“The way I figured it, I was even with baseball and baseball with me. The game had done much for me, and I had done much for it.”
“The way I figured it, I was even with baseball and baseball with me. The game had done much for me, and I had done much for it.”
Kempt’s in-house Constitutional scholar and beard expert Dan McCarthy told us he wanted to go shoot a lot of guns. Who were we to argue?
In the never-ending quest to become a well-rounded man, there are a number of skills you need—changing a flat tire, mastering the bow tie, the secrets of the perfect quiche, riflery. In that spirit, when the opportunity arose to lose my firearm-discharging virginity, I cracked a few knuckles, did some light stretching and plunged right in.
The result: a couple of hours spent in a Second Amendment funhouse in Manchester, New Hampshire, presented here as an easily referenced and by no means comprehensive Gentleman’s Guide to Shooting a Gun. Think of it as something to keep in mind should the zombie Armageddon ever happen, and you find yourself suddenly thrust into the hero role.
That three-hour headache you got yesterday had nothing to do with an ill-fitting Halloween costume or the vertical hold on your television. Rather, the culprits were these 1934 Pittsburgh Steelers throwback uniforms black and yellow stripes, block letters and knee-high bumblebee socks. At times we weren’t sure whether we’d tuned in to a football game or a WWF tag-team bout from 1985.
Everyone knows why teams dust off vintage uniforms: to sell more merchandise. Everyone also knows that the average NFL club is worth $1.14 billion. Which is why we’re respectfully begging NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, for that matter) to put an end to this nonsense.
While we’re at it, that’s enough pink for one season, no?
Fall golf: the most underrated golf.
The air is crisp, the ground is firm, and the heavy stuff’s not coming down for quite a while (said the greenkeeper to the bishop).
Given what happened to the bishop, though, we decided to call upon teaching pro and 18-year PGA member Tom Gleeton, director of golf operations at the Country Club of Waterbury in central Connecticut, to get us up to speed on some fall golf essentials.
We’ve said it once before, but it bears repeating: there’s nothing sweeter than the taste of victory—drenched in champagne.
And with MLB playoffs ramping up this week, we thought it wise to revisit some of the finest moments in champagne-drenched locker room celebration—as sort of a refresher course in anticipation of the effervescent-soaked revelry to come—from Willie Mays, to Reggie Jackson, to Ichiro, to Ken Forsch. So, without further ado:
Kurt Suzuki’s fingernails are bright yellow because…
A) He lost a bet in the clubhouse.
B) Some bruises bruise brightly.
C) This is between him and Jobu.
Last week, our colleagues at UrbanDaddy SF turned us on to a curious summer sport from 1940s Brazil called “Frescobol.”
And to Merriment Hardware, founded by a group of gents trying to introduce the game to America by way of handsome reclaimed wood paddles and selvage denim park blankets.
Naturally, when news of any relatively unknown summer pastime comes along, we’re intrigued—especially when the sun-flecked beaches of the Southern Hemisphere are involved.
So we had the guys give us a few pointers on how the game is played—all you need is a sunny patch of land (park, beach, dead-end alley, et cetera), a willing partner (who may or may not be wearing a bikini) and these paddles.
Something curious we’ve noticed during the Olympics: wrists adorned with watches during competition. It seems counterintuitive that anyone trying to squeeze every last drop out of their performance would wear something that could potentially slow them down—or in the case of Kerri Walsh-Jennings, misguide a bump—in the heat of battle.
But here’s one that probably didn’t play much of a factor, aside from adding some extra flash to Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake’s 100m dash: a yellow, black and green Richard Mille Tourbillon. These timepieces/cutting-edge feats of horology are so light, Rafael Nadal wears one while playing tennis (in an endorsement deal similar to Blake’s)—which also must come in handy on match nights when being punctual for dinner reservations is more important than a win. Even though Yohan didn’t outrun his superhuman training-mate Usain Bolt (who ran watchless), Blake’s silver medal still crowns this watch as the fastest across the finish line.
And there’s no doubt it will fetch more than its weight in gold.
An ungodly amount of ink has been spilled over Olympic style on and off the podium already—especially at the expense of US swimmer Ryan Lochte. (We’re inclined to give the guy a break—we should be rooting for our countrymen, not tearing them down.) But we couldn’t resist mentioning the gloriously tie-dyed 1992 Lithuanian Olympic basketball team, dubbed “The Other Dream Team.” Yes, that really is officially sponsored tie-dyed gear. Yes ,those are fanny packs. And yes, those are bronze medals they’re collecting in Barcelona—sharing the same podium as our fabled champs. The story is the stuff of legend (and a Sundance-darling film). A rag-tag bunch of athletes from a country only two years removed from the iron grip of the Soviet Union who were in danger of not even going to the Olympics until The Grateful Dead swooped in with a last-minute sponsorship (which should explain the tie-dye and dunking skeleton on their warm-ups) and who, against all odds, won a seemingly unattainable medal—uplifting a small, wayward nation in the process. This is exactly why we watch the Olympics every four years.
In a late-breaking addition to our Olympic gear roundup, we just stumbled upon this new pair of Nike Flyknits, made exclusively for the four nationless competitors known as the Independent Olympic Athletes, and we had to share.
They’re made with Nike’s latest “flyknit” technology that has captured the attention of both the running and #menswear worlds—for different, yet obvious, reasons—so you can imagine how nearly impossible it already is to get ahold of a pair. This edition will actually be impossible to get your hands on, since only four pairs have been made.
See the rest of the IOA “team” gear over at Four Pins.
The 2012 Summer Games are finally here—which is also good news for the weekend warriors of the world.
Every four years, a new crop of high-tech sports gear is unveiled after spending the past four years in the lab. Luckily, most of it is made available to the public for any rec-league or interoffice battles happening on basketball courts, running tracks, archery ranges and badminton fields across this country. So we rounded up the best of the new stuff for your competitive–edge-advancing needs.
(Left) The Philadelphia Phillies pile on Jimmy Rollins after he singles in the winning run Wednesday. (Right) The San Francisco Giants pile on Brandon Crawford after he singles in the winning run Tuesday.
Major League ballplayers sure do like to jump all over each other. And we get it: there’s nothing quite like a walk-off hit to win a baseball game in extra innings.
Last month we counted down the 10 Greatest Thespian-Athlete Performances of All Time. Some liked the list, others felt we overstated Alex Karras’s impact on Webster. But only one Kempt reader, Gary Oldman, felt it necessary to shoot a video response entitled “Actors Against Acting Athletes” and broadcast it on Jimmy Kimmel Live. “Who the hell told you you could act, the director on your commercial?” he screamed, awkwardly clutching a basketball.
To be clear: we’re big fans of Mr. Oldman’s work. But it strikes us as uninformed at best to label every professional athlete’s foray onto the big screen as “sucking”—particularly before watching Novak Djokovic’s filmic debut in Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables 2 later this year. If Djokovic’s acting chops are anything like his impersonation of John McEnroe, Mr. Oldman may very well have some fierce competition when it comes time to reprise the role of Russian extremist Ivan Korshunov in Air Force Two.
Have you been following Euro 2012? The European soccer tournament taking place in Poland and Ukraine right now (and airing like crazy on ESPN and ESPN2)? If you haven’t, here’s what you missed: Spain embarrassed Ireland, underwear model/Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo scored a couple of nice goals, and Adidas ran a lot of commercials.
And now that the tourney has reached its eight-team knockout stage (aka Act Two), here’s a semi-in-depth look at what you can expect in the coming days.
Euro 2012—the European soccer tournament that starts today—is a big f**king deal, as Joe Biden would say. It’s basically the World Cup of Europe, and many soccer aficionados actually prefer it to the World Cup because it clears out some of the soccer riffraff from Africa, Asia and the Americas (yes, the US is still soccer riffraff at this point). Plus, all your European pals are going to be talking about it for the next month, and it’s just a fun thing to watch at the pubs.
Last week we ran a story about the best nicknames in sports. As you may recall, one of the nominees for Best Racist, Sexist and/or Culturally Insensitive Nickname was outfielder Ryan Braun, aka “The Hebrew Hammer.” (Incidentally, as predicted, Darryl “Chocolate Thunder” Dawkins took top honors in this category.)
While we stand behind our reporting, in the spirit of transparency we’d like to share with you an email we received yesterday from a concerned reader. It begins: “Not sure who did your research on the sports nicknames, but there is only one original Hebrew Hammer: Hank Greenberg.”
Lawrence Berra was nicknamed “Yogi” by Bobby Hofman, who thought Berra resembled a Hindu yogi—solemnly seated with arms and legs crossed—after losing a game.
When Kansas City Athletics owner Charlie Finley saw Jim Hunter pitch for the first time in 1965, he knew he’d signed a legend. The only problem, according to Finley, was the name—“Jim Hunter” didn’t sell tickets. The next morning, Finley called Hunter into his office and informed him that his name was now “Catfish.” Jim was understandably confused, and while the conversation was not recorded, we’re almost positive his response was, “Um… why’s that?”
That’s because baseball players, like all professional athletes, are first and foremost entertainers—and entertainers aren’t named “Jim.” Unfortunately, guys like Charlie Finley are a bit of a dying breed. The perfect nickname used to be steeped in lore, metaphorically connected to athletic prowess, an inside-out joke that made children of all ages—particularly the nickname-ee—grin. Now, it seems, the “-Rod” generation simply resorts to hyphenated pig latin of sorts.
As Hunter left the office, he asked his new owner what he should say if and when people asked about the origin of his new nickname. Finley replied, “You came back from the river on your 10th birthday having caught six catfish and handed them to your old man. Sell it. Goodbye.” On that note, we now present the very best nicknames in sports…
As we introduced on Tuesday, the legendary Russian acting teacher Constantin Stanislavski asked new students the following question before allowing them to grace his stage: “Did you come here to serve art, and to make sacrifices for its sake, or to exploit your own personal ends?” In determining the greatest acting performances by professional athletes of all time, we considered this and many other questions: Does the athlete possess both the brawn and the tenderness required to pull off the first interracial sex scene to appear in a film? How do 14 consecutive Pro Bowl appearances translate to appearances on Little House on the Prairie? Is Hulk Hogan believable as Hurricane Spencer, the Hottest Hero of the High Seas?
And that’s when we stopped asking questions.
The legendary Russian theater director Constantin Stanislavski knew a bullshit actor when he saw one. Before entering his studio for the first time, performers were required to answer the following question: “Did you come here to serve art, and to make sacrifices for its sake, or to exploit your own personal ends?”
This seems like as good a barometer as any for measuring the acting prowess of professional athletes.
If Stanislavski were to sift through all the car dealership commercials, deodorant ads and soft-core porn films featuring ballplayers (as we have done for the past 48 hours), we’re confident that these 10 performances would rise to the top. That’s assuming, of course, he pressed on despite stumbling upon this Wilt Chamberlain commercial for laxatives.
It was probably nothing—the tail end of an otherwise forgettable press conference yesterday in which Magic Johnson and the Guggenheim Baseball Management group officially took control of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Our beloved Vin Scully, now in his 63rd consecutive year as the voice of the Dodgers, served as emcee of the event and, per usual, was magnificent. And it was probably nothing. But in closing, Vin seemed to go off-script for a moment—almost as though he were finally speaking out on something that had been eating at him for years.
Drive 50 miles in any direction this summer and you’ll likely be steps away from a minor league ballpark. You won’t see Pujols or A-Rod there, unless they’re rehabbing a high ankle sprain or the like, but you also won’t see a concession stand selling shrimp tempura rolls and $25 Budweisers. As James Earl Jones said in Field of Dreams, “Baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and what could be again.”
Save for Fenway, Wrigley and perhaps Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles, nowhere is that nostalgic itch scratched more satisfyingly than under a century-old grandstand at a minor league park, cold beer and hot dog in hand, watching a couple dozen young ballplayers chase a dream shared by just about every American boy who ever lived.
Outfitter to the Olympians Ralph Lauren has unveiled Team America’s off-duty uniforms—what our countrymen will be wearing around London’s Olympic Village when they’re not asserting our athletic dominance on the rest of the world. And while the ceremony uniform is an appropriately summery affair in all white, there’s one thing that had us feeling especially patriotic: those white bucks, red brick soles and all. Ever since the Southern gentleman’s staple migrated northward, it’s become the closest thing to American ceremonial dress in summer as we’ve got. It’s a clever nod to Americana by Mr. Lauren that isn’t as kitsch as stars and stripes. And to that, we salute.
But we’d suggest that our Olympians ditch the socks—and maybe don a little gold.
Now that our celebration of baseball has drawn to a close, we thought we’d turn our attention to golf—specifically one bygone golfer by the name of Sam Snead. (“Slammin’ Sammy” to his friends.)
He was a giant in the pre-Arnold Palmer days, but we’re more interested in his remarkable faculty with bright red polos and straw hats. He was already color-blocking 60 years ago, and there’s more than a few things the gentlemen of today could learn from the man. Starting with those polos…
This is it. The day you’ve been waiting for. Yep, the Masters kicks off this morning. Also, it’s baseball’s Opening Day. (Well, kind of. There was last night’s Cards-Marlins tilt. And those weird A’s-Mariners games in Japan. But come on.)
We’re talking seven games, starting at 1:05pm Eastern time, ending at…well, whenever the Dodgers and Padres wind down out in Petco. In between: a glorious spring day of honest-to-God baseball. Not to mention first starts from studs like Roy Halladay, Stephen Strasburg, Jon Lester and both of last year’s Cy Young winners (Justin Verlander against the Red Sox; Clayton Kershaw taking on San Diego). We wouldn’t blame you if you decided to call in sick. (And we won’t tell anyone, either.)
In fact, to celebrate, we’ve lined up a full day of baseball-related posts—on everything from the sport’s finest big-screen life lessons to how America’s pastime came to dominance in the Land of the Rising Sun.
We strive to be gentlemen of sophistication. Our tastes are elevated; our manners, refined.
But we must admit, there’s nothing quite like drinking a beer outside on a hot summer day while you watch cars jump over things.
So when we heard about Evel Knievel Days, we were understandably intrigued…
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