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ESPN The Magazine

ESPN The Magazine 07.07.14

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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1 min.
davey segal

“I’ve been a Kevin Harvick fan ever since I was 5,” says Segal, a Rockville, Md., native who is 18. “I was a Dale Earnhardt fan first because I liked the guy who always won. But when he crashed at Daytona [see page 52], I was too young to really understand he died. So when Harvick won that third race after taking over for him, I had a new favorite.” Segal estimates he’s collected over 500 pieces of Harvick swag, including roughly 300 die-cast 29 cars and five of Harvick’s race-used lug nuts. Segal has also met his idol seven times, the first at Dover in 2002 and the latest at this year’s Daytona 500. “I have a poster he signed, ‘To Davey, congrats on your bar mitzvah.’ There aren’t…

3 min.
pinched hitters

Walking into the Springfield Cardinals’ ballpark, I could’ve sworn I had stepped out of a time machine. The prices were positively quaint: $20 bought a hot dog, a beer and a front row seat. It was a warm night, and a pack of children stalked a hapless mascot in the stands. Others were sprawled out on picnic blankets behind left field, next to a bounce house that quivered like a block of gelatin. This was an obsolescent America, a place where families could gather for cheap, wholesome thrills. It was magical. And yet, as I watched the Double-A game from my $9 seat, I felt the same anxiety I’ve experienced at McDonald’s and Walmart, places where cheap thrills come at the cost of even cheaper labor. I had known that minor…

3 min.
so, how’s the weather?

Clubhouse atmosphere matters to baseball teams—literally. Thanks to Rodney Paul, a professor of sport management at Syracuse University, and the Syracuse Baseball Statistics and Sabermetrics Club, we are beginning to understand how the air around us affects pitchers—and how teams can take advantage of the results. Before we launch into a grand unified theory of sabermetrics and weather reports, let’s start with two basic facts: A curveball curves in part because of its torque. And exactly how much it curves depends not only on how fast it is spinning but on the density of the air it’s traveling through. In thin air, for example, a ball will move faster and straighter; it has less air to displace, less opportunity to build up spin-related drag and less chance to break. This happens…

1 min.

What better way to revel in your boyhood dream of winning the Stanley Cup than to wake up with it in your bed the morning after? And who better to help you celebrate than your own boys? As the captain of the Kings, Dustin Brown had first dibs on taking the Cup home with him, which he did the night they won it—to the delight of Cooper, Jake and Mason (from left), who later drank chocolate milk from the Cup. Even the bed represents a certain irony, given the resilience of a team that refused to lie down. The Kings fought back from a 3-0 series deficit in the first round and won a record seven elimination games en route to the title. —STEVE WULF 1 Number of American-born captains with…

3 min.
you got framed

We all know the great catchers—Johnny Bench, Pudge Rodriguez, Yadier Molina—but only in the past few years have smart teams like the Yankees and Rays begun to pinpoint a main attribute that makes a catcher great: the ability to frame a pitch. Catcher framing is an act of subtlety, receiving the ball close to the chest, never stabbing at it and turning pitches that appear to nick the border of the zone into called strikes. Though framing is an almost indiscernible art form, it is now quantifiable. Baseball Prospectus has developed metrics that measure, in essence, the extent to which catchers are responsible for the calls that go their way. And when you consider how many times a good framer influences at-bats, and how many runs that saves, you see…

6 min.
guessing game

ESPN FC ANALYSTS SHAKA HISLOP, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO Starting keeper in T&T’s first Cup, 10-year vet in the EPL on three teams, and a member of the T&T Sports Hall of Fame. KASEY KELLER, USA With 102 caps, holds U.S. goalkeeping mark for shutouts (47) and started in two Cups. First U.S. keeper to start in EPL. SHAKA HISLOP: For a goalkeeper, it’s not as stressful or as difficult as people think. The pressure is on the striker: He’s expected to score. As a goalkeeper, if you make the save, you’re a hero, but there’s almost no downside to it. KASEY KELLER: And, honestly, there’s no particular skill a goalkeeper needs to have to be good at saving a penalty. Yes, a guy’ll get in a streak where he saves a couple, but I bet if…