Read These Stories: Mostly Sports!

I think “Read These Stories” may become a Sunday tradition, seeing as how I will be spending a lot of my fall Sundays reading from Pocket as NFL games play in the background — Not next Sunday, though, because the Steelers play Thursday. Maybe I will actually enjoy a beautiful September Sunday without watching sports.

Nah, probably not. The Pirates are playing.

On to the recommendations:

Open City (by David Roth)

Reading this story (from last year, but it applies now) only cements tennis’ U.S. Open on my Sports Event Bucket List. Roth never cheats you with his articles that are more like short stories with special guest: sports. I adore his descriptions of the Open patrons as “couples preppy enough that their outfits were effectively unisex” and “a boyfriend in a skintight Armani t-shirt taking photos of his girlfriend and her Instagram smirk in various hilariously inconsiderate locations.”

The Future Could Work, if We Let It (by Farhad Manjoo)

I enjoy criticisms like this that boil down books that fall under this category: I am interested in the idea, but I would never devote enough time to read it all. Manjoo breaks down the thesis of a new book “Resource Revolution: How to Capture the Biggest Business Opportunity in a Century,” gives me the gist and criticizes a few of the authors’ assumptions.

One criticism I have of an otherwise good piece that is worth your time: don’t bury the 33,000 lives taken each year by driver error in car accidents. When car companies begin marketing driverless cars, this needs to be a main talking point: keeping people from dying needlessly.

Does Watching the NFL Make You Evil? (by Jeb Lund)

Don’t get caught up on the clickbait-y headline. Leave your assumptions behind and read. Lund lays out the dastardly, and perhaps indeed evil, actions of the NFL, its commissioner and its owners (it’s a laundry list). Confront your own love of pro football and know that it comes with all these societal ills.

And if you don’t want to do all that, read Lund’s last paragraph. You and he are more similar than you may think.

Did Dante Hall Bankrupt an Electronics Chain? (by Aaron Gordon)

Cleanse your palate with this last piece, a fun vignette that taught me about a new kind of business. Don’t let me ruin any of the twists of this story. It’s short and you will enjoy it.

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.