No more marginalia
Also, Bobby Hull sucked and you should remember that he sucked
I was going to write about Bobby Hull, because I had a story I was going to share about the time my dad met him in the 70s. But then I remembered what a piece of shit he was and decided to change direction.
Yesterday was National Girls and Women in Sports Day, and the start of Black History Month. It goes without saying that we observe these times in order to put the spotlight on marginalized and underrepresented groups of people in our society even though having these designated periods of time to reflect, in and of itself, is underrepresentation. People like Hull — and the structures that protected him from criticism of his really bad takes, or even criminal prosecution for multiple domestic abuse incidents — are part of the reason why “special” days and months are needed.
Here at Oddball, we love a good underdog story. We fervently support Canada's only baseball and basketball clubs as they sit among U.S.-based leagues. But in some ways, women’s sports as a whole are the ultimate underdog, existing in a landscape that is rigged against their favour.
Whenever I came across people who would cheer for an entire sport, rather than picking a particular side, I used to think their fandom was soft or that they didn’t care enough about it — they might as well have said they’re cheering for all of sportsball. But as my fandom of women’s football continues to grow, and even though I have a preferred club that I support, ultimately I want the whole thing to flourish and grow. (And I’m certain that Dave feels similarly about the WNBA.)
Not to bring up Hull again, but I think about the emergence of rival leagues like the WHA, which tried to establish itself in new locations. I don’t know that they aimed to overtake the NHL, but they definitely brought something different to the table. I see elements of this in women’s sports — not so much as a rival to men's leagues, but in that they offer a different fan experience at the current point of their evolution. Smaller venues mean a more intimate live setting, a refreshing contrast to the constant stream of advertising and loud music that you get from a visit to any game in the Big 4 leagues. Athletes in the women's leagues typically give more thoughtful and insightful answers in interviews, they are more open about the social causes they care about, their personalities are more accessible and less guarded than their male counterparts. I don't think it will always be this way as leagues like WNBA and NWSL continue to gain more mainstream exposure, but I'm hopeful it will retain some of the little things that make them special, even in the face of increased corporatization.
If you haven't hopped on already, I would encourage you to get in on the ground floor, but let's face it, we're already somewhere far up the tower and most of us don't know it. Either way, the elevator is going up.
Bobby Hull was a trash human off the ice. To mark his passing, this week’s questions will focus on terrible things athletes have said while understanding there was a high likelihood those things would be heard or read by other humans.
The now-retired pitcher best known for saying a series of racist, homophobic, and xenophobic things about New Yorkers in an interview with Jeff Pearlman played for four teams over the course of his career. Name them.
What two former NBA players argued that Breonna Taylor’s killing by the Louisville Police shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath as the killings of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery?
What former NFL player and current talking head was put on blast for tweeting “I don’t care if the QB has a damn injury it’s the NFC Championship he better start throwing left fu**ing handed then we don’t have time for boo boos!” in regards to San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy’s injury, later revealed to be a UCL tear?
What former NHL player tarnished his erstwhile stellar reputation by repeatedly using the N-word to refer to an OHL player he was coaching in a conversation with two of the player’s teammates?
Answers from last week’s issue
The top three base stealers of the last 25 years have one former club in common (though none them ever played together). What is the squadron in question?
The top three base stealers — Juan Pierre, José Reyes, and Ichiro — all played for the Marlins at some point their careers, though never at the same time.
In the past 25 NFL drafts, all first overall picks have been defensive ends or quarterbacks — except two, who are offensive tackles. Both players have made the Pro Bowl multiple times, and played their college football in the same state. Name either of them.
Jake Long (2008, drafted from Michigan) and Eric Fisher (2013, Central Michigan) are the droids we’re looking for.
Over the past 25 NHL seasons, the two forwards with the most ice time accumulated were teammates for over 12 seasons (non-continuously). For what club did they play together?
The San Jose Sharks are the team. Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton are the players.
The NBA player who has accumulated the most personal fouls over the past 25 seasons is also the player who has played the most NBA regular season games in that timespan. Who is he?
The artist formerly known as Air Canada, Vince Carter, retired with 3,995 personal fouls.
RIP 1963 American League Rookie of the Year and White Sox legend Gary Peters.
Many thanks to Kristi Toliver for being named her name and to you for being named your name, unless your name is Josh Sills, for obvious reasons.
Until next week, be the Ezequiel Carrera you wish to see in the world.