Based on unique access to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and its rival organizations,Blood in the Cagepeers through the chain-link Octagon into the frighteningly seductive world of mixed martial arts, which has exploded in popularity despite resistance. Wertheim focuses on Pat Miletich, who runs the most famous MMA training school in the world. Single-handedly Miletich has transformed a gritty town on the Mississippi into an unlikely hotbed for his sport. He has also transformed many an average Joe into a walking weapon of destruction. Wertheim intertwines Miletich's own life story, by turns tragic and triumphant, with the larger story of the unholy rise of the UFC, from its controversial, back alley roots to the fastest-growing sports enterprise in America. Blood in the Cagetakes readers behind the scenes, right down to the mat, from a punch in the kidney to the ping of the cash register, as Wertheim brilliantly exposes the no-holds-barred reality of the blood sport for a new generation.
From two senior Sports Illustrated writers comes an explosive, fast-paced satire that will do for today's NBA what North Dallas Forty did for the NFL a generation ago. Just months from his Yale graduation, street-smart whiz kid Jamal Kelly leaves school to take a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join the front office of the Los Angeles Lasers. Once on the West Coast, Jamal gets a quick introduction to a subculture awash in big egos and fast cars, as well as an introduction to the charms of the team's new hard-charging beat writer, Jilly Forrester. In the spirit of Primary Colors and The Devil Wears Prada, Foul Lines peels back the curtain on the trappings of big-time professional basketball. No other sport encapsulates so many cultural hot-button topics, and Foul Lines at once exposes and lampoons this parallel universe.
New kid Mitch Sloan wants to fit in, but his nerdy love of statistics and making money isn't winning him any friends in his sports-loving town--until he finds the perfect way to attain instant popularity. But running a football betting ring at school eventually turns sour, and Mitch loses the only real friend he's made. He'll have to win her back by using his brainpower for good and helping the school football team achieve victory--if they'll listen to the advice of a former bookie!
Running the Table spins the outrageous tale of Kid Delicious, an affable skilled pool shark from New Jersey, and his studly if less talented setup man, Bristol Bob. Wertheim follows this mismatched pair of sidekicks as they go underground to learn the art of the hustle while experiencing the highs and lows of life on the road. Their four-year odyssey takes them from podunk pool halls to slick urban billiard rooms across America, some nights taking down as much as $30,000 and others ending up with just enough gas money to get home. With every stop the action gets hotter, the calls get closer, and Delicious's prowess with a cue stick becomes more widely known. Ultimately the Kid sheds his cover, becoming perhaps the biggest sensation in professional pool since Minnesota Fats. Wertheim paints a lasting portrait of an insanely talented and magnetic hustler who is literally larger than life.
In Scorecasting, University of Chicago behavioral economist Tobias Moskowitz teams up with veteran Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim to overturn some of the most cherished truisms of sports, and reveal the hidden forces that shape how basketball, baseball, football, and hockey games are played, won and lost.Drawing from Moskowitz's original research, as well as studies from fellow economists such as bestselling author Richard Thaler, the authors look at: the influence home-field advantage has on the outcomes of games in all sports and why it exists; the surprising truth about the universally accepted axiom that defense wins championships; the subtle biases that umpires exhibit in calling balls and strikes in key situations; the unintended consequences of referees' tendencies in every sport to "swallow the whistle," and more.Among the insights that Scorecasting reveals:Why Tiger Woods is prone to the same mistake in high-pressure putting situations that you and I areWhy professional teams routinely overvalue draft picks The myth of momentum or the "hot hand" in sports, and why so many fans, coaches, and broadcasters fervently subscribe to itWhy NFL coaches rarely go for a first down on fourth-down situations--even when their reluctance to do so reduces their chances of winning.In an engaging narrative that takes us from the putting greens of Augusta to the grid iron of a small parochial high school in Arkansas, Scorecasting will forever change how you view the game, whatever your favorite sport might be.From the Hardcover edition.
Moskowitz, a University of Chicago behavioral economist, teams up with veteran "Sports Illustrated" writer Wertheim to look at the hidden influences and subtle biases that shape and sway sports behavior and outcomes.
In the 2008 Wimbledon men's final, Centre Court was a stage set worthy of Shakespearean drama. Five-time champion Roger Federer was on track to take his rightful place as the most dominant player in the history of the game. He just needed to cling to his trajectory. So in the last few moments of daylight, Centre Court witnessed a coronation. Only it wasn't a crowning for the Swiss heir apparent but for a swashbuckling Spaniard. Twenty-two-year-old Rafael Nadal prevailed, in five sets, in what was, according to the author, "essentially a four-hour, forty-eight-minute infomercial for everything that is right about tennis--a festival of skill, accuracy, grace, strength, speed, endurance, determination, and sportsmanship." It was also the encapsulation of a fascinating rivalry, hard fought and of historic proportions.In the tradition of John McPhee's classic Levels of the Game, Strokes of Genius deconstructs this defining moment in sport, using that match as the backbone of a provocative, thoughtful, and entertaining look at the science, art, psychology, technology, strategy, and personality that go into a single tennis match.With vivid, intimate detail, Wertheim re-creates this epic battle in a book that is both a study of the mechanics and art of the game and the portrait of a rivalry as dramatic as that of Ali-Frazier, Palmer-Nicklaus, and McEnroe-Borg.
This is Your Brain on Sports is the book for sports fans searching for a deeper understanding of the games they watch and the people who play them. Sports Illustrated executive editor and bestselling author L. Jon Wertheim teams up with Tufts psychologist Sam Sommers to take readers on a wild ride into the inner world of sports. Through the prism of behavioral economics, neuroscience, and psychology, they reveal the hidden influences and surprising cues that inspire and derail us--on the field and in the stands--and by extension, in corporate board rooms, office settings, and our daily lives. In this irresistible narrative romp, Wertheim and Sommers usher us from professional football to the NBA to Grand Slam tennis, from the psychology of athletes self-handicapping their performance in the boxing ring or the World Series, to an explanation of why even the glimpse of a finish line can lift us beyond ordinary physical limits. They explore why Tom Brady and other starting NFL quarterbacks all seem to look like fashion models; why fans of teams like the Cubs, Mets, and any franchise from Cleveland love rooting for a loser; why the best players make the worst coaches; why hockey goons (and fans) would rather fight at home than on the road; and why the arena t-shirt cannon has something to teach us about human nature. This is Your Brain on Sports is an entertaining and thought-provoking journey into how psychology and behavioral science collide with the universe of wins-and-losses, coaching changes, underdogs, and rivalry games.
A behind-the-scenes look at the hugely popular and often controversial world of women's tennis featuring such household names as Venus and Serena Williams and Anna Kournikova. At a time when attendance and TV ratings for women's tennis are at an all-time high, Sports Illustrated writer L.Jon Wertheim, draws on his investigative talents and knowledge of the game to infiltrate the heretofore closed locker rooms of the women's tour and chronicle this remarkable era in the sport's history. With a narrative sweep that rockets along like a Venus Williams serve, it takes the reader from the year's first Grand Slam tournament--where a top player ignited a firestorm of controversy when she decided to come out-- to Venus' epochal victory at Wimbledon to the U.S. Open where Serena Williams defends her title and all the whistle-stop tournaments in between where the Russian vixen Anna Kournikova sent hormonally challenged teenagers, not to mention male sportswriters, into a frenzy, Venus Envy offers the reader the equivalent of a center-court seat and an all-access locker room pass. The book will contain a wealth of previously unreported, inside-the-locker room anecdotes about the marquee names in women's tennis and should engender much off-the-book-page coverage. There are more identifiable stars than ever before and the rivalries are intense and often rancorous. The book will even appeal to those readers with only a passing interest in tennis since many of the players have transcended the sport, appearing on the covers of magazine like GQ, Rolling Stone and Vogue.
One of America's most respected sportscasters--and the play-by-play voice of NBC's Sunday Night Football--gives us a behind-the-curtain look at some of the most thrilling games and fascinating figures in modern sports.No sportscaster has covered more major sporting events than Al Michaels. During the course of his forty-plus-year career, he has logged more hours on live primetime network television than anyone in history, having covered all four major sports championships--the Super Bowl, the World Series, the NBA finals, and the Stanley Cup final--as well as the Olympic Games, the Triple Crown, and many more. He has witnessed firsthand some of the most memorable events in sports, and in this highly personal and entertaining account, he brings them all vividly to life.Michaels's stories cover unforgettable chapters over the past half century--from the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics' "Miracle on Ice" to the earthquake that rocked the 1989 World Series to the drama of what many consider the most exciting Super Bowl ever--Super Bowl XLIII between the Steelers and the Cardinals. Some of the biggest personalities on and off the field are here--Pete Rose, John Wooden, Brett Favre, Tommy Lasorda, O. J. Simpson, John Madden, Cris Collinsworth, Roone Arledge, Bill Parcells, Tiger Woods, Doc Rivers, Dennis Miller, and many, many more. Complementing access with insight, Michaels adds to the stories you thought you knew: Michael Jordan's eyesight; Howard Cosell's prickly, bombastic personality; even Peyton and Eli Manning's sibling rivalry. From start to finish, Al Michaels gives us an up-close portrait of an industry that is--today more than ever--a vital part of our national culture.
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