Category Archives: Sports

The Podcast: High Flying Bird

Jesse is a cofounder of even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

The affinity for Steve Soderbergh has been well-documented, and then Soderbergh had to go and do something to entice us even more: He put out a movie on Netflix that we could all watch, about sports (Rob), business (Ben), and the commodification of the body, again (everyone!) that reminded some people of Moneyball (Rob again). So naturally, Marisa, Jesse, Rob, and Ben convened a podcast summit to talk this all out. How does this stack up to past Soderbergh triumphs? Is this the Moneyball we deserve? Will we ever seize the means of production?! Listen to our crisp DIY episode (and our sportiest episode ever!) and find out!

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

Watching the Rio Olympics—Maybe Just Don’t?

There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!

I have watched exactly one night of the Rio Olympics. And, after doing so, I cannot put myself through another. Some of my problems with the Games are with the events themselves, most of them have to do with NBC broadcast, and the two combine to make the whole thing unwatchable for me; call me a curmudgeon, but I’m not the only one who thinks so, since Olympic ratings are down (although that might be because of streaming).

“But Marisa,” you say, “you never watch sports. Obviously there’s no way you’d ever be into the Olympics.” Wrong. I can muster enthusiasm for sports spectating once every couple years, because: 1) Olympic stories are often inspirational, and I’m not made of stone. I like me a good tear-jerking backstory. 2) There is something genuinely thrilling about seeing people at the peak of their athletic prowess being the best at what they do. Even I can appreciate that. 3) I have good memories of watching the Olympics with my family as a kid—together, we’d all ignore sports regularly (except for my Dad who is a Giants fan and would bother us all by hogging the TV during football season) and then get together to get excited about gymnastics or ice-skating. 4) I can certainly get into things we watch together-but-separately and tweet about; if I can do it for Grease Live!, which has source material that I actively hate, I can easily do it for the Olympics.

Basically, I want the Olympics to be like the Oscars. Sure, the broadcast has problems—the same problems every year, which will probably never be fixed—but we can all hold our nose and watch because we can enjoy it together. Yet, while I know some of you are having a good time with this year’s games, this is not like the Oscars. These are the reasons I just can’t have fun with it, not even with a saucy wink.


Continue reading Watching the Rio Olympics—Maybe Just Don’t?

The Sport of Kings (Not Poker) (Or Darts): Handicapping the Breeder’s Cup

Jason didn't mean what he said, unless it was bad and he said it about Chipper Jones. Contrary to what he may have told you, he is not a hot air balloon salesman.His favorite jam is "No Hay Amigo"

because there are no friends

Many years ago, three of the more popular sports in the United States were baseball, boxing, and horseracing. You could ask a cross-section of the American public who won the most recent World Series, who was the Heavyweight Champion of the World, and what horse won the Kentucky Derby and they would be able to tell you. While baseball remains reasonably popular, coming in at third place behind football and basketball, boxing and horse racing have fallen by the wayside.

Many people could tell you that the Boston Red Sox won the 2013 World Series and that the Giants just won this year. Fewer people could name this year’s Kentucky Derby champion, California Chrome, and fewer still 2013’s winner, Orb. I’m not even sure who would be considered the current Heavyweight Champion of the world and I doubt you know either. Maybe one of those huge Russian (Klitchko? Klitcsho? Klisctko?) brothers? According to the Google Machine it’s actually spelled Klitschko and all of the Heaveyweight belts (more than one?) were held by one them until December 15, 2013 when Vitali stepped down. In case you were interested, World Boxing Council (WBC) lists Canadian BermaneStiverne as the champion while the World Boxing Association (WBA) has Uzbekistani RusianChagaev with the belt. Ever heard of either of them? Didn’t think so. Back to the horses.

Even though the Kentucky Derby is probably the best-known race, at least in the United States, it may not be the most important. There are many races through the world with larger purses. The purse for the Kentucky Derby is currently a paltry two and a half million dollars while the Dubai World Cup is ten million. Other races with purses larger than the Race for the Roses include the Melbourne Cup, Japan Cup, and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Some people in the horse-racing world count the Breeder’s Cup Classic as the most important race in the United States; it’s certainly the richest, with a five million dollar purse.

The Breeder’s Cup Classic is the culminating race of The Breeder’s Cup, a two day spectacle with a total combined purse of $25.5 million. The series of races is usually held at different track each year; this year it will be held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia California for the second year in a row. The Classic is a race for horses that are at least three years old and run on a left-handed dirt track at a distance of one and a quarter miles, the same distance as the Kentucky Derby. Since the Classic is one of the last major Grade 1 Stakes races of the year and has the largest purse for an American race it makes sense that it attracts some of the best horses. The winner of each leg of this year’s Triple Crown — the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, the Belmont, and unofficial fourth leg, the Travers — will be racing this Saturday along with the winners of other major (if less well-known) races. Since so many of the horses that run in Classic are of such high quality, it is incredibly hard to predict who will win. Which is why I’m going to do just that.

What makes me, Sports Alcohol’s (self-appointed) gambling correspondent an expert handicapper able to predict this year’s Breeder’s Cup Classic? Quite simply, the following two qualifications:

1. I was born and raised in Saratoga Springs, New York. I’ve been around, talked to, and learned from owners, trainers, and jockeys for years. I’ve been reading the racing form since I was about six years old. Basically, horse racing is in my blood.

2. I’m pretty much a degenerate gambler.

In addition to providing a short explanation of how I think each horse will perform, I’ve arranged to provide the picks of other handicappers that I will be going head to head with to predict the results of this race. I will be using my vast knowledge of horse racing along with hours (maybe one hour) of research. These other handicappers will be using the tried and true method of picking horses by name alone. Since this race is being contested by three and four year old horses, I have enlisted the help of three and four year old human beings, children of my friends, to compete with. I will win.
Continue reading The Sport of Kings (Not Poker) (Or Darts): Handicapping the Breeder’s Cup

Track Marks: “STOP FUCKING BUNTING” by Puig Destroyer

Rob is one of the founders of He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of

Grindcore* is a narrowly defined genre with limited appeal. An extreme permutation of metal, the songs are loud, short, and incomprehensible. On top of that, a lot of grindcore acts title their songs for maximum shock value to make sure you get the point if you can’t understand the shouting. Gruesome lyrics aren’t requisite and one Grindcore band actually widened their appeal by narrowing their subject matter to just baseball.

Enter Puig Destroyer, a portmanteau of Grindcore luminaries Pig Destroyer and Los Angeles Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig. Cuban defector Puig blasted onto the scene last year, skipping a level of the minor leagues to plug a hole in the Dodgers’ outfield and became if not baseball’s most talented player, certainly its most exciting.

I'm showing real restraint by limiting myself to one Puig gif
I’m showing real restraint by limiting myself to one Puig gif. Seriously, check out those reflexes.

He was celebrated by Puig Destroyer, a metal supergroup of baseball fans that took this joke of a band from conception to viral hit quickly; their first single “ONE MAN, FIVE TOOLS” was featured on Deadspin just ten days after Puig had made his Major League debut.

The idea of the band my be a joke, but Puig Destroyer often has something more perceptive to say about baseball in a sixty-second song than some crusty old managers will say in any post game press conference.  Co-founders Ian Miller and Riley Breckenridge also host The Productive Outs Podcast. THE PRODcast showcases Miller and Breckenridge as my idea of the 21st Century baseball fan: willing to think about the game without being mired in dogma, interested in things besides baseball, and lovers of what’s great about the game without taking it too seriously. I call them Fire Joe Morgan Fans.

This brings us to “STOP FUCKING BUNTING”. Why highlight a song from Puig Destroyer’s first EP when they’re promoting their first full length? In short, because they won’t stop fucking bunting.

Continue reading Track Marks: “STOP FUCKING BUNTING” by Puig Destroyer

Improve Your Life with Our Apps

Jesse is a cofounder of even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

The Super Bowl is Sunday, and because is a hard-charging tech company and a thousand times better than Apple and Cyderdyne combined, we need you to know that we have the best Super Bowl apps available in our app store. Although our site is still soft-launching, the app store is hard-launched and completely perfect.

Maybe just don’t watch The Super Bowl?

Rob is one of the founders of He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of

The Super Bowl this year looks really good. Like really good. As Nate Silver noted on Colbert earlier in the week, this year is only the eighth time the two best teams have faced off against each other. He called it a pick ’em. In addition to statisticians, sports books and video game simulations think it’s going to be a very close (and therefore exciting) game. We even have some lovely apps in our app store to help you enjoy the game better.

That being said, I’m nothing if not difficult. I think I’m going to probably skip out this year. Maybe you should join me. Here is why:

Continue reading Maybe just don’t watch The Super Bowl?

The Mets are the worst

Rob is one of the founders of He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of

[Note: I’ve been working on starting this blog for a little while now. I don’t plan on doing many posts that are about sports or politics or are even topical. I have a few drafts for a number of posts I’m still working on for this blog’s ‘official launch,’ but I just needed to get this out of my system. Consider this my soft launch. This post is dated, overlong, self-righteous, and needlessly autobiographical. It’s about two of the most unpleasant topics to read or write about: racism and The Mets. As I wrote it, I came to realize that I can barely write anymore. I’m trying to get better and I promise they won’t all be like this.]

It is a stupid thing to be a fan of a professional sports team. This is not a hard and fast rule; there are plenty of opportunities for sports to have a positive impact on our lives. This is not true of the way most Americans consume the professional “Big Four” sports. Take me for example. I get outside to play games with friends on average once a week in the warmer months, but most of my interaction with sports involve sitting on a couch watching games we are all paying for no matter what. Sometimes I spend a little extra and see a game in person. Like many overweight Americans, watching sports for me often involves eating fattening foods and drinking soda or beer. Emotionally investing yourself in a uniform owned by fabulously wealthy men over the players that struggle to play at the highest levels is just moronic. That hasn’t stopped me or millions of Americans from doing it for years.

Going a step further, it is a stupid thing for me to be a fan of The New York Mets. My father and his father were Yankees fans. Learning about baseball in the mid 80’s, the Mets players were on TV and in print all the time. The Worst Team Money Could Buy era scared me off following the team during my teens, when a young person’s interest generally wander anyways. I eventually came back, but why I did is a question that I lack the introspection to answer

Whatever the reason, I am a Mets fan. I buy shirts and hats and go down to Citi Field when I can. I enjoy watching games when I have the time, but I catch most of them on the radio. When I was a boy, I used to put my robot-shapped AM/FM radio under my pillow during summer nights and fall asleep listening to the heroics of Daryl Strawberry, Keith Hernandez, and the rest of the bad guys. I was there in person when when R.A. Dickey won his twentieth game in 2012 and I made some weird noises when Zack Wheeler struck out Brian McCann in his major league debut. I do all this in spite of the people I who profit from my emotional and financial investment.

The Mets are not a well run team.  They embarrass themselves so often, Deadspin has a tag dedicated to their failures. When they started play in 1962, the Mets were known as loveable losers. While the team has enjoyed success from time to time (four trips to the World Series with two wins over fifth years), this is the mold they most often fit into. They do things poorly, but it’s just baseball. You can’t help but laugh. Their most recent PR nightmare goes beyond that.

The New York Times has a story about The Mets’ botched Native American Heritage Day. The team invited American Indian Community House to feature dancing, music, & other cultural events alongside a home game. There was, of course, a group sales component to this, where the AICH reserved a block of seats at a discounted rate that their supporters could purchase to view both the game and the cultural festivities. It’s called cause marketing; a business and a charity leverage each others’ resources for higher visibility and/or revenues. It’s a symbiotic relationship where everyone wins, except when one side screws it up in the most offensive way possible.

Native American Hertitage Day was scheduled for a game against the Atlanta Braves. Worrying that the Braves organization would view the singing and dancing program as a protest against their racist logos and crowd chant, the Mets cancelled almost every part of the programming, causing the AICH to drop out of the day.

By pulling out of the event and sharing their story with the Times, the AICH made the right move and highlighted not just the Mets’ stupidity, but once again brought a focus to the shameful treatment of Native Americans by our national pastime and its fans.

There is no question that the continued use of Native American stereotypes as American sports mascots is racist and painful. I know that there are a lot of Braves fans, Redskins fans, fake Indians, lazy pollsters, and other privileged people who disagree, but I consider the matter settled. As a Braves-hating Mets fan, I may be biased, so here are just two of the many articles explaining some of the problems involved. I picked these two because they were written actual Native Americans, of which there are no longer many left.

It’s so Metsian that not only do they tactily endorse the racism of The Braves every time they play them, but are worried about offending them.

Who should really be offended? I know I’m upset, but that doesn’t really stop me from cheering for Matt Harvey at The All Star Game or David Wright at the Home Run Derby. There is a deep, stupid, emotional investment I have in those guys just because they wear blue and orange. I have no answers about how to change things for the better, but I at least wanted to add my voice to the chorus of people who think that how Americans handle our relationship with the descendants of the natives of our homeland needs to change.