Caroline Wozniacki attends Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue 2015 Celebration. AP/Press Association Images
Well read

Nigel Pearson fights off five dogs and Wozza does Sports Illustrated: It’s the week’s best sportswriting

Also featuring the amusing tale of the Canadian club that signed Eusebio.

1. “The fact that United States Little League baseball champs Jackie Robinson West have been stripped of their 2014 title, for using “players who live outside the geographic area that the team represents” is a slap in the face to everyone trying to keep baseball, a sense of community and even public education alive in the cities of the United States. This would read like scabrous satire from the pen of a writer whose DNA was part Runyon and part Baldwin if not for the fact that there are very real children being victimized by this decision in the city of Chicago.”

The Nation’s Dave Zirin writes compellingly on ‘the Real Scandal Surrounding Jackie Robinson West’.

2. “And so to Caroline Wozniacki, WTA No5, whose decision to pose for Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue can only be viewed as the issuing of a come-and-get-me plea to semi-automated headline writers. Caroline, you may be aware, is “showing Rory what he’s missing”, just as she’s been involuntarily showing it for the past eight months, every time a photographer snaps her on a beach or attempts to get an upskirt shot of her while she’s doing her job. Except that by doing it the airbrushed, Sports Illustrated way, I think she now has “ownership” of the showing him what he’s missing. Or something.”

The Guardian’s Marina Hyde writes insightfully on Caroline Wozniacki’s decision to pose for Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue.

Soccer - FIFA World Cup Mexico 86 - Eusebio EMPICS Entertainment EMPICS Entertainment

(Eusebio was one of the players recruited by Metros-Croatia)

3. “The Metros-Croatia used some rather unconventional methods to operate a championship team. With the club deep in debt in 1976, after one Sunday service at the Our Lady Queen of Croatia church, several members of the congregation met in the basement to take up a collection. The goal was to pay the salary of Filip Blaskovic, a superb central defender from Croatia, which at that time was part of Yugoslavia. Hundreds of Metros-Croatia shareholders belonged to the church, which was the focal point of social activities in the community.”

Another excellent Guardian piece — Michael Lewis recalls the fascinating story of the Toronto Metros-Croatia.

4. “Depending on one’s view, Friday’s race was an existential comment on engagement and responsibility; a critique or embrace of entitlement and self-importance; a celebration or rejection of couch-potato sloth; a chance for serious runners to shake off the midwinter doldrums with silly fun; or a sly enticement of nonrunners, luring them to what may be the best part of a race — the after-party.”

Want to know more about the least taxing race on the planet? The New York Times have you covered.

5. “But France’s muscular approach against Scotland, a sort of power rugby deluxe, was far from unique in the opening weekend of the Six Nations. Italy and Ireland also embraced the crash and bash: at the Stadio Olimpico, there were 311 tackles, or one every 15 seconds. Italy made 206 tackles, two short of their own world record. Wales versus England, with 280 tackles, compared with 239 in the corresponding fixture last year, was not far behind, while there were another 218 in France’s game against Scotland.”

Sean Ingle provides an interesting take on rugby’s recent developments.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Arsenal v Leicester City - Emirates Stadium Nigel French Nigel French

(Nigel Pearson once fought off five dogs)

6. “There has always been this story circulating in football that Nigel Pearson, Leicester City’s record-breaking manager, once fought a bear in Romania. It wasn’t a bear. It was a pack of five vicious dogs and they almost killed the backpacking Pearson.”

For the week that’s in it, Henry Winter’s piece on Nigel Pearson is an essential read, with a particularly memorable opening paragraph.

7. “And then there were Bogdos and Herman, whose matchup might not have seemed all that unusual — except that Bogdos is 82, Herman is 77, and their rivalry dates to 1979, to the early days of a recurring game that continues to feature the same cast of characters at the same neighborhood Y.”

Scott Cacciola visits a New York gymnasium where ‘Camaraderie Never Gets Old’.

Paul Scholes has responded to ‘knobhead-gate>

How fast should I go? When should I rest? – 5 questions newbie runners are afraid to ask>