The Best of the Sunday Sports Sections

newspaperMust Read #1: The New York Times has a great story regarding baseball and steroids.

Must Read #2: An in-depth profile on new Memphis Tigers head basketball coach Josh Pastner in the Commercial Appeal.

An excerpt, focusing on Pastner’s days as an assistant at Arizona and the strange effect his singular focus on basketball had on his personal life:

His dating life was a mess. Friends would set him up — for failure. He was always fielding calls during lunch. Or at the movies. Or over ice cream.

“I was a bad date,” Pastner said.

“Girls would come back and say, ‘He’s crazy,'” said Jack Murphy, a close friend and former Arizona manager who now scouts for the Denver Nuggets. “He’s going to kill me for telling you this, but he’d take dates to dinner and he’d have a list of questions. He’d be like, ‘Our son is 16 years old, and he wants to drink alcohol. What would you say to him?’ Keep in mind, this is on the first date.”

Pastner treated dating like recruiting: He was no-nonsense. His existence was so basic and devoid of frills — borderline monastic, even — that he slept on an air mattress for five years. He covered leaks with duct tape. He never cared enough to invest in a new one.

“I’d wake up on the floor every morning,” he said, “because it’d be deflated.”

Other sports stories of interest:

– The 31-year-old Pastner isn’t the first Memphian to do big things at an early age.

– Down in Florida, the Mets snapped their two-game skid behind strong performances by two former Marlins.

– Shea is still alive — in Harlem.

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