The grandmaster diet: How to lose weight while barely moving
> Robert Sapolsky, who studies stress in primates at Stanford University, says a chess player can burn up to 6,000 calories a day while playing in a tournament, three times what an average person consumes in a day. Based on breathing rates (which triple during competition), blood pressure (which elevates) and muscle contractions before, during and after major tournaments, Sapolsky suggests that grandmasters’ stress responses to chess are on par with what elite athletes experience.
Sinister right-handedness provides Canadian-born Major League Baseball players with an offensive advantage: A further test of the hockey influence on batting hypothesis
> Recent research has shown Major League Baseball (MLB) players that bat left-handed and throw right-handed, otherwise known as sinister right-handers, are more likely to have a career batting average (BA) of .299 or higher compared to players with other combinations of batting and throwing handedness.
> Since the inception of the MLB, the relative proportion of Canadian-born sinister right-handers is at least two times greater than players from other regions, although being Canadian-born does not provide a direct offensive advantage. Rather, results showed evidence of a significant indirect effect in that being Canadian-born increases the odds of being a sinister right-hander and in turn leads to greater performance across each offensive performance statistic. Collectively, findings provide further support for the hockey influence on batting hypothesis and suggest this effect extends to offensive performance.
Pesäpallo: The rules for the casual viewer
> I round out the bat-and-ball sports in my “minimum you need to know about a sport in order to watch a match and not be completely confused” mini-series by covering pesäpallo, also known as Finnish baseball.
> Brännboll is a Swedish bat-and-ball game. The name is pronounced “brennboll” and literally means “burn-ball” because the term for being “out” in Nordic countries literally translates as “burnt”.
This year, Joey Chestnut marched on New York with a hot-dog entourage
> Chestnut, a Northern Californian with a placid demeanor, also stars in “The Good, the Bad, the Hungry,” a new ESPN documentary about his surprisingly complex relationship with longtime rival Takeru Kobayashi. And the ESPN marketing machine had gone into overdrive to burnish the hot-dog champion’s image. They arranged to have Chestnut arrive at Citi Field with his sausage posse to throw out the first pitch and later hand out hot dogs — presumably the nonhuman kind.
Down Goes ‘Jeopardy!’ James!
> In Jeopardy James’s case, the dominance was pretty fascinating. Holzhauer was a disruptive force who had turned the game upside down with all-in, aggressive tactics. The quants were losing their minds. There was genuine rumination over whether or not Holzhauer “broke” the game. Would Holzhauer actually be defeated—or would he have to be dragged off the set by “Jeopardy!” producers?
Velocity is strangling baseball — and its grip keeps tightening
> The 2018 season was the first in history in which strikeouts outpaced hits, a trend that has accelerated so far in 2019. The ball is in play less than ever, with a record 35.4 percent of plate appearances in 2019 resulting in a strikeout, walk or home run. Teams are using an average of 3.3 relievers per game in 2019, just below last year’s all-time record of 3.4. The leaguewide batting average of .245 in 2019 is the lowest since 1972 and a drop of 26 points from 1999, at the height of the steroids era. The leaguewide strikeout rate of 8.78 per nine innings, also a record, is higher than the career rate of Roger Clemens.
Thirteen Years of Bryce Harper Feels Like Forever
> Who knows what the planet will look like in 13 years? It’s entirely possible we’ll all be living in space, drinking space juice and eating space pizza. The robots will have taken all of our jobs. The President of the United States will be Bill Belichick. The Marlins might be good. Or playing on an island.
If Goat Emojis Are Flooding Your Twitter Feed, Blame Tom Brady
> On any given day, there are roughly 40,000 tweets with the goat emoji, according to Twitter data reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. There were 333,665 tweets with the goat emoji the day after Mr. Brady’s last Super Bowl win. The uptick of goat emojis amounted to a nearly 750% increase.
> The history of the goat emoji is shorter and stranger. The etymology dates back to 2010 when it was introduced to the lexicon with other livestock emojis. An update to Apple’s operating system in December 2016 included a goat makeover. What was a white Saanen goat is now a brown Toggenburg goat with a bushier tail.
> Another version of the goat emoji underwent its own round of cosmetic surgery last year with an update to Google’s Android operating system. “Our goat is no longer so angry,” said Jennifer Daniel, the company’s emoji designer, who drew the goat herself.
This is the golden age of NFL punting
> A punter’s job is no longer simply to kick the ball high and far while fans hold their collective breath that this time isn’t the time when the ball flies sideways into the stands. No, punters are now neutralizing and terrorizing the most electric return men in the NFL with kicks that spin and move and bounce and flip in all sorts of unpredictable, terror-inducing ways.
The Monster in the Mirror
> Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers’ sensation-causing mascot, is a weird and scary avatar for a weird and scary time. The 7-foot-tall orange monster didn’t just put one city in touch with its identity: He is all things to all people. He is meme. He is messenger. He is message. And, in many respects, he is messianic.
What is thoracic outlet syndrome, and what does it mean for Markelle Fultz?
In today’s edition of things to diagnose your friends with.
> Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) refers to a collection of signs and symptoms resulting from neurovascular compression at the thoracic outlet. The word neurovascular denotes the structures -- both nerve (neuro) and artery/vein (vascular) -- that might be compromised.
> The thoracic outlet is an anatomical region between the neck and the shoulder where key blood vessels and nerves travel en route to supply the upper extremity. Compression or abnormal pressure of structures in the thoracic outlet can be due to soft tissue (such as muscle or ligament) or bone (such as a normal rib, an extra rib or the collarbone) anomalies.
What the Hell Happened to Darius Miles?
This is kind of rambling, but interesting, and I liked this line.
> You already heard that story a million times, with a million players. The cliche is that guys go broke buying Ferraris or whatever. Listen, it takes a long time to go broke buying Ferraris.
The untold story of Mike Leach's 'lost' OU play script that fooled Texas
> During pregame warm-ups of that year’s Red River Showdown, an underhanded script outlining OU’s opening offensive plays was spotted on the field by one of Texas’ student assistants, who scooped it up and took it to Longhorns defensive coordinator Carl Reese. To the heavily favored Longhorns, it seemed as if they’d caught an enormous break.
> It was a fake, part of a plot hatched by Leach, the Sooners’ offensive coordinator, and consulted by the Longhorns, who quickly fell behind 17-0 before realizing they’d been duped.
Can’t con an honest man...
The risky move a title-starved team should try: Trade a young, star QB
> Unless your quarterback is married to a supermodel with a net worth stretching into nine figures, though, the bargain doesn’t last forever. The best-case scenario is that you get four seasons of excellent play at a below-market rate before locking up your franchise passer and hoping to find arbitrage opportunities elsewhere.
How to best value an asset that will increase in absolute terms but decline in relative terms?
Living The Stream
> How did Ninja become gaming’s first crossover star? The Fortnite legend is relentless about one thing: He’s always on.
The Cowboys' salary-cap mismanagement is wasting Dak Prescott
> In reality, though, they aren’t spending because they find themselves in a difficult cap situation, even with the benefit of Prescott’s minuscule salary. For years now, they’ve operated with a unique strategy designed to pay their top stars market-value contracts while simultaneously keeping their cap hits relatively team-friendly. It might sound like a great plan, and it is when everyone stays healthy and effective. The downside is that when those players become ineffective or are otherwise unable to play, teams end up paying the price. While most teams can move on from veteran deals without incurring significant costs, the Cowboys have been stuck paying uncomfortable amounts of dead money.
Mostly a football story, but maybe some technical debt parallels. Borrow from tomorrow.
Brett Kavanaugh, Sportswriter
> Given all this, perhaps another body of Kavanaugh’s work warrants closer inspection: the twenty-four articles that he wrote, from 1983 to ’86, as a sports reporter for the Yale Daily News. Kavanaugh’s most ambitious writing came out of the gate, in a story about the freshman football team: “Big, strong, and psyched, the Bullpups rolled over Brown in their season opener.” After that, he settled into workmanlike prose, taking up the basketball beat his junior year.
Won and done? Sportsbooks banning the smart money
> Bookmakers from London to Las Vegas are refusing to take bets from a growing number of customers whose only offense might be trying to win.
> In shooting for commercial success, should bookmakers be allowed to refuse to take bets from customers who take steps to try to win? On the other hand, should a business be forced to take on a customer they fear will repeatedly damage its bottom line?
Is It Time to Sell Your NFL Team?
> Congratulations. I’ve just given you an NFL franchise.
> The criticism is intense. Newspaper columnists are fools, especially the dope at The Wall Street Journal. Sports radio is worse. Johnny Calling From a Car thinks you’re a moron. A moron? What has Johnny Calling From a Car ever done? Did he start a whoopee cushion empire?
> You tried lowering the price of parking, and you did that hot dog-and-a-beer promotion for $25. Twenty-five dollars for a hot dog and a beer! It’s a steal!
MLB myth-buster: The shift isn't curbing runs; it's creating them
> The twist is that, eight seasons after the shift era really took off, two years after the first shift data became widely public and now a few months after Statcast-based shift data became available, we have a growing body of research into how the shift affects the game and, indeed, whether it even works. And the data confounds the conventional wisdom.