Beanball Retaliation, Cubs' World Series Drought And Collegiate Boxing

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The most exciting month of the baseball season is fast approaching, so it's fitting that two of this week's topics for “3 Stories You Should Know” involve the national pastime.

Bill Littlefield is joined by Wall Street Journal reporter Rachel Bachman and Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports.

1. Throwing At The Head

On Wednesday night, Washington Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon intentionally hit Orioles third baseman Manny Machado with a 93 m.p.h. fastball, nearly plunking him in the head. Machado had hit a home run two innings earlier, and apparently he was not humble enough about it. Craig Calcaterra breaks down why it's time to get rid of all beanballs, not just those aimed at the head.

CC: I feel sometimes I'm the only person in the entire baseball omniverse who is concerned that maybe throwing balls intentionally at guys out of a sense of honor is something we should put back in the past. I get shouted out every single time I bring this up, but I'm going to continue shouting about it.

2. Keeping The Streak Alive

The Chicago Cubs will still be playing baseball come October. Bill Littlefield, however, hopes that the Cubs' season does not end with a World Series victory. After all, would baseball be the same if the Cubs broke their 107-year-old drought?

BL: When they go to the playoffs, I hope they play well and lose because if they win the World Series, which they have not done since 1908, their fans would no longer have a reason to feel special — as in especially burdened. I live in Boston. When the Red Sox finally won a World Series in 2004, what happened? They became just another team that sometimes wins and sometimes doesn't.

3. Getting Back In The Ring

College boxing was discontinued by the National Collegiate Athletic Association after the 1960 season, when a University of Wisconsin boxer died following a fight. The only remnants of on-campus boxing have been club teams, and the sport had largely faded from the public view. Varsity boxing, however, is making a comeback now. Rachel Bachman has investigated the reasons behind the resurgence.

RB: In recent years it's really seen a renewed interest, in part because of the formation of a new governing body to oversee operations in college boxing. And what that's done is really invite more novices into the fold, more women, and attracted people who are interested in fitness and exercise primarily — some of them don't even actually want to fight.

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This segment aired on September 26, 2015.


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