Debate over soccer stadium funding highlights divisions in St. Louis,” Howler, 3/31/17

“The disconnect between these would-be MLS diehards and the working poor of the city’s North Side runs deep, and it often makes the arguments marshaled by SC STL’s boosters in the media ring hollow. When local sports columnist Benjamin Hochman expresses his fear that without an MLS team, St. Louis could become ‘complacent and plain,’ he’s writing it in a city that is already a cruel, desolate dystopia for its permanent black underclass. When stadium proponents deploy platitudes about being ‘progressive’ and ‘building a better St. Louis,’ they’re doing so in a city that simply cannot afford to be confused any longer about what real progress looks like.”

‘Worrying What the Flash Means’: How We Talk About Race in Baseball,” Double Birds, 8/23/16

“Findings like these shouldn’t really be all that surprising—not when an even larger and more robust body of social-psychological research has produced mountains of evidence that implicit bias remains a powerful force that still shapes the world we live in, even as malicious and overt racism has become rarer and far less socially acceptable. But they demonstrate that such biases can exist even in the meritocratic, hypernumerical realm of baseball, where in theory players can be judged against one another solely by objective measures of performance. The ugly business of the real world has a way of intruding whether we like it or not.”

Among the Brands,” Eight by Eight, 8/6/15

“Few things earn more regular scorn from writers than the insipid, mechanical language of digital marketing: brandcontentplatformengagementoptimization. We fashion ourselves tastemakers, gatekeepers, producers and arbiters of culture; to watch the information economy relentlessly commodify and systematize functions that have long been exclusively ours is an unsettling experience. There’s a latent anxiety to it all that anyone, not just media types, can tap into if they’re neurotic enough: will technology reduce all of life’s once-ineffable cultural riches to cells on a marketing analyst’s spreadsheet? Are our tastes and loyalties just patterns waiting to be identified by an algorithm? When everything is data, measurable and manipulable, what’s left?”

Obafemi Martins, An Answer,” The Classical, 11/3/14

“So much of our engagement with sports comes through an endless parade of half-answerable questions. We need grist for the sports-media mill, fodder for takes, jumping-off points from which calls can be taken and debate embraced and the loud illusion of participatory discourse maintained. …

For fans of a league that has yet to play its 20th season, the iterations of these questions are inevitably far more existential in nature. What even is Major League Soccer? What do we want it to be? What might it become, and when?”

The Best American Player at the World Cup Has Already Gone Home,” Vice Sports, 6/30/14

“But it’s a fault line that runs through American soccer culture at large. Fans of the USMNT love to shake their fists at players like Giuseppe Rossi and Neven Subotic, who snubbed the U.S. to pursue international careers with more distinguished sides, and—often in the next breath—question the motives and commitment of dual nationals like Jermaine Jones and Fabian Johnson who made the opposite choice. You hear much less about Vedad Ibiševic, a world-class attacker who in 2008 told the New York Times that he likely would have accepted a U.S. call-up if he had ever been approached.”

Full archives

at The Classical; at Double Birds; at Eight by Eight; at Paste Magazine; at Slant Magazine; at VICE Sports.