrote. "All we did is beat an 0-6 team with a 52-yard field goal. I forsee lots of interceptions in our future."

Dave is right to be skeptical. What Tebow did was impressive - and winning is ultimately what matters - but the win came against a truly terrible team, and Tebow stunk up the joint for three-quarters of the game. But whatever. The Tebow era isn't going to be boring, and surely that counts for something. 

Here are two of my favorite Tebow pieces: 

"Tim Tebow's Passion Play" by Mobutu Sese Seko at Et tu, Mr. Destructo

"Seven Articles of Faith as Regards Tim Tebow" at Slate/Deadspin



The Scrabble Scandal
Published on October 23, 2011 by Sara Foss

I've been completely fascinated by the alleged cheating scandal at the Scrabble World Championships.

And I'm not the only one.

In Slate, Stefan Fatsis attempts to debunk some of the more sensational aspects of the story, interviewing players and officials to try to gain a better sense of what occurred.

He writes:

"As soon as I saw the ubiquitous reports about the strip-search/tile-stealing allegations at the 2011 World Scrabble Championship, I cringed. Like the freak-out earlier this year over GRRL and THANG getting added to the Scrabble word list (they are, just not in North America) and last year’s “news” that the game is permitting the use of proper nouns (it’s not), I suspected that the truth was buried under a big pile of tiles. When it comes to Scrabble and the media, the most applicable letters are LCD."

Click here to read the whole thing.

NFL Picks, Week 7
Published on October 20, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I make my week 7 NFL picks.

Click here to read them.

I Want a Rally Beer
Published on October 19, 2011 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I discuss the Red Sox beer-in-the-clubhouse scandal, and the concept of rally beers, which I absolutely love.

Here's an excerpt:

"Recently my friend Hanna asked where I stand on the beers in the clubhouse scandal currently roiling Red Sox nation.

According to a Boston Globe investigative report, pitchers Jon Lester, John Lackey and Josh Beckett often retreated to the clubhouse to drink beer, play video games and eat fried chicken on days they weren’t pitching. Insiders say that this behavior suggests that the pitchers — who were absolutely terrible in September, when the Red Sox blew a nine-game lead and missed the playoffs — weren’t fully committed to the team.

I told Hanna that I don’t have a problem with beers in the clubhouse, per se. After all, the 2004 Red Sox famously drank shots of Jack Daniels before beating the Yankees, and were glorified for it. The real issue, I think, is that Lackey, Lester and Beckett were not on the same page as their teammates, preferring to drink by themselves rather than join the group in the dugout. Sometimes drinking promotes a convivial atmosphere. Sometimes it does the opposite. In this case, it appears to have done the opposite.

That said, I absolutely love the way baseball players talk about mid-game drinking. These players don’t just drink during games — instead, they have something called rally beers. 'It was a ninth-inning rally beer,' Lester told the Boston Globe, in an interview where he admitting drinking during games. Lester’s admission wasn’t the first time I’d heard a player talk about rally beers. Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski recently admitted to drinking beer in the clubhouse, saying, 'It’s just, sometimes you just need a rally beer. If you’re in extra innings and you’re in about the 15th inning and you really need to get going again, that sometimes works for you.'

Let me go on record as saying that I’m a huge fan of the rally beer concept. I don’t think it should be restricted to baseball. Why can’t we all have rally beers? For instance, maybe letting everyone in the newsroom have a rally beer at 4 p.m. on, say, Wednesdays would make it easier to get through the rest of the week. One of my colleagues suggested that this would be unprofessional, but I don’t really care. Professionalism is overrated, in my opinion. I mean, I’m not proposing we also play video games and eat fried chicken at 4 p.m. But I think a rally beer would be fine. I already have a beer cozy that says 'It’s Five O’clock Somewhere' sitting on my desk. A rally beer would just complete the picture."

Click here to read the whole thing.

Too Many Homeruns?
Published on October 18, 2011 by Sara Foss

The Week asks whether home runs are making baseball boring.

I'm going to go out on a limb, and say ... no.

Seriously, who thinks home runs are boring? 

A baseball game becomes boring when it turns into a rout; if each team is hitting tons of home runs, and the game is tied heading into the ninth inning, I don't see what the problem is. The games last weekend turned into routs, but don't blame the home runs. Blame the lopsided scores.


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