For baseball’s small-market October party crashers, the key to getting to the postseason was going global in the search of out-of-this-world talent. When Dan Duquette took over as general manager of the Orioles last November, he inherited a losing team pinned to the cellar floor of the American League East. As he searched for the fastest way to turn Baltimore into a winner, Duquette identified the international market as the quickest route to relevance.
For the first time ever, fans of Sports Illustrated’s official Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SportsIllustrated) had the opportunity to submit their photos for the chance to land on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The Sports Illustrated Cover Challenge allowed fans to submit their own photos demonstrating team spirit and unbridled school passion. Sports Illustrated editors selected a Final Four among the entries and included them on this week’s annual NCAA Tournament Preview cover, that hits newsstands today.
For nearly 60 years the cover of Sports Illustrated has defined the story of the day in sports. Upon its release, the iconic cover image stirs a spectrum of passionate dialog, debate, celebration, criticism and for those who believe in jinxes, fear.
The annual NCAA Tournament preview issue, one of the most anticipated issues of the year, features a collection of players, mascots and fans from all 68 men’s teams and the top women’s teams. In years past, the photos have always been captured by the capable cameras of Sports Illustrated photographers, until now.
“In December, for the first time ever, Sports Illustrated allowed fans to make the editorial selection of our iconic cover,” said Mark Mravic, assistant managing editor, Sports Illustrated. “Now, we took it a step further, by providing fans the opportunity to actually put themselves on the cover.”
The winners are:
UNC baby: Scott McKellar’s infant son Jack McKellar
Michigan Wolverine: Dan Mickelson
Memphis cheerleader: Chris Smith’s daughter Aniston Smith
Baylor fan: Dean Sandifer
See if you can find their photos on this week’s cover here
ALSO PREMIERING IN THIS WEEK’S ISSUE:
Beginning today, the Sports Illustrated Magazine app for smartphones adds groundbreaking technology that combines a universal scan tool capable of reading all print-to-mobile-action codes and an enhanced augmented print viewer into one device. This technological enhancement coincides with today’s debut of the Sports Illustrated Magazine app for the iPhone. Previously, the Sports Illustrated Magazine smartphone app was available exclusively for Android smartphones.
This new technology is on full display with the SI NCAA Basketball Tournament Preview set to hit newsstands today. Readers can use their smartphone to scan the cover gatefold in order to view six computer-generated images “floating” over the cover image collage. Those images are clickable and will launch exclusive videos including one which announces Sports Illustrated’s College Basketball Players of the Year and another announcing SI’s Coaches of the Year. Additional videos include: SI Senior Writer Seth Davis’ providing an NCAA Tournament preview; a compilation of fan videos; SI’s stories of the year and a feature on great moments from the 2011-12 season.
“So often the conversation about technology revolves around new devices. What we’re really excited about is the potential to use technology to bring print pages to life in surprising ways,” said Terry McDonell, Time Inc. Sports Group Editor.
Read more about it here
How Robert Kraft’s Instincts Turned the Patriots into the NFL’s Model Franchise:
Just over six-months ago, as the NFL lockout dragged on, only the most optimistic fans believed there would be a Super Bowl XLVI. When the players and owners finally reached an agreement, Patriots owner Robert Kraft stood out among his peers. Kraft, who was grieving for the loss of his wife, Myra, who died during the negotiations, was a vital force throughout. Senior writer Peter King (@SI_Peter King) spent time last week with Kraft to discuss the transformation of his franchise since he bought the team following the ’93 season.
Kraft acknowledges that the Patriots success over the years is due to the unorthodox decisions he has made including spending too much to buy the team, hiring Bill Belichick and trading Drew Bledsoe. Kraft says, “The key to life is you try to see things other people can’t see. This league is set up for everyone to go 8 – 8. How do you differentiate? You have to be bold in any business and do things you take a lot of criticism for but you believe are right.”
Kraft appears on the Feb. 6, 2011 cover of Sports Illustrated. This is the first time the Patriot’ owner has ever appeared on the cover.
Following their triumph in the AFC Championship Game, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots appear on the cover of this week’s Jan. 30, 2012, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands today. This is the 27th time the Patriots have appeared on the cover, and Tom Brady’s 24th appearance. They last appeared on the Jan 9, 2012 issue.
This week’s SI recaps the last Sunday’s epic NFC & AFC Championship Games, as well as looking forward to the “REMATCH” between the New York Giants and New England Patriots:
AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: ONE MORE FOR MYRA – DAMON HACK (@SI_DamonHack)
During the off-season, Patriots owner Robert Kraft lost his wife, Myra, to cancer. She was an extended mother to the players and her loss deeply affected the entire franchise. After the Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens to win the AFC championship, in thrilling fashion, Kraft spent some time by himself, choked up by emotions from both the win and for not being able to share the victory with his “sweetheart.” The players felt the emotion as well (page 38):
- Said WR Deion Branch: “Mr. Kraft has done a great job keeping himself together. I can’t even fathom how the guy is feeling right now, for us to have an opportunity to play for another Super Bowl without his better half. It’s special, but at the same time it’s bittersweet.”
- Said LB Brandon Spikes: “I told Mr. Kraft I was going to leave it all on the field for Myra. I personally wanted to come out and get that game for her and for him. I told him not to worry about a thing.”
NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN – PETER KING (@SI_PeterKing)
The NFC Championship Game had the feel of old school football, defense, defense and more defense. The New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers battled through four quarters and into overtime. The game ended with a winning overtime field goal from Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes, eerily similar to his game winning in the ’07 NFC Championship Game. As the Giants press on, much of the credit for their playoff run can be given to the strong bond between head coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning (page 33):
Coughlin notes, “Eli’s just so….so….reliable. Totally reliable. Trustworthy. Smart. Tremendously hardworking. Consistent as the day is long. What I love about him is, I know what he’s doing 365 days a year. He’s doing something that will help us win football games.”
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia graces the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated — dated Aug. 15, 2010, and on newsstands Wednesday — with the billing “Heart of the Red Sox.” Pedroia is the first Red Sox player to appear on the cover since Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz on the 2008 Baseball Preview (March 31, 2008). The last member of the Red Sox to have the cover all to himself was Jonathan Papelbon (Nov. 5, 2007).
Since 1988, The Red Sox are the only major league team to feature players from all nine positions — plus a starting pitcher, closer and DH — on the cover of SI. The list includes:
- C: Jason Varitek (Oct. 25, 1999)
- 1B: Mo Vaughn (Oct. 2, 1995)
- 2B: Pedroia, Mark Bellhorn (Nov. 1, 2004)
- SS: Nomar Garciaparra (March 5, 2001)
- 3B: Wade Boggs (April 14, 1986 and March 6, 1989)
- LF: Manny Ramirez (July 5, 2004)
- CF: Ellsbury, Johnny Damon (Nov. 8, 2004 and April 4, 2005)
- RF: Dwight Evans (Sept. 26, 1988)
- SP: Buchholz, Roger Clemens (May 12, 1986 and May 13, 1991); Pedro Martinez (April 20, 1998; May 27, 2000; Nov. 8, 2004); Curt Schilling (Sept. 13, 2004 and Nov. 8, 2004)
- CL: Papelbon (Nov. 5, 2007 and Oct. 1, 2007)
- DH: David Ortiz (Nov. 8, 2004 and June 19, 2006)