TIME Baseball

The Best World Series Celebrations of All Time

Winning the Fall Classic sparks a special kind of euphoria.

TIME Sports

This Map Shows How Big Your Football Team’s Fanbase Really Is

Cowboys fans are EVERYWHERE

Football fandom may seem obvious — Titans fans live in Tennessee, Seahawks fans live in Seattle — but as this interactive map from Twitter shows, the geographic makeup of NFL loyalties is actually pretty complicated.

To create this map, analysts determined which NFL team has the most Twitter followers in each county across the nation. Some of results make perfect sense, but other aspects of the map are pretty surprising. The Cowboys, for example, not only dominate Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arkansas, but have pockets of fans just about everywhere.

There are several different ways to compare and contrast fan bases — so if you’re watching a football game right now, we recommend waiting till halftime to play around with the map.

 

TIME Baseball

Top 10 Most Memorable Moments in World Series History

Of the 109 World Series played so far, these are the biggest highs and (depending on which side of a victory you're looking from) lows

TIME Baseball

Steady, Dominant Bull Pen Helping Royals Prove They Belong on Big Stage

World Series Giants Royals Baseball
Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez and Greg Holland celebrate after Game 2 of the World Series in Kansas City on Oct. 22, 2014 Jeff Roberson—AP

Kansas City beat the Giants, 7-2, in Game 2 to even the World Series

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera made a conscious effort to change the speeds of his pitches this year, and in Game 2 of the World Series, it paid off. He threw a fastball 101 mph, then dropped down to 100, then went back up to 101. You can see why opposing hitters might be confused, and also why they would want to curl up with a good book and hit themselves over the head with it.

Herrera got five outs and handed the baton to Wade Davis and Greg Holland. Then Herrera watched video of himself, which he does after every outing to make sure he is not too open in his delivery, which was a problem last year. Maybe a little tiny bit of him watches so he can see the radar-gun readings and think, “Good God am I awesome,” though he wouldn’t admit that.

Anyway, the video confirmed what anybody watching live already knew: That was the real Herrera. And these were the real Royals.

Kansas City beat the Giants, 7-2, in Game 2 to even the series, and they really had no choice. Lose this one, and the hill would get awfully steep. The Royals didn’t win the Series in Game 2, just as the Giants didn’t win it in Game 1, but they did something important besides win the game. They showed why they belonged here.

There is a risk when you appear on an unfamiliar and large stage. Anybody who watched the 2008 Rays, ’06 Tigers, ’07 Rockies or a friend nervously stumble through wedding vows understands. The Royals are the feel-good story of baseball, but we’ve all seen this script, and the last few pages are usually in flames. It happened to the Chiefs in January; after a stunning regular season, they collapsed in the playoffs against the Colts. After their Game 1 loss, the Royals looked like they might do the same.

Instead, we saw the real Royals. The bullpen dominated. The offense put together a big inning, a five-run sixth. And yes, there were moments when they seemed determined not to score, no matter how many hittable pitches they saw. The Giants’ Jake Peavy found the middle of the plate way too often; a better lineup probably would have chased him by the fourth inning. Instead, the Royals couldn’t pound Peavy’s mistakes and they chased pitches they should have left alone. Well, hey, nobody is perfect … except the Royals’ relievers, obviously.

The World Series is different. It feels different. The Royals had five days to think about how different it is. Herrera said his bullpen warm-up sessions don’t tell him much. “I never know before I throw my first pitch in the game, because it’s way different.” That’s how it is in the World Series, too. Until you go through it, you just don’t know what it will be like.

The Royals know now, and a potentially epic Series is unfolding. We may have seen the last two blowout games of the Series — the pitching is better than the hitting for both teams and runs should be scarce. Madison Bumgarner looms over everything for the Royals: lose Game 3, and Game 4 becomes a must-win because Bumgarner pitches Game 5.

But the Royals don’t have to worry about that until Friday. In the meantime, they can enjoy their first World Series victory since they beat the Cardinals in Game 7 of the 1985 Series, and they can enjoy the fact that somebody else embarrassed himself.

That somebody, of course, is Giants reliever Hunter Strickland, who gave up a double to Salvador Perez, a homer to Omar Infante and a little piece of his dignity. After Infante’s homer, Strickland chewed out Perez for reasons that remain unclear, using words that remain a mystery, making this the lamest baseball confrontation in baseball history.

“[Strickland] was doing something like, ‘Get out of here,’ or something,” Perez said, “and he starts to look at me, and look at me, that’s why I was asking him, ‘Hey, why are you looking?’”

It says something about the media that there was a bigger horde around Perez, who got yelled at for no apparent reason, than around Infante, who actually hit the home run. Yes, Perez also hit a double, but most of the questions were not about the double. I suppose this also says something about us. Let’s just say that unlike Herrera, I will not be watching video of our performance. I fear I spent too much time in the wrong horde.

Strickland has now faced 23 batters in the postseason and allowed five home runs. This next sentence will not help Strickland’s mood, but here you go: Herrera has faced 325 batters this season, including 40 in the postseason, and allowed zero home runs. Zero! And he is their seventh-inning guy.

That pretty much sums up why the Royals are here, why this city has fallen in love with its baseball team again and why the Giants had better get to Game 3 starter Jeremy Guthrie early. The video replay of the Kansas City bullpen is always the same. Those were the Royals and that’s how they got here. Your move, San Francisco.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Basketball

North Carolina Releases Wainstein Report on Academic Scandal

Kenneth Wainstein
Kenneth Wainstein, lead investigator into academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, holds a copy of his findings following a special joint meeting in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Oct. 22, 2014 Gerry Broome—AP

The report mentions that athletes' academic counselors directed them to take the classes in question

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill released the report on its latest investigation into alleged academic fraud on Wednesday.

The report details how a lack of oversight allowed Department of African and Afro-American Studies administrator Deborah Crowder and former chairman Julius Nyang’oro to create so-called “paper classes.” In these classes, students received high grades with “little regard” for the quality of their work.

Nyang’oro and Crowder have been implicated in previous probes into the situation for steering athletes into the aforementioned classes, an issue that was found by a 2012 probe to have dated to the 1990s. This latest investigation was conducted by former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein at the request of the university.

While Wainstein’s report still places most of the blame for the fraud in the department at Nyang’oro and Crowder​, it points to the surrounding culture at North Carolina for allowing it to happen. Wainstein mentions that athletes’ academic counselors directed them to take the classes in question, that there wasn’t sufficient external review of the department and that a belief within the school that fraud couldn’t happen there prevented proper oversight.

Wainstein told reporters Wednesday that Crowder, who was largely responsible for creating the fraudulent classes, was motivated by a belief that UNC’s athletes weren’t being supported by the university.

University chancellor Carol Folt said that disciplinary action will be taken against those connected to the probe.

“It is a case where you have bad actions of a few and inaction of many more,” school chancellor Carol Folt told reporters in a conference call shortly before the report’s release. “It is shocking and people are taking full responsibility.”

Wainstein said he has shared his report with the NCAA, which announced this summer that it had re-opened its investigation into North Carolina after new individuals were available to talk to investigators for the first time.

In the report, Wainstein says current North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams became uncomfortable with the nature of the classes in question and attempted to steer his players away from the department. Former star Rashad McCants accused the school of fraud earlier this year. McCants chose not to speak with Wainstein’s investigation.

A previous NCAA investigation resulted in a postseason ban for the football team in 2012 and a loss of scholarships. Wainstein’s report describes academic counselors recommending the department’s classes to football coaches.

From a joint statement released by North Carolina and the NCAA:

The information included in the Wainstein report will be reviewed by the university and the enforcement staff under the same standards that are applied in all NCAA infractions cases. Due to rules put in place by NCAA membership, neither the university nor the enforcement staff will comment on the substance of the report as it relates to possible NCAA rules violations.

It’s unknown when the NCAA’s investigation will be concluded.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Research

Many Colleges Fail to Address Concussions, Study Shows

helmet football concussion
Getty Images

A quarter of schools don't educate their athletes on the injury

Policies guiding concussion treatment at scores of colleges across the country still run afoul of rules set by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), according to a new study in The American Journal of Sports Medicine.

“The vast majority of schools did have a concussion management plan, but not all of them did,” said Christine Baugh, a Harvard researcher and one of the study’s co-authors. “The number of schools who reported to us that they didn’t have a concussion management plan in place affects tens of thousands of athletes each year.”

The study comes as the NCAA faces increased pressure to protect the health of college athletes. Earlier this year, the organization set aside $70 million for concussion testing and research to settle several class action lawsuits. The exact number of college athletes who suffer from concussions during practice and games is unclear, but some estimates put it in the thousands.

To combat concussions, the NCAA has mandated that colleges create “concussion management plans.” While 93% of the 2,600 schools surveyed said they had drafted such a plan to guide their response to concussions, many of those plans lacked components that Baugh says are critical to actually reducing the head injury. For one, about a quarter of schools don’t train athletes to detect concussions, making it difficult for athletes to recognize when they need to seek medical attention. And more than 6 percent of schools allow coaches or athletes who lack formal medical training to make the final decision about whether a student can return to competition after suffering a concussion.

“It may be the case that coaches and athletes are being extra cautious; despite being cleared by a clinician, they are withholding themselves or withholding their athletes,” said Baugh, who was a Division I athlete during her college years. “But it may also be the case that some of these schools, coaches or athletes are pressuring clinicians to prematurely return to play before their symptoms have been resolved.”

The study concludes with a recommendation for the NCAA: step up enforcement of concussion policies.

TIME Sports

Spike Lee’s Mo’Ne Davis Ad Settles the Whole ‘Throwing Like a Girl’ Thing

An inspiring ad for the World Series puts an end to a long-standing stereotype once and for all

The World Series is upon us, but 13-year-old Little League superstar Mo’ne Davis is still the most talked-about player in baseball. Director Spike Lee teamed up with Chevrolet to create a commercial featuring the young pitcher, who made the cover of Sports Illustrated this year after becoming the first girl in history to throw a shutout during the Little League World Series.

In the ad, Davis reads an open letter to America: “I throw 70 miles per hour. That’s throwing like a girl,” she says.

TIME Sports

Tour de France Prize Money Way Up

Tour de France 1934
Frenchman Rene Vietto tries to break away from Spanish rider Vicente Trueba as they climb the mountain pass of the Tourmalet (Col du Tourmalet) on July 23, 1934 during the 18th stage of the 28th Tour de France AFP / Getty Images

With Wednesday’s official announcement of the route for the 2015 Tour de France, the best cyclists in the world know exactly where they’ll be next July. They also know what they stand to win: there are about 2 million euros (about $2.6 million) at stake, with a €450,000 prize for the final winner and €22,500 for the winner of each stage (that’s about $576,000 and $28,800, respectively).

That’s considerably less than the prize pool available for the famously lucrative International Dota 2 video game championships, but it’s plenty to get excited about — especially compared to the money that used to be available for Tour de France winners.

When TIME first covered the world’s most famous cycling event, in 1934, only 60 competitors were entered (versus 198 today) and the stakes were much lower:

L’Auto, Paris sportpaper, founded the race in 1903 as a circuit of the Auvergne highlands, enlarged it by stages to its present scale. L’Auto foots the bills for meals & lodging, furnishes to each contestant his bicycle, as many tires as he can wear out, $2.64 per day for pin-money. This year publicity-seeking merchants have scraped up 800,000 francs ($52,800) for prizes. The winner of each of the 23 daily laps gets 1,.000 francs ($660).

Even accounting for inflation, that’s not much compared to today’s prizes: $52,800 in 1934 dollars is $937,207.88 today, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, and $660 is $11,715.10. That means the winner of each stage stands to make twice as much as he did 80 years ago, and the overall prize pot is nearly three times as big. And the prizes haven’t exactly climbed steadily: in 1954, TIME reported that the winner of each stage would take home a mere $570 (about $5,000 today).

At least 1934’s racers could afford a train ticket, if not necessarily first class. And, as TIME wrote in its coverage of the race, that was important: “One race was so swift and grim,” reported the magazine, “that after the finish a rider was reported to have bought a train ticket over the route so that he could inspect the scenery.”

Read more: A Brief History of the Tour de France

MONEY Sports

S.F. vs. K.C. By the Numbers: How the World Series Teams and Towns Match Up

San Francisco blows away its opponent in terms of global cachet and higher incomes, but Kansas City has barbecue—and more importantly, the Royals are favored to win it all.

The Kansas City Royals have skipped through the 2014 playoffs thus far without a loss, and sports betting operations named the team as a slight favorite to win the World Series over the San Francisco Giants. What’s particularly impressive about the Royals’ run is that the Giants’ payroll is more than 50% higher ($148 million versus the Royals’ $91 million).

The home markets of this year’s World Series contenders couldn’t be more different either. San Francisco is a hip, high-powered, and high-priced magnet for tech startups where the average home sells for close to $1 million, compared to a mere $186,000 for the typical house in Kansas City, a low-key, highly livable Midwestern hub famed for top-notch barbecue. Nonetheless, the secondary market price of World Series tickets for Kansas City home games is roughly 30% higher than games hosted by San Francisco. That somewhat unexpected disparity likely comes as a result of San Francisco owning the edge on most recent World Series title. Giants fans have been spoiled of late with championships in 2010 and 2012, whereas Royals’ fans have been waiting since 1985 for another World Series title.

With the Series starting tonight, click through the gallery above for a look at how the competitors match up, on and off the field.

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