Frank Deford http://ktep.org en Golf May Be Too Polite A Sport For Presidential Politics http://ktep.org/post/golf-may-be-too-polite-sport-presidential-politics There's been much criticism of the president lately, even within his own party, that he's too detached and withdrawn, not combative enough anymore. This can be explained completely with a sports analogy: We elected a basketball president, but then we ended up with a golf president.<p>Golf is an internal game. Nobody is playing against you. Nobody is guarding you. Basketball, on the other hand — basketball is in your face, one-on-one, combative to its core. Obama actually had a court built in the White House. Wed, 27 Aug 2014 07:33:00 +0000 Frank Deford 47384 at http://ktep.org Golf May Be Too Polite A Sport For Presidential Politics Deford: Frankly, Hot Dogs Best Served At The Ballpark http://ktep.org/post/deford-frankly-hot-dogs-best-served-ballpark Let's boldly confront the greatest mystery in all of sport: Why do hot dogs always taste better at the ballpark?<p>Baseball food has, of course, taken on a much greater variety since 1908, when "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" only celebrated peanuts and crackerjack. But it is another enduring mystery of sport why fans eat during a baseball game, while the preferred mode of cuisine for football is before the game, out in the parking lot — tailgating.<p>But then, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised at this inexplicable circumstance. Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:33:00 +0000 Frank Deford 46985 at http://ktep.org Deford: Frankly, Hot Dogs Best Served At The Ballpark Amateurism's Dying Hour http://ktep.org/post/amateurisms-dying-hour There have been two recent major developments regarding big-time college athletics. While both are tremendously significant, the conclusions in both cases were foreshadowed and there don't appear to be any devils in the details.<p>The Big Satan — amateurism — took the hardest hit. And understand, most important of all: This is only the beginning. Many more changes in the NCAA and its anachronistic rules lie ahead.<p>In what has been known as the O'Bannon case, U.S. Wed, 13 Aug 2014 07:26:00 +0000 Frank Deford 46557 at http://ktep.org Amateurism's Dying Hour Deford: Is Goodell Good Enough To Lead The NFL? http://ktep.org/post/deford-goodell-good-enough-lead-nfl NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's piddling suspension of Ray Rice of the Ravens for a mere two games for Rice's apparent violent attack upon his then-fiancee, now wife, has been met with shock and disappointment.<p>But for now, never mind Ray Rice. The larger question is whether Goodell is good enough to serve as the leader of the NFL.<p>Football is not only the most popular game in this country, but something more than that. Wed, 30 Jul 2014 08:59:00 +0000 Frank Deford 45664 at http://ktep.org Deford: Is Goodell Good Enough To Lead The NFL? Deford: NCAA Says Amateurism Is Alive And Well, But The Jig Is Up http://ktep.org/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 43369 at http://ktep.org 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://ktep.org/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 42900 at http://ktep.org Deford: How To Host A Sports Extravaganza That Won't Break The Bank Will A Triple Crown Win Save Horse Racing? Don't Bet On It http://ktep.org/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 41991 at http://ktep.org 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://ktep.org/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 07:36:00 +0000 Frank Deford 41529 at http://ktep.org Don't Overlook The Unsung Umpire; Referees Can Be Pretty, Too Don't Judge Exceptional Players By The Company They Keep http://ktep.org/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 41066 at http://ktep.org Don't Judge Exceptional Players By The Company They Keep The Olympics: A Modern Day World's Fair (And Money Magnet) http://ktep.org/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 40591 at http://ktep.org The Olympics: A Modern Day World's Fair (And Money Magnet) Draft Season: All-American, Twisted And Downright Infectious http://ktep.org/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 40139 at http://ktep.org Draft Season: All-American, Twisted And Downright Infectious Bad Behavior From A Sports Franchise Owner? That's Not New http://ktep.org/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 12:22:00 +0000 Frank Deford 39705 at http://ktep.org Bad Behavior From A Sports Franchise Owner? That's Not New Time To Root, Root, Root For Final Innings http://ktep.org/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 38295 at http://ktep.org Time To Root, Root, Root For Final Innings Deford: Paying College Athletes Would Level The Playing Field http://ktep.org/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 12:58:00 +0000 Frank Deford 37865 at http://ktep.org Deford: Paying College Athletes Would Level The Playing Field There's A Reason They Call It Madness http://ktep.org/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 09:01:00 +0000 Frank Deford 36952 at http://ktep.org There's A Reason They Call It Madness An Olympic Shame: Vladimir Putin Plays Host To Winter Games http://ktep.org/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 34166 at http://ktep.org An Olympic Shame: Vladimir Putin Plays Host To Winter Games America's Love Affair With Football Keeps Getting Stronger http://ktep.org/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 33708 at http://ktep.org America's Love Affair With Football Keeps Getting Stronger In Ice Skating's Biggest Story, The Media Were Poor Sports http://ktep.org/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 33239 at http://ktep.org In Ice Skating's Biggest Story, The Media Were Poor Sports Women's Team Sports: Where Is The Love? http://ktep.org/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 32800 at http://ktep.org Women's Team Sports: Where Is The Love? No Rest For Ye Merry NBA Players This Christmas http://ktep.org/post/no-rest-ye-merry-nba-players-christmas Holidays have long been made for sports. Football has all but replaced the turkey as the signature of Thanksgiving. For decades, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day meant stadiums filled for baseball double-headers. It's almost as if games are now an excuse for holidays, rather than the other way around.<p>So I now wish you a Merry NBA Day! There will be five nationally televised pro basketball games, lasting 13 straight hours, on Wednesday.<p>Of course, Christmas is of religious heritage, and there are Christians who believe that games have no place on Christmas. Wed, 25 Dec 2013 08:22:00 +0000 Frank Deford 31566 at http://ktep.org No Rest For Ye Merry NBA Players This Christmas Why The American Dream Is Still Alive In Sports http://ktep.org/post/why-american-dream-still-alive-sports Political innocent I may be, but I find great irony in that, while everybody agrees there is massive inequality in the United States today, it's in sports where the American dream still lives — more than ever.<p>It used to be, when social mobility was at its apex here, that was the reverse in sports. The leagues were invariably dominated by dynasties. The Yankees, of course, were the American pharaohs. The Celtics ruled basketball; the Canadiens, hockey; the Browns and then the Packers, football. Once it got to the top, a team or a franchise tended to stay in the social register. Wed, 18 Dec 2013 08:01:00 +0000 Frank Deford 31134 at http://ktep.org Why The American Dream Is Still Alive In Sports To Liven Up NFL Pregame Shows, Take A Cue From 'The View'? http://ktep.org/post/liven-nfl-pregame-shows-take-cue-view The Sunday pregame shows feature interchangeable ex-players and ex-coaches saying the same banal things, one after another.<p>"They've got to cut down on turnovers."<p>"They've got to convert more third-down situations."<p>And so on. There's no human interaction, just mirthless recitations. But on female-centered shows like <em>The View</em> and <em>The Talk, </em>the hosts actually discuss, argue, hash things out, laugh for real and behave like flesh-and-blood human beings. Wed, 04 Dec 2013 08:07:00 +0000 Frank Deford 30180 at http://ktep.org To Liven Up NFL Pregame Shows, Take A Cue From 'The View'? The Horse Who Picked Up A Paintbrush http://ktep.org/post/horse-who-picked-paintbrush <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3IxwuFw3E8</p> Wed, 27 Nov 2013 08:25:00 +0000 Frank Deford 29794 at http://ktep.org The Horse Who Picked Up A Paintbrush In Basketball, It's Always About What's Next http://ktep.org/post/basketball-its-always-about-whats-next College basketball seems to get started sooner every year, like puberty in American children. Why does everything have to begin so early now, before you have time to get ready for it?<p>Things move so fast in college basketball that there are <em>three</em> players this year who are being called "the next LeBron James. Wed, 20 Nov 2013 08:00:00 +0000 Frank Deford 29374 at http://ktep.org In Basketball, It's Always About What's Next Why Has Football Become So Brutish? http://ktep.org/post/why-has-football-become-so-brutish Not surprisingly, in the explosive revelations about the Miami Dolphins team turmoil, most attention has been paid to the fact that, in the midst of a locker room predominately composed of African-American players, a white, Richie Incognito, slurred a black teammate, Jonathan Martin, with the ugliest racial epithet –– and was actually publicly supported by some blacks on the team. Wed, 13 Nov 2013 08:24:00 +0000 Frank Deford 28901 at http://ktep.org Why Has Football Become So Brutish? Root, Root, Root For The Home Team? http://ktep.org/post/root-root-root-home-team Does a citizen of any country, not just the good ole U.S. of A., have an obligation to support its national teams? For goodness sake, it's just a game, not Horatius at the Bridge standing between us and national defeat.<p>The fact is, too, that because the U.S. is so powerful, our team is usually the favorite, and, hey, it's natural to root for the underdog. Somehow I don't think it makes you a traitor if, say, you take a liking to somebody like itsy-bitsy Lithuania when it battles our juggernaut of NBA all-stars in international basketball competition. Wed, 06 Nov 2013 08:02:00 +0000 Frank Deford 28456 at http://ktep.org Root, Root, Root For The Home Team? Can NASCAR Steer Itself Back Into Popularity? http://ktep.org/post/can-nascar-steer-itself-back-popularity As the NASCAR season climaxes, America's prime motor sport continues to see its popularity in decline. For several years now, revenues and sponsorship have plummeted, leaving an audience that increasingly resembles the stereotype NASCAR so desperately thought it could grow beyond: older white Dixie working class.<p>Both ESPN and the Turner Broadcasting Co., longtime NASCAR networks, took a look at the down graphs and the down-scale demographics and didn't even bother to bid on the new TV contract.<p>Economics, of course, are part of the problem. Wed, 30 Oct 2013 09:03:00 +0000 Frank Deford 27986 at http://ktep.org Can NASCAR Steer Itself Back Into Popularity? Frank Deford: 'Some Of Us Are More Valiant Than The Rest' http://ktep.org/post/frank-deford-some-us-are-more-valiant-rest As a child, your heart is broken when you learn that your grandfather really can't pull real quarters out of your ear. And if you're a baseball fan, that disillusionment happens once more to you in life when you first hear the numbers mavens tell you that there is no clutch hitter. None. No such thing.<p>Oh my, but if you have any romance in your soul, you do so want to believe that there are people in all walks of life whom we can count on to rise to the occasion. Don't you want that?<p><em><em>Click on the audio link above to hear Deford's take on this issue. Wed, 23 Oct 2013 09:19:00 +0000 Frank Deford 27573 at http://ktep.org Frank Deford: 'Some Of Us Are More Valiant Than The Rest' You Asked For It: Frank Deford's Top 12 List http://ktep.org/post/you-asked-it-frank-defords-top-12-list As a commentator, Frank Deford gets a lot of suggestions about prominent subjects that he should take to task. Usually, he has already sounded off on these suggested topics, and most of them are cut and dried, with nothing new to add. But here, Deford takes on 12 of these familiar issues — this time with brief updates.<p>Among them: a Washington Redskins name change; high school football games on national TV; hockey fights; Pete Rose and the Baseball Hall of Fame; tackle football for young boys; and the tradition of pouring Gatorade on winning coaches. Wed, 16 Oct 2013 06:59:00 +0000 Frank Deford 27119 at http://ktep.org You Asked For It: Frank Deford's Top 12 List Sick Of How U.S. Sports Are Run? Take A Look At Europe http://ktep.org/post/sick-how-us-sports-are-run-take-look-europe Complain all you want about how sports in the U.S. are run, but the playing fields aren't always greener on the other side.<p>In Europe, FIFA, the soccer federation, is dealing with problems associated with the 2022 World Cup's timing and venue. Wed, 09 Oct 2013 06:44:00 +0000 Frank Deford 26648 at http://ktep.org Sick Of How U.S. Sports Are Run? Take A Look At Europe