Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Spyball: How a Major League Catcher Help Win WWII

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Moe Berg played major league baseball for 15 seasons in a mostly undistinguished career. The Ivy League-educated lawyer made his real contribution in espionage, working with the U.S. government to help win World War II, helping to prove that the Nazis were failing to develop their own atomic bomb.

ESPN’s 30 for 30 series just debuted Spyball, a short film  that tells Berg’s amazing story. Watch the movie embedded below. If you like the movie, you can also check out The Catcher Was a Spy, Nicholas Dawidoff’s outstanding 1994 biography of the man that manager Casey Stengel called “the strangest man to ever play the game of baseball.” +Continue Reading

Coach Jake Zweig Compares Football to his SEAL Service

  • June 24, 2015
  • Sports
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You might remember former Navy SEAL Jake Zweig from his 2011 stint on the History Channel program Top Shot. Jake’s focused his post-Navy career on football and has just taken a new position as a defensive line coach for Ohio’s University of Findlay football team.

Zweig earned the rank of lieutenant during his military service and was assigned to Seal Team 8 after being named class leader during his BUD/S training. +Continue Reading

Sound Off: Do You Buy the NFL’s Defense of ‘Paid Patriotism’?


A couple of weeks ago, Military​.com commenters were outraged by news that quite a few of those “military tributes at NFL games were actually advertisements paid for by the Pentagon with U.S. taxpayer dollars, totaling over $6 million over the last four years. The NFL overlords have now fought back with a statement that defends the deals. +Continue Reading

WWII Veteran Makes Major League Debut


Fresh out of Naval Academy pitchers to promote to the big leagues, MLB located 92-year-old World War II veteran Tony Gianunzio and had him throw out the first pitch at the May 31st interleague game at Wrigley Field between the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals.

According to the Associated PressGianunzio was a teenage pitching prospect and being looked at by the Cubs when he joined the U.S. Coast Guard. He was a gunner’s mate in the service. The veteran threw from the mound’s downslope and only bounced a couple of times before reaching the catcher’s mitt.  +Continue Reading

Sound Off: Should the Military Pay for Tributes at Sporting Events?

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Whenever Americans go to an NFL game and see a Tribute to the Troops, everyone gets to feel good. Service members and their families get the glow that comes from recognition and appreciation from American culture at large and civilians get to stand up, take off their hats, put their hands awkwardly over their hearts and feel like the did something to support our men and women in uniform.

However, word leaked out this week that the Department of Defense is paying the NFL to stage these tributes, over $6 million since 2011 to 16 different NFL teams. You can see a full list of teams and dollar amounts embedded at the bottom of this news story at NJ​.com.

On a different front, a Washington Post column wonders if military tributes at baseball games are just empty gestures that should be abandoned.

OK,  this is a live one: How do you feel about military tributes at sporting events? Should NFL teams profit from those tributes? Does it make you feel different if that moment was bought and paid for?

Another Naval Academy Pitcher Makes MLB Debut

  • May 27, 2015
  • Sports
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Just one month after Naval Academy grad Mitch Harris made his debut for the St. Louis Cardinals and only 94 years after previous Naval Academy pitcher Nemo Gaines pitched for the 1921 Washington Senators, Oliver Drake made the big leagues, making his debut on Saturday, May 23rd in a 1–0, 13-inning loss to the Miami Marlins. Drake went three innings, with two strikeouts, giving up only two hits and zero walks.  He also pitched a perfect 8th inning on Memorial Day in a 4–3 Orioles win over the Houston Astros.

The Orioles, home team for Annapolis fans, wasted no time in promoting the connection and posted a Memorial Day video promoting Drake’s Naval Academy connections. +Continue Reading

Military News from the NFL Draft

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Army veteran and University of Texas player Nate Boyer and the Naval Academy’s Joe Cardona have both connected with pro football teams during the NFL Draft this past weekend in Chicago. Both players are long snap specialists but each has taken a very different path to his NFL opportunity. Both players have shots with recent Super Bowl winners: Boyer signed with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent and Cardona was selected by the New England Patriots in the fifth round. +Continue Reading

Navy Grad Makes Major League Debut

  • April 28, 2015
  • Sports
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Mitch Harris, the Naval Academy grad who got called up by the St. Louis Cardinals last week, made his major league debut on Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers. His moment of career triumph was tempered somewhat because he came into the game after Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright injured his achilles tendon coming out of the batter’s box (and, it turns out, possibly ended his season. +Continue Reading

Naval Academy Grad Makes the Bigs

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Pitcher Mitch Harris graduated from the US Naval Academy in 2008 and got drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals. The Navy denied a waiver that would allow him to delay his service commitment to purse professional sports, so baseball had to wait. Mitch spent the next five years fulfilling his service obligation, criss-crossing the globe with service aboard the USS Ponce in the Persian Gulf, participating in drug stings in South America and on diplomatic assignment in Russia.

The odds that Mitch Harris would ever have a shot at a sports career declined every month he was away from the game, but the Cards let him have another shot two years ago in their minor league system. Harris fought his way through the minor league system and this week St. Louis called him up to the major league club. He’ll be on the roster for Tuesday’s series opener with the Washington Nationals tonight in DC. +Continue Reading

34-Year-Old Army Vet Aims for NFL Career

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On September 11, 2001, Nate Boyer was a 20-year-old at loose ends, living in a tiny Los Angeles apartment when an early-morning phone call from his mom alerted him to the terror attacks on the east coast. Like a lot of guys his age, those events eventually inspired him to enlist in the Army, where he became a Green Beret and served multiple tours in Afghanistan.

He enrolled at the University of Texas in 2009 and made the football team as a walk-on, playing in 38 games before he finished his college career. Before trying out for the Longhorns, Boyer had never played a game of organized football. +Continue Reading