Washington Spirit was crowned WNBA champions after overcoming a year of controversy that included the firing of Coach Mike Thibault and allegations about inappropriate conduct by former player Chelsea Gray. The team has been rebuilding throughout this tumultuous period, but is poised to regain its place in the playoffs during 2019-2020 season with an exciting new roster.
The Washington Spirit had to cope with a coach fire, an ownership dispute, and forced forfeits, but they still managed to win the NWSL title in 2021. ISI Photos/Getty Images/Joe Robbins
The Washington Spirit became a fitting champion Saturday, defeating the Chicago Red Stars 2-1 in a dramatic extra-time finale in a National Women’s Soccer League season that will be remembered more for its league-wide off-field controversy than for its superb performance on the field.
To say the Spirit’s journey to the final this season was difficult would be an understatement. After player complaints of mistreatment failed to compel the team’s owner to act, the NWSL stepped in and suspended their coach. The players openly demanded the club be sold when a power struggle erupted between that owner and another investor. After a COVID-19 outbreak, the Spirit were forced to lose two regular-season games, as well as pay a large fine for protocol breaches.
In a nutshell, the Spirit’s season has been a whirlwind. The Spirit’s only chance of overturning a one-goal deficit and defeating the Red Stars on the league’s grandest stage was for the players to embrace the mayhem that surrounded them.
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“It’s been a lot of different feelings,” Spirit captain Andi Sullivan said. “But we’ve been leaning into them and drinking up the turmoil and seeing what we could do with it.” “I’m not sure you could make anything else like that.”
You probably wouldn’t want to, either — the Spirit weren’t the only NWSL club dealing with off-field issues this season — but the Spirit’s unique ability to capitalize on uncertainty means there is no better team to go down in NWSL history as the 2021 champion.
“No one understands what we’ve been through,” veteran defender Kelley O’Hara said. “Every single player on this club has great resilience and tenacity, which I haven’t seen on any other NWSL team I’ve ever seen. It’s the nicest feeling in the world to finish on a high note.”
However, it seemed in the first half that the Spirit had finally succumbed to an emotional toll. Something tamped down some of the Spirit’s flair and flashiness, which had carried them through the playoffs to the final. Whether it was the weight of the stakes or the drain of their off-field turmoil, something tamped down some of the Spirit’s flair and flashiness, which had carried them through the playoffs to the final.
Trinity Rodman, the Rookie of the Year, looked unhappy as she produced perilous situations for the Spirit but couldn’t summon her former magic. She just needed to go behind center-back Sarah Gorden for a breakaway in the 11th minute, but the NWSL Defender of the Year pushed it away. She pulled the trigger from the top of the box later, following some ball movement to make space for Rodman, but it went straight to goalkeeper Cassie Miller.
Rodman said, “I was quite unhappy with myself and our ball movement.” “Getting out of your brain and concentrating on the next pass, the next shot, the next ball will bring you to the finish line.”
Rodman had been seen bending over, gripping her side, as though constricted from overexertion, from the beginning of the match — but she never stopped. She leaned in even more and single-handedly altered the match’s dynamic in the second half, leading a Spirit comeback. Rodman shot a rocket off the post from far outside the box in the 62nd minute, an opportunity that seemed to terrify the Red Stars back line. Rodman took on three defenders in three minutes, before breaking free with a nutmeg through the last defender’s legs before launching another long shot. Her main contributions, though, would be assists rather than goals.
Rodman passed a ball to Tara McKeown in the 66th minute, who was fouled in the area and awarded a penalties, which Sullivan sank to level. In the 97th minute, after the game had gone to extra time, Rodman lofted a long pass to the back post, finding O’Hara’s head. O’Hara scored his first goal of the season in 2021.
Aubrey Bledsoe, the Spirit’s goalie, remarked, “We never stopped.” “We never gave up on each other, and the second half of the game demonstrates who we are.”
It was a cruel finish for the Red Stars, who seemed to have surmounted their own obstacles.
Julie Ertz (left thigh), Casey Krueger (illness), Alyssa Naeher (right thigh), and Kealia Watt were all out for Saturday’s game (right knee). Vanessa DiBernardo, the captain midfielder, had to leave the game after 12 minutes due to an injury and was replaced by Makenzy Doniak. Mallory Pugh suffered an injury just before halftime, but the Red Stars kept focused and scored in first-half stoppage time, despite being down a woman. Rachel Hill nodded a long cross from Arin Wright (née Gilliland) to the back post.
The Red Stars have now lost their first straight final after losing the 2019 NWSL Championship and the 2020 Challenge Cup.
Morgan Gautrat (nee Brian), one of Chicago’s most consistent players this season, stated, “It’s been challenging because we’ve had the taste in our mouth of losing a final like that.” “That’s why we train every day and treat every minute as if it were the last.”
Saturday’s final had all the trappings of a joyous end to the regular season for anybody who wasn’t aware of the Spirit’s off-field issues or the reckoning in the NWSL at large: Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky, is sold out. Both sides have supporters who are beating drums and cheering. Players who are putting in a high-level, competitive, and concentrated effort.
“The audience brought it — there were some individuals heckling me,” O’Hara joked. MO Local Racing Louisville enthusiasts took it upon themselves to carry some enormous, easy-to-miss Spirit signage: “Spirit fans are supported by us. Baldwin, sell the team.” Spirit supporters who traveled with the team carried their own placards pushing majority owner Steve Baldwin to sell the team during a public and brutal power battle. Y. Michele Kang, the female minority owner who has garnered the support of Spirit players, has been placed against Baldwin, who stood with ex-coach Richie Burke despite allegations of abuse.
Other placards around the stadium had even more powerful statements, such as “Listen. Believe. Protect.” Furthermore, “There will be no more silence under the hashtag #NoMoreSilence. NWSLPA needs your help.”
Burke, the coach accused by Spirit players of berating them with brutal name-calling and racist slurs, was the subject of those placards, of course. When Baldwin learned that journalists were looking into it, he claimed Burke had health difficulties and instead of sacking him, offered him a front-office position, prompting the NWSL to intervene and ban him. The placards, however, were a reference to a bigger background of player abuse and maltreatment in the NWSL this year, which caused a reckoning.
Former Portland Thorns coach Paul Riley was accused of forcing two players to kiss while he watched, sending them sexual images, and showing up to a video session in his underpants, according to two players. After a formal complaint was submitted in 2015, Thorns owner Merritt Paulson and general manager Gavin Wilkinson secretly let Riley depart the team in what was described as a standard non-renewal due to poor on-field performance. Riley found a new job soon and was only sacked last month when the players’ experiences were made public for the first time. Lisa Baird, the commissioner of the NWSL, resigned last month after facing criticism for declining to investigate earlier this year.
“Every club has had a hard year for various reasons — a lot of adversity on and off the field, and it’s vital to improve this league,” Gautrat said. “However, I believe it was a fantastic performance — 120 minutes of end-to-end soccer, with terrific goals and plenty of excitement.”
Another point of contention is that Kentucky was not scheduled to host the NWSL final. It was initially supposed to be played in Portland, Oregon, dubbed “Soccer City, USA,” but it would be moved to 9 a.m. local time to suit a national noon east coast broadcast window, causing controversy among players and fans. The Portland Thorns front office’s treatment of Riley’s charges did not make the place any more appealing.
The fact that the players were able to persuade the league to relocate its main event 3,000 miles elsewhere is a measure to their strength. Players in a professional league shouldn’t have to deal with off-field issues as often as NWSL players have, yet they’ve done so time and time again, as the NWSL final demonstrated.
That is as true for the Spirit players as it is for everyone else, since no team has had more troubles this year, at least in public. The Spirit have been the greatest side in the NWSL at coming back after surrendering the opening goal, and their whole season has been a comeback. They haven’t lost since Burke was dismissed months ago, a hot run that helped them reach the championship game, and on Saturday, they proved that suffering a season of chaos was well worth it.
“Since the end of September, we’ve been in playoff mode — we controlled what we could manage, and that was winning,” O’Hara said. “We’ve arrived.”
Find the “right” girl for you. Check. Request her hand in marriage from her father. Check. Make the ideal proposal. Check. Purchase an engagement ring. Hmmmm….. Purchasing an engagement ring may be a difficult undertaking. This buy is under a lot of stress. It’s a mark of your love for your girlfriend and a sign that you’re ready to take things to the next level. Plus, your fiancée will be flaunting off the ring to her friends and family, which won’t help matters.
Many men’s first foray into the wild world of jewels will be the purchasing of their lady’s engagement ring. They’re bombarded with phrases and notions they’ve never heard before when they step into a jewelry shop. Is this a Tiffany’s décor? Inclusions? Is there a band called Eternity? What the hell is going on here?
Do not be concerned. We’ve compiled the ideal guide to assisting you in selecting an engagement ring that your partner will like. Let’s get this party started.
Make a Financial Plan
The first thing you should do before going into a jewelry shop is make a budget. It will assist the jeweler in showing you alternatives that are within your budget. Keep in mind that, similar to vehicle purchases, the price of an engagement ring may often be bargained.
You may have heard that a man’s engagement ring should cost two months’ income. This is a sham. This “law” was made up out of whole cloth as part of a clever promotional effort by the DeBeers corporation in the 1940s, hoping to cash in on retuning GIs’ thirst to get wedded. Going into huge debt, on the other hand, isn’t exactly romantic. Purchase the most beautiful ring you can afford. In the end, it’s not about how much money you spend on an engagement ring; it’s about how much thought you put into it. Many ladies would rather that you start your life together debt-free or spend the money on a romantic honeymoon rather than squandering all of your cash on some rock.
If you want to propose to your girlfriend, don’t wait because you can’t afford a nicer ring. The ring is intended to be a sign of your love, and what does it say about your love if you’re prepared to put off getting married in order to get a nicer ring? A simple ring will serve as a reminder of those difficult times when you were both young. You may always purchase her a finer ring as an anniversary gift at a later date.
Make it a pleasant surprise
The jeweler I spoke with said that he’s seen an increase in the number of males coming in with their girlfriends to choose a ring. Allowing your future bride to choose the ring she wants will guarantee that the band fits and that she loves it, but you’ll be missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime chance to demonstrate your thoughtfulness and romanticism. Consider your girlfriend’s reaction when you 1) propose to her, 2) the ring fits, and 3) the ring you chose is precisely what she wanted.
If you can pull off this trifecta of shocks, your girlfriend’s social circle will be jealous, your future mother-in-law will remark you’re a catch, and guys surrounding you will secretly appreciate your feat. It may take some effort to keep the engagement ring a surprise, but it will be well worth it.
This isn’t to argue that surprise her is always the best option. Some ladies may insist on accompanying you to the jewelry store to choose the ring. If your wife is anything like me, she’ll already have the engagement ring she wants. Her great-grandmother had given it to her. I just had to go to her mother’s home to get the ring. Simply do what you and your girlfriend believe is the best option.
Determine Her Ring Size
This is where a lot of guys go wrong with their purchases. They’ll pick out the ideal ring, but it’ll be the incorrect size for their girlfriend’s finger. When they go down on one knee and try to put the ring onto their lady’s finger, it doesn’t fit, and the situation becomes uncomfortable.
It’s not the end of the world if you order the incorrect ring size. All you have to do now is return the ring to the jeweler and pay a little extra money to have it correctly fitted. However, it’s preferable to save money and prevent humiliation when it comes to proposing by making sure the ring you choose is the proper size.
The simplest approach to figure out your girlfriend’s ring size is to find a band she doesn’t wear and have it measured by a jeweler. You’ll have to be stealthy about this if you want to keep the surprise element. Take a ring from her jewelry box while she’s getting ready in the bathroom, or get the help of one of her friends to steal a ring while she’s at her residence. Try swiping a ring she doesn’t wear often; she’ll be less likely to notice if it’s missing.
Investigate Her Personality
You should choose a ring that complements your woman’s own style and preferences. Getting her a ring she adores will get you points in the romance department that will last a lifetime.
Due to the nature of the engagement proposal’s secrecy, you’ll have to channel your inner James Bond for this style reconnaissance. Keep an eye out for your girlfriend’s jewelry while you’re with her. Is there a lot of gold on her? Maybe she’s a lady of silver or platinum. Perhaps she prefers a certain stone she wears often, such as her birthstone, over a diamond. Is she a fan of subtle, minimalist pieces? Or does she like the opulent, glittery kind? Consider her personality: is she a social butterfly who will want to show off her ring to everyone she meets? Then opt for a huge, glittery piece. Is she a down-to-earth lady who doesn’t wear a lot of jewelry? Look for rings that are both basic and elegant.
Taking her straight into a jewelry shop is another approach to get a sense of her engagement ring choices. The goal is to go under a different guise. Tell her you need to go to the mall to get some new shoes and that she is welcome to accompany you. Go by a Helzberg Jewelry shop on your way to the department store and remark, “Hey, I’d like to stop and look at some watches.” Your gal will be staring at the rings while you’re busy pretending to be interested in the Omegas. Take a look at what she’s focusing on. Make a note of it in your head. Gauge her response by saying something casual like, “That’s a beautiful one.” Return your attention to the timepieces. Leave. The mission has been completed.
Choose the Band for Your Engagement Ring
The band of the engagement ring may be made of a number of metals. Yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, platinum, and silver are the most prevalent. You may even mix and match various metals.
Each metal has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Platinum, for example, is a very robust metal that will endure a long period. It, however, dulls considerably more rapidly than gold and is more difficult to restore to its original sheen.
Gold, on the other hand, is shinier than platinum, and since it’s a soft metal, buffing and polishing it to restore its shine is easy. The benefit of gold over platinum is equally its disadvantage. Gold corrodes more quickly than other metals because it is a soft metal. The engagement ring may need to be reshanked in 15 to 20 years if it has become too thin.
While you may be concerned with the engagement ring band’s longevity, your future wife is likely more concerned with its appearance. Silver-colored engagement rings are the most fashionable right now. If your girlfriend follows the newest fashion trends, a platinum or white gold ring is the way to go.
Choose a conventional yellow gold ring if she prefers a more traditional look.
The Four C’s of Choosing a High-Quality Diamond
So, you’ve decided on a band. Now we’ll talk about the diamond, which is the center of most engagement rings. Buying a diamond may be intimidating for many guys, but with a little information, you can walk out of a jewelry shop with a stone that your girlfriend will be proud to show off to her friends.
You should consider the “4 C’s” while choosing a diamond: cut, color, clarity, and carat weight. The diamond’s quality and price are determined by all four of these variables.
Cut. The term “cut” does not relate to the diamond’s form, but rather to its angles and proportions. The other three C’s are established by nature, but the diamond’s cut is selected by a cutter. A well-cut diamond reflects light from one facet to the next and then projects it through the stone’s top. The radiance of a diamond is due to this. Light leaks through the bottom or side of a diamond when it is cut too deep or too shallow, giving it a dull look.
Cut is the most crucial of all the four C’s. If the cut isn’t correct, the diamond won’t have the flaming brightness that your fiancée will show off to her friends, even if the color, clarity, and carat are all excellent.
Color. Diamonds come in a range of hues, much to the surprise of many men. The color of a diamond is rated on a scale of D (colorless) to Z (colorful) (light yellow). Diamonds that are truly colorless are the rarest and most valuable. The most preferred diamond hue is white. When it comes down to it, though, diamond color is all about personal choice. Look back over your ring reconnaissance notes to determine what your woman likes.
Clarity. The fewer flaws in a diamond, the more clear it is, and hence the more costly it is. When the jeweler begins talking about the diamond’s clarity, he or she will almost certainly mention the diamond’s “inclusions.” Other minerals or microscopic fissures in the diamond are called inclusions. The lower the number of inclusions, the better.
Clarity, like color, is graded on a scale. SI1 and SI2 are marginally included, although the flaw will not be seen to the human eye. Look for a diamond in this price range.
When inspecting a diamond, watch for imperfections on the top and centre, since they might affect light dispersion, making the diamond less dazzling.
Carat Weight is a measurement of the amount of gold in a The weight of a diamond is measured in carats. The greater the weight of the stone, the higher the price. There’s no need to get too hung up on the carat weight, either. A competent jeweler may make a diamond look bigger than its carat weight by properly mounting and shaping it.
Choosing a Diamond Shape
Aside from the four C’s, the form of a diamond is also important to consider. The diamond’s form is entirely dependent on your girlfriend’s preferences. We’ve included a handful of the several diamond shapes available below:
The traditional and eternal diamond form is the round diamond.
The Princess diamond is a square diamond that is now the most preferred form for engagement rings.
Select a setting
The “setting” of a ring refers to how the diamond is put on the ring. The setting you choose for your engagement ring, like everything else with an engagement ring, is heavily influenced by your girlfriend’s tastes. If you like, you can truly mix and match various settings. So you’re not utterly uninformed when you go into the jewelry shop, here’s a brief lesson on the many kinds of settings.
The name comes from the jewelry store that shares the same name. It’s a classic and timeless style.
Band of Eternity
An eternity band, rather than a single diamond, features diamonds that wrap around the whole ring.
Setting the bezel
A metal ring that encircles and extends slightly over the stone’s sides. The rim might wrap around the complete diameter of the diamond or simply a piece of it. A bezel setting secures a diamond and offers a modest, protective profile, making it a suitable option for ladies who lead busy lives.
Changing the channel
The diamond or diamonds are set in a metal channel in a channel setting. It may be used as a complement to a prong-set primary diamond.
‘Pave (pronounced Pa Vay)
This setting is made up of several diamonds that are close together.
Alternatives to Purchasing a Diamond Engagement Ring
The majority of ladies want a classic diamond ring. However, not all of them do. After all, the notion that engagement rings must be diamond rings is a very recent creation, a marketing technique used by DeBeers. Diamonds are neither uncommon nor exceptional. The DeBeers cartel has succeeded in regulating both supply and demand, therefore they are pricey. They wanted to infuse the gems with romantic significance and social standing, since they did not want the diamonds to be resold and needed someone to purchase the piles of diamonds they were sitting on. In 1938, the business launched a full-fledged advertising effort to persuade Americans that “A diamond is everlasting” and that it is the only appropriate way to communicate love. In 1951, the DeBeers marketing firm reviewed their advertising approach and noted:
“At least two major pressures are exerted on millions of brides and brides-to-be, both of which operate against the diamond engagement ring.” There is a sophisticated desire to be different as a method of being clever among the more rich…. the lower-income groups would want to show more for the money than they can find in the diamond they can purchase… These pressures must be countered by regular advertising demonstrating that only the diamond is universally approved and recognized as a sign of betrothal.”
As a result, DeBeers was able to persuade both men and women that the size of the diamond was precisely related to the intensity of their love beyond their wildest imaginations. Isn’t it a little obnoxious when you take a step back? Nowadays, a guy may postpone his proposal until he can afford a suitable diamond ring. It’s all because of a marketing effort.
So why not deviate from the norm and get something different? Consider her birthstone or another colored jewel that represents her. Of course, if you’re going to propose with anything other than a diamond, you’d best make sure your lady is OK with it. Many ladies have wished for a diamond ring, and when you open the jewelry box and see a ruby, their hearts will fall. So be sure to check with her first.
Whether you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a ring, ask both sides of your family if there is an heirloom that might be handed down. Kate’s mother-in-law handed me her great-ring, grandmother’s as I said before. It was a perfect match, Kate loved the fact that it had some history, and we were both ecstatic that we received it for free.
Getting the Engagement Ring Insured
An engagement ring is a financial as well as an emotional purchase. Because your girlfriend’s engagement ring represents such a significant financial and emotional commitment, it’s a smart idea to insurance it in case it’s ever lost, stolen, or destroyed. Even if you and your wife decide against replacing the ring, you may take the money and go on a romantic holiday. When it comes to engagement ring insurance, you have a few options:
Renter’s/Insurance Homeowner’s Many homeowner’s and renter’s insurance plans enable you to add the value of valuable goods, such as jewelry, to your policy. However, double-check the policy to be sure you’re protected. Typically, a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy will only cover an engagement ring if it was stolen or destroyed by a tornado or fire. You’ll probably be out of luck with this alternative if your wife loses her ring while cleaning the toilet.
Policies that are based on actual value. An actual value insurance coverage will compensate you for the ring’s worth minus its wear and tear. So, if your wife loses the $2,000 ring you purchased five years after you married, the insurance company may only reimburse you $1,500, taking into account the jewelry’s five years of wear and tear. Actual value insurance plans are the cheapest alternative since they don’t pay out the entire worth of the ring.
Insurance Policies for Replacement. The market value of the ring you purchased will be refunded to you under this policy. So, if you purchased an engagement ring with a gold band and a flawlessly cut diamond, the insurance company will pay you the current market price for such a ring. Because of the increase in gold and diamond values, you may be able to collect more money than you spent for the ring.
Your jeweler should be able to recommend several trustworthy insurance firms. Two such firms are the Chubb Group and Jewelers Mutual.
It’s over with the engagement. Is it possible for me to reclaim my ring?
Unfortunately, not every engagement works out. It might have been the stress of choosing dishes for your new house, or it could have been your fiancee’s “it’s not you, it’s me” comment. Whatever happens, there will be one problem that you and your erstwhile true love must clarify before parting ways: ownership of the ring.
According to US contract and property law, an engagement ring is a “conditional gift,” which means the jewelry becomes the irreversible property of your fiancée only if she marries you. You have a legal right to demand the ring back if the engagement is called off and you do not marry. It doesn’t matter who called off the engagement in most states. It may be her, or it could be you. You have a legal claim to the ring as long as the engagement is broken off. However, some jurisdictions will consider who called off the engagement when deciding who receives the ring. You may be out a few thousand bucks if it was you and you reside in a “at fault” state.
However, avoid proposing around the holidays or on her birthday. A vengeful ex-fiancee could claim that the ring wasn’t a “conditioned present,” but rather a regular Christmas gift that became irreversible after you handed it over to her. I’m not sure how effective this argument would be for her, but it never hurts to be cautious.
Vincent Anthony Jewelry in Tulsa, OK, was kind enough to address some of my engagement ring queries.
Billy Eppler has worked in difficult situations previously.
He served as the Yankees’ associate general manager in New York. While GM in Anaheim, he worked for the Angels’ Arte Moreno, who was widely regarded as an exceedingly — to use a kind term — tough owner.
“Every position in baseball has its own set of challenges,” one of his colleagues observed on Wednesday.
And the job Eppler is slated to take over today — he’ll be announced as the Mets’ general manager at 12:30 p.m. — comes with an organizational backdrop that might make it high-risk, high-reward — or outright impossible. Steve Cohen, the company’s owner, has more money than any of his competitors, as well as more Twitter followers. Sandy Alderson, the Mets’ president, has had the worst year of his baseball career since returning to the team in September 2020: one of his personnel was banned from the sport for sexual harassment, while the other was jailed for DWI. After a slew of possible candidates declined offers or even interviews, Alderson made news recently when he claimed that the job’s New York location had stifled interest.
The task wouldn’t have been simple even under ideal circumstances: the Mets were a massive letdown last season, losing 37 of their last 58 games. Moving ahead, there are huge openings in the rotation, particularly without knowing how much ace Jacob deGrom can offer in 2022. The Mets are pursuing the Atlanta Braves, who have won four consecutive division titles and the World Series last month.
So, before Eppler gets his hands dirty, six of his front-office colleagues, all of whom had worked in Incoming York at some point in their careers, secretly gave advise to the Mets’ new general manager:
General Manager (GM): “He’ll get another opportunity to do it. You hear tales about how ‘Arte did this,’ ‘Arte did that,’ and how it hampered his progress. This time, you do the task in the manner in which you choose, and you have no regrets. Only he knows exactly what power he has [with the Mets], but you utilize it and make the choices you want to make.”
“Consider Jerry Dipoto, who departed the Angels after a falling out with Arte and relocated to Seattle. The Mariners haven’t been fantastic, but they’re improving and heading in the right direction, thanks to Jerry’s decision-making.”
A high-ranking official: “Whatever he agrees to in terms of his power scope, he must put it in writing. There is no way to replace the written word. If he receives it in writing and then discovers that this is not the circumstance to which he consented, he must be free to walk away… I’m sure the last year was a rude revelation for Steve Cohen. It is not possible to buy your way into a championship. It’s impossible to buy your way into a championship mindset.”
“Billy will do an excellent job of controlling expectations. I’m not sure what Sandy was referring to the other day, but I like New York. It isn’t a challenging location to work in, in my opinion. Prepare yourself, be as honest as possible, don’t irritate the supporters, and don’t irritate the organization… Billy is well-versed in the industry, as well as New York.”
A talent assessor: “I’d warn him that there’s no time for a long-term strategy while you’re in New York. You must strive to create your squad in order to win right away. You’re not going to sell your supporters on the concept of potential or a rebuilding process; they’re not going to buy it.”
The Braves have been proclaimed champions for 2021, which means it’s time to start planning for next season! Here’s what’s new in the world of the hot stove and beyond. Complete coverage »
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• Frequently Asked Questions for each non-playoff club (ESPN+) «
“You’ve got a lot of moving pieces to deal with, which [Eppler] will have to deal with. [Cohen] seems to be like many new owners in that he wants his hands in everything, a say in everything, and is upset by the reality that nothing happens immediately. It will take some time. He’s undoubtedly irritated that he’s being compared to the Wilpons. There are a lot of moving elements, and there are a lot of possible factions — Sandy’s son [Bryn, an assistant GM] works in the front office, and he can talk to his father about anything.”
“If the Mets win, none of this will matter. The bottom line in New York is about winning, and it should be. You can’t have four horrible years in a row like this… He has to win as soon as possible. Give a two-year contract to an experienced manager who understands New York, such as Buck Showalter, and strive to win right away.”
“Tell the truth, and when you can’t, simply say you can’t,” says a general manager. He must successfully communicate both internally and internationally. He can’t keep too much of himself hidden.
“”If you attempt to B.S. that audience,” referring to the Mets’ support base, “you’re in danger.” Those fans are talented, astute, and knowledgeable. If you attempt to deceive them, they’ll figure it out.”
“In dealing with the media, he worked for one of the greatest people in the industry” — Yankees GM Brian Cashman. Given that, and having seen Brian do it, he’ll have a decent notion of how to get the media on his side. You do all you can to get everyone to join you.”
As baseball’s 2021-22 hot stove season progresses, keep up with the latest trades, grades, and commentary in one spot. » Tracker
a senior manager: “Make no attempt to be the Yankees. Make no attempt to outshine the Yankees. The Yankees aren’t a problem. Make your own schedule. There have been offseasons when the Mets were expected to win the winter, but they ended up losing the regular season.”
“Simply improve the team as rapidly as possible. I believe New York is still a National League city at heart, and if he can take [the Mets] to the next level, he’ll be wonderful. You see what the city might be like if the Mets win in that Mets documentary,” Once Upon a Time in Queens, “and you see what the city could be like if the Mets win.” When the Braves won in Atlanta, the atmosphere was electric, but if the Mets win in New York, it’ll be a million times better.”
“He should be proud of the fact that he wasn’t chosen first. ‘Maybe I’m not the first pick, but I’m here to perform the job,’ you say. Remember the headline when Joe Torre was originally recruited by the Yankees? JOE, DO YOU KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT? So, how did it go?”
“Just be yourself,” says a high-ranking CEO. Simply be Billy. Don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t. He’s been preparing for this moment for a long time. After all they’ve gone through in the previous year, I’m sure he was incredibly genuine at this moment, and I’m sure they reacted to that.
“With the fans, be open, honest, and conversational. That is all there is to it. That’s the only thing you can do. It’s the same when interacting with the owner: be honest, straightforward, and conversational.”
We went through the basics of blacksmithing a while ago.
Those fundamentals are intriguing in theory, but let’s put them to use in the real world to create something simple and helpful for around the home.
As a result, we’ll build three hooks. That’s because a hook is often the first item forged by a beginner blacksmith. It’s a fun project since the hooks are still useful no matter how ugly they come out. My early art may be found on the walls of my friends’ darkest closets.
Because this is a fluid medium and static images can’t adequately describe the process, I’ve created a short film demonstrating the many abilities and forces required to build a hook (not necessarily in order). There are subtitles to help you keep track of what’s going on.
Because I often have three irons in the fire, things may not be in order. Yes, it is the origin of the idiom. You can’t do a good job at any of them if you have too many (three is my maximum, maybe four). Because things heat up so quickly, working with smaller stocks is more difficult. It’s simpler to work with bigger material (say, 5/8 or 3/4′′ or greater). You can see how rapidly the 1/4′′ stock cools in the video, particularly when it thins out. The anvil acts as a large heat sink.
If you want a bit extra surface area so the hook doesn’t scrape into the fabric or lining when you hang a coat on it, construct Hook A (a scroll tip – the middle one). If you’re hanging anything like a cast iron skillet from it, you’ll require Hook B (a nail-point with a little curl — on the right). You don’t want a big tip, but that small curl helps to keep the item in place (you don’t want a fish hook). Unless you’re a butcher in southern Europe, there are no sharp points.
Hook C (on the left) is a unique hook with a broad, bulbous head that is not only attractive, but also safe due to its vast surface area. This one would look great on a barn post, carrying a bridle or an extension cable.
For each hook, the steps are the same.
Step One: Heat it up. Propane, coal, coke, and charcoal are all examples of fuels. It makes no difference. Bring it to a boil.
Step 1: Create and shape the hook’s tip. It’s the first thing you do, whether it’s scrawled, pointed, or worked over the anvil’s edge like Hook C. This stage is well covered in the video.
Step two is to make the hook’s radius. Smaller goods need a narrower bag, while bigger ones require a wider bag to allow bridles or extension cables. Extension cables that are long. The difficulty is that we’ve made this gorgeous point, and now we have to pound it to acquire the hook’s curve. But hold on! What if we let the tip cool off first? It’s simple to accomplish. You can work it without distorting the work with a brief quench of only the tip. This is shown multiple times in the video. The hook’s curve is heated, but the tip is cold, as you can see below.
This is when the anvil’s horn comes in handy. There are an endless number of radii for the horn to pick from. A wide radius near to the face; a relatively tiny radius close to the tip. You want to keep hammering in the same spot while shifting the work. I’m pounding on top and lowering my left hand to produce the curve in this example. Otherwise, you’re “chasing your work,” as my mentor put it. “You may pursue it, but you’ll never catch up,” he says with an Alabama drawl. This is clearly shown in the video.
Step three is to choose a shirt. These three are completed with a simple drilled tab in a traditional style. Coils, leaves, and finials, as well as any other form, may be made. Go nuts as long as the hook is at 90 degrees to the wall and the rear is flat.
Step four is to complete it. Paste wax is what I use. The metal texture will be visible through it. Some others utilize Rustoleum or transparent polyurethane paint. Clear poly is a wonderful concept for damp regions (towel bars, for example), but it makes things a bit too polished for my liking.
Twisting labor isn’t required, but it’s a lot of fun. Some of the hooks demand to be twisted, while others are best left alone. It all depends on your own taste. I prefer to twist some material before flattening it. This is seen in the video as well.
Of course, this isn’t intended to be a complete guide. It’s only for entertainment purposes and to give you a decent understanding of what blacksmithing entails (and sounds like). It sounds like a lot of fun to me.