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ESPN The Magazine 10.02.17

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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access_time3 min.
the road team

Tim Keown on the rise and fall of the Dodgers 1 PHOENIX Before and after each of the three games here in early August, team president Andrew Friedman and GM Farhan Zaidi walked through the clubhouse, backpacks slung over their right shoulders, headed to see manager Dave Roberts. Inside Zaidi’s backpack was his laptop, a source of speculation and amusement after Yu Darvish credited its contents for an adjustment to his curveball. The laptop is said to contain reams of info. 2 LOS ANGELES Clayton Kershaw was on the DL during a mid-August home-stand, but no matter, he was always in motion. He threw three simulated games in two weeks and was generally the most active inactive player in history. 3 DETROIT After a win here on Aug. 18, the Dodgers announced they acquired Curtis Granderson and…

access_time4 min.
the numbers

ESPN’s Béisbol Experience project got me thinking about a statistic that historically has gone missing from the Latin American baseball experience: bases on balls. Foreign-born Latino players have long endured a reputation for hacking away at the plate. Juan Samuel, a notoriously free-swinging hitter from the Dominican Republic who played for seven MLB teams from 1983 to 1998, put it this way: “You don’t walk off the island. You hit.” The numbers say the walks gap between U.S.-born and Latin American players is indeed real and, almost 15 years after Moneyball, surprisingly persistent. Historically, Latin American hitters haven’t drawn too many walks, whether they hit for power (like Orlando Cepeda) or a high average (like Tony Oliva). From the start of integrated baseball in 1947 to 2000, 56 MLB players had…

access_time15 min.
“you just can’t shake it”

It’s 75 degrees and beautiful in Renton, Washington. The sky is clear and blue. When new Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy climbs out of his Corvette and waves to me in a park near his condo, I notice he’s brought a towel. It’s a small towel, tan and about the size of a dishrag. We find an empty bench, near the playground, and take a seat. As Lacy speaks in an affable baritone, he holds the towel gently in his thick hands, occasionally massaging it like he wants assurance it’s still there. Eventually he explains that he gets nervous when he does interviews, and he sweats when he gets nervous. So he came prepared today. Lacy had to think long and hard before agreeing to meet up and talk like this. There…

access_time2 min.
brady! watson! cam!

Who is the best QB in the NFL? TOM BRADY 63% Aaron Rodgers 24% Ben Roethlisberger 7% Others 5% On Brady: “He’s been consistently doing what he has to do to win, with or without guys being healthy and on the field.” On Rodgers: “If you’re asking who is the best winner in the league, I’d say Tom Brady. But the best pure QB is Aaron.” Which rookie QB will have the most success in the NFL? Which QB talks the most trash? CAM NEWTON 22% Philip Rivers 20% Aaron Rodgers 14% Tom Brady 13% Andrew Luck and six others received votes On Brady: “People don’t really know that.” On Luck: “Luck is always the flip side. He always congratulates you on a good hit. It’s awkward.” Do refs officiate Cam Newton differently from other QBs? Yes: “I watched him take a lot of hits that…

access_time5 min.
once they were kings

HOW LOW CAN YOU GO? Everything’s bigger in Texas—including flameouts. Take Week 1: The 51 points the Longhorns surrendered to juggernaut Maryland were the most allowed by Texas in five years. That 34-point collapse Texas A&M suffered vs. UCLA—the worst FBS breakdown in 11 seasons. The 48 points Baylor afforded FCS Liberty? Bad enough for the Bears’ second loss to a lower-division team—ever. But if recent history is any indication, the state’s woes are far from Week 1-and-done. Since 2012, the Power 5 programs in Texas—Baylor, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech—have just barely nosed by .500 football in October and November (100–91 overall). And last season, for the first time in 49 years, no college football squad hailing from Texas finished its campaign ranked in the AP Top 25. Said TCU’s 16-year…

access_time4 min.
a racer’s racer

HE COMES BY IT HONESTLY Kyle Larson grew up in Elk Grove, California, the son of Mike, an electric company worker, and Janet, a state clerk. Racing-crazy long before their son was even born, Mike and Janet poured every dime they had into Kyle’s career—which started at age 7—until there was no more money left to spend. “I told Kyle, ‘If you’re going to keep moving up, you’re going to have to earn it,’” his father says. And Larson’s climb up the ladder is easy to trace, thanks to his mother’s meticulous cataloging. “She has about 470 tapes of me at home,” he says. “When I got to NASCAR, people were like, ‘You’re going to have to get used to being on TV all the time.’ I’m like, ‘Whatever. I’ve had…