LEAKED: ALDLAND’s list of the most boring professional sports teams

Since the sports world ground to a halt this spring as the COVID-19 pandemic began to grip the actual world, sports fans have been waiting with great anticipation for the return of sports. Now, the return of sports has arrived, but with it has not come, I don’t think, a full delivery on the anticipation with which sports fans had been waiting. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, sure, but sport is spectacle, and without the full-scope resumption of the sporting surround, satisfaction escapes us. It’s one thing to watch a telecast of regular-season baseball in an empty chamber. Quite another for playoff hockey, playoff basketball, or even the circumstance of regular-season NFL or college football, or so I would assume; I haven’t mustered the mustard. Especially meaningful team sports, it turns out, really are team events. It’s difficult to summon the scene in solitude.

It’s particularly difficult to do so when the teams involved are boring. I wasn’t going to release this list of the most boring professional sports teams before it was ready, but then the list leaked out, so you might as well view it, in its current state, here, presented in descending order of boringness.  Continue reading


Court grants broad exception to athlete liability for in-sport actions

Supreme Court of Utah: “participants in any sport are not liable for injuries caused by their conduct if their conduct was inherent in the sport.”

The court elaborated:

We think it appropriate to establish an exception to tort liability for certain injuries arising out of voluntary participation in sports. But we do not deem it appropriate to require proof that a defendant’s conduct was reckless or intentional. Nor do we think it is necessary to limit the exception to an arbitrary subcategory of “contact” sports. Instead we hold that voluntary participants in a sport cannot be held liable for injuries arising out of any contact that is “inherent” in the sport. Under our rule, participants in voluntary sports activities retain “a duty to use due care not to increase the risks to a participant over and above those inherent in the sport.” But there is no duty to lower or eliminate risks that are inherent in an activity.

Excerpts from last week’s opinion in Nixon v. Clay, which arose out of an injury sustained in a church-league basketball game, and a link to the full opinion are available here.

America Has a Stadium Problem (via Pacific Standard)

Over the past 20 years, 101 new sports facilities have opened in the United States—a 90-percent replacement rate—and almost all of them have received direct public funding. The typical justification for a large public investment to build a stadium for an already-wealthy sports owner has to do with creating jobs or growing the local economy, which sound good to the median voter. “If I had to sum up the typical [public] perspective,” Neil deMause . . . told me via email, “I’d guess it’d be something along the lines of ‘I don’t want my tax money going to rich fat cats, but anything that creates jobs is good, and man that Jeffrey Loria sure is a jerk, huh?’” This confused mindset has resulted in public coffers getting raided. The question is whether taxpayers have gotten anything in return.

Economists have long known stadiums to be poor public investments. Most of the jobs created by stadium-building projects are either temporary, low-paying, or out-of-state contracting jobs—none of which contribute greatly to the local economy. (Athletes can easily circumvent most taxes in the state in which they play.) Most fans do not spend additional money as a result of a new stadium; they re-direct money they would have spent elsewhere on movies, dining, bowling, tarot-card reading, or other businesses. And for every out-of-state fan who comes into the city on game day and buys a bucket of Bud Light Platinum, another non-fan decides not to visit and purchases his latte at the coffee shop next door. All in all, building a stadium is a poor use of a few hundred million dollars.

This isn’t news, by any stretch, but it turns out we’re spending even more money on stadiums than we originally thought. In her new book Public/Private Partnerships for Major League Sports Facilities, Judith Grant Long, associate professor of Urban Planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, shatters previous conceptions of just how much money the public has poured into these deals. By the late ’90s, the first wave of damning economic studies . . . came to light, but well afterwards, from 2001 to 2010, 50 new sports facilities were opened, receiving $130 million more, on average, than those opened in the preceding decade. (All figures from Long’s book adjusted for 2010 dollars.) In the 1990s, the average public cost for a new facility was estimated at $142 million, but by the end of the 2000s, that figure jumped to $241 million: an increase of 70 percent.

Economists have also been, according to Long, drastically underestimating the true cost of these projects. They fail to consider public subsidies for land and infrastructure, the ongoing costs of operations, capital improvements (weneedanewscoreboard!), municipal services (all those traffic cops), and foregone property taxes (almost every major-league franchise located in the U.S. does not pay property taxes “due to a legal loophole with questionable rationale” as the normally value-neutral Long put it). Due to these oversights, Long calculates that economists have been underestimating public subsidies for sports facilities by 25 percent, raising the figure to $259 million per facility in operation during the 2010 season. … Read More

(via Pacific Standard)

Counterpoint: Marijuana is a performance-enhancing drug

Between a possibly shifting consensus on national drug policy and the sporting world’s intense focus on performance-enhancing drugs over the last decade, one oft-repeated– usually accompanied by a chuckle– and seemingly unobjectionable statement has been that marijuana is not a performance-enhancing drug. Faaaarrrr from it, Manti Te’o might say. But is that true?

I. Correlation

There are plenty of athletes who are famous, in part or in whole, for their marijuana use. Nate Newton. Ricky Williams. Tyrann Mathieu. Randy Moss. Tim Lincecum. Michael Vick. Michael Beasley. Every UCLA basketball player ever. For example.

In 1997, the New York Times reported that “60 to 70 percent of [the NBA’s] 350-plus players smoke marijuana.” A year ago, a former professional football player said at least 50 percent of NFL players smoke marijuana, while multiple NFL general managers said it’s more like 60 or 70 percent.

Keep reading…

Breaking down the slowest sports day of the year

Things have been pretty slow around here lately. There are plenty of reasons for that, and one of the biggest is that there just isn’t a heck of a lot happening right now. In fact, SB Nation says today is “the slowest sports day of the entire year.” Sometimes they’re jokers, so my initial reaction was a pretty un-Seth & Amy “really?”, but after popping over to ESPN.com, it looks like they’re right. Of course, we’re saturated enough that there won’t be a day without sports, but today comes pretty close. Here’s an overview of the day’s offerings:

In case you didn’t click to expand the image, that’s thirty-four total events: 22 tennis matches, 9 soccer matches, and 3 WNBA games.

The tennis matches are what look to be the opening rounds of three ATP (men’s professional tour) and two WTA (women’s professional tour) tournaments. Number one seeds in action include John Isner, Janko Tipsarevic (that’s a man), Serena Williams, and Sara Errani. In other words, something less than grand slam caliber competition on display.

The nine soccer matches break down as one MLS game (played between two Canadian teams), one Futebol Brasileiro game, one Fútbol Profesional Colombiano game, and six Primera Profesional de Perú games. I’ll let Brendan and Chris translate this paragraph for you, but I’m guessing you’ll be underwhelmed.

As for the three WNBA games, what’s there to say about early season WNBA that hasn’t already been said, except that by the time I actually post this, one of the three games already will be over?

Is Cooperstown Y2K12 Compatible? (via QuestionsPresented)

Is Cooperstown Y2K12 Compatible? Yesterday, voters inducted two former players, Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven, into the Baseball Hall of Fame. While the primary subtext to the story about the 2011 class has been the low number of votes players tied to steroids– including Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro– received and the implication that players associated with performance-enhancing substances might never make it into the Hall of Fame, ESPN’s Rob Nayer is looking ahead to 2 … Read More

via QuestionsPresented