Category: Sports

Minor League Major Fun

“BEAUTIFUL BALLPARK” The 8,100-capacity Parkview Field is home to the Fort Wayne TinCaps.

Amenities-packed ballparks draw lots of fans and families.

by Ben Smith

He’s a Fort Wayne guy, but he’s seen nothing like this. On this blue June evening he leans on the railing and looks out across an expanse of billiard-table green, looks at the players soft-tossing and the fans filling up the concourse and reserved seating and outdoor cafes beyond left field. And something almost …

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Posted in Current Issue, Sports, Summer 2016 | Leave a comment

Indy 500 History Lesson

AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF RACING A young Donald Davidson is interviewed by
the late Jim Phillippe, the Speedway’s longtime public address announcer.

On its 100th running, no one knows the race like Donald Davidson.

by Ben Smith

He seems such a slender reed to carry the weight of so many years. That’s what strikes you first about the polite Englishman sitting here in this quiet office on the second floor of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Hall of Fame Museum.

Downstairs, in the museum itself, a blaring, tumultuous …

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Posted in Sports, Spring 2016 | Leave a comment

Practice Makes Perfect

NWIBQ-Winter-16-28

The Pacers’ Glenn Robinson has a powerful work ethic.

by Ben Smith

Practice is long minutes over for the Indiana Pacers this warmish December afternoon, but still the shots are going up out there, rising and falling in flawless net-rustling arcs. Glenn Robinson III, a young man with a ringing Hoosier name and a profile you have seen before, is working on his craft. It …

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Posted in Sports, Winter 2016 | Leave a comment

The Professionalism of Frank Gore

“GREAT LEADERSHIP” At age 32, Frank Gore of the
Indianapolis Colts is willing to do whatever he’s asked to do.

Colts sign veteran Pro Bowl player Frank Gore to build up the offense.

by Ben Smith

Frank Gore doesn’t really want to talk to you. Don’t take it personally.

Oratory is not generally a thing for NFL running backs, who traffic in the more elemental arts of collision and truckloads of hurt. And so, on this Friday back in September, Gore entered the Indianapolis Colts

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Posted in Fall 2015, Sports | Leave a comment

A Future With the South Bend Cubs

TRANSFORMATION Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium is one of several gleaming state-of-the-art facilities in the Midwest League.
MATT CASHORE/SOUTH BEND

South Bend minor league team thrives as an affiliate of Chicago’s North Siders.

by Ben Smith

The past is here, beyond the shimmering emerald grass, beyond the walkway that runs behind center field, beyond the scoreboard welcoming everyone, on this blue-sky evening, to Four Winds Field and Back to the Future Night.

But first, back to the past.

It’s in a small enclosure behind the …

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Posted in Sports, Summer 2015 | Leave a comment

Sarah Fisher, Businesswoman

SUCCESS ON THE TRACK Sarah Fisher and driver Josef Newgarden celebrate
following a 2013 Baltimore race finish that landed Newgarden on the podium.

Pioneering race car driver settles into the ownership role.

by Ben Smith

The question stumps her, seven years along. There is a pause. A longer pause. Finally a soft exhale floats across the miles and through the cellphone pressed to your ear, and in your mind’s eye you can see her on the other end: Brow knit up, eyes narrowed in thought.

“Man,” says Sarah …

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Posted in Business, Business, Sports, Spring 2015 | Leave a comment

Adding Fuel

WORKING THROUGH THE STRUGGLES Scott Hillman is head coach
and vice president of hockey operations for the Indy Fuel.

New team brings professional hockey back to Indy.

by Ben Smith

Five days before Christmas, and no peace on earth this night.

Instead, there is only a scoreboard tilted against them again, and a flat crack echoing off the cinderblock walls of this narrow hallway outside the visitor’s dressing room in Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne. The Indy Fuel of the ECHL, …

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Posted in Business, Sports, Winter 2015 | Leave a comment

Back on the Field

HEISMAN-WORTHY? Notre Dame
quarterback Everett Golson can’t
escape the question.

Notre Dame’s Everett Golson takes on the H-word.

by Ben Smith

He arrives at 7:20 in the evening, fashionably but consistently late. Practice is a distant memory, 65 minutes in the rearview. Every other football player made available by Notre Dame has made an appearance, and some came and went long ago.

But Everett Golson will not be rushed.

He will not come out until …

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Posted in Fall 2014, Sports | Leave a comment

A Special Place

IT’S A HIT! The RailCats roster is for younger players on the way up and older players
hanging on—and most of all, for athletes who love the game of baseball.

Gary’s U.S. Steel Yard, home of the RailCats, where a child’s game is a way of life.

by Ben Smith

Dreams are not born here, not in this small gem of brick and wrought-iron, not in this lovely green space springing up in the lee of toll roads and train tracks and belching smokestacks. Dreams don’t even grow to manhood here.

What they do is …

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Posted in Sports, Summer 2014 | Leave a comment

Family Ties

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON An optimistic racing year lies ahead for Bobby Rahal and son Graham.

Graham Rahal behind the wheel of dad Bobby’s race car.

by Ben Smith

The videotape is semi-legendary now. Graham Rahal has mentioned it a zillion times now these last five or six years, because it’s a good place to start with him, a good place to trace the source of everything he is and maybe is yet to become.

On the tape, it’s the early …

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Posted in Sports, Spring 2014 | Leave a comment