Who’s conflicted about sports? Giancarlo Stanton theme-and-variation edition

I didn’t expect the opportunity to write another post about an ESPN SportsNation poll to arise so soon after the last one, but rumors of a $300 million contract for Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton have ESPN asking its totally equipped to answer this question audience whether they think the potential contract is a good idea.

Here’s how the responses look:

stanstentiaWhile we could discuss angsty West Virginia’s inability to make up its mind on this question, the interesting twist, for our purposes, is that Montana and Vermont have entirely declined to weigh in. Their silence leaves us with a void into which we are left to impute existential meaning (or, in Vermont’s case, ice cream). Are Montanans and Vermonsters so disgusted by the very asking of the question that they refuse to dignify it with any response? Or, in an act of humility, have they recognized their own shortcomings with respect to the ability to analyze the relative merits of a long-term arrangement fraught with numerous physical, financial, and psychological components, a task that escapes mastery by even the leading minds in the field, and decided to refrain from acting beyond the scope of their limited, though completely normal, faculties? Or, to consider yet a third alternative, are they already out skiing and/or loaded up on Heady Topper and thus too busy to be bothered to respond?

Based on my hypothetical polling of my actual friend, a Vermont native who lived in Montana, I suspect these two electorates simply may not have an opinion on the matter. As we now have seen, such a posture so confounds ESPN/SportsNation’s “embrace debate” mentality that their reaction is to wipe you off the map.

UPDATE: Montana and Vermont have broken their silences, unanimously agreeing that this contract is a really bad idea! As always, click the map above to see the latest results.


Who’s conflicted about sports? World Series of Poker edition

While the idea of writing about the cartographic results of ESPN SportsNation polls long has percolated in my mind, it (obviously to you, erstwhile ALDLAND reader) never took off. In part I suspect this is because there’s little categorical variety in the types of conclusions we ordinarily draw from these maps, those being 1) the one state associated with the obvious minority view holds out, probably irrationally, against the weight of a nationwide majority and 2) shoot, there really aren’t too many people with internet connections in Mississippi are there? After a very short time, this would become boring to read and write.

We are living in the post-peak-SportsNation world, though, which means that, if this thing’s going to work at all, we’ve got to try it now, but with a slightly different angle of approach. Instead of focusing on the people who supported a poll choice, we’ll look at those states where the voters were not able to reach consensus.

For those unfamiliar with the mechanics of these voting maps, ESPN assigns colors to each of the poll options and presents each state as the color of the option most popular among that state’s voters. Where there is a tie between leading options, however, the state appears grey. These indecisive states are the focus here.

ESPN (I assume from the existence of this poll and Norm Macdonald’s late-night tweeting) has been televising the World Series of Poker this week, and SportsNation, in a totally happenstance, non-marketing-driven poll, casually asked, “How would you rate your poker game?” Here are the results:

nv-pokerWhile we could postulate that Louisianans spend too much time playing Three-card Monte and Arkansans are just people who picked up the rudiments of poker as a post-hoc character alibi while on the run from an out-of-state murder rap, but we don’t really know any of that for certain, and it’s more– though still, extremely mildly– entertaining to note that Nevada, home to the nation’s largest casinos, has no opinion on the matter.

UPDATE: A plurality of Nevada voters now say they do not play poker at all. Click the map above to see the very latest results.

College Football Week 5: POLL

pollingThe first BCS rankings still aren’t out, and Google doesn’t know when that’ll happen, which means that we’re still in the wild frontier of polling. Every poll is equally legitimate right now, including this one, which is the only one that will accept your vote without making you buy nonnegotiable class B stock in KIA. Cast your burden-free vote below.

Click to vote

College Football Week 4: POLL

pollingLots of college football fans say that the polls don’t really matter, can’t really matter, because they don’t accurately reflect what’s happening on the field. What were those voter-computer-robots watching, anyway? Were they even watching? These concerns don’t apply to ALDLAND’s College Football Poll, which will do you one better than reflecting reality, though it does that too: How about affecting reality? Check out what happened to Florida QB Jeff Driskel after he was the winner-loser of week two’s poll: out for the year. Cast a vote of consequence below.

Continue to voting

College Football Week Three: POLL

pollingCollege football is all about polling, but the polls, though much-discussed, are little-examined by the general fan populace, and they certainly aren’t participatory in nature. ALDLAND has its own college football poll (here’s week 1 and week 2) that inverts these conventions by being little-discussed and highly participatory. Things got a little serious in week 3. Cast your vote below.

Click to vote

College Football Week One: POLL

pollingPolling dominates college football. Setting aside pure profit motives, everything that happens in college football is intended to improve a team’s ranking in “the polls.” The Associated Press has a poll. The “coaches” have a poll. Harris has a poll. Computers– including a computer named after the member of the J. Geils Band who served as the inspiration for the first face of theFacebook.com– have polls. In other words, everybody but ALDLAND has a college football poll. Until now.

Introducing college football’s newest poll, the ALDLAND poll. The ALDLAND poll is a clear voice for unassailable college football rankings. The voters are the subscribers, readers, listeners, lost googlers, and drive-by image-lifters of this website, and unlike most college football polls, which are bound to the singular mission of ranking the top teams in the country according to their on-field performance, the question this poll definitively answers likely will be different each week.


Click to vote in the poll for week one.

We have reached Peak ESPN SportsNation, implosion imminent

sporstnationbannerESPN’s SportsNation is a fan-feedback show. Whenever you vote in that poll in the bottom-middle of ESPN.com or waste an afternoon in their mega PollCenter, you’re giving SportsNation content to mull about while the network kills time (on the air) until the evening’s games begin.

Their polling would seem to be endless, but today I found evidence that SportsNation has peaked hard, and a rapid collapse appears to be forthcoming:

sportsnationultimatepollThis is it. It’s been real, Bristol, and never has it been more real than it really is right now.

(If you’re curious what America and the world thinks about this ultimate question, live results should be available here.)

What team would you rather have seen play Alabama last night?

I think we can safely say that Notre Dame wasn’t up to the task of competing for a college football national championship. The game was by some accounts “boring” and others “hilariously disastrous.” People tend to like to see these championship games be competitive affairs. What team other than the Irish do you wish played Alabama last night? 

Another question: Do or should any AP voters vote Ohio State #1?

A reexamination of performance enhancing drugs in sports, and Peyton Manning’s neck

Jason Whitlock, a writer for Fox Sports, formerly of the Kansas City Star, even more formerly a footballer for Ball State, and sometimes guest host of Jim Rome’s radio show, asked in his NFL column this week, “If human growth hormone or some other performance-enhancing drug would help Peyton Manning’s nerves regenerate and heal his neck, would you be against the NFL’s top player using it/them?”

Keep reading (and vote)…