Sportuality2019-07-26T16:41:35+00:00

Sportuality

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All Betts Are Off and So Are the Red Sox

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All Betts Are Off and So Are the Red Sox

You would think that they would have learned by now. About a century ago, the Red Sox traded Tris Speaker–one of the greatest hitters to ever live–to cut salaries after winning a World Series. Four years later, they sold Babe Ruth for a pile of Yankees cash. This time around, it’s Mookie Betts packing his bags, who despite having played for only six seasons, is already the tenth most valuable Sox player of all time, at least according to WAR. Betts is exactly the type of player a team dreams of developing. He should have been in Boston for his entire career, his number 50 retired, a beloved icon like Williams and Ortiz.

He would have been, too, if not for some cheapskates.

Fans and owners have always had a complicated relationship. It’s the owner’s team—they own it after all—but every sports franchise also belongs to its fans. The generations of support earn some kind of sweat equity, and in that way, an owner is really more of a patron. An owner is supporting something that’s not just for them, and in return, fans have no choice but to trust that their benefactor is a benevolent one.

For the owners, there’s a certain responsibility that comes with that agreement. They don’t need to put a winning team on the field every year. And they don’t need to lose money consistently, […]

Kobe Was Simply One of a Kind

I have a lot of favorite memories from working with Kobe and could never narrow it down to just one. So here are two:

Early on in the edit for Muse when we were deciding what we really wanted the tone of the doc to be, we’d have these all-hands-on-deck meetings in our edit bunker down in Newport Beach. Oh yeah, WE BUILT AN ENTIRE EDIT ROOM down in Newport where Kobe lived because he demanded it. He said there was no way we were editing a film about him up in L.A. I argued with him about this, and eventually pretty much everything else, but there was no version of him that was willing to compromise. So…Newport it was. Anyway, back to the brainstorm. At one point, one of our collaborators made a reference to Black Swan by Darren Aronofsky and how maybe we could emulate the opening of the film–capturing its brewing intensity and sense of foreboding. Everyone loved the idea and there was growing enthusiasm the more we discussed it. Except for Kobe, who remained quiet. I asked him what he thought and he just shook his head. He hadn’t seen Black Swan, so didn’t really have an opinion. I told him we could probably pull up a link online and watch it together so he could check it out and react to it.

“No,” he said. “I’ll watch it tonight and we can talk about it tomorrow.” I agreed to the plan.

The following morning, I met him in his office. It couldn’t have been […]

The Winding Road to the Super Bowl

The Long Road to the Super Bowl

It’s never easy getting to the Super Bowl, but the journey was especially circuitous for many of this year’s participants.

Let’s start with the coaches. Kansas City’s Andy Reid has his fingerprints all over the league: seven of his former assistants are head coaches, but he’s only reached the Super Bowl once before–with the Eagles–and many blame his clock management for their loss to New England. Before last weekend, he was 1-5 in conference championships, and many have also pinned those losses on some of Reid’s questionable decisions. That being said, the first word that comes to mind when thinking about Reid is “beloved.” All around the league, coaches, players, and owners adore the guy. You could see it after the game last Sunday, as Reid was trying to make his way to his family and kept getting stopped by players to give him a hug. “I don’t know a coach that deserves it more,” said former Chiefs and Eagles head coach Dick Vermeil.

On the other sideline is Kyle Shanahan, son of Super Bowl winning coach Mike Shanahan, who handed his son the NFC Championship trophy last weekend. Kyle is only 40 years-old, three years removed from taking control of the 49ers, and already, Super Bowl ghosts follow him. He was the Falcons offensive coordinator in Super Bowl LI, when he kept dialing up pass plays even after Atlanta had a 28-3 lead. 31 unanswered points later, Tom Brady was hoisting another Super Bowl trophy. […]

One Final Piece of Patriots Magic

One Final Piece of Patriots Magic

When a team like the Patriots—preseason Super Bowl favorites that started 8-0 and handily won the AFC East—loses the way they did last week against the Tennessee Titans, the typical fan reaction is sadness, anger and disgust.

That’s not what happened in Foxborough this past Sunday night. A pick six might have ended Tom Brady’s legendary New England career, but the attitude in the locker room, in the crowd, and for Patriots fans across the country was something much different–acceptance, appreciation and deep gratitude. For a franchise that has had its share of miracles, this felt like one final piece of magic.

Dynasties don’t typically end in glory, and it’s even rarer when they end with a modicum of dignity. Consider the Golden State Warriors, whose final year included Kevin Durant and Draymond Green getting in shouting matches on the bench. Shaq and Kobe took as many shots at each other as they did on the court. Patrick Roy, the great Montreal Canadiens goalie, walked off the ice in the middle of a 1996 game after a disagreement with his coach and never played a game for the Habs again.

There were rumors of tension in New England, but they never amounted to anything more than a whisper. The crowd showered Brady with chants all game long on Sunday. Robert Kraft heaped praise on his quarterback, and then remarked, “How lucky we’ve been.” Brady, at his locker after it was all said and done, repeated to reporters, […]

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