The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies: Q&A with Glen Macnow

The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies: Q&A with Glen Macnow

People tend to love lists. But the thing with lists is that too often people use them as a crutch and hastily throw together their "Best [insert anything under the sun] of the decade" without much time, effort or thought put in to it. Lists are just like anything else, if they're done right, they can be both highly entertaining and tremendously useful.

Ray Didinger and Glen Macnow's "The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies: Featuring the 100 Greatest Sports Films of All Time"
is done right. It obviously lists what they've decided are the best sports movies of all time, but it's the interviews and quotes with the people who were actually involved in making the movie that makes this a good read. It's the scratching beneath the surface that makes their book so enjoyable.

We had the chance to ask Glen Macnow a few questions about the book.

Enrico: The book is clearly more than just one
long list. The mini interviews with athletes, actors, and celebrities
are some of the most entertaining parts of the book. What was the most
fun aspect about doing a book like this?

Glen: Going back and seeing movies that I've seen a dozen times or more and studying both the movie, the history of the movie, and talking to people in the movie and learning things about the movie that I never knew. That was the most fun.

Moments in the book where you tell of classic scenes or throw in
a money quote almost transport you back into the movie, where reading
the book is a similar escape to sitting in a movie theater. Was that
something you were aiming for or something that just happened along the
way?

I don't know if it was something we were aiming for but we really wanted to give people more than just a list and we really wanted to give people something that was more than just a recapitulation of the script. We wanted to take works of art that we know people love and really give you stuff that is interesting and fun and different about them that you didn't know. If it allows you to get caught up in it in a way that you felt like you were watching a movie then that's great, then it worked.

If Rocky would have won against Creed in their first bout, does it even crack the top ten?

That's an interesting question because the whole point of Rocky is that he doesn't win -- except that he does. If he wins the fight, in many ways it becomes just another movie. So the beauty of it was in the ending. No, had he won the fight it wouldn't have been Rocky, it wouldn't have been the movie, it wouldn't have been half as good.

I
wasn't totally in agreement with your inclusion of a few quasi-sports
movies. Are chess and poker really a sport whereas the incredible
bowling skills of Donnie and The Dude are overlooked?

Well, the Big Lebowski wasn't really about bowling. I love the Big Lebowski but it was about guys that happen to get together and bowl. There is a chapter on sports scenes in non-sports movies. We went with poker with the criteria that if ESPN airs it and sports pages cover it, we'd consider it.

Finally, best sports movie that didn't make the book, The Cutting Edge?

[Laughs] Yeah right. Actually we did mention The Cutting Edge in the book in the "sports date movies" section. I can tell you the last movie in and what it knocked out. The last movie in was number 55, called Sugar, about Dominican baseball players that don't become the stars. It knocked out Ali with Will Smith which we had in the last spot. It was ultimately a disappointing movie but there was enough about it that we liked.

You can pick up a copy at your local book store or order it on Amazon here: The Ultimate Book of Sports Movies: Featuring the 100 Greatest Sports Films of All Time

Report: Lonzo Ball, Sixers considering pre-draft workout

Report: Lonzo Ball, Sixers considering pre-draft workout

It may be time for Sixers fans to start setting money aside for some Big Baller Brand gear.

Sources tell ESPN’s Chris Haynes that Lonzo Ball is considering working out for the Sixers, who hold the No. 3 pick in the upcoming NBA draft.

“A final decision will be made once Ball's agent, Harrison Gaines, and Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo have had an extensive conversation centered on the identity of the team, sources told ESPN,” Haynes said.

Haynes also states that the main concern between Ball and the Sixers would be how the former UCLA point guard would fit in on a team that plans to feature 2016 No. 1 pick Ben Simmons as the primary ball handler.

This news comes after Ball declined to work out for the Boston Celtics, who own the top pick in June’s draft.

"We don't deal with [Ball's camp] all that much,” Celtics president Danny Ainge said on 98.5 The Sports Hub radio during The Toucher and Rich Show Thursday. “They didn't show up at the combine, which is very common -- many of the top 10 or 15 players don't show up for the combine. ... We just tried to get him in for a workout and they politely said no."

Ball’s father, Lavar, has previously stated several times that his son would only work out for the Lakers, who will select at No. 2. Plus, Lonzo Ball has said he would rather be drafted by the home state Lakers instead of going at the top of the draft.

“I’m a family dude,” Ball said during an interview on ESPN last month. “All my family is in L.A. So, to be able to play in front of them, I think that would mean more to me.”

Even with all the pre-draft posturing and the outspoken nature of his father, Lonzo Ball has proven to be a top-tier talent. The 6-foot-6 Ball averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists and 6.0 rebounds as a freshman at UCLA as he was named consensus first-team All-American.

We previously looked at how Ball would blend with the Sixers, which one analyst called a “perfect” fit.

The Sixers may be having similar thoughts.

500 plate appearances in, Tommy Joseph an above-average offensive 1B

500 plate appearances in, Tommy Joseph an above-average offensive 1B

BOX SCORE

Tommy Joseph is making the Phillies' situation at first base quite tricky.

Joseph on Thursday continued building on his red-hot month of May by going 2 for 5 with a game-tying homer in the seventh and a walk-off RBI single in the 11th inning of the Phillies' 2-1 win over the Rockies (see Instant Replay).

He's hit .329 in May with six doubles, six homers, 15 RBIs and a .657 slugging percentage. The only first basemen in the majors with a higher slugging percentage this month are Yonder Alonso, Justin Bour and Paul Goldschmidt.

That'll hold off the eye-popping production of Rhys Hoskins for now (see Future Phillies Report).

Extending it further, Joseph has played 148 career games with 499 plate appearances in the majors. That's just a bit less than a full season. He's hit .255 with an .804 OPS, 28 home runs and 23 doubles. He's provided above-average offensive production from first base.

Most Phillies fans know Joseph's story — big-time catching prospect acquired from the Giants in the 2012 Hunter Pence trade, series of concussions, position switch, hot start to 2016 at Triple A, promotion, production.

It was a long, winding road for Joseph, and when he was asked Thursday if he expected to be this solid 500 plate appearances into his major-league career, he brought up health.

"My goals were to be healthy, to be able to play in 162 games and that's all I really want to be able to do," Joseph said. "That's something I haven't been able to do in my career and it's something that I'm looking forward to. I'm looking forward to the challenge to go through the mental challenge and the physical challenge and I'd say that's my No. 1 goal, that's my only goal. Because if I'm able to stay healthy and stay on the field then I'm able to enjoy this great game and getting to share it with my teammates."

As for the May adjustments, Joseph said the standard things about communicating with hitting coach Matt Stairs, working in the cage and staying consistent with his approach. His timing wasn't there in April but it's certainly been there in May.

"There's no telling what clicks in a guy, it's just a matter of making a minor adjustment sometimes, possibly getting better pitches to hit," manager Pete Mackanin said. "There's no telling what it is, but he just looks a lot more comfortable at the plate."

Bullpen bouncing back
It's been completely overshadowed by the Phillies' recent skid but the bullpen has pitched very well of late. The unit that was overworked and criticized in April has combined to allow just two earned runs in its last 22 2/3 innings. On Thursday, six Phillies relievers — Edubray Ramos, Pat Neshek, Joaquin Benoit, Hector Neris, Luis Garcia and Jeanmar Gomez — pitched six scoreless innings.

Neshek made the play of the day, diving and landing on his head to snag a pop-up bunt attempt before turning and firing to first base for the double play.

"I said early on that I think it's one of our strengths," Mackanin said of the bullpen. "And after today you can see why I have a lot of confidence in them."

Neshek, who has pitched in the postseason for four different teams, said Thursday that he thinks this is one of the best bullpens he's ever been around. It's not lip service, either. The unit was terrible in April, there's no getting around that. But some of that really did have to do with the overuse. Setup men were entering in the sixth inning. Opportunities for holds and saves were few and far between. Roles were not defined.

Stuff-wise, repertoire-wise, there is a lot to like about the Phillies' bullpen. Neris, Benoit and Neshek all offer vastly different looks and have track records of success.

While Neshek didn't totally endorse Benoit's comments from a few weeks ago that everything would settle down once the relievers knew specifically which inning they'd pitch, he did say that he too feels most comfortable coming in during a hold opportunity.

"I think my numbers show that I'm best in those situations, coming into a hold opportunity when we're ahead," Neshek said. "We haven't had much of those lately."

The horrendous start to the season for the Phillies' relievers will skew their stats all season long, but it's nice to see that at least one aspect of this team is starting to get into a groove.