Monthly Archives: August 2012

A Brief Thank You

I’ve been blogging now for over three years–1240 days.

I’ve been writing an annual baseball preview since the winter of 2006–over 2000 days.

I’ve known I want to be a sportswriter since the end of my freshman year in high school–over 1000 days ago.

And now that I’m starting my freshman year at Vanderbilt University, I think it’s time to thank a few people that have helped me get to this point.

First and foremost, I need to thank my parents. They’ve supported me through and through and, you know, I really wouldn’t be here without them.

Next we have my brother, Michael. We’ve had more than our fair share of brotherly love, but he’s always there for me.

I can’t forget the rest of my family. To my grandparents Mike and Louisa and my great-grandma Hermine, thanks for sharing your love of baseball with me. To my Uncle Dan, thanks for helping edit my baseball previews and all the conversations–baseball and more. To cousins Claire and Jack plus Uncle Stephen and Aunts Lynne, Karen, Sara, and Kim thank you all for the support, love, and encouragement.

To my teachers, thank you for pushing me to learn more and do more. To Mr. Scully, who pushed me to start blogging and answered every last one of my questions about technology, thank you. To Mr. Kutner, who made me a much better writer even if it meant writing such encouraging comments as “Ugh,” “Blah,” “Barf,” and “Gross,” thank you. To Mr. Lucia, for pushing my mind in math, helping me create a baseball player ranking system, and carrying on long-lasting debates, thank you. To Mr. Jon Downs for helping me off the bat with my journalistic writing and Mr. Jesse Downs for encouraging me to go to Vanderbilt, thank you.

And to my Providence Day School lower school teachers–Mrs. Cook, Warwick, Schultz, Highfield, Akbari, Lambeth, Pleasant, Cook, and Blackwell–and my Providence Day School middle school teachers–Mrs. English, Bynum, Parker, Bard, Pierce, Villegas, Fisher, Edelman, Osborne, Barlow, and White, and Mr. Harper, Sienkowski, Burgess, Borcich, Field, Burnam, Hawk, and Henry–and the rest of my Providence Day School upper school teachers–Mrs. Coley, Whelan, Caldwell, Sivy, and Hinson, and Mr. Tappy, Hedinger, Welsh, Taylor, Reeder, Turner, Boyer, Bynum, Garrison, Dickson, Grabenstetter, Werner, Nichols, Finneyfrock, Erb, Hough, and Kashatus–thank you for everything.

To my baseball coaches: thank you Coach Cerbie for pushing me harder than I’d like in practice, thank you Coach Smith for helping me appreciate the intricacies of pitching, and thank you Coaches Wallace and Bibby for keeping things fun in JV. And my teammates? Thanks for seven great years.

I was blessed to be able to work with the Charlotte Observer this summer, thanks to Providence Day School. I got to work with some really great people–with whom I will hopefully be able to work again in the future–Corey Inscoe, Jim Walser, Mike Persinger, Scott Fowler, Harry Pickett, and more.

Thanks to the guys from Bobcats Baseline–Adam Sakoonserksadee and Dr. Ethan Musgrove–for giving me a chance to write for another great website and helping out my writing.

Thank you my great friends from school, baseball, and beyond–specifically my friend Ben Hinson, with whom I played baseball since tee-ball, and my six fellow Providence Day Chargers headed to Vanderbilt: Andy Marx, Chris Nash, Emily Stewart, John Cambern, Katie Metzger, and Tommy O’Gorman (and here’s to four more great years).

Thank you to my amazing family on Twitter; I’ve made some incredible friends over my three years and nearly 36,000 tweets. I’m talking about you, @SydDaKid17, @CardboardGerald, @jmiller112, @atjared, @bmb21, @JayMaalD, and more. (Tweet at me @benweinrib if I forgot about you).

Thank you to the writers on The Charger, and even more recently the secret society of cunning linguists at Charging Backwards–Holy Broman Empire, The Broletariat, Edgar Allen Bro, Broseph Stalin, Broseiden King of the Brocean, and Brosiah Wedgwood–for making writing so much fun.

Thank you to the pro athletes I’ve been lucky enough to interview with during my time in high school: Delino DeShields Jr., Joe Borchard, Ty Buttrey, Brad Stone.

I wouldn’t be here right outside my dorm room in Stambaugh House if not for the admissions crew at Vandy, and I wouldn’t be nearly as happy if it were not for the TRA, who helped award me the Fred Russell-Grantland Rice Sports Writing Scholarship. I can’t thank those guys enough.

I’ve had so many great opportunities and so many people to thank.

Hopefully I can look back and say this is the beginning of great things. And I wouldn’t be here without all this help.

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The Knuckle Cast

I just wrote another article for the Charlotte Observer on Ty Buttrey and Brad Stone–two Charlotte High School pitchers–and their different paths to the MLB Draft, but I felt like there was more to the players’ stories than I couldn’t cover in the 602 word article.

And because of that I decided to make a podcast for the first time, which is fittingly titled The Knuckle Cast. This first episode is my interviews with the two players and will be the first of hopefully many podcasts to come–although I can’t promise regular episodes.

I’ve made a page with an archive of all (one) episodes, which I’ll update each time a post a new podcast.

It will probably be slow to load at first, but please check it out and let me do what I can do to improve The Knuckle Cast.

The Knuckle Cast Episode #1

Categories: MLB, Podcasts | Leave a comment

A Dream Team Nightmare Debate

The debate has been going on for weeks now. Which team is better: the ’92 Dream Team or the 2012 team?

Now this debate is dumb for several reasons. One, we’ll never know which team is better since they can’t actually play each other, and two, it’s just a stupid debate.

But because it’s a stupid debate, I’m going to use up 827 words to throw my opinion into the ring.

Here we go.

Team USA won the gold medal Sunday, reaffirming that the team with 12 of the 41 NBA players in the Olympics was the best. Now no other country had more than six NBA players, which helps explain why the US won their eight game by more an average of over 32 points.

The original Dream Team, however, won their eight games by an average of nearly 44 points, so they’re clearly the better team, right? Well, not exactly.

The Dream Team had eleven NBA players plus Christian Laettner, but the rest of the world barely had any. I’m talking just Drazen Petrovic, Toni Kukoc, Sarunas Marciulionis, and Stojko Vrankovic. (Shockingly, I didn’t make up any of those names)

But that ’92 team wasn’t just dominant because they had more NBA players than the rest of the countries combined; the other countries feared playing them. And if they didn’t fear the Dream Team, they were just excited to be on the same court.

Conversely, international players were calling out the 2012 Dream Team left and right. Marc Gasol called out the team first before the Olympics even started, and Nicolas “Nutcracker” Batum joined in during the Summer Games.

Just because one team was revered and one team wasn’t doesn’t prove one was better than the other. 82% of RottenTomatoes.com users liked the first Twilight movie compared to 33% of users liked MacGruber, but I’ll always maintain that MacGruber is the far better movie.

To be clear, I do think the 1992 team would beat the 2012 team. Probably. But a lot of that has to do with the fact that the current Dream Team is missing a four key players. Give me Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, and this is a different conversation.

Let’s look at things a different way.

Athletes have gotten much better over time. Jesse Owens ran his historic 1936 100 meter dash in 10.3 seconds. He would’ve finished a distant 8th in the 2012 Olympics because Asafa Powell somehow ran an 11.99, well beyond 7th place Richard Thompson’s 9.98 time.

Even in 1992, Linford Christie won gold with a 9.96 100 meter time. That barely edges out Thompson to get 7th place in 2012.

Simply put, today’s athletes are bigger, faster, and stronger than the athletes of yesteryear.

Let’s take a look at the 1992 roster vs. my updated 2012 roster to include injured Olympians.

1992 Team

2012 Team

Pos.  Name Height Weight Pos. Name Height Weight
C David Robinson 7’1” 235 C Tyson Chandler 7’1” 240
C Patrick Ewing 7’ 240 C Dwight Howard 6’11” 265
PF Christian Laettner 6’11” 235 PF Chris Bosh 6’11” 235
PF Karl Malone 6’9” 255 PF Kevin Love 6’10” 260
PF Charles Barkley 6’6” 250 SF Kevin Durant 6’9” 235
SF Larry Bird 6’9” 220 SF LeBron James 6’8” 250
SF Scottie Pippen 6’7” 220 SF Carmelo Anthony 6’8” 230
SF Chris Mullin 6’7” 215 SG Kobe Bryant 6’6” 205
SG Clyde Drexler 6’7” 220 SG Dwyane Wade 6’4” 220
SG Michael Jordan 6’6” 200 PG Derrick Rose 6’3” 190
PG Magic Johnson 6’9” 220 PG Deron Williams 6’3” 209
PG John Stockton 6’1” 175 PG Chris Paul 6’ 175

We forget that the Round Mound of Rebound was Kobe Bryant’s height. Karl Malone? Just bigger than LeBron, but far slower.

Not only that, but Magic was 32, and Bird was on his last legs at the age of 35. Even Patrick Chewing Ewing and John Stockton were 30.

Nobody outside of Kobe Bryant is over 30 on the 2012 team. At an average age of 27, 2012 Team USA would be in far better shape.

LeBron James and Kevin Durant put up historic Olympic numbers while playing the best international competition we’ve ever seen.

And lastly, the big question is how the new team will match up with the original Dream Team’s big men. Well with the addition of Dwight Howard, that won’t be such a problem. The real question is how the ’92 team would match up against the starting lineup of Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Dwight Howard.

Kevin Durant scored at will all Olympics, and LeBron reinforced that he is the best player in the world. Karl Malone can’t guard LeBron. Charles Barkley can’t guard Kevin Durant. There’s clearly going to be a lot of scoring in this game, but I think the younger, more athletic, quicker team will prevail.

I know it’s blasphemy. I know it’s heresy. Michael Jordan’s star has grown and grown since he retired nine years ago until he’s reached a god-like pedestal,. But one player can only do so much with dozens of Hall of Famers playing in one game.

Michael Jordan is the greatest, but in my mind, he’s not enough to overcome a more athletic, better shooting 2012 Dream Team.

Categories: NBA | Leave a comment

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