The latest for the “open archives” list: SI

The most recent member of the “our archives are more valuable open than closed” group among the traditional media is Sports Illustrated, which has opened the SI Vault. You can now read 54 years of Sports Illustrated history at your leisure.

Some bloggers are made, others are born

One thing that few know about me is that I am wild about fantasy baseball. One of my longest-standing and best fantasy baseball friends recently confirmed what we’d all suspected for a long time: he has entirely too much time on his hands.

Just kidding! But Jason has been blogging for the past few months – It is about the money, stupid and doing a very very good job of it. He’s taken to the form like a fish to water, and if you follow baseball even a little bit, you’ll definitely enjoy it.

New Zealand’s Haka

Originally uploaded by mikel

As seen on the big screen TV at Champs this afternoon. New Zealand lost, shockingly, 20-18.

RWC 2007 starts today

The 2007 edition of the Rugby World Cup started today in Paris with France bowing to slight underdogs Argentina in a stunning upset.

In Canada we’ve always had pretty good access to games on television in the past. I think every game in every World Cup has been shown on one of the sports networks over the years. But not this year. In 2007, in Quebec, you cannot get RWC 2007 coverage at home via cable, analog or digital.

The rights holders are a company that no one here ever heard of before a few months ago called Setanta Sports, which in turn Videotron, my local cable provider, doesn’t carry. I could get it through Bell ExpressVu, except that would mean a) installing a stupid mini dish and b) taking a whopping package of channels I don’t want – and THEN buying Setanta as an additional pay channel, or the RWC as a PPV option. Not bloody likely.

It looks like my only real option – and it’s a pretty crappy option, if you ask me, is to buy games that will be streamed over the internet – in the tiny screen – for US$10 a shot. Today I went down to my friendly neighbourhood sports bar – Champs, on St-Laurent – and they’re charging $10 a head per game as well… and the guy who I spoke to said that for some games they might charge $20! The kicker? It’s not the bar who’s collecting – Setanta is charging the cover themselves!

So, if you’re a rugby fan in Canada, things pretty much suck right now, and Setanta – and the International Rugby Board, which sold them the bloody license – seem squarely to blame. The rights for such an important competition should be limited to established broadcasters with a national footprint, not fly-by-night companies who have no interest in promoting a sport in a developing country but trying to juice it for everything it’s worth, notwithstanding the long term health of the game.

The NHL is finally doing

what they should have been doing for a long time – making all of its games available to view on the Internet: NHL on Google Video. So now I can watch the Habs any time, even though CBC would have us focus exclusively on the Leafs. Check out some of the classic games as well.

In his own inimitible way,

Aaron has danced all the way around and then right to the core of that phenomenon we know as “liveblogging”: Area Code of the Beast. Most importantly, he reminds me of where to follow today’s matches while hard at work at my new office.

If you’re a baseball fan,

you’ll love Ballbug [via TechCrunch].

If everyone is writing posts

about the ESPN Page 2 interview with Malcolm Gladwell by Bill Simmons, it’s not because they’re sheep – it’s because the interview is really great.

Being a long-time skier

and one-time ski racer, the Winter Olympics is a highlight every 4 years that it rolls around again. I am most interested in the alpine skiing events, but I can’t help but get interested in all of the pomp surrounding the event as well. Since the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, special attention has been paid to the Canadian team’s uniform. That year, and in 2002 (as well as in the Summer Games), Roots has set the bar pretty high, eschewing the traditional (silly) faux-native themes for a slick collection that was the talk of the Games. This year, the contract went to the Hudson’s Bay Company, one of the oldest retailers in the world – but a company that has been mired with problems and was recently sold to an American investor.

I’m really curious to know how HBC got the contract, because the clothes are in stores and the reviews are in, and it’s pretty clear that a) The Bay was overdue to be sold, b) the company has been reduced to little more than a discount store that has no business trying to design an original line, and c) someone thought, incorrectly, that re-creating the success Roots had should be a pretty simple job.

I visited the HBC Olympic shop around Christmas time, and I can personally attest to the fact that although HBC managed to retain some sense of style around this year’s Olympic uniforms, they obviously had little clue about what they were doing. Once you see the clothes up close, it is obvious that they have been manufactured with the absolute cheapest junk materials they could source. The nylon in the ski jackets has no “hand” at all and is shinier and more plastic than anything I have seen since the 70s. The “fleece” toques are not made with anything resembling quality polar fleece, and the logos are in some kind of rubbery substance that will clearly crack and peel within weeks.

Hopefully the sale of HBC will help it reclaim its status in Canada – because if the Olympic line was a Hail Mary pass to try and reclaim some relevance, it will likely be a major failure.

I just learned that

the 2012 Summer Olympic Games have been awarded to London. I may be a naive chump, but I love the Olympics.