Hey friends, and thanks for returning to The Cipher on this snowy little Tuesday.

Today at Defector, Barry really pissed me off by making me realize that the East River is not, in fact, a river. I'm never going to get over that. We also had some really great basketball coverage, in my opinion. And baseball coverage too! Check it out below.

Everyone’s Sick Of Shaq
Patrick writes about Shaq's obvious nihilism on broadcasts and how active players have stopped even pretending to put up with him.
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MLB Has A Salary Cap
Barry breaks down the depressing reality of the Adam Ottavino trade, which had no point besides saving the Yankees a rounding error.
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Gary Sheffield Feels Like A Hall Of Famer, Even If He Isn’t One
My favorite Sheffield moments aren't on the Internet, so I tried to make a HOF case from memory.
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Three Things We Liked On The Internet Today:
TBT To A Baby Hockey Player

This week, women's hockey returned to us. The players are all isolated in Lake Placid, and playing their "season" tournament style over the next 14 days. This is fun because it is dramatic. Every game matters so much! But what is extra fun is that on top of all of this chaos, the NWHL has thrown in a brand new team. The Toronto Six have made their debut and they are starting their season ... um ... slowly. So far they have lost one game and lost one game in overtime. But both games were close and fun as hell to watch, so today I bring you a player for the Toronto Six for us to meet.
This is Breanne Wilson-Bennett. She graduated in 2018 from Colgate University and she is a forward. Here, I use her as an example of a foolproof win for athlete social media. There are few one-size-fits-all prescriptions for athlete Instagram use, but there is one golden rule: we do actually want to see photos of you as a kid playing the sport!!!

Today I present to you this adorable photo of Breanne as a child, which she posted in celebration of the NWHL's ongoing tournament. Look how small she is! Look at her little skates! Look at those giant adorable shoulder pads! We love it! Good luck, Breanne!

-Kelsey McKinney
Behind The Shirts: The Drew Magary Tee
Let me pull back the curtain of the Defector Store a little: By far, the most successful product is this David Roth t-shirt. More people have purchased this shirt than anything else in the shop. I am getting close to the point where Defector can use the profits from the Roth shirt to fill a vault with gold doubloons and I can jump into it, Scrooge McDuck-style. OK, maybe not that much money. But a lot of people have purchased the Roth shirt. (I’m definitely going to make another at some point.)
In the meantime, though, I figured it was best to expand the Defector Staffer T-Shirt Universe to another person. And since Chris Thompson has been doing such great artwork for the site, I decided to have him draw Drew Magary. The shirt is for sale in the store. Now let’s talk to Chris about it!

You’ve done a bunch of drawings for the site, and now this t-shirt. When did you start doing this pixel art, and what program do you use?

I remember monkeying around with MS Paint back in the mid-1990s, when my family got its first computer. But there was a period of at least 20 years where I mostly forgot all about it. Then we launched Unnamed Temporary Sports Blog last year, and we thought it would be funny to do crude MS Paint-style drawings for our featured art.

I had no expectations that my drawings would be worth a shit—certainly no more worth-a-shit than any other amateur's work—but it turns out people like 'em! Which has been such a cool thing, for me. I use a website called
jspaint.app, and I make all these drawings using the mousepad on my laptop. It's clunky and inefficient, but also it's very, very fun.

Anything you’d like to tell us about the shirt design?

The first drawing of Drew was horrendous, he looked like angry late-stage Frank Sinatra. This one is better and funnier and more recognizably Drew, even though I had to shrink his mouth several times to make him look a little bit less like a Pokemon.

Do you have a favorite t-shirt?

I have two. The first is an official game-worn All Star jersey from the, uhhhh, Lee District Youth League, circa 1995. I played in this league for five or six years and made a few All-Star games. This was my last year in the league, and I was a real asshole in that game, just a complete ball-hogging piece of shit. We probably lost by 30. The style at the time was to wear huge t-shirts, and so this old thing still fits! I wear it all the time

The second is this stupid thing I picked up on a trip to Disney World in 2017. The bird is mighty cute, but mostly it's a comfortable shirt in a nice color, and it reminds me of a happy time and, more acutely, a time when it was possible to travel and be around lots of other people without worrying about this damn pandemic. I always feel a little bit ridiculous wearing a Disney World t-shirt in public, but then again I am a big loser.

-Dan McQuade
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