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ESPN The Magazine 10.13.14

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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Now that Lou Lou—the 3-year-old black Lab who doubles as the bat girl of the Class-A Greensboro (N.C.) Grasshoppers—has 100 games under her collar, she’s an old pro. But she’s not the only dog show in town. While Lou Lou fetches bats, Miss Babe Ruth brings balls to the umpire and Master Yogi Berra performs in-game skits. The trio’s a crowd-pleaser (fans from Texas and New York have come to catch the act), but there’s one ump who doesn’t share the puppy love. Back in 2009, Yogi took a bathroom break on the field … and got tossed. “Yogi, to our knowledge, is the only dog to be ejected from a pro baseball game,” says team president Donald Moore. Chin up, Yogi. Like your namesake might say: Even Napoleon had…

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the fall of giants

As the Angels cruised toward October with MLB’s best record, all kinds of interesting stories surrounded them. They gained a dozen games on Oakland after the All-Star break. They overcame the loss of ace starter Garrett Richards. Mike Trout, at 23, was still on track to be a top-shelf Hall of Famer. But here’s a fact I bet you haven’t considered: Entering the last week of the season, 38 of their wins—40 percent of their total—had come against the four worst teams in the AL (Boston, Houston, Minnesota and Texas), while they’d gone just 9–11 against other division leaders. In contrast, Detroit staggered all over the place while trying to lock down another AL Central title and had an overall record that was 10 wins worse than the Angels’. But the…

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Wait, is that Jameis Winston in a Marching Chiefs uniform? During Florida State’s OT win against Clemson on Sept. 20, a Goodyear blimp circled over Doak Campbell Stadium and captured more than just aerial shots; its camera zoom is powerful enough to read the coin toss on the 50-yard line. This was Goodyear’s sixth trip to Tallahassee in the past four years, and the blimp is scheduled to return at least twice more this season. “We’re doing coverage of the actual game, replays from the air, game action shots and more,” says Doug Grassian, the senior manager of airship communications for Goodyear. “We’re pretty pivotal.” 30 Miles per hour the Goodyear blimp typically travels. 160 Number of sporting events the blimp will cover this year. 16 Hours the blimp crew worked on Saturday,…

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WHO Surfers Tom Egelhoff (near right) and Vince Labbe WHAT Riding a surf break called Sewer Pipe on Lake Erie WHEN Sept. 21, 6:14 p.m. ET WHERE Edgewater Park, Cleveland “People still don’t know about the Cleveland surf scene. It has always been an underground network, with about 15 to 20 guys willing to do it year-round and put up with their eyelashes freezing shut and wet suits getting so stiff in winter you can’t even turn your neck. It’s not like the ocean, where swells could last for days. Our swells last only a couple of hours, and you gotta drop everything if you’re going to get out there. Today was awesome. The water was warm, about 60 degrees. I’ll do anything not to surf in gloves and booties because in a few weeks, it’ll be howling…

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analyze this

Kings GM Dean Lombardi could be called the Billy Beane of hockey, but don't look for him to be consulting on Moneypuck any time soon. The architect of the reigning Stanley Cup champs-one of only two franchises to win multiple titles since the NHL's salary-cap era began in 2005-refuses to divulge how he's used advanced stats to build winners. “If you have a secret, you don't go around telling everybody,” Lombardi says. Regardless, the rest of the league has caught on. Plus/minus and save percentages still have their place, but puck-possession and PDO(1) metrics are becoming all the rage. In fact, an advanced-stats arms race broke out this summer, as teams stocked front offices with analysts and bloggers to curate proprietary data. Here are five ways analytics will affect the…

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the sheriff knows best

The 2013 Broncos boasted the most prolific offense in NFL history, and if you were expecting the 2014 edition to take a step back after the disastrous Super Bowl, you bet against the wrong QB. How does Peyton Manning do it year after year? By diagnosing a defense quicker than any other man alive and seamlessly switching the plan on the fly. Why Manning audibles to particular plays can get incredibly complicated, but at its most basic, he sticks to a decision tree to stay one step ahead of the defense. Just follow the arrows. -CHRISTOPHER HARRIS When Manning sees cover 2, you can bet he’ll send at least one wideout, in this case Demaryius Thomas (1) , to the deep middle to keep the safeties honest. His key audibles are…