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In this week’s episode of Slate’s sports podcast Hang Up and Listen, Stefan Fatsis and Mike Pesca discuss the election of Rob Manfred as the new Major League Baseball commissioner, the ways the role of commissioner has changed over the years, and what Manfred needs to address during his tenure. They speak with Mark Hyman, teaching assistant professor at George Washington University, about the history of Little League baseball, the influx of money into the Little League World Series, and whether all of this is good for the kids who are playing. Finally, they talk to ESPN writer Bonnie Ford about Canada’s bid to host the Women’s World Cup on exclusively turf fields, the NBA’s progressive stance on women’s issues, and why other sports have not done so well.
Here are links to some of the articles and other items mentioned on the show:
- Rob Manfred was elected the next Major League Baseball commissioner.
- The consensus seems to be that Manfred was the best choice, but he has many issues to address.
- Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf led the short-lived opposition to Manfred’s candidacy.
- Reinsdorf also led a group of owners who forced out former commissioner Fay Vincent and installed Bud Selig.
- When Vincent was forced out, many expected a restructuring of the commissioner’s role, but Bug Selig just kept hanging around.
- Rob Manfred’s appearance on 60 Minutes, defending Major League Baseball’s investigation of the Biogenesis scandal, was not his best moment.
- Addressing the length of games, as the Atlantic League has, will be one of Manfred’s top priorities.
- Keith Olbermann let us know what he would do as commissioner.
- Stefan discussed Manfred’s election on NPR.
- Mo’ne Davis and a team from Chicago have captured America’s attention during the Little League World Series this year.
- Little League baseball is bringing in more and more revenue each year through corporate sponsorships.
- Little League baseball’s contract with ESPN will pay around $60 million to televise the Little League World Series over eight years.
- Mark Hyman has written extensively about the culture of youth sports.
- When reporting on the 2000 Little League World Series for Businessweek, a child psychologist told Hyman that the World Series is like “putting a little boy in a man’s suit.”
- On Yahoo, Dan Wetzel said that it is time to provide some compensation for Little League World Series players.
- ESPN showed a 12-year-old pitcher crying on the mound.
- Slate’s Amanda Hess wrote about the NBA’s good performance on women’s issues and other sports that need to catch up.
- ESPN’s Bonnie Ford wrote last year about Canada’s turf-only bid to host the Women’s World Cup.
- Women soccer players have threatened to sue if all games are played on turf and set up a petition.
- Sydney Leroux shows us why nobody wants to play on turf.
- Sepp Blatter has both shaken hands with Robert Mugabe and suggested that women should play soccer in hot pants.
- The San Antonio Spurs recently hired Becky Hammon as the NBA’s first full-time female assistant coach, and the NBA players union elected Michele Roberts as its new director.
- FINA still won’t let women swim the mile in the Olympics.
- In the New York Times, Emma Span wondered why more women don’t play baseball.
- Girls have been playing Little League Baseball for 40 years and in the Little League World Series for 30 years.
Hang Up and Listen’s weekly Lundy Lumbers:
Mike’s Lundy Lumber: Wrestling with the violence of a sport we love to watch.
On this week’s Slate Plus bonus segment, Stefan Fatsis and Mike Pesca talked about reactions to field invaders, clothed and unclothed, across time and place. Slate Plus members get an ad free version of this podcast with bonus segments. Visit slate.com/hangupplus and try it free for two weeks.
Podcast production and edit by Mike Vuolo. Links compiled by Chris Laskowski.
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