Archive - March 2017
- Column: The World's Greatest Leader...Theo EpsteinMarch 30, 2017
When we think of a great leader, our search may instinctively turn to business or government. Fortune magazine, which publishes an annual list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, includes individuals from two additional categories: philanthropy and “beyond.” This year, Fortune turned to the beyond category and selected Theo Epstein as the World’s Greatest Leader. For those of you who need an introduction, Epstein is the president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, who ended their 108-year World Series drought last fall. If that doesn’t sound like an accomplishment worthy enough to head the greatest leaders list, Epstein’s resume also includes ending the Boston Red Sox’ 86-year World Series drought in 2004. The Red Sox proceeded to win another title in 2007 and Epstein’s fingerprints were all over the team’s 2013 World Series title even though he left Boston for Chicago after the 2011 season.
- Column: Cuban Smuggling Case A Stain On MLBMarch 23, 2017
While most baseball fans have been focusing on the excitement of spring training in Florida and Arizona, or the emotion of the World Baseball Classic being played around the globe, a seamy side of the sport was being detailed in a Miami courtroom. For six weeks, Cuban players and other government witnesses testified about a smuggling network that starts in Cuba, goes through Haiti, Mexico and other countries, and ultimately delivers MLB some of its top talent. Last week a federal jury convicted agent Bartolo Hernandez and trainer Julio Estrada of human trafficking. Hernandez is facing 3-15 years in prison while Estrada faces between 5-35 years at their sentencing on July 11.
- Column: NIKE Shoe Much Ado About NothingMarch 16, 2017
Sports are about human participation but there’s no denying that technology has an impact on performance. Is there a point where technology gives some performers an unfair advantage and creates artificial outcomes? That’s an endless debate, one that is currently underway in running circles. In the past nine months, runners using the latest shoe designs from Nike have produced impressive results in international races. Nike shoes were worn by all three medalists in the men’s marathon at last summer’s Olympics. In the fall, Nikes were worn by the winners of major marathons around the globe, including Berlin, Chicago and New York. Recently, Nike unveiled a customized version of those shoes as part of the company’s goal to see a sub two-hour marathon, a campaign dubbed the “Breaking2” project.
- Column: An MLB Pace-of-Play Idea With Universal AppealMarch 9, 2017
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has finally proposed an idea that every baseball fan can embrace: reducing commercial time during games. Since he became commissioner in 2014 Manfred has been on a crusade he has dubbed “pace-of-play,” which has been interpreted as a reduction in game times. To that end, in the past two years MLB has enacted a number of rules, including forcing players to remain in the batting box during their at bats - subject to exceptions - requiring pitchers to finish their warmup throws so they are ready to pitch immediately at the end of commercial breaks and encouraging umpires to enforce the strike zone. This year, intentional walks will no longer require the pitcher to throw four pitches wide of the strike zone. On a signal from the manager, the batter will automatically be awarded first base.
- Column: NASCAR's Big ChangesMarch 2, 2017
NASCAR began its 2017 season on Sunday in the traditional way, with the Daytona 500. But if you ask the sport’s most loyal fans, that’s about all the tradition that remains. One of the most visible changes to the Cup series - stock car racing’s highest level - is a new sponsor, Monster Energy, which is famous for edgy marketing. After an exhibition race the week before the 500, the Monster Girls were seen parading in victory lane wearing skimpy leather outfits, leaving little to the imagination. Offended fans took to social media to accuse them of looking like hookers – or worse. Appropriate or not, sex has long been one of the pillars of NASCAR’s marketing efforts along with booze and patriotism.