Photo Essay: Philly Teenage 90s Bedroom

By David Berlin

After graduating law school and taking the bar exam this summer, I recently came home to live with my parents in suburban Philadelphia. Being temporarily domiciled in my childhood bedroom might not be optimal for getting the ladies, but at least I finally have time to document my collection of early to mid-‘90s sports memorabilia. My “No Fear” t-shirts, Starter winter jackets, and L.A. Gear light up shoes are all long gone, but a few priceless artifacts still remain.

First up – this vintage poster from 1997, celebrating the inaugural interleague baseball season.

The only surviving evidence that Travis Fryman ever existed.

Even though all six of these guys are still alive, doesn’t it kind of feel like you’re looking at a cave painting of ancient Egyptian pharaohs? Continue reading

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Video Killed the Baseball Star?

Mike Trout: Major League Baseball and the Infinite Starless

By David Hauser

Who is baseball’s biggest star (or even biggest stars)?  This would be a silly question to ask in basketball and football.  To an enthusiastic baseball fan though this probably sounds like a simple question: the names Kemp, Verlander, Pujols, Jeter, Votto, Hamilton, Fielder, Trout roll off the tongue with the ease and efficiency of an effortless Joe Mauer crack of the bat.  But I offer this follow up question, would your mom or your girlfriend or wife be able to pick even one of these guys out of a visual lineup upon hearing these names?

Consider it the “metric of mom,” an advanced scientific measure developed by an overtime working, coffee induced, crack team at Cal Tech…or maybe not very empirical at all.  Science notwithstanding, it is an excellent place to start when talking about transcendent figures in culture.  Is someone so big that they defy age and gender in their gravitas?[1]

Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Eli Manning: I think it is fair to say they are known by grandmothers, much less mothers.  LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard: yes, yes, and yes in passing the mom metric.  We could probably even safely toss Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Drew Brees, and maybe even Aaron Rodgers into this category after their triumphant past few years.  However, I cannot come up with a single baseball player that I could say with 100% confidence that my mom would be able to identify by name or face (the closest I can surmise would be Evan Longoria, but only because he was cruel to Bree about her new husband and his practicing of cutting edge new exercise methods such as pole dancing).

Here is a simple truth: Kris Humphries has better name recognition than Albert Pujols by moms and wives/girlfriends.  Maybe this is not even particularly surprising considering Humphries is more well-known for his 72-day stint as reality-TV husband of Kim Kardashian, than for his impressive efficiency for collecting rebounds on the hardwood.  However I would go one step further and say that Humphries is an overall larger superstar amongst all ages and across both genders than Albert Pujols (the most productive power hitter in Major League Baseball over the last decade, a man who is fair to mention in the same breath as Ruth, Aaron, and Mays as one of the greatest ever to play the game).  And I have proof. Continue reading

$2 Billion Ballpark Hot Dog

By David Hauser

Economists question the wisdom of paying $2 Billions for the L.A. Dodgers

Is there something in the Dodger Dogs we do not know about….perhaps uncut diamonds?

It would only be appropriate of Frank McCourt to bring Stan Kasten and Magic Johnson’s ownership group to the Dodgers’ team store after they’re done at the concessions and comp them all a a few Dodger jackets….preferably the one’s made of fleece.

Braunold or Not?

Yet again, sports fans are relegated to throwing on their lab coats to try to figure out if one of baseball's stars is telling the truth or not

By David Berlin

As a life-long Phillies fan I thought about what I would do if I found out Ryan Howard or Chase Utley were taking steroids. My first thought was that my world would be shattered. But then after some reflection, I realized that realistically, I would probably refuse to accept it and pretend it never happened. That’s what I did with the ‘93 Phillies and it’s worked out pretty well for me for 20 years.

Try talking to any Phillies fan about that ‘93 team and they’ll say something like – “Sure, 10 players had ‘career’ years. And sure, Dykstra was hitting .400 through June. But let’s not play the blame game.”

I consider myself a fairly educated person and I still have no idea what I’m reading when it comes to steroid articles. 1. because I can’t understand the science, and 2., because the player always puts out an extremely loaded statement, with unquantifiable terms of art (probably written by his lawyer). Soon I just have a headache and want to get back to watching baseball. Continue reading

Royal Disconnect

Two eggs and a side of manure complementing your morning Internet sports page (art by D.H & A.G.)

By: David Berlin

Every legal brief starts with a section called “Statement of Facts.” In law school you’re taught that the statement of facts should be written in a way that benefits the side you are advocating for. It sounds simple enough but there is an art to it. You can’t omit every fact that is bad for your side or you will lose your credibility with the judge. You can’t change or even stretch the facts or you might be disbarred.

What you can do is stress the facts that work for you. You can place bad facts in the middle of a paragraph surrounded by good facts. If your client is suspected of cheating on her husband, you can refer to her as Mrs. Smith instead of Sally Smith to emphasize that she is committed to family values. You get the idea.

The law profession obviously isn’t the only industry to refine this Jedi mind trick. PR people are pretty good at it too. And one particular type of PR person I really have to take my hat off to – the “reporters” who write for professional sports team official websites. No, they don’t make $500 an hour. But they really ought to.

Just as foliage is most brilliant in Fall, team “news” stories really peak at the beginning and end of a sports season, when the quasi-reporters are ginning up support or are in full-blown damage control.

Continue reading