Regional SI Cover Salutes Boston’s Strength; S.L. Price Writes on Relief, Resolve and the Hard Truth that our Games Will Never be the SamePosted: April 23, 2013
The April 29, 2013 SI also features a regional cover of Boston Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes pumping his fists in the air after beginning a game-winning rally with a double in Saturdays’ emotional victory at Fenway Park. The image falls under the headline: “Strong. Triumph After Tragedy”. SI managing editor Chris Stone on why this regional cover was chosen:
“From a sports context, Boston Strong was the story in New England this weekend, especially on Saturday, the day after the lockdown and the capture of the second of the Marathon bombing suspects. There it is: a Sox player flexing his guns after hitting a double to start a game-winning rally. At that moment, I don’t know if there’s any image that could have better captured the mood.”
Inside SI, senior writer S.L. Price writes that the apparent end to last week’s terror resulted in a weekend to celebrate in Boston, a time for civic pride and a time to proclaim that the Marathon will be bigger and stronger next year. However, as the period of relief settles down, Price says now is the time to ask what can be done to avoid a similar tragedy in the future.
“The celebrations will pass and new tougher, darker questions are going to have to be considered—S.L. Price, who’s been in Boston for more than a week, explains this convincingly and hauntingly in this week’s issue,” says Stone.
Price raises questions about terrorism security at future sporting events. He spoke to Rey Mey, a former FBI counter-terrorism expert now working as an international security consultant. Mey was concerned by the lack of security at the finish line of the Boston Marathon and tells Price that we can’t go forward with the same attitudes toward public safety at sporting events because these types of incidents aren’t going away. He says Marathon day is “really something special. But with the society we live in, it’s never going to be the same. (Page 58)
The future of such events is already changing shape. Price notes that the planning power will shift from event planners to security officials. Sunday’s London Marathon, for instance, was staffed by 40% more police than usual.
Price says: “Marathons that end on congested areas surrounded by storefronts and offices could well find their traditional courses altered…crowds lining the route will face increased scrutiny and hassle, and more popular races could erect temporary, ‘sanitized’ stands for family and friends. Undercover operatives, some armed with pole-cameras that stream back to monitors viewed in real-time, will move among the crowds. Entry fees will rise. Ticketing may become mandatory.” (PAGE 58)
This week’s SPORTS ILLUSTRATED features a documentary style of storytelling on the deadly explosions at Monday’s Boston Marathon. We sat down with Chris Stone, SI Managing Editor, to discuss the process of putting together this week’s SI.
With Monday being the weekly deadline for the magazine, how did the process go yesterday?
Stone: With the deadline rapidly approaching soon after the tragedy occurred, our team of editors and writers quickly worked together to provide our readers with coverage that is highly personal and emotional. And we had to change this week’s SI Cover at the last minute with a photo from the many that were coming in from the scene.
Why did you go with this cover?
Stone: After meeting with senior editors late Monday afternoon, we chose to run the cover photo because we felt it truly captured the horrific moment at the end of the race—there’s a fallen runner, police with their guns drawn and loose debris from the explosion. Inside SI, we wanted to help tell the story through photos and words (as written on the cover). We dedicated the entire Leading Off section to photos from Boston. They are extremely emotional and do a great job of chronicling the chaos that ensued.
With little time to spare, how did you decide on what content to run?
Stone: One of our best writers—S.L. Price—was in Boston on another assignment, staying in a hotel frequented by many runners just three miles from the finish line. After interviewing runners and witnesses, he wrote brilliantly in our Scorecard on the state of shock felt by those there in Boston and how the great city sadly joins a growing list of suffering cities that have been struck by tragedy. We felt strongly about putting this article up immediately on SI.com as well. You can read it here.
In addition, we ran a highly personal essay from Steve Rushin in the Point After section. Rushin recalls experiencing Boston and its beloved marathon in happier times with his eight-year-old daughter last summer. We felt this essay was a very suitable way to end our coverage. This article is also online here.
How will SI continue to cover this story?
Stone: I am extremely proud of the great work done by our team to close an issue focusing on such a horrific tragedy at the 11th hour of our weekly deadline. As details continue to emerge, SI.com and the SI iPad app will have on-the-scene coverage from Boston.
SI Baseball Preview: Standings Predictions, Takes from Rival Scouts, Award Winners, and Stat ProjectionsPosted: March 26, 2013
This week’s SI Baseball Preview features 42 pages of scouting reports with standings and playoff predictions, stat projections from rotowire.com and takes on every team from rival scouts. Click here to read about the six regional covers and why this is the generation of the strikeout.
Here are SI’s predictions, quotes from scouts and projected stats from rotowire.com:
American League Standings Predictions
AL EAST AL Central AL West
- Rays 1. Tigers 1. Angels
- Blue Jays 2. Royals 2. Rangers
- Yankees 3. White Sox 3. A’s
- Orioles 4. Indians 4. Mariners
- Red Sox 5. Twins 5. Astros
National League Standings Predictions
NL EAST NL Central NL West
- Nationals 1. Reds 1. Giants
- Braves 2. Cardinals 2. Dodgers
- Phillies 3. Brewers 3. Diamondbacks
- Mets 4. Pirates 4. Padres
- Marlins 5. Cubs 5. Rockies
American League National League
Wild-Card Playoff Wild-Card Playoff
Blue Jays over Rangers Dodgers over Braves
Division Series Division Series
Blue Jays over Angels Nationals over Dodgers
Rays over Tigers Reds over Giants
Championship Series Championship Series
Rays over Blue Jays Nationals over Reds
Nationals over Rays
Enemy Lines: A rival scout’s take on each of the predicted division winners:
Rays: “The team is deceiving as hell. Outside of Evan Longoria, you say, where are the stars? But all the Rays have a good approach at the plate, and they find ways to score runs.” (Page 72)
Tigers: “This is how it’s done: They spent money and made trades with prospects to get quality big league players to build a veteran team.” (Page 81)
Angels: “Their system is lean. This is a team that’s built to win now.” (Page 84)
Nationals: “Top to bottom, this is a really good team—they’re better than they were last year.” (Page 94)
Reds: “There aren’t weaknesses here. They’ll be back in position again in October, with an even more dangerous team.” (Page 100)
Giants: “Their obvious strength is the rotation with Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito. But their depth beyond that is a concern if someone goes down.” (PAGE 106)
SI Baseball Preview: Award Winners and Stat Projections
AL Best Bets by Ben Reiter
AL MVP: Mike Trout, Angels
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander, Tigers
Rookie of the Year: Jurickson Profar, Rangers
Mr. Irreplaceable: Robinson Cano, Yankees
Breakout Hitter: Yoenis Cespedes, A’s
Breakout Pitcher: Alex Cobb, Rays
Rotowire.com AL Stat Projection Leaders
AVG: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (.335)
HR: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays (44)
RBI: Cabrera (126)
OBP: Cabrera (.420)
SLG: Cabrera (.618)
SB: Michael Bourn, Indians and Mike Trout, Angels (50)
Runs: Trout (121)
Wins: Verlander, Price, Yu Darvish and Jered Weaver (18)
ERA: Fernando Rodney, Rays (1.92)
WHIP: Koji Uehara, Red Sox (.745)
Saves: Rodney (41)
K/9: Al Alburquerque, Detroit (12.5)
NL Best Bets by Albert Chen
NL MVP: Bryce Harper, Nationals
NL Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
Rookie of the Year: Adam Eaton, Diamondbacks
Mr. Irreplaceable: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
Breakout Hitter: Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks
Breakout Pitcher: Kris Medlen, Braves
Rotowire.com Stat Projection Leaders
AVG: Joey Votto, Reds (.323)
HR: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins (43)
RBI: Ryan Braun, Brewers (115)
OBP: Votto (.443)
SLG: Braun (.606)
SB: Ben Revere, Phillies (46)
Runs: Bryce Harper, Nationals (111)
Wins: Strasburg, Kershaw, Gio Gonzalez and Adam Wainwright (17)
ERA: Craig Kimbrel, Braves (1.54)
WHIP: Kimbrel (.843)
Saves: Kimbrel (41)
K/9: Kimbrel (15.6)
Sports Illustrated and SI.com have everything college basketball fans need when it comes to March Madness coverage. Leading up to the NCAA tournament, SI.com gave readers up-to-the-minute daily news and analysis, while the magazine spread its preview coverage over two weeks and also published a special issue commemorating the 75th anniversary of the NCAA basketball tournament.
Complete tournament coverage going forward, including news, analysis and daily wrap-ups from every site can be found on SI.com and in our new college basketball blog, One And ONE. Additionally, SI.com will produce over 100 videos devoted to the big dance. In the magazine we will give readers an inside look at a team you’ll be hearing a lot about as we get deeper into the tournament.
How does all this college hoops coverage come together? We sat down with B.J. Schecter (SI.com Executive Editor) and Trisha Blackmar (SI Senior Editor) to discuss how they plan SI’s March Madness coverage.
When did you start preparing for the NCAA Tournament coverage?
Schecter: Since we have so many great writers on staff to produce compelling college basketball content, we decided to preview the tournament across two weeks in the magazine and of course daily on SI.com. Preparation for this type of work started months ago.
Blackmar: We really started planning once the season began. Throughout the season, we have to decide if it’s better to run a good story right away or save it for the tournament previews. The planning of specific stories probably started in the beginning of February—that’s when we compiled a short list for who could be featured on covers, top feature stories, etc.
What are the biggest challenges in managing this process?
Blackmar: For the magazine, the biggest challenge has to be the timing in relation to our deadlines since we are a weekly. We have to run stories on players that are guaranteed to make the tournament.
Schecter: Getting all of the content out is a huge challenge since there is so much we can do. That’s a big reason we launched the new One And One blog on March 4. It provides one place to find the heartbeat of our coverage during the tournament. For the magazine, once our issue comes out next week, we are well on to the next round. So writers at each site can file to this new blog quickly and frequently to give readers a flavor of the tournament in real time.
How does the magazine work with SI.com?
Schecter: The tournament is such a beast, so the magazine folks and SI.com must work together. There is so much potential content to push out and some things lend themselves better to print or the web. For instance, in the special 75th anniversary issue, Trisha ran a story profiling the top 10 march madness players of all time. On SI.com we were able to run the complete list of 75. We will also have over 100 videos dedicated to college basketball throughout the tournament on SI.com. Lastly, some features run in both the magazine and SI.com, like Tim Layden’s excellent piece on Victor Oladipo.
How are you preparing coverage for next week?
Blackmar: We’re trying something we’ve never done before in the magazine, so we’re hoping the games go our way.
Schecter: We have so many writers ready to produce great content, but we obviously have to see what happens as well. A major upset or individual performance will change what we decide to feature on the website and in the magazine. We ask our writers to constantly be in touch with us and we go from there. Our team must be versatile and ready to write in many different formats.
What can you tell me about the SI team of college basketball writers?
Schecter: We have the best team of writers in the business. At SI, we stay away from the “pack” mentality – which is your normal press conferences, open practices, etc. Our writers go in other directions to find different angles. They talk to assistant coaches, the 12th man on a team or the head coach as he walks to the team bus.
Blackmar: Our writers are extremely talented. They have so many years of experience reporting on the biggest stories in college basketball. They key is that our team has built relationships—with coaches and players—that allow us to tell the stories that nobody else does.
Analytics are becoming bigger in basketball – how do you incorporate that in SI’s NCAA coverage?
Blackmar: These stats are a great way to cut through all the noise. Luke Winn had a great piece in this week’s issue detailing how every national champion from the past 10 years has ranked in the top 20 of kenpom.com’s ratings for both offensive and defensive efficiency.
Schecter: It’s becoming part of the fabric of college basketball. The more we can break it down and show how it impacts games and thinking, the better off our readers are. For instance, Pete Thamel just wrote a story about Drew Cannon, an assistant coach at Butler who was hired to use analytics to advice head coach Brad Stevens. (Click here to read the article)
Who do you predict will win this year’s title?
Blackmar: Kelli Anderson picked Louisville to win it all in this week’s magazine and I’m sticking with her pick. The Cardinals were neck and neck with Indiana for being No. 1 in the preseason and now they are playing perhaps the best basketball in the nation when it matters most—in March.
Schecter: This year is really tough since there aren’t as many dominant teams like in previous years. It’s hard to pick against Louisville, but I also feel any of the Big 10 teams have a chance since it was the strongest conference this season. Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan all have a good shot. But be ready for a lot of upsets and a really exciting tournament.
With NCAA women’s basketball programs such as Baylor, Connecticut, Sanford and Notre Dame all sporting a stand out star-player, their teammates can fall casually into the background of the glory and media that surrounds the stars. In this week’s SPORTS ILLUSTRATED senior writer Kelli Anderson takes a look behind those star players at their equally astounding teammates who fill key roles on these contenders.
Mikaela Ruef has gone from the far end of Stanford’s bench to the second leading rebounder on the surging Cardinals roster. Her eccentric personality and unselfish play on the court make her a force to be reckoned with. Upon defending Baylor superstar Britney Griner in her first Stanford start, Ruef was able to stifle the effectiveness of Griner and help Cardinals hand the Bears their first loss in 44 games.
Jordan Madden not only moved positions to be a lady Bear, she altered her offensive driven basketball philosophy to become a top notch defender. While Griner is credited for much of Baylor’s success, Madden has made it her mission to be disruptive at every opportunity to give Griner and the Baylor offense the chance to put up their record setting numbers.
“She makes players take the extra dribble or get rid of the ball a half-second quicker than they want to,” explained Baylor associate head coach Bill Brock. “She does all the little intangible things defensively that do not show up in the box score” (PAGE 61).
Another featured player is Kelly Farris, a hard-nosed guard from Connecticut that has found a way to make herself relevant on both sides of the ball. Her 10.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 4.0 assists a game have made her a problem for opponents, but not enough to give her the proper recognition she deserves.
“Kids like Kelly are underappreciated because they aren’t spectacular at anything,” said Connecticut coach, Geno Auriemma. “But what matters to us is that she’s really, really good at a lot of thing” (PAGE 62).
The Cruise Director
And then there is Natalie Achonwa, the vocal forward from Notre Dame whose knack for organization and order has made her the unequivocal vocal leader of the fighting Irish, and her 9.3 rebounds have made her stand out to her opponents as well. While she may not be the super star player that announcers praise on a regular basis, her impact on the court can be felt by those she leaves in wake on the way to the NCAA tournament.