'Out of Bounds': Reason To Celebrate in the Motor City, and More
New 'Chronicle' sports column debuts
By Mark Fagan, 5:16PM, Thu. Oct. 13, 2011
Welcome to the first installment of The Austin Chronicle's new online-only sports column, "Out of Bounds." I'll be discussing the latest sports stories as well as sports in pop culture – what's on TV, in the theatres, and more.
While the Chronicle is not known for its sports coverage I'd like to take advantage of the forum I'm given and touch on some subjects that are of interest to me, and also hopefully to you, the reader. Next week I'll go into detail just what exactly is going here at the Chronicle sports-wise, but I wanted to get this column started, so here we go.
As I write this the Rangers are in the third inning of their ALCS series vs. the Tigers of Detroit with Texas currently holding the series lead 3-1. While I'm happy for my Central Texas friends who are Rangers fans (I'm an Astros fan myself), I'm more happy for the city of Detroit.
With the Tigers defeating the Evil Empire in the ALDS and the Detroit football Lions off to a 5-0 start, their best since a 6-0 start in 1956, I can hardly think of an American city more in need of this type of spiritual pick-up that you get from your beloved hometown team achieving success at the highest level.
This is a testament to the power of sport and the joy it can bring to fans, especially in a town that has struggled so mightily both on the field and off. With Matt Stafford, Calvin "Megatron" Johnson, and Ndamukong Suh leading the way at Ford Field, the Lions should be contenders for years to come.
For an interesting read on Detroit's slight but promising resurgence and the role their pro sports teamed played see "Detroit and its auto industry are starting to roll again" published recently in USA Today. And for a glimpse into why Detroit has fallen to its knees, and the buffoons running the show there, read "Detroit turns back on Tiger Stadium lot" from ESPN the Magazine.
I caught Moneyball at the Alamo Village last week and found it to be a fun watch. I know Art Howe (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) is unhappy with his depiction, but as a sports fan (who read the book by the way) it held my interest for its full two hours and 13 minutes and as a baseball fan it was fun to catch a glimpse "behind the curtains." Even if those curtains were manufactured in Hollywood. I've always liked Brad Pitt who more than carries the film playing Billy Beane and he is supported by solid performances from Parks and Recreation's Chris Pratt as Scott Hatteberg and Jonas Hill (Superbad, Get Him to the Greek) as the fictional Peter Brand. Click here for Marjorie Baumgarten's full review.
The League returned last week and continues on as ridiculous as ever. While some may file it under under the "guilty pleasure" category, the stellar cast is reason alone to tune in. Up-and-comers Mark Duplass and Nick Kroll lead the way but there's not a weak link in this cast's chain. The League airs Thursdays at 9:30pm, following the hilarious It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. And yes, it's loosely based on fantasy football. Which is fine by me.
The Houston Texans Arian Foster, my personal favorite NFL player, is featured this week on ESPN's "weekly investigative journalism newsmagazine show" E:60. The mothership allows Foster to tell his story in his own words and his outspoken demeanor is a refreshing break from the staid, carbon-copy comments you hear from the majority of professional athletes. Best of luck to Foster both on the field and off.