sports

Freakonomics god Stephen Dubner is our SuperGuest for today's Scramble, and he talks about how to think more rationally and creatively, the upside of quitting, and the latest studies on happiness. Then, we chat with sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, and WNPR's capital region reporter Jeff Cohen, on the value of publicly-funded sports arenas. What's the status on the possible building of a baseball stadium in Hartford? Is it a done deal? What else have we learned and expect to understand about what a business like that may do to the city?

On Friday, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Sean Burnett became the latest player this season to undergo "Tommy John" surgery. In this weekend's MLB draft, at least four players selected had already had the infamous elbow surgery as amateurs.

The operation is named after the first player to undergo the procedure to fix an injured elbow ligament, in 1974. Pitchers are particularly vulnerable to this injury.

The procedure involves taking a tendon from somewhere else in the body — or from a cadaver — and grafting it into place. Pitchers get it most often.

The global reach of soccer never ceases to amaze me. I travel all over the world, sometimes to incredibly remote areas. More often than not, when I get there, somebody is kicking around a soccer ball.

It doesn't matter if it's Asia or Africa or Central America. Kids make a goal out of a couple of backpacks, throw out a ball and the game is on. The "ball" could be a knotted towel or a tennis ball or a tattered leather shell that's barely holding air.

Cliff / Creative Commons

City leaders say building a minor league baseball stadium in Hartford would spur economic development. Some of the numbers are based on ambitious assumptions. 

The first game of the NBA finals was a scorcher. Yes, it was played indoors – but the air conditioning in San Antonio's arena broke down, leaving the host Spurs and the Miami Heat sweating in 90-degree temperatures. The Spurs overcame the heat, and the Heat, 110-95.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Today on The Nose, we begin with an essay, "Faking Cultural Literacy." Writer Karl Taro Greenfeld said, "It's never been so easy to pretend to know so much, without actually knowing anything." We pick topical, relevant bits from Facebook, Twitter, or emailed news alerts, and then regurgitate them.

Doug Kerr / Creative Commons

A bunch of numbers jump out when it comes to the proposed new minor league ballpark in Hartford. One of them is the jobs projection. 

City of Hartford

There are a lot of numbers that jump out when it comes to the proposed new minor league ballpark in Hartford – the 600 permanent, full-time jobs, the more than 9,000 seats, the 25-year deal, the $500,000 annual rent payment to the city. But there’s also the price tag itself. 

His big-league career began in the 1950s and included the most recent Yankees dynasty. Along the way, the word "beloved" was often attached to his name. Baseball — the players, the fans, seemingly the sport itself — is mourning Don Zimmer today, after he died at age 83 Wednesday.

The tributes to the feisty guy with a good sense of humor and a bottomless love for the game are pouring out from all over, proof that he didn't waste any time during his 66 years in baseball. In recent years, Zimmer had been suffering from kidney and heart problems.

Reuters is quoting an attorney for Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling as saying his client has agreed to sell the team, and to drop a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA.

Attorney Maxwell Blecher said Wednesday that Sterling "has made an agreement with the NBA to resolve all their differences," according to SI.com.

Griffin Hospital in Derby says it has tested about 750 patients for hepatitis, HIV and other infections . This comes after an announcement last month that staff had been misusing insulin pens dating back to 2008.

New State E-books System Taking Effect In July

The old saying goes, "When in Rome, do as the Romans."

But in the case of the Roman numeral for 50, the National Football League has decided, at least for 2016 (and, admittedly in San Francisco, not Rome), to do as the Arabs.

The official explanation is that "Super Bowl L" just isn't as pleasing to the eye as its Arabic numeral equivalent, "Super Bowl 50."

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford has announced a 25-year deal to bring the New Britain Rock Cats to the capital city. The move, celebrated in one city, is not so popular in the other. 

UConn / Facebook

President Barack Obama is inviting the University of Connecticut's men's and women's champion basketball teams to the White House. 

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."

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.

The L.A. Kings beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4 on Sunday, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final in a dramatic Game 7 overtime win.

The Blackhawks, the defending Stanley Cup champions, scored the first two goals of the game and led through the first period. The Kings tied the score at 3-3 partway through the second period, but Chicago took the lead again a few minutes before the second intermission.

The Kings caught back up at 7:17 of the third period. Missed shots and frantic saves carried the game into overtime.

Shelly Sterling says her family's trust has reached a deal to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. The wife of embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling issued a news release announcing a "binding contract" Thursday night.

"I am delighted that we are selling the team to Steve, who will be a terrific owner," Shelly Sterling said in the news release. "We have worked for 33 years to build the Clippers into a premiere NBA franchise. I am confident that Steve will take the team to new levels of success."

There are many ways to psych out an opponent. The Indiana Pacers' Lance Stephenson went the unconventional route last night, softly blowing into LeBron James' ear during a pause late in their playoff game.

"He didn't just do that," James' face seems to say.

"Yes I did," Stephenson's expression answers.

Mamata.mulay / Creative Commons

Connecticut has a complicated relationship with the death penalty. Over more than 50 years, the state executed just two death row inmates because they asked for it. Two years ago it was repealed for cases moving forward, but last week, one more man was sentenced to die for a crime he committed before the repeal.

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.

Conrad Gregor sent a special thank you to his parents for making a five-hour drive to see him play baseball this weekend: He launched a home run that led his team to a comeback win — and his father caught the baseball after it soared over the right-field wall.

Donald Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers owner who has been banned for life by the NBA for making racist remarks, has agreed to sell the team, according to reports. Both ESPN and TMZ say that Sterling will allow his wife, Shelly, to negotiate the deal.

Sterling "has signed the Los Angeles Clippers over to his wife," ABC News says, citing a source "close to the team."

Landon Donovan, the all-time leader in scoring and assists for the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team, will not be part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup roster in Brazil, U.S. Soccer says.

ESPN writes: "Donovan, 32, has played for the U.S. in the past three World Cups dating back to 2002. He has been the face of the national team for most of the past decade, but spoke in recent months about how his body is no longer what it had once been."

Army Staff Sgt. Sean K. Harp / Department of Defense

Connecticut basketball coach Kevin Ollie has agreed to a $15 million, five-year contract with the national champion Huskies. 

Bernard Gagnon / Wikimedia Commons

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy joined 48 other senators calling for the name of the NFL's Washington franchise to be changed. The letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell referenced the NBA's response to the Donald Sterling controversy regarding comments Sterling made about African-Americans.

ESPN

Sports media giant ESPN has opened its new digital media center on its Bristol campus.

Jeffrey Beall / Creative Commons

Prosecutors say former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez, who already faces a murder charge in a man's shooting death last year, has been indicted on new murder charges in an unrelated 2012 double slaying in Boston.

The victims in that killing, Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado, were shot to death as they sat in a car in Boston's South End on July 16, 2012. Police have said they were shot by someone who drove up alongside in an SUV and opened fire. 

Bill Slattery Jr/flickr creative commons

From Faith Middleton: You've possibly heard the latest data on “practice” being the key to accomplishment, right down to the number of times you must practice to do something well. The authors of Top Dog, Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, say there’s more to the science of winning and losing, and the key is “competitive fire.” The book is a look at how to cultivate competitive fire to go with practice. 

"I'm not a racist," Donald Sterling tells CNN in an interview about the scandal that brought a lifetime ban from the NBA. "I made a terrible, terrible mistake. And I'm here with you today to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all the people that I've hurt."

Sterling also said he isn't likely to engage in a drawn-out legal battle with the NBA if the league attempts to force him out as the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Rodrigo Carvalho / Flickr Creative Commons

We start today's show with Eric Deggans, NPR's first full-time TV critic. Eric and I have talked before about the issue of diversity in late night comedy programming and lo and behold, the very intriguing Larry Wilmore has been given his own show. So, we talk about that but Eric's main focus right now is a kind of television agrarian ritual, the unveiling of this year's crop of network shows, most of them to be harvested in the fall. A short description if you've been missing Matthew Perry, Patricia Arquette, Scott Bakula, Tea Leone and Katherine McPhee, just watch CBS.

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