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Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining the Games We Love Paperback – March 6, 2012

3.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Even in the presence of model franchises throughout the sports world, Zirin makes a strong argument that team owners are ruining our storied teams, not to mention the sports themselves. But then, what's new? Profiling a rogues' gallery of owners—among them, the Yankees' George Steinbrenner, the Colorado Rockies' Charlie Monfort, the Oklahoma Thunder's Clay Bennett—Zirin says that many owners rely, primarily through legalized extortion, on public coffers to stay afloat. He also discusses the baseball owners' acquiescence in their players' use of steroids and the too-rapid expansion of the NHL that has diluted the quality of play for decades. There are many to blame for the strange state of pro sports today, including overweening politicians, fans, and sports media. But, from the evidence in Zirin's book, ownership is a good place to start. --Alan Moores --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Dave Zirin is Bringing The Noise once more with his expose on the modern day tyranny that has turned athletic entertainment into 'Gross' National Product. Dave Z is irreplaceable. He's the sportsworld geiger counter, exposing the truth and protecting the fan from first, second, and third degree burns."--Chuck D, Public Enemy

"The Nation's sports columnist Dave Zirin combines the passion of the most rabid sports nut with the intellectual rigor of the most learned Hegelian. This book is a critical account of how rapacious owners are leaching the fun out of sports and how we, the beleaguered fans, can take back the games we love."--Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editor, The Nation

"Not since Hunter S. Thompson has a sports writer shown the right snarl for the job."--Naomi Klein

"The only thing I like better than pitchers who throw hard, are writers who do the same. In Bad Sports, Dave Zirin does exactly that. No curve balls, no changeups, just fastball after fastball under the chins of owners who say they love sports but make decisions based on profits for profit, the hell with the fans or the quality of the game. Bad Sports doesn't ask for accountability, it demands it."--Howard Bryant, author of The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron

"Every owners nightmare just came to life. Bad Sports is the book that all owners, general managers, presidents and CEO's of professional sports franchises prayed would never be written. Brilliantly blatant, Dave Zirin separates scandal and innuendo from truth and moral ineptness. Bad Sports proves that although wealthy men in suits may own franchises, they don't own the game."--Scoop Jackson, ESPN

"Hard-hitting, fun, ironic ane informative, Dave Zirin's Bad Sports is a riveting look at sports ownership in our time. Zirin takes on the owners in a way only he can and makes you think about sports in a way you never have. This book makes you laugh and it makes you cry, sometimes in the same paragraph."--Christine Brennan, USA Today sports columnist, author of Inside Edge and Best Seat in the House

"The smartest and gutsiest sportswriter in America has just written the smartest and gustiest book about sports--and about America"--Robert Lipsyte

"Zirin puts the politics back in sports and makes good sport of the politics. Even if you don't know the difference between March Madness and Spring Break, read this book: it's an original and scathing look at how America works."--Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine

"As Dave Zirin says to fans of corporatized sports teams--'There is a time to cheer and a time to seethe.' Zirin seethes and sometimes applauds with facts and true stories. It's more exciting reading Bad Sports than 95% of the games I've watched."--Ralph Nader

"Zirin makes a strong argument that team owners are ruining our storied teams, not to mention the sports themselves."--Booklist

"Bad Sports is a diatribe against the arrogant, the venal, and the block-headed owners . . . I enjoyed every page of Zirin's splashy rant. He is witty, knowledgeable and nasty."--Minneapolis Star Tribune

"[Zirin] makes an important point. He argues that teams . . . don't belong solely to their owners. Instead, they belong in part to fans." --Financial Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The New Press; Reprint edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595587829
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595587824
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #262,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you are a sports fan, or a progressive, you can't let this book get by you. I was truly caught flat-footed by Zirin's frozen ropes of insight into why I haven't been as inspired by the games I grew up loving so much--and by his ideas about what it will take to reclaim the game from profit driven owners. As a resident of Seattle, I was impressed how well Zirin tackled the saga of Clay Bennett and his sell out of our city by shipping of our beloved Sonics to Oklahoma. But this book is much more than an expose of rapacious sports team moguls. It is sociological study of sports and its fans that uncovers previously obscured ideas about why people marvel and partake in play. It is a study of urban planning in America and the role of the sports teams and stadiums in the modern metropolis. Moreover, it is a playbook for fans and social activists to make our cities and our teams inspiring once again.
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Format: Hardcover
I was lucky to get my hands on this at my neighborhood bookstore before it's officially released. If you like sports, it's a must read to understand how the owners are messing with the game and our society more generally. If you like politics, it's a must read so you can understand what the hell sports fans are talking about when they complain about the latest outrageous trade or missed opportunity (plus you'll get some good cocktail talking points to come at these questions from a different angle). If you don't like sports or politics, I don't know why you got this far, but any writer that Chuck D, Naomi Klein and Robert Lipsyte all like is worth checking out.
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Format: Hardcover
I will admit up front, I am a veteran reader and lover of Dave Zirin's books so I come to this book with a certain degree of ideological and literary prejudice. The thing is, I don't even like sports all that much. I haven't watched a series of anything with avid interest since the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz the last time those two teams were in a playoff series together (note, I can't even remember what year it was). But I am a fan of good writing and I am a fan of any writier willing to stand up and acknowledge the disturbing stranglehold that owners, big business, and evil American financiers(read: AIG, Citigroup, their politico pals, and all the big wigs that invest in such institutions of greed and avarice) have on every aspect of our society today, including sports. Not only do they rip our economy out from under us, they also want to destroy our fun, our games, our sources of pleasure. Well, they can't take this book from me.... As usual, Dave's deep knowledge of the history and business of sports, keen understanding of American society, and exceptional sense of humor make this book a must-read for sports fans, literature lovers, and anyone who considers themselves an aware and independent American citizen. Dave, you have done it again....
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed Dave Zirin's columns for "The Nation" for years, but his books I find even more useful. They serve as an important antidote to the nostalgia and saccharine life lessons that are so much a part of sports writing in the United States. He brings a liberal slant to the story and offers a useful corrective to the conservative ideology expressed by much of the sports journalism establishment. His earlier books took on the labor system, athletic activism, and the like. "Bad Sports" is an outstanding muckraking book that filets the owners who are intent on taking our money in publicly-funded stadium deals and giving us less than their best in return. It might appropriately have been titled "Owners Gone Wild."

No professional league is left standing in this solid journalistic account of modern sports franchises and their owners. All of the major team sports in the U.S.--MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL--and soccer in the U.K. are skewered by Zirin's prose. He singles out for abuse--or perhaps they singled themselves out with their ridiculous behavior--such owners as George Steinbrenner, Peter Angelos, Charlie Monfort, David Glass, and Bud Selig in MLB; Clay Bennett, James Dolan, Dick DeVos, and Donald Sterling of the NBA; Dan Snyder and others in the NFL; and Tom Hicks who bought the Liverpool FC soccer club but also owns the MLB Texas Rangers and the Dallas Stars of the NHL.

What do all of these people, as well as others profiled in the book, have in common?
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I'm an avid follower of Zirin's website, Edge of Sports, and a weekly listener to his radio show. For ANY sports fan OR political activist who likes what he has had to say on issues ranging from the Lebron saga, popularizing the fight against Arizona's anti-immigrant SB1070 to his on the ground coverage of resistance to the Olympics in Vancouver and his reporting from South Africa in the lead up to the World Cup - you will love Bad Sports!

The first ever sports editor for the Nation magazine steps up to the plate and delivers a real winner. This book is a must read! I am not personally the most hard core sports fan, but I've eagerly read all of Zirin's previous books and they make great gifts for the politico or sports fan in your family. Bad Sports does not disappoint.
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