Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History

Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History

by Mike Pesca
Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History

Upon Further Review: The Greatest What-Ifs in Sports History

by Mike Pesca


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From Mike Pesca, host of the popular Slate podcast The Gist, comes the greatest sports minds imagining how the world would change if a play, trade, injury, or referee's call had just gone the other way.

"Intriguing...thought provoking...delightful." —The Washington Post
No announcer ever proclaimed: "Up Rises Frazier!" "Havlicek commits the foul, trying to steal the ball!" or "The Giants Lose the Pennant, The Giants Lose The Pennant!" Such moments are indelibly etched upon the mind of every sports fan. Or rather, they would be, had they happened. Sports are notoriously games of inches, and when we conjure the thought of certain athletes - like Bill Buckner or Scott Norwood - we can't help but apply a mental tape measure to the highlight reels of our minds. Players, coaches, and of course fans, obsess on the play when they ask, "What if?" Upon Further Review is the first book to answer that question.
Upon Further Review is a book of counterfactual sporting scenarios. In its pages the reader will find expertly reported histories, where one small event is flipped on its head, and the resulting ripples are carefully documented, the likes of...

What if the U.S. Boycotted Hitler's Olympics?

What if Bobby Riggs beat Billie Jean King?

What if Bucky Dent popped out at the foot of the Green Monster?

What if Drew Bledsoe never got hurt?

Upon Further Review takes classic arguments conducted over pints in a pub and places them in the hands of dozens of writers, athletes, and historians. From turning points that every sports fan rues or celebrates, to the forgotten would-be inflection points that defined sports, Upon Further Review answers age old questions, and settles the score, even if the score bounced off the crossbar.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455540372
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 03/26/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 93,542
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Mike Pesca is the host of the daily podcast The Gist. For ten years he was a reporter for NPR, where he primarily covered sports. He has covered Super Bowls, Final Fours, the World Series, the NBA Finals, the Olympics, the World Cup, the World Series of Poker, and the Westminster Dog Show. In addition to hosting the NPR News Quiz Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, his work has been featured on This American Life, Radiolab, Inside the NFL, as well as in Baseball Prospectus and Basketball Prospectus. He is the winner of two Edward R. Murrow awards, one for his coverage of high school football, another for his analysis of the monetary value of Crackerjacks being mentioned in the lyrics to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." He was a two-time winner of the Emory University Intramural Softball Official of the Year.

Table of Contents

Foreword Malcolm Gladwell 1

Introduction Mike Pesca 7

1 What If Muhammad Ali Had Gotten His Draft Deferment? Leigh Montville 13

2 What If Football Had Been Deemed Too Boring in 1899? Jason Gay 22

3 What If the United States Had Boycotted Hitler's Olympics? Shim Springer 28

4 What If the 2017 Golden State Warriors Traveled Through Time to Play the Greatest Teams in NBA History? Ethan Sherwood Strauss 38

5 What If Horse Racing Was Still the Most Popular Sport in America? Peter Thomas Fornatale 49

6 What If I Hadn't Written That Fan Letter to Dan Majerle in April 1993? Jesse Eisenberg 57

7 What If Wayne Gretzky Hadn't Been an Oiler? Katie Baker 66

8 What If Major League Baseball Had Started Testing for Steroids in 1991? Ben Lindbergh 74

9 What If Bucky Dent Hadn't Homered over the Green Monster in 1978? Stefan Fatsis 87

10 What If Jerry Tarkanian Had Beaten the NCAA and Liberated College Basketball? Jonathan Hock 96

11 What If Football Were Reinvented Today? Nate Jackson 105

12 What If There Had Always Been Sports PR Flacks? L. Jon Wertheim 113

13 What If…Title IX Never Was? Mary Pilon 118

14 What If Tom Brady Hadn't Stepped In/Taken Over for an Injured Drew Bledsoe? Steve Kornacki 125

15 What If the 1999 U.S. Women's National Soccer Team Had Lost the Women's World Cup? Louisa Thomas 136

18 What If the Olympics Had Never Dropped Tug-of-War? Nate DiMeo 143

17 What If Billie Jean King Had Lost to Bobby Riggs? Wayne Coffey 152

18 What If Mike Tyson Had Beaten Buster Douglas? Jeremy Schaap 160

19 What If? A Tour Through NBA Injury History Neil Paine with Introductory Notes on the Topic "What if Bernard King hadn't been injured?" Mike Pesca 165

20 What If the Dodgers Had Left Brooklyn? Robert Siegel 181

21 What If a Blimp Full of Money Had Exploded over World Track Headquarters in 1952? Paul Snyder 186

22 What If Baseball Teams Only Played Once a Week? Will Leitch 197

23 What If Bobby Fischer Had Received Proper Psychiatric Help? Dylan Loeb McClain 206

24 What If Basketball Rims Were Smaller Than Basketballs? Jon Bois 216

25 What If the AFL-NFL Merger Had Been Complicated by the Jets' Loss in Super Bowl III? Michael MacCambridge 224

26 What If the National League Had the DH? Rob Neyer 232

27 What If Nixon Had Been Good at Football? Julian E. Zelizer 239

28 What If Bill Walton Had Healthy Knees? Bob Ryan 246

29 What If Roger Bannister Trained Today? Liam Boylan-Pett 252

30 What If Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton's Pass Hadn't Gone Awry? Claude Johnson 260

31 What If Game 7 of the 2016 World Series Had Turned Into Every Sports Movie Ever Made? Josh Levin 279

Acknowledgments 285

Notes 287

Index 291

About the Contributors 301

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