Ben Cohen

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Blogging Himself To Live

He no longer appears on the news every night at 11 p.m., and so Len Berman, the sportscaster turned blogger, no longer has a formal office, either.

Instead, he works from home, writing items for Len Berman Sports, his daily newsletter that goes out to thousands of subscribers. Still, on the day we meet in a sterile, otherwise empty room in his daughter’s office suite, he questions why I’m here.

“You explain to me why this would be of interest to Deadspin,” Berman says.

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Filed under: Deadspin

Food And Drink For Thought

The Evian Masters offered car service and breakfast and a private golf critique on the Hudson with Natalie Gulbis, and when someone offers a town car, an omelet bar and golf lessons with a star, it’s generally polite to accept.

So I did. And I lounged, and I ate. I drank my glass of water and I ogled the stack of pink “I ♥ Evian Masters” backpacks. I endured a PowerPoint presentation about the core values of Evian and the Evian Masters and learned that Gulbis, ladies and gentlemen, is the true-to-form, glamorous embodiment of those same buzzwords. Which is why I’m about to treat this sun-splashed club like it’s my local, bare-bones range, carpet on the miniature golf course shagging at the seams.

At least, that’s what I think. At the time, and even a week later, I’m still not quite sure what I was doing inside, where a sparkling chandelier adorns the room and bowtied waiters ask if we need a refill on our glasses of water and a chef in a New York Mets cap flips eggs in the corner. The Evian bottles are big and small, glass and plastic, simple and ornate — designer, even, I’m told later — and I’m scared to touch them. Everything is so precious and delicate, and transporting a room full of people to the Evian Royal Resort, but an ocean away, is dreamy, if not realistic. But then that’s the point, I suppose.

Then Natalie Gulbis walks in, and the overhanging lights and buffet bar seem less thrilling.

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What I’ve Learned

“Just a reminder, Ben Cohen is Deadspin’s summer intern,” A.J. wrote in May. “His time at Deadspin… is part of his educational and life experience. So consider yourselves all mentors.” Well, I thought then, this should be fairly catastrophic.

Ten weeks later, and today is my last day on the job; I’m already reflecting on this so-called internship with something close to reverence. At some point, I’m going to have to write up a recap of my summer vacation for school, so A.J., being the conscientious boss that he is, suggested I get a head start by sharing with the world the wisdom I’ve accrued.

I thought for days. Asked my friends. Consulted a Magic-8 ball. Considered a tutorial in fiction-writing.

Finally, I turned to Stephon Marbury. He suggested the format of Esquire’s “What I’ve Learned,” with him serving as the invisible interviewer. I said I would write up the answers without bothering him to ask the questions, but by that point, he was already ranting about Canadian healthcare reform and had forgotten why we were talking in the first place.

I didn’t! So here’s what you spinpeople have taught me. I now pronounce myself sage from your guidance.

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The Last, Best Sports Staff

A long, long time ago, when writers puffed on cigars in the press box and sipped scotches with their sources, the best sports journalism lived in print. And nobody did it better than The Boston Globe.

The greatest sports staff ever assembled, argues Kevin Armstrong of Sports Illustrated — despite the many objections from others — consisted of future Hall of Famers and Pulitzer Prize winners: Ray Fitzgerald, Will McDonough, Peter Gammons, Bob Ryan, Dan Shaughnessy, Mike Lupica, Lesley Visser, Bud Collins, Leigh Montville — hell, even John Updike hacked out gamers on deadline. Armstrong’s long, lauding tribute to The Globe’s erstwhile years is chock full of the type of anecdotes any journalism junkie would devour:

But the profile is disheartening, not because it’s nostalgic or because it reads like a eulogy for a long-dismantled staff. This, rather, is a postmortem to high-end, influential newspaper journalism, to the idea that guided The Globe’s staff: “Get us space, money and get out of the way.”

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Here’s A Revolutionary Idea

It’s the end of May, which means it’s time for people to start talking about the absurdity of aluminum bats again. Instead of simply reverting to wood bats, more and more amateur players are shifting to the other end of the spectrum, and without repercussions.

This long-controversial issue is in the news because college baseball teams are inching toward the postseason, when it becomes apparent every year that college baseball and minor league baseball are about as different as T-ball and Little League. College baseball teams have access to the newest, most expensive, most powerful — and thus, most dangerous — bats, the majority of which are now composites of metal and carbon nano-tube technology.

But that’s not good enough. Why settle to hit 400 feet when you can slam 450-feet homers? So players have begun to pay outside firms $30 to “roll” their bats (two for $45!), evenly breaking in the aluminum slab and removing centimeters of dead spots. Hit for power today, satisfaction guaranteed! Meanwhile, college baseball games have turned into home-run derbies with No. 9 hitters poking junk pitches for opposite field dingers.

Naturally, though, the debate doesn’t concern metal vs. wood. It’s been reduced to metal vs. a better kind of metal.

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Mix Master No More

It was just two years ago that Omar Minaya was a Sports Illustrated cover boy and subject of a fawning profile in which he was referred to simply as O. As in: Oh my, how things have changed.

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