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Deep Routes

Wisconsin basketball player Zach Bohannon writes about teammate Josh Gasser’s torn ACL: (CBS)

I was less than 10 feet behind him trailing the play. I heard the piercing scream come out of his mouth as he crumbled to the ground. I tried to keep him calm and said, “You’re fine, take some deep breaths.” However, Josh knew, and shot back sharply, “No, I’m not fine!”

Everyone in the gym fell quiet. Nothing could be said. We all saw our athletic trainer and team doctor immediately test out his left knee on the court. We all prayed for the best, though we knew we had no choice but to expect the worst.

As we saw Josh get helped off the floor, none of it seemed real. Josh was the last person you expected this to happen to. Josh seemingly had no kryptonite; he was indestructible to us. Our team tried to put the shock of what we had just seen behind us. After about an hour of more practicing, Coach [Bo] Ryan called us in and told us before we did our final shooting drill we would all have a chance to see Josh before he left for the hospital. As we filed in one by one to the training room, each one of us had a moment to spend with Josh. Many of us hardly said a word; it was a quick good luck with a handshake or a hug for most. It was a very somber moment because we all knew the magnitude of the earthquake that had just shaken our team.

The Wire creator David Simon writes about the broader implications of last night’s election results:

America is different now, more so with every election cycle. Ronald Reagan won his mandate in an America in which 89 percent of the voters were white. That number is down to 72 percent and falling. Fifty thousand new Latino citizens achieve the voting age every month. America will soon belong to the men and women — white and black and Latino and Asian, Christian and Jew and Muslim and atheist, gay and straight — who can comfortably walk into a room and accept with real comfort the sensation that they are in a world of certain difference, that there are no real majorities, only pluralities and coalitions. The America in which it was otherwise is dying, thank god, and those who relied on entitlement and division to command power will either be obliged to accept the changes, or retreat to the gated communities from which they wish to wax nostalgic and brood on political irrelevance.

You want to lead in America? Find a way to be entirely utilitarian — to address the most problems on behalf of the most possible citizens. That works. That matters. Last night, it mattered just enough to overcome the calcified political calculations of men who think that 47 percent will vote against them because they are victims, or that 53 percent are with them because the rest of us vote only from self-interest and without regard for the republic as a whole. It was a closer contest than common sense and the spirit of a truly great nation should dictate. But unless these white guys who have peddled “normal” for so long — normal as in racial majority, normal as in religious majority, normal as in sexual orientation — unless they have a hard moment of self-reflection and self-awareness, well, it will not be this close again.

Devin Leonard profiles InBev CEO Carlos Brito: (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

For a number-crunching manager like Brito, an old, family-run company like Anheuser-Busch provided plenty of opportunities for cuts. He laid off approximately 1,400 people, about 6 percent of the U.S. workforce. He sold $9.4 billion in assets, including Busch Gardens and SeaWorld. AB InBev also tried to save money on materials. It used smaller labels and thinner glass for its bottles. It tried weaker cardboard for its 12-packs and cases. The old Anheuser-Busch insisted on using whole grains of rice in its beer. AB InBev was fine with the broken kind. “Our purchasing of rice has to do with how fresh the rice is, not whether it is whole or broken,” says Vallis.

The company played hardball with vendors. Anheuser-Busch has long boasted that “beechwood aging” enhanced Budweiser’s flavor. One of its two suppliers was Tom Urani, owner of Beechwood Corp. in Millington, Tenn. “In November 2008, we were featured in a nationwide ad,” Urani recalls. “It showed an aerial shot of our factory and said Anheuser-Busch is all about people, places, and quality.”

After the merger, AB InBev informed Urani that it would use only one beechwood provider. Urani was the losing bidder. He says this was the end of Beechwood Corp. Who else bought large amounts of beechwood chips but the makers of Budweiser? Urani threw a party on the final day. He invited Brito, who didn’t show up. That day, Urani drank his last Budweiser for the television cameras. “I’ve now become a bourbon guy,” he says. “I’ve lost weight.” AB InBev says it appreciates Urani’s years of service.

Jonathan Abrams spends a week with Lionel Hollins and the Memphis Grizzlies: (Grantland)

Hollins curses a lot, but those expletives carry no more weight than anything else he says. (He jokes that he picked up the habit from his mother and grandmother, two strong women who raised him in Las Vegas after his parents divorced when he was 3.) That certainly doesn’t stop Haddadi from being irritated; he can barely hide it. As Haddadi retreats from the court, frustrated, Hollins is certain he hears him swearing under his breath. But Hollins has made his point — he wanted the reserve center to know that he could have made the 10 seconds and chose not to.

For Hollins, nearly every NBA player enters the league with a ceiling — save the LeBrons, the Howards, the Durants. Everyone comes in expecting to be an All-Star with a 15-year career before realizing that All-Star nods and long careers are the exception, not the standard. Identifying your niche early — that’s the key to hanging around. For Haddadi, that means hustling, rebounding, blocking shots, and doling out high-fives. Hitting that 10-second running goal will help him later in the season, maybe in a playoff game when Marc Gasol is battling foul trouble and his team suddenly needs him. Those 10 seconds might make the difference between the Grizzlies losing a third Game 7 or making the Finals. It’s improvement by increments.

Quick Reads

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- Rush Limbaugh recites the lyrics to Jay-Z’s 99 Problems. (Really.)

- Tumblr: old people’s comments on restaurant chains’ Facebook pages.

- 25 newspaper front pages this morning after the election.

Food Porn

Alligator Sausage Philly @ Cooter Brown’s (New Orleans)

Breaded Veal Po’ Boy + Onion Rings @ Radosta’s (New Orleans)

 


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