December 31, 2016 by
Muhammad Ali won the Heavyweight Boxing Championship three times during his career.
While it is inevitable that every year we say goodbye to some of those who shaped sports history, it seems like 2016 included more than the normal share of all-time sports legends. Muhammad Ali and Arnold Palmer were not just sports legends, they were national icons whose celebrity transcended sports. At their peak, Pat Summitt and Gordie Howe were synonymous with their respective sports. In addition, the year included the death of several well-known members of the sports media as well as a number of accomplished coaches.
Below is a brief remembrance of some of the sports greats who passed away in 2016:
Muhammad Ali: While it is not difficult to poke holes into Ali’s self-proclaimed moniker as the “Greatest of All-Time”, there is little doubt that during his peak, Ali was one of the most recognized people on the planet. An Olympic boxing champion in 1960, Ali (then known as Cassius Clay), won the Heavyweight title in February 1964 with a sixth-round TKO of champion Sonny Liston. Ali, who was 22-years-old at the time he won the title, maintained the belt until 1967 when it was stripped following his federal conviction for refusing draft induction. It would be more than three years before Ali would return to the boxing ring. During the 1970s, Ali regained the Heavyweight title twice more while participating in some of the most iconic boxing matches of all-time. He fought Joe Frazier three times, winning the last two, and also defeated George Foreman in the “Rumble in the Jungle.” After retiring in 1980, the once polarizing Ali developed into an American icon. His battle with Parkinson’s syndrome over the last two decades saw the charismatic Ali struggle to communicate, but he was often in the public eye.
Ralph Branca: Branca won 88 games and as a three-time All-Star during his 12 year Major League career, but he is best known for giving up the “Shot Heard Round the World” to Bobby Thomson during the 1951 National League Playoff between the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants. He had only eight career wins before going 21-12 with a 2.67 ERA during the 1947 season. However, what Branca is perhaps best known for during the 1947 season was his willingness to stand next to teammate Jackie Robinson at the beginning of the season when others were reluctant. Branca won 13 or more games three other times during his career.
Dennis Byrd: Byrd’s NFL career was cut short in 1992 when he was paralyzed as a result of an on-field hit. He recovered enough to walk onto the field to start the 1993 season and went on to be a motivational speaker. He died as a result of a car accident in October.
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November 24, 2016 by
There are some huge differences between the sport of a few decades ago and the sport of today. One of the things that have seen many changes is sports management. Technology has meant that managers now carry out their work in many different ways. It has improved communication, documentation and the ability to analyze performance. Here are some of the key ways that tech has changed sports management.
Communication in sports management is much more instant today, just like it is in any other arena. People now not only carry a personal phone with them, but that phone is also essentially a computer. They can contact anyone instantly by phone or using the internet. Social media is another key method of communication that has changed how sports managers operate.
The process to record sports footage just a few decades ago was slow and laborious. Today, like many things, it’s an almost instant process. Any sports manager can use a handheld device to record footage and watch it back instantly. This greatly improves their ability to view and share a video of players. Read the rest of this entry →
November 02, 2016 by
Corey Kluber is trying to become the first pitcher since Mickey Lolich in 1968 to start and win three World Series games.
It is certainly fitting that a “World Series for the Ages” between two teams trying to break generational streaks of disappointments would culminate in a winner-take-all seventh game. Regardless of whether the Chicago Cubs or Cleveland Indians come out victorious, the 2016 World Series will go down in baseball annals as one of the most memorable World Series of all-time.
This marks the 37th time that a World Series champion will be crowned in a seventh game. Of the previous 36, 14 have been one-run games and four were decided in extra innings.
The last time a game seven went to extra innings was in 1997 when the Cleveland Indians could not close the game despite a one-run lead in the ninth inning and ultimately lost in the eleventh inning on a game-winning hit by Edgar Renteria.
While the closer for the Indians in 1997 was the shaky Jose Mesa, if Cleveland enters the final innings of this seventh game with a lead they have the strength of a bullpen that has been lights out during the 2016 postseason.
The only game seven appearance for the Chicago Cubs was during the 1945 World Series. The game seven starter for the Cubs that year was Hank Bowry, who had lost game five and then pitched four innings of relief to win game six 8-7 in 12 innings. He didn’t make it out of the first inning of game seven as the Detroit Tigers scored five runs on their way to a 9-3 victory.
This time the Cubs have the luxury of pitching a likely Cy Young Award winner who is working on regular rest after starting game three.
Though Kyle Hendricks did not allow a run before being lifted in the fifth inning of game three, the Cubs ultimately lost that game 1-0. Hendricks will certainly be trying to duplicate his performance in game six of the National League Championship Series when he allowed only two hits in 7.1 innings.
His adversary for this game seven is looking to become the first pitcher since Mickey Lolich in 1968 to win three games in a World Series and first since Bob Gibson in 1967 to win games 1, 4 and 7 in the same series. Just for the record, Lolich recorded complete game victories in games two, five and seven in 1968. Read the rest of this entry →
October 25, 2016 by
Oakland Alameda Stadium is currently the only stadium used for both the NFL and Major League Baseball.
If you’re a big football fan, you most likely already know that several NFL and college teams share the same stadium. If you aren’t aware, there are 13 NFL teams that still share their football stadiums. While the NY Giants and Jets play on the same field, the Oakland Raiders actually share their stadium with the Oakland A’s. This is the only NFL team that still shares a stadium with an MLB baseball team. So how is this possible? The term used when each team is prepping its field for game day is, “flipping the field.”
Flipping a field isn’t an easy task. It takes a lot of time, money and labor to make sure that each stadium is ready before the teams run onto the field. It can take 12 crew members a whole work day to get the field ready for the team’s next game. This isn’t cheap either; it can cost up to $250,000get all of this done.
To lay it all out, Equipsupply created an infographic that goes into the behind-the-scenes details of what it takes to get these football fields ready for each and every game day. So next time you’re prepping for your tailgate festivities, you might think about all the work that it took to get your favorite team’s football field ready for kick off. Read the rest of this entry →
October 23, 2016 by
The Chicago Cubs got to celebrate their first National League pennant in 71 years. Will they have another celebration following the World Series?
With just two weeks remaining in one of the bitterest presidential elections of all time, the Baseball Gods have provided a much needed national distraction that has been a combined 176 years in the making.
While many Americans likely cannot name the last five World Series Champions, even casual sports fans are already aware that the Cubs and Indians will be playing in a World Series for all ages.
After all, these are not just any two Major League teams, these are two teams with epic histories of finding new ways to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. There have been movies, songs, poems and books chronicling the failures and collapses of these two storied franchises.
What we do know, is that within the next 10 days either the 68 year streak of futility for the Indians or the 108 year streak for the Cubs will be over.
How we get from here to that moment is a compelling story that seems likely to shift at least some of the Facebook and Twitter focus from the Trump-Clinton election to America’s pastime.
The Cubs are not only making their first World Series appearance since 1945, but they finished the regular season with the best record in baseball for the first time since they lost that dramatic seven game series to the Detroit Tigers 71 years ago. Their 103 victories is the most in a season for the Cubs since winning 100 games in 1935 (they lost that series in six games to the Tigers).
Though the Indians have made three World Series appearances since last winning a championship in 1948, until the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA Championship earlier this year to end the 52-year championship drought for the city of Cleveland, their burden seemed just as daunting as that of the Cubs.
However, now that the pressure of a city has been lifted from their shoulders, it almost seems like the Indians are playing with house money. While their 68 year World Series drought is certainly significant, it pales in comparison to that of the Cubs and the national fan base that watched much of their misery over the last several decades thanks to the WGN super-cable network. Read the rest of this entry →
October 08, 2016 by
Fenway Park is the oldest stadium used for Major League Baseball today.
Sports stadiums are the modern gladiator arenas. Rabid fans descend upon the booming bowl of seats to watch their favorite athletes perform out on the field. And modern stadiums have great influence over the way we experience the spectacle. Through innovative design, fan interaction concourses and a curated ballpark menu, stadiums have come to be a spectacle unto themselves. And you could learn all about these unique fan experiences with an online athletic administration master’s degree. Get a head start. Here are 5 facts about the most famous stadiums in the world.
1. Fenway Park
Fenway Park is the oldest stadium used in the major leagues. Built in 1912, the park is older than many West Coast states. But many people don’t know the Green Monster wasn’t designed that way. Leftfield used to have a large hill that tapered up to a smaller wall during the dead ball era. It was called Duffy’s cliff, named after the Red Sox leftfielder that roamed the area. When it was removed in 1933, the Green Monster emerged.
2. Roman Colosseum
There are many spectacular facts about planet Earth’s original massive stadium. The side of the Colosseum collapsed during an earthquake in 847, the West exit is known as the Gate of Death for the dead gladiators dragged through it, and the word Colosseum is always capitalized for the famous structure despite the fact that the word translates into “large arena for entertainment.” But the most amazing fact is that the wooden floor of the Colosseum would be removed and the open channels below would be filled with water for mock naval battles. Read the rest of this entry →