sports

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced new guidelines for how the league will handle incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault. The change in policy, explained an open letter to team owners, comes a month after the NFL was criticized for how it handled player Ray Rice's arrest on domestic violence charges.

There's been much criticism of the president lately, even within his own party, that he's too detached and withdrawn, not combative enough anymore.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.

Colin Bartlett / Creative Commons

Mini-golf was created for children but today's children are less and less interested in playing because of video games. Nintendo Wii for example, makes mini-golf video games. Now, that seems so wrong. You should go somewhere to play mini-golf. That's kind of the idea, or is it.

No doubt some of the autograph seekers leaning across the fence straining for the baseball players' attention were in it for the money.

I suppose a baseball signed by the right person is worth something. Others were collectors working to complete their sets.

But most of us clumped up along the side of the dugout were fans — and our motives were of an entirely different nature.

Well, to be accurate, I wasn't begging for autographs. My kids were. I was there as a chaperone.

Let's boldly confront the greatest mystery in all of sport: Why do hot dogs always taste better at the ballpark?

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.

The beginning of the NFL season is only three weeks away. To prepare for Week 1, nearly half the league’s franchises are participating in joint practices with other teams, with varying degrees of success. ESPN’s senior NFL writer and commentator John Clayton joined Bill Littlefield to explain why joint practices are more popular than ever.

BL: Joint practices are not new, but they do seem to have become more popular. Why is that?

A group of Olympian skiers and snowboarders have been spending time in Hawaii, and they’re not on vacation. These athletes were training by learning to hold their breath and diving dozens of feet under water.

LA Clippers Sold To Former Microsoft CEO Ballmer

Aug 12, 2014

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is the new owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. A press release from the NBA says a California court has confirmed the authority of Shelly Sterling to sell the team.

Shelly Sterling had arranged to sell the franchise to Ballmer in May for $2 billion, but her husband, Donald Sterling, sued to block the deal.

Elite college sports conferences can set their own rules about sharing profits with student-athletes and other matters, under a new policy adopted by the NCAA's Division I Board of Directors on Thursday.

Skateboarding On The Reservation

Aug 4, 2014

Ocean surfers on waves off Malibu and Waikiki show off by “Hanging Ten.” But on Indian reservations in the American Southwest, skateboarders do their best just to hang on. And it isn’t easy. Ken Shulman spent time with two Apache skateboard teams in Arizona and came back with this report.

‘Everybody Wants One’ 

A probate judge has ruled that Donald Sterling cannot block the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Shelly Sterling, his estranged wife, had arranged in May to sell the NBA franchise to former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer for a record $2 billion.

National Geographic Channel

This hour's Scramble starts fun and gradually grows darker. We begin with David Rees, host of a television show in which he layers expertise onto simple acts like opening a door or making ice cubes. Its motto is "de-familiarizing the ubiquitous so as to increase our appreciation and wonder thereby." We can get behind that.

When an athlete announces his retirement before actually retiring, it signals the start of a farewell tour. New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is in the midst of his right now. But has the celebration of a great career crossed over into deification?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

UConn's athletic director said he opposes the idea of unions for college athletes, but sees the need to provide students on athletic scholarships with additional money. 

Michael / Flickr Creative Commons

Competitive eating has grown far beyond the popular event at local fairs where winners won blue ribbons for eating the most pies.

Today, it's a global sport with its own league, dedicated fans, and professional competitors who train to eat more food than seems humanly possible. Major League Eating, the sports governing body, is largely responsible for the change. Public relations executives Richard and George Shea professionalized the sport, attracting larger crowds every year for more than a decade. This July 4,  Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Championships, the Olympics of competitive eating, drew 40,000 fans to the Coney Island contest.

These are not good days to be a former Tour de France champion on the roads of France. Spain's Alberto Contador left the race after suffering a heavy crash in a wet and foggy portion of Monday's mountain stage, five days after defending champion Chris Froome abandoned the race.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

I'm excited about today's Scramble. WNYC podcaster Anna Sale, host of Death, Sex & Money, is our superguest, which means she gets to pick three topics for her conversation with me.

Her choices are LeBron James and the notion of going home, a new Jenny Lewis song about a ticking biological clock, and the long agonizing death of the husband of NPR broadcaster, Diane Rehm. At least on paper, that's a perfect combination for the Scramble.

In a tense match that saw a lot of action but no score for more than 90 minutes of play, Germany was finally victorious over Argentina to take home the 2014 World Cup title on Sunday with a 1-0 win.

In a game that at times seemed more like a rugby match or WWE bout — with head injuries, flying knees and even an eye rake — both teams displayed hardy defenses and a hungry offense.

City of Hartford

Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra has withdrawn a resolution that would have bonded up to $60 million for a new minor league baseball stadium in Hartford.

The British Library / Creative Commons

There's lots of news to digest this week, from birdcalls to Beantown. Below are a few things you shouldn't miss.

The Miami experiment is over: LeBron James will play for the Cleveland Cavaliers next season. The NBA star opted out of his contract with the Heat after spending four seasons in Miami, where he won two championships.

James, 29, played for Cleveland for seven seasons before leaving the town, and his home state of Ohio, for Miami. Speculation about his next move heated up after James and the Heat were trounced in the NBA Finals by the San Antonio Spurs.

Update at 12:45 p.m. ET: 'I'm Coming Home'

Foreign and Commonwealth Office / Creative Commons

We’ve spent a lot of time considering whether it’s a good idea to build a new minor league ballpark in Hartford to lure a team up the road from New Britain.  

Updated at 6:56 p.m. ET

Argentina defeated the Netherlands 4-2 in penalty kicks to reach the final of the World Cup, where they will play Germany on Sunday.

The two teams were tied 0-0 at the end of extra time.

Goalkeeper Sergio Romero saved penalties by Ron Vlaar and Wesley Sneijder. Maxi Rodriguez put away the winning kick.

The last time a World Cup semifinal was decided by penalty kicks was 1998 when Netherlands played Brazil. Brazil won that encounter.

The Associated Press reports:

The flailing about, the protests, the sheer agony — what if everyone behaved like international soccer stars who can evidently be slammed to the ground by a fingertip?

"The worst game I saw in my life" is how one Brazilian fan describes it. Another says it's simply a tragedy. Some angry fans burned Brazil's flag in the street.

Chris Froome, who raced to the top of the podium in Paris last July, is out of this year's Tour de France after falling in treacherous conditions on today's stage of the bicycle race.

Today's stage had been predicted to be harrowing, owing to the course's inclusion of cobblestones. But Froome went down twice before the race even reached that point, leaving his riding kit torn on both thighs and one shoulder, where a bloody wound could be seen.

Jorge in Brazil / Creative Commons

On Tuesday, Brazil faces Germany in a World Cup semifinal match. For thousands of Brazilians living in Danbury, the game is a chance to gather, eat barbeque, and cheer on their native team. 

The United States will have a presence at today's semifinal World Cup match between Brazil and Germany. It won't be the U.S. National Team on the field, but American referee Mark Geiger. FIFA selected Geiger to be on the officiating crew of the high-stakes match. It's the first time a U.S. referee has been used this late in a World Cup.

Bernt Rostad / Creative Commons

I'm pretty sure that in the summer of 1992, somebody tried to tell me about Monty Python's Flying Circus. I didn't get it, and there weren't that many chances to  break in as a Python fan. Their actual television show didn't begin airing on public TV in America until October of 1974. Then, in the space of about two years, they changed the face of American comedy. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

When officials from the City of Hartford announced it would build a Minor League Baseball stadium, many people were caught by surprise, including Hartford residents.

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