Frank Deford http://delmarvapublicradio.net en The Washington Football Team That Must Not Be Named http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/washington-football-team-must-not-be-named Anybody who possesses a scintilla of good taste (and/or decency) is against the Washington football team using its longtime nickname. I don't have to scrounge for Brownie points by getting all indignant about it.<p>The one person who is most adamant about keeping the name is Daniel Snyder, who owns the Washington football franchise, and who appears to be either especially stubborn, or insensitive or both.<p>The obscene nickname is, of course, Redskins, and increasingly it's been suggested that we in the media should stop saying or writing it.<p>It's certainly an original proposition. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:10:00 +0000 Frank Deford 58233 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net The Washington Football Team That Must Not Be Named Remembering How The Great War Changed U.S. Sports http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/remembering-how-great-war-changed-us-sports When America entered the Great War in 1917 — a war that began 100 years ago this summer — Major League Baseball faced a special problem: It had a hefty German heritage. Its best-known team, the New York Giants under John McGraw, was even sometimes called "McGraw's Prussians" for its tough, fighting spirit. Obviously, just as sauerkraut became "liberty cabbage," that had to go, too.<p>Among the many German-American ballplayers, the most prominent was Honus Wagner, known as The Flying Dutchman. "Dutch" didn't refer to the Netherlands, but was derived from <em>Deutsch</em>. Wed, 16 Jul 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Frank Deford 57830 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Remembering How The Great War Changed U.S. Sports A Golf Prodigy Grows Up, And Goes All The Way To The Top http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/golf-prodigy-grows-and-goes-all-way-top Child actors are invariably distinguished by being cute as a button, being naturals at acting and having an aggressive parent. Few of them can sustain their stardom as they grow up. Athletic prodigies, however, often continue succeeding smoothly into adulthood — look no further than LeBron James or Bryce Harper.<p>Since girls mature earlier than boys, many female athletes become very good very early and then stay the course. This goes right on back to Suzanne Lenglen and Sonja Henie, the first famous female athletes of almost a century ago — teenage champions who kept dominating their sports. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 07:34:00 +0000 Frank Deford 57403 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net A Golf Prodigy Grows Up, And Goes All The Way To The Top The Time Of Our Sports Lives: How Europe's Games Neglect The Clock http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/time-our-sports-lives-how-europes-games-neglect-clock Why is it that Europeans don't pay as much attention to time in sports as we do?<p>You American novices to soccer, who climbed on the World Cup bandwagon this summer –– you must have been completely baffled by how soccer has a thing called "stoppage time." That means that the game goes on after regulation time is up for an undisclosed period that only the referee knows. <br /> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 07:40:00 +0000 Frank Deford 57027 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net The Time Of Our Sports Lives: How Europe's Games Neglect The Clock Deford: NCAA Says Amateurism Is Alive And Well, But The Jig Is Up http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/deford-ncaa-says-amateurism-alive-and-well-jig Amateurism is dead, revealed so in the trial against the NCAA now in progress in Oakland, Calif., U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken presiding. Wed, 25 Jun 2014 07:28:00 +0000 Frank Deford 56618 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Deford: NCAA Says Amateurism Is Alive And Well, But The Jig Is Up Deford: How To Host A Sports Extravaganza That Won't Break The Bank http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/deford-how-host-sports-extravaganza-wont-break-bank You know, it is the 21st century, and it is possible to acknowledge that <em>and</em> make both the World Cup and the Olympics more affordable. The current waste and opulence simply aren't defensible anymore.<p>For the soccer pooh-bahs to demand that Brazil build new stadiums, costing billions of dollars, is unconscionable. Wed, 18 Jun 2014 07:26:00 +0000 Frank Deford 56218 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Deford: How To Host A Sports Extravaganza That Won't Break The Bank Go Ahead, Host A Giant Sports Spectacular. But It Will Cost You http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/go-ahead-host-giant-sports-spectacular-it-will-cost-you Wednesday welcomes the year's second global sports extravaganza, as the World Cup begins. Just a few months ago, we worried that terrorists would invade the Russian Olympics. Now we wait to see if riots will tarnish the Brazilian World Cup.<p>The organizations that run the two events are similar, in that they manage to get cities and countries the earth over to do their bidding at exorbitant costs. Wed, 11 Jun 2014 07:40:00 +0000 Frank Deford 55785 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Go Ahead, Host A Giant Sports Spectacular. But It Will Cost You Will A Triple Crown Win Save Horse Racing? Don't Bet On It http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/will-triple-crown-win-save-horse-racing-dont-bet-it At the start of a movie these days, how often do you read: "Based on a true story?" But if a movie was made about California Chrome, whether or not the horse wins the Belmont Stakes on Saturday, it would read: "Based on a dream."<p>Because the colt — of the most undistinguished heritage, bred by neophytes and trained by a kindly septuagenarian –– well, the whole thing is a ridiculous reverie.<p>California Chrome has been dubbed America's horse, and, for his owners and trainer, the American dream has been regularly invoked. Wed, 04 Jun 2014 07:39:00 +0000 Frank Deford 55399 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Will A Triple Crown Win Save Horse Racing? Don't Bet On It Don't Overlook The Unsung Umpire; Referees Can Be Pretty, Too http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/dont-overlook-unsung-umpire-referees-can-be-pretty-too Not so long ago, while enjoying a libation in a decorous saloon, the proprietor — who happened to hail from the fabled Windy City — suddenly jarred the genteel assembled by turning on the Cubs game. Just at that moment, a Cubby was heading toward the plate when the throw came in, and the runner (spoiler alert!), being a Cub, was tagged out.<p>Visualize the tableau: The runner. The catcher. But also a third figure: the umpire. And see him now: feet spread well apart, solidly grounded, mask off in his left hand, and his right arm flies up, thumb to the heavens. Wed, 28 May 2014 07:33:00 +0000 Frank Deford 54985 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Don't Overlook The Unsung Umpire; Referees Can Be Pretty, Too Don't Judge Exceptional Players By The Company They Keep http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/dont-judge-exceptional-players-company-they-keep Ty Cobb, miserable human being that he was, is still considered the greatest American athlete of his era. But did you know the Georgia Peach never played on a championship team? Still, when the first Baseball Hall of Fame elections were held, he got the most votes –– even more than Babe Ruth.<p>Ted Williams was never a champion, either. Wed, 21 May 2014 07:17:00 +0000 Frank Deford 54593 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Don't Judge Exceptional Players By The Company They Keep The Olympics: A Modern Day World's Fair (And Money Magnet) http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/olympics-modern-day-worlds-fair-and-money-magnet Because it's the 50th anniversary, there's been a wave of nostalgia for the last New York World's Fair. It made me wonder: Whatever happened to World's Fairs?<p>Well, it turns out that they still exist. In fact, you, too, can go to a certified World's Fair next year in Milan, where the fun theme is "Feeding the planet, energy for life" — real cotton candy stuff that helps explain why World's Fairs are not so popular anymore.<p>I bring this up because I always thought that World's Fairs and the Olympics were sort of global first cousins, but what a contrast! Wed, 14 May 2014 07:47:00 +0000 Frank Deford 54189 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net The Olympics: A Modern Day World's Fair (And Money Magnet) Draft Season: All-American, Twisted And Downright Infectious http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/draft-season-all-american-twisted-and-downright-infectious For those of you who haven't been paying attention, there is now a fifth season in major American team sports to go along with baseball, football, basketball and ice hockey. Well, it's sort of an adjunct season, but it's very real and is passionately followed by die-hard fans. It is the draft season, which begins tomorrow with the NFL and extends through late June, when the NHL holds its draft. Wed, 07 May 2014 07:37:00 +0000 Frank Deford 53814 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Draft Season: All-American, Twisted And Downright Infectious Bad Behavior From A Sports Franchise Owner? That's Not New http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/bad-behavior-sports-franchise-owner-thats-not-new Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life from the NBA after he made racist comments.<p>Sports bans aren't new.<p>In 1990, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was banned from day-to-day management of the club by Major League Baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent.<p>Steinbrenner was reinstated in 1993.<p>Sterling is 80. Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:49:00 +0000 Frank Deford 53422 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Bad Behavior From A Sports Franchise Owner? That's Not New Sports Reporting: The Way It Was ... And Is http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/sports-reporting-way-it-was-and When I was a young, cocksure lad in this business, one thing I hated was for anyone in the Old Guard to preface an observation about sports by saying, "It used to be ... "<p>Invariably, the point was that it used to be better.<p>I promised myself that I'd never become a "used-to-be" guy. But for the benefit of today's young, cocksure lads in the business, here I go:<p>It used to be that people always asked me if athletes weren't making too much money. Nobody ever asks me that anymore. Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:36:00 +0000 Frank Deford 53014 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Sports Reporting: The Way It Was ... And Is Despite Everything, Tiger Will Always Be No. 1 http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/despite-everything-tiger-will-always-be-no-1 Most famously, Babe Ruth has been credited with saving baseball after the Black Sox scandal. Riding on the wave of the women's movement, Billie Jean King more or less created women's professional tennis. And Muhammad Ali kept boxing alive for its last hurrah.<p>But really, especially over a sustained period of time, has any one athlete ever mattered so much to a sport as Tiger Woods does to men's golf?<p>Anyone? Ever?<p><em>Click on the audio link above to hear Deford's take on the issue. </em> <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Wed, 16 Apr 2014 07:44:00 +0000 Frank Deford 52622 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Despite Everything, Tiger Will Always Be No. 1 Time To Root, Root, Root For Final Innings http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/time-root-root-root-final-innings Sometimes the most disparate of people end up as pairs. As baseball begins, here's your 2014 All-Star Odd Couple: Bud Selig and Derek Jeter. Wed, 09 Apr 2014 07:35:00 +0000 Frank Deford 52241 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Time To Root, Root, Root For Final Innings Deford: Paying College Athletes Would Level The Playing Field http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/deford-paying-college-athletes-would-level-playing-field For many decades, baseball had a reserve clause, which essentially tied a baseball player to a franchise in perpetuity. Wed, 02 Apr 2014 07:57:00 +0000 Frank Deford 51849 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Deford: Paying College Athletes Would Level The Playing Field The Mystery And History Of Sport's Front Office http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/mystery-and-history-sports-front-office One great mystery of sport is why they call the place that the general manager rules over the front office. Obviously, it's the box office that's out front. What they call the front office is really the "office office."<p>The front office has grown exponentially. Once it was pretty much just the general manager. Now it's added scouts and assistant GMs and statisticians. Another change: The general manager is usually called president. Wed, 26 Mar 2014 07:19:00 +0000 Frank Deford 51440 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net The Mystery And History Of Sport's Front Office There's A Reason They Call It Madness http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/theres-reason-they-call-it-madness More than any other nation, America is awash in teams. There are the pro teams, the college team, the high school team, the fantasy teams.<p>Well, at a certain point, something has to give — and apparently, the team sport that's given way the most is men's college basketball.<p>Yes, college hoops has its fleeting moment in the vernal equinox. It's fun. You make out brackets — but it's not like other sports where you're familiar with the principals.<p>Take fantasy football. Fans make up their own teams, yes, but they know who the players are. Wed, 19 Mar 2014 09:08:00 +0000 Frank Deford 51051 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net There's A Reason They Call It Madness In Sports, There's No Such Thing As A Bad Hustle http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/sports-theres-no-such-thing-bad-hustle Surely, "hustle" is the single most beloved word associated with sport. As color is to rainbows, as chocolate to the palate, as sweet nothings to love, hustle is to sport.<p>Hear it now:<p><em>Hustle up! </em><br /> <em>Hustle down the line!</em> Wed, 12 Mar 2014 07:44:00 +0000 Frank Deford 50651 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net In Sports, There's No Such Thing As A Bad Hustle A Star Tennis Coach And The End Of The All-Around Athlete http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/star-tennis-coach-and-end-all-around-athlete Tennis coach Nick Bollettieri's deserved acceptance into the International Tennis Hall of Fame came late in life, at age 82. What makes him so important is not his long career but how he changed the way we bring up our athletic children.<p>The ultimate young athlete used to be the boy (girls didn't have the chance then) who starred in several sports. The <em>all-around </em>athlete. But Bollettieri changed that.<p>He built the Bollettieri Academy in Florida in 1978, a boarding school where young players could go to study and play tennis, if not necessarily in that order. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 08:09:00 +0000 Frank Deford 50258 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net A Star Tennis Coach And The End Of The All-Around Athlete It's Time To Shrink Home Plate http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/its-time-shrink-home-plate It's time to make home plate smaller. I know: That's heresy; that's sacrilegious. But there are simply too many strikeouts in baseball now, and that hurts the game, because if the ball isn't in play, it's boring.<p>The size of home plate was not decreed by God. Back when it was an iron plate — where the name came from — it was, in fact, round. Wed, 26 Feb 2014 08:38:00 +0000 Frank Deford 49919 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net It's Time To Shrink Home Plate Michael Sam, A Distraction? Please http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/michael-sam-distraction-please Now that Michael Sam, an NFL draft prospect, has announced that he is gay, there's been <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2014/02/10/274652475/defining-masculinity-down-the-mans-man-game">a lot of mumbling</a> that he would be a distraction — but it's really an issue of antipathy<em>.</em><p>What <a href="http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/college-football/news/20140209/michael-sam-draft-stock/">some are saying</a>, in coded language, is that too many players and fans would hate Michael Sam because he's gay, and the media will pounce on this, and that would be bad for his team and henc Wed, 19 Feb 2014 08:46:00 +0000 Frank Deford 49521 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Michael Sam, A Distraction? Please Double Axels And Death Spirals — Yes, Figure Skating Is A Sport http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/double-axels-and-death-spirals-yes-figure-skating-sport With the addition of team figure skating to the Olympic manifest, I wasn't surprised to hear from my grumpy old pal the Sports Curmudgeon. "Hey, Frank," the crabby kibitzer said, "when you gonna admit that anything that calls itself a sport that has music outside o' halftime ain't a real sport?"<p>Actually, there are other sporting defenders of the faith who are even more critical. Wed, 12 Feb 2014 08:41:00 +0000 Frank Deford 49174 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Double Axels And Death Spirals — Yes, Figure Skating Is A Sport An Olympic Shame: Vladimir Putin Plays Host To Winter Games http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/olympic-shame-vladimir-putin-plays-host-winter-games You know those commercials for prescription medicines on television when they devote the first 15 seconds to the benefits of the drug and then take the next 45 telling you all the bad things that could happen if you use it? Vladimir Putin's Olympics remind me of that. For all the happiness his Winter Games are supposed to bring us, you need considerably more time to hear about all the things that could go wrong.<p>Let's not forget that Putin was given these games by the perennially inept International Olympic Committee. Wed, 05 Feb 2014 08:32:00 +0000 Frank Deford 48784 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net An Olympic Shame: Vladimir Putin Plays Host To Winter Games America's Love Affair With Football Keeps Getting Stronger http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/americas-love-affair-football-keeps-getting-stronger Football fandom simply overwhelms all other sports in America, growing not just merely super, but superior, from high school right on up to this Sunday's quasi-religious festival — which celebrates our adoration of the sport<em> </em>as much as the sport itself.<p>There are multiple reasons to account for this increased devotion to football, but curiously, there's no balancing diminution in interest in other sports. Baseball may no longer be the national pastime, but it's doing quite well. Sports fandom is not necessarily a zero-sum game. Wed, 29 Jan 2014 07:58:00 +0000 Frank Deford 48393 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net America's Love Affair With Football Keeps Getting Stronger In Ice Skating's Biggest Story, The Media Were Poor Sports http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/ice-skatings-biggest-story-media-were-poor-sports It's difficult to understand why certain athletes are harshly singled out by the media, but one of the most baffling examples has to be the criticism displayed toward figure skater Nancy Kerrigan after she was clubbed in the leg at a practice session just weeks before the 1994 Olympics.<p>The ex-husband of another member of the U.S. women's team, Tonya Harding, was convicted of arranging the attack. Wed, 22 Jan 2014 08:44:00 +0000 Frank Deford 48022 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net In Ice Skating's Biggest Story, The Media Were Poor Sports Women's Team Sports: Where Is The Love? http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/womens-team-sports-where-love Two recent sporting disappointments underscore the state of interest in women in sports. The first: Lindsey Vonn, sadly acknowledging that her injuries were too serious, announced that she would not be able to compete in the Olympics next month. The second: The owners of the Los Angeles Sparks, acknowledging that they were overwhelmed by debt, just gave up the franchise.<p>Now, even if you aren't a sports fan, you've probably heard about Vonn's fate. Even if you are a sports fan, you might well have not heard about the plight of the Sparks. Wed, 15 Jan 2014 08:05:00 +0000 Frank Deford 47705 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Women's Team Sports: Where Is The Love? Supporting The Home Team From The Comfort Of Your Couch http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/supporting-home-team-comfort-your-couch Nowadays, do sports fans have to show their support by purchasing tickets? After all, the NFL makes much more money from TV than at the box office. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 08:32:00 +0000 Frank Deford 47333 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Supporting The Home Team From The Comfort Of Your Couch The (Very) Long View On The State Of Football http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/very-long-view-state-football Football is often called a "gladiator game." This past semester, several football players took a class at the University of Washington that explores the idea. It turns out that both the professor and her football-playing students found that it's not just a glib analogy.<p>Apart from the extreme fact that the Roman slaves actually killed each other in their games, there are certain fascinating parallels.<p><em>Click on the audio link above to hear Deford's take on this issue.</em> <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Wed, 01 Jan 2014 08:07:00 +0000 Frank Deford 47010 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net The (Very) Long View On The State Of Football