Tyler Saladino is one of thousands of minor league baseball players hoping to make it to the major leagues. He plays in Alabama for the Birmingham Barons, the AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. Last year, NPR profiled Saladino. But since then, maybe things have changed for the 23-year-old infielder.
Basketball offers its fans the ultimate contradiction. On the one hand, it's the sport that most depends on its stars. On the other, it's the most intimate — even organic — of all the team games, with its players more fundamentally involved with one another. Both of these opposing realities are rooted in the same base.
As Russia prepares to host the world for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, it faces a number of challenges: The weather is mild for winter sports; residents are complaining about being displaced; and the project is costing a huge amount of money.
Yet the Black Sea resort town, a favorite of President Vladimir Putin, is bustling with construction cranes. Workers are racing to complete high-rise hotels and state-of-the-art venues for figure skating, speedskating and hockey.
Major League Baseball is preparing to hand down suspensions to some of its marquee players according to a recent ESPN report. It's the result of information the league obtained through a man named Tony Bosch, who reportedly supplied banned substances to athletes through his company Biogenesis of America.
Dave Zirin is sports editor for The Nation, and he joins us. Hello.
DAVE ZIRIN: Hey. Great to be here. Thanks for having me.
MARTIN: Every once in a while, the intrepid Mike Pesca has to take one for the team, go out in the field for a tough assignment. You know, watch some basketball, work on his tan. He is in Miami covering the NBA finals.
MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: I don't work on the tan. It just comes to me.
MARTIN: You know, it's no work. It's just easy.
PESCA: It's just the sun remembers my Mediterranean the roots and, bam, I'm dark.