On Saturday night, my wife and I accompanied DraftKings’ Bucket List winner Zach (on the left) to throw out the first pitch at the Phillies game.
My role? Document the experience about the kind of surreal access you get from winning such a thing— and by all means, this was exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime type of access. Zack won the 600-700 person contest in June when he threw in a last minute MLB lineup. Now here he is standing on the mound at CBP:
There was a rain delay. So while the first pitch was temporarily on hold, we casually killed time in the press room, taking pictures at the podium. While we were in there, the Phillies rep showed us around and happened to get a call from Dan Baker making sure he had the right pronunciation of Zach’s last name. That’s the sign of a true pro– here’s a guy who has been the PA announcer forever, double-checking on the pronunciation of a random guy’s name for a first pitch of an ultimately meaningless game for a last place team in the middle of July.
As we walked out to the field, we bumped into the Phanatic and then hung behind the on-deck circles, right next to the Brewers’ dugout. Ryan Bruan never came out because he’s afraid of me. Baker struck up a conversation with Zach, once again checking the pronunciation of his name. Total pro.
These are the sorts of experiences you can get from DraftKings’ Bucket List experiences.
As part of DraftKings’ continued efforts to bring their customers closer to the sports and athletes they love, DraftKings offers once-in-a-lifetime, bucket list type of experiences. They partner with teams and leagues to literally brings fans inside the game. I almost won one myself back in the fall. I never put this on the site, but in Week 14 of the NFL season, I won $5,000 on a total of about $150 buy-in, with one lineup, across three or four leagues. One of them was a rewards league from having played so much during the season, and I believe the top three finishers earned a DraftKings’ Bucket List experience. I finished fourth, which was good for something like $2,500. I was heading into Sunday Night Football with an Eli Manning-Odell Beckham stack. I had already been put in a good position thanks to LeVeon Bell’s monster day and was up around $600. I noticed that virtually no one around me in any of the leagues had two players remaining heading into the late game. Some had either Manning or Beckham, but I was the only one who had both, meaning that one slant over the middle-turned touchdown would be a huge swing. This one:
It was a $4,000 swing and sent me to the top of multiple leagues. Had Beckham not dropped a potential first quarter touchdown, I would’ve walked away with around $50,000. And the Bucket List experience. Alas.
Both Zach and I are casual players, and I’ve walked away with real money and a chance at one of these Bucket List experiences, and Zach actually got it. You don’t need to play big to have both a good time and win with DraftKings. These type of experiences are deemed dream scenarios by every sports fan and maybe next time it could be you down there on the field.
I’m always amazed at reports like this that blame millennials for the downfall of shitty, over-marketed big brands.
Millennials aren’t drinking enough beer to keep brands afloat.
According to CNBC, Goldman Sachs downgraded both Boston Beer Company and Constellation Brand on the data that younger consumers aren’t drinking as much alcohol as older generations, and the ones who do prefer wine and spirits.
“We view the shift in penetration and consumption trends as driven by a shift in preferences in the younger cohorts,” chief analyst Freda Zhuo wrote.
Beer penetration fell 1% from 2016 to 2017 in the US market, while both wine and spirits were unmoved, according to Nielsen ratings.
To be fair, Sam Adams is not a shit brand, but unfortunately for them they’re big enough that they get lumped in by many as a marketing-fueled brand not worthy of the more refined palate of hipster beer drinkers. Constellation Brands owns Corona, Modelo and Pacifico, which are exactly the sorts of beers that have been shunned in recent years in favor of craft brews once consumers realized that, 9 times out of 10, the girl sitting next to them didn’t have the perfect bikini ass regardless of how many la cerveza mas finas they consumed or limes wedges they squirted her with like a fairy sprinkling magic dust over a sentient beast to make them assimilable.
A 1% decrease in a big market is certainly enough to move stocks, but just like with that Buffalo Wild Wings report – which blamed millennials’ at-home cooking habits (get Hello Fresh!) rather than the fact that BWW produces the culinary equivalent of getting punched in the braces for the company’s downturn – it always seems that analysts, reporters and the companies themselves are unwilling to look in the mirror and acknowledge that, in many cases, their products aren’t good.
One week I don't attend Sips and this happens. My dude in the white the worst fighter I've ever seen. pic.twitter.com/c4G7ejdjfZ
— Kyle (@kgeich) July 27, 2017
You wanna see what millennial angst looks like in action? Well, here you go. There are a lot of things to like here, but the boot to the face at :02 is truly mesmerizing. I also do appreciate the bro in the blue shorts dancing in the middle of it all. Bang up job by security.
Side note: Thank God Embiid wasn’t there this time.
UPDATE: Never mind– Embiid was there:
The mass writing exodus is now impacting part-time bloggers.
Two talented Liberty Ballers writers, Jake Pavorsky and Shamus Clancy, announced today they are leaving the site.
When I first started writing for Liberty Ballers, I viewed it as a hobby and nothing more. As my role with the website grew, I quickly began to realize that this could be the beginning stages of a rewarding career. But when I started to become more invested in turning my sports writing gig into an eventual full time job, the industry began to crumble, and this past year has been especially ugly. ESPN laid off plenty of its writers and reporters in an attempt to save some extra money, and if the world’s largest sports media entity is forced to scale back, it speaks volumes. Over the past month alone, Fox Sports completely obliterated its writing staff, and now Vice Sports ceases to exist. The changes SB Nation’s basketball network has decided to make in order to stay competitive during these turbulent times have certainly been a factor in my decision to leave.
Opportunities for fair paying, stable writing jobs are almost unheard of these days. Perhaps it will eventually right itself, but I presently have concerns about staying aboard a ship that appears to be sinking. I love basketball, and it’s my dream to have a job working in this sport, although it may be time to pursue that goal in a new capacity.
I’m hoping to still have a platform to write on going forward (if you’re interested in hiring me to write about the Sixers or the NBA, please email me at email@example.com), but I plan on spending my last year of college pursuing new opportunities in the basketball world.
Going off that, I will also be leaving Liberty Ballers. When I started blogging, my goal was to write for LB. I did that & much, much more.
— shamus (@shamus_clancy) July 26, 2017
Changes in the writing industry & in my career aspirations left me in this spot. I love this community & will still tweet an annoying amount
— shamus (@shamus_clancy) July 26, 2017
It seems very fitting that I began my writing because of how much I hated the Bynum era & basically ended it at the Markelle Fultz workout. pic.twitter.com/pJCYKybbMc
— shamus (@shamus_clancy) July 26, 2017
It might not register in the world of national sports writing layoffs, but the fact that two decent writers with followings who write about a team that is on the cusp of becoming bigtime are throwing in the towel on the profession, at least for now, tells you all you need to know about the current state of sports journalism. Gone are the days of aspiring to write for ESPN, SI or any other of the big national publications, which have ESCHEWED the written word in favor of video– not because video is a better medium but because it’s easier to monetize. However, I actually think there’s a really good opportunity now with so many talented writers not having sustainable places to do their thing. Whether it’s local bloggers or bigtime national guys and girls, people – perhaps you, sitting at work – still like to read. There’s a solution there, and I think I’ve found it.
Anyway, with Pavorsky and Clancy bailing on LB, Derek Bodner going behind a paywall, and, um, Jim leaving this site, Sixers blogging has been decimated just as the team was getting good. Odd.
Maybe someone will find the right model for all this.
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) July 24, 2017
Adam Silver is the best. Unlike that Paleozoic loon Goodell, he gives straight answers and is willing to address the elephant in the room in almost all regards. Legalized sports betting is coming. When you have the commissioner of the most modern of the four major sports leagues, with the youngest fan base, openly campaigning for change in this regard, it’s inevitable. It also doesn’t hurt that Joshua Harris and the Sixers group is outspoken in favor of it and that Harris has plenty of casino ties oh and is also the infrastructure guy for Donald Trump. It’s happening, and when it does there’s going to be such an outrageous influx of cash into the industry which will only be rivaled by the growth of e-sports, never mind E-SPORTS GAMBLING. Big money is coming. I can’t wait.
It seems like it’s becoming a nearly daily occurrence where you can point out something stupid that Odubel Herrera did. This is nothing new. Even at the beginning of last season, when we all fooled ourselves into thinking the Phillies could be good and Herrera hype was at an all-time high, I remember writing that he was good for one dumb-ass thing per game.
On Saturday night, he flipped his bat on a ground rule double.
Last night, he was first mocked by the Astros dugout for doing the same on a hard hit line out, and then benched by Pete Mackanin for failing to run out (or perhaps even recognize) a dropped third strike.
First, the bat flip.
The reaction of the Astros dugout wasn’t captured on either broadcast feed, but both Jim Salisbury and Matt Gelb pointed it out:
The Astros dugout is mocking Odubel Herrera after he bat flips into a deep fly out.
— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) July 25, 2017
Astros dugout mocking Odubel Herrera after he did not run out of box on long fly ball to wall. CF Derek Fisher made a nice catch
— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) July 25, 2017
The lack of effort on the dropped third strike came later in the game and sent Mackanin over the edge. From Phillies.com:
But maybe because of Herrera’s continued mental lapses or maybe because he continues to hit well down in the lineup, the team’s hottest hitter has hit fifth, sixth or seventh in 23 of the previous 28 games.
Will Herrera ever just get it?
“I think that day will come,” Mackanin said. “Let’s put it this way: He’s in a development stage as well.”
But it doesn’t make the wait any easier while it continues to happen.
“This is a team thing,” Rupp said. “One guy just can’t not follow the rules. It’s not the first time. It’s happened before. It’s something we don’t want to see. He’s a good player, but you’ve got to do what you’re asked. Pete doesn’t ask a whole lot of us. He asks us to play the game hard, play the game the right way. Guys are going to make physical mistakes. Mental mistakes are something that you can control. Yeah, it’s frustrating. There’s no doubt about it.
“It’s hard for us. He’s a grown man. He has to learn on his own. We can only say so much.”
There’s a shift in baseball towards players showing more personality on the field. That’s a good thing. But you have to, you know, do something first to earn the right. Herrera routinely showboats, has bad mental lapses and seems to march to the beat of his own drum en route to outs.