Support the news

3 Stories: Girls In Tackle Football, Baseball Sign Stealing, U.S. Tennis09:26Download

Play
"I can’t tell you how many times I have sat in this chair and had to hear, you know, how horrible tennis is in America," Madison Keys said. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)MoreCloseclosemore
"I can’t tell you how many times I have sat in this chair and had to hear, you know, how horrible tennis is in America," Madison Keys said. (Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images)

Want more Only A Game? Follow along on Facebook and Twitter.


For the first time since 1981, the U.S. Open semifinals in women's singles featured four players from the United States.

But what's the state of American tennis today? How does it stack up with the rest of the world?

That and more on this week's edition of "3 Stories You Should Know." Rachel Bachman of the Wall Street Journal and Mike Pesca, host of the daily Slate podcast The Gist, joined Bill Littlefield.

1. All-Girl Football Teams

While football participation may be on the decline among boys, the number of girls playing on boys' teams at the high school level has nearly doubled to more than 2,000 over the last 10 years. And, there's been recent growth in the number of all-girl teams and leagues. Rachel Bachman weighs in.

Of course this raises some controversy. Some people say, "Why are they following the boys into what we're realizing is perhaps an even more dangerous sport than we thought?" The flip side of that is they play with different rules. They eliminated punts and kickoffs to try to cut down on collisions, and they place a great emphasis on proper tackling technique. The girls I talked to said they're just following their lifelong love.

2. History Of Sign Stealing

The Boston Red Sox were recently caught stealing signs from the New York Yankees with the assistance of an Apple Watch. While spying on opponents is an age-old practice in baseball, using this kind of technology to do so is against the rules. Mike Pesca shares some other moments in the history of sign stealing.

The year was 1900, and it was the Phillies. ... Petey Chiles would stand in the third base coach's box — weirdly in the middle of a wet spot all the time — and do this weird dance. And at home, Philadelphia hitters did well — they ripped the cover off the ball. Turns out he was getting signals from a backup catcher who was stealing signs and then relaying them to him via electronic device.

3. American Tennis On Top

CoCo Vandeweghe, Madison Keys, Venus Williams and Sloane Stephens all advanced to the U.S. Open semifinals, guaranteeing an American champion in women's singles this year. After Keys reached the penultimate round of the tournament, she told reporters the following:

“Oh, my God, it feels so good. We have so many Americans to talk about in the last days of the U.S. Open. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat in this chair and had to hear, you know, how horrible tennis is in America.”

Bill Littlefield wonders: Just how "horrible" is tennis in the U.S.?

I know Serena Williams has more important things to do these days. I hope she wasn't listening to Madison Keys. How can anybody make the argument that tennis is horrible in the U.S. — I mean men's tennis, maybe, but women? Come on! The best tennis playing woman who ever lived is in the U.S. — she happens to be having a little bit of time off to bring up a child right now, but come on!  That was ridiculous.

More Stories You Should Know

This segment aired on September 9, 2017.

+Join the discussion
Share
TwitterfacebookEmail

More from Only A Game

Support the news