- If you're like me, you've been wondering lo these many month, Hey, what's up with the Captain? You know, Mr. Movember? What exactly is Derek Jeter doing in retirement? Answer? He's created a website, The Players' Tribune, “that will present the unfiltered voices of professional athletes.” It will also put more sportswriters out of work. By happenstance or design?
- Bigger question: Is it any good? What do the unfiltered voices of professional athletes sound like? Charles P. Pierce over at Grantland has an amusing take—particularly regarding Tiger Woods' profound humorlessness.
- Now for some “Jeopardy.” And the answer is? Didi Gregorius. DING. Bob? “Who is the Yankees' attempt to replace Derek Jeter at shortstop?” Correct, you now have control of the board. (Yankee fans, I assume, are not impressed.)
- Since it's December, that means it's awards/lists season. For everything. Sight & Sound out of Great Britain drops its top 20 of 2014, based on votes by 50 critics. I agree with their first but not their fifth. “Ida” barely squeaks into the top 10. And no mention at all of “The Drop” or “Fury”?
- Closer to home, the New York Film Critics Circle chose “Boyhood” for its best pic (can't complain), while the National Board of Review upended its usual twee-ness and went with J.C. Chandor's “A Most Violent Year” (haven't seen). Meanwhile the Boston Online Film Critics Assocation did the notion of online critics no favors by choosing “Snowpiercer” as its best. There'll be more to come.
- The New York Times lists its “100 Notable Books of 2014,” of which I've read approximately ... one. “The Invisible Bridge” by Rick Perlstein. Wait, no “Flash Boys”? No “Five Came Back”? No “John Wayne: The Life the Legend” or “Hack Attack”? Tough crowd.
- With its Hall of Fame votes, the Baseball Writers Association of America does two things: determines who gets in the Hall (>75% of the vote) and who will be on the ballot next year (>5% of the vote). Joe Posnanski would like to change the way they do both.
- At 39, Torii Hunter has signed with the Minnesota Twins, his original team, and in his first press conference disparaged the notion of sabermetrics and advanced defensive metrics as a means of calculating his defensive prowess, which was once one of the best in all of baseball. Now he thinks he's still above average. Joe Posnanski sympathizes but doesn't exactly agree.
- The Harvard Exit, where I saw the first movie I saw in Seattle (way back in 1991), and which I go to at least once a month, is closing. The Landmark chain is apparently also closing the Varsity Theater in the U District. Just how many movie theaters can SIFF save?
- Tim Egan's excellent piece on the lack of respect accorded Pres. Obama, and how could it not be based on race?
- The rape scandal at the University of Virigina as reported in Rolling Stone magazine has become the Rolling Stone factcheck scandal. Richard Bradley, once suckered by Stephen Glass, was the first to raise dispassionate objections to the reporting.
- I shouldn't feel this way—so many lives have been upended, after all—but I do love the contretemps at The New Republic. Facebook founder buys it, promises no change. Two years later, hires digital-media yahoo to change it. Yahoo butts heads with editor, who resigns. A day later, almost everyone at the magazine resigns. It's hard out there for a journalist but they all still did it rather than take that crap anymore. A round of applause, please.
- Finally, your long read of the week: George Packer's excellent profile of German Chancellor Angela Merkel: “The Quiet German”: her rise, her reserve, her scientific mind and political ruthlessness, her ability to unman macho men, and how her very popularity may be a threat to a nascent German democracy.
He actually makes this catch: Torii Hunter robs Casey Blake in 2003.