Today in sports: The lost cows of the Catalonia bullfight ban, the NFL wants an extra game in London, and a new documentary revisits baseball's most memorable case of fan interference.
- The final bullfight in Barcelona's La Monumental arena took place Sunday, in anticipation of a new regional ordinance outlawing the gruesome piece of cultural heritage. No matter how distasteful the practice may seem, The New York Times notes that next summer, once the ban is in effect, there's going to be a surplus of bulls bred for bullfighting out in the fields. "Which in economic terms is a disaster," explains bull farmer Leopoldo de la Maza. He informed The Times that "a four-year-old bull sent to the slaughterhouse earned a breeder about 450 euros, or $605...instead of at least €6,000 if the bull met its death in Madrid or another major bull ring." That's a tough burden for a rural population already struggling through the continent's financial crisis. Then there's the cultural aspect, which a 68-year-old bullfighting fan named Cristobal explained to the AFP: "For a city like Barcelona to close this arena," he said, "is like throwing a Picasso painting into the garbage," [The New York Times and AFP via Time]
- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, apparently not content with the disruption caused by forcing just two teams to travel 8,000 miles to play each other in London in the middle of a season, is pushing owners to vote to approve a second game in the United Kingdom at their annual meeting in Houston in October. The league has played one game a year at London's Wembley Stadium since 2007, the majority of which have been duds, and resulted in grumbling from players and coaches--like Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints--about terrible field conditions prolonged travel time. [Sports Business Journal via Fox Sports]
- Tonight marks the premiere of Catching Hell on ESPN, the new documentary from Alex Gibney about Steve Bartman, the turtleneck glad, portable-radio toting Chicago Cubs fan who interfered with Cubs left fielder Moises Alou's attempt to catch a pop fly hit by Florida Marlins secncd baseman Luis Castillo in game six of the 2003 National League Championship Series. At the time, Chicago led the series 3-2, and the game 3-0. Florida ended up coming back to win the game and the pennant, denying the Cubs their first World Series visit since 1908. Bartman's since gone into hiding, and while Gibney doesn't track him down, he reconstructs the whole series of events leading up to the play. Cubs fans probably won't want to watch. Red Sox fans, however, will likely want to do nothing, if only to remind themselves that blowing a 9-game playoff lead in September isn't as soul-crushing when you've won the World Series twice in seven seasons. (Full disclosure: Gibney is the brother of The Atlantic's staff editor James Gibney.) [Hit Fix]
- Through the first two-thirds of Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski's new interview with Cal Fussman for Esquire's "What I've Learned" series, he manages to avoid sounding like a man who considers himself holier-than-though basketball royalty. This is pleasing, since this quality is what makes Duke (and Krzyzewski) reliably booable. That changes, as it must, when Krzyzewski is asked about LeBron James' departure from Cleveland for Miami last summer to go play with his fellow superstars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Most people agree the move--and the live television event announcing the decision, which was also called The Decision--was shortsighted, needlessly brutal, and bad for the soul of pro basketball. Not Krzyzewski. "How can going to Miami to play for the Arison family and to be with Dwyane Wade be bad?" he says. "I don't think it was a bad decision. How it was carried out? I wish I could have changed some of that for LeBron. He's a good friend, and one of my guys." This last point in not precisely true, since James didn't go to Duke. He did play for Krzyzewski on the U.S. national team, which is like saying your counselor at sleepaway camp is your big brother. [Esquire]