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Beside The Points For Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018

Things That Caught My Eye

Future of U.S. Soccer to be decided soon

Following the end of Sunil Gulati’s run as president of U.S. Soccer Federation — a term that culminated in the men’s team failing to make the World Cup — U.S. Soccer is poised to select its next president to lead the troubled organization in the coming weeks, and eight people are gunning for the job. Of the 500 people who cast ballots, they’re essentially in four constituencies: the youth council, the adult council, the professional council and the athletes council. The first three comprise around 25.8 percent each of the tally and the athletes who account for 20 percent. [ESPN]

Sports entertainment magnate to pivot to sports

Vince McMahon is poised to announce a new football league that would try to compete with the NFL, a move that comes just weeks after he filed paperwork to sell $100 million of his stake in the WWE to fund a new venture called Alpha Entertainment. [ESPN, Sports Business Daily]

Caroline Wozniacki may be the Slam-less GOAT

Wozniacki is the second ranked player in the world, has a 542-223 record, has won 27 WTA singles titles and has 314 net wins. She also has not won a Grand Slam title, and may go down as the best player to never win one. [FiveThirtyEight]

Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?

Vladimir Guerrero, the indie band of baseball

The best seasons of new MLB Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrer were with the Montreal Expos, but despite having a 29.5 Wins Above Replacement from 1998 to 2002 he also had the lowest average attendance per game on record among Hall of Famers in their prime, with an average 10,038 people attending each magnificent game. [FiveThirtyEight]

Momentum is not a thing at Super Bowls

Sorry, Eagles fans: just because the Birds trounced the Vikings in the NFC Conference Championship doesn’t mean they’re any more likely to beat New England, a team that slipped past the Jags with moments to go. There’s no relationship between conference championship blowouts and winning the Super Bowl. Well, not exactly: Since 1970 Super Bowl losers won their conference championship game by 14.2 points on average, while the winners won theirs by only 12.8 points. Advantage, New England? [FiveThirtyEight]

Big Number

43 percent

Percentage of the top 40 free agents who signed in the 82 days since the Astros beat the Dodgers in Game 7 of the World Series. That is remarkably low, in historical context: by this point (from 2006 to 2016) an average of 76 percent of the top 40 free agents had signed. [FiveThirtyEight]

Leaks from Slack, Sunday Night:


kobe bryant just got nominated for an oscar.


Going for the EGOT post retirement


Silly that he’s nominated. But that short film is so cool. He hired an Academy Award-winning animation artist and I think he had John Williams write the score.
So it’s not all that surprising in that sense


Someone told Kobe about “storytelling” two years ago and here we are.


Oh, and don’t forget
SHOCKER: Klement’s out as sponsor of Milwaukee Brewers’ Famous Racing Sausages

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.