Quick thought 10 April 2023

Banking on it. This Digiday article about the fallout of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse on the advertising world wasn’t world-shaking in its revelations: it turns out companies need to pay attention to where they bank and be a little more careful with their cash on hand. But I really wish they’d included my favorite sports detail from this weekend, which is that when Alison Jackson won the Paris-Rubaix Femmes avec Zwift Saturday, she did so in kit just covered in the SVB logo because they’re still one of the main sponsors of her team, EF Education–TIBCO–SVB.

The World Baseball Classic is cool and good and should happen every June

At this blog, we’re going to take it for granted that Shohei Otani is cool as shit (and should be a Met by this time next year). The World Baseball Classic had a ton of highs, and I’m sad that it’s already over and excited for the next one. But the WBC is such a weird baseball event that even though I followed the tournament in gamer and YouTube clip form, I didn’t watch that many of the games themselves.

Part of it is that it happens in March, sure: I spent my sports-watching chits on the NCAA tournament over the weekend (though I seemed to have other things to do Saturday around noon). I’m not opposed to winter baseball, but the rhythm isn’t there yet.


What I’ve Been Reading (20 March 2023)

  • Larva Pupa Imago by Eric Schwitzgebel at Clarkesworld. I’m always a sucker for an SF story with alien biology, and this one—from a philosophy professor at UC Riverside, no less—delivers the goods. It’s not just looking at the lifecycle of post-Anthropocene butterflies, but a dive into personhood and memory as well. Highly recommend.
  • This Isn’t the Middle Age Millennials Expected by Jessica Grose in the NYT. A wide ranging look at the millennial generation as we start to enter middle age (and on the precipice of yet another damn recession). I’ve got thoughts on this that I’m trying to get sorted into a longer, actual structured essay, but it boils down to our generation making the most out of a bad hand, and that this isn’t too different from what generations other than the Boomers really faced.
  • Two Rivals, One Bedroom by Rory Smith in the NYT. Two footballers in the top flight of Dutch soccer, playing on rival teams—and still sharing their childhood bedroom!

First Thoughts: ESPN Redesign 

An infinite scrolling news site I actually like.

ESPN’s new site design, which it launched last week, is the strongest implementation of infinite scrolling that I’ve yet seen. More and more sites seem to be moving in this direction, and while I’m not convinced that it’s ideal for every content provider, it does seem to fit sports perfectly.

The new site was launched April 1, which seems like a weird day to do that until you realize it was the twentieth anniversary of espn.com. The new site isn’t an equivalent leap online, but it does feel like a major step forward.

ESPN has clearly been working on this for a while. Conceptually, a lot of the design ideas that ESPN implemented here have been tested on ESPN FC, the company’s soccer vertical. That site—rolled out last year, just in time for the World Cup—also features infinite scrolling on both the front page and the news pages. (more…)

I Have Some Minor Concerns Regarding Virginia’s Berth in the Final Four

1 April 2015

Craig Littlepage
Athletic Director
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA

Dear Mr. Littlepage:

As an alumnus of the University of Virginia, and a long-time fan of our athletic programs, I am truly excited that the Men’s Basketball team has overcome a season-ending loss to Michigan State in the Round of Thirty-Two (32) to play in the Final Four this weekend. However, in reviewing the events of the past week and a half, I am worried that several actions taken by team coaches, players and directors are not in line with the University’s standards of behavior and honor.

For example, despite the assurances of President Teresa Sullivan, I can find no regulation in the NCAA rulebook that allows for a rematch if the losing team can capture all opposing members and coaches and deliver them to Madison Square Garden within forty-eight (48) hours of a loss. Furthermore, I do not believe that dispatching multiple drivers and buses from the University Transit Service to East Lansing, Michigan, was appropriate, even if it did take place during Spring Break.

Coach Tony Bennett also made several questionable substitutions during that rematch, employing a “rope-a-dope” strategy that involved playing several members of the Eastern Albemarle High School Class of ’99 Alumni League team in place of Evan Nolte. These players, all several years out of college, may not have been eligible under NCAA rules, leaving open the possibility that these wins will be vacated at a later date.

The eligibility of the cybernetic clone of Ralph Samson, who played in the Elite Eight (8) rematch against North Carolina State, has also not been determined. His cybernetic status also raises a pertinent question: if the University has access to this technology, why was it not used to restore Justin Anderson’s hand prior to the ACC Conference Championship?

Lastly, there are also several strange occurrences that have taken place since last weekend that, while perhaps innocent in isolation, are worrying when taken in aggregate:

  • The freak indoor thunderstorm at the Consol Energy Center that resulted in Villanova Wildcats forward Daniel Ochefu being struck by lightning at half-court;
  • The disappearance of several articles of clothing and personal effects from Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s office at Cameron Indoor; and
  • The enshrouding of the John Paul Jones Arena and University Hall in a permanent cloak of shadow.

Again, I am excited to be cheering on my alma mater this weekend. But I hope in the off-season—assuming it ever arrives—that the University will be proactive in addressing these concerns.

Beat Duke,

Nick Gorski
CLAS ’07