Widely acknowledged as the best hockey book ever written and lauded by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 10 Sports Books of All Time, The Game is a reflective and thought-provoking look at a life in hockey. Ken Dryden, the former Montreal Canadiens goalie and former president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, captures the essence of the sport and what it means to all hockey fans. Originally published in 1983, The Game was re-released with a 30th anniversary publication, including a new foreword by Bill Simmons, new photography and a new chapter, "The Game Goes On." Here is an excerpt.

The Canadian game of hockey was weaned on long northern winters uncluttered by things to do. It grew up on ponds and rivers, in big open spaces, unorganized, often solitary, only occasionally moved into arenas for practices or games. In recent generations, that has changed. Canadians have moved from farms and towns to cities and suburbs; they've discovered skis, snowmobiles, and southern vacations; they've civilized winter and moved it indoors. A game we once played on rivers and ponds, later on streets and driveways and in backyards, we now play in arenas, in full team uniform, with coaches and referees, or to an ever-increasing extent we don't play at all. For, once a game is organized, unorganized games seem a wasteful use of time; and once a game moves indoors, it won't move outdoors again. Hockey has become suburbanized, and as part of our suburban middle-class culture, it has changed.

Put in uniform at six or seven, by the time a boy reaches the NHL, he is a veteran of close to 1,000 games -- thirty-minute games, later thirty-two-, then forty-five-, finally sixty-minute games, played more than twice a week, more than seventy times a year between late September and late March. It is more games from a younger age, over a longer season than ever before. But it is less hockey than ever before.

For every time a twelve-year-old boy plays a thirty-minute game, sharing the ice with teammates, he plays only about ten minutes. And ten minutes a game, anticipated and prepared for all day, travelled to and from, dressed and undressed for, means ten minutes of hockey a day, more than two days a week, more than seventy days a hockey season. And every day that a twelve-year-old plays only ten minutes, he doesn't play two hours on a backyard rink, or longer on school or playground rinks during weekends and holidays.

It all has to do with the way we look at free time. Constantly pre-occupied with time and keeping ourselves busy (we have come to answer the ritual question, "How are you?" with what we apparently equate with good health, "Busy"), we treat non-school, non-sleeping or non-eating time, unbudgeted free time, with suspicion and no little fear. For while it may offer opportunity to learn and do new things, we worry that the time we once spent reading, kicking a ball, or mindlessly coddling a puck might be used destructively, in front of TV, or "getting into trouble" in endless ways. So we organize free time, scheduling it into lessons -- ballet, piano, French -- into organizations, teams, and clubs, fragmenting it into impossible-to-be-boring segments, creating in ourselves a mental metabolism geared to moving on, making free time distinctly unfree.

It is in free time that the special player develops, not in the competitive expedience of games, in hour-long practices once a week, in mechanical devotion to packaged, processed, coaching-manual, hockey-school skills. For while skills are necessary, setting out as they do the limits of anything, more is needed to transform those skills into some- thing special. Mostly it is time unencumbered, unhurried, time of a different quality, more time, time to find wrong answers to find a few that are right; time to find your own right answers; time for skills to be practiced to set higher limits, to settle and assimilate and become fully and completely yours, to organize and combine with other skills comfortably and easily in some uniquely personal way, then to be set loose, trusted, to find new instinctive directions to take, to create.

But without such time a player is like a student cramming for exams. His skills are like answers memorized by his body, specific, limited to what is expected, random and separate, with no overviews to organize and bring them together. And for those times when more is demanded, when new unexpected circumstances come up, when answers are asked for things you've never learned, when you must intuit and piece together what you already know to find new answers, memorizing isn't enough. It’s the difference between knowledge and understanding, between a super-achiever and a wise old man. And it’s the difference between a modern suburban player and a player like Lafleur.

For a special player has spent time with his game. On backyard rinks, in local arenas, in time alone and with others, time without short-cuts, he has seen many things, he has done many things, he has experienced the game. He understands it. There is scope and culture in his game. He is not a born player. What he has is not a gift, random and otherworldly, and unearned. There is surely something in his genetic make-up that allows him to be great, but just as surely there are others like him who fall short. He is, instead, a natural.

"Muscle memory" is a phrase physiologists sometimes use. It means that for many movements we make, our muscles move with no message from the brain telling them to move, that stored in the muscles is a learned capacity to move a certain way, and, given stimulus from the spinal cord, they move that way. We see a note on a sheet of music, our fingers move; no thought, no direction, and because one step of the transaction is eliminated -- the information-message loop through the brain -- we move faster as well.

When first learning a game, a player thinks through every step of what he's doing, needing to direct his body the way he wants it to go. With practice, with repetition, movements get memorized, speeding up, growing surer, gradually becoming part of the muscle’s memory. The great player, having seen and done more things, more different and personal things, has in his muscles the memory of more notes, more combinations and patterns of notes, played in more different ways. Faced with a situation, his body responds. Faced with something more, something new, it finds an answer he didn't know was there. He invents the game.

Listen to a great player describe what he does. Ask Lafleur or Orr, ask Reggie Jackson, O. J. Simpson, or Julius Erving what makes them special, and you will get back something frustratingly unrewarding. They are inarticulate jocks, we decide, but in fact they can know no better than we do. For ask yourself how you walk, how your fingers move on a piano keyboard, how you do any number of things you have made routine, and you will know why.

Stepping outside yourself you can think about it and decide what must happen, but you possess no inside story, no great insight unavailable to those who watch. Such movement comes literally from your body, bypassing your brain, leaving few subjective hints behind. Your legs, your fingers move, that's all you know. So if you want to know what makes Orr or Lafleur special, watch their bodies, fluent and articulate. Let them explain. They know.

When I watch a modern suburban player, I feel the same as I do when I hear Donnie Osmond or René Simard sing a love song. I hear a skillful voice, I see closed eyes and pleading outstretched fingers, but I hear and see only fourteen-year-old boys who can’t tell me anything.

Hockey has left the river and will never return. But like the "street," like an "ivory tower," the river is less a physical place than an attitude, a metaphor for unstructured, unorganized time alone. And if the game no longer needs the place, it needs the attitude. It is the rare player like Lafleur who reminds us.

-- Excerpted by permission from The Game: 30th Anniversary Edition by Ken Dryden. Copyright (c) 1983, 2003 by Ken Dryden. Published by Triumph Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Available for purchase from the publisher, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

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For video gamers and sports enthusiasts alike, there's always been a certain novelty in combining the legends of yesterday with the stars of today.

In recent years Barry Sanders and Michael Jordan have graced the cover of their sport's most popular game.

And now UFC gamers will have the opportunity to play as the man whom UFC president Dana White considers "the Father of MMA," Bruce Lee.

EA Sports and the UFC announced this week that the upcoming UFC video game will feature Lee for the first time.

"This is the natural progress of our relationship with the UFC," Shannon Lee, Bruce's daughter, told USA Today. "I was super excited about it because while video games are fantasy, there’s always a debate going back and forth about how would my father have done in the octagon. Now we get to have a little bit of fun and see."

Lee, who died in 1973, was a martial arts pioneer whose once "radical" training approach proved to be years ahead of its time.

"He knew that you had to have a little piece of everything to be a complete fighter," White told USA Today. "It was never really proven until 1993, when the first UFC happened. Everything Bruce Lee said and preached turned out to be true."

Shannon Lee discusses the partnership in the video below, which also includes a sneak peek at what her father's character will look like.

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Veteran Chicago sportswriter Ed Sherman went to great lengths to research his new book Babe Ruth's Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery of Baseball's Greatest Home Run. He spoke with a U.S. Supreme Court Justice who happened to have attended Game 3 of the 1932 World Series as a youngster in Chicago. The debate may continue to rage about whether Ruth actually called his shot before hitting that titanic home run at Wrigley Field, but Sherman's book provides valuable context and nuance, and if there had been any doubt before this, it also puts the kibosh on Hollywood's interpretation.

***

ThePostGame: Without ruining the ending, so to speak, what was the most surprising thing you encountered during your research?
ED SHERMAN: The most surprising element was that there wasn't just one gesture. From watching the home video that was discovered decades later, you could see that Ruth had a series of gestures where it could be interpreted that he is "calling his shot.” After a ball to make the count 2-1, Ruth can be seen pointing with his arm straight. Is he pointing to centerfield, or is telling the Cubs players to get back into the dugout? This is the gesture we have seen in the still photos of this famous at-bat.

However, after Ruth took a strike to make the count 2-2, you can see him cocking his arm and pointing his finger. Again, what does this mean? Is he saying he has one strike left? Issuing a warning to pitcher Charlie Root? Or calling his shot here?

And I only saw snippets on that entire at-bat on the home video. It wasn't the whole thing from first pitch to last pitch. Who knows if there weren't more gestures?

TPG: John Paul Stevens attended the game as a 12-year-old fan. Was it surreal to be interviewing a U.S. Supreme Court Justice for his thoughts on this debate?
SHERMAN: Getting a chance to talk to Justice Stevens in his Supreme Court chambers probably was the biggest thrill I had in writing the book. He didn't do interviews when he was on the court. But talk about being at Babe Ruth's Called Shot? For sure. It was great to see that he had a painting of the Called Shot with Ruth pointing and a scorecard of the game hanging on one of the walls. He was very proud to be part of history.

TPG: We can debate about the Tuck Rule play with Tom Brady and the Raiders, or Brett Hull's foot being in the crease against the Sabres, but we all saw those plays and can see them again whenever we want, so it becomes more a matter of interpretation. Is it in some ways cool that the Called Shot does not offer multi-angle, slow-motion replays?
SHERMAN: Yes, indeed. Can you imagine a similar moment occurring today? The opposing team on the field taunting the hitter and the ballpark going crazy during the middle of a game. You can't. Reporters didn't go down to the lockerroom after the game to ask him about it. It wasn't done back then.

The idea that we will never know for sure what happened that day is what makes the tale of the Called Shot endure. MLB history John Thorn said it best: "It doesn't matter whether or not he pointed. What matters is that we're still talking about it."

TPG: Calling his shot might have been considered out of character for Ruth, but wasn't he actually responding to taunting from Cubs players?
SHERMAN: Certainly, that is the theory of the naysayers of the Called Shot. They contend that Ruth was responding to the taunting of the Cubs players, and he definitely was. Ruth was not shy about dishing out trash talk. Obviously, we all know he had a big personality. He definitely was engaging the Cubs players. However, did he do more? Did they push him to the point where he called his shot?

TPG: It wasn't necessarily the case in 1932, but has the Cubs' futility over the years helped sustain the mythology, that this was just another example of embarrassment for a sad-sack franchise?
SHERMAN: I don't think the Cubs' futility has sustained the mythology. This was Ruth's moment, and the Cubs just happened to be the victim. However, it is fitting that in 100 years of baseball at Wrigley Field, the most memorable moment was performed by an opposing player. Now that's definitely very Cub. White Sox fans like me love it.

TPG: This was the final home run Ruth ever hit in a World Series. Is that just another reason why this became so compelling?
The Called Shot was the defining/signature moment of his career. Prior to that, he didn't really have that moment. He never had that game-winning home run in a Game 7 of a World Series. The totality of his career was begging for some kind of act from Ruth that bordered on mythic, super-human. This was his crescendo. If you ask people -- "what's the defining moment of his career?" -- they will invariably hold their arm out and point to some imaginary centerfield. Everyone knows it's the Called Shot.

TPG: It wasn't until many years after Ruth was gone from the game that sports reporters went to the locker room for postgame interviews. Was it amusing to read those accounts, which in many ways probably helped sell the myth?
SHERMAN: I did a chapter on the media coverage of the Called Shot, and the sportswriters added to the mystery of the Called Shot. Many of the sportswriters made no direct mention of Ruth's antics. Only a few suggested that he did something that could be inferred as calling his shot.

Grantland Rice, perhaps the greatest sportswriter ever, didn't mention the Called Shot in his next day story. He waited a second day to recount Ruth's feat with all his signature flourishes. Why did he wait? Was he saving a Called Shot column for another day? Back then, columnists were known to squirrel away their best stories for a particular day. Or was Rice trying play catch up after reading other writers detail the Called Shot? Again, we'll never know, adding yet another element of intrigue to the Called Shot.

TPG: Even if someone wants to believe Ruth called his shot, isn't the Hollywood version of the moment almost comical?
Beyond comical. The first Babe Ruth film is one of the worst movies of all time, sports and otherwise. The Called Shot scene was ridiculous. They somehow tied it to "Little Johnny" lying ill in the hospital. Suddenly, he springs back to life when Ruth hits the homer. The all powerful Babe.

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OK, that's the 1940s. You would have expected the modern version starring John Goodman to be more sophisticated and perhaps depict the Called Shot with a bit more mystery. Nope. There was Goodman with his arm stiff as a plank pointing for a count of five. That film was as bad as the original. It's too bad. The Babe deserves a good movie made about him.

TPG: Do you think your book will change anyone's minds if they started out with a firm opinion one way or the other?
SHERMAN: I'm not sure I was able to convince people one way or the other. That wasn't my intent. My goal was to lay out all the facts and let people make up their own minds. This is one point that I would like to stress. The people who maintain the Called Shot is a myth make it seem as if this was an ordinary at-bat. Root, the pitcher, staring for the signs, while Ruth waited for the pitch. Hardly.

Regardless of where you stand about whether Ruth pointed, this was the most unique at-bat in baseball history. During the middle of a World Series game, the Cubs and 50,000 people at Wrigley Field were going crazy. They were challenging Babe Ruth like he never had been challenged before. How did he respond? If he strikes out, perhaps the entire tide of the Series shifts and the Cubs win. Ruth, though, didn't just hit a wind-blown homer that barely went over the fence. He launched a massive blow, traveling nearly 500 feet. It effectively killed the Cubs, leading the Yankees to a four-game sweep.

The greatest player in the game's history delivered as only he could. It was an awesome moment that will live on for a long, long time.

-- Babe Ruth's Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery of Baseball's Greatest Home Run is copyright (c) 2014 by Ed Sherman and published by Lyons Press. Available for purchase from the publisher and Amazon. Read more of Ed Sherman on his site, Sherman Report, and follow him on Twitter @Sherman_Report.

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There is no question that Babe Ruth hit a mammoth home run in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series at Wrigley Field. But the debate about whether Ruth actually called his shot against the Cubs still divides fans and sports historians alike more than 80 years later. Veteran Chicago sportswriter Ed Sherman provides the first full-length, in-depth look at one of baseball’s most celebrated and enduring moments -- including the incredible stories of two hand-held videos taken by fans and rediscovered decades later -- and tackles the question: Did Ruth really call his shot? Here is an excerpt from Babe Ruth's Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery of Baseball's Greatest Home Run.

***

"Well, the good Lord and good luck must have been with me because I did exactly what I said I was going to do."

-- Babe Ruth

Nearly a century has passed since a young kid named George Ruth played his first professional game for the Baltimore Orioles, but the woman on the other end of the line is referring to him as "Daddy." The notion is almost mind-­boggling. It doesn't seem possible that Ruth's daughter could still be alive in 2013, but thanks to longevity Julia Ruth Stevens, 96 years young on the day we spoke, is sharing memories of her father one more time.

I tell her what a thrill it is to be speaking to her.

"It's a thrill to me that I'm still here,” she said, not missing a beat. "It's a thrill to me every time I wake up in the morning."

Charlie Root's family thought the Called Shot a myth, but Ruth's family has no such disbelief. While Ruth’s own comments about what happened that day ranged all over the map, there's no doubt about it in the eyes of his daughter, grandchildren, and great-­grandchildren. He definitely called his shot.

After he married his second wife, Claire, in 1929, Ruth formally adopted Claire's daughter, Julia, who has spent a good portion of her life talking about "Daddy” and his many deeds on the baseball field. Ruth and Julia had a warm, close relationship, and you still can hear the affection in her voice for a man who died in 1948.

"People always say, 'It's such an honor to meet you,'" Julia said. "I know they're saying that because I'm Babe Ruth's daughter and that's the closest they'll ever get to Daddy. I just enjoy meeting people, and a lot of them have stories about Daddy. I love to hear them."

Not many people are still alive who can recall witnessing her father hit home runs.

"It was always a thrill,” she said. "I didn’t go to all of the games, but I went to a lot with my mother. I wanted him to hit a home run every time. Everyone would start cheering when he came up. If he hit a home run, it was beautiful to see. He’d trot around the bases. Then when he got to home plate, he’d lift his cap to the crowd.

“I used to say, 'Hit the apple in the eye, you'll see how high it will fly.'"

Julia wasn't in Wrigley Field to see her father hit his massive homer during the fifth inning of Game Three. But she has seen footage and read countless stories about that memorable day. More importantly, she heard direct testimony from key witnesses at the game, including her mother and Cardinal Francis Spellman, the longtime archbishop of New York.

"Daddy certainly did point,” Julia said. “He always seemed to rise to the occasion. He just wanted to beat the Cubs. If he had missed, he'd have been very, very disappointed, I can tell you. Cardinal Spellman just happened to be at the game. He said there’s no question that he pointed. I'll take his word and my mother's.”

Ruth's grandchildren and great-­grandchildren second Julia's opinion. Brent Stevens, Julia's grandson, celebrates his great-­grandfather's life with BabeRuthCentral.com, and Stevens doesn't waver when it comes to the Called Shot.

"The family's perspective is that he pointed to the outfield before that momentous pitch," said Stevens. "Whether he pointed to the exact location, as suggested by some of the media, is more questionable. However, he definitely indicated that he was going to hit a home run prior to that shot in Game Three of the '32 World Series."

Linda Ruth Tosetti also staunchly preserves her grandfather’s legend. Her mother, Dorothy, was Ruth’s natural daughter from a relationship he had with a woman whom he never married. Tosetti calls herself a “blood granddaughter” and proudly boasts of her resemblance to her forebear. Tosetti has her own website through which she savors the family connection, TheTrueBabeRuth.com.

Tosetti first heard of the Called Shot when as an eighth-­grader she accompanied her mother on a trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame. "This player came up to us," she said. "I can't remember his name, but he was very loud about it. He said, 'Dorothy, don’t let anyone say he didn’t point. I was there, and I saw it. He pointed.' Later, I asked my mother, ‘What's the Called Shot?'"

Tosetti soon learned more about the legend. Like her relatives, she maintains that it is true. “Yeah, I think he was bold enough to point,” she said. “My grandfather was very confident in what he could do. Could he have done it? Most definitely.”

But what about the man himself? What did Ruth have to say about the homer?

Surprisingly Ruth wasn't always as emphatic as his family about whether he pointed that day at Wrigley Field. Tom Meany, a sportswriter who knew Ruth well, noted Ruth's inconsistencies when telling the story. In his 1947 biography on Ruth, Meany writes that "Ruth had changed his version several times ... and had grown confused, uncertain whether he had picked out a spot in the bleachers to park the ball, or was merely pointing to the outfield, or was signaling that he still had one swing to go."

If ever an episode deserved immediate reaction and commentary from the participants -- from Ruth and Root to the jeering Cubs in the dugout -- it was the Called Shot. However, it didn't work that way back in 1932. Sportswriters wrote what they saw on the field. Sports journalism didn’t include working the locker room for quotes from the players and managers. As a result, dispatches went off to newspapers throughout the country following Game Three that featured flowery prose -- but nary a quote about the showdown in the fifth inning.

Meany came closest to getting some sort of immediate reaction from Ruth. Writing for the New York World-Telegram, he told of visiting Ruth's apartment after the team returned to New York City on October 3. Meany asked him about the Called Shot:

Babe's interviewer interrupted to point out the hole in which Babe put himself Saturday when he pointed out the spot he intended hitting his home run and asked the Great Man if he realized how ridiculous he would have appeared if he had struck out?

"I never thought of it,” said the Great Man. He simply had made up his mind to hit a home run and he did. You just can't get around a guy like that.

Ruth's family insists that he was just being modest. Julia said she never recalled her father talking to her about the Called Shot. "It's not something he would do," Julia said. "He was very modest. He felt he was lucky to be in the position he was in. He always tried his best and wanted to be good for all the kids."

Tosetti offered a similar version: "He wasn't one to boast about himself. That's why his teammates loved him. Even though he was Babe Ruth, he never pushed that."

But one quote in particular buoys the naysayers in this debate. It comes from an interview that Ruth did with Hal Totten early in the 1933 season. Totten, a Chicago broadcast pioneer who had been at the game, asked Ruth that next year if he had pointed to center field. Ruth replied:

Hell no. It isn't a fact. Only a damned fool would have done a thing like that. You know there was a lot of pretty rough ribbing going on both benches during the World Series. When I swung and missed that first one, those Cubs really gave me a blast. So I grinned at them and held out one finger and told 'em it only takes one to do it.

Then there was that second strike, and they let me have it again. So I held up that finger again, and I said I still had one left. Now kid, you know damn well I wasn’t pointing anywhere. If I had done that, Root would have stuck the ball in my ear. I never knew anybody who could tell you ahead of time where he was going to hit a baseball. When I get to be that kind of fool, they’ll put me in the booby hatch.

Well, there we have it -- solid proof. Babe Ruth said he didn’t do it. If he had pointed, Root would have beaned him. The Cubs pitcher is off the hook and doesn’t have to endure an afterlife of questions about being the sap who gave up the famous homer.

It should have been that way, but it wasn't. If Ruth had made those comments today, the Internet would have exploded with the admission. End of story. But back then, Ruth’s comments to Totten likely reached a limited section of people in Chicago. As a result, his revelation had a short shelf life.

Whatever the reason, Ruth's admission to Totten didn't become his definitive take on the subject. Far from it, in fact. The story of the Called Shot continued to circulate, and at some point Ruth jumped on the train. The theories are obvious: Why deny something you really did, or, if the public wants to believe in a grandiose gesture, why not let them?

"I think it got to the point where he was asked about it so many times," Tosetti said. "When they said, 'Hey, Babe, did you really point?’ I could see him laughing it off and saying, ‘Yeah, sure.'"

In 1948, shortly before the Bambino's death, E. P. Dutton published The Babe Ruth Story, cowritten with Bob Considine. It’s hard to say how much Ruth was able to participate in the writing of the autobiography. According to Tosetti, the advancing stages of cancer made it difficult for him to talk in his final months. He might have nodded to indicate if he approved of how something was worded -- if even that much.

Still, a line appears under his signature on the book's cover that reads, "My only authorized story." The book also features this dedication: "This book, the only authentic story of my life, is sincerely dedicated to the kids of America." The story is told in the first person, and the stories align with his career.

Ruth doesn't address the Called Shot until chapter 17. Tellingly, while his famous home run is all anyone talks about from that World Series, he opens by giving credit to Lou Gehrig for the sweep. Ruth might have been the only person who noticed. He wrote, "Lou was the solid man of the 1932 Series."

Ruth and Considine get their facts wrong when they finally get into the Called Shot itself. His account has Ruth coming up in the fourth inning—but he came up in the fifth. It puts Earle Combs on base -- but nobody was on. And of course, as in many retellings of the story, Ruth had the count at 0–2 instead of 2–2.

Ruth starts his account by recalling the abuse he was receiving from the Cubs dugout:

My ears had been blistered so much before in my baseball career that I thought they had lost all feeling. But the blast that was turned on me by Cubs players and some of the fans penetrated and cut deep. Some of the fans started throwing vegetables and fruit at me.

I stepped back out of the box, then stepped in. And while Root was getting ready to throw his first pitch, I pointed to the bleachers which rose out of deep centerfield.

Before the umpire could call it a strike, I raised my right hand, stuck out one finger and yelled “Strike one.”

The razzing stepped up a notch. Root got set and threw again -- another hard one through the middle. And once again, I stepped back and held up my right hand and bawled, "Strike two!” It was.

You should have heard those fans then. As for the Cubs players, they came out on to the steps of their dugout and really let me have it. I guess the smart thing for Charlie to have done on his third pitch would have been to waste one.

But he didn't, and for that I've sometimes thanked God. While he was making up his mind to pitch to me, I stepped back again and pointed my finger at those bleachers, which only caused the mob to howl that much more at me.

Root threw me a fastball. If I had let it go, it would have been called a strike. But this was it. I swung from the ground with everything that I had and as I hit the ball every muscle in my system, every sense I had, told me that I had never hit a better one, that as long as I lived nothing would ever feel as good as this.

I didn't have to look. But I did. That ball just went on and on and on and hit far up in the centerfield bleacher in exactly the spot I had pointed to.

To me, it was the funniest, proudest moment that I had in baseball. I jogged down toward first base, rounded it, looked back at the Cub bench and suddenly got convulsed with laughter.

You should have seen those Cubs. As Combs would say later: "There they were -- all out on the top step and yelling their brains out -- and then you connected and they watched it and then fell back as if they were being machine-­gunned."

That home run -- the most famous one I ever hit -- did us some good. It was worth two runs, and we won that ball game, 7 to 5.

Actually, it was worth only one run, making the score 5–4. It's surprising that Ruth and his co-writer didn't have the facts right in his own book. Then again, Ruth could barely remember anyone's name.

Perhaps Ruth's most interesting and famous comment on the Called Shot came during a conversation with Ford Frick, his ghostwriter who eventually became baseball's commissioner. Several years after the game, Frick tried to get a clear answer out of Ruth. "Did you really point to the bleachers?” he asked.

Doubtless tired of answering yet another inquiry or maybe not wanting to lie to his friend, Ruth replied, "It's in the papers, isn't it? Why don't you read the papers? It's all right there in the papers."

-- Excerpted by permission from Babe Ruth's Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery of Baseball's Greatest Home Run by Ed Sherman. Copyright (c) 2014 by Ed Sherman. Published by Lyons Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Available for purchase from the publisher and Amazon. Read more of Ed Sherman on his site, Sherman Report, and follow him on Twitter @Sherman_Report.

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Thirty years ago today, this young boy woke up to a snowstorm in Baltimore, Maryland. As was always the case, we would turn on the TV and watch the news to find out about school closings (note to my young friends, there was no Internet.) Instead of a weather report, we witnessed our mayor outside his rowhouse steps crying, feeling as though he had let our city down. The Baltimore Colts had packed up moving vans in the middle of the night, without notice, and departed for Indianapolis. And with those Mayflower moving trucks, the heart of our working-class, blue collar city was ripped out.

If that sounds overly dramatic to you, withhold your judgment, for you do not understand how these great athletes and local citizens wearing the horseshoe, living in our neighborhoods, were an indelible part of the fabric of our community. The Colts were Baltimore. And they were instrumental in helping bring the great sport of football into the national consciousness. The NFL wasn't always what it is today.

I have fond memories of filling a thermos with hot chocolate and heading out with my dad to sit on those ice cold metal bleachers at old Memorial Stadium. Those bonding moments gone in a flash.

My father wouldn't let us turn on the TV on Sundays (until 60 Minutes came on) for the next 12 years. He was disgusted. So was I. I didn't watch a full football game for more than a decade.

Every so many years Baltimore was rumored to be getting a new team. But the NFL chose to award expansion franchises to cities with no football tradition like Carolina and Jacksonville (that worked out well). Other teams used Baltimore as their stalking horse to coerce their municipalities into publicly financing a new stadium for the team. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, a Washington lawyer, made it clear he didn't want a team in Charm City.

When the Browns moved to Baltimore and became the Ravens, the soul of the city was rekindled. It was time to forget the past and forge a new football tradition.

As fans, we have been blessed. We have had the privilege of watching iconic athletes and leaders in their prime (Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jonathan Ogden). We have been blessed with an extraordinary front office that keeps us competitive year in and year out in the most parity-laden sport on the planet. And we have been blessed with arguably the best ownership in professional sports -- a quiet but strong leader who hires and compensates the best and lets them do their job. Steve Bisciotti is non-invasive, but always seems to have his steady hand on the wheel.

The result has been two Super Bowl championships and a lifetime of new memories for me, my family and my friends.

And oh yeah, that Irsay family still owns the Colts. And while the son is far better than the father, as this past week showed us, he still is forced to confront a legacy of personal demons.

It was a bumpy ride, Baltimore, but we are better for it. And while it would be great to still have the horseshoe on our helmets, that black bird suits us just fine.

What Time Is It???

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Former NFL head coach and current NFL Network analyst Steve Mariucci posted an extremely strong "Throwback Thursday" offering this week when he tweeted this 1977 photo of himself and current Michigan State coach Tom Izzo at the Grand Canyon.


Izzo and Mariucci were childhood friends who roomed together at Northern Michigan University and have remained close ever since. While Mariucci went on to coach the San Francisco 49ers and the Detroit Lions, Izzo has established himself as one of the best college basketball coaches ever. He's won four national coach of the year awards, seven Big Ten titles and one national championship. His fourth-seeded Spartans square off against the Virginia Cavaliers in the Sweet 16 Friday in New York City.

The friends' hair isn't the only part of this photo that stands out. Izzo is also wearing a bright "adidas" T-shirt, which makes the image a little awkward because Michigan State is a Nike school and as Chris Strauss of For The Win points out, Izzo himself gets $400,000 a year from Nike to wear their products.

Here's another classic picture of the pair, along with a more recent one:


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Babe Ruth, arguably the greatest baseball player ever and an enduring American icon, was prevented from becoming a manager by something that had nothing to do with his competency or baseball acumen, says the Bambino's daughter in a compelling New York Times profile.

Julia Ruth Stevens (below, left), 97, told Peter Kerasotis that baseball executives were afraid that her father would have brought in black players at a time when there were none in the major leagues.

“Daddy would have had blacks on his team, definitely,” Stevens said.

Ruth retired from baseball in 1935, more than a decade before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Racism plagued MLB front offices at that time, and Stevens believes the fear compelled club owners to steer clear of Ruth.

Stevens said her father befriended black athletes and celebrities, and often spoke highly of Satchel Paige, the legendary Negro Leagues pitcher who was not allowed to play in MLB until he was 42 in 1948, which was the year after Robinson started playing for the Dodgers. (Ruth also died in 1948.)

Of black celebrities, Kerasotis includes this interesting anecdote in the story:

"Ruth also was known to frequent New York City’s Cotton Club and befriended black athletes and celebrities. He once brought Bill Robinson, a tap-dancer and actor known as Bojangles, into the Yankees’ clubhouse. Robinson also was with Ruth during the 1932 World Series in Chicago, and at the game when Ruth was said to have called his home run. When Ruth died in August 1948, Robinson was an honorary pallbearer."

(H/T to For The Win)

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The revelation last year that Andrew Luck still uses a flip phone was met with shock and awe, to say the least.

The 24-year-old Pro Bowl quarterback, who has a four-year, $22.11 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts, was outed as using a phone that would have been outdated in 2010.

But it seems like whatever embarrassment that reveal might have caused for Luck -- in addition to upgrades in cellular technology the past year -- has not motivated the Stanford graduate to join virtually all of his peers in the smartphone era.

Yup, that's right, Andrew Luck is still using a flip phone.

Luck attended Stanford's basketball game against Colorado this week, and he was shown on camera texting on his flip device. It looks pretty pathetic next to Richard Sherman's "modern technology":


Here's another look:


When questioned about his outdated phone last year, Luck explained that he has a history of breaking or losing his devices, so this way he doesn't have to worry about emptying his pockets for a new phone (not that he couldn't afford a new phone).

"If you really want to go deep," Luck added, "I think subconsciously it's a way of getting away from the internet, social media and email. It's a 'go' phone. You pay as you go, but I have a plan. I'm sophisticated enough to do that having been around Silicon Valley."

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With the hapless Celtics getting crushed by the Golden State Warriors, perhaps the most memorable takeaway from Wednesday's game at Boston Garden was that a man bearing a strong resemblance to Tupac Shakur was in the building.

"Fake Tupac," as he has become known, looks a lot like the late rapper. At Wednesday's game the impersonator donned one of Tupac's trademark bandanas and wore a goatee similar to the one the rapper had. The Tupac lookalike created quite a stir on social media.



With the Celtics down big in the second half, fans began chanting for the Tupac impersonator:

Even Warriors forward Andre Iguodala couldn't help but notice Fake Tupac:


For reference, here's what the real Tupac, who was killed in 1996, looked like:

And here's the impersonator:


Reporter Jessica Camerato, who has covered the team for various local outlets, told Boston Magazine that the faux Tupac is a regular at Celtic home games, but until Wednesday his presence had not become part of the arena's musical entertainment.

"Tupac look-a-like has been coming to Celtics games for years," Camerato said. "This is first time I can recall, though, they played 'California Love' for him."

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LeBron James has gone through a fascinating emotional transformation when it comes to reflecting on his oft-criticized, nationally televised "Decision" special.

During the 2010-2011 season he apologized for the way it went down, and then during the 2011-2012 season he admitted the malice that developed toward him following the special affected how he played. Since then James has gone on to win two NBA championships and his attitude about "The Decision" has changed quite a bit.

In an interview published in the March edition of GQ, James says "The Decision" was a blessing in disguise:

"The best thing that ever happened to me," he says. "I needed it. It helped me grow as a man. As a professional, as a father. At the time, as a boyfriend. It helped me grow. Being confined, I spent my whole life in Akron, Ohio. For twenty-five years. Even though I played professionally in Cleveland, I still lived in Akron. Everything was comfortable. I knew everything, everybody knew me -- everything was comfortable. I needed to become uncomfortable.

"Now I've seen everything on and off the floor this league has to offer," he says. "I got an answer for everything. Winning, losing, being a free agent, staying, leaving, media, media down on you, media big up on you, agents, money, parking it, family, money. All, everything. So whatever your question is, I can deliver."

Perhaps James' struggles in Cleveland had something to do with how comfortable he was playing in his hometown. He grew up in nearby Akron and never left Ohio, so it is understandable that he would need a change of scenery in order to succeed.

It's hard to argue with the results, anyway -- three trips to the NBA Finals, two rings and two MVP awards.

In case you want to rewatch James' 2010 TV special, you can check it out below.

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