Archive for the ‘Fanatico Guides’ Category

Tennis is back after a brief hiatus and we’re a little anxious.

Let me clarify, I’m a little anxious.

This year’s holiday season saw your correspondent consume far too much alcohol. To make matters worse was the rampant cigarette abuse. As a smoker for sometime I knew about the highs and lows. One smoke one day can be followed by the decimation of a pack the next. This wasn’t that. My mouth was the equivalent of a landfill found near a McDonald’s rendering plant.

I decided to quit. I had to.

Seven days later I’m still going strong, and aside from lashing out at 2-3 people a day for no reason I’m doing well.

My relationship with the Australian Open goes back a long way, with most of my memories consisting of smoking a cigarette at 4 am while watching a quarterfinal.

I won’t have my vice this year, but the excitement is still there. The most wide open major of the year falls in the month of January, where rust is constant and upsets remain bountiful. Read the rest of this entry »

142nd Open Championship - PreviewsThe third major championship of the golf season kicks off Thursday morning, as the R&A hosts the Open Championship from Muirfield in Scotland. It’s the 142nd playing the Open, dating back to 1860 when Willie Park Sr. was victorious at Prestwick.

Below is a combination of event and course history, as well as what we can expect to see this week at Muirfield in the Fanatico A-Z Guide To The Open Championship.

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the-ashes-2009The imagery isn’t subtle.

Graphics departments from England’s biggest papers emblazoned their sports pages with images that featured country, captains and fire. It is called The Ashes. I will give them that.

In fact, both countries can be forgiven for the hype that has accompanied the latest installment of the Ashes. Between now and the beginning of January, England and Australia will have contested 10 test matches. Normally that number is five, but with officials from both countries looking ahead to future scheduling concerns, namely the 2015 World Cup that Australia will co-host, they decided to bite the bullet and move the return leg up 12 months.

The glut of matches hasn’t dissuaded fans from attending. Tickets have been sold out for several weeks, indicating the casual hatred that embodies this rivalry isn’t fading away anytime soon.

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In the future we won’t watch live sports on television, we’ll watch real-time GIFs paired with a live audio feed. In the future we won’t watch shows on television or Netflix, we’ll watch episode length GIFs synced with a soundtrack. In the future kids won’t trade sports or magic cards, they will trade GIF cards. In the future SBNation will publish a “longform” piece on the history of action cards from the 1980s and how they influenced GIF creation. It will be fantastic and exhausting.

In the future we won’t debate the pronunciation of the ‘g’ in gif, but we’ll debate whether the ‘I’ is pronounced /ai/ or /I/.

GIFs, man. They’ve taken over and these are the people making them…

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U.S. Open Preview DayThis week, all of the attention in the golf world will be focused on Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania for the 113th playing of the U.S. Open. Typically known as the toughest test in golf, the U.S. Open will challenge the players to be at their very best, as the USGA will be doing whatever they can to ensure that their reputation is upheld.

As for Merion, it’s the first time since 1981 that it will host the U.S. Open, so it’s a chance for a whole new generation of golf fans to see one of the world’s most iconic designs. The Fanatico A-Z Guide To The U.S. Open takes a look at what we can expect this week at Merion, as well as some of the historic value and moments that the event and course have provided us with over the past 117 years.

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TENNIS-FRA-OPEN-GARROSThe French Open has always held a sacred place in this tennis fan’s heart. Parisians aren’t like you or I. Fact is, they’re better. Whether it’s smoking cigarettes in the stands or vociferously booing players for no discernible reason, they do things their own way. Refined jerks add so much more to the sporting landscape with their hooting and demonstrative  sighing than the casual fan. The game – nay, the world – would be worse off without them.

Here’s looking at you, Satan.

We head into the second major of the year with less questions to answer than expected. Rafael Nadal’s knees have withstood the rigors of the European clay court season. Serena Williams dispatched Victoria Azarenka with ease in Rome, proving the only person who stands a chance of stopping Serena from winning her second French Open title is Serena herself. The favorites have made an impressive case, one so strong that seeing someone other than Nadal and Williams leave Roland Garros with a garish trophy and fat check in hand will be quite surprising.

It’s the ‘others’ that will intrigue in Paris. The others being the group of players that have a shot – however fleeting – at knocking off the overwhelming favorites. On the men’s side three names come to mind, all with their own personal demons when it comes to taking down Rafa on clay, let alone at a major. Roger Federer will need divine intervention to win it all, and no, Robin Soderling is not walking through that door. Novak Djokovic is the only hope for the anti Rafa crowd and he’s coming off an uncharacteristic loss to Tomas Berdych. The Czech big man could be this year’s Soderling. Unfortunately the words ‘could be ‘ have been synonymous with Berdych’s career up until this point.

On the women’s side there is slightly more belief. Serena bowed out in the first round last year, losing to Virginie Razzano in one of the biggest upsets in French Open history. Azarenka will be there at the end, as will Maria Sharapova. Unfortunately for those two their head-to-head numbers against Williams are terrible (4-25 combined).

Two weeks in Paris awaits.

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Pocono 400 - PracticeA long time ago, people watched sporting events without the benefit of social media. This is commonly referred to as the dark ages of sports. Then, in the late aughties, Darren Rovell brought us into the light when he invented Twitter for the dual-purpose of better commodifying the human experience and giving individual members of society a means by which we might inflict increased scorn upon one another for differing opinions on sports.

After this, we began to consume sports in an entirely different fashion, conversing in the most snarkish fashion imaginable while exchanging insults with people all around the world. It was a revolution.

And that revolution continues today, shifting the measurements by which we judge each other as sports fans. No longer do we consider how long one has supported a sports franchise to be telling of one’s status as a fan. Instead, we look to the amount of sick burns one has laid down on opposing players and fans of other teams. One’s success or failures in social media now informs one’s success or failures as a sports fan.

As it is with everything, there is an absolute right way and an absolute wrong way of using Twitter to follow sports. It’s black and white with absolutely no gray, whatsoever. As a self-proclaimed expert in this field, I get mentioned all the time on Twitter by followers asking me about proper social media etiquette. In order to avoid these requests from further polluting my @ mention feed, I thought I should share my depth of knowledge on issues pertaining to Twitter, as it specifically relates to sports fans in an easily accessed blog post.

And so, without further ado, here are the ten most important rules that exist for sports fans using social media.

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