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In this week’s episode of Slate’s sports podcast Hang Up and Listen, Josh Levin, Mike Pesca, and special guest Johnette Howard discuss Bubba Watson’s victory at the Masters and whether golf and Augusta can become more inclusive in the face of dwindling participation. They also talk about the alarming rate of Tommy John surgeries in Major League Baseball, and why the sport has yet to figure out how to keep pitchers healthy. Finally, they are joined by New Republic staff writer Christopher Beam to discuss his year following an amateur football team in China.
Here are links to some of the articles and other items mentioned on the show:
- Johnette Howard is a columnist for ESPN.com and ESPNNewYork.com.
- On Sunday, Bubba Watson won his second Masters.
- Watson’s game is often called “creative,” as in this 2012 New York Times profile by Karen Crouse.
- Jordan Spieth finished three strokes behind Watson. Much was made of his age.
- Christine Brennan of USA Today wrote that Augusta is finally making some changes.
- Kelly Xu became the first female to win a tournament at Augusta National, at the inaugural Drive, Chip, and Putt Championship.
- With Tiger Woods recovering from back surgery, ratings for this year’s Masters plunged.
- For the last several years, golf participation has fallen in England.
- Jack Whitaker and Gary McCord were banned from broadcasting the Masters for comments that contravened the tournament’s strict rules for commentators.
- Twelve pitchers have had Tommy John surgery since the start of spring training. Dr. James Andrews calls it an “epidemic.”
- Bill Madden of the New York Daily News interviewed Nolan Ryan, who blames the injuries on pitchers not throwing enough.
- Biomechanics expert Glenn Fleisig argues that improved muscular strength has placed greater stress on ligaments and tendons.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post suspects increased PED testing may be adding to injuries.
- T.J. Quinn pointed out that using PEDs was previously blamed for causing injuries.
- Rays manager Joe Maddon is concerned about the amount pitchers throw in youth baseball.
- Chris Gorski of Inside Science attempted to parse the various studies on whether pitchers improve after Tommy John surgery.
- Christopher Beam’s “Year of the Pigskin” appeared in the New Republic.
- Sony acquired the rights to create a film based on Beam’s piece.
Hang Up and Listen’s Steve Dalkowskis:
Mike’s Dalkowski: castigating the scurrilous anonymous executive who criticizes NFL draft prospects, lamenting the headline echo chamber he begets, and encouraging reporters to refuse to play along or at least provide context.
Johnette’s Dalkowski: praising the Spurs’ defiantly boring success.
Josh’s Dalkowski: South Africa’s response to an apartheid-era ban from international competitions: creating a racist sports competition to call its own.
Podcast production and edit by Mike Vuolo. Links compiled by Casey Butterly.
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