Read These Stories: Labor Day Weekend Edition

The long holiday weekend seems like a good time to start a new series — Read These Stories.

Clearly I am not committed enough to write something tangible every day, particular this past week when a family member was getting married. So when I am low on time, I will dip into my Pocket archive (remember when I named Pocket a thing I like?) to recommend a few stories you should read.

Is Softball Sexist? (by Emma Span)

You can probably guess how Span answers, but the joy comes in the journey to that answer.

I have taken it for granted that boys play baseball and girls play softball. But why? Girls in soccer don’t play on a smaller field. Girls in basketball don’t get a bigger basket. Girls in tennis aren’t forced to serve underhand. Why do we separate baseball and softball by sex for kids?

Span explores the unfortunate sexist history of this question in an editorial that took on new life after Mo’Ne Davis dominated male counterparts in the Little League World Series. Mo’Ne’s strong play can be a turning point that encourages more girls to play (and stay with) baseball, if we let them.

What’s Wrong With Baseball (by Tim Marchman)

Marchman does not write your typical “World Series television ratings are down; baseball is doomed” trolling column. He is far too good a writer for that.

Major League Baseball faces legitimate questions as it tries to maintain a large slice of the sports pie. Problem is, those questions, those issues, were largely of MLB’s own making. And the sport may be continuing to dig its “regional sport” grave.

Rob Manfred isn’t Bud Selig (by Jayson Stark)

The man who will be forced to answer those questions will be new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. I didn’t think of the guy as much more than Selig’s right-hand Manfred, expecting him to act largely the same as ol’ C. Montgomery Selig.

Stark talks to team executives who paint a different picture. Sure, Manfred will not be a “steward of the game” commissioner like Peter Ueberroth was or Bob Costas would like to be. However, the team execs reveal a few ways Manfred will differ from Selig, and how that fact could change the game in the coming years.

On a glorious night for the Royals, Ned Yost manages to dump on the fans (by Sam Mellinger)

You need not be a Royals fan, nor even a baseball fan, to enjoy Mellinger’s evisceration of the Royals manager’s tone-dear comments.

It may help to be a sportswriter, though. I greatly appreciated Mellinger’s ability to stitch together his reporting, research, opinion and prose to write a fantastic column, all on a newspaper deadline. He’s also dead-on about the issue of attendance shaming, an act I’m sure you will see plenty of in September.

Exclusive: How Josh Shaw Fooled USC (by John Walters)

The saga of Josh Shaw breaking his ankles saving his drowning nephew, then oops not actually became an embarrassment to the USC athletic department, which put its full faith behind Shaw’s boy-who-cried-pool story.

But then, strangely, the outraged public packed up and headed out in time for the holiday weekend. But it is worth it to read the story of how Shaw fooled a group of very smart people, and the surprising character who called in to request a correction in Shaw’s original story.

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