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ESPN The Magazine 09.29.14

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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the garnet and gold guys

The go-to remedy for glitter removal? Dish soap. Such are the trade secrets of the Garnet and Gold Guys, the shimmering, crowd-pumping duo at Seminoles games each fall. Still, evidence of their Saturday getup lingers long after Doak Campbell clears out. “I look like I have jaundice for three days because of the yellow paint,” says Gold, a Florida State sophomore. (The Guys, out of deference to the 17-year tradition, don’t reveal their names. New students take over every year or two, and names are made public when they retire.) But it’s not easy washing off all that team spirit, even with a 45-minute postgame hose-down—and the dish soap. “At church, someone took glitter out of my ear,” recalls Garnet, a junior. “We live quite the life.” HOW TO BECOME AN…

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the numbers

Exasperated by the absurdities of the Derek Jeter Farewell Tour, sabermetricians have launched another round of attacks on El Capitán’s overall play. Various analysts and bloggers keep criticizing Jeter not just for his limited range but his fading power, his desire to keep playing, even his refusal to volunteer to bat lower in the Yankees’ lineup. But the naysayers are missing the forest for the trees. For decades, statheads have stressed the importance of on-base percentage. Well, Jeter has a career OBP of .378, higher than Adam Dunn’s, Hanley Ramirez’s or Ichiro Suzuki’s, across a career spanning more than 12,500 plate appearances. For that alone, Jeter should be a poster boy for sabermetrics. And, truth is, he is not just a great player. He’s the rare athlete whose value transcends his…

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the ticket

Halfway through last season’s Super Bowl, when Percy Harvin housed an 87-yard kickoff return to put the Seahawks up 29-0, Christopher “Goofy” Kingman realized he had made a mistake. The night before the game, Kingman had gotten a giant tattoo of the Broncos’ logo on his back with the words “XLVIII Champs” underneath. “I have a history of bad decisions,” says the 29-year-old Tucson native, who also has a tattoo of the Chinese character for “stupid” on his leg. (He thought it said “goofy,” like his nickname.) His best friend, a fellow fan who helped him come up with the tattoo, “hates looking at me now,” Kingman says with a sigh. Bold sports predictions have become so pervasive that even the nuttiest forecasts fail to incite controversy. Someone—an analyst, a gambler,…

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WHO Runner Maggie Vessey and designer Merlin Castell WHAT Shopping for fabric for a custom-designed track unitard WHEN Aug. 9, 5:50 p.m. PT WHERE Mood Fabrics, Los Angeles After runner Maggie Vessey’s clothing contract ended last year, the 800-meter specialist opted to go the DIY route. At an August meet, she wore a tangerine outfit (above) and finished ninth. “I don’t have an education in design; it’s a complete collaboration,” she says of her partnership with co-designer Merlin Castell. Their process—this was their seventh outfit together—starts with her sketch and ends with a final fitting and a test run on the track. Sure, her couture has its critics, but, Vessey says, “I wasn’t afraid. The risk makes me really fearless on the track.” —AIMEE BERG…

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WHO Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard and former Rockets forward Chandler Parsons WHAT Game 6, Western Conference first-round playoff series WHEN May 2, 10:11 p.m. PT WHERE Moda Center, Portland, Oregon DAMIAN LILLARD “I looked at the clock to see how much time we had and saw that it was 0.9. The first thing that went through my head was, ‘I know we’re going to get a shot off. I don’t know how good of a shot we’ll get, but we’ll get the shot off.’ So Mo Williams was like, ‘You go get the ball. You go get the ball.’ And at that point, I’m like, ‘All right, I’m going to go get the ball.’ “They started off with Patrick Beverley guarding me, and he was on top of me, taking away the angle for me to go to…

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shut 'em down

In a vote that would surely garner Richard Sherman's approval, the Seahawks' shutdown corner narrowly edged Texans DE J.J. Watt as your choice for the title of NFL's most impactful defensive player. But did you, dear fans, actually choose wisely among those two All-Pros and the three other options, Panthers LB Luke Kuechly, Rams DE Robert Quinn and Lions DT Ndamukong Suh? To find out, we enlisted the good folks at Pro Football Focus, whose advanced metrics and detailed charting of plays reveal deeper truths than the average eye can detect. Here's how they broke down the five players to arrive at their choice. 1 THE DEFENSIVE END BATTLE IS CLOSER THAN YOU MIGHT REALIZE. The easiest way to determine a winner is to eliminate options. So we began with our two…