The Weekly Roundup

As we arrive at the conclusion of another week, the team at TPT wanted to take a moment to reflect on a few of the posts that we’ve put up on the site that you might have missed (it’s okay, these things happen) while also highlighting a few other stories from around the web that caught our eye. Here’s our Weekly Roundup:

“Just a Kid from Santo Domingo” by David Ortiz

In 2002, David Ortiz was released by the Minnesota Twins, and didn’t know if he would have a future in Major League Baseball. After a conversation with his country mate Pedro Martinez, everything changed. Ortiz was signed by the Boston Red Sox, and the rest is history. Read about the one conversation that changed David’s career.

In December, 2002, just a few days before Christmas, I got a call from my agent telling me that the Minnesota Twins were going to release me. I’m a really happy guy by nature. It takes a lot to wipe the smile off my face. But I was absolutely devastated. It was like my world was ending. I was a 27-year-old platoon player. My daughter had just been born. Spring training was coming up, and it looked like I was done.

“Catching Aces” by A.J. Ellis

Although pitchers usually get all the glory, they couldn’t do what they do without their faithful catchers. A.J. Ellis should know that better than anyone, because he catches two of the best pitchers in the game — Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. A.J. writes about what it’s like to catch an ace, and the habits and preferences of the two perennial Cy Young candidates.

With aces like Clayton and Zack, there are high expectations on days they throw, so you want to elevate your performance and not abuse that trust. If I call a pitch, they execute it, and if it doesn’t work out, I feel awful about it. When they’re on the mound, you get the other team’s best shot. Opponents raise their game, because in this game, no one wants to get embarrassed. Everyone gives them their best at-bats, so if you’re not prepared behind the plate as a catcher, you’re doing them a disservice.

“The Long Game” by Shawn Wooden

After Shawn Wooden retired from football, he started working as a financial advisor. Recently, though, he started an unofficial second job — serving as one of the two class representatives for the NFL concussion settlement. Shawn describes what his duties are in this role, and breaks down the progress and details of the case.

I’m not a doctor or a lawyer, but I’ve become the connector between ex-players and the legal team that’s been fighting this case in court for nearly five years.

The guys all fit a similar profile — they’re retired and worried about their long-term health. Usually they’re older, but I hear from a lot of younger retired guys, too — guys in their 30s or 40s who are already concerned, even without experiencing symptoms yet.

Most ex-players who I talk to only really get piecemeal news about the case — what they learn from this or that news article or this or that study being done on retired players. I see myself as a translator. I want to make it clear what’s in this settlement.

“With a Little Help from My Friends” by Michael Lahoud

In light of the recent Syrian refugee crisis, Michael Lahoud shares his own incredible story. Although he was born in Sierra Leone, Michael had to flee the country when he was six due to the civil war. He came to America, and began a path that would lead to the MLS. He writes about the work he’s done with Sierra Leone, and why he decided to join their national team instead of the United States’.

When I was six years old, I was sitting in my small classroom in Sierra Leone, preparing to take an exam, when my grandmother showed up at the door. She was sweating and out of breath. I immediately felt that something was wrong. My grandmother whispered a few words to my teacher and grabbed me by the hand. She told me that we had to go back home immediately.

As we walked back to our village, I started to connect the dots. My parents had both left the country for jobs in America when I was very young, so I lived with my grandparents. Sierra Leone is not like America or Europe. We had a waterfall in our backyard where you saw exotic animals. There were no video games. We would play outside every day, always without supervision. But suddenly my grandparents became very strict.

My grandmother would tell me, “Don’t go off into the bushes, because the Boogeyman will get you.”

“Growing Up” by Brittany Boyd

As the New York Liberty inch closer to the WNBA Finals with a Game 1 win in the Eastern Conference Finals, rookie Brittany Boyd writes about her first year with the team. She talks about what it’s like to have a locker in between Swin Cash and Tanisha Wright, and how she’s dealt with her late-season injury.

When I first meet people or go to a new place, I stay low. I try to get a good feel about the people and things around me before I jump in. When I first came to New York, I didn’t talk much. More like, I didn’t talk at all.

I like to observe things. Or maybe I’m just shy.

Just a few months ago, I was still in college, playing college ball and hanging around college kids. I don’t think I realized what the transition to the pros was going to be like. As a senior at Cal, I was fortunate enough to have the ball in my hands almost every possession. I played 35-40 minutes a game and ran the offense. I was a point guard, but I contributed in scoring, passing and rebounding categories.

I was okay with not getting big minutes in the WNBA. I’m confident on the court, but I know I have a lot to learn. I know I’m only a rookie. Maybe I didn’t know just how much I had to learn. The WNBA game is so much stronger.

Five Good Reads From Around the Web

  1. The FIFA Scandal: What’s Happened, and What’s to Come (New York Times)
  2.  Dewey Bozella’s Next Challenge: Life on the Outside (Vice Sports)
  3. Kam Chancellor Returns… (Sports Illustrated)
  4. How David Peralta Went from Cut, Burnt-out Pitcher to Breakout MLB Outfielder (Bleacher Report)
  5.  What Rugby Can Teach America About Honoring Indigenous Culture (The Atlantic)

Photo of the Week

France’s Alexandre Flanquart decided to use some pretty aggressive tactics to attempt to prevent Romania’s captain Mihai Macovei from catching a ball during a Rugby World Cup match.

One Fine Vine