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The Comeback 

Filed under: Administrative on Thursday, August 17th, 2006 by KnowBaller1 | No Comments

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Living the dream 

Filed under: Basketball, Football on Tuesday, August 15th, 2006 by KnowBaller1 | No Comments

What’s the easiest sport for an amateur to break into? (Click to answer — best response wins a prize!)

You might have heard of the new Disney movie Invincible, which is based on the true story of Vince Papale, a bartender and substitute teacher who didn’t play college football but played 3 seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles (debuting at the age of 30). In the movie, he makes it when the Eagles decide to hold open tryouts.

It’s no easy feat for an average Joe to make a pro team. Most professional athletes are taught by million-dollar coaches and have huge physical advantages, whether they are basketball players or sumo wrestlers.  But it’s been done.  Who will do it again?

What’s the easiest sport for an amateur to break into? (Click to answer — best response wins a prize!)

The amazing races 

Filed under: Track & Field, Auto Racing on Thursday, August 10th, 2006 by KnowBaller1 | No Comments

Is it tougher to be an elite runner or an elite auto racer? (Click to answer - best response wins a prize!)

The race seems to be the simplest of sporting events - first one across the finish line wins. But any race buff knows that there’s more to a race than just moving fast.

NASCAR and Formula One are both popular, and it’s not too hard to see why. Races are full of tactical decisions: when to draft and when to break away; whether to change tires at a pit stop and spend precious time, or to just fill up the gas tank and risk losing control on the track. Victory doesn’t always go to the swift; sometimes the winner is the one who knows what to do at a green-flag restart.

The same is true in a marathon, where runners must pace themselves and sometimes even take pit stops (which have their own dangers). Elite racers push themselves to the limit, whether they’re running a 100-meter dash, a 26-mile marathon — or a 3,100 mile, two-month-long road race.

What ability do you respect more? The athleticism and endurance needed by the runner, or the racer’s ability to think at 200 miles an hour?

Is it tougher to be an elite runner or an elite auto racer? (Click to answer - best response wins a prize!)

Waiting for the call that never came 

Filed under: Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey on Tuesday, August 8th, 2006 by KnowBaller1 | No Comments

Which snubbed player most deserves entrance to the Hall of Fame of his or her sport? CLICK TO ANSWER (best answer wins prize!)

Last week, the Pro Football Hall of Fame inducted its 2006 class: Troy Aikman, Harry Carson, John Madden, Warren Moon, Reggie White, and Rayfield Wright.

Those six joined a group responsible for sport’s greatest stories and most interesting moments. One Hall of Famer went by at least three nicknames and spawned a curse. Another played at the highest level until he was 52 years old. And have you ever heard of a yellow baseball? Hall of Fame executive Larry MacPhail hatched the idea in 1938.

Not all great players are members of this group. The National Baseball Hall of Fame’s consideration of character has kept some otherwise deserving players out. But what about those players who are deserving?

Which snubbed player most deserves entrance to the Hall of Fame of his or her sport? CLICK TO ANSWER (best answer wins prize!)

Not your father’s All-Star Game (that’s a bad thing) 

Filed under: Baseball, Basketball, Football on Thursday, August 3rd, 2006 by KnowBaller1 | No Comments

If the major sports got rid of their all-star games, would anyone care?
CLICK TO ANSWER (Best answer wins prize!)

ALL-STARAll-star games were created as treats for the fans — as chances to see the best play the best. Being selected to an all-star game requires a combination of popularity and playing ability. Did Ozzie Smith have it? Yes. Did Keith Moreland? As chris curtly puts it, “No.”

But players have stopped caring about what are essentially additional chances to get injured. Michael Jordan habitually skipped the NBA’s pregame Media Day. Manny Ramirez habitually skips the actual MLB All-Star Game. And I habitually skip watching them. The NBA’s “All Stars, No Defense” Game wouldn’t exactly make James Naismith proud. MLB’s continual insistence that “this time it counts” seems to fly in the face of reality (The Onion suggests that Selig up the ante.). I would mention the NHL All-Star Game, if there was one (the 2005 and ‘06 games were canceled thanks to a lockout and the Olympics).The NFL’s Pro Bowl takes place after the season ends, which is exactly where a meaningless — and viewerless — event belongs.

Or do you guys still watch these? Let me know.

If the major sports got rid of their all-star games, would anyone care?
CLICK TO ANSWER (Best answer wins prize!)

Where have all the tennis players who also play hockey gone? 

Filed under: General on Tuesday, August 1st, 2006 by KnowBaller1 | 2 Comments

Best answer wins.What two-sport athlete would you most like to see?
BEST ANSWER WINS PRIZE! (Click giftbox to answer.)

The most influential person in baseball history (according to Metro) might have become the most influential person in football or basketball history instead.  This Hall-of-Famer was a letterwinner in football, basketball, baseball, and track and field, and was the first four-sport letterwinner in the school’s history.  There are probably plenty of other athletes who could excel in a sport other than their chosen one–though Michael Jordan will tell you that greatness in one sport doesn’t always translate to another.

Even so, multi-sport athletes face incredible time constraints, which may be why so few have followed the path of Bo Jackson, the NFL and MLB All-Star, or Deion Sanders, the NFL Pro-Bowler and MLB part-timer.  One Canadian politician was a star running back in the Canadian Football League and also has his name engraved on the NHL’s Stanley Cup– but not as a player.  And whoever originally came up with the trivia question “Who played for the Boston Celtics, Red Sox, and Bruins?” ought to be smacked (when you see the answer, you’ll agree).

Jackson was a celebrity in part because of how difficult it is to excel at two professional sports.  But imagine the fun we would have had if Bo had been, say, a professional boxer and an Olympic figure skater.  Wouldn’t there be something poetic about an auto racer who also ran the 100-meter dash?  The possibilities are endless.

Aren’t they:

Best answer wins.What two-sport athlete would you most like to see?
BEST ANSWER WINS PRIZE! (Click giftbox to answer.)

Let the games begin! 

Filed under: Administrative on Tuesday, August 1st, 2006 by KnowBaller1 | No Comments

Amazon.com Gift CertificateIf you’ve been reading this blog, you’ve surely seen the frequent notices that the “BEST ANSWER WINS A WEEKLY PRIZE!”  Now, that would seem to be self-explanatory… and it is.  But if you’re one of those people who always likes to read the manual first, here’s how it works:

Questions are posted on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  The following Tuesday, the best single answer from the preceding week is picked and whoever asked it gets the prize.  Most of the time, this will be a $5 Amazon gift certificate.  (We’ll let you know what the prize is each week.)

What do I mean by the “best answer”?  Simply put, it’s the answer we like the best.  Originality and humor are pluses.  So is making a good argument.

A few simple rules:

1. Answer the questions at KnowBrainers, not in the comments.  Feel free to discuss blog posts in the comments, but prizes will be awarded only to answers at KnowBrainers.

2. Register or leave your e-mail address.  If we don’t have your e-mail address, we can’t give you your prize.

Easy enough, right?

Is Bigger… Stronger…. Faster…. always Better? 

Filed under: Baseball, Cycling on Friday, July 28th, 2006 by KnowBaller1 | No Comments

Should Mark McGwire and Barry Bond’s single season home run records be marked with asterisks?
BEST ANSWER WINS PRIZE! (Click giftbox to answer)

So it seems another sports hero has fallen. I should emphasize seems, since nothing has yet been proven, but don’t expect to see beer drinking, 1.5 hipped American Floyd Landis on the front of a Wheaties box. The manly Tour de France champion may have proved a bit too manly, posting out-of-whack testosterone ratios on a doping test.

Every athlete looks for that extra edge. Steroid users put their health at risk to hit more home runs and to win Olympic medals (and to subsequently lose them). Smooth-skinned swimmers risk uncomfortable razor burn to shave milliseconds from their times. But where is the line between legitimate and illegitimate performance enhancement? Is it when drugs are involved? Or are techniques like sleeping in “altitude tents” over the line (the World Anti-Doping Agency seems to think so)?

Whatever we might think, performance enhancement is part of our world. MJD writes thatcycling is so tainted, so drug-infested, that I think you’ve just got to accept it as part of the deal.” The New York Times’ Bill Rhoden sayseverything we think we see is little more than a sports mirage.” We’ve come to expect it.

But have we come to accept it:

Should Mark McGwire and Barry Bond’s single season home run records be marked with asterisks?
BEST ANSWER WINS PRIZE! (Click giftbox to answer)

Other boys of summer? 

Filed under: General on Wednesday, July 26th, 2006 by KnowBaller1 | No Comments

Beach BaseballIn the U.S., baseball players are sometimes called “the boys of summer,” which is less fitting but more poetic than “the well-paid men of summer.” It makes sense; during the hot months it seems like they’re the only athletes on TV. The two summer days without baseball are the slowest sports days of the year.

I would bemoan summer as a one-sport season except that it’s so obviously not. There’s tennis, cycling, a slightly different form of basketball, and Tiger Woods (you may know this sport by its old name, “golf”– but you probably don’t know Tiger by his real name.). All of them have their devotees.

Are you one of them:

What is your favorite “minor” sport (not NBA, MLB, NFL, NASCAR, or the European soccer leagues)? Or are these other sports “minor” because they aren’t worth watching? BEST ANSWER WINS WEEKLY PRIZE!

Would Pete Rose by any other nickname still sound as sweet? 

Filed under: General on Monday, July 24th, 2006 by KnowBaller1 | No Comments

Pete RoseOf all the titles a person can receive, there is perhaps none greater than a nickname; unlike a knightship or a doctorate, a nickname can only be bestowed by the public. Most great athletes get great nicknames. It was true then, and it’s true now (though not all nicknames are complementary).

But nicknaming goes further than that. Teams get nicknames as well– some are straightforward, while others have complicated stories behind them. Sports moments also nicknames– from the “miracle on ice” to “the shot heard ’round the world.”

Many websites have tried to catalog these sobriquets. ESPN’s Page 2 compiled a list of the best, which includes the fitting Pete “Charlie Hustle” Rose and the sublime “Phi Slamma Jamma” University of Houston basketball teams. But there is one ominous sign, one little-noticed fact that bodes ill for our future:

Only one of those nicknamed (Curtis “CuJo” Joseph) is an active player, and his career is almost over.

Where have all the good nicknames gone? In the old days, when men were men, baseball players slid spikes up, and racial segregation was alive and well (hey, I never said they were the good old days), players had real nicknames– like “the fireplug who walks like a man.” These days, people think “T.O.” is a nickname.

Well, it isn’t. Initials do not a nickname make. Neither does shortening a player’s first name (”Shaq”) or using that moronic first-initial-plus-short-surname combo (”A-Rod,” “C-Webb”).

So…. is there any hope for the future? Please, tell me there is. And tell me:

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