Because Tinyletter is mostly for mail, it’s nearly impossible to find old newsletters. So I’m posting all my old newsletters here so they can be searched, indexed, all that. You’re still better off just subscribing.
Simone de Beauvoir died on April 14, 1986 at the age of 78.
(This week’s newsletter comes to you from Scott Bultman, who was the winner of the Newsletter NCAA Pool this year. Scott last year finished a five-year journey to see every single venue of the four North American professional sports, which is amazing and made me extremely envious of him. This is called Club 123, apparently. His request: “What got you into seeing live games and make your series of travel city features?” So here goes.)
I’ve written about Sports Passport before, but in all seriousness, it’s a site I look at and fidget around with at least once a day. It allows you to track every sporting event you’ve ever been to, ranging all the way back to the ‘80s, and it includes MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, college basketball, college football and minor league baseball. (It briefly included women’s college basketball, and I wish it still did.) We live in an age in which you can watch any game going on anywhere in the world any place that you want to. While I was typing this sentence, I fired up a live college baseball game in Northern Kentucky, a low-level soccer game in Spain and a cricket match in Australia on my phone, without having to get up from my chair. If you remember what it was like before this, how I was only able to watch my favorite NFL team by finding the one sad black-and-white at the television at the back of the bar, it is truly magical.
But, even with the wonders of HD, there is nothing like being at a game. You can learn so much about a community and the people who live there by their sports teams. That’s why I started — and will hopefully someday get to resume — the Leitch Across America/Sports Tourist series; it’s the best way I’ve found to truly indoctrinate yourself into a culture you know nothing about but desire some sort of immediate common ground. The game itself is obviously different in person, but that’s not really what I love most about going to new sports venues, not really. It’s just seeing how they all do things differently, how that stadium is designed, what videos they show during timeouts, what the halftime shows are like, who the local heroes are. For those two or three hours, you can be a part of a community in a way you never could be otherwise. I love it. It is one of my favorite things.
Every time I travel to a new city, I always immediately look to see if there are any games going on that week other than the ones I may there to cover. The Cincinnati MLB All-Star Game allowed me to visit the Dayton Dragons; the Houston Super Bowl sent me to a Texas Southern game; a work trip to Vegas wouldn’t have been complete without a Vegas Golden Knights game. (I’m all in on the Knights for the Cup this year.) I’m a bit addicted to it. Every year we go to Charleston, South Carolina, for a week’s vacation at Folly Beach, but I always insist on making sure it’s a week that the Charleston RiverDogs are in town. That stadium is fantastic. And Bill Murray is a team owner, if you’re feeling forgiving about “Rock the Casbah.”
I’m not a collector like Scott is, or at least not as much of a completist. Here are the number of stadiums I’ve been to in the four major North American professional sports:
NBA: 12 (of 29).
NHL: 6 (of 29).
NFL: 21 (of 31)
MLB: 29 (of 30).
The only active baseball stadium I’ve never been to is Globe Life Park in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers, and I’d better hustle: 2019 is its last season. I knocked off Minute Maid Park, Marlins Park and Comerica Park last season.
This has led to a rather full Sports Passport page: Here’s my full profile. You can see a map of every stadium you’ve ever been to. I spend a little more time on that page than I’d like to admit.
The story of the stadiums I’ve visited is the story of my life as well. According to Sports Passport, I’ve been to 133 different arenas/stadiums. Here are the 10 I’ve been to the most often:
- Stegeman Coliseum, Athens GA (62 times)
- Madison Square Garden, New York NY (56)
- State Farm Center, Champaign IL (48)
- Yankee Stadium II, New York NY (45)
- Busch Stadium II, St. Louis MO (43)
- Shea Stadium, New York NY (34)
- Citi Field, New York NY (29)
- Sanford Stadium, Athens GA (27)
- Busch Stadium, St. Louis MO (25)
- Barclays Center, Brooklyn NY (25)
I’ll be at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday for the seventh time: Go Atlanta United.
I’ve been fortunate enough to get to go to a lot of games, and I still do. I’m lucky. But you should really go anytime: There’s always sports near you. Heck, if I were still in Mattoon, I think I’d get EIU season tickets. Anything beats sitting in front of a computer for another few hours.
Seriously, you should join Sports Passport. It also has a Patreon, by the way. I support it, and you should too.
Here is a numerical breakdown of all the things I wrote this week, in order of what I believe to be their quality. (This is an attempt to have an objective look at the value of my work in a way that I suspect will be difficult to sustain.)
1. Brawls Exist More in Our Minds Than Reality, MLB.com. I did not think this was a particularly strong week, I have to confess. Good stuff coming next week, though!
2. Review: “Rampage,” Paste Magazine. This was actually my favorite Arcade game at Aladdin’s Castle growing up. I was really good at it too.
3. Thirty Weird Stats From MLB’s Opening Week, MLB.com. We might start doing regular 30 Teams things on Mondays. They do well, apparently, and I’ll confess I enjoy doing them.
4. Should the Orioles Pack It In Already? MLB.com. Probably, right?
5. Debate Club: Ranking Lex Luthor Actors, SYFY Wire. Even the topics were a little off this week. Though it is fun to point out how terrible Jesse Eisenberg is as Lex Luthor, though.
THE WILL LEITCH SHOW
Taylor Rooks, a fellow U of I alum (and daughter of former Illini running back Taylor Rooks), is one of the best young sports reporters on the planet; we’re all going to be working for her someday. I was delighted to have her on the show. Watch the episode, and all the rest of them. (Please! I’m not begging, but I am close.)
Grierson & Leitch, all new movies, and some pretty good ones: “A Quiet Place,” “You Were Never Really Here,” “Blockers” and “Lean On Pete.”
Seeing Red, Bernie Miklasz and I groused a lot. I’m gonna need a lot of wins over the Reds to grouse less.
Waitin’ Since Last Saturday, no show this week, we’re taping one next week.
Suck it, NYCFC: You’re toast Sunday.