Goin’ Bananas: How a Minor League Team Got More Followers Than the Yankees

About twenty uniformed Savannah Bananas players line up side-by-side on the field doing a kick-line dance.

Image credit: Christian Science Moniter

To hear some people tell it, the Savannah Bananas, a professional baseball team based in Savannah Georgia, are making baseball fun again (Gasp!!). They play by modified rules (“Banana Ball”), their games consistently sell out, and according to this July 2022 report by Patrik Jonsson, Christian Science Monitor staff writer, they have more social media followers than the New York Yankees. What’s up with that?

Continue reading “Goin’ Bananas: How a Minor League Team Got More Followers Than the Yankees”

The Realities of WNBA Stars Who Play Abroad

A basketball player dressed in the lime green professional Czech team uniform dribbles a ball around a defender in a dark green jersey.

Why would they go so far from home to play the game? Well, many reasons. Opportunity. Adventure. Compensation commensurate with skill. And don’t forget love of the game. It’s not hard to understand. Still, it’s not for everyone, and there are plenty of challenges and drawbacks. What are we talking about? WNBA stars who play for teams in other countries during the off-season. In this extensive May 2022 report, Andscape (formerly the Undefeated) and Getty Images collaborate to profile four WNBA players who don pro-league uniforms in Turkey, Spain, and the Czech Republic.

Continue reading “The Realities of WNBA Stars Who Play Abroad”

“Qué lo qué, papi”: Giants Bridge Cultural Gaps with Spanish Classes

San Francisco Giants outfielder Luis González leaps up right at the wall to make a spectular catch of Chicago Cub Christopher Morel’s fly ball.

Nearly a third of Major League baseball players in 2022 come from countries outside the United States, and the great majority of them are from Latin America. (The Dominican Republic alone accounts for slightly more than 10% of all MLB players. We don’t know how many of the Latin American players are already Spanish/English bilingual when they arrive (many certainly are), nor do we know how many Latino US-born players are also Spanish/English bilingual. What we do know is that language and communication can’t be taken for granted on any team. Maria Guardado, MLB.com’s staff writer who covers the San Francisco Giants, wrote this April 2022 report on an unusual effort being taken by the team to help bridge a language gap.

Continue reading ““Qué lo qué, papi”: Giants Bridge Cultural Gaps with Spanish Classes”

What It Means to Be From Two Places at Once

A surfer wearing a red "Vans" shirt rides a wave.

If you were selected to compete in the Olympics, what country would you represent? For many athletes, the question would never even come up, but that’s not true for everyone. Mahina Maeda, Hawaiian born and raised, participated in the first-ever Olympic surfing competition, representing Japan. In this July 2021 essay in the Players’ Tribune, she explains that she is “more than one flag, one country, one language.” (You can click the link at the top of her essay to read it in Japanese.)

Continue reading “What It Means to Be From Two Places at Once”

Breaking the Grass Ceiling: More Women Are Playing College Baseball Than Ever Before

A female baseball player wearing a grey and light blue uniform prepares to hit a ball.

The US has a woman vice president, and there are now women referees on NBA courts and in the broadcast booths. Have women fully broken the glass ceiling? Not quite. In this June 2021 Sports Illustrated report, sports journalist Michael Rosen addresses the “grass ceiling” encountered by women baseball players, specifically, women on collegiate baseball teams.

Continue reading “Breaking the Grass Ceiling: More Women Are Playing College Baseball Than Ever Before”

Eulogy for Kobe Bryant (excerpt)

NBA hall-of-famer Michael Jordan speaking on MSNBC.

Michael Jordan is a former superstar basketball player who dominated the NBA for more than a decade until his final retirement in 2003, but you probably already know that, even if you’re not a fan. You likely also know that Kobe Bryant was a superstar basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers who died at age 42 in a helicopter crash. Here is an excerpt from Jordan’s eulogy at a memorial service for Bryant held at the Staples Center, the Lakers’ home arena, on February 24, 2020.

Continue reading “Eulogy for Kobe Bryant (excerpt)”

NCAA Gender Inequity Cuts Deeper Than Just Weight Room Issues at Tournament

A girl holding an NCAA Division-I Final Four trophy from 2017 smiles, surrounded by her teammates.

Gender disparity in the NCAA? We’re shocked! Flabbergasted! Just kidding. Not shocked at all. Still, the degree of inequality that came to light during the 2021 NCAA basketball tournaments was a little startling. Newsweek sports editor Scott McDonald details the situation in this March 2021 report.

Continue reading “NCAA Gender Inequity Cuts Deeper Than Just Weight Room Issues at Tournament”

Drumline Battle | Army vs Air Force (Who Won?)

A line of five Air Force officers in navy blue uniforms play the drums.

West Point and the US Air Force Academy are two elite military universities where future officers of the Army and Air Force, respectively, are trained. They compete annually in a football game that is a major event for both schools and for many people in the general public, as well. A popular pre-game custom is a battle between the two schools’ drumlines. This battle was recorded before the November 2012 game in West Point, NY.

Continue reading “Drumline Battle | Army vs Air Force (Who Won?)”