The Unbalanced explores the world of sports and the culture surrounding it; from basketball to baseball, football, hockey, wrestling, and more.
Stories in Unbalanced that you’ll love, handpicked by our team.
Peanuts & Crackerjack
Cleveland Stadium 1948 The ninth inning stretch. The ball game is tied with two outs, two strikes and a man on second. I tap the bat on home plate. Its dead weight lumbers as mental exhaustion takes its toll. Man on second, willing to chance it. Pitcher eyes him but doesn't give in to the dangerous bluff. I kick up dust, readying my stance, the bat lays stiff upon my cramping shoulder. It's daylight still, but the stadium lights are on anyway. They trick my brain into believing they are causing the sweltering heat. The roar from the crowd intensifies. Sporadic clouds are motionless as if they don't want to miss this exhilarating predicament. The crafty catcher adjusts his stance and spits to the dry dirt. The staunch umpire doesn't flinch or even blink; he knows how important his call will be. The pitcher winds up, his grip tells me its gonna curve. The release is fierce. Beads of sweat from his hair and face disperse in every direction as the force of his might is unfailing. My left leg lifts - an instinctual move that will increase the power of my swing. My eyes lock on the speeding white dot as it instantly becomes the target I intend to destroy. The swing is late, but I manage a solid tip. The ball is taking a fast bounce toward the pitcher who is recovering from the almighty throw. The man on second leaves in a desperate rush. I drop the bat and focus my sprint on the only destination I have - first base. Three defenders race inward to be the first to retrieve the skidding ball. Man is now on third! I watch the open glove of my adversary, wondering if I will win this race. I switch my attention to his eyes, looking for a clue, some kind of reaction that tells me the ball is in the air and heading his way. All I see is frustration. The roar of the crowd spikes, something happens that I can’t see. The first baseman takes off right as my left stride touches the bag. I waste no time turning my head to see the pitcher laying on his stomach, pounding the turf with an open glove. He misses the opportunity to out me and the ball has quickly bounced past him. Excitement grows. This isn’t over yet... It has become a fight to tag out the runner heading homeward. The catcher falls to his knees in obvious desperation as he watches my teammate make the run of his life. He knows it’s going to be close when he sees the shortstop fumble the ball for a second too long. I jump up and down with no plans on leaving first base. All my chips are on the speed and agility of the active runner. His cleats dig into the dirt, creating a dust storm in his wake. He dives into the air and lands on his chest to begin the crucial slide to home plate. The shortstop fires the ball to the catcher. It immediately begins closing the gap. The crowd's roar decreases as everyone awaits this gut-wrenching outcome. The bench begins to celebrate even before he reaches the plate. The crowd goes nuts. Everyone knows how this story will end… The runner is met by the entire team as his fingers inch across home plate. The sound of the ball making contact with the catcher's glove is milliseconds too late. The ump swings his arms outward, officially calling him safe. We won! We won this hard-fought game to advance! Emotions sink in.Lamar WigginsPublished 10 days ago in Unbalanced
First comes the searing shock of mind-numbing agony from flesh-to-flesh contact. Barely clothed bone against barely protected muscle. Anything impacted with enough force can go flying. Vaseline, hair, blood, sweat, fragments of skin, mouth piece, shoes. Everything is fair game.Stephanie J. BradberryPublished 2 months ago in Unbalanced
Maple Leafs, You Have One Job!
On Sunday, March 26, 2022, the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Nashville Predators, 3-2, behind two goals from their captain, John Tavares. On the following day, the Leafs were off, but they could clinch a playoff spot during their idle day with a loss from the Florida Panthers. Even better, because the Leafs picked up two points, Florida's loss didn't have to be in regulation. In a crazy scenario, the Panthers were in Ontario, but against the province's other franchise, the Ottawa Senators. This meant that the Leafs and their fans had to (for that night) pull for their provincial enemies to pull out the victory. The Sens did just that, winning 5-2 over the struggling Panthers, and that gave the Leafs another playoff appearance.Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 2 months ago in Unbalanced
Thank You, Willie O'Ree
Funny story; a fear I had when watching hockey as a kid was that I wouldn't be able to find the puck, hence why I was grateful to the NHL on FOX for giving us the glow puck. I never thought I'd be into hockey as much as I am now. And no, it wasn't because I'm Black. Mainly, it was because I didn't have cable as a kid. Basketball, baseball, and football were available daily without cable, but hockey really wasn't. I followed everything via the sports section and only watched the All-Star Game because it was on a non-cable channel. When I got cable in 1997, I watched more hockey...way more.Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 4 months ago in Unbalanced
Playoffs? Are You Kidding Me?
Hello readers, I hope you all have been enjoying my recent posts. It’s been a while since I’ve written an NFL blog, but I’ve decided to give it another try. We are almost a third of the way through the 2022-23 NFL season and so far, there have been a handful of teams that did not make the postseason last year but have showed some noticeable improvement and/or displayed flashes of upside that seem to indicate they could be contenders when January arrives. I’ve identified seven such teams and consulted my (imaginary) magic eight ball to seek answers to the question… will (insert team name here) make the playoffs this season?Michael KinnalyPublished 8 months ago in Unbalanced
Yankees Are Beasts of the East
On September 27, 2022, the New York Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays, 5-2, to clinch the American League East for the 20th time in franchise history, and the first time since 2019. Divisional play began in 1969, with the American and National Leagues divided into two divisions: East and West (the Central Divisions were formed in 1994). It wasn't until 1976 that the Yankees won the AL East for the first time, but despite that long wait, the Yankees' 20 division titles are the most in the division's history, with the Boston Red Sox being second with 10, which is half of the total of their hated rivals.Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 9 months ago in Unbalanced
Why Demographics Are Indeed Destiny for the Growth of Women’s Professional Sports
Overview One thing we know that holds true throughout the history of American sports is this: There is - and has always been - an ongoing evolution when it comes to the popularity and interest in specific sports. There was a day, back in the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s, that baseball, boxing and horse racing were the 3 most popular sports in the land. And while football had done “well enough” for decades prior, the 1960’s and 1970’s were pivotal - with television, with technology innovations, and with the full integration of college football - in laying the groundwork for both professional and college football to become the big money, dominant sports that they are today. And what are some of the major sports today have not had smooth paths to their places of prominence today. The NBA’s ratings were so bad in the 1980’s that even many of their playoff games were shown on a delayed basis, rather than being shown live. The then-fledgling UFC was almost banned by the U.S. Congress in the mid-1990’s, with Senator John McCain labeling mixed martial arts not a sport, but “human cockfighting.”David WyldPublished 11 months ago in Unbalanced
Stanley Cup Final Game Six: After 21 Years...
Where were you on June 9, 2001? You know where I was? I was in my living room watching Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Final between the Colorado Avalanche and the New Jersey Devils. I watched as Alex Tanguay scored those two goals (one in the first, one in the second), and Joe Sakic put one in as well. I watched as the Avs won 3-1 and captured the Stanley Cup, and I remember that feeling so well. I wanted it again. Fast forward 21 years and 17 days, and that feeling returned.Clyde E. DawkinsPublished 12 months ago in Unbalanced
Most recently published stories in Unbalanced.
The Turbulent History of the Montréal Expos
Some time ago, I wrote a story detailing the history of the NHL's Quebec Nordiques, who were part of the 1979 NHL-WHA merger and played for 16 seasons in the NHL before moving to Denver. The Nordiques were a hard luck team, but they did have a few moments. The same cannot be said about Quebec's other relocated major team. I've been fascinated with this team for quite a while, and oddly, the fascination increased after they relocated. Could they be back in some form? Who knows? Right now, it's time to tell the tale of one of the most extraordinarily hard luck teams in sports: the Montréal Expos.Clyde E. DawkinsPublished about 9 hours ago in Unbalanced
Finals Game Four: One Step Closer
On this day in 2001, the Colorado Avalanche captured the Stanley Cup on their home ice at the then-named Pepsi Center (currently known as Ball Arena). During that same season, the Denver Nuggets, the Avs' arena roommates, finished 40-42. It's because of the Avs that I'm fascinated by Denver sports, but the overall success hasn't really been there. Interestingly, the Avalanche's 1996 Stanley Cup was Colorado's first pro sports championship. This was followed by a pair of Super Bowl wins by the Denver Broncos, and the aforementioned second Cup by the Avalanche. The Broncos and Avs each added a third championship later on, and while MLB's Colorado Rockies have yet to win a World Series, they did win a pennant in 2007.Clyde E. DawkinsPublished about 11 hours ago in Unbalanced
The Incredible Career of Raymond Bourque
After 22 years...Raymond Bourque...is featured on Vocal! Born on December 28, 1960, Raymond Jean Bourque's foray into hockey began in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, instantly becoming the league's top defenseman. At the age of 18, Bourque was drafted eighth overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1979 NHL Draft, though the Bruins actually had plans to draft another defenseman: Keith Brown. The Chicago Blackhawks ended up snagging Brown at 7th, so the Bruins decided to "settle" for Bourque. Boy, what a consolation prize!Clyde E. DawkinsPublished about 16 hours ago in Unbalanced
Running a Half Marathon: my first time
I won’t go into why I took up running, or give you the long background information that only recipes on grandma’s cooking seem to need.Jay,when I writePublished about 21 hours ago in Unbalanced
My experience going to a baseball game in Europe.
I googled if there are any batting cages in Amsterdam, where I could go during my vacation in Holland. I found there was one on the outskirts of the city, connected to the stadium of the Amsterdam Pirates, the local baseball team. Next thing I noticed, that during the time I’d be in Amsterdam, the European Champion Cup would take place. I decided to get tickets for June 7th, this was a great opportunity to see what baseball culture is like outside of the U.S.fredi schokker
Florida Panthers Stanley Cup Final: The Ultimate Hockey Showdown in the Sunshine State
Are you ready for the thrill of the Florida Panthers Stanley Cup Final? Get ready to witness the battle on ice as the Panthers vie for the most coveted trophy in professional ice hockey. In this article, we'll dive deep into the heart-pounding action, the team's journey to the finals, key players to watch, and everything you need to know about this monumental event. Let's lace up our skates and embark on an unforgettable hockey journey through the Sunshine State!Marco Mendez
The Thrilling Battle: IND vs AUS Live Test Match
Introduction: Cricket fans around the world eagerly awaited the live test match between India (IND) and Australia (AUS) with bated breath. As two cricketing powerhouses collided, expectations were sky-high, promising an intense battle on the field. This blog captures the highlights and key moments of this captivating test match that left fans on the edge of their seats.RAVI SINGHANIYA
Stanley Cup Final Game Three: Scratching and Clawing
June 10, 1996. Nearly 26 years to the day. That was the last time that the Florida Panthers hosted a Stanley Cup Final game; the memorable 1-0 triple overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche that completed a four-game sweep. Though the Panthers fans were happy to see the Cup Final at their place for the first time since that exact date, they know that they would be even happier with something that the team hasn't had: a win in a Cup Final game. The Panthers entered Game Three down 2-0 against the Vegas Golden Knights, and becoming the second team in NHL history to lose their first six Cup Final games, joining the St. Louis Blues (who lost their first 13) on that short list.Clyde E. Dawkins
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