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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Bud Selig to create task force on blacks in baseball

Major League Baseball, alarmed by its historic low 7.7 % of African-American players on opening-day rosters this season, will announce the creation of a formal task force Wednesday to help reverse the decline, three MLB executives told USA TODAY Sports.

The executives spoke on the condition of anonymity because Commissioner Bud Selig has yet to announce it.

The 17-member committee will consist of owners, executives and coaches, including Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, Chicago White Sox vice president Kenny Williams, Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg and Southern University baseball coach Roger Cador.

Selig is urging them to find ways to increase the pipeline of diverse athletes to baseball, particularly African-Americans.

The African-American percentage in baseball this season is the lowest since the Boston Red Sox became the final team to integrate its roster in 1959, according to a USA TODAY Sports study that includes major-league players on the opening-day disabled lists. It’s a drop from 8.05% last season, a dramatic decline from 1995 when 19% of the rosters were African-American players, and far from the peak of 27% in 1975.

“I never thought I’d see anything like this,’’ Hall of Fame second baseman Joe Morgan told USA TODAY Sports in a telephone interview from Los Angeles on Tuesday. “But I’ve seen it coming. There, for a long time, there were a lot of African-American players to look up to and emulate, but there’s not enough big stars now to dissuade them from basketball and football.’‘

...“I’m not sure there’s a way to stem the tide,’’ said Morgan, Cincinnati Reds senior adviser. “There has to be more involvement to attract athletes to come here. Let’s hope this committee will help. There’s no doubt the movie will open eyes, but after that, let’s wait.’‘

Thanks to Wreck.

Repoz Posted: April 09, 2013 at 10:36 PM | 359 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   201. Canker Soriano Posted: April 12, 2013 at 02:52 PM (#4412022)
And I'm not saying that just because he was Hollywood's best pool player, though it doesn't hurt his case, either.

Were other stars notoriously good?


I believe Jackie Gleason was supposed to be an excellent billiards player, having spent some time in his youth making ends meet as a pool hustler.

EDIT: One of these days, BDC, one of these days... pow, right in the Coke machine.
   202. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 12, 2013 at 03:36 PM (#4412078)
Now that youe mention it, Gleason did look pretty smooth with a cue. Don't know if Newman could actually shoot, but he also looked like he'd spent time in a pool room.

I agree that there is a distinction. Maybe I should just try to place these various "athletic" sports along a spectrum of distinctions, without getting into discussions about which of these endeavors require more grace, "skill", "athleticism", "manliness", etc.


Well, most of those distinctions are wholly arbitrary, though. As Dancing With The Stars shows, we can easily have dancing competitions watched by far more people than watch gymnastic events except during the Olympics, and we could well extend that competition to ballet and modern dance. Baseball could just as easily be judged by judges on a point system (Whoa, Jim, that was some curve ball by Blyleven and the judges agree! A solid 9.8 across the board!), the way figure skating is. Figure skating is hockey without the puck, and with more guys on the ice at one time. Jai alai is hockey without the opposition. Football could be played as a punt pass and kick competition; a version of the shot put or javelin. Guys could do the hop, skip, and jump, but coming at each other in the same lane. That something is popular in a certain form doesn't mean that's the way we should categorize it.
   203. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:05 PM (#4412108)
So Tom Cruise and Jeremy Lin and Samuel L. Jackson and Kim Jong-un can't be said to be from different races?


sure you can, but if you are going to be consistent:
Slavs would also be a different race from the Germans
East Africans (such as Kenyans) are a different race than African Americans (West Africans)- different facial structures, different body builds- they are as visibly dissimilar to each other as Europeans are from those Asians who have the same skin color.

It used to be that you had:

White/Caucasian
Yellow/Asian
Black/African
Red/Amerindian

Which actually makes no sense-
what are North Africans/Arabs? Are they White or something else

Australasian aborigines and negritos were classified as "black" by Europeans - but they can't be part if the same "race" if we have distinct separate races, African Blacks and Australasian Blacks are the least related peoples to eachother on earth

Red/Amerindian makes no sense - North American groups are so closely related to NW Asian/Siberian groups that if you are dividing up humanity into races, they pretty much have to be in the same race


It's easy to say that Tom Cruise does not equal Jeremy Lin does not equal Sam Jackson, because those individuals are far enough apart, but there is no way to precisely locate where the LINE between them is.

   204. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:13 PM (#4412117)
It's easy to say that Tom Cruise does not equal Jeremy Lin does not equal Sam Jackson, because those individuals are far enough apart, but there is no way to precisely locate where the LINE between them is.

Exactly, and continents are so huge, and the populations of humans among and between them has been so dynamic across the centuries, that there is nothing close to any such thing as an "African" racially, or an "Asian," any more than there is such a thing as a "Caucasian." They're inert concepts genetically; they're each and all impossibly loose baskets containing apples, oranges, and countless other fruits in countless variations.

We understand them culturally and socially. That's the only truthful way to understand them. They're useless for genetic understanding.
   205. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:25 PM (#4412130)
they're each and all impossibly loose baskets containing apples, oranges, and countless other fruits in countless variations.


No, that's not it

they're each and all impossibly loose baskets containing different varieties of apples, macintosh, granny smith, winesap, golden delicious, fuji,etc etc
   206. The Good Face Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:32 PM (#4412138)
No, that's not it

they're each and all impossibly loose baskets containing different varieties of apples, macintosh, granny smith, winesap, golden delicious, fuji,etc etc


I propose an apple cultivar hijack. I think my personal favorite would be Empires, but only if they're fresh. Pacific Roses are nice too.
   207. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:42 PM (#4412150)
I propose an apple cultivar hijack. I think my personal favorite would be Empires, but only if they're fresh. Pacific Roses are nice too.

The best apples I've ever tasted are the giant ones they use to make Mrs. Prindable's chocolate covered apples. I wish I could just buy the apples, and skip all the coatings.
   208. cardsfanboy Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:43 PM (#4412152)
We understand them culturally and socially. That's the only truthful way to understand them. They're useless for genetic understanding.


Not to be nitpicky, but oftentimes when people are talking about the superior athletic ability of black athletes, they are often times talking strictly about U.S. raised black athletes compared to U.S. raised white athletes. (ignoring the Kenyan runners issue) And there is a strong reason to argue that U.S. raised black children are descended from selective breeding of 100-400+? years in which the selected traits were physical prowess. You aren't necessarily separating specific race in this situation, but instead pointing to a subset of Americans who are descended from slaves who's genetics might have been picked for physical ability.

The argument isn't really about blacks as a "race" having superior physical genetics, but about whether this particular subset due to circumstances for a short period of time(and yes, in the guise of genetic evolution for humans, 400 years is a short period of time) have been bred for a noticeable differences in genetics from the rest of the population.

Mind you, I don't think that there is probably much of a deal, as this wasn't controlled breeding like it was with dogs, and of course you sometimes had the slave owners own genetics entering the mix, and of course human own selective process for producing offspring isn't simply based upon the best physical traits.
   209. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:49 PM (#4412162)
I propose an apple cultivar hijack.


I once had these delicious purple colored apples, don't know what they are, tasted kind of like sweeter versions of winesaps, any one have any idea?
   210. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:50 PM (#4412165)
Not to be nitpicky, but oftentimes when people are talking about the superior athletic ability of black athletes, they are often times talking strictly about U.S. raised black athletes compared to U.S. raised white athletes.

Dude, we're talking about apples.
   211. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:51 PM (#4412168)
And I'm not saying that just because [Astaire] was Hollywood's best pool player, though it doesn't hurt his case, either.

Were other stars notoriously good?


I believe Jackie Gleason was supposed to be an excellent billiards player, having spent some time in his youth making ends meet as a pool hustler.

Astaire was better, but Gleason was no slouch by any means. Those two were definitely supposed to be the standouts, though a few others like Jerry Orbach got a lot of respect from players for the lifelong respect that they in turn gave to the game.

Now that you mention it, Gleason did look pretty smooth with a cue. Don't know if Newman could actually shoot, but he also looked like he'd spent time in a pool room.

Newman had never picked up a cue in his life before Willie Mosconi gave him a crash course in preparation for The Hustler. He may have been able to run 10 balls in a row if you gave him 24 hours to do it, although that would probably be about 9 more than Tom Cruise could. All those trick shots in The Hustler and The Color of Money were either set up in advance so that they couldn't be missed, or were actually shot by professionals and spliced into the movie.
   212. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:51 PM (#4412170)
No, that's not it

they're each and all impossibly loose baskets containing different varieties of apples, macintosh, granny smith, winesap, golden delicious, fuji,etc etc


Well, yes.
   213. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:53 PM (#4412172)
Newman had never picked up a cue in his life before Willie Mosconi gave him a crash course in preparation for The Hustler. He may have been able to run 10 balls in a row if you gave him 24 hours to do it, although that would probably be about 9 more than Tom Cruise could. All those trick shots in The Hustler and The Color of Money were either set up in advance so that they couldn't be missed, or were actually shot by professionals and spliced into the movie.

I thought most of the pool shots were Mosconi, spliced in?

Is Mosconi considered the best ever, Andy?
   214. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4412177)
The argument isn't really about blacks as a "race" having superior physical genetics, but about whether this particular subset due to circumstances for a short period of time(and yes, in the guise of genetic evolution for humans, 400 years is a short period of time) have been bred for a noticeable differences in genetics from the rest of the population.


Founder effect

those who survived the voyage over and being forced to work in sugar cane/cotton fields long enough to have children were likely the strongest and healthiest.

Samoans and Tongan and a few other Island societies are full of huge people and people who put on weight easily? Why? At some pointy in their history those who didn't have the ability and propensity to store every calorie they consumed died off during some long ago famine.

Edit- this isn't really evolution in action either, it's basically just genetic drift- no new genes/attributes have been added to the pool, rather the proportion/ratio of already existing attributes in a population may have changed
   215. robinred Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4412180)
The Hustler.

Good movie.
   216. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:57 PM (#4412183)
The Red Stayman, developed by the famous Dr. Stayman:

The Stayman apple

"Firm, tender, finely-textured juicy, crisp yellowish-green flesh is tart and spicy."

McIntoshes suffer from being shipped and stored all over the place, but a good McIntosh is tough to beat.
   217. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4412186)
there is a strong reason to argue that U.S. raised black children are descended from selective breeding of 100-400+? years in which the selected traits were physical prowess.

I'm confident in asserting that even the most general understanding of the history of the slave trade between West Africa and the Americas in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries, as well as any sensible definition of "U.S. raised black children" in the late 20th/early 21st centuries, makes it clear that no such strong reason exists.
   218. cardsfanboy Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4412188)
Edit- this isn't really evolution in action either, it's basically just genetic drift- no new genes/attributes have been added to the pool, rather the proportion/ratio of already existing attributes in a population may have changed


That is what I was thinking, just didn't know how to say it.
   219. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:00 PM (#4412189)
I once had these delicious purple colored apples, don't know what they are, tasted kind of like sweeter versions of winesaps, any one have any idea?


The macoun?

Macoun apple
   220. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:05 PM (#4412196)
it's basically just genetic drift- no new genes/attributes have been added to the pool, rather the proportion/ratio of already existing attributes in a population may have changed

Yes, but in the case of people of African descent living in the Americas over the past 500 or so years, the notion that "no new genes/attributes have been added to the pool" is hilariously misplaced.
   221. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:08 PM (#4412203)
The macoun?


No, you'd have to add a little blue to those to make them the purple color I'd seen,

it was at a farmstand in Ulster County, haven't seen them anywhere else.

There's tons of "heirloom" apples in upstate NY, I've always assumed that these were some random cultivar that's not commercially known/available, but thought I'd ask around
   222. The Good Face Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:09 PM (#4412205)
Samoans and Tongan and a few other Island societies are full of huge people and people who put on weight easily? Why? At some pointy in their history those who didn't have the ability and propensity to store every calorie they consumed died off during some long ago famine.


They also lived in societies that were in a constant state of low-intensity tribal warfare where disputes were settled via small-scale club fights. Selects for strong, thick-limbed men who were still capable of generating immense bursts of explosive muscle power. No shock that Pacific Islanders are overrepresented in the NFL and among world class rugby players.

The macoun?


Macouns right off the tree are amazing, although it can be tough to find fresh ones in stores.
   223. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:10 PM (#4412209)
Yes, but in the case of people of African descent living in the Americas over the past 500 or so years, the notion that "no new genes/attributes have been added to the pool" is hilariously misplaced.


just to be clear, I wasn't endorsing/agreeing with the "selective breeding" idea, just mentioning that the West African population here may be different from the West African population in West Africa due to what their ancestors went through coming here.
   224. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:18 PM (#4412221)
the West African population here may be different from the West African population in West Africa due to what their ancestors went through coming here.

Right, but even "West African" is a hopelessly vague and broad category itself, and the reproductive activity of slaves and their descendants in the Americas over the span of many centuries is so complicated (and so non-insular) as to render the comparison to be again along the lines of so many more Fujis vs. McIntoshes.
   225. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4412244)
and the reproductive activity of slaves and their descendants in the Americas over the span of many centuries is so complicated (and so non-insular)


Which is another thing, there's hardly any African Americans who are not also European Americans.
   226. cardsfanboy Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:33 PM (#4412245)
Right, but even "West African" is a hopelessly vague and broad category itself, and the reproductive activity of slaves and their descendants in the Americas over the span of many centuries is so complicated (and so non-insular) as to render the comparison to be again along the lines of so many more Fujis vs. McIntoshes.


Note: I wasn't arguing that blacks in the U.S. are physically superior or not, my point is that even though there is no real genetic difference simply because of color, that because of some environmental constraints, it's possible that the subset could be noticeably different as a group in some areas than their original stock.

As I mentioned in my original post, that I didn't think it was a big deal because there wasn't that much controlled breeding for traits, just pointing out it's a possibility in the argument.
   227. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4412248)
As I mentioned in my original post, that I didn't think it was a big deal because there wasn't that much controlled breeding for traits, just pointing out it's a possibility in the argument.

Fair enough. From my reading on the subject, it's apparent that there was precious little controlled breeding, and to whatever extent it may have been successfully undertaken, its effect would be overwhelmed by the degree to which females were exploited as sex slaves.
   228. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:40 PM (#4412249)
Astaire was better, but Gleason was no slouch by any means. Those two were definitely supposed to be the standouts, though a few others like Jerry Orbach got a lot of respect from players for the lifelong respect that they in turn gave to the game.


Andy, serious questions:

1. Are you saying that Gleason was as good or better than the typical professional, and thus there was no need to have a pro hit his shots for him?

2. Do you think you could beat Gleason?

3. Do you consider yourself as good as a pro? You've been playing so long that I wonder if you've reached that level of talent.

Again, serious questions; as you and I have shot pool together before (and managed to do so without one of us stabbing the other in the throat with the pool stick!) I know you're good. I'm just trying to figure out how good.


   229. Darkness and the howling fantods Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:41 PM (#4412252)
I'm pretty sure gravensteins are the Usain Bolt of apples.
   230. The Good Face Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:43 PM (#4412253)
Right, but even "West African" is a hopelessly vague and broad category itself, and the reproductive activity of slaves and their descendants in the Americas over the span of many centuries is so complicated (and so non-insular) as to render the comparison to be again along the lines of so many more Fujis vs. McIntoshes.


Medical science says otherwise. The pharmas developed a drug, BiDil, specifically meant to treat heart failure in African Americans almost 10 years ago.
   231. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4412257)
Shorter Steve: Race cannot be classified genetically to any meaningful degree. The categories are hopelessly vague and broad. We understand them culturally and socially. That's the only truthful way to understand them.
   232. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 05:57 PM (#4412261)
Someone should tell the Mayo Clinic that their conclusion from the studies and literature that race is one of the factors in Type 2 diabetes is incorrect, because race is a hopelessly vague and broad category. So when they do this...

Risk factors
By Mayo Clinic staff

...
Weight...

Fat distribution...

Inactivity...

Family History...

Race. Although it's unclear why, people of certain races — including blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than whites are.


...they are laughably incorrect, unless by "race" they mean culturally and socially but not - oh lord not - genetically.
   233. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:00 PM (#4412263)
they are laughably incorrect, unless by "race" they mean culturally and socially but not - oh lord not - genetically.

You do grasp that cultural/social categories do not require genetic underpinning to be identifiable risk factors for a condition such as Type 2 diabetes. Yes?
   234. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:04 PM (#4412266)
You do grasp that cultural/social categories do not require genetic underpinning to be identifiable risk factors for a condition such as Type 2 diabetes. Yes?


Cultural/social categories can relate to things such as diet and exercise, but those are already covered in the "weight" and "inactivity" categories that are listed.

So we're back to genetics as the underpinning for the "race" category.
   235. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:05 PM (#4412267)
This is the same thing you do for intelligence. "It can't be defined." But people understand that black and white and chinese and etc etc etc are different races genetically, so your presentation doesn't get off the ground.
   236. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:07 PM (#4412269)
Andy, serious questions:

1. Are you saying that Gleason was as good or better than the typical professional, and thus there was no need to have a pro hit his shots for him?


Gleason was a good amateur player who could easily pass for a legitimate hustler in the movie because of his fluid stroke. By contrast, Newman's stroke was jerky and near-spastic.

2. Do you think you could beat Gleason?

I'd think I could have beaten him in nine ball, though not in his specialty of straight pool, which I've never played. Unless everything I'd heard about his playing days was merely press agentry, I'd certainly respect his game.

3. Do you consider yourself as good as a pro? You've been playing so long that I wonder if you've reached that level of talent.

I'm not remotely on the pro level, because pros are defined above all by their consistency. I've beaten many local pros in many local tournaments (and I even beat Leonardo Andam the only time I played him), but those were all races between best-of-five and best-of-21, mostly races to 5 or 7. In a race to 21 or probably even to 15, I wouldn't stand a chance of winning one in fifty sets. I'm a very good shotmaker and I can string racks when I'm breaking well, but like most amateurs on my level, I'm totally a streak player. OTOH I've yet to meet another book dealer I couldn't give the 6 and the break to. (smile)

Again, serious questions; as you and I have shot pool together before (and managed to do so without one of us stabbing the other in the throat with the pool stick!) I know you're good. I'm just trying to figure out how good.

I play a lot better than you saw me play at that sports bar in Baltimore, where I didn't even have my own cue, but if I ever tried to hustle Amsterdam Billiards up in your neck of the woods, I'd be eaten alive and flushed down the loo. There's a good reason I never thought about taking up the sport for a living.
   237. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:08 PM (#4412270)
So we're back to genetics as the underpinning for the "race" category.

Go ask a biologist to describe for you what the "black race" is. Or the "Hispanic race." And so on.

Good luck!
   238. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:10 PM (#4412271)
But people understand that black and white and chinese and etc etc etc are different races genetically

Naive people who don't have a comprehension of the biology of homo sapiens think they understand this. They are mistaken.
   239. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:10 PM (#4412273)
Steve, as Andy often says to me: Don't ever change.
   240. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:11 PM (#4412275)
But if you would do me the honor, riddle me this: What does the Mayo Clinic mean by "race" above?

They specifically cite "people of certain races", and point out that "blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than whites are." They seem to have some sense of a dividing line there, no? They have no axe to grind on this issue. They are just providing people with information.
   241. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:17 PM (#4412279)
What does the Mayo Clinic mean by "race" above?

They specifically cite "people of certain races", and point out that "blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than whites are." They seem to have some sense of a dividing line there, no?


I suggest you should ask them what they mean. My guess is that they've simply listed various loose and quite possibly overlapping categorizations of the general population that have been found to be correlated with the development of Type 2 diabetes in the United States in recent decades. Doing so requires no more a meaningful genetically-bound definition of "blacks" than it does of "overweight people" or "inactive people."
   242. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:22 PM (#4412282)
They specifically cite "people of certain races", and point out that "blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans — are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than whites are." They seem to have some sense of a dividing line there, no? They have no axe to grind on this issue. They are just providing people with information.

Correct, and they do even more than that. They say that it's "unclear" why this is, leaving quite open the possiblity that it's because of genetics. It might not be, either.

This is indeed very much like the intelligence conversations.

As to biology, the "races" dramatically overlap at the molecular level -- on the order of 99%+. I believe the current figure is 99.5%. That isn't 100%. As medicine and treatments become more and more gene-based, and more and more personal, we should expect best practice treatments to become more and more distinguishable based on "race." Anyone who thinks doctors and researchers won't consider race as part of this Brave New World of research and treatment is delusional.

The drug GF mentioned, and at least 1 other one, have been approved solely for African-Americans.
   243. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:26 PM (#4412285)
Newman had never picked up a cue in his life before Willie Mosconi gave him a crash course in preparation for The Hustler. He may have been able to run 10 balls in a row if you gave him 24 hours to do it, although that would probably be about 9 more than Tom Cruise could. All those trick shots in The Hustler and The Color of Money were either set up in advance so that they couldn't be missed, or were actually shot by professionals and spliced into the movie.


I'm sure it's widely understood, that the shots were set up, or were "setups" (shots edited in), or were the 31st or 43rd attempts (a number of shots are clearly by Gleason or Newman, and took real skill, such as when the cue ball needed to travel nine feet before hitting a ball on the rail).

The thing about Newman in the film is that the way he handles the cue is consistent with the personality of a guy who beats the hell out of Fats but still finds a way to lose to him. That's acting. Give him a smooth stroke and he's more convincing to you as a top-flight pool player, but gives a less convincing performance as Fast Eddie Felson, the jumpy alcoholic who picks up a gimp in a bar at 9 in the morning.

No offense, but I think in this regard you've adopted the similar argument made against Impressionism, that it's not realistic enough. Newman's performance wasn't meant to be primarily realistic, and as one of the great method actors, I'm sure he, and Robert Rossen and Eugene Shuftan were aware of that.

(btw, I don't have close to your acquaintance with pool, but in my limited experience the superb players I've seen in person come across [at the table, at least] as almost preternaturally calm.]
   244. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:28 PM (#4412286)
I suggest you should ask them what they mean.


This is beginning to feel like "It depends what the meaning of 'is' is" and "I didn't have sex with her because I was simply receiving and not doing anything to her!"

My guess is that they've simply listed various loose and quite possibly overlapping categorizations of the general population that have been found to be correlated with the development of Type 2 diabetes in the United States in recent decades. Doing so requires no more a meaningful genetically-bound definition of "blacks" than it does of "overweight people" or "inactive people."


Well, fine. So it would be meaningful to "list various loose and quite possibly overlapping categorizations of the general population that have been found to be correlated with" which categorizations tend to be better athletes (if it is indeed the case that some categorizations have been shown to be better than others). Yes?

   245. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:34 PM (#4412289)
Exactly, SugarBear. What they're trying to do in treating disease such as cancer is figure out which genetic compositions respond best to which treatments, and then target the treatments accordingly. This has the potential to be massively important - a game changer - because you could then predict ahead of time which treatments have better chances of working for each individual, and not waste valuable time using a treatment that will very likely be ineffective.

You had better believe that doctors and researchers will consider race as part of this.
   246. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:35 PM (#4412292)
The drug GF mentioned, and at least 1 other one, have been approved solely for African-Americans.


Interesting. How would this be listed? "Not For Whites"? Not being snarky, it's just that the details of this kind of thing tend to fascinate me.
   247. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:37 PM (#4412294)
it would be meaningful to "list various loose and quite possibly overlapping categorizations of the general population that have been found to be correlated with" which categorizations tend to be better athletes (if it is indeed the case that some categorizations have been shown to be better than others). Yes?

It would. Just don't leap to the conclusion (that so many people who haven't paid attention to the discussion over the past 50 or 75 years within biology and genetics are so naively ready to do) that what you're doing is based on a scientifically valid genetic concept of "race."

It would also help to be extremely careful about exactly how you're choosing to define and measure "better athletes."
   248. Morty Causa Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:38 PM (#4412295)
243:

I agree. Newman gives a powerful performance, one of his three or four best. The movie is about a man who doesn't have character, and his way of approaching and playing pool perfectly reflects his deficiency.
   249. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 06:54 PM (#4412304)

This is beginning to feel like "It depends what the meaning of 'is' is" and "I didn't have sex with her because I was simply receiving and not doing anything to her!"

Why is it unreasonable to ask how the Mayo Clinic defined race? Was it self-reported, was it determined subjectively by those running the study, was it determined objectively by some kind of genetic test? How you use the data depends on how it was gathered.

   250. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:03 PM (#4412309)
Was it self-reported

It virtually always is. Worse yet, the self-reporter has almost always been required to check just a single box, which introduces vastly more distortion into whatever underlying genetic meaning might be there.

What is the biological definition of the "black" race? Or the "white" race? (Or the, good grief, "Hispanic" race, "Chinese" race, and so on and so on?)

   251. zenbitz Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:09 PM (#4412311)
Are you guys trolling again? Self reported "race" as used by medical professionals (even the "supreme court" at the mayo clinic is just a statistical proxy for actual, real genetics. When a drug works "only" in African Americans, it means that there are specific genetic variants for which the drug is suitable (usually drug metabolizers -- cyp450s), and this variant is more common in people self - identifying as AA.

It's dark ages genetics. In 5 years it will be a joke with an unfunny punchline
   252. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:11 PM (#4412313)
The thing about Newman in the film is that the way he handles the cue is consistent with the personality of a guy who beats the hell out of Fats but still finds a way to lose to him. That's acting. Give him a smooth stroke and he's more convincing to you as a top-flight pool player, but gives a less convincing performance as Fast Eddie Felson, the jumpy alcoholic who picks up a gimp in a bar at 9 in the morning.

That's absolutely not true, since in the movie Newman wasn't an unknown trying to sneak up on Gleason, but rather a big time road player with a serious reputation. Adopting a cushion beater's stroke like the one he displayed in the movie would have been totally pointless from every angle.** It's not that his stroke was untraditional, it's that it was flat out unproductive.

Now the rest of his performance was perfectly plausible, and overall I thought he did a fine acting job, and exuded a lot of credibility as a hustler type.

But that stroke? Uh-uh. You simply can't pocket more than a few balls in a row in real life with a stroke that weak.

No offense, but I think in this regard you've adopted the similar argument made against Impressionism, that it's not realistic enough. Newman's performance wasn't meant to be primarily realistic, and as one of the great method actors, I'm sure he, and Robert Rossen and Eugene Shuftan were aware of that.

The truth is that Newman was indeed chosen for reasons that had nothing to do with pool, but the entire pitch of the movie was that it was a realistic depiction of the hustling scene. One of the first things that they did was to put Newman under Willie Mosconi's wing, in order that he didn't make a complete farce out of the premise that he was a legitimate phenom. And with a lot of patience on Mosconi's part, and a lot of strategic editing, they largely succeeded in at least taking him above the Tom Cruise edition of pool's Mendoza line. It wouldn't fool any player in the audience, but that that's not exactly a critical mass of the target crowd.

(btw, I don't have close to your acquaintance with pool, but in my limited experience the superb players I've seen in person come across [at the table, at least] as almost preternaturally calm.]

That's mostly true, but not always. Ever heard of a fellow named Earl Srickland? He's a five time U.S. Open Champion and HoFer, one of the greatest nine ball players in history. But he's also a borderline psycho who carries on loud conversations with fans, opponents, referees and himself in the middle of some of his most important matches. "Calm" is not the word most people would use to describe him.

**And anyway, he was crushing Gleason in game after game until the whiskey took over and got him broke. He couldn't have done that while lemoning with a stroke as crude as his.
   253. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:15 PM (#4412314)
That's absolutely not true, since in the movie Newman wasn't an unknown trying to sneak up on Gleason,...


Where on earth do I say anything like this?

**And anyway, he was crushing Gleason in game after game until the whiskey took over and got him broke. He couldn't have done that while lemoning with a stroke as crude as his.


Well, you're not addressing my point, but are still managing to tell me how wrong I am. That's not a good basis for discussion.
   254. cardsfanboy Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:15 PM (#4412315)
The truth is that Newman was indeed chosen for reasons that had nothing to do with pool, but the entire pitch of the movie was that it was a realistic depiction of the hustling scene. One of the first things that they did was to put Newman under Willie Mosconi's wing, in order that he didn't make a complete farce out of the premise that he was a legitimate phenom. And with a lot of patience on Mosconi's part, and a lot of strategic editing, they largely succeeded in at least taking him above the Tom Cruise edition of pool's Mendoza line. It wouldn't fool any player in the audience, but that that's not exactly a critical mass of the target crowd.


Kingpin should have followed this formula. :)
   255. Ray (RDP) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:17 PM (#4412316)
I'm not remotely on the pro level, because pros are defined above all by their consistency.


Makes sense. In tennis, consistency is a huge factor that separates a tennis pro (by which I mean someone teaching - and they have skills I can't touch) from a professional player. And when a tennis pro tries to dial up the power to beat a real professional, the inconsistency becomes huge.

I was at Saddlebrook a couple weeks ago and Martina Hingis was there. She played a match against one of the tennis pros in camp, and Hingis effortlessly destroyed the tennis pro, who tried to turn up the power which resulted in a spate of unforced errors.
   256. Canker Soriano Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:26 PM (#4412334)
Why is it unreasonable to ask how the Mayo Clinic defined race? Was it self-reported, was it determined subjectively by those running the study, was it determined objectively by some kind of genetic test? How you use the data depends on how it was gathered.

Companies that run studies design the case report forms, so in theory they could make the race boxes be whatever they wanted. Most limit it to the few recognized races that a normal person would understand - white, black, Asian, Eskimo/American Indian, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and other - in part because when they report their results to the FDA or EMEA, that's what they're expecting to see.

A company that had a drug filing delayed because they got cute with the reporting on race and tried instead to make the argument that we're all really just one race living on the same big rainbow would be laughed off of Wall Street, and anyone involved in making the decision to have done that would likely be fired on the spot. Possibly fired out of a cannon into a brick wall, depending on how much money the company lost as a result.

If it helps, here is a link to the FDA guidance on the collection of race and ethnicity information. Turns out they choose the races they want you to look at, and those races were determined by... the Office of Management and Budget, which acknowledges that, while its categories are more culturally based than scientifically based, there is still a benefit in attempting to standardize the collection and comparison of data. There is also guidance for when more detailed race information is desired - but even then, they ask that whatever additional race breakdowns are collected be able to be mapped back to the original categories.
   257. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:31 PM (#4412340)
If it helps, here is a link to the FDA guidance on the collection of race and ethnicity information. Turns out they choose the races they want you to look at, and those races were determined by... the Office of Management and Budget, which acknowledges that, while its categories are more culturally based than scientifically based, there is still a benefit in attempting to standardize the collection and comparison of data. There is also guidance for when more detailed race information is desired - but even then, they ask that whatever additional race breakdowns are collected be able to be mapped back to the original categories.

Humans. Gotta love 'em.
   258. Poulanc Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:36 PM (#4412342)
Or the, good grief, "Hispanic" race,


By following the references in the study, you see that they break down Hispanics even further into Cubans, Mexican-Americans, and Puerto Ricans.
   259. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:44 PM (#4412352)
I just want to see someone give Bud a proper interview on this topic and how he plans to investigate it. I'm guessing the phase "binders full of negroes" would eventually come up.
   260. zenbitz Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:45 PM (#4412353)
Italian race?
Irish race?
Jewish race?
   261. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 07:45 PM (#4412354)
they break down Hispanics even further into Cubans, Mexican-Americans, and Puerto Ricans

Those noted biological entities.
   262. Canker Soriano Posted: April 12, 2013 at 08:25 PM (#4412401)
Humans. Gotta love 'em.

Assuming your complaint is with the FDA/OMB - what is your alternative solution? It seems like these are the options:

(1) Collect race the way it's done now - let people self report/self identify, report multiple/mixed races, etc. - even though it's an imperfect system that doesn't take into account the many factors that actually help determine race
(2) Require that race be collected, but only accept genetic testing and comparison with known genetic information to determine a subject's racial makeup
(3) Don't collect any information on race, and remove the FDA/EMEA requirements that race be collected and analyzed

If (2) is the answer, who should foot the bill? In a program like diabetes, let's say you need 5,000 subjects tested in the various Phase I-III trials to get to a marketing application (the FDA wants 2500 in the Phase 3 trial, plus there's the other trials leading up to it for dose-finding, etc.). Racial genetic testing on each subject may cost several hundred dollars or more (if you're doing a study in some remote African country, odds are that even if they have an investigator and the basic setup to test blood glucose, there's no genetics lab nearby - not to mention that, for full transparency you'd want all of the samples read and catalogued by a central lab, which would entail storage and transport of biological materials). A question that used to cost the company next-to-nothing now costs $1.5M to collect and analyze, with no guarantee (and, in fact, I'd venture to guess only a very minor chance) of getting any information of statistically significant value for patient care.

Also - if there's a requirement that the study examine a broad range of races, how do you pre-screen for that if you can't tell what anyone's race is without a genetic test? You're going to spend additional money doing genetic testing on patients at the Screening level, only to turn them away when it turns out that you've got too many Northern Italian/Southern Swiss, when what you really need are some Northern European/Baltics.

You can mock the FDA's guidance all you want, but let's hear the way around it. And you can choose (3) - no racial data collected - but be prepared for a massive patient advocacy group backlash.
   263. zenbitz Posted: April 12, 2013 at 08:32 PM (#4412408)
It costs $99 to get a snp study done at 23&me;. Without a bulk discount.
   264. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 12, 2013 at 08:53 PM (#4412435)
The thing about Newman in the film is that the way he handles the cue is consistent with the personality of a guy who beats the hell out of Fats but still finds a way to lose to him. That's acting. Give him a smooth stroke and he's more convincing to you as a top-flight pool player, but gives a less convincing performance as Fast Eddie Felson, the jumpy alcoholic who picks up a gimp in a bar at 9 in the morning.

That's absolutely not true, since in the movie Newman wasn't an unknown trying to sneak up on Gleason,...

Where on earth do I say anything like this?


We may be just talking around each other here, and I apologize if I wasn't clear. My point is only that "the way [Newman] handles a cue" isn't consistent with anyone who'd be capable of "beating the hell out of Fats", regardless of whether or not he wound up going broke after the alcohol sunk in.

**And anyway, he was crushing Gleason in game after game until the whiskey took over and got him broke. He couldn't have done that while lemoning with a stroke as crude as his.

Well, you're not addressing my point, but are still managing to tell me how wrong I am. That's not a good basis for discussion.


That footnote was merely to reiterate the point that while Newman gave a very credible performance as Eddie Felson the self-destructive hustler, his stroke didn't lend credibility to his role as a player who could ever beat the likes of Minnesota Fats. I'm talking about two distinctive things, and while the stroke part wouldn't likely be something that a non-player might ever notice, no pool player would ever believe on the basis of that movie that Paul Newman could actually shoot a credible game of pool. It wasn't as obvious an athletic miscasting as (say) Gary Cooper playing Lou Gehrig or William Bendix playing Babe Ruth**, but from the standpoint of physical motion credibility, it was bad enough, regardless of everything else Newman made out of the role.

**By contrast, Chadwick Boseman gave a quite passable version of Jackie Robinson in "42", at least compared to every other performance I've seen by actors depicting baseball players.
   265. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 12, 2013 at 09:00 PM (#4412450)
I'm not remotely on the pro level, because pros are defined above all by their consistency.

Makes sense. In tennis, consistency is a huge factor that separates a tennis pro (by which I mean someone teaching - and they have skills I can't touch) from a professional player. And when a tennis pro tries to dial up the power to beat a real professional, the inconsistency becomes huge.


With golf it seems easier to express this separation by a handicap number, since that's a sport where you're competing mainly against the course and yourself. In tennis and pool that's not the case, as in both cases you're alternating shots with your opponent and picking up where your opponent leaves off after the break or the serve.

I was at Saddlebrook a couple weeks ago and Martina Hingis was there. She played a match against one of the tennis pros in camp, and Hingis effortlessly destroyed the tennis pro, who tried to turn up the power which resulted in a spate of unforced errors.

That's not terribly surprising, given that Hingis is still only in her early 30's, and that when she was healthy she was one of the best. Glad to see that she's at least still connected to the game, since she was my favorite player of that brief era.
   266. Canker Soriano Posted: April 12, 2013 at 09:01 PM (#4412452)
It costs $99 to get a snp study done at 23&me;. Without a bulk discount.

OK, even at $100 a pop, that's $500K for the testing, plus whatever additional you pay for the site resources/training, sample collection/shipment/storage, etc. And that's assuming the FDA would accept 23&me; as a lab with sufficient validated procedures to satisfy their requirements. Just because they can tell you what % of a Neanderthal you are doesn't necessarily mean we should trust them with testing samples that may affect whether or not drugs come to market.
   267. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 09:03 PM (#4412457)
You can mock the FDA's guidance all you want, but let's hear the way around it. And you can choose (3) - no racial data collected - but be prepared for a massive patient advocacy group backlash.

You've apparently confused me with someone touting the way around it. I offer none whatsoever that would fail to provoke a massive patient advocacy group backlash. Yet we remain faced with the fact that our constructions around race are comically nonscientific and culturally ultrarich.

The very scenario is vividly illustrative of the degree to which the issues of "race" and its implications riddle our human civilization with complex dilemmas, and I would say they do that BECAUSE the invention and development of "race" are such perfectly haywire human cultural and social undertakings. We are the races, in every screwed-up way.

We see in this thread (and in so many other ways) the manner in which otherwise rational people invest great enthusiastic energy in ardent assertions regarding "race" that are spectacularly free of objective factual basis.

As I say, humans, gotta love 'em. C'est la vie.
   268. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 12, 2013 at 09:06 PM (#4412462)
We may be just talking around each other here, and I apologize if I wasn't clear. My point is only that "the way [Newman] handles a cue" isn't consistent with anyone who'd be capable of "beating the hell out of Fats", regardless of whether or not he wound up going broke after the alcohol sunk in.


I understood you, but we are talking past each other. You're thinking of it in the actual pool sense, and I mean it in the movie pool sense.

The filmmakers, including Newman, had no intention of showing him as a hustler capable of convincing real pool players he was such. No intention. None. Real pool players would comprise a tiny fraction of the audience.

Good directors will often look at how people who *are* really good do things, and very specifically NOT film them that way, because it is unconvincing to the target audience.

As I said, I am certain that group (director, cinematographer, star) COULD have filmed Newman doing an impeccable imitation of a superb pool player, and they very specifically chose not to do that.
   269. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: April 12, 2013 at 09:08 PM (#4412467)
There's a thread hijack ... best impressions of athletes by actors!

I think Charlie Sheen might have the best pitching mechanics of any actor in a baseball movie ever ...
   270. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 12, 2013 at 09:22 PM (#4412494)
Whereas Tim Robbins looked like he was topping out at 60 mph.
   271. Morty Causa Posted: April 12, 2013 at 09:25 PM (#4412501)
No one in a profession thinks the movies get it right. There have been a whole lot more movies about lawyers and the law than pool, and lawyers are always deriding something in them as being inauthentic. There probably are but a handful of people who appreciate the niceties that Jolly Old insist are necessary for the movie and Newman's performance to be realistic.

Someone once told John Ford that his movie Stagecoach didn't represent Indians chasing a stagecoach in a historically accurate way--the Indians would have taken out the horses and stopped the coach. Ford said he knew that, but if he had them do that then he wouldn't have had a movie. Actors only have to get the average viewer without special knowledge or expertise to momentarily suspend disbelief. And it’s easier to get an actor to give the impression he’s a pool player than a pool player the sense he’s an actor. If you can't meet a movie halfway, maybe you need to do something else. Watch that authentic bit of realism that just came out, 42. Or go shoot pool.
   272. Morty Causa Posted: April 12, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4412543)
Most of those guys in Chariots of Fire looked pretty good.

The stars of 62 weren't bad. Ronald Reagan wasn't bad as the Gipper. Of course, he, at that time, wasn't very far removed from having been an athlete. The Set Up. Gentleman Jim. Rocky. Raging Bull. The Big Lebowski. Slap Shot. Hard Times. Most of the best ones are boxing performances. Boxers seem easier to impersonate.
   273. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 10:06 PM (#4412604)
Tom Selleck didn't embarrass himself in Mr. Baseball (1992). And he was gracious enough when once, in an interview I heard, the interviewer lavished him with praise something along the lines of, "you're a legitmately good baseball player!," and Selleck nailed it with, "I'm a good baseball player for an actor. I am not a good baseball player."
   274. Steve Treder Posted: April 12, 2013 at 10:08 PM (#4412611)
OK, who was the best actual baseball player/actual actor ever?

- Johnny Berardino
- Chuck Connors
- Wes Parker
- Kurt Russell
- Bill Murray

Who am I missing? I'm sure there are several.
   275. cardsfanboy Posted: April 12, 2013 at 10:32 PM (#4412660)
Who am I missing? I'm sure there are several


Charlie Sheen was a pretty good high school player, not sure how that level translates compared to some other guys.
   276. zenbitz Posted: April 12, 2013 at 11:28 PM (#4412732)
@266 its a drop in the health care bucket. I was in the ER for an hour or so with a concussion and CT scan. They billed my insurance $25,000.
   277. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 12, 2013 at 11:32 PM (#4412737)
I understood you, but we are talking past each other. You're thinking of it in the actual pool sense, and I mean it in the movie pool sense.

The filmmakers, including Newman, had no intention of showing him as a hustler capable of convincing real pool players he was such. No intention. None. Real pool players would comprise a tiny fraction of the audience.


I realize that it didn't matter to the filmmakers that Newman had an amateur's stroke. But there's nothing to indicate that they would've wanted him to hold back if his stroke looked as smooth as Gleason's. It's easy to see why they were perfectly willing to settle for a reasonable facsimile of a pool player when the rest of the package gave them a superb actor like Newman, but it's hard to believe that they deliberately held him back in that regard.

Good directors will often look at how people who *are* really good do things, and very specifically NOT film them that way, because it is unconvincing to the target audience.

So you think that if the former Major Leaguer Chuck Connors had been cast in a baseball movie, the audience would have been turned off? Was the audience turned off when the future champion Max Baer was cast in a lead role as a heavyweight contender?

As I said, I am certain that group (director, cinematographer, star) COULD have filmed Newman doing an impeccable imitation of a superb pool player,

Sure, until they actually tried to show him shooting even a semi-difficult shot without about 50 takes. And even then his stroke would have been a dead giveaway to anyone who knows what a real pool stroke is like.

and they very specifically chose not to do that.

Could be, I suppose, but where's the evidence for that? I've read many stories about Mosconi's training of Newman, and not one of them ever said that they told him not to teach him too much. And anyway: How, exactly, would Newman's having a real pool stroke have made the movie less credible to the general audience? That just doesn't make sense. It certainly wasn't the case for Gleason, who was playing on the same table as Newman in a match that was presumably between players of roughly equal talents. Hell, if anything, Newman was supposed to be even better---why would deliberately making (only) Newman look worse be a sensible strategy?

One caveat: Of course it would have made sense for Newman to have looked like an amateur---when he was depicted hustling in bars and run-down pool rooms. But not against a champion in a match where his reputation had preceded him.
   278. SoSH U at work Posted: April 12, 2013 at 11:43 PM (#4412748)
OK, who was the best actual baseball player/actual actor ever?

- Johnny Berardino
- Chuck Connors
- Wes Parker
- Kurt Russell
- Bill Murray



Who am I missing? I'm sure there are several.

C.J. Nitkowski plays Dutch Leonard in 42. On the other hand, he played C.J. Nitkowski in MLB.
   279. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 12, 2013 at 11:49 PM (#4412759)
No one in a profession thinks the movies get it right. There have been a whole lot more movies about lawyers and the law than pool, and lawyers are always deriding something in them as being inauthentic. There probably are but a handful of people who appreciate the niceties that Jolly Old insist are necessary for the movie and Newman's performance to be realistic.

Morty, don't be mistaken. That was the only real flaw in the movie, and I fully realize and understand 100% that it was a flaw only to a minuscule part of the audience.

And it's not as if I'm demanding perfection. I found Chadwick Boseman's mimicking of Jackie Robinson's form to be perfectly credible in "42", which I just saw today. And since Tom Selleck once hit a ball into the upper deck at Tiger Stadium, I doubt if I would have found much to kvetch about in Mr. Baseball.

Someone once told John Ford that his movie Stagecoach didn't represent Indians chasing a stagecoach in a historically accurate way--the Indians would have taken out the horses and stopped the coach. Ford said he knew that, but if he had them do that then he wouldn't have had a movie. Actors only have to get the average viewer without special knowledge or expertise to momentarily suspend disbelief. And it’s easier to get an actor to give the impression he’s a pool player than a pool player the sense he’s an actor. If you can't meet a movie halfway, maybe you need to do something else. Watch that authentic bit of realism that just came out, 42. Or go shoot pool.

Since I've seen and enjoyed The Hustler** several times by now, I'm not sure what you're getting at, unless you're demanding that I see movies only through the eyes of an "average" viewer, and suppress my own sensibility. Did you make that same demand on Pauline Kael, or was she allowed to disagree with you?

**And I liked The Color of Money even more, even though Tom Cruise is to pool playing what William Bendix is to ballplaying.
   280. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 13, 2013 at 12:31 AM (#4412788)
I realize that it didn't matter to the filmmakers that Newman had an amateur's stroke. But there's nothing to indicate that they would've wanted him to hold back if his stroke looked as smooth as Gleason's. It's easy to see why they were perfectly willing to settle for a reasonable facsimile of a pool player when the rest of the package gave them a superb actor like Newman, but it's hard to believe that they deliberately held him back in that regard.


Well, I keep telling you that if the filmmakers had wanted Newman to have a smoother, more professional stroke, he would have had one, and you keep telling me that imitating a pool stroke was beyond one of the premiere Method actors, ever.

That means you're still wrong. Not a bad person, just wrong.

Wiki's a good place to start if you want to begin to get into the filmmakers' minds:

The Tevis novel had been optioned several times, including by Frank Sinatra, but attempts to adapt it for the screen were unsuccessful. Director Rossen's daughter Carol Rossen speculates that previous adaptations focused too much on the pool aspects of the story and not enough on the human interaction. Rossen, who had hustled pool himself as a youth and who had made an abortive attempt to write a pool-themed play called Corner Pocket, optioned the book and teamed with Sidney Carroll to produce the script.[3]


Good directors will often look at how people who *are* really good do things, and very specifically NOT film them that way, because it is unconvincing to the target audience.

So you think that if the former Major Leaguer Chuck Connors had been cast in a baseball movie, the audience would have been turned off? Was the audience turned off when the future champion Max Baer was cast in a lead role as a heavyweight contender?


Go back and read my earlier post. What you wrote has nothing to do with anything I've said.

and they very specifically chose not to do that.

Could be, I suppose, but where's the evidence for that? I've read many stories about Mosconi's training of Newman, and not one of them ever said that they told him not to teach him too much.


For some reason you're excluding Newman when I've talked about the filmmakers despite my specifically including him. This has nothing to do with 'not teaching him too much.'

why would deliberately making (only) Newman look worse be a sensible strategy?


I've addressed this. They weren't making him look worse. I hadn't realized you weren't following the thread.

All I can do is keep posting the following until you read it:

The thing about Newman in the film is that the way he handles the cue is consistent with the personality of a guy who beats the hell out of Fats but still finds a way to lose to him. That's acting. Give him a smooth stroke and he's more convincing to you as a top-flight pool player, but gives a less convincing performance as Fast Eddie Felson, the jumpy alcoholic who picks up a gimp in a bar at 9 in the morning.


It's been explained that you are not the target audience. Don't take this the wrong way, but no one cares what you think when they are aiming to make a great, character driven film that happens to be about pool players. What looks real to you will look fake and wrong and out of character to 99.9% of the film's audience.

This is film. There is no objective 'best' way to stroke a pool cue. There are only objects as extensions of character (and the like). I'm sure you've heard of the saying, 'Art has to lie in order to tell the truth.' This is one of those cases.
   281. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 13, 2013 at 01:04 AM (#4412810)
Who am I missing? I'm sure there are several.


Uecker is one.
   282. Rob_Wood Posted: April 13, 2013 at 01:41 AM (#4412837)

... and Tom Selleck was a decent volleyball player
   283. Steve Treder Posted: April 13, 2013 at 01:50 AM (#4412846)
Charlie Sheen was a pretty good high school player, not sure how that level translates compared to some other guys.

Doesn't count, I'm talking guys with legit pro careers both ways.

Of course that means my Bill Murray pick is bogus.

Hearing no better nominations, I go with Berardino. Solid big league regular for several years, then settles in to an ultra-long-term gig as a soap opera regular. Sweet money on both ends, and one suspects the perks (wink wink nudge nudge) were pretty decent as well.
   284. Steve Treder Posted: April 13, 2013 at 01:54 AM (#4412849)
Uecker is one.

Uecker is a candidate. I will grant you that Mr. Belvedere may not have been Hamlet, but hey, it was a genuine Hollywood acting gig.

Jim Bouton would be a stretch, though. The ill-fated partial-season Ball Four show on TV was amazingly terrible, and in any case Bouton was playing himself on the show, which I'm saying doesn't really count. Joe Garagiola hosting some game show doesn't count either.
   285. Morty Causa Posted: April 13, 2013 at 02:29 AM (#4412869)
Burt Lancaster was a huge star of course. He was also a real acrobat, in vaudeville and the circus. His athletic prowess was reflected in many of his films, even some later ones, not just Crimson Pirate/Flame and Arrow stuff. Cary Grant had also been part of an acrobatic troupe (and juggler and mime). Many critics noted his ability at doing physical stuff. Of course, the three great silent comedians, Chaplin/Keaton/Lloyd were very athletic, but I don't know if they ever were involved seriously in sports.
   286. Greg K Posted: April 13, 2013 at 04:58 AM (#4412882)
I recall reading that the lead in Sugar was a baseball player that they trained to act, rather than the more typical reverse.

EDIT: I see looking it up that the actor (Algenis Perez Soto) played academy ball but never landed a pro contract. He was discovered by the film-makers while playing baseball with some friends and given the job after an interview.
   287. Greg K Posted: April 13, 2013 at 05:39 AM (#4412883)
Doesn't fit with this discussion at all, but I find Chris Pratt (Scott Hatteberg in Moneyball) a fairly gifted physical comedian.


Also totally unrelated...I had a serious crush on Martina Hingis back in the day.
   288. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 13, 2013 at 08:03 AM (#4412892)
I keep telling you that if the filmmakers had wanted Newman to have a smoother, more professional stroke, he would have had one, and you keep telling me that imitating a pool stroke was beyond one of the premiere Method actors, ever.

That means you're still wrong. Not a bad person, just wrong.


You seriously underrate the difficulty of teaching a beginner like Newman a professional level pool stroke. His overall skills as an actor have no bearing on this. Could Gary Cooper have been made to look like a credible ballplayer just because he could play a pretty good cowboy?

And that Rossen quote doesn't address that point at all. I wasn't talking about Newman's overall character, which was credible, but only about one relatively minor (from the POV of the filmmakers and the mass audience) technical detail.

why would deliberately making (only) Newman look worse be a sensible strategy?

I've addressed this. They weren't making him look worse. I hadn't realized you weren't following the thread.


Of course they weren't "making" him look worse (as a credible pool player). They didn't have to. Once Mosconi had gotten his stroke up to a point where the mass audience couldn't tell the difference, there was no point in refining it further just to please people like me. And I've never said that they should have.

All I can do is keep posting the following until you read it:

The thing about Newman in the film is that the way he handles the cue is consistent with the personality of a guy who beats the hell out of Fats but still finds a way to lose to him. That's acting. Give him a smooth stroke and he's more convincing to you as a top-flight pool player, but gives a less convincing performance as Fast Eddie Felson, the jumpy alcoholic who picks up a gimp in a bar at 9 in the morning.


It's been explained that you are not the target audience. Don't take this the wrong way, but no one cares what you think when they are aiming to make a great, character driven film that happens to be about pool players. What looks real to you will look fake and wrong and out of character to 99.9% of the film's audience.


And I've tried to explain to you repeatedly that I realize I'm not the target audience.
   289. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 13, 2013 at 08:06 AM (#4412893)
I recall reading that the lead in Sugar was a baseball player that they trained to act, rather than the more typical reverse.

And while it doesn't have any bearing on The Hustler (emphasis added for Jack and Morty's sake), there are plenty of movies that benefited immensely from the use of non-professional actors who gave greater authenticity to their particular roles.
   290. BDC Posted: April 13, 2013 at 09:15 AM (#4412915)
the three great silent comedians, Chaplin/Keaton/Lloyd were very athletic, but I don't know if they ever were involved seriously in sports

Keaton's film College is very interesting in this respect. I don't believe Keaton played sports much in his youth (he was a vaudeville baby and a stage performer from toddlerhood), but in the film he tries out all the major college sports (including baseball) from a slapstick perspective, and there are some amazing feats of athleticism (pole-vaulting into open windows and such).

   291. BDC Posted: April 13, 2013 at 09:25 AM (#4412918)
Back to race and genetics for a moment: instead of diabetes, which has lots of lifestyle risk factors, take something that has a more straightforward genetic cause, like sickle-cell trait. Now, it is undeniable that African-Americans are more at risk for sickle-cell than Americans of European or Asian or Native descent. But at the same time, a look at the literature shows that in Africa itself, the trait is not evenly distributed across a "race." It is more prevalent in some populations, in some tribes, in some families, than others (as one would expect of any genetic trait); the more "granular" you study the distribution, the more uneven it appears to be. (And in fact, there is enormous genetic diversity in Africa, as much or more as the rest of the human species combined.) Americans of African descent may or may not have the trait, but identification of African-Americans in general as a risk group makes sense, because who knows what tribe or family may be in one's ancestry? (And hardly just because of slavery; hell, I have no earthly idea who my white ancestors were more than four generations back.)

In other words, even medically, even for a condition with an unambiguous genetic cause, to identify "African-American" as a risk group, though entirely valid, is more a matter of cultural convenience in language than a biologically precise definition. That's all.
   292. Steve Treder Posted: April 13, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4412962)
In other words, even medically, even for a condition with an unambiguous genetic cause, to identify "African-American" as a risk group, though entirely valid, is more a matter of cultural convenience in language than a biologically precise definition. That's all.

Bingo.
   293. Steve Treder Posted: April 13, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4412967)
there are plenty of movies that benefited immensely from the use of non-professional actors who gave greater authenticity to their particular roles.

The director of *Miracle on Ice cast hockey players precisely because, as he put it, it's a lot easier to teach a hockey player to act a little bit than it is to teach an actor to play hockey a little bit.

In The Black Stallion, the lead role of the little boy was given to a kid (Kelly Reno) who was growing up on a horse ranch, riding since he could walk, rather than some typical L.A. child actor. The scenes with him bonding with the horse, and riding bareback and so on, are immensely more vivid and powerful as a result.

* EDIT: It wasn't Miracle on Ice (1981) starring Karl Malden as Herb Brooks that I'm thinking of, but rather Miracle (2004) with Kurt Russell -- the former minor league baseball player, just to tie it back here.

   294. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 13, 2013 at 12:28 PM (#4412994)
No one in a profession thinks the movies get it right. There have been a whole lot more movies about lawyers and the law than pool, and lawyers are always deriding something in them as being inauthentic. There probably are but a handful of people who appreciate the niceties that Jolly Old insist are necessary for the movie and Newman's performance to be realistic.

Newman's Absence of Malice has the most accurate courtroom scenes I've watched in any fiction movie - it's almost weird when they get the objections right, for a change.
   295. cardsfanboy Posted: April 13, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4413004)
And it's not as if I'm demanding perfection. I found Chadwick Boseman's mimicking of Jackie Robinson's form to be perfectly credible in "42", which I just saw today. And since Tom Selleck once hit a ball into the upper deck at Tiger Stadium, I doubt if I would have found much to kvetch about in Mr. Baseball.


Maybe not, but the Scout really bothered me....a red hot Ozzie Smith is somehow batting ninth in the world series....(not to mention the eligibility rules that were ignored)

And I'm usually the first person to say "Let it go, it's just a movie" when it comes to these things. Except I guess when it comes to bowling and TV shows...don't think they have ever once done bowling right on any tv show ever....
   296. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 13, 2013 at 01:05 PM (#4413008)
Newman's Absence of Malice has the most accurate courtroom scenes I've watched in any fiction movie - it's almost weird when they get the objections right, for a change.

Glad to hear that, since Absence of Malice is one of my two favorite Newman movies. What about the courtroom scenes in the other one, The Young Philadelphians?
   297. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: April 13, 2013 at 01:10 PM (#4413012)
I'm usually the first person to say "Let it go, it's just a movie" when it comes to these things.

It's funny; I don't care about stuff it'd take external knowledge to catch ("That's clearly a later-model Ford, so the whole movie is ########"), but it really bugs me when movies aren't true to their own internal reality: for example, once you've thoroughly established that a character is so lazy and atrophied that he's literally never stood on his own feet, you can't just have him stand up (and be super-strong) late in the movie, simply because the plot demands it.

EDIT: never saw The Young Philadelphians. Is it that good? I never did like courtroom dramas much; less so now that I'm a barrister.
   298. Morty Causa Posted: April 13, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4413050)
I haven't seen Absence of Malice since it came out. I remember the scene with Brimley at the end. Is that the court scene you have in mind?
   299. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 13, 2013 at 02:37 PM (#4413132)
EDIT: never saw The Young Philadelphians. Is it that good? I never did like courtroom dramas much; less so now that I'm a barrister.

Courtroom dramas are almost my favorite genre, but although Newman plays a lawyer in The Young Philadelphians, it's not really in the "trial movie" category.

And yes, IMO The Young Philadelphians is very good, although to be honest I doubt if I've seen more than about 10 Newman movies in my life, and Absence of Malice is the only one I'd probably put in my favorite 100 of all time.

   300. cardsfanboy Posted: April 13, 2013 at 03:04 PM (#4413161)
It's funny; I don't care about stuff it'd take external knowledge to catch ("That's clearly a later-model Ford, so the whole movie is ########"),


I want to beat people that get upset about that crap. Same with fans of the source material, whining about the liberties the movie version took with the original product(except when it obviously missed important stuff that was important to the original source)

but it really bugs me when movies aren't true to their own internal reality: for example, once you've thoroughly established that a character is so lazy and atrophied that he's literally never stood on his own feet, you can't just have him stand up (and be super-strong) late in the movie, simply because the plot demands it.

Not sure what that example is from(if any) but have to agree...You set up the rules/physics of your universe and it should be adhered to in order to keep your fans suspension of belief intact.

You can't have three movies about mystical artifacts and a fourth about aliens and try to keep it in the same universe. :) Or a couple of movies about a guy who is hard to kill and then each subsequent movie he survives cartoon level of violence.

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