Sun August 16, 2015

Pro Baseball Has Doping. Amateur Softball Has ... Hot Bats

Originally published on Mon August 17, 2015 1:07 pm

The genial world of amateur softball has a dark secret: hot bats. They look just like ordinary softball bats, but they've been altered to send balls faster and farther.
Rick Paulas

Amateur slow-pitch softball would seem to be a low-stakes game. A bunch of friends join a league, take some swings, run the bases and retire to the dugout for postgame beers. At best, there might be a plastic trophy for the winners.

But there's a dark and dangerous side to this pleasant pastime: hot bats.

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Sat August 15, 2015

The Week In Sports: Underdog Teams Are On Top In Baseball

Originally published on Sat August 15, 2015 10:36 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Time now for sports.


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Thu August 13, 2015
The Two-Way

Not All's Fair In Love And Tennis: Player Fined For Lewd Comment

Tennis bad boy Nick Kyrgios bites his chain during his Rogers Cup match against Stan Wawrinka.
Minas Panagiotakis Getty Images

When playing tennis, the ball — and smack talk — must stay within the lines.

Today, men's tennis governing body, the ATP, fined 20-year-old Australian professional tennis player Nick Kyrgios $10,000 for making an insulting on-court remark to his opponent, French Open Champion Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland. Kyrgios was hit with the maximum allowed fine for a verbal offense, but the ATP says is has not ruled out further punishment.

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Thu August 13, 2015
The Two-Way

Tom Brady's Courtroom Sketch Spawns Internet Gold

Originally published on Thu August 13, 2015 5:20 pm

The courtroom sketch of Tom Brady.
Jane Rosenberg via Boston Herald

The biggest news to come out of Wednesday's high-profile federal court hearing on the "deflategate" saga had nothing to do with the NFL or Tom Brady's pending four-game suspension.

Veteran courtroom sketch artist Jane Rosenberg is grabbing most of the attention for her depiction of the New England Patriots quarterback. And of course the interwebs responded in kind, unleashing countless memes of the now-infamous sketch.

Outside the Manhattan courtroom on Wednesday, Rosenberg defended her work.

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Thu August 13, 2015
NPR History Dept.

4 Creative Takes On Golf In America

Originally published on Wed August 19, 2015 2:06 pm

A Texas-size obstacle at the Peter Pan minigolf course in Austin, Texas — created in 1948.
Carol M. Highsmith Library of Congress

The clubs, balls, vast verdant courses, garish outfits: Golf in America has arguably become rather ho-hum and predictable as the 2015 PGA Championship tournament tees off this week at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wis.

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Wed August 12, 2015

MLB Home Teams Make History By Going 15-0

Originally published on Wed August 12, 2015 6:34 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit



Finally this hour, a little bit of baseball history.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: McFarland deals down the line.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Oh, it's fair ball.

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Wed August 12, 2015
The Two-Way

In Spain's Soccer Tiffs, Government Intervenes Again

Originally published on Wed August 12, 2015 5:59 pm

Real Madrid's Gareth Bale (center) tries to get past Barcelona's Neymar (left) and Jordi Alba during the last Clasico match at Camp Nou stadium on March 22 in Barcelona.
Manu Fernandez AP

It's hard to imagine a world in which the U.S. federal government would involve itself in settling disputes over the dates of professional sports games.

Across the pond, though, it's a different story.

Wednesday, for the second time in two months, the Spanish government has intervened in a scheduling disagreement between the country's professional soccer league, La Liga, and its national soccer federation, RFEF.

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Wed August 12, 2015
The Two-Way

NFL 'Deflategate' Saga Continues With Both Sides Back In Federal Court

Originally published on Wed August 12, 2015 3:56 pm

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady arrives at federal court in New York on Wednesday.
Mary Altaffer AP

Updated at 2:46 p.m. ET

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the NFL appeared in a Manhattan court today to update a federal judge on whether both sides are any closer to resolving a dispute over the quarterback's pending four-game "deflategate" suspension.

The public portion of the hearing lasted approximately 80 minutes before U.S. Judge Richard Berman met separately with Brady and league officials in private.

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Wed August 12, 2015
Sweetness And Light

Deford: When 'Deflategate' Dust Settles, Put Goodell Out To Pasture

Originally published on Wed August 12, 2015 10:39 am

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addresses the Pro Football Hall of Fame Gold Jacket Ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on Thursday. The NFL Players Union has sued to get a judge to void Goodell's four-game suspension of Tom Brady in the "deflategate" scandal.
Gene J. Puskar AP

In an odd way, the longer and more tangled that what has been called "deflategate" goes on, the more it becomes about the commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell, than it does about Tom Brady, whom Goodell suspended for four games — deeming him guilty of having some part in deflating footballs in a playoff.

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Wed August 12, 2015

NFL's Effort To Combat Domestic Violence May Go For The Long Game

Originally published on Wed August 12, 2015 2:47 pm

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted last September that he "got it wrong" when it came to handling the recent Ray Rice incident, pledging that he will get it right.
Dennis Van Tine UPI/Landov

It's been less than a year since a domestic violence scandal erupted in the National Football League. The infamous Ray Rice video from last September and the league's mishandling of the case plunged the NFL into an unprecedented crisis.

It also spurred the league into action after years of doing little or nothing about the problem of domestic violence. The problem continues, and so do the efforts to fight it.

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