Tanking takes the heart out of statistical analysis in sports

Only the purity of competition assures that the resulting data has relevance and application in a sport

Tanking takes the heart out of statistical analysis in sportsSome call it analytics. Some call it statistics. Some call it trivia. Others call it a waste of time. But collating and interpreting the reams of data generated by pro sports teams is now an integral part of sport. On one hand, analysis of data is how players get paid the vast sums they receive.…

Video replay: is the solution worse than the crime?

We can't go back to spitballing the big calls. For the teams and the fans, too much depends on getting it right

Video replay: is the solution worse than the crime?Yogi Berra is notorious for saying “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” Yogi was warning about jumping to conclusions in close contests. But he never foresaw a contest that never ended. For reference, consider the he 145th running of the Kentucky Derby. That race will probably never be over for those who participated in or…

The clumsy, cataclysmic evolution of baseball

MLB is in the throes of a sea change that promises to alter everything from parity in the sport to the running time of games

The clumsy, cataclysmic evolution of baseballThe Toronto Blue Jays have announced that second baseman Devon Travis will be out until at least May after having surgery on his knee. Well, thank God there are some traditions left in baseball. Travis being sent to the infirmary is one of the few predictable things left in the game. Seriously, Major League Baseball…

Hall of shame sports owners led by Ottawa’s Melnyk

Far too many odious owners haunt the world of professional sports, preying on ticket-buying fans

Hall of shame sports owners led by Ottawa’s MelnykIt takes a lot of talent to screw up a National Hockey League franchise in a Canadian city. But Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is up to the challenge. The Melnyk misery tour has reduced Ottawa to the frozen equivalent of an Albanian shoe factory. The Sens are four points clear in the Titanic Cup, my…

Kawhi Leonard’s slow, painful march out of Toronto

It’s a good bet the transcendent NBA star will leave the Raptors after this season. In the meantime, he takes far too many nights off

Kawhi Leonard’s slow, painful march out of TorontoHas there been a more tender wooing than the Toronto Raptors’ pursuit of Kawhi Leonard, their presumptive star? Perhaps Prince Harry pitched a sweeter song to his intended Meghan Markle. But were the chocolates and flowers from the palace more passionate and pleading than the Raptors’ entreaties to their meal ticket to stay in Toronto?…

Pro sports have become a grinding bore

The tanking masses of the NHL, NBA and MLB have turned the regular season into a race to the bottom in search of top drafts

Pro sports have become a grinding boreO joy. The Feb. 25 National Hockey League trade deadline slides into view just as the National Basketball Association’s version of Trader Vic’s has expired. The fact that these two arbitrary dates are considered five-star attractions of the regular season tells you a lot about what a grinding bore the regular season has become in…

The fundamental flaw in coaching by instinct

Analytical detail determines winners and losers. So why do coaches insist on winging it at crucial moments?

The fundamental flaw in coaching by instinctI’m reading Ted Barris’s book The Dam Busters, about the epic 1943 raid by Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force flyers on the Möhne and Eder dams. The raid was famous for its risk – 53 men were killed, 18 of them Canadian – and for the new technologies used by the bombers…

Is gambling a big deal to the NFL? You can bet on it

With billions now being bet legally on sports, the simple outcome of the Super Bowl game will no longer be the only story

Is gambling a big deal to the NFL? You can bet on itIt’s late in Super Bowl LIII this Sunday. The driving New England Patriots, favoured by a field goal, have a three-point lead in the game. Hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide ride on whether the Los Angeles Rams can keep them out of the end zone or whether quarterback Tom Brady will push it in…

What happened to baseball’s free-agent frenzy?

If there is collusion this time, MLB has likely not left crumbs behind for the players association to dine upon

What happened to baseball’s free-agent frenzy?It was supposed to be the winter when money ran like water in baseball. With superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper dangling for anxious teams, it was predicted that the previous record for a Major League Baseball contract was going to be shattered. That would be the $325-million deal inked by Giancarlo Stanton with the…

Tied up in knots over ties in sports

Every sport has a different approach to dealing with games that end in a stalemate, including overtime and skills contests

Tied up in knots over ties in sportsThis year marks the 20th anniversary of the debut of the transcendent TV series The Sopranos. As its creator, David Chase understands better than most that a lousy ending can ruin a lot of the good work. Chase famously used a sudden blackout to conclude the final episode while Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ played in the…
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