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Brian Podoll

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NBA, MLB, and NFL columnist for Sports Unbiased.

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With their ninth straight loss to the Spurs at San Antonio on Sunday, January 19, the Milwaukee Bucks continued collapsing as the NBA’s worst team at 7-33. In destroying this once outstanding franchise, their approach to outright tanking this particular season has proven historically not to work. Strangely enough, 2013-14 marks the 20th anniversary of the previously worst Bucks team ever; when GM/Coach Mike Dunleavy’s 1993-94 squad finished 20-62. Milwaukee is currently on pace to go 14-68. In truth, owner Herb Kohl’s franchise has never truly fully recovered from that season 20 years ago, even though at the time, it allowed them...

If there is one thing that is fascinating in the media’s initial analysis of the NFL concussion-damage settlement, it is the absolute lack of understanding that the cost of this will be passed onto the fans. While people like Darren Rovell can say the spread-out cost will be a “drop in the bucket” for the NFL over the course of 20 years and makes presumptions about the continued revenue growth of the league, no business incurs new expenses without rolling them over into the cost of the product. For fans, this will mean even higher ticket prices to view games in person and will translate into incremental fee increases for TV...

Two events in the aftermath of this last National Hockey League season raise an interesting and ongoing question about the perception of “Russians,” going into the upcoming Winter Olympics at Sochi. While there is no longer the width and breadth of the old Soviet Empire that made Lithuanians their primary purveyors of basketball, the modern Russian Federation remains a place that is 80% Russian. While that is a resounding majority by any measure, our minority report reveals some of their most prominent athletes. Take ice hockey hero Alexander Ovechkin, who just claimed his third Hart Trophy as the NHL’s Most Valuable Player....

A discussion about the disappearance of the screwball from baseball's pitching repertoire also led us to ponder about another lost art on the hardwood. Whatever happened to the hook shot, and why is it no longer taught as a standard weapon for post play? There was a physical factor to turning away form the screwball, but the hook shot does not seem to have that excuse. The hook shot may date back to the early 1920s and multi-sport star Ernie Nevers is one person credited as among its creators. Throughout that decade and into the next, post and pivot players like Hall of Famers Dutch Dehnert and 6-5 Joe Lapchick developed forms of...

A discussion between Milwaukee Brewers’ TV announcers Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder during Friday night’s victory by Washington at Miller Park prompted a larger contemplation: In an age when pitching seems to have regained an upper hand in the game, whatever happened to the screwball as a pitching weapon? Its last foremost practitioners through the 1970s seemed to have gone the way of the dodo bird. In their 2004 book, The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, Rob Neyer and Bill James analyzed every form of pitch. For the screwball, Neyer ranks Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell as its top delivery man and fellow Cooperstown honoree Christy...

One problem has been reinforced with the 65-game, season-ending suspension of the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun - team General Manager Doug Melvin has been in the eye of the maelstrom of this PED issue since his days with the Texas Rangers and either he has a blind eye to understanding this issue or has chosen to look the other way in both Texas and Milwaukee. While he was not directly responsible for upping the ante in Texas to make Alex Rodriguez the most disproportionately-paid player in the history of the game at the time, Rangers’ owner Tom Hicks was, Melvin as GM still cut the deal. At the outset, please allow me to note...

There could not be a greater contrast between the baseball news to start this last week and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony that will take place on Sunday in Cooperstown, New York. On the one hand, we have the first portion of the Bigoenesis PED scandal hammer dropping on the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun. Bear in mind that Braun was once supposedly a poster child for helping to bring Major League Baseball back from the abyss of all the previous drug-related negativity. On the other hand, after 77 years of Hall of Fame elections, one man has finally reached that pinnacle, 123 years after his playing career ended. Ryan...

The NCAA is trying to avoid one form of Pandora’s Box and is likely opening another in discontinuing its relationship with EA Sports. This speaks to the larger issue of whether if or how collegiate athletes should be compensated outside of scholarship free rides. For college football and its 100-man rosters, the answer should be no. While one athlete can claim an EA avatar resembles the style of how he plays, say as a running back, can the long snapper for the same Solid State U team come out and make the same claim about his position? Is the wealth going to be spread to all 100 players on the roster? All college athletes should have...

Even though the NBA does a great job of hyping its individual star players, it has been perhaps the worst of the major sports leagues with logically identifying its team images to their locales. The return of the Hornets nickname to Charlotte is at least one step in the right direction. The name “Hornets” has appeared for minor league baseball, a World Football League gridiron franchise from the 1970s, and the NBA team all in Charlotte and derives its history for the city being a “hornets’ nest” during the Revolutionary War. If only other NBA franchises were that well-conceived. It has been a long-held position from this...

While everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop on perhaps as many as 22 players from the Biogenesis scandal, there is a very simple reason as to why this is a problem at all. Absolutely no one from the original wave of PED abusers from the 1990s was ever punished. Jason Giambi still plays in the majors. Andy Pettitte still pitches in the majors. Alex Rodriguez is due to return to action. Mark McGwire is allowed to coach. If any and all such offenders had been banished from the game in the first place, we would not be seeing this second wave (and perhaps a repeat offender in A-Rod). If you commit plagiarism at your university or...