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Lawrence Baldassaro had been interviewing baseball players of Italian-American heritage for a while when a realization hit him.  "Here I am," he recalled thinking, "the grandson of four Italian immigrants, I teach Italian, I love baseball - why don't I write about Italians in baseball?

"It turned out that virtually nothing had been written about that subject," Baldassaro says.

Sporting News Archives

Steve Rushin has covered thousands of professional and college athletes in his decades as a sportswriter and columnist.  But these days, he's spending a lot of time watching amateur athletes at work - his kids, as they play youth and high school basketball.  And Rushin has taken particular note of the fans around him.

Jim Dier

A few weeks ago, Milwaukeean Jennifer Bennett spoke with Lake Effect before heading to England to compete for Team Indigenous in the Flat Rock Roller Derby World Cup. The team consisted of women from indigenous communities in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and South America.

Mike Morbeck / Flickr

Anyone who watches sports - either in person or on TV - has seen them. The fans sitting in Lambeau Field on a 15 degree December day, with their shirts off, bodies covered in green and gold paint. Or the the guy driving down the street in a car painted in the Brewers’ color scheme.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

There might still be melting snow on the roof of Miller Park, but there are a lot of baseball fans eager to get through March. Baseball’s spring training is underway, and there are some high hopes among the loyal Brewers rooters in town.

But how well-placed are those hopes with changing positions among the players? 

A major event on the world sports stage is happening right now.  38 countries, from Australia to the United States to Romania are represented.  We are not, however, talking about the Winter Olympics.  The Roller Derby World Cup is going on right now in Manchester, in the United Kingdom. 

Jonathan Daniel / Getty Image Sport

It's an exciting times for sports fans: Super Bowl 52 is Sunday in Minnesota and the Winter Olympics start next week. Locally, it’s been a busy, hot stove season for the Brewers, and the Bucks are seeing their fortunes improve after parting ways with their head coach.

Mitch Teich

"Why doesn't Milwaukee have an NHL team?" That's the question Dave Brown of Wauwatosa submitted to WUWM's Bubbler Talk.

Before we look into 'why,' let’s make the point that Milwaukee has had professional hockey for a long time – the Admirals, who play in pro hockey’s highest minor league, are the latest in a long line of pro hockey teams who have played here.

Photo courtesy of Department of Special Collections and University Archives, Marquette University Libraries

Editor's note: Dick Enberg died Thursday at his home in La Jolla, California, at age 82. Lake Effect spoke with him in January of 2017 while he was in Milwaukee for performances of his one-man play based on the life of Al McGuire.

Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

If you’re already sure your favorite team is going to lose, why do you bother watching the game?

Philosopher Simon Critchley is a lifelong fan of what the rest of the world calls football, and Americans call soccer. In fact, that’s one of the phenomena he writes about in his new book that analyzes sports - and soccer in particular - through the lens of philosophy. The book is called What We Think About When We Think About Soccer.

Images of Us (IOU) Sports / facebook.com

Earlier this month on Lake Effect, we spoke with the former commissioner of the Women’s National Basketball Association who will speak at an event this week in Milwaukee on the legacy of Title IX, 45 years after the landmark legislation was enacted.

READ: Former WNBA Commissioner Donna Orender Speaks on Title IX's Value, 45 Years Later

Connor Mah / Flickr

Last weekend in southern China, the little-known Tour of Guangxi officially ended the season for World Tour cycling, a tour that includes better-known races like the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia.

Except for a brief period in the late 20th Century, professional road cycling has never been a popular, mainstream sport in the United States. The exception was the Lance Armstrong era, which ended in infamy amid allegations of doping and admissions of guilt.

Dave Reich, courtesy WI High School Cycling League

Hundreds of high school and middle school mountain bikers will line up at a sports complex in Iola on Sunday morning for the state championship of the Wisconsin High School Cycling League.  And while the league's co-founder and co-director says there will, indeed, be state champions crowned, she thinks the real victory is in the growing number of participants around the state.

"Our main goal is to just to get more kids on bikes," says Kathy Mock, "so that they have this activity to take with them into adulthood."

coachwood / Fotolia

Title IX is a federal law passed in 1972 that seeks to provide equal opportunities for women and girls in any academic setting that receives federal funding. The law turns 45 this year, and it’s most visible and associated work has been in intercollegiate sports, where colleges and universities were required to bring women’s sports and sports scholarships into line with those offered to men.

Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Another week in the NFL begins tonight with the Chicago Bears traveling to Green Bay to take on the Packers.  It'll be the first game since last weekend's protests during the national anthem -- after President Trump called on NFL owners to fire players who take a knee during the event.  

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