sports

  In his new book Billion-Dollar Ball: A Journey Through the Big-Money Culture of College Football, journalist Gilbert Gaul examines how – he says - college football has come to dominate some of our best, most prestigious universities—reframing campus values, distorting academic missions, and transforming athletic departments into astonishingly rich entertainment factories, even as many university presidents look the other way.

Gaul argues these abuses are mere symbols of something much larger and problematic: the business model that schools have created using football to brand their schools, monetizing every aspect of the game.

Gilbert Gaul twice won the Pulitzer Prize and has been shortlisted for the Pulitzer four other times. For more than thirty-five years, he worked as an investigative journalist for The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer and other newspapers.

It has been quite a summer in sports. New York Jets QB Geno Smith had his jaw broken this week by a teammate....in the locker room.  As the NFL gets ready to start exhibition season, Tom Brady and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met in a court room over "Deflate-Gage."   The Red Sox are enduring a lousy season. The Yankees just lost first place to the Toronto Blue Jays.  And then there's the first place New York Mets. There is a great deal to talk about!  Good thing we'll be joined by Marist College's Keith Strudler and Daily Gazette Sports Editor, Mark McGuire. 

Keith Strudler: Fighter J-E-T-S

Aug 12, 2015

Jets fans, all five of you, here’s the good news. Gino Smith will not throw an interception for the next six to 10 weeks. That’s the good news. The bad news, and there’s plenty, is that the Jets starting quarterback won’t throw anything for six to 10 weeks, at least not wearing pads and a helmet. That’s because Smith broke his jaw this week in a locker room altercation with now former teammate IK Enemkpali. According to reports, Smith owed Enemkpali $600 for a plane ticket he never used, and Enemkpali let him know by way of a fist to the jaw. The result is one QB on injured reserve, one backup linebacker on waivers, and enough material to keep late night talk shows in business for a generation.

  So much about baseball is known: the distance between the bases (90 feet), the batting average of a good hitter (.300) and the velocity of a hard fastball (95 mph). Barry Svrluga’s new book, The Grind, shows us what we may not know. No sport is as unrelenting as Major League Baseball; enduring the 162 games squeezed into 185 days (plus spring training and postseason.)

In 2004, Svrluga was assigned to cover the return of baseball to Washington D.C. The nation’s capital had gone without a major league team since 1971. In 2014, Svrluga wrote a series for the Post about the personal toll that baseball takes, with each installment profiling a different character from the franchise.

The Grind grew directly from that series, including the original six longform pieces plus updates and additional chapters.

Keith Strudler: Russell Wilson And God

Jul 8, 2015

Perhaps Huey Lewis was right. Maybe it is hip to be square.

It’s probably unfair to deem Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson as square, not with one Super Bowl ring and another nearly so at the age of 26, not with a huge new contract coming his way in the next year or so, not as the young marketable face of the NFL as older generations of quarterbacks, like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, enter their twilight. That’s not square, for sure.

The Golden State Warriors took the NBA Championship, and the St. Louis Cardinals are accused of hacking the Houston Astros. Director of the Marist College Center for Sports Communication and WAMC sports commentator Keith Strudler is here, along with Times Union sports editor Pete Iorizzo.

Keith Strudler: Losing Hope

Jun 10, 2015

One of the most important lessons in sports, really in life, is that’s there’s no such thing as fair. So let’s just accept that it’s not fair that Hope Solo is still playing for the US National team in this year’s World Cup. Solo, the team’s star goalie and a big reason they’ve been title contenders for the past several international championships, will be a cornerstone of the team’s aspirations in this current cup, which led off with an American win over Australia. With her in the net, it’s reasonable that the US might find themselves in the semis or better. Without her, who knows?

Mwanner/Wikipedia Commons

The National Sports Academy in Lake Placid is closing at the end of May after graduation and won't re-open in the fall.

wikipedia.org


Keith Strudler: Pay The Men, Shirley

Apr 15, 2015

There’s no better feeling than putting your hands in your jeans or jacket pocket only to find a $20 bill you didn’t know what was there. I suppose finding a $100 bill, or maybe a winning lottery ticket would be better. But we’re talking in scope of reality. That $20, or even $5 is found money, an unexpected boost to your personal economy. It’s why I used to stash Monopoly money in my sock when I played as kid. I hoped I’d forget, which I never did, and find it serendipitously when I hoped to make a small hotel investment on Broadway.

This spring is proving to be an exciting one in the sports world, with Duke taking the NCAA basketball championship, a 21-year-old golf phenom winning the masters, and former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez convicted of murder. Here with us to talk it through is our very own sports commentator and Marist College Center for Sports Communication Director Keith Strudler.

Was golf better back in the day? In the new book Men in Green, acclaimed Sports Illustrated writer, Michael Bamberger, goes on a quest to find out.

The result is a candid, nostalgic, and intimate portrait of golf’s greatest generation then and now. Bamberger fell for the game of golf as a teenager in the 70s; he spent years caddying, playing, and writing about the sport. He joins The Roundtable to discuss living legends, secret legends, and the upcoming generation.

Ann Liguori

When you watch or listen to a sports broadcast nowadays, it’s not uncommon to hear a woman doing play-by-play, color commentary or especially sideline reports. But it wasn’t always that way, and even today, women make up only a small percentage of the sportscasting ranks.

Ian Pickus

The NCAA Tournament field was unveiled last night, and Capital Region fans rejoiced to see the University at Albany men’s basketball team in the bracket for a third straight year. But before they could enjoy Selection Sunday, the Great Danes barely survived Saturday.

Baseball is just around the corner, but the season is starting on a down note in Pawtucket on news that a new ownership group plans to move the Triple-A Red Sox affiliate to a waterfront park in Providence in 2017.

For anyone who has ever been more comfortable in the press box than on the sideline, Mitch Sloan is a familiar kid in Rookie Bookie, the new young adult book co-authored by our guest Jon Wertheim. An undersized and sometimes overshadowed thinker, Sloan always looks for the angle as he builds a middle school gambling business using ideas familiar from Wertheim’s landmark exploration of sports and behavioral economics, Scorecasting.

WAMC News

  Three-time National Champion, two-time Olympian and NBCSports commentator Johnny Weir was in Albany last weekend for a meet and greet with skaters and fans at the Empire State Plaza. WAMC's Jessica Bloustein Marshall caught up with him while he was there.

Even though she's not yet 25, in some ways, Nastia Liukin has already led several lives — and has done so on the world stage.

    In 1969, the 42-year history of biennial golf matches between the United States and Great Britain reached its climax. The U.S., led by Jack Nicklaus, had dominated competitive golf for years; Great Britain, led by Tony Jacklin, was the undisputed underdog. But in spite of having lost 14 of 17 Ryder Cups in the past, the British entered the 1969 Ryder Cup as determined as the Americans were dominant. What followed was the most compelling, controversial, and contentious Ryder Cup the sport had ever seen.

Author, writer and blogger, Neil Sagebiel writes about it in his new book, Draw in the Dunes: The 1969 Ryder Cup and the Finish That Shocked the World.

Keith Strudler: Ray Rice, Domestic Violence And The NFL

Sep 10, 2014

It’s a safe default to assume you’re always being watched. The notion of privacy is as antiquated as afternoon tea time and top hats. Particularly if you’re somebody, you live your life as if it’s on TV.

Yankee Stadium
Ian Pickus, WAMC

After a cast of Yankee greats and Hall of Famers had taken their seats, after none other than Michael Jordan electrified the Yankee Stadium crowd, after the raucous cheers finally died down, a visibly touched Derek Jeter gave a brief speech. A line in the valedictory said everything.

  John Feinstein has been praised as “the best writer of sports books in America today” (The Boston Globe). The Walk On is the first installment in his Triple Threat series is his most thrilling and suspenseful novel yet. He joins us to talk about the series and about current events in the world of sports.

 

   In Against Football, Steve Almond details why, after forty years as a fan, he can no longer watch the game he still loves.

Major League Baseball is the toughest level of the sport, with the world’s best players and highest quality of play. But contrary to what modern fans used to on-demand scores and video might think, it wasn’t always this way.

    The fights resonate still: The Fight of the Century, Down Goes Frazier!, The Rumble in the Jungle, The Thrilla in Manila. And the fighters, too, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and George foreman - three complicated and competitive men who happened to be vying for sport's biggest prize when boxing was still a national reassurance and its champion a cultural resource. They fought five times for that title, from 1971 to 1975, ranging across the globe, and their struggles, triumphs, and defeats echo through the years as well.

In Bouts of Mania: Ali, Frazier, and Foreman - and an America on the Ropes, longtime Sports Illustrated writer Richard Hoffer evokes all the hopes and hoopla, the hype and hysteria of boxing's last and best "golden age."

Even as LeBron James make a run at his supremacy, the “greatest ever” conversation in basketball starts and ends with Michael Jordan. As Roland Lazenby makes clear in his new biography of the six-time NBA champ, Jordan has long been driven by an unrivaled competitive nature that has often damaged his personal relationships.

June 14 marks the 20th anniversary of one the most memorable nights in New York hockey history, when the New York Rangers broke a 54-year curse and beat Vancouver for the Stanley Cup.

  In The Magnificent Masters, Gil Capps, a twenty-two-year veteran of the golf industry with NBC Sports and Golf Channel, recaptures hole-by-hole the thrilling drama of this singular event during golf’s golden era, from the media-crazed build-up and intertwined careers of the three combatants to the tournament's final dramatic putts that would change the game of golf forever.

As we near another season, the sport’s all-time hits leader remains banned from baseball and its Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It’s a stark problem in America’s pastime: some of its greatest players, including its home run champion Barry Bonds and other bashers from the steroid era, have an uneasy relationship with the sport and a worse one with fans, media and the record book.

    

  The Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s personified the flamboyance and excess of the decade over which they reigned. Beginning with the arrival of Earvin “Magic” Johnson as the number-one overall pick of the 1979 draft, the Lakers played basketball with gusto and pizzazz, unleashing their famed “Showtime” run-and-gun style on a league unprepared for their speed and ferocity—and became the most captivating show in sports and, arguably, in all-around American entertainment.

Bestselling sportswriter Jeff Pearlman draws from almost three hundred interviews to take the first full measure of the Lakers’ epic Showtime era in Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, And The Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty Of The 1980s.

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