Saturday, April 13

Sports

Sports

A Night at the Best Pickup Soccer Game in the World

As the players idled by the chain-link fence at the side of the field, taking great gulps of air and water and conducting an immediate autopsy of the game that had just finished, they focused their attention on three outstanding bones of contention. Instinctively, they separated into dedicated working groups to tackle each one.The first considered whether a penalty that had not been awarded absolutely should have been, as an aggrieved plaintiff was claiming. The second investigated if a particularly egregious foul was premeditated (yes) and/or warranted (also yes). The third explored the knotty issue of how many deflections preceded the last of the game’s 12 goals — estimates ranged from two to “about a million” — and whether allowing the goal could, therefore, reasonably be considered the...
Sports

Some Things Are More Important Than History

He didn’t care that it was a no-hitter. He just wanted the Yankees to win.More than five hours after we arrived at Yankee Stadium, my 9-year-old son, Wes, had waited in line for an hour in a rainstorm, collected his coveted (replica) 1998 Yankees World Series ring, talked me into buying him a T-shirt, visited the Gluten Free Grill twice, mourned the season-ending injury to Jasson Domínguez, cheered Aaron Judge so loudly that his voice was getting hoarse and brushed off every single mention I made that Corbin Burnes, the starter for the Milwaukee Brewers, was throwing an incredible game.While the rain delayed Sunday’s game between Milwaukee and the Yankees only 15 minutes, the soggy conditions persisted through the early innings and Burnes, the winner of the National League Cy Young Award i...
Sports

‘Run With Joy and Love’

On a glorious evening recently, the runner Markelle Taylor — otherwise known as “Markelle the Gazelle”— entered the dark sally port and crenelated towers of a place he was once overjoyed to leave behind: San Quentin State Prison. Accompanied by volunteer coaches from the prison’s 1000 Mile Club, Taylor, who was incarcerated for 18 years for second-degree murder, couldn’t wait to see his brothers, lifers all.Taylor, 50, fully earned his long standing nickname in 2019 at the San Quentin Marathon, where he barreled through 104 and a half laps around the prison yard with its gantlet of 90-degree turns, fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which he ran six weeks after his release.After he finished his sentence, Taylor sought to return as a mentor to his running buddies still inside. ...
Sports

They Shot at Her. They Forced Her From Her Home. She Won’t Stop Fighting for Girls.

Khalida Popal, the former captain of the Afghanistan women’s national soccer team, woke up on the floor of her apartment near Copenhagen, drenched in sweat and shaking.She had collapsed and couldn’t speak. An ambulance rushed to her.It was two years ago last month, and the Taliban were taking control of Afghanistan. Female soccer players on the national team Popal helped create in 2007 were desperate to leave the country, fearing that the Taliban would kill them for playing the sport.Players were deluging Popal with requests for help, and she felt smothered by guilt. For more than 15 years, much of that period spent in exile, she had encouraged Afghan girls to participate in all areas of society, including sports, jobs and education.The message was everything the Taliban despised.“I feel r...
Sports

The Dodgers Pile Up Wins and New Babies

Brusdar Graterol, a right-handed reliever for the Los Angeles Dodgers, will always remember the day he saw his teammate Max Muncy sprinting straight toward one of the greatest moments of his life.Muncy was not attempting to beat out an infield single. And Graterol was not standing on the mound or in the Dodgers’ bullpen.It was April 24, and the moment came in Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The rest of the Dodgers were in Pittsburgh. Graterol stepped out of the bathroom, saw a man dashing down the hallway, and said to himself, “Oh my God, that’s Muncy over there! He’s going to have the baby right now!”Graterol was well aware of what was happening because he and his wife, Allison, were quite busy in their own hospital room, also on the second floor of Cedars-Sinai, following the b...
Sports

The Liberty’s Game 1 WNBA Playoff Win Against the Mystics, in Photos

Liberty fans have waited 27 seasons for a W.N.B.A. title, and on Friday night, it showed. The atmosphere at Barclays Center was electric for New York’s opening postseason game against the Washington Mystics.Fans waved white playoff towels, booed every call that didn’t go their way and cheered for each celebrity featured on the scoreboard, including Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel Peace Prize winner; the tennis great Billie Jean King; and Teresa Weatherspoon, the former Liberty star. Members of the team’s N.B.A. counterparts, the Brooklyn Nets, were also in attendance.Those fans were rewarded with a Liberty win, 90-75, behind 29 points from Sabrina Ionescu and 20 from Jonquel Jones. The game started as a tense back-and-forth affair, but the Liberty took a narrow lead into halftime, and they never...
Sports

After Rubiales’ Restraining Order, Spain’s Women’s Team Makes Demands

Shortly before the roster was due to be announced for the Spanish women’s first international soccer match since their World Cup victory, the Royal Spanish Football Federation postponed the event until further notice.It became clear why five minutes later, when Spain’s star players made public a list of demands for a top-to-bottom reorganization of the federation, Spain’s soccer governing body.The events came the same day as a restraining order was granted against Luis Rubiales, the former head of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, the country’s governing body. Mr. Rubiales, who appeared in court Friday on charges of sexual assault against a star forward, Jennifer Hermoso, whom he forcibly kissed after the team won the World Cup in August, must stay 200 meters, or more than 650 feet, a...
Sports

Why Do Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez Keep Playing for the Same Team?

They are from different parts of the world. They have different backgrounds and fill different roles on a pitching staff. They are both 29 and have pitched for four different major league organizations. Each has been traded twice and waived once.Against all odds, and across many miles, the right-handed pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López keep finding each other.In fact, in their professional careers, they have almost never been apart.“I thought it was kind of a peculiar stat,” said Cleveland’s Terry Francona, the latest manager to oversee a pitching staff that includes Giolito, a starter, and López, a reliever.Peculiar is one word for an odyssey that became even odder as the pair bounced to three different teams this summer.“Very unique, that’s for sure,” Giolito said. “I don’t know ...
Sports

His Team Was a Chaotic Punchline. Then He Found a New Spot in the Sport.

The University of Louisville football team’s fortunes are unlikely to rise and fall on the squat legs of Mario Agyen, a 5-foot-7, 190-pound, walk-on running back who joined the team in the middle of last season after an end-of-summer tryout.Still, amid the daily reminders of where he stands in the team’s 114-player hierarchy, Agyen rarely forgets the distance he traveled to get there, leaving home in the Bronx five years ago with little more than a dufflebag stuffed with clothes, $1.98 in his bank account and an inexhaustible supply of determination to be a college football player.Now, when he takes the elevator up to the football players’ commissary each morning, choosing what type of egg-white omelet a chef will prepare for him, and how much fresh fruit, turkey bacon, pearl sugar waffles...
Sports

Spain’s Female Soccer Players Call Off Wage Dispute Strike

Players in Spain’s women’s soccer league have called off a strike that delayed the opening of the season after reaching an agreement with the league over minimum salaries, a rare moment of harmony in what has been an acrimonious period in Spanish soccer.The agreement, confirmed early Thursday, would raise the minimum salary for players in the league to 21,000 euros, or about $22,500, from 16,000 euros this season, a significant increase but still far short of what their male counterparts make.The minimum is scheduled to rise to €23,500 for the 2025-2026 season, with the potential for an even higher benchmark “if enough profits are obtained from commercial assets,” such as sponsorship, according to a statement from the unions representing the players.Spanish soccer is in the midst of a turb...