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[MUSIC: Vagabond Opera, “Chimeres Be Met” (from The Zeitgeist Beckons)] Stephen J. DUBNER: Kobi, can you just like count to 10 in your microphone? Takeru KOBAYASHI: 1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. DUBNER: Maggie, do the same? Or say anything you want, he just needs to get a level. Just keep talking… […] Read More »
In 2010, CBS and Turner Broadcasting agreed to pay $10.8 billion to broadcast the NCAA men’s basketball tournament from 2011 to 2024. As a result of this contract, fans of this tournament can watch these games on four different networks. And perhaps more importantly (for those of us who work during the day), we can see these games on our computers in our offices.
Certainly all these games make us fans very happy. And all that money has to make coaches, athletic directors, and other university administrators happy. But what about the people we are actually watching?
The people on the court are referred to as student-athletes. And according to the NCAA rules, these athletes are supposed to be amateurs. In other words, other than a scholarship, these athletes are not supposed to be paid. Read More »
Much of the focus today on college football is on the teams at the top. Will Notre Dame win the national title and finish undefeated? Can Alabama win another championship? Then there are the 34 other bowl games. In all, 70 teams have an opportunity to finish the year as a winner.
For those without this opportunity, though, this past season was a disappointment. For these “losers,” the focus these past few weeks has been strictly on preparing for the next season. And part of that preparation appears to be changing the head coach.
Already, at least 25 schools have announced that the head coach from 2012 will not be on the sideline in 2013. For some, this is because a successful team lost their coach to another program. In many instances, though, teams have asked a coach to depart in the hope that someone else will alter their team’s fortunes. Read More »
Much has been made of the plan the Oklahoma City Thunder followed in building a title contender. Here are the basic steps the Thunder supposedly followed:
1.Lose a bunch of games across a few seasons, which allows a team to accumulate lottery picks
2. Draft “stars” with lottery picks
3. Sign “stars” to long-term contracts
4. Win a title (or more)
The Thunder did well with step one. Starting with their last two seasons in Seattle in 2006-07, this franchise had three seasons where it won 31 games, 20 games, and 23 games.
These performances primarily led to the following four high picks in the draft: Read More »
Stephen J. DUBNER: This is the Camino Real farmer’s market in Goleta, California. It’s in Santa Barbara County, about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. The produce is bountiful, and it’s local… [SANTA BARBARA FARMER’S MARKET] [SHOPPER] You use that on ribs? [SHOPPER] Yeah! It’s so good. [JEFF] We’ve got lettuce, and greens and chard, leeks […] Read More »
Stephen J. DUBNER: The Union Square Greenmarket in New York City, which was founded in 1976, is a little agrarian oasis right in the heart of the city, it’s a throwback to how we used to buy our food. The writer John McPhee once spent some time in New York’s farmers markets, selling peppers and […] Read More »
Stephen J. DUBNER: What did you have for dinner last night? Pasta with mushroom sauce. Grilled cheese sandwiches. Artichokes and cardoons and capers. We had leftovers. I would call it a chicken kiev. Meyer lemon fennel treat. I just got a hot dog on the street. DUBNER: What’d you […] Read More »
The Portland Trail Blazers – a team that won 48 games in 2010-11 and was only three games below 0.500 this season – made two puzzling trades a couple of weeks ago. Gerald Wallace was sent to the New Jersey Nets for two injured players and a first round pick in the 2012 draft. And Marcus Camby was sent to the Houston Rockets for a second round pick and two players who had only played 158 minutes this year.
Camby and Wallace combined to produce more than 10 wins for the Blazers this season, and at the time of the trade their level of productivity led the team. Given what the Blazers received back, it seems likely the Blazers just got worse. Read More »