All posts by Stephen Taylor

About Stephen Taylor

Stephen Taylor is a writer and graphic artist living in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing The Disgruntled Fan Report, Stephen also has an eclectic list of writing credits, including Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Baseball Research Journal, and Watching Backyard Birds. As a graphic artist, he has worked for newspapers (several local to the Bay Area), magazines, direct mail advertising companies, and large corporate brands including Ubisoft and The Body Shop. He spends his time bicycling (when the weather's good), watching a lot of sports, doing a little reading, and tending to his other obsession, cats (as a cat sitter and as a volunteer at a local animal shelter).

A Little Nothing Extra

Your humble correspondent has been fighting a bad case of writer’s block recently. It’s gotten bad enough that I’ve been fearful of even approaching my laptop to face the grim challenge of trying to pound out a readable post on any subject. When you get to this state, it’s hard to even come up with a decent idea for an article. Fishing around for a good subject, in an of itself, becomes an exercise in frustration and futility.

And then the morons who run Major League Baseball come along and drop a gift in your lap, like the announcement of new extra inning rules for their minor league affiliates. Let the words pour forth!

And most of those words will be sarcastic and cynical. Naturally. Anyone who’s been alive more than a few minutes, and watched more than half a baseball game, will find the idea of starting the tenth and subsequent innings with a runner on second base utterly stupid. It seems like an idea that should be dead on arrival.

So that just leaves two questions: One, why do it at all? (And the corollary question: who thought this was a good idea?) And two, will baseball eventually implement it at the major league level? Continue reading A Little Nothing Extra


Flying At Your Own Level

Last weekend I was able to watch the Academy Award winning documentary Icarus. Bryan Fogel’s filmic journey into the world of international athletic doping, from experimenting amateur cyclist all the way through to playing midwife to the exposé that led to Russian athletes being (conditionally) banned from the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, is either shocking or business as usual, depending upon your level of sports cynicism going into the viewing.

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Jasmin Bambur of United States during the Alpine Skiing – Men’s Super-G, Sitting at PyeongChang: an antidote to Icarus?

It so happened that, after finishing the movie and turning back over from Netflix to regular broadcast programming, I stumbled upon NBCSN’s coverage of the Winter Paralympics, also coming to you from PyeongChang, South Korea. I caught a showing of the men’s Super-G competitions, both standing and seated, and if it wasn’t quite as spectacular a show as the regular Olympics alpine events, it was at least athletes in competition and striving towards being the best.

The juxtaposition of those two programs I watched, the scandals of Icarus and the Paralympic competition, coming one right after the other, suggested a bigger picture, and perhaps the possibility that the one event provided the correct answer to the other.

Continue reading Flying At Your Own Level

Penguins Gaining, But Risk A Net Loss

After posting my recent critique of the NHL’s so-far lackluster season, I’ve been making a concerted effort this past week to watch more games. And one thing stood out in the play I witnessed, something that’s reflected in the current standings: the Pittsburgh Penguins are starting to actually look like a two-time defending champion.

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Tristan Jarry: a potential crack in the Pens’ championship ice

The Pens have reclaimed the top spot in the Metropolitan Division, and they’ve looked good doing it. They’re riding a three-game winning streak (as of this writing), and they showed a smothering defense–particularly in the third period–in their win Wednesday night over the previously hot but now suddenly ice-cold Flyers. Combine a tight D with that team’s world-class offensive skill and the idea that we’re seeing a team in the midst of an Islanders- or Canadiens-like string of three or four consecutive Cup wins starts to look very plausible.

But that win Wednesday night revealed something else that may give Pens fans a moment’s pause: without the sidelined Matt Murray in goal, Pittsburgh may have a major problem in the playoffs, no matter how many snipers skate on their forward lines. Continue reading Penguins Gaining, But Risk A Net Loss

The NHL In The Penalty Box

This is a feature that I’ve been meaning to write for weeks…but haven’t been able to do so.

No, the post-Super Bowl hangover did not help. Seeing the team of my youth finally win the big one pushed a lot of other considerations aside, for sure–but that didn’t really last this long.

Nor was I taking my own advice, from a couple of years ago, and indulging in a well-timed sports sabbatical during the deadest period of the calendar–though that idea remains wise.

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The USA women’s Olympic team: the best thing in hockey this season. The NHL–not so much.

No, I haven’t been able to write this hockey-centric feature post for almost a month now because, frankly, I haven’t been able to make the necessary confession–not even to myself. But I guess the time has now come:

Hello, my name is Stephen, and I am no longer a hockey-holic.

Continue reading The NHL In The Penalty Box