Hello and welcome to another Wednesday of deep thoughts. As I sat Tuesday night watching the All Star game, I struck me that the baseball season was half way over. Yeah…I know technically this is not the half-way point, but for me…the All Star game signifies the mid-point of the season. Today is July 16th…damn, where does the time go? Soon we will be talking football training camps and then fall will be upon us. But, I will not jump ahead.
For those of you that watched the All Star game, I think you will agree that this was a pretty well-played game. Derek Jeter got another start at shortstop and added a double and a single to his career All Star game hit total. Although I did not vote for Jeter, I appreciated the opportunity to watch him in one last All Star Game. For my money, MLB is the only game that offers an All Star game that is worth a damn. The game is a chance to honor those players that have had a great season and to provide the fans a chance to see their favorite players. When I vote, I specifically look at the numbers. But I acknowledge that players like Derek Jeter have earned the starting spot based upon putting together many great years. In my opinion, the All Star game is for the fans. I was rather pissed when reading comments to an article Tuesday night. A fan was complaining about Jeter being the starting shortstop for the AL and how unfair it was that another more qualified player was possibly left off the roster. He went on to say that the All Star game only comes around to each city once in a long while and that the fans want to see the best players not old players like Willie Mays…really? I would walk to Houston if I could turn the clock back to watch Willie Mays play…in his prime or not. What many fail to realize is that seeing a Derek Jeter will mean much more to some 11 year old kid than watching another AL shortstop. In 30 years or so that 11 year old kid will be talking about the time he saw the great Derek Jeter. This is a moment in baseball history and will forever remain with those fans in attendance Tuesday night.
It is funny how we seldom appreciate greatness as it appears routinely in our lives. I knew Jeter was a good shortstop, but I never really stopped to see what the guy was doing. He never hit a ton of HRs, so he sort of flew under the hype radar. He simply did his job better than any of his peers…day after day, year after year. With the two hits in Tuesday night’s game…Jeter finishes with 13 hits in 27 All Star at bats…an average of .481. Only three players have had 2 three hit All Star games…Mays, Yaz and Jeter. The greatness of Jeter was disguised by the routine way that he went about his business. Never did Jeter seek the limelight. I had to laugh at the response Jeter gave Tuesday night when asked about the reason that he worked so hard at doing his job…”my team had a habit of cutting players that did not play hard.” Can you imagine Jeter being cut by the Yankees? That is so Jeter…not putting himself above being replaced. There is something special in this approach and I wish more players adopted this attitude. Derek Jeter is a throw-back for sure…but I saw another player Tuesday that fits the same mold…Mike Trout. Now, Trout does not exactly fly under the radar, but what I see is a guy that wants to play the game the right way. He takes care of his business and supports his teammates. Off the field, he understands that his actions reflect upon his team…just like Jeter. It is refreshing to see a 22 year old being a professional. I know my friends that are Tiger fans would have liked to see Miggy pick-up the MVP trophy on Tuesday…but I figure Trout was due.
The other big news from the game Tuesday was Adam Wainwright commenting that he gave Jeter some cookies to hit. He backed off this statement when he realized that his statements were going crazy on twitter. The reality is that even if this is true, it does not demean the night for Derek Jeter. It does make Adam Wainwright look like a putz for not having the sense to keep his mouth shut. I understand players wanting to show respect to a Derek Jeter, but I have no doubt that Jeter would have preferred to see Wainwright’s best stuff. Even so…a cookie at 90 mph does not hit itself. The All Star game is an exhibition game and the fact that Wainwright chose to challenge Jeter instead of attempting to deceive him should be perfectly acceptable. I am glad that this will be the last All Star game for Bud Selig. Hopefully, the new commissioner will make at least one change...remove the home field advantage going to the winner of this game. This game is an exhibition game for the fans and does not need anything else to make it important. Let the team with best season record have the World Series home field advantage.
I saw a great tribute to Jeter this week and felt it was only fitting that I add it here…I join those in this video tipping my hat to the career of Derek Jeter.
Ooops...someone at the All Star game forgot to add Derek Norris to the list for car signs...thank goodness for teammates.
By now, everyone has heard that LeBron James is headed back to Cleveland. I will not pretend that I knew where LeBron was headed. But, I had a sense that he was tired of carrying the entire load in Miami. I read a very interesting article by Bill Simmons. You really should check it out...http://grantland.com/features/god-loves-cleveland/
Simmons makes some very bold statements regarding LeBron. He calls him an NBA genius; “unparalleled NBA genius” were the exact words that Simmons used. He feels that James follows in the footsteps of Larry and Magic and of course…MJ. At first glance, I scoffed at these comments. Yes, there is no doubt that James is a great player…but to put him the company of these three, is beyond what I can accept. After reading Simmon’s thoughts…I do admit to having more insight into the actions of LeBron James. I know what some of you are probably thinking…James is an attention whore. He cannot win without a strong supporting cast. But, if you take a close look at the team he won two championships with in Miami…that is not totally the case. In fact, if you want to take a close look at the supporting casts of Bird, Magic and MJ…I suppose you would say that they might have had a superior group around them. Certainly anyone would have to agree that those championship Laker and Celtic teams were loaded with talent. Even MJ needed Pippen to win championships. There is a clip of MJ stealing a game in the Simmons’ link…it sure brought back some great memories and reminded me just how good MJ was…damn.
I suppose what bothers most of us about LeBron it is not so much what has happened but the manner that he went about it. The “Decision” for me was the beginning of my dislike for the man. I saw this event as a self -absorbed act that was beyond selfish. The big three getting together to create a championship team in Miami smacked of arrogance and contempt for the system. In truth, the NBA is not what it was 20 years ago. The league is full of players more concerned with their “brand” and bank account than playing the game as a team. I suspect that this is why so many jumped gleefully onto the Spurs championship bandwagon and were delighted to see Miami go down in flames. But, the actions of others are not the fault of LeBron. I really do think that LeBron got tired of carrying the heavy load in Miami and realized that the Big 3 was more LeBron than Wade and Bosh. Hey…I don’t feel sorry for Miami, they have 2 championships to show for the 4 years of LeBron and that is not such a bad deal for them. In truth…they got what they paid for and in the end, got what they deserved.
I really thought that the letter published in SI was a perfect way for LeBron to announce his return to Cleveland. In fact, I think compared to the “Decision” it was a stroke of genius. Now, we can discuss who wrote the letter or whose decision it was to write the letter…but ultimately, it was on James to make the choice. I do know that how James returned to the Cavs was a whole lot better than how he left. Comparing his 4 years in Miami to four years in college is sort of corny, but it also sort of works for me. When you stop and realize that James has played in the league for 11 years and he is still not 30 years of age. Perhaps James did need to go to Miami to figure out how to win? Maybe he returned to Cleveland because he was tired of being the villain? This got me to thinking…LeBron has gone from villain to hero with this move. What other villains have successfully made this transaction? I came up with a short list of what I consider to be the most notable. If I have forgotten a few, please throw them in. Here is my list:
I know that for some of you, there is nothing that LeBron James can do at this point to change your opinion. But when I take a close look at James, I see a kid that has grown up with less than a favorable role model. He did not attend college and have the influence of a college campus or a college coach. In spite of this, the man has kept his nose clean. He has not been arrested and is not in strip clubs partying it up. This is man has a family and it is my hunch that there is real substance in his move to return to Cleveland. Thomas Wolfe says "you can't go home again"...but LeBron is attempting to prove otherwise. It could be that LeBron is added to above list; only time will tell. If LeBron can win a few championships in Cleveland, I will be happy for the Cav fans. With the bad times they have been through, it would be great to see them celebrate. But...to become a hero for me, James will need to stay in Cleveland. For others...I don't think it will matter. At the end of the day, LeBron James must learn to be true to himself and his family and in the end, that is all that will matter.
I could not finish this week without taking a moment to mention that Alex Rodriguez is being sued by his attorney for non-payment…I don’t know if I find this more funny or ironic. Character sure has a way of exposing itself, doesn’t it…
That’s all I have today, but I will leave you with a bit of Jack Handey…
"One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. 'Oh, no,' I said. 'Disneyland burned down.' He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late."
"Too bad you can't buy a voodoo globe so that you could make the earth spin real fast and freak everybody out."
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a few deep thoughts of your own…
Locally it is another week closer to another epic meltdown by the Boston Red Sox who have decided to copy the San Francisco Giants with their “win one year, crash the next” strategy. The Boston Bruins lost top line veteran sniper Jarome Iginla and are struggling to find a way to replace him. The Boston Celtics are jumping in on trades to...well, who the heck knows what they are doing? Football is two weeks away as in just two weeks training camps will open and it will be all football news all the time until January as the Patriots try to get back to the Super Bowl.
Nationally in the MLB, the Baltimore Orioles have taken over the American League East, Detroit looks strong in the Central, and the Texas Rangers inexplicably have crashed harder than the Red Sox as Anaheim and Oakland duke it out in the AL West. Over in the Senior Circuit Miami and the Mets won’t die in the National League East as Atlanta and Washington remain bunched up, the Central is bunched up as well with St. Louis charging (and losing Yadier Molina for 8 to 12 weeks...Ouch!) and Cincinnati and Pittsburgh close enough to strike behind Milwaukee, and finally in the West the Dodgers and Giants are deadlocked echoing an epic battle for the summer played out initially in baseball history in New York and after the 1960s out west.
Basketball is all about free agency in the NBA and waiting for the dominoes to fall. Dwyane Wade is likely returning to Miami but will LeBron James follow? Is Chris Bosh too insecure to take the big bucks in Houston and form a Big Three with Superman (Dwight Howard) and the Beard (James Harden)? Carmelo Anthony SHOULD go to Chicago, but is there enough cash and glamour for him? Would he interact with Kobe in L.A.? Come back to the Knicks? LeBron to Cleveland? Now that would cause the Internet to explode.
The big news in the NHL is that the Blackhawks locked up their two top players signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to matching $84 million deals. Both are young (25 and 26 years old) and dynamic players on a squad that has established themselves as the elite franchise in the NHL. Having these two locked up for another another eight years puts the franchise on a winning track for the future. The ‘Hawks have two Stanley Cup wins with the duo and Kane has won the Calder (2008) and Conn Smythe (2013) while Toews has won the Conn Smythe (2010) and Selke (2013). Now they are in Chicago together through 2022-23. Wow. That is called winning an offseason!
Finally, the NFL is quiet with camps so close and the last weeks of time off for the players and coaches (and beat writers!). The NFL had the supplemental draft come and go without a team wasting a draft pick for the second consecutive year. The last pick? 2012 when Cleveland got Josh Gordon for a second round pick. Of course, Gordon is in the news for all the wrong reasons having already been reported to be facing a season-long suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. This time he was arrested and charged with a DWI last weekend.
Gordon is supposed to have a hearing for his suspension for the substance abuse test failure later this month to request a reduced suspension. With his suspension last year (two games and two games with no pay) and now a DWI and speeding ticket last month (with his passenger cited for possession of marijuana) the supremely talented player is doing himself no favors.
It seems the NFL Players Union has hurt their own players by negotiating all this time off in the offseason and limits on time working with teams. With more time off players have more time to get into trouble. Aaron Hernandez was the poster child for too much time away from the team last year, and now Gordon is finding more ways to sabotage his career. Some players seem to need the structure of team control all year long to keep themselves out of trouble, but the Players Union has decreed it is not in the best interest of their constituents to have them spend the offseason with the team getting better and putting out a better product and stuff like that. Sad.
Finally, from the NFL’s only publicly traded team--the Green Bay Packers--having to release revenue numbers comes news that all that money going to the NFL teams...oh, yeah, there is more than anyone imagined. NFL teams divided more than $6 billion last season. Revenue rose almost 5% from the year prior and just continuing to grow. The DirecTV deal is up and being negotiated...the NFL Network got another big chunk of cash for CBS to take over half of the Thursday Night lineup, and the money keeps rolling in. With no signs of slowing, the league continues to pile up the profits.
As I sit here and watch the Reds and Cubs in extras, I was wondering what the hell Aroldis Chapman was thinking when he was taunting the Cubs bench during the nineth inning. I was keeping count of the pitches he threw during that inning, and only 5 pitches were below 90 mph. Most pitches were between 100 and 103 mph and were unhittable, and everytime he threw a pitch he would look either towards the bench or the hitter and smirk. Chapman was lucky that Rizzo didn't kill him in between innings, because he was chirping at the Cubs players as they took the field. I then asked myself a question, why would someone with that kind of talent taunt the Cubs players. Then I remembered a trip to Cincinnati that the Tigers made a couple years ago, and the Tigers blew his ass up in the 9th, and made him look like a minor league player at best.
I guess we all have our moments, where we think we are better than everyone on the planet, but it comes down to sportsmanship and the crappy example Chapman set by nearly causing a bench clearing brawl between innings. Is this the kind of example we want to set for our kids? I think not, and if anything Bud Light and his gang of knuckleheads should take a look at this and discipline both Rizzo and Chapman for their actions. If you have time, watch Quick Pitch on MLB, because they will be beating this incident into the ground on Friday, there really is no need for any of this in any professional sports.
There was a part of me that wished Rizzo would have kicked his cocky ass, but like always the players stepped in and really kept this from being a Sports Center moment that everyone would not have wanted to see the weekend before the All-Star break.
LeBron, LeBron, LeBron, just can't ride out into the sunset and leave Miami without some big stage production can you? Noone outside of the Heat and Cav's actually care if you disappear right off the face of the earth, so just decide what you want to do so we can get on with our summer. Sure it would be nice if you wound up in Detroit, because you are the one piece of the puzzle that could actually return the Pistons back to the playoffs. Highly unlikely but everyone has a dream, and just think of the story that would lead to, Melo would want to follow and you could probably sucker D-Wade and Bosh into following you, but once again only a dream.
You are also a great role model for the youth of today, backing out of a contract or obligation just because you didn't win a championship this year. Think about this LeBron, most of us wouldn't get this opportunity to choose where we want to work, and back out of our obligation to our job whenever we feel like it, just because we have millions of dollars and don't give a shit about the city we represented for the past two years. You destroyed the Cavs team, even though they have benefited rather nicely from your departure and the sad thing is, is they are considering taking you back. I think their owner should be drug tested, because he is just that damn ignorant, but who could blame him for wanting the best player in the NBA, regardless of whether or not he screwed him and the city he represented.
In this free market society we live in, I guess it's LeBron's right to choose where he wants to play but it leads me to this, what if this was an NBA conspiracy to give the Heat two titles, and build the Cavs through Draft Choices? The year before Bosh, and James joined the Heat, they completely dismantled the team in order make room to sign them, and now the "Big 3" basically want to jump ship and go to another team. LeBron's group says he hasn't made a decision, which is not true, he decided to opt-out of his contract as did Bosh and become free agents. So basically they said F-you to the city of Miami and their ownership group. how fair is that?
I probably missed a few things, but I will let you add to this rant. Hell I am starting to sound like B.O.B., which really isnt a bad thing at times. I wouldn't want a broken down and aging D-Wade, and Bosh has shown signs of slowing down. Correct me if I am wrong, but D-Wade isn't half the player he was when the Heat signed James and Bosh a couple years back. His knees are shot, he can't jump or shoot like he used too, so I guess what I am saying to the City of Miami, is get ready to rebuild via the draft, because you have already lost the core of your team unless LeBron is using this as leverage to encourage the Heat to sign Melo.
The real truth of the matter is that I am getting really sick of waking up and listening to the LeBron watch for which I really could care less, unless he was considering playing in Detroit.......
I was going to rant about the Tigers, but I feel no real need to, as they seem to be righting the ship a bit before the All-Star break, without V-Mart they handled the Dodgers rather easily.
Hey B.O.B. you back home yet, or are you still on your roadtrip?
Well that's all I got for now, please feel free to stop by and leave your comments. Don't forget to stop by and visit Hal on the other side.
Fresh back from multiple vacations and my daughter’ discharge from active duty USMC and I find that we are in the middle of the early summer sports lull.
two of my sons at 30mph...not easy on a tube
I am not a soccer fan. The Germany 7-1 beating of faux favorite and host Brazil was the thing that could draw fans from the dark side. The NFL equivalent would be 49-7 and that’s what we are talkin’ bout.
MLB The home town team is in the position of seller because they are much closer to the AL East cellar then the top spot.
Training camps are just a few weeks away for the NFL.
Summer leagues are playing for the NBA, actually better B ball than the regular season for the most part, at least more watchable.
Sully had a question of the day I saw when I got back to the gab, that’s me sitting in the corner table at the posh “Mo’s Bar”
Who was your first concert and who opened for them.
I went to HS in the 1960’s
Rock and Roll
I went to as many concerts at every venue available as I could possibly fit into my schedule.
Hence my hearing loss.
I saw the Stones at Boston Garden in 1969, I think November.
BB King was one of the opening acts and that’s when I fell for the Blues.
I was 17 at the time.
I saw Pink Floyd at the old Providence Civic Center (now known as the Dunk) in 1973
Great live show.
Boston had a load of small venues in town and it was a regular thing to stop at the Jazz Workshop, Paul’s Mall, Katies or the Paradise in Kenmore Square to see the likes of James Taylor, Muddy Waters, Myles Davis, Taj Mahal, Ry Cooder, Captain Beefheart and George Benson. These small venues were a great place to see a good show at a reasonable price and you just never knew that one of these artists could make it big.
One of my old favorites from those recreational days was
Captain Beefheart , ( Don Van Vliet 1941-2010) played from time to time with Frank Zappa and the Mothers along with a career with his own band. Captain Beefheart and The Magic Band had several albums with some success and his shows were very entertaining as he invited audience participation.
His most successful venture was the album Trout Mask Replica with is # 58 on Rolling Stones 300 best rock albums of all time list. Take the time to check out this unique artist and poet.
Two Trains…two railroad tracks
One going and the other coming back
The black paper between the mirror makes me said that I can’t go