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Remembering ‘Man vs. Beast,’ Fox’s Wild Reality TV Competition (Vocativ, January 2016)

“Jack Hanna’s Animal Adventures” this was certainly not, but the show did become a cult moment in TV history. Where else would you find a Navy SEAL competing against a chimpanzee on an obstacle course? Or an Olympic sprinter facing off against a lumbering giraffe? Or Takeru Kobayashi, the competitive eating wunderkind, squaring off against a 1,089-pound Kodiak brown bear in a hot dog-eating contest, complete with Michael Buffer introduction?

Wild Stallions: How a Team From Baltimore Rocked Canadian Football (Rolling Stone, November 2015)

On November 19, 1995, more than 52,000 people trudged into Taylor Field in Regina, Saskatchewan, to witness what would become the most pivotal game in the history of the Canadian Football League.

WIRED Binge-Watching Guide: The James Bond Movies (Wired, November 2015)

Not many international secret agents have a cinematic shelf life of 52 years. Actually, there’s only one: Bond … James Bond. The suave super-spy better known as 007 has been foiling plots for world domination since Sean Connery made the role so iconic back in 1963. Since then, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig have served queen and country, but not all Bond films are created equal—and lest you spend several days plowing through them all nonstop (like I did), you should choose wisely.

The Funky Little Football Phone That Sold a Million Magazines (Rolling Stone, October 2015)

Nearly 30 years after Shampaine’s lunchtime walk, the SI football phone is recognized as unlike anything that came before. It proved to be one of the most successful marketing campaigns ever executed in American media. The purpose was to sell magazines, but the football phone also arrived at a time when the entire industry was experiencing a radical change. Cable was relatively new, so there was cheap commercial space to buy up. VHS decks had become popular enough that the idea of owning your own videotapes had become possible. And by the late ‘80s, consumers were tired of the same old offerings. You couldn’t buy the football phone in a store or get it from any other magazine, and that exclusivity helped pull SI out of its doldrums. Along with a line of popular VHS tapes, as well as the sneaker phone that followed its football-shaped predecessor, the magazine sold around 1.6 million new subscriptions between 1986 and 1991, thanks in large part to the football phone. Time Inc. would routinely order hundreds of thousands at a time just to keep up with demand.

The Football of Tomorrow Will Be Connected—And Undeflatable (Wired, October 2015)

On a slow day, the workers pump out about 2,000 footballs, with the busiest times approaching 3,500 or more. The NFL may have a five-month season from opening day to the Super Bowl, but Wilson’s football-makers never stop. In all, about 700,000 footballs exit the Wilson warehouse doors every calendar year — about 70 percent of the global football market. “If they’re not perfect,” plant manager Dan Reigle, who’s been there 35 years, tells me, “they don’t go to the NFL.”

‘Space Jam’ Forever: The Website That Wouldn’t Die (Rolling Stone, August 2015)

The Space Jam website didn’t exactly blow up online when it was launched, but studio execs also didn’t care. The film raked in just over $90 million by the end of its theatrical run in North America, as well as another $140 million or so overseas. It remains, to this day, the highest-grossing basketball movie ever made. Jordan and Bugs had carried the day and the site was soon forgotten, just another relic of an evolutionary moment in early web design, when code that couldn’t load fast enough through a 56K modem wasn’t code worth writing.

The Savant of Spray Charts: Meet the New Star of Baseball Analytics (Rolling Stone, July 2015)

Willman’s site, Baseball Savant, is a step above others. Fully operational since the start of the 2013 season, it started as a repository to search PITCHf/x data but also to look at spray charts, i.e. where batters hit the ball onto the field of play. Willman has always placed an emphasis on visual representation of stats, much in the same way Brooks Baseball shows strike zone maps. “I didn’t want to do exactly what other sites were doing,” he tells me. “There’s no point in that.”

The Curse of the Bambino’s Statue (Atlas Obscura, June 2015)

Nakian died in 1986 — his New York Times obit, in citing his portraiture, called the Ruth statue “his most famous work in this mode” — but his son, Paul, has been actively investigating the statue’s fate for nearly 20 years. Now 78, Paul still lives in Stamford, Connecticut, where the Nakians settled in 1945. He’s realistic about the statue’s probable fate — the odds of an eight-foot-tall plaster statue surviving 80 years without expert preservation are slim — but he holds out hope it may yet turn up.

All Hail Golden State, Kingslayers From the West (Rolling Stone, June 2015)

Last night, six years later, Curry delivered on his promise. He had delivered all season (an MVP award) and all the way through the postseason (an all-time record 98 three-pointers). He made shots that seemed impossible and he carried this franchise to its first title in 40 years. He did so while contending with the greatest singular performance in the history of the NBA playoffs. For that, he had Andre Iguodala. For everything else, Curry was a savior, and now he is legend, for all time in the Bay Area. His career legacy, which is swiftly turning toward the end of the spectrum marked legendary, is in full ascension. He is both the last surviving member of that putrid Warriors team from 2009 and the team’s bridge to a lasting dynasty they seem poised to build.

Burst Bubble (Slate, June 2015)

If gum-chewing started out in the NBA as a subtle gesture, it was Michael Jordan (who else?) who made it an act worth emulating. It was 23 years ago this month that Jordan famously “shrugged” against Portland in Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals, all the while chewing gum. When Jordan hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals, he was chewing his preferred watermelon Bubblicious. (After Game 1 of that series, the team had sent the Bulls’ ball boy on a frantic gum-shopping excursion across Salt Lake City.) I don’t mean to propose causation or even necessarily correlation—many of his other unforgettable plays came replete with exposed tongue, something hard to do with a wad in your mouth—but Jordan undeniably fostered the association between the look of rapid, repetitive jaw movement and basketball excellence.

Golden State Makes History (Sports on Earth, June 2015)

They took nothing for granted, accepted no single victory as the ultimate achievement and always looked ahead one game. They did not shrink from any challenges or lose focus long enough to feel any lasting consequences. They were the NBA’s tier-one elite, with a top-10 all-time regular season record. Then came New Orleans, then Memphis, then Houston. One by one, they became line items on a historic chart, just more vanquished foes on a march to history. Then, not even the greatest singular performance in NBA Finals history could stop them from that beloved prize.

WTF MLB? Baseball Strikes Out With Its Streaming Policies (Rolling Stone, June 2015)

The baseline logic behind online blackouts is simply this: Why should a consumer be allowed to stream a game online when they live in a place where they could either watch the game on cable TV or actually, you know, go to the stadium? There’s at least a grain of sanity to this thinking. The problem here is that not only are more and more people (such as Bates) cutting cable out of their lives, but that the system that allows teams to pick their broadcast territory is beyond all reasonable logic. Las Vegas, for example, is claimed by six teams, from the Bay Area (420 miles away) to Los Angeles (231 miles) to San Diego (258 miles) to Phoenix (256 miles). Hawaii is even worse, with all five California teams blacked out, despite some 2,400 miles of ocean in between. At least in Anchorage, you only have to live without the Seattle Mariners, a mere 1,414 miles away. (You can look up your own ZIP code here, if you dare.)

Angry Deer or Satanic Goat? The Milwaukee Bucks Get a Makeover (Rolling Stone, May 2015)

But the other reason that gave Kay pause was something more subliminal: the knowledge that redesigning a team logo is fraught with potential peril. Historically, changing a team’s look is anathema to both fans and management. It can confuse team identity and brand awareness. Fans can also easily loathe any new look simply because it is different. That kind of misstep, which already comes at a cost of months of planning, could cost a team millions in lost merchandise sales, unrenewed season tickets and plummeting TV ratings. But also factor in that Doubleday & Cartwright had never specifically designed a team’s logo before. And that the Bucks play in a smaller media market and embrace their regionalism like few other franchises.

Golden State of Mind (Sports on Earth, May 2015)

It wasn’t five minutes after she left the Oracle Arena court in triumph that Riley Curry, all of two years old, went back into the Golden State Warriors’ sparsely occupied family room. Most all other friends and loved ones were still on the court celebrating and taking selfies and high-fiving with yellow confetti ribbon in their hair, but Riley had grandpa Dell, the 16-year NBA veteran who knows how to exit a raucous court, to help her back to quieter spaces. As he carried his granddaughter, Dell gave Riley a kiss on the cheek and smiled. It was the face of not only a grandfather’s love but the pride that comes with watching your eldest son lead a team that has, in recent history, known little more than misery to within arm’s length of a championship.

Steph Curry, the People’s Champion, Will Not Be Stopped (Rolling Stone, May 2015)

With Curry, basketball is merely the spotlight that accentuates his greatest quality: an ability to relate. Curry has captured the love of Bay Area hoops fans – and, increasingly, America at large – because he is the embodiment of the kind of dreams we’ve all held. He is not of startlingly great physical gifts; to walk past him (6-foot-3, 185 pounds) on the sidewalk would not make you think you were strolling past the greatest shooter of our generation. But that is the point. It’s his result that is often super-human, but not his process. Curry, who even as the son of an established NBA sharpshooter was still too scrawny to get a big-time D-I scholarship (see: Rivers, Austin), has used the very accessible and attainable powers of hard work and sheer will and transformed himself in less than 10 years into a budding sports megastar of the highest order. He is, and will always be, more Allen Iverson than Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant. It’s rooted in a “If he can do it, I can do it” mindset born of admiration.

Same As It Ever Was (Sports on Earth, May 2015)

After the win was a wrap, Curry assessed his team’s play: “I think now we’ve got the cobwebs out of our offensive game, [and] we should be able to build some momentum.” What a terrifying prospect for Memphis. If this was the Warriors with cobwebs in their offense — 50.6 percent shooting from the floor and 13-of-28 from downtown — imagine what happens if (when?) they play more efficiently in Game 2.

Paul Carries Clippers to Game 7 (Sports on Earth, April 2015)

In truth, there was little his team – even though it boasts the newly crowned Defensive Player of the Year, Kawhi Leonard – could do to stop Paul in the second half. His dribble-and-step back jumper off the key was as blurry and unguardable as ever. And his seven assists (with zero turnovers) made all the difference in an overall performance that saw him account for 48 percent of the Clippers’ total offense (19 points and 15 assists on 102 team points).

Warriors Sweat Out Sweep (Sports on Earth, April 2015)

Basketball Reference will forever indicate the Golden State Warriors swept the New Orleans Pelicans in the first round of these 2015 playoffs, but box scores have ways of keeping secrets. The series page will show margins of victory of 7, 10, 4 and 11 – after a 109-98 series clincher in Game 4 – and it will seem pedestrian to the uninformed, but the Warriors only seemed to be lifted by the quality of their opponent. The Pelicans didn’t play like a No. 8 seed, and they deserved better than what they got.

Golden Comeback for the Ages (Sports on Earth, April 2015)

If you were going to recap a basketball game with nothing but fire emojis, this would be the game. If you were going to look back on a (as yet still hypothetical) 2014-15 Golden State Warriors championship and say, “That was the moment I knew,” look no further. If any sporting contest should’ve come with a warning label: “Please ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for watching sports,” it would have been Game 3 of the first round series between the Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans.

The Future of Binge TV Belongs to America’s Oldest Sport (The New Republic, April 2015)

MLB Advanced Media, which has arguably the country’s most extensive and experienced broadband network for streaming live video, has been around since 2000 and is equally owned by the 30 MLB clubs. In addition to streaming most baseball games (more on that later), it handles the back-end duties for myriad other major sports. BAM, as it’s known in industry parlance, powers ESPN’s watch-anywhere app. It runs Turner Sports’ March Madness streaming. The World Wrestling Entertainment Network contracts out its $10-a-month service into BAM’s capable hands. Sony depends on BAM for PlayStation Vue streaming service. While the NFL is giddy about streaming a game on YouTube next season and the NBA’s League Pass service can’t even get all of its games into high-def, MLB is serving up 60 million streams on its Opening Day—a 60 percent bump from a year ago—with nary a hitch.

The Sound and the Fury (Sports on Earth, April 2015)

The Warriors have now won, with playoffs included, 41 of 43 games (.953) at Oracle Arena this season. That already puts them among some all-time great teams. Golden State’s opponents’ winning percentage in this building has become little more than a rounding error.

Ultimate Warrior (Sports on Earth, April 2015)

For the New Orleans Pelicans, there’s a looming question that is far more pressing and still agonizingly simple: How do you solve a problem like Stephen Curry?

Why MLB fans should lament the failure of Google Glass (Slate, April 2015)

The other reason word of Glass’ hiatus got me down was because of what’s starting up again this week: Major League Baseball. In its use of technology, professional baseball is by far the most advanced sport in the world—its pioneering use of video streaming is changing entire industries beyond baseball and new efforts like Statcast will dissect the sport as never before—and Google Glass offered the promise to completely revolutionize the fans’ game-watching experience for the better.

Op-ed: Liberate yourself from March Madness brackets (Los Angeles Times, April 2015)

Today, the pervasiveness of the aforementioned expert brackets has homogenized the selection process. People who don’t know anything about basketball, instead of going with blue-and-gold and that guy with the great hair, check FiveThirtyEight to better their chances at winning a gift certificate to Target or what have you. This season, Kentucky was selected to win in more than half of all ESPN brackets. That’s right, millions of Americans actually agreed on something. And that’s boring.

The Guy Behind CBS’s Ubiquitous NCAA Theme Music Explains Its Immortality (Slate, April 2015)

The theme is the work of Bob Christianson, who is, essentially, the John Williams of TV sports theme composition. (Williams himself composed several versions of the Olympic theme and NBC’s Sunday Night Football theme, but he’s not as prolific as Christianson in the realm of sports soundtracks.) He has written, by his count, 26 major themes, efforts that have given life to the World Cup, Super Bowl, Winter Olympics, America’s Cup sailing, baseball, hockey, football, golf, weekend highlight shows, and much more. A considerable portion of his music still stands among the most memorable ever composed for televised sports. (His CBS baseball intro—perhaps the only good result from one of the worst TV rights contracts ever signed—is orchestral-sounding and sweeping but with a melodic drop-off after about 15 seconds; you can hear where the announcer’s voice would naturally cut in as the riff continues.)

Motley Crew: The incredible story of the Dirty Dozen Rowing Club (FoxSports.com, January 2015) (annotated)

In 1983, a group of overage, hard-drinking, rugby-playing badasses from the Bay Area set out to turn the stuffy world of competitive rowing upside down. The ultimate goal? Olympic gold.

Fay Vincent gets the last word (FoxSports.com, October 2014)

In 1989, he led baseball through the biggest natural disaster to strike a major American sporting event. By 1993, he was out of a job. Even now, 25 years after his finest moment, MLB’s eighth commissioner can only wonder how it all went wrong.

Youngblood: After 54 years, UConn ready to join college hockey’s elite (FoxSports.com, October 2014)

Imagine this scenario: You’re a midlevel manager at a nice-looking firm downtown. Been there a few years and you do good work, but it’s not like you’re on the fast track to senior management and an office with windows. You don’t win awards, but you get along well enough with your coworkers. This coexistence — this balance — works for all parties.

Then, one day, the CEO calls you into his office. Even though you’ve had brief conversations on occasion, this is unexpected. The offer: You’re being promoted to vice president! You’re alongside the big boys now. This is great because you now have a seat at the executives’ table, a chance to show that you are just as competent and skilled as the top tier. But you might also start to feel overwhelmed. You’ll be going head-to-head at every meeting, and they all have so much more experience and expertise, a pedigree that you can’t possibly equal. How do you not succumb to the inevitable self-doubt? Can I really do this?

Welcome to the exciting and uncertain reality facing the University of Connecticut’s men’s hockey team.

Pitchman: How Tom Emanski changed the sport of baseball — and then disappeared (FoxSports.com, July 2014)

For 20 years, he was the biggest name in youth baseball. His coaching popularized a new wave of analysis, while his instructional videos entranced a generation of professional players and fans. And those iconic TV commercials turned him into a pop-culture phenomenon.

Then, as suddenly as he arrived, Tom Emanski was gone.

Swing away: The untold story of the first Home Run Derby (FoxSports.com, July 2014)

The idea of the Home Run Derby certainly was not new, but this was the first time Major League Baseball had seen fit to bring back the contest that had once been made for TV in the early 1960s. And since its resurrection, the Home Run Derby has become the most TV-minded spectacle of baseball’s calendar year. Everyone has a favorite memory by now: Mark McGwire making Fenway Park his personal sandbox, Josh Hamilton giving old Yankee Stadium a taste of the Babe’s days, or maybe Cuban defector Yoenis Cespedes flipping his bat into our hearts last year.

And yet, the first Home Run Derby never aired on television. Even MLB’s official archives, with their millions of hours of history, do not have the footage. The only known existing tape has long been buried in the morgue of a TV station in Minneapolis.

To see this remarkable day unfold, you had to be there.

In memory of Agu: Cal teammates, family honor a life cut too short (FoxSports.com, February 2014)

As they grew closer, the crowd gathered in relative silence. An older woman in a Cal hoodie was sniffling with her box of tissues in hand. The sky was black and the lights pocketing the rim of the stadium gave off some light, but many still wore sunglasses to cover their teary eyes.

The Most Bizarre Ending To A World Series Game You Will Ever See (BuzzFeed, October 2013)

An amazing play at second. An out at home. An obstruction call at third base. This all took less than 15 seconds to happen. When it was over, St. Louis had won Game 3 of the World Series in the most spectacular, bizarre manner you could imagine.

Why Do Baseball Players Still Bunt So Damn Much? (BuzzFeed, September 2013)

It’s the most maddening and demonstrably ineffective strategy in baseball and has been for quite some time. So why do teams keep doing it?

Steve Wilstein, The Reporter Who Launched The Steroid Era, Is OK With What He’s Wrought (BuzzFeed, August 2013)

He helped reveal baseball’s culture of chemical enhancement in the summer of 1998. Fifteen years later, the fallout from Wilstein’s discovery continues — because not much has changed.

Manny Machado’s Defense Will Make You Believe Anything (BuzzFeed, July 2013)

And this is all why Manny Machado’s groundball kick-pick-and-throw, deep in the foul territory nether regions west of the Yankee Stadium third base yesterday, deserves to be appreciated and absorbed in its most proper and precise context.

The Neverending Story Of MLB’s Drug Problem Is About To Add Another Infinity Chapters (BuzzFeed, June 2013)

A means to no end, our baseball overlords are doubling down on catching cheaters after the fact. It’s better than nothing, but by how much?

The Short Flight Of El Pájaro (BuzzFeed, May 2013)

On May 16, 1913, revered shortstop Alfredo Cabrera played his one and only Major League Baseball game at Ebbets Field. Here’s how a Canary Islander-turned-Cuban hero spent years earning his brief chance at American stardom — and what happened after it was over.

The Shining: The Inside Story Behind The National Anthem Of College Basketball (April 2013)

Twenty-seven years ago, a broke singer-songwriter from Michigan scrawled some lyrics on a bar napkin and created the enduring, iconic soundtrack to the NCAA basketball finale. Here’s how “One Shining Moment” became the most reliable tearjerker in sports.

If You Don’t Have Cable TV, Sports-Streaming Apps May Be Going, Going, Gone (BuzzFeed, April 2013)

The NCAA abandoned its pay-once-and-watch-anywhere app for one that requires a cable-TV subscription — and it’s been a huge success.

Could Anyone Have Predicted The Fall Of Hockey’s Can’t-Miss Prospect? (BuzzFeed, March 2013)

Thirteen years ago, Rick DiPietro was the hottest thing in American hockey. As a freshman, the Winthrop, Massachusetts native fast became the biggest man on Boston University’s campus, having arrived by way of the U.S. National Development Team, a prestigious high-school-type program in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that looks to churn out our next great hockey pro much in the way that baseball-crazy Caribbean nations fund specialized academies for elite prospects. He was skilled, photogenic, a rising American star in a sport that could always use a few more. After just one season at BU, one that ended in a heart-breaking loss in the NCAA Tournament, he declared for the NHL Draft and the New York Islanders made him the first goalie ever taken No. 1 overall.

Now, at only 31, DiPietro may have already played his final game in the NHL.

The Importance Of Paying Bobby Bonilla Until 2035 (BuzzFeed, February 2013)

The Mets have always been an easy punchline. This Bonilla contract? It’s a hilarious, ongoing footnote in this 50-plus-year sketch comedy show in Flushing. It will continue to be so for another 22 years to come. … But at some point, there will be a new Bonilla. Sports franchises aren’t going to stop pulling risky moves because they think they’ve got a chance to win a championship. Occasionally, they actually even work.

The Ravens’ Unsung Badass Finally Gets His Due (BuzzFeed, February 2013)

Football fans have become accustomed to a few certain types of elite wide receiver over the past 20 years. The Physical Freak — Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and so forth — is too big to be that fast and too strong to be that agile. There are occasional Special Teams Slashers who pull double-duty (Percy Harvin, Devin Hester); sub-6-footers like DeSean Jackson and Steve Smith, who subside on equal parts speed and having a giant chip on their shoulder; and of course, the Prima Donnas, Terrell Owens and Chad “Ochocinco.”

Anquan Boldin of the Baltimore Ravens is none of these things.

For Super Bowl and beyond, challenges remain for second-screen supremacy (TechHive, February 2013)

Not too long ago, pulling out a smartphone while you were at a sporting event or sitting around the TV with a group of friends would have been a sacrilege. … Not anymore. Whip out your iPhone or Android device these days, whether you’re in a stadium or a rec room, and you’ll get quite the opposite reaction. … This is how we engage with sports in the mobile age.

Eight high-tech must-haves for your Super Bowl party (TechHive, January 2013)

Look, if ever an event called out for living large, it’s the Super Bowl. The word “Super” is in its very title. The football game is usually the most watched TV program of the year with the most recent installment setting ratings records. Why not watch it in style? At the very least, tap into technology to augment your viewing experience.

Inside the Wonderful (and Addictive) World of Mobile Entertainment (Say Magazine, November 2012)

Media companies are banking on the idea that these “second screen” adopters —younger, more adaptable and hungry for content — will drive the next wave of user engagement. Looking back at how we got here, they’re probably right.

NFL teams look to stay in the game with fan-focused tech (TechHive, September 2012)

The allure of the comfy couch is not to be underestimated, so the NFL and its 32 teams are placing a higher priority on improving the in-stadium experience. Integrating new and better technology, naturally, is a key pillar of that strategy.

Six essentials for any tech-savvy tailgater (TechHive, September 2012)

We live in complex times, calling for increasingly sophisticated ways for big-game preparation. Not to fear, though: We’ve tracked down the gadgets and apps you’ll need to usher your tailgate party into the digital age.

Primed for pigskin: How to watch NFL football anywhere (TechHive, September 2012)

With a digital landscape becoming more dominated by the pigskin, it can be daunting to know where to turn, so here’s a guide to all your options, from TV to tablets and everything in between.

Watching college football on your digital devices (TechHive, August 2012)

College football has moved beyond a few channels on your TV dial, making a serious move into regional TV and streaming. … It’s not so overwhelming once you where to look.

Better Know An Umpire (Deadspin, April-July 2012)

Welcome to Better Know An Umpire, an effort to educate ourselves on the human elements who have ultimate decision-making power over some 2,500 Major League Baseball games a year.

Must-have mobile apps for the Olympics (TechHive, July 2012)

Here are five other apps that will provide you with a wealth of extras like in-depth recaps, stunning photos, and on-the-ground updates to keep you in the know …

Global Games: Your best secondary options for a Summer Olympics fix (TechHive, July 2012)

Officially, the only option we have to watch and cheer on Team USA is through the NBC family of networks and websites. But just because NBCU paid top dollar for its broadcast exclusivity doesn’t mean you don’t have other options out there. There are dozens of other international feeds available.

NBC goes for the gold with cable, online Olympic options (TechHive, July 2012)

Thinking ambitiously has never been an issue for Olympic broadcasters in the past … There should be only a few hours in the day during which Olympic programming isn’t airing on some NBC-owned channel on your TV lineup.

Six degrees of sports sleaze (Salon, May 2012)

Follow the connections closely enough and one will find dozens of franchise owners who have either direct of tangential relations to organized crime, government surveillance initiatives, deep-pocketed political entities and financial irregularities that bilked people out of billions.

Batter up: The best ways to watch baseball on your digital devices (Macworld, April 2012)

The 2012 Major League Baseball season is now under way, and tech-savvy fans have more ways than ever to stream high-quality video and audio at their command, whether it’s pulling out your iPad on the train home, checking your Android phone at the gym, or using your Xbox 360 for more than just late-night Skyrim.

The Making of “Homer at the Bat,” The Episode That Conquered Prime Time 20 Years Ago (Deadspin, February 2012)

The end result was not only an iconic piece of pop culture but a loving satire of baseball that looks downright prescient today, here on the other side of the Mitchell Report. Our heroes got drunk in bars, ingested odd substances because they were told to, and mindlessly clucked like diseased poultry. “Homer at the Bat” felt vaguely forbidden, like an animated addendum to Ball Four. This was the side of the sport we never saw.

Thin FTW: Apple’s New MacBook Air (Wired.com, July 2011)

And the latest revision, which went on sale last week, raises the bar to a level where we can safely say the first true “ultrabook” has hit the market. It’s a laptop that combines usability, form factor and performance in a heretofore-unseen package of awesome.

Why 3-D Sports Could Be the Future of Television (Wired.com, June 2011)

Behind the scenes, ESPN, the self-proclaimed “worldwide leader in sports,” has had to single-handedly bear the pressure (and considerable expense) of ushering in a completely unique network that very well may decide the viability of original 3-D content in our living rooms.

If ESPN 3D fails, an entire industry may fail before it ever truly begins.

Physics Professor Cracks Mystery of the Perfect Putt (Wired.com, June 2011)

Traditionally, golfers aim for a point just beyond the hole, since you don’t want the ball to fall short of your target. Essentially, you want to provide enough power to get the ball just beyond the hole, except it will (of course) fall in once it passes. But in analyzing putting trajectories, wherein the speed of your putt would carry the ball 18 inches past the hole, Grober found that no matter the putting distance, whether your’re five or 15 feet away, there was always an area shaped like a diamond and positioned just above the hole, shaped by the target lines.

How RunKeeper Could Become the Facebook of Fitness (Wired.com, June 2011)

If Facebook tells you everything about what’s happening with your friends, RunKeeper wants you to know everything that’s going on in your body.

Hoops 2.0: Inside the NBA’s Data-Driven Revolution (Wired.com, April 2011)

Forget box scores that just show rebounds, assists and shooting percentage. How about calculating dribbles per possession, or the miles each player runs in a half? These previously unquantifiable statistics, along with myriad others, are now a reality in today’s NBA.

World-Record Jump Attempt Set for Indianapolis 500 (Wired.com, April 2011)

A dedicated crew of dozens has secretly spent the past few weeks in Southern California building, testing and tweaking a custom-built truck as well as a life-sized version of the Hot Wheels toy track set so many of us enjoyed of us as kids. And if all goes according to spec, the Pro2-style truck (driven by a masked stunt driver) will jump across a gap more than 302 feet in length, breaking the world record for largest leap by a four-wheeled vehicle.

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Up Your Game With Banned Sports Gear (Wired, February 2012)

Puck control is all in the wrist, and practicing with this heavy steel stick encourages muscle development to gain that control, helping players score between visits to the penalty box.

Mocksession Captures Goofy, Gross Moments in Sports (Wired, October 2011)

The creation of 33-year-old Ohio native Tim Burke, Mocksession now offers more than 12,500 images, 500 animated GIFs, and hundreds of videos. It’s a must-follow for those who want to see professional athletes doing hilarious things.

Celebrating 35 Years of ILM Magic (Wired, June 2010)

What started out as a ragtag cluster of artists cobbling together an epic space adventure has matured into a 15-time Oscar winner with some 250 film credits.

The Real Fake Band (Wired, April 2010)

So when he became a Hollywood scribe instead of a guitar-plucking warbler, he decided to create a fictional Grateful Dead-style band for his own amusement — and then became fixated on making the world believe it was real.

The Man Behind the Sound (Wired, April 2010)

Who can claim the most screen time on Lost? No, not Jack or Kate or Locke — it’s a player you never even see. For more than 100 episodes, composer Michael Giacchino has supplied about 35 minutes of music for each 43-minute episode.

Big Gun on Campus (Wired, October 2007)

Think of it as a 45-foot-long BB gun. Only in this case, the BBs are fired at 20,500 mph at spaceships. Sort of.

Free-Range Sushi (Wired, June 2006)

Located on Hawaii’s Big Island, upstart Kona Blue has established the first integrated land-based hatchery and offshore fish farm in the US. The system, which includes four 80-foot-diameter mesh cages tethered to the seafloor, lets fingerlings mature for about 10 months in the open ocean, resulting in healthier, more environmentally friendly fish.

Corporate Branding Strikes Out (Wired, January 2006)

What’s in a name? In some cities, sports stadium monikers convey civic pride and team spirit. That’s great for the faithful who pack Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, and Yankee Stadium. But most fans are now filing into places with names like US Cellular Field, HP Pavilion, and Minute Maid Park. … Where’s the loyalty? Not here. Tired of the runaround, some fans aren’t playing along.

War of the Words (Wired, December 2005)

Ask the public to write more than 750,000 encyclopedia entries, and you’re bound to have differences of opinion. Lots of them.

The Ravens Go Digital (Wired, September 2005)

Billick has something most of his peers lack: an appreciation for technology. He believes that 0s and 1s are as useful to game prep as Xs and Os. “When I got here, some of my coordinators didn’t even know how to turn on a computer,” Billick says. “But you let these guys loose, and it’s incredible what they’ll generate.”

Sidebars/Infographics

The Rise of Twitter (Wired, October 2009)

Twitter has ridden a wave of publicity (and serendipity) that few startups can dream of. A look back at some milestones on the path to social-networking supremacy.

Monumental Precision (Wired, May 2009)

Built to survive the apocalypse, the Georgia Guidestones are not merely instructions for the future—the massive granite slabs also function as a clock, calendar, and compass.

Evolution of a Killer Franchise (Wired, April 2009)

In October 1984, a low-budget techno-thriller starring that funny-accented bodybuilder from Conan the Barbarian became a runaway hit. The Terminator has since morphed into a multibillion-dollar global enterprise that includes every type of media and merchandise imaginable—from roller coasters to boxer shorts.

ZAP’s Long Road Ahead (Wired, April 2008)

ZAP’s history of overpromising and underdelivering goes back several years, and all signs point to a bumpy future.

The Making of an Autobot (Wired, July 2007)

Bumblebee’s transformation from 1974 Chevrolet Camaro to towering Autobot was just one part of a 14-month-long f/x process that required more than 60,000 virtual parts and 34,000 texture maps.

The Shadow Internet (Wired, January 2005)

Call it trickle-down file-sharing. The goods – a game, movie, song, or other piece of copyrighted media fall into an insider’s hands. Then it’s only a matter of hours before a drop becomes a tidal wave.

The Digital Book Brigade (Wired, December 2003)

Amazon’s Search Inside the Book project is not the only effort to bring the bookshelf to the desktop – it’s just the biggest.