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ESPN The Magazine

ESPN The Magazine 04.24.17

ESPN The Magazine is for the NEXT generation of sports fans who want to stay on top of the athletes, teams, topics and upcoming events in their own sports world. The Magazine celebrates not only sports, but the cultures and lifestyles that are an integral part of them - all with ESPN's unique personality and authority.

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3 min.
yours, faithfully

Senior writer Sam Alipour on getting in a groove with the consensus No. 1 draft pick: “Myles Garrett loves love songs. That isn’t just a funny note in a story; it was music to my ears. When covering an admitted introvert, I’m always looking for ties that bind. So imagine how I felt when I saw the eyes of the NFL’s projected top draft pick light up after I told him that my most-played list is heavy on ’80s rock ballads. Before long, we were carpool-karaoking around College Station to Journey’s greatest hits and—holy overshare!—even exchanging poems. (I wrote poetry in college too, and his crushed mine.) Now, you might ask whether Myles can handle the NFL, but IMHO, having a soft side and being a quarterback killer are not…

4 min.
death to the bunt all together now: the sac bunt is stupid, the sac bunt is stupid, the sac bunt is stupid.

If you’ve spent any time on Twitter, you’ve probably come across fans and analysts criticizing manager decisions to bunt, from the band Puig Destroyer’s crude but effective song “Stop F---ing Bunting” to my own term #smrtbaseball, an allusion to a Simpsons episode in which Homer calls himself smart, spells it S-M-R-T and then sets the house on fire. Here’s the main reason for all of this vitriol: In the majority of situations when it’s used, the sacrifice bunt is a terribly stupid play. Let’s highlight some specific scenarios when you might see the bunt applied. With a man on first base and no outs, an MLB team’s probability of scoring at least one run in the inning in 2015 was 0.499, or roughly 50-50. Pushing that runner up to second in…

35 min.
sin city or bust

Dan Tana’s Italian restaurant in West Hollywood, July 2014: Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis and team president Marc Badain sit in a back booth with NFL executive vice president Eric Grubman. The dinner topic, over chicken Parm, is a familiar one, an arduous task that bedeviled Davis’ legendary father for decades and now bedevils him: trying to find a real prospect for a new stadium. There have been many stops and starts, in Oakland and in Los Angeles, with no end in sight. Grubman, the league’s longtime point man on stadium financing, says, “Mark, we gotta come up with a plan for you.” “I’m going to Vegas, baby!” Davis says. Grubman laughs. Davis doesn’t. “You’re nuts,” Grubman says. “No, it’s a good market,” Davis says. “Mark,” Grubman says, “you’ll never get approved to Las Vegas.” “Why?” “They’ll oppose…

1 min.
power players

MARK DAVIS Raiders owner and son of legendary NFL renegade Al Davis SHELDON ADELSON Chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp. and worth an estimated $32.5 billion JERRY JONES Owner and GM of the Cowboys; considered by some to be the NFL’s shadow commissioner ERIC GRUBMAN Executive vice president of the NFL and the league’s point person on stadium financing MARC BADAIN Raiders president; helped secure funding for the Vegas move when other options failed…

3 min.
caps lock

Every spring The Mag tries to answer one not-so-simple question: Who will win the Stanley Cup? Our patented playoff forecast model has had, well, mixed results. Although we correctly picked the Blackhawks to hoist the Cup in 2015, we also predicted the Kings would win it all—not just one game—last year. For this year’s formula, we’re using four common characteristics of Stanley Cup winners over the past six seasons: elite-level penalty-killing, top-tier goaltending, clutch puck possession and a battle-tested roster. Then we created benchmarks in each category by using the low among Stanley Cup winners over those six seasons. The only team this year to pass the test: the Capitals. Yeah, the same team that seems to always dominate regular seasons only to exit the playoffs early. Still, after claiming the…

5 min.
a scar is born

ADAM MCQUAID BRUINS DEFENSEMAN INJURY David Backes’ skate blade to the neck in a 3-2 win over the Devils, March 4 DAMAGE 25 stitches TIME MISSED None (end of game) “I saw the skate come up, felt the impact of it, but things happen so quickly on the ice. You don’t have time to react to it, not even a sharp skate headed at your neck. I was pretty calm during the whole thing. I didn’t see it until afterward, and it was much longer and a much bigger cut than I was expecting. When I was lying on the table, the doc told me how lucky I was. A few millimeters deeper and we would have had a very serious situation. That’s when it hit home for me. When you’re lying down, about to…