I hate to say it, but Americans might just need to "reboot" the millennial generation. This is the cohort of 50 million people now between 18 and 30, the children of baby boomers or older members of generation X. And as researchers and other experts have trained their attention on them, a profile has emerged: Speaking broadly, millennials are tech-savvy, highly educated and have incredibly high self-esteem even if they haven't done much to deserve it. (To be sure, not every millennial is college educated and exhibits all these traits; we're speaking broadly.)
A large part of the NCAA tournament's appeal has always been the Cinderella story, a small school making an exciting run through the bracket. When a double-digit seed survives the opening weekend and reaches the Sweet 16, its postseason is an unquestioned success. Over the past 10 years, 18 double-digit seeds have won at least two games. Nine of the last 10 tournaments have featured at least one double-digit seed in the Sweet 16, with three reaching the Sweet 16 in 2002 and 2008.
With or without Stephen Strasburg, when midnight arrived on Tuesday the Washington Nationals would still be in last place in the NL East, still own the worst record in baseball and still have more question marks than any organization in baseball. But now that Strasburg has agreed to a four-year contract worth more than $15 million, for the first time in the Nationals brief history, there is considerable cause for optimism. By signing the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, the Nationals not only made up for their failure to sign their top pick (pitcher Aaron Crow) a year ago, but also brought some much-needed legitimacy to a floundering franchise, some much-needed talent to a club hurting for star power and some much-needed hope to a fan base starving for a team that can, eventually, be something more than a pushover in the difficult NL East.
The four-minute clock that began counting down at the command of Commissioner Bud Selig at the start of Tuesday's MLB Draft marked not only the beginning of the draft but the end of the Washington Nationals' time as a mostly anonymous, seemingly directionless and understandably inept franchise.
Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State is 20 years old with a fastball alleged to have reached 103 mph, a slider just as good and the skill to put them where he wants them. Probably no collegian has ever pitched as well. He's struck out more than half the batters he's faced this year. Watching footage of him you wonder where he would rank in various major league contenders' rotations; third in some, maybe higher in others.
That $50 million figure that's being attached to ballyhooed college-pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg is no joke. Baseball people who have spoken to Strasburg's adviser Scott Boras say they believe that's the figure Boras has in mind for Strasburg, the San Diego State pitcher some are calling a once-in-a-decade talent.
Erik Castro has a Wilson A2000 catcher's mitt, black with tan webbing, made of steerhide so supple it can absorb a 102-mph fastball and barely make a sound. Castro is a catcher for San Diego State, and on the night of March 13, as the Aztecs hosted UNLV, he dropped into his crouch and extended his A2000 into the light fog at Tony Gwynn Stadium. San Diego State junior righthander Stephen Strasburg, he of the 102-mph heater, aimed for the leather. As horsehide met steerhide, a string on the glove snapped. The webbing came unhinged. Castro, oblivious to the tattered piece of equipment dangling from his left hand, threw the ball back to Strasburg. The Aztecs ace fired again, and by the grace of God, the pitch was fouled away. "If not," Castro says, "I think I would have died." Chances are, his chest protector would have saved him, but his point is well-taken: Stephen Strasburg has killer stuff.
Underrated: Eleven-seed Mississippi State. Georgia coach Andy Landers considers the Bulldogs the most dangerous team in the SEC, and for good reason. Bolstered by the addition of three jaycee transfers from the Congo, including 6-5 Chanel Mokango, who averages 10.6 points and 3.0 blocks a game, the Bulldogs won eight games in the SEC (just one fewer than No. 5 seed Tennessee), including two over six-seed LSU and one over four-seed Vanderbilt.
There's only room for 34 at-larges, so some teams have to get snubbed. Here's a look at this season's highest-profile omissions (in alphabetical order): Auburn (21-11, 10-6; RPI: 63; SOS; 59) pushed its way into the bubble fray with a 9-1 run before falling in the SEC semifinals. Like most SEC teams this season, they didn't really play anyone out of conference.
Time and time again, productive NFL players are found in the late frames of the draft and their selection usually goes unnoticed. Who could turn out to be some of this year's hidden gems? Here are a dozen names to remember.
When Aaron Moncivaiz returns home from his job at a Phoenix auto auction, the last thing the liberal-leaning 25-year-old wants to do is listen to the conservative talk shows his roommate plays on two different radios in their house.
As Ephraim Salaam rubs his hands together and gears up to tell the story again -- a story that landed he and Houston Texans teammate Chester Pitts in Los Angeles for the taping of a Super Bowl commercial -- Pitts stops him before he can begin.
Don't look now, Hoop Thinkers, but we're officially midway through the 2007-08 season. For the last few years, I've contributed a Five-Minute Guide to the season for the SI college basketball preview issue. Now, for the first time, I offer the a midseason edition. Enjoy.
Last week SI writer Richard Deitsch interviewed Tony Gywnn for the magazine's Q&A. The Hall of Famer and San Diego State coach is a postseason baseball analyst for TBS. Here are additional excerpts from their conversation:
More than 100 homes in an upscale San Diego community were evacuated after a landslide about 60 yards wide pulled the earth from beneath a three-lane road and some of the multimillion-dollar homes that adorn it.
So you're between the ages of 13 and 24. What makes you happy? A worried, weary parent might imagine the answer to sound something like this: Sex, drugs, a little rock 'n' roll. Maybe some cash, or at least the car keys.
Long before he became the 38th president of the United States, Gerald Ford was better known as No. 48, an All-America center at Michigan and a star on the school's undefeated 1932 and '33 national championship teams. Here's a sampling of the uniform numbers of some well-known figures before they suited up for Hollywood and Washington.