Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Walk-Ons: John Feinstein, Part 1

In this episode, I speak with author John Feinstein about his fearless approach as a journalist and a subject, his approach to storytelling, how he handles potential problems with subjects like Bobby Knight, my perception of him as a doubt-free journalist who was always destined for the job, and the changing landscape of book publishing. The interview starts at the 40-minute mark, after Ben and I take a tour of the world of sports, from realignment to bad coaches to the mystery of Serena Williams.

Please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Just click “view in iTunes” once you reach that link, and then ‘subscribe for free.’ Voila. If you’re feeling really like a million bucks, you could also rate the podcast and write a positive review.

You can also access our podcast RSS feed. No idea what this is.

If you need to download the file directly, this’ll do it. Time stamps below. Enjoy!

 

0:00 – Intro, news and views

42:08 – John Feinstein interview, Part 1

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Triangle Media Ryder Cup: Both Rosters are SET, charity CHOSEN

Some big news in the Triangle Media Ryder Cup.

The Charity

First and foremost, the charity has been set: Communities in Schools of Durham.

We’re quite excited about this one. I even looked at their IRS form 990 to make sure the financials looked good. They do. Here’s some text from their mission statement:

Each local affiliate, including Communities In Schools of Durham, works to fulfill the same important mission: to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

Established in 1992, Communities In Schools (CIS) of Durham, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has been a leader in championing the use of “evidence-based” programs to reduce the dropout rate and help kids succeed in life. Evidence-based programs rely on quantifiable data (including academic research, data collection and analysis, and model fidelity) that attests to their effectiveness. In essence, CIS of Durham wants to make sure that our programs truly work – by implementing programs that are backed by respected research studies, CIS of Durham is able to determine the best ways to reduce the dropout rate in Durham.

The Teams

Both rosters are set, and we’re rarin’ to go!

Team Internet

1. Shane Ryan (C) – Grantland, Tobacco Road Blues
2. Ben Swain – Oxford Public-Ledger Online, ACCSports.com
3. Austin Johnson – Pack Pride
4. Will Brinson – CBS Sports ‘Eye on NFL’ blogger
5. Lauren Brownlow – SanfordHerald.com
6. James Curle – Riddick and Reynolds
7. Brian Barbour – Tar Heel Blog
8. Matt Purdy – Captain’s Pick

Spiritual advisor, medic, fashion consultant – Derek Medlin

Alternates: Josh Goodson, Adam Rowe

Team Traditional

1. Mark Armstrong (C) – WTVD
2. Penn Holderness – NBC17
3. Mike Maniscalco – ESPN Radio 99.9, 620 the Buzz
4. Jack Daly – Raleigh News & Observer
5. Andrew Carter – Raleigh News & Observer
6. Shae Crisson – WTVD
7. Hayes Permar – David Glenn Show (Radio)
8. Larry Stogner – Captain’s Pick, ABC11

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The Walk-Ons: The Fall of the House of the ACC

Today, Ben and I talk about the apocalyptic scenarios awaiting us in these, the ACC’s dying days. What will happen to ACCSports.com? Will Duke football become like Ivy League football? Will that be a step up? Also your usual favorites, such as twitter questions, the masculinity of bicycles, and what’s up with soccer? Plus some hype for the Triangle Media Ryder Cup. A real tear-jerker this week, guys and girls.

Please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Just click “view in iTunes” once you reach that link, and then ‘subscribe for free.’ Voila. If you’re feeling really like a million bucks, you could also rate the podcast and write a positive review.

You can also access our podcast RSS feed. No idea what this is.

If you need to download the file directly, this’ll do it. Time stamps below. Enjoy!

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Announcing the Triangle Media Ryder Cup!

Ben and I are pleased to officially announce what will hopefully become an annual tradition:

The Triangle Media Ryder Cup.

As you might have guessed, this is a Ryder Cup style golf tournament, with all proceeds going to charity. It’ll be held at Knight’s Play, a par 3 course in Apex, and the teams will be Internet Media vs. Traditional (Newspaper/TV/Radio) Media. It’s time to settle this grudge match on the course! And benefit a good cause while we’re at it.

The tentative date at the moment is Saturday, June 16.

What we need: Players! The internet team is almost set, but we haven’t even begun to fill the TV/Radio/Newspaper squad. If you’re interested in joining, and you work in traditional media in the Triangle area, be in touch through e-mail (tobaccordblues@gmail.com) or twitter (I’m TobaccoRdBlues, Ben is TheDevilWolf).

The format we’ve come up with follows the Ryder Cup pretty closely. It’ll happen during one day, a Saturday in late June most likely, with eight golfers per team. Seven golfers will belong to the media field they represent, and each team will get one captain’s pick. There will be 16 matches held over three stages of 9 holes.

First 9 Holes: Alternate Shot (4 matches)
Second 9 Holes: Better Ball (4 matches)
Third 9 Holes: Singles (8 matches)

Obviously, team with the most points wins the Cup. In case of a tie, Team Internet wins the cup in year one, since it was our idea, and after that the team who held the cup the year before retains it in case of a tie. We’ll follow Ryder Cup rules in that the team captain’s will release the golfing order just before each segment, so we won’t know ahead of time who’s facing who.

There will be trophies, preview podcasts, and live tweeting from the event. More on this as it develops!

Update: The Team Internet roster is set!

1. Shane Ryan (C) – Grantland, Tobacco Road Blues
2. Ben Swain – Oxford Public-Ledger Online, ACCSports.com
3. Austin Johnson – Pack Pride
4. Will Brinson – CBS Sports ‘Eye on NFL’ blogger
5. Lauren Brownlow – SanfordHerald.com
6. James Curle – Riddick and Reynolds
7. Brian Barbour – Tar Heel Blog
8. Matt Purdy – Captain’s Pick

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The Walk-Ons: Special Guest Mark Ennis!

In today’s episode, Ben and I talk conference re-alignment (and FSU’s potential move to the Big 12) with Mark Ennis, co-host of ESPN Louisville’s “Two Man Game” and manager of SB Nation’s “Big East Coast Bias” website. After that, I ask Ben five personal questions to help us get to know him better, we go over the match-ups in the upcoming Big 10/ACC Challenge, Ben sounds off on FSU, we hit a couple twitter questions, and mention the Triangle Media Ryder Cup at Knight’s Play for the first time in a public setting. Spoiler: Ben has a pistol he named “lady.” He holds it whenever he drives.

Please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes. Just click “view in iTunes” once you reach that link, and then ‘subscribe for free.’ Voila. If you’re feeling really like a million bucks, you could also rate the podcast and write a positive review.

You can also access our podcast RSS feed. No idea what this is.

If you need to download the file directly, this’ll do it. Time stamps below. Enjoy!

 

Time Stamps:

0:00 – Introduction, a little shaky, getting back on our feet
3:45 – Interview with Mark Ennis
33:55 – Congratulating ourselves on another fantastic interview
34:15 – Ben breaks down FSU once and for all
37:40 – Incredibly compelling story about my aunt and property theft
38:40 – Getting to know Ben with five VERY personal questions
45:30 – Twitter questions
50:05 – Breaking down next year’s Big 10-ACC Challenge (we vow to go see Nebraska-Wake)
55:20 – The Triangle Media Ryder Cup!
101:15 – Conclusion, plus an incendiary tale that Jim Young doesn’t want you to know

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The Last Best Class

He had to make this call.  He had said that he wouldn’t shortchange himself this time.  But in his heart, he knew his efforts were futile.

The phone rang three times before the fourth went to voice-mail.  Jamal Johnson’s hologram appeared from the screen.  Even in this display, his wingspan and strength were notable.

“Hi, you’ve reached Jamal, NBC Sports Network’s Top 50’s 18th-ranked recruit in the class of 2022, and future USC Trojan.  I’m not here right now, but–”

Collins slammed the phone down in frustration.  He hadn’t expected Johnson to commit to Duke, but he had at least promised to let them talk to him one last time, to make one final pitch.  But still, USC?  This would give Calipari nine of the top 20 recruits in the 2022 class, his best performance since his 2018 efforts at UNLV.  Collins shook his head.  The rich just got richer.

The coach stood and poured himself a tumbler of whiskey, finished it, and poured another.  He walked to where his window was, but then he remembered his current circumstances.  His office, once overlooking the sprawling athletic grounds of the Duke campus, had been relegated to the basement of the intramural building.  “We need more space for Danowski’s assistants,” they had told him.  “Where else would we put the indoor lacrosse field?”

Collins gazed at the far wall mindlessly, unsure of what to do.  The one holdover from his old office was the portfolio of framed photos of the recruiting class of 2012: Marshall Plumlee, Alex Murphy, and Rasheed Saluimon all smiled at him.  Who knew that these three would be part of Duke’s last claim to near-greatness?  Their talent and hustle made them endearing and just as successful: fans quickly nicknamed the three of them “PMS” because opponents always complained when they had to deal with the trio.  Collins knew it didn’t do any good to think about those years, but he couldn’t help it.  It was a simpler time. K was here–they could do no wrong.  How the times had changed.

But he knew that it would have been tough for even Coach K to survive today.  Duke didn’t care about basketball anymore–it had just applied to join the Ivy League, starting in the 2025 season.  Although the competition would be weaker there than in the ACC Big 10-12 Sky South division, Collins wouldn’t have any stars interested in coming to the Ivy League.  Nor would he have the same budget allocated for daily player stipends.  The infamous Supreme Court ruling in the Davis vs. Louisville case had done them in again.

After that, Duke basketball was on the ropes.  Gone was even the hint of the concept of the “student-athlete.”  Yes, often the NCAA made the students go to class during the basketball season to receive their pay (except during the three weeks of the Facebook Presents “March Madness” NCAA Tournament), but they didn’t have to go to class in the rest of the year.  But since the season was roughly 10 months long now, most players declined that duty and just worked year-round day jobs.  Since academic requirements had been almost entirely eliminated, it didn’t matter.  The NBA still paid better, but since the draft was now limited to one round to improve job security, it wasn’t rare for players to play 7 or 8 years in college to try to improve their draft stock.

Collins knew he had to change up his strategy, do something drastic.  He had heard that St. John’s recruiters had started signing top 15-year-olds off the Rucker Park courts, just to guarantee themselves a minimum of 8 semesters from each player.  Maybe he could corner the market on gyms throughout Carolina.  Or maybe the training grounds in Europe.  The logistics were trickier, but the days of simply picking 5-star prospects were in the past for Duke.  And with (the recently rescinded) time constraints on recruiting no longer a factor, now was as good a time as any to get started.

His phone buzzed.  It was a text message from Duke’s big man coach, Greg Paulus.  Something about cost-of-living adjustments for the players and how that would affect their roster size next year.  Cut-backs would likely be necessary.  Jesus, he thought.  Even Duke football is doing better right now.

The coach’s grandiose plans for next year would have to wait, though–it was nearly time for practice.  The team had a big stretch coming up: three games in four nights across NC State, Wake, and then the home game against Carolina.  Collins used to love these match-ups.  Now he dreaded them.

Collins gathered his things and started to make the short trek to Cameron Indoor.  He passed the seventeen tents gathered in the surprisingly well-maintained Collins Colony area.  The student section would likely only be at two-thirds capacity for the UNC game, if even that.  He sighed.  The school was no longer allowed to run an organized tenting system as it had in years past, due to one student’s expose of the crude behaviors tenters were forced into.  “Confessions of a K-Ville Crazie,” it was called.  Now, the only fans remaining in Collins Colony were those committed to reclaiming the tradition of tenting for Duke games.  They wouldn’t receive tickets, however–it was only for pride.  Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, had been printing letters from alumni complaining about the lack of school spirit from students for months, but nothing had changed.  And nothing would change.

The hot Carolina spring air was nearly suffocating Collins.  He had to get inside to the relief of the air-conditioned arena.  But what would he tell his players there?  Sure, they were battling for one of the tournament’s 97 at-large bids, but who really cared?  Ever since their star player announced last week–via an Instagram graphic novel–that he’d be transferring to NC State at the end of the year, the team had been plodding along.  Collins owed it to his players to be inspired, to inspire them.  He knew just the place to go.

The statue of Coach K had been commissioned immediately following his retirement in 2016, but the construction was delayed for four years as the administration and the student government haggled over the re-institution of Tailgate (which returned in 2019 only to be cancelled after one game).  Nevertheless, it was a beautiful structure, capturing Coach K at his most intense–pointing and yelling out instructions to his players, face creased and lined with sweat, yet still completely in control.  Twelve feet of solid bronze overlooking the residential quad, the quad where bonfires used to originate after big wins.  On the statue, at K’s feet, was the inscription:

MIKE KRZYZEWSKI

DUKE MEN’S BASKETBALL COACH: 1980-2016

MOST NCAA COACHING WINS OF ALL TIME

“COURAGE GIVES A LEADER THE ABILITY TO STAND STRAIGHT

NO MATTER WHICH WAY THE WIND BLOWS”

Most days when Collins came here, that quote gave him insight, an epiphany, or even a hint of nirvana.  But today he wasn’t looking at it.  He studied K’s body posture, looking for subtle clues in how he carried himself on the sidelines that Collins somehow had missed before.  He hunted for what made Mike Krzyzewski “Coach K.”  He found as much as he always did: nothing.

Collins turned and started heading toward Cameron, knowing that it would be a tough practice.  One final look first, though, he told himself.

His gaze was drawn to the only numbers on the statue.  Those dates mocked him.  1980-2016.  Had it only been that long since K left?  Collins could have sworn he had been coaching on his own for at least a decade.

2016.  The final year of that last legendary class of Plumlee, Murphy, and Saluimon.  K had left at the right time.  Collins couldn’t help but smile–the man knew what he was doing.

Practice was supposed to start now.  The coach turned and jogged to the facility.  The return to relevancy starts today, he told his players. We’re just a little ways from being a real championship contender, he claimed.

But he didn’t believe any of this.  Collins knew that any shot Duke had evaporated six years prior.  The wind continued to blow against him and his team, and he sensed that this storm was gonna be a long one.

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New Episode of Selfish Young Americans is UP

Check it out at our new, terribly designed website: Hello

For those unfamiliar, this is the comedy podcast done by myself and my pal SlimJim, where we talk about news and life and the world of selfish young Americans. It’s basically a modern jamboree.

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