Sports

NBA Pre-Postseason Player Tiers 1 and 2: Wembanyama quickly rising; Giannis, Jokić steady at top
Sports

NBA Pre-Postseason Player Tiers 1 and 2: Wembanyama quickly rising; Giannis, Jokić steady at top

Related media - Associated media Yesterday, I largely focused on setting the table for the updated NBA Pre-Postseason Players Tiers before revealing Tier 3 (players between the 24th and 42nd spot) and Tier 4 (Nos. 43-80). Today, I’m going to get a little more into some of the more interesting and/or challenging placements, as well as note a few overall trends. For starters, a consistent bit of feedback — and one I’ve gotten from multiple sources since the release of Tiers 3 and 4 — is the always difficult evaluation of which player is more valuable between an elite role player and a good-but-not-great primary or secondary creator. A senior analytics staffer within the league went so far as to argue they would prefer essentially the entirety of Tier 4A, largely made up of elite role p...
U.S. Soccer took a gamble waiting for Emma Hayes, leaving USWNT’s style of play in limbo
Sports

U.S. Soccer took a gamble waiting for Emma Hayes, leaving USWNT’s style of play in limbo

Connected media - Associated media In November, U.S. Soccer gambled that it was worth sacrificing a year of continuous preparation under a permanent manager to hire Emma Hayes. For eight months following the 2023 World Cup, interim management has overseen the U.S. women’s national team. To her credit, Twila Kilgore’s tenure as placeholder helped turn over the player pool and saw her team win a pair of tune-up competitions this spring. Still, it’s been a lost year for the program at a time when it was in sore need of a clear new vision. Hayes’ first games as USWNT manager in June are still two months away, bringing the post-World Cup interlude to 10 months — and a full seven months from her appointment in November. With the CONCACAF W Gold Cup and SheBelieves Cup in the rearview, it’s...
Ryan Giggs and football: A very complicated relationship
Sports

Ryan Giggs and football: A very complicated relationship

Connected media - Associated media The celebration was almost as glorious as the goal itself. The fuzz of chest hair, the twirling shirt, the body swerve to evade the Manchester United fans who had run on the pitch in their euphoria. On Sunday, it is 25 years since Patrick Vieira, a genuine great of Arsenal’s midfield, played a wayward pass amid the high drama of an FA Cup semi-final between the leading two English sides of the time. Ryan Giggs took the ball and then he was off and running, picking up speed from inside his own half, slaloming past opponents, one by one. Vieira tried to get back but Giggs, crossing the halfway line, dipped his shoulder to get away. Lee Dixon was next to come across. He, too, could not get near him. Arsenal had the most famously parsimonious defence in...
Pat Zachry, Pitcher Known for a Lopsided Trade, Dies at 71
Sports

Pat Zachry, Pitcher Known for a Lopsided Trade, Dies at 71

Associated media - Associated media Pat Zachry, who was a co-winner of the National League Rookie of the Year award in 1976, but who is probably best known for being one of the players traded to the New York Mets a year later for Tom Seaver, died on Thursday at the home of his son, Josh, in Austin, Texas. He was 71. Jay Horwitz, a spokesman for the Mets, announced the death. He did not specify the cause, saying only that Zachry died after a long illness. Zachry, a 6-foot-5 right-hander, began his career with the Reds in 1976 and got off to a promising start. He went 14-7 with a 2.74 earned run average in his first season and tied the San Diego Padres pitcher Butch Metzger for Rookie of the Year. He beat the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series a...
A’s Will Finally Turn Out the Lights on Pro Sports in Oakland
Sports

A’s Will Finally Turn Out the Lights on Pro Sports in Oakland

Connected media - Linked media Still, the Athletics continued to be competitive, reinventing themselves by shrewdly using data to assess undervalued skills, a process that became known as “Moneyball,” after the best-selling book. The A’s have not reached the World Series since 1990, but they’ve been in the playoffs 11 times since 2000 — more than the Mets and the San Francisco Giants, and just as often as the Boston Red Sox. Attendance had lingered in the lower third, though drum-pounding fans in right field causing a nightly ruckus added a degree of atmosphere. But when the team began its latest tear down, trading away its best players for prospects rather than paying their accelerating salaries, fans finally had enough of John Fisher, the owner, who before last season had raised ti...
Some Things Are More Important Than History
Sports

Some Things Are More Important Than History

Connected media - Associated media He didn’t care that it was a no-hitter. He just wanted the Yankees to win. More than five hours after we arrived at Yankee Stadium, my 9-year-old son, Wes, had waited in line for an hour in a rainstorm, collected his coveted (replica) 1998 Yankees World Series ring, talked me into buying him a T-shirt, visited the Gluten Free Grill twice, mourned the season-ending injury to Jasson Domínguez, cheered Aaron Judge so loudly that his voice was getting hoarse and brushed off every single mention I made that Corbin Burnes, the starter for the Milwaukee Brewers, was throwing an incredible game. While the rain delayed Sunday’s game between Milwaukee and the Yankees only 15 minutes, the soggy conditions persisted through the early innings and Burnes, the win...
USWNT’s loss to Mexico was a jarring reminder that the team’s mystique is gone
Sports

USWNT’s loss to Mexico was a jarring reminder that the team’s mystique is gone

Linked media - Connected media For those who weren’t following along during the 2011 World Cup qualifying cycle — in which the U.S. lost to Mexico in the CONCACAF semifinals before Alex Morgan finally sent the U.S. through in a playoff series against Italy — matches against Mexico might have felt like a rivalry in name only. The U.S. women’s national team had not lost to Mexico since that moment in 2010, and hadn’t lost to any CONCACAF opponent at home since 2000. Monday night threw that narrative out the window. The USWNT was outplayed in a 2-0 loss in front of a boisterous crowd in Carson, Ca., and while it didn’t match the low of that 0-0 draw against Portugal in the World Cup group stage last summer, the team’s final group stage match of this Gold Cup was (hopefully) a h...
Scenes From More Than a Century of Sports
Sports

Scenes From More Than a Century of Sports

Related media - Connected media As journalists from the Sports desk began other assignments across the newsroom — and, in a few cases, roles at The Athletic — Times Insider took a look back at the history of the desk. New York Times Sports has been home to a distinguished lineup of columnists — among them Arthur Daley, Red Smith, Dave Anderson and Selena Roberts — as well as reporters like Alan Schwarz, whose reporting on the deadly effects of concussions in the National Football League led to reforms at all levels of the game. Here are five occasions when Times sportswriters and columnists went the extra mile for a story. Carving Out a Unique Beat Walter Fletcher joined The Times’s staff in 1927 soon after graduating from City College of New York, where he was the campus corresponde...
The tiny Brazilian club that fooled North Korea – ‘They would have been angry if we had won’
Sports

The tiny Brazilian club that fooled North Korea – ‘They would have been angry if we had won’

Linked media - Linked media Everyone seems to have a slightly different estimate of how many people were outside the stadium on that strange November afternoon, but the consensus is that it was a lot. As the bus crept through the crowd, the Brazilian footballers on board stared out of the windows. Locals — tens of thousands of them, on some accounts — flooded the streets. Most greeted the bus with diffident waves. A few ran alongside, hoping to catch a glimpse of someone they would not have recognised anyway. An hour later, those same footballers walked through a long underground tunnel, up a flight of stairs and out onto the pitch. They lined up in front of the dugout and sang Brazil’s national anthem. The match that began moments thereafter took place in 2009, but you would never k...
How Tim Flannery, the Giants Coach, Got Back to Writing Songs
Sports

How Tim Flannery, the Giants Coach, Got Back to Writing Songs

Connected media - Connected media As an old ballplayer, when the back pain attacked, he figured he would just play through it. “I took four Advil, drank a huge cocktail and usually I’d polish that off with a bottle of wine to kill the pain,” he said of his nightly regimen. But one afternoon he fell asleep, hard, on the deck, waking up only because it was dinner time for his dog, Buddy. Stubborn as his master, Buddy nudged and licked Flannery until he came to. If not for that, Flannery said, he thinks he would have died right there. Instead, the two somehow drove to his San Diego-area home, where Tim collapsed and was taken away by paramedics. As he was recovering in early 2021, Susan Walker phoned one day. Her husband, Jerry Jeff, had died from cancer in October, and she invited Flan...