Mark Starr

Stories by Mark Starr

  • The Biggest Sports Stories of 2007

    If you live in Boston, as I do, 2007 may rank as the greatest year ever. If you live elsewhere, it was still a memorable 12 months—for good, bad and ugly reasons.
  • Grounding the Rocket

    When Roger Clemens reported to Red Sox spring-training camp in Ft. Myers, Fla., in February 1996, he appeared headed for the swan-song stage of his career. "Rocket" Roger had slumped his last few seasons in Boston and now, at 33, he didn't even look like the same man. He was overweight and bloated. Boston Globe columnist Will McDonough dubbed him "the Pillsbury Doughboy." Clemens, remote and inarticulate, had always been more admired than beloved in Boston. So after he delivered a dismal 10-13 season, the Red Sox let him walk away as a free agent. And most Red Sox fans—myself included—said good riddance.We were in for a shock. Clemens signed with the Toronto Blue Jays and won his first 11 games. I hustled up there to figure out how we all could have been so wrong. The Clemens I encountered was almost unrecognizable. He was Stallone-buff, and he once again possessed a 97mph fastball. He credited a fierce work ethic that he insisted he had maintained in Boston, too—"the 7 a.m. runs,...
  • Pats: OK to Run Up the Score

    The NFL's greatest teams have always run up the score. And there are plenty of good reasons for the Pats to keep doing just that.
  • Starr: The Not-So-Big Ten

    The Ohio State-Michigan football rivalry remains swell. But there's no hiding that the conference no longer has game.
  • Starr: Watching NFL Films

    I'm a sucker for the of an NFL Films production. And with this collection, they had me at Number I.
  • Starr: Come Blog With Me

    At age 60, I am starting a new chapter of my life. I never dreamed I'd say this, but here goes: My blog is open for business.
  • Starr: Pitchers Rule the Series

    The Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies have virtually no shared history. But they do illustrate one eternal baseball truth.
  • An Indy Romp

    It may have been the most predictable Super Bowl in NFL history. Virtually every single pregame talking point—Devin Hester’s breakaway threat, the Bears’ opportunistic defense, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning’s improved on-the-run improvisation, Bears quarterback Rex Grossman’s conspicuous deficiencies—turned out to be a factor in the game. Yet it all combined to produce a pretty straightforward result: the superior team from the superior conference won the game by a score of 29-17— I had predicted 31-17 —in a contest that was never quite as close as the score might suggest.The American Football Conference has now won eight of the last 10 Super Bowls and has not lost a season series with the NFC since 1995. The Bears were certainly game, but, despite a yeoman defense, no match for Indy. Chicago remains at least a quarterback short of the AFC elite. It really didn’t require all that much prescience to write— as I did after the Colts came back from 18 points down against the Patriots...
  • Starr: How to Fix the Yankees

    With their longtime manager halfway out the door, the Yankees in transition will be the most fascinating story in baseball.
  • Marion Jones's Tarnished Glory

    Marion Jones admits to cheating her way to five Olympic medals and lying about it for years. Now, finally, there is a reckoning.
  • Starr: Baseball Playoff Preview

    The playoffs haven't even started and we have already witnessed monumental failures. Who will be next to flop?
  • Bonds Ball: Bang Zoom to the Moon?

    After buying Barry Bonds's record-setting 756th home-run ball for $752,467, hip-hop fashion mogul Marc Ecko wants you to decide its fate. On vote756.com, he offers three choices: send it to the Hall of Fame, brand it with an asterisk and mail it to Cooperstown or put it in a rocket ship to outer space. He spoke to Mark Starr: ...
  • Older, Fitter And Faster

    When the American women’s soccer team triumphed in the World Cup eight summers ago, Kristine Lilly was the quiet one. The media’s adoring coverage— which created an unlikely new breed of American sports heroes—centered on the photogenic superstar Mia Hamm. But today Lilly, who played in Hamm’s shadow for 17 years, is the only remaining member of the U.S. national team whose career dates back to the ’80s. Most extraordinary is that at 36 and after a 20-year tenure, Lilly remains at the pinnacle of her game—she was runner-up for world Player of the Year honors in 2006—and is, arguably, the greatest women’s soccer player in history.Next week Lilly—dubbed “Grandma” by her teammates, some of whom were in diapers when she debuted—will lead another American team into the 2007 World Cup in China. It will be Lilly’s fifth Cup competition and is a testament to her remarkable career. Soccer is a running game that makes exceptional physical demands, and Lilly is a decade older than most of the...
  • Starr: Vick Did Us a Favor

    While we debate Michael Vick's future, I am thankful that he spared us a gruesome trial and, quite possibly, another painful chapter in American race relations.
  • Starr: Soccer’s Cinderella Team

    I am of the persuasion that believes rivalry is the lifeblood of sports. As a Bostonian, I am particularly partial to Red Sox-Yankees, but I have no lack of respect for Ohio State-Michigan (on the gridiron) Duke-UNC (on the hardwood) BU-BC (on the ice), Federer vs. Nadal and Tiger vs. the field. Whatever stirs your juices is fine by me.One of the burgeoning rivalries bordering on a blood feud that always stirs my juices is our very own U.S. soccer lads vs. Mexico. Most of the passion surrounding this rivalry is, not surprisingly, delivered from south of the border. Mexican fans are distressed if not totally crazed about the recent turn of events on the soccer pitch. They cannot believe that the damn Yanquis have actually supplanted their country as soccer’s numero uno in this Central America/North America/Caribbean region.It is hard to imagine a moment of greater despair for Mexican fans than when the United States earned a quarterfinal berth in the 2002 World Cup by booting Mexico...
  • True or False: Do American Athletes Rule?

    The starry aggregate of America's "Dream Team" at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics was so dazzling that even the opposition was charmed by its Magic, as well as its Larry and Michael. Two years later at the world championships, Dream Team II was an exercise in ugly Americanism. The U.S. squad laughed up and down the court, punctuating its romps with the NBA's native tongue, trash talk. But sports adheres to the law of "he who laughs last," and lately America has not been laughing. Its recent Dream Team incarnations have been smacked by a succession of nations—Argentina, Spain, Greece, Lithuania—that, not long ago, had never done anything with a big round ball except kick it. ...