Must-click link: do fans care more about the hot stove than the game action?


This Will Leitch piece in New York Magazine begins with LeBron and the NBA, but it gets to a general point about sports I’ve thought about for a long time: whether fans care about the off-the-field, free agency/hot stove aspects of sports more than they care about the actual games.

After noting that he can’t ever hope to put himself in the position of a star athlete competing for a championship, Leitch talks about what he and other sports fans can comprehend:

What I can grasp is what happens off the court. Draft lotteries. Salary-cap maneuvering. Free-agent negotiations. Roster construction. And not only grasp: Like just about every other sports fan in America, I’ve been doing all of those things in fantasy sports for two decades. Also like just about every other sports fan in America, I’ve started to think I’m pretty good at it. We all have. Which has made the action on the court, or the field, feel somehow like the subplot.

A friend of mine is fond of saying — and has been saying for years — that there once was a time when kids grew up wanting to be star athletes. Now they grow up wanting to be general managers. I think that’s an overstatement, but there is some essential truth there. There is something driving fantasy sports, sabermetrics and the conversation in and around blogs like this one that is way more informed by off-the-field, team-building considerations than the actual kinetic aspects of sports. HardballTalk’s best month, traffic wise, is always December. Every single year.

Obviously the games are why we’re into sports. It all starts there. But it certainly doesn’t end there. And those games may not be what engage us most about the sports we love.

Major League Baseball reveals their special event uniforms for 2018


Major League Baseball will once again celebrate various holidays and special occasions with special uniforms this season. The special caps and unis for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are largely in keeping with past practice. There’s a fairly notable change for Mother’s and Father’s Day, however, as what were once pink and blue accents are now full-blown pink and blue caps.

On Jackie Robinson Day — April 15 — players will, as always, be wearing number 42. New this year will be patches on the jerseys and caps. Like so:

Here is what the Mother’s Day caps will look like:

And for Dad:

Here’s Memorial Day. Like last year, the stars represent the five branches of the U.S. military. There will be camo jerseys, like you’ve seen before, to match:


The Blue Jays’ caps will feature four clusters for the four branches of the Canadian military:

Here’s the Fourth of July which will, again, be paired with stars and stripes-themed jerseys:

And check out the inside of the bill:


Fun fact: the Fourth of July is the day the signing of the Declaration of Independence was signed. It has little if anything to do with the Constitution, from which “We The People” is taken, which was ratified on June 21, 1788. But don’t stop MLB, they’re on a roll.

The Blue Jays cap, again, differs, with the logo being a gold maple leaf and the inside of the bill simply saying “Canada”:

As always, proceeds from the sale of this merch will go to the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Susan G. Komen, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer.

As as also long been the case, Major League Baseball will do nothing for Labor Day, much to my annual annoyance.