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Where Does The NFL Go From Here? — Chase Stuart — Never a good sign when your league’s off-field issues are making your most devout fans question their motives.

Will The Elite NFL Media Still Be Stooges After Ray Rice Scandal? — Dave McKenna — Well, no, Dave. Probably not. They get plenty of benefits from maintaining the status quo. But this piece has a great underlying point that Danny and I talked about this week on the podcast: if you’re not devoted to the truth of the story, you’re going to eventually look like a clown.

Violence is Violence: Adrian Peterson and the Science of Spanking — Mike Tanier – Excellent, excellent piece from a former teacher on what hitting actually solves.

Can A Vine Behave Like An Olive Tree? No — Gretchen Rubin  — I wind up trying to fight my disposition too much sometimes. This post was a nice reminder of why I’m pretty much always going to be up at 1 a.m.

Here’s Tom Brady’s Resume From 2000 — Christmas Ape – Again, in light of the podcast discussion we had this week. Where would Brady have gotten with this resume?

All The Comments on Every Recipe Blog – Mallory Ortberg — If my disdain for most internet commenters hasn’t already become apparent, the fact that this made me laugh more than anything else this week probably will make said disdain even more apparent.

Erotic Poetry About the IPhone 6 — Chris Plante – That seals it; I’m making it my mission to bring back Found Poetry.


 

The Classic Link

NFL 101: Introducing the Basics of Cover-2 -- Matt Bowen —  This whole series will make you a smarter football fan.

Missed the write-up section, still worth your time: Sammy Watkins on Early Track to Impressive Rookie SeasonNo-Huddle Series: Yabba Dabba YeldonThe most important thingWhat Should A Commissioner Be?, Here’s a tip: don’t lie, cheat, or scam people (see the full story)Vince Lombardi Breaks Down His Offense: Part 1


Chad Henne

Bleacher Report Pieces This Week

Texans Can’t Win AFC South on Running and Defense Alone

Colts Internal Philosophy Fails Even When it Works

All Not Lost for Colts in Weak AFC South

Jaguars O-Line, Receivers, Will Continue to Fail Chad Henne

Texans Need More From Clowney Replacement Whitney Mercilus


 

Writing on Other Sites

Audibles at the Line — Football Outsiders

Any Given Sunday: Browns over Saints— Football Outsiders

Blake Bortles

This is Episode 3.0 of the Three-Cone Drill podcast, with guest Steph Stradley. You can check out Steph’s work at StradleyLaw.com, Ultimate Texans, and on Twitter at @StephStradley.

You can download it here. Or listen on Libsyn’s page.

Our RSS feed is here, and our iTunes page is here. If you enjoy our podcast — a real labor of love on a daily basis that we actually pay money to create — please subscribe and rate it highly. We don’t have huge ambitions, we just want to be the No. 1 explicit sports podcast.

Speaking of: We should note that this is being given the “explicit” tag in iTunes. There is cursing. Don’t listen if you have delicate ears or are in a workplace environment.


SHOW NOTES

Email segment: Advice for aspiring NFL writers, talking about how “sticky” turnovers are in the NFL, which NFL players we’d turn into (non-Toronto) Argonauts, taking on a Matt Waldman critic, and what would it take for us to give up the NFL?

Pieces we talk about in this segment: So You Want To Be A Writer, 11 Years And CountingA Statistical Look At How Turnovers Impacted The 2013 SeasonMatt Waldman’s piece on Rice,

Steph Stradley Interview (1:13:45): Sensible discipline for Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, NFL Bag policy, is Steph sick of having to speak for her entire gender? Plus, Texans and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire Talk.

Pieces we talk about in this segment: What Is Sensible Discipline for NFL Player Misconduct? — additionally, Steph was asked to spin that forward on to MMQB today, so check out that piece as well.

Thursday Night Wrapup (2:11:05): Rivers and Danny, briefly, on how stupid the Josh McCown signing was for Tampa, plus a discussion on why the Jaguars aren’t starting Blake Bortles yet.


EMAILS, SUGGESTIONS, MUSIC, COMMENTS, ETC.

We would love the opening segment of the show to permanently become an e-mail segment. To do this, we continue to need a steady stream of questions. Please send us questions for next week’s show at threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com

This is the first time I’ve ever attempted a podcast. I have the technical know-how of a beached whale. If you have suggestions, comments, or ideas to improve the show, send them to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com

Additionally, if you have material we can use for free: logos, music for intros and outros, and so on, please send those to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com

Thank you for listening.

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Ray Rice Made Himself Unwatchable — Mike Tanier — That’s just Mike Tanier, in the midst of all the bloviating (some by me!), dealing slices of truth out. The worst thing you can do for yourself is corrupt the brand of you to the point where nobody wants to hear from you again.

Mortal Kombat II 20 Years Later Shea Serrano — My favorite thing about Mortal Kombat II was that it was right before the barrier to entry was raised on fighting games — soon after, you had Killer Instinct and you had to learn how to joystick 30-hit combos to be effective. Also, Liu Kang is the best character in MKII.

Functional Jewelry – Seth Godin – The psychology of these pieces is always fascinating to me. I am not a huge talker, but whenever I see someone pull out an iWatch or something of the sort, I always ask why they bought it.

Student Loan Debt Hurts Older People, Too —  Ah yes, but it’s all the millenials. We should force them to deal with the consequences! No other groups are struggling with this!

The Only Thing Unusual About Ray and Janay Rice Is That Somebody Noticed — Diana Moskovitz – Excellent summary of the damaging psychological and long-term effects abusive relationships create.

When Is Quitting The Right Thing To Do? – Ramit Sethi – During the season I have so many projects that I just have to backburner for awhile. It’s nothing personal, and it’s not about what I’d rather be doing. It’s just … there’s only so much one person can do without hating himself.

The Definitive NBA Court Design Power Rankings — Zach Lowe — Oh god that old Rockets monstrosity takes me back.


 

The Classic Link

NFL 101: Breaking Down The Route Tree -- Matt Bowen —  This was hugely helpful to me when I was writing the Factors series over at Football Outsiders.

Missed the write-up section, still worth your time: Forget The FlagsScouting Explained: The Mysterious Hit Tool, Pt. 2Q&A: Cardinals GM Steve KeimHow a password changed one man’s life for the betterJune Jones’s Retirement, and the Lasting Influence and Likely End of the Run-and-Shoot OffenseRoger Goodell failed, just like he was supposed to


 

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Bleacher Report Pieces This Week

Jaguars Have No Reason To Rush Blake Bortles On to Field

Colts Front Office, Coaching Staff Wasting Andrew Luck’s Generational Talent

Robert Mathis Injury Leaves Colts Desperate for Pass-Rushing Help

Allen Hurns Shows Promise In 1st Regular Season Game for Jaguars

Titans’ Jake Locker Is Still Flawed Quarterback Under Pressure


 

 

Writing on Other Sites

Audibles at the Line — Football Outsiders

 

Any Given Sunday: Dolphins over Patriots — Football Outsiders

Want to submit something for my attention? Try rivers (dot) mccown (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you!

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I’ve launched a podcast with my former Football Outsiders colleague Danny Tuccitto. You can download it here. Or listen on Libsyn’s page.

Our RSS feed is here, and we have submitted to iTunes. Fingers crossed, that’ll pop up next week.

We should note that this is being given the “explicit” tag in iTunes. There is cursing. Don’t listen if you have delicate ears or are in a workplace environment.

SHOW NOTES

Housekeeping: Three e-mail questions, three more than we thought we’d get!

Segment 1: Discussion of Ray Rice and the NFL’s attempted coverup thereof. Hot takes ensue!

Pieces we talk about in this segment: Matt Waldman’s piece on Rice, Katie Nolan’s video.

Segment 2 (49:25): Discussion of the red barn analogy. Do you have your own red barn ticks? We all do.

Segment 3 (1:22:05): Discussion of Pro Football Focus’ ratings and position in the football analytics marketplace. This segment is basically me listening to Danny and saying “uh huh” a lot.

Pieces we talk about in this segment: James Keane’s Bleeding Green Nation posts (as of this post being published, they’re second and third in his list of posts.)

EMAILS, SUGGESTIONS, MUSIC, COMMENTS, ETC.

We would love the opening segment of the show to permanently become an e-mail segment. To do this, we continue to need a steady stream of questions. Please send us questions for next week’s show at threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com

This is the first time I’ve ever attempted a podcast. I have the technical know-how of a beached whale. If you have suggestions, comments, or ideas to improve the show, send them to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com

Additionally, if you have material we can use for free: logos, music for intros and outros, and so on, please send those to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com

Thank you for listening.

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Apologies, folks. Between a myriad of blowout prediction posts and the launch of the podcasts, this post is three days late and three dollars short. But, I’d rather get it up than not. So here we go…

A Defense To Match — Chris Brown — Honestly, I thought Michigan State held their own considering the Autzen homefield and their lack of speed. Chris Brown breaks down their defense, which is one of the very few that I’d classify as “cutting edge” in a mostly offensive game.

Ted Talks Peter King — I do wonder if the Brett Favre trade would be viewed more like the Trent Richardson trade or more like the Kevin Kolb trade if it happened today. Seems absolutely absurd in retrospect.

Quarterbacks Illustrated – Kirk Goldsberry – As someone who has dabbled in trying to create his own charts and maps, I can’t tell you how awesome it is to see Kirk Goldsberry doing NFL stuff.

Twitter: Facebook-Style Filtered Feed Is Coming — Mathew Ingram — Okay, on one hand, this is profoundly annoying. On the other hand, well, if they want to ruin their website, I’m sure somebody else can provide a chronological timeline service. So many companies in these tech fields just don’t seem to know when to stop.

Taming The Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think — Tim Urban – Excellent, excellent way to think of the opinions of other people. Especially handy to me this week as my hits went way up.

Corporate Deadbeats — David Cay Johnston – There is practically no reason to ever have sympathy for a corporation.

The Next Great Quarterback — Albert Breer — My guess is that it’ll be Tom Savage.

The Classic Link

Glossary of Football Terms —  Field Yates -- There were some that I hadn’t even heard of in here. Very relevant for the more analytically-focused fans who don’t know quite as much about the X’s and O’s of the game.

Missed the write-up section, still worth your time: The Greatest Upset Of Them All, Our Use Of Hidden Words Can, Uh, Reveal Hidden Interests, What French Kids Eat For School LunchTipping Their Hand: WRs Jaelen Strong and Ty Montgomery

Bleacher Report Pieces This Week

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Texans Deal For Ryan Mallett a Low-Risk, Low-Reward Proposition

J.J. Watt Contract Extension An Enormous Coup

Bishop Sankey Will Start When He Reads Like An NFL Back

Offensive Line Woes Leave Colts With Serious Questions About Running Game

Preseason Award Predictions — Bleacher Report

Writing on Other Sites

Hereeee come the pretzels. Err, I mean, predictions.

Staff Predictions — Football Outsiders

Staff Predictions — Battle Red Blog

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This is saved in my computer as “engagingtheaudience.png.”

Audibles Opening Night Special — Football Outsiders

Want to submit something for my attention? Try rivers (dot) mccown (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you!

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I’ve launched a podcast with my former Football Outsiders colleague Danny Tuccitto. You can download it here. Or listen on Libsyn’s page. We’ll eventually have iTunes and all that in place — right now we just wanted to get it up before Week 1 concluded. We should note that this is being given the “explicit” tag in iTunes. There is cursing. Don’t listen if you have delicate ears or are in a workplace environment.

SHOW NOTES

Segment 1: Discussion of the “points of emphasis” penalties in the NFL this season. Danny brings the statistically-nuanced point of view. I do not.

Segment 2: Discussion of the ice bucket challenge. Confirmation that we are both cynical assholes. We talk about how altruistic you can really be in five-minute chunks of video.

Segment 3: Discussion of the Green Bay-Seattle NFL kickoff. We discuss how amazing Eddie Lacy looked, how valuable Richard Sherman is (in comparison to J.J. Watt), and how our earlier discussion on the increase of penalties played out.

EMAIL SEGMENT

We would love the opening segment of the show to become an e-mail segment. The reason this didn’t happen this week was because debutant podcasts have no email base. Please send us questions for next week’s show at threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com

SUGGESTIONS, MUSIC, COMMENTS, ETC.

This is the first time I’ve ever attempted a podcast. I have the technical know-how of a beached whale. If you have suggestions, comments, or ideas to improve the show, send them to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com

Additionally, if you have material we can use for free: logos, music for intros and outros, and so on, please send those to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com

Thank you for listening, and as always, we’ll try to do better next week.

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What is the NFL’s Corner 3? — Robert Mays — One of the bigger problems I thought the Houston Texans had last year was their lack of play-action passing. And hey, here’s this excellent Robert Mays piece that argues that it’s the most effective play in the league! Who knew?

Go Fucking Do It – I have successfully incentivized myself on my goals with money before. Here’s a good structure to use if you’re looking to do that.

The Strange And Curious Tale Of The Last True Hermit – Michael Finkel – And you know it’s a good piece, because I truly loathe titling pieces with “the curious tale.”

The Different Breeds of Nickelbacks — Ian Boyd — Ian is kicking out a series of excellent scouting-heavy pieces on college football. Always worth your read.

Mike Zimmer Skeptical of Pro Football Focus — Doug Farrar — Doug makes some excellent points in this piece. Where I’ve settled on Pro Football Focus grading is that they are best thought of as educated guesses. And those guesses can have some value, as long as you don’t treat them as gospel. Why Zimmer would try to bury them, just giving them more publicity in the process, is strange to me.

Six Head Coaches on How to Rebuild a Program — Bill Connelly — Here’s a formula for any aspiring sports writer: sound statistical background + access to coaches = great pieces.

What’s Wrong With Baseball? — Tim Marchman — I don’t think there’s anything wrong with baseball. But if there is, it’s probably related to the puritanical crusade the game has launched on itself.

The Classic Link

The Tim Tebow Chronicles — Jon Bois — I haven’t even finished reading this yet. But what I’ve read has been so good that I have no choice but to recommend it.

Bleacher Report Pieces This Week

Ray Horton’s Titans Defense Doing Nothing To Quell Concerns In Preseason

Texans Quarterback Situation Caps Team Upside

Colts Need Bjoern Werner To Step Up While Robert Mathis Is Suspended

Preseason Proves Bill O’Brien’s Texans Have QB Problems In The Now And In The Future

Titans Smart To Extend Jurrell Casey Before Contract Year

Writing on Other Sites

Jaguars Q&A on Big Cat Country

Want to submit something for my attention? Try rivers (dot) mccown (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you!

 

America Is Not For Black People — Greg Howard and White St. Louis Has Some Terrible Things To Say About Ferguson — Julia Ioffe — While my personal major takeaway from Ferguson was one of helplessness over how advanced the military police state has become, these pieces are also important reminders about how fucking selfish America is. And, yes, we do have a race problem.

30 Yards And A Cloud Of Dust — Seth Wickersham and The Influencer – Chris Brown — Chris Brown is my E.F. Hutton — when he talks about football, I’ll listen. Both of these pieces begin to touch on the parts of Chip Kelly that actually are very advanced. It’s a football nerd’s — and, for me, a lifestyle design nerd’s — dream.

Nothing And Everything Has Changed – Patrick Hruby — No, the ruling on the Ed O’Bannon case didn’t change everything instantly. …But it probably will eventually.

When Is A Habit Not A Habit? – Darya Rose – I’m a big fan of using systems to create your habits, but there is a point to be made here: it’s not really a habit until you do it unconsciously.

Ultimate Training Camp Twitter Timeline — Mike Tanier – Scarily accurate. Oh God, Jake Locker just threw a three-yard out on third-and-18.

The classic link

Ever need a refresher on gaps, the differences between 3-4 and 4-3, and historical defensive fronts? My favorite resource to read, time and time again, is Jene Bramel’s old work for the New York Times Fifth Down Blog. Bramel has deceptively simple prose that gets the main point across to a wide audience without dumbing it down.

Missed the write-up section, still worth your time: How A BayStar Is Born, Married To Someone Else’s Work,  Mandatory Monday: Preseason Reads, The Penalty For A Bad Habit? The Bad Habit, A Two-Step Plan To Stop Hackers, How Long Does It Take Great Quarterbacks To Break Out?, Comcast Tells Customer That The Only Reason He’s Getting A Refund Is Because He Recorded Call

Bleacher Report Pieces This Week

Clowney, Watt, Texans Lone Positives in Preseason Debut Thrashing

How Blake Bortles Can Continue Improving This Preseason

Jaguars Offensive Line Continues to Plague Jacksonville Offense, Gerhart

Justin Hunter, Titans WR Finally Getting on the Same Page with Jake Locker

Want to submit something for my attention? Try rivers (dot) mccown (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you!

 

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What About The Maturation Of Peter King? — Tommy Craggs — Apparently the only way to be mature is to humble yourself before somebody above you. Not that I have any experience with this, no, not at all.

Listening to the Whispers: Changes To RSP Quarterbacks and Running Backs — Matt Waldman — As someone who edited him for a number of years, I think one of Matt’s best traits is his ability to tell stories. Even though there wasn’t much actual change in his running back evaluations, the story alone was worth the click. Also: I have lately become obsessed with creating better systems in my life. When the best time is to shower, or whether I should eat before or after I do a little morning workout. The way Matt is double-checking his evaluations reminded me a lot of me double-checking my own self-evaluations.

Demystifying Kansas State: When, Why, and How are the Wildcats Good? — Ian Boyd — One of my favorite things to do is find somebody who is successful in a field who has no obvious reason for being as successful as they are. Then: figure out why. This piece does all the work for you.

The New CBA and the Youthification of NFL Rosters — Andrew Healy — The NFLPA is perpetually screwing itself over because it always puts the present ahead of the future. Now they’ve created a world where the cap dollars of the more junior members are exactly the reason that those players get to continue to play. (It often has little to do with performance because at the ends of the roster there are no real set indicators of performance.)

Freelancing Sucks — Drew Magary — Honestly, I kind of prefer freelancing sometimes. I’ve grown up in a world where I’ve never been offered health insurance, but I’ve also never had to work at an office. Never had to commute at 9 am. Freelancing can be excruciating if you don’t know what you’re doing, of course. If you don’t know when to say no, or you don’t know how to find leads for it. But I find I generally prefer the freedom.

The American People Gave Exactly 4,377 Fucks for Net Neutrality — T.C. Sottek — And yet, I’m still not optimistic that it even matters. Kinda feels like as long as some “people” in society have more influence and money than others, said “people” will continue to get their backs scratched more. All the angry people have left are message boards. Speaking of…

A little diversion

I wrote the Washington chapter in Football Outsiders Almanac 2014. This chapter has been acclaimed in some circles, and heavily criticized in others. The sheer amount of Twitter … I loathe using the term “haters,” let’s say “shade” even though that’s not much better … I received from it has been a little fascinating to me. At it’s core, the issue is one of target audience. Most FOA chapters seek a target audience with the fans of that team, and my target audience was more my demographic of people: fans of all teams who have more nerd in them than just football.

I am a bit of a stranger to controversy, so I wrote what I wrote on the message board I shared above: that I would gladly send a quarter — my estimation of each Almanac’s pay for my one chapter — to anyone who felt short-changed.

I received one reply, which was someone saying that it came off as very snarky. I suppose that’s just the way the internet works now … put scare-quotes on one thing and that equals snark. I probably should’ve known better there.

So, assuming somebody reads this … how would you have handled the situation? What would you have done differently? It’s weird as a writer to balance the dual roles of wanting to be understood by your audience and trying to avoid people who are going to yell at you just for the sake of yelling at you. In some ways, that’s the grandest irony of this chapter: it’s a chapter built off the internet vitriol towards Dan Snyder, and so the piece must create some of its own.

Missed the write-up section, still worth your time: An introduction to CAL, McDonald’s Franchisee: Company Told Me To Pay Employees Less, Thoughts on Completion Percentage by Position, The NFL’s Cambrian Explosion, Florida State’s Favorite Run Blitzes, Bankruptcy Court Plan Calls for AT&T to take over CSN Houston

Bleacher Report pieces this week:

On the interior of the Indianapolis offensive line.

On the running back depth chart for Jacksonville behind Toby Gerhart.

Other pieces this week:

Q&A on the Indianapolis Colts at Stampede Blue.

Want to submit something for my attention? Try rivers (dot) mccown (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you!

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This is a new type of post I’m trying. This is a collection of links from around the internet that I found particularly insightful or fascinating this week. Many will be football-related, some won’t. 

Who Were The Real Distractions? — Mike Tanier — Mike Tanier always writes engaging posts, but I thought he hit on something important in this one. A couple of people I like to read or “subscribe” to have taught me the analogy of the red barn. To quickly share: you can hold a town hall about a new rocket you’re building, show everyone the plans, and nobody will have any useful feedback. But if you ask them what color to pain the barn you’re housing the rocket in? Instant two-hour debate. I feel like with the Ray Rice thing, people — and I have been guilty of this myself — identify stronger anger towards Stephen A. Smith because they can actually identify with what it’s like to say something so callous and ridiculous. In contrast, not as many people can identify with the actual mechanics of beating their spouse. The message matters so much, and that’s why the Ravens have been taking flack all week for their kid gloves coverage of Rice. But … maybe we need to focus on grander things, like ways to make those beatings disappear.

Bill Walsh and Joe Montana Must Change to Succeed — Chase Stuart — Staple this to the face of anyone who is creating hot takes against the teams of current times who haven’t quite won the whole thing.

All Work and No Play for J.J. Watt — Robert Mays — The feeling I have about J.J. Watt’s off-field persona is complex. I love how much effort and attention he gives to being the best — it’s all you could ever ask for as a fan. I just hope he doesn’t wake up 10 years from now and feel like he wasted those years. (Maybe Houston should get a quarterback.)

The Delusional Fantasies We Live Each Day — Leo Babuta — I’ve been trying to practice awareness as a human being more and more often lately. I feel like this is the part that always trips me when I go into a downward spiral. I have an imagination that is powerful enough to completely overtake my real life, as it did when I was younger, and fighting it is something that takes a lot of energy and systemic approach.

The Dark Side of Booming Local TV Deals — Wendy Thrum — One thing I’d like to do at some point — and this is a free idea if someone wants to beat me to it — is write a completely in-depth feature on how the Astros have so thoroughly fucked baseball in Houston. I was given a promotional ticket to a game and donated it back to where I got it from. The CSN Houston debacle has been toxic. The team on the field is garbage, the AL switch was bullocks. The Brady Aiken saga proved how unrelentingly calculated the front office is. If you look up the ratings for national baseball events, Houston frequently lags behind every other city that has baseball. Probably because I barely remember baseball is gone until someone brings it up on Twitter.

The Ghost In The Machine — As a gamer who has lost his father, this is supposed to be in my wheelhouse. But … I’m sorry, did you say your first console was an XBox? Instead I have a case of The Olds.

We Experiment On Human Beings — OKCupid admits that they do studies on their users. The best counter-point to their “…well yeah, and?” philosophy I read this week was at Kottke. I’m not quite sure how I feel about internet privacy between users and websites beyond my initial gut reaction that, as long as it’s not an enormous drain on my time or abusing my private information, I don’t deeply care.

Missed the write-up section, still worth your time: Chip Kelly on the NFL Draft, Doug Farrar’s All-22 on Eagles Runners, Norv Turner on Teddy Bridgewater, Jonah Keri’s podcast with Pedro Martinez

Want to submit something for my attention? Try rivers (dot) mccown (at) gmail (dot) com. Thank you!