Recommended Reads:

Everything I’ve read (articles and books) that still sticks with me. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some, but a good place to start.

Listed alphabetically. Presented without personal commentary. A brief summary may be included.

America’s Future is Texas, Lawrence Wright

  • With zealots taking over the legislature even as the state’s demographics shift, Texas has become the nation’s bellwether – The New Yorker

Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates

  • Inspired by James Baldwin’s 1963 classic “The Fire Next Time,” Ta-Nehisi Coates’s new book, “Between the World and Me,” is a searing meditation on what it means to be black in America today. – New York Times Book Review

Dear President Bush, Andrew Sullivan

  • Americans want, and need, to move on from the debate over torture in Iraq and Afghanistan and close this tragic chapter in our nation’s history. Prosecuting those responsible could tear apart a country at war. Instead, the best way to confront the crimes of the past is for the man who authorized them to take full responsibility.

How Post-Watergate Liberals Killed Their Populist Souls, Matt Stoller

  • In the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system. – The Atlantic

Manchild in the Promised Land, Claude Brown

The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin

  • In the piece, Baldwin detailed his evangelical childhood and his views on the treatment and condition of blacks in America. Baldwin uses words, Langston Hughes once said, “as the sea uses waves,” and his evocative essay reveals, among other things, the daily fears that many African-Americans lived with as a matter of course. – The New Yorker

The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander

What If the Allies Had Lost World War I? – David Frum

  • The First World War’s horrific human and economic costs, the disappointment of hopes that the war would somehow reform or redeem society, the failure to achieve an enduring peace, the subsequent Great Depression that indicted the liberal world order for which so many Americans believed they had fought, the ensuing collapse of democracy in so many European countries, the slide toward a second world war—the experience of the two decades after the war systematically made mockery of every ideal and hope and promise for which Americans imagined they had joined the fight in April 1917. – The Atlantic

We Are All Witnesses, Jordan Ritter-Conn

  • Twenty months after Tamir Rice was killed in Cleveland, his mother is still grappling with how to grieve in private following her son’s public death – The Ringer

The 2000s; The Dirk vs. Duncan Era?

While the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs and LeBron James have won most of the championships since the turn of the century, there was no great rivalry between them. A rivalry that has been constant was right here in the Lone Star State.

The Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs gave us some great ones and now that Tim Duncan is retiring without as much as a press conference, the rivalry of the most consistent teams of the previous decade is gone with him. Read More»

MLB First Half Wrap-up

Hey readers, my name is Charlie Clarke. I’ll introduce myself a bit before I delve into this piece. I’ve been writing for just under two years now. Starting with my high school paper, I’ve edited for FanSided, written with SB Nation, and interned with WGN Radio in Chicago, where I reside. Currently, I write with Baseball Prospectus, 247Sports, and the Chicago Tribune Media Group.

There are a couple of reasons I decided to contribute to Charles’ 1st and Inches blog. We met last year as roommates and became good friends, feeding off of each other’s sports knowledge. I can say confidently say that not many people heading into sophomore year in college know as much and/or are as smart about sports as Charles. Hopefully he has similar praise for me.

While I have opportunities to cover many of the teams I’ve grown up rooting for, I chose to write here because it’s a place with much more freedom as far as topics and ideas go…also because he offered. I’ve covered the Rangers twice in Chicago (which you can read here and here) and that’s just about my only experience with Texas, where I’d assume most of this readership calls home.

Anyway, I look forward to whatever my future is with this site, and hopefully y’all read my stuff.

Seeing as last night was the conclusion of the ‘first half’ of the 2016 MLB season, I examined each club’s record and pretended as if it were Opening Day. Much to my surprise, there weren’t too many surprises. The Cubs and Giants are really good. The Braves and Reds are really bad. Like any year, some teams have overachieved, some have underachieved. Bartolo Colon continues to be Bartolo Colon, with one extra homer. Here’s my summation of 2016’s MLB script, enjoy. Read More

Cuban and Dirk: What #DallasStrong Looks Like

This story was originally written and published on the NBCDFW website. In wake of the recent events in the place that I, and many of you reading, call home. I would like to share this. Sports is such a small part of the world, but it is a great escape and can truly highlight the good in people. This one is for the good people of the DFW-area, of all races, that understand love and loyalty. Let us learn greater humanity from this tragedy. I am praying for you, Dallas.
Read More

Breaking Up is Hard, Especially in Sports

Yesterday Kevin Durant made one of the biggest decisions of, not only his life, but NBA history. While no championship is guaranteed, Durant has made it extremely favorable for himself and the Golden State Warriors.

Not since Moses Malone became a 76er in 1982, has a league MVP-candidate left their own team to join a proven title-contender. With all the excitement and assumed success Durant is bringing to Oakland, he is also taking all of his talent and fame away from Oklahoma City, which has expectantly left many Oklahoma City fans upset. Read More

Alex Rodriguez: The Unloved Superstar

At one point, early in his career with the Seattle Mariners, Alex Rodriguez was the golden child of the MLB. He was playing alongside Ken Griffey Jr., one of the most beloved athletes in sports history. Rodriguez was just a kid playing with “The Kid” and they were both so special, but by 2000 they were both on different teams and our feelings for A-Rod began to change.  Read More