A Williams Sister Slam and also, We Miss Yordano Ventura Immensely

As I write these words, I’m listening to the Australian Open radio call Serena Williams’ match against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. It’s barely been an hour since Venus Williams celebrated like a rock star (please watch this celebration!) after her semi-final victory. I spent most of tonight at a concert with my father sending my updates on Venus’ match as it progressed.

Most people with whom I connect about sports immediately asked me if my love of baseball comes from my father. It doesn’t. I can credit my sister, a family from church, and my neighbors for cultivating my passion for the Giants. But since the beginning, my father’s sports influence has been tennis and figure skating. I remember watching all-Williams’ finals as a preteen and later teenager. Wish he was around to watch it with me this weekend.

Last weekend was one of the most seminal for American figure skating. National Championship weekend--and the qualifier for World’s. I watched year after year of Michelle Kwan (her nemesis varied from year to year: Tara Lipinski, Sarah Hughes, Sasha Cohen) often hiding behind the railings on my staircase because I was too scared to watch the skaters I love perform. My dad always impressed me with his ability to call the jumps before the announcers and, at least when I weighed less than 60 pounds, would try to later adapt lifts based on whatever the pairs were doing.

BTW: Asian Americans won Ladies’, Men’s and ice dancing last weekend. And the Ladies’ winner, Karen Chen, is from my hometown! And the Men’s winner, Nathan Chen, hit FIVE quads in one skate. Now do the same next year in Korea! And Dad, here’s to us!


Delay of Game

 Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White. (Mark Humphrey / AP)

Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White. (Mark Humphrey / AP)

Out of bounds. Gay women still struggle to share their sexual orientation, especially if they’re standing on the baseline. Despite the plethora of WNBA stars to come out, (Sheryl Swoopes and Brittney Griner, Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune reports on the barriers faced by lesbian college coaches:

Progress has been made, coaches acknowledged. A generational divide on the issue is evident. Today's players and young assistant coaches — straight and gay — are more comfortable with players expressing their sexuality, coaches said.
"I work with athletes and they're like: 'Gay teammates? Who cares as long as they help us win,'" Griffin said. "But when you talk to the coaches, they're still concerned: 'What do you do if you have teammates dating?' or 'What if I have a lesbian on the team?' They're still asking really basic questions."

Thing I (Bradford) learned: 90 percent of women’s college teams were coached by women back in the good ‘ol days, that is, 1972. Despite the progress intended by Title IX legislation, social progress has been anything but linear. Today, women are more likely huddle up under a man giving feedback than a woman -- only 40 percent of women’s teams are coached by women.

Alternative facts, ftw. Don’t let Sean Spicer distract you from the [alternative] fact that the sporting world is having fun with all the Trumpian spin. If we’re being gaslit by our elected officials straight into a dystopic haze, we might as well stick around for the jokes! Deadspin collected a few of the best claps from Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, and the Texas Stars jumbotron, per Kate Morrison:

 

Jokes aside... It’s only natural that Pop would throw some actual facts at you. The Spurs coach is tired of President Trump’s nonsense, and there are few people in the NBA that could address Trump’s misogyny any better than the notoriously grumpy Spurs coach.

I hope [President Trump] does a great job but there’s a difference between respecting the office of the presidency and who occupies it. And that respect has to be earned. But it’s hard to be respectful of someone when we all have kids and we’re watching him be misogynistic and xenophobic and racist and make fun of handicapped people.
And what really bothers me are the people around him. The Sean Spicers, the Kellyanne Conways, the Reince Priebuses that know who he is and actually have the...disingenuous attitude to really defend him and try and make it look like he didn’t say what he said.

Read the full transcript here.

Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, Sports Edition. So politics isn’t the universe where facts are flexible. Coaches, players, and other team spokespeople routinely misrepresent injuries and gameday attendance figures, argues Chicago Tribune reporter David Haugh. And...despite the competitive edge that this might provide, “the half-truths and omissions pile up, gradually eroding trust and credibility as the relationship between organizations and the men and women who cover them slowly dissolves. It creates a distrust and distance that ultimately hurts the consumer — the public — as the flow of information gets clogged with pettiness.”

In the spirit of competition, coaches at every level get caught up in the moment before big games and invent incentive out of enemy quotes they misrepresent for a rise, manufacturing bulletin-board material to excite a team. In sports, they call it motivation. In politics, they might refer to it as propaganda.

We are marching. 11 ESPNW staff attended last Saturday’s Women’s March and they wrote about their experiences here. Jenn Holmes:

In a bar after the march, we chatted with another couple who was also reflecting on the day, and the woman said how she wished there was a march every weekend: 'We need this. We have to keep the momentum going. We can't back down.' And then we did the most sports thing ever: We all high-fived."

Bonus: here is a photo of Tim Lincecum attending the Women’s March.

TB <3 DTJ. New York tabloids (at least the Daily News) aren’t pleased with Tom Brady’s friendship with the new president....and it doesn’t sound like finest quarterback gaf. (ICYMI: The Patriots Have a Trump Problem--at least according to SB Nation.)

"I always try to keep it in context. For 16 years you know someone, before maybe he was in the position that he was in," Brady said. "And he's been very supportive of me for a long time. It's just a friendship. I've got a lot of friends. I call a lot of people."


Does Peyton Want to Be President? Meanwhile, Trump-declared “very good guy,” Peyton Manning, also has the new president’s back--or at least that of the GOP. This week, the reigning Super Bowl champion was scheduled to address Republican senators and representatives at a retreat intended to map the Republican agenda.


If you liked this...

...And loved Yordano Ventura, hold my hand. I have this memory of watching a Royals game in a Royals bar in the 2015 postseason and chiding Yordano for his temper. I have this memory of messaging friends after Yordano was demoted (seemingly for issues related to his passion) and rolling my eyes at his screaming at Manny Machado and Jose Bautista. I wagged my finger at him but I felt more towards him than almost any other player who wasn’t on my team, which is to say a breadth of emotions ranging from pride to annoyance to exasperation to captivation.

Yordano, te voy a extrañar tanto ese año. No puedo creer que nos has salido. ¿Cómo es que un año y poco después ganaste el series mundial, el equipo ya ha perdido uno de los miembros más importante?

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