It’s another hot humid summer July day in New York City. I’m tired because I didn’t sleep due to no air conditioning last night. Thank god we got it reinstalled. Phew. I’m just gonna give some random thoughts on stuff. In no particular order:
1.John Cena wasn’t half bad hosting the ESPY’s. He even poked fun of LeBron James going from a good guy to a bad guy back to a good guy again by coming home and finally delivering a championship to Cleveland, ending a 52-year drought. I liked the transition from they need a new bad guy and it cued to a photo of Kevin Durant in a Warriors jersey, which got a chuckle from Stephen Curry. I also loved Cena’s final joke about the Irish pulling out of Rio. And he deadpanned:
“They never pull out.” 😉
2.Maybe Cena is right. Maybe sports are going the route of the WWE. Especially given the faces and heel turns. His best one liner had to be the one after he paid tribute to now retired stars Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant. He then went on to note that while their final games were memorable with Peyton riding off into the sunset and Kobe scoring 60, neither game had ‘much passing,’ which drew a smile from Manning.
3.In general, I don’t watch award shows. For some reason, I made this one an exception. I really liked the strong message Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and James sent about the divide in our country. There’s too much hate and way too many generalizations about African Americans and policemen. There needs be more common sense applied. Treat each other right and be respectful. Spread a message of love, peace and positives.
4.Seeing Craig Sager honored for the Jimmy V Perseverance Award due to his courageous fight against leukemia was special. His speech was powerful and so positive. He looked great. He’s easily one of the most beloved broadcasters. He’s always been so cool. It’s not just about his flamboyant outfits covering the NBA for TNT over three decades. It’s about his attitude. The way he carries himself is amazing. He’s truly inspiring. That speech was excellent. I believe we’ll see him on the sidelines next season. Maybe that’s what needs to be said.
5.I feel like the ESPY’s have become bigger than sports. It’s about recognizing truly courageous people. Stories of courage like Zaevion Dobson. A 15-year old high school football player who jumped in front of gunfire to save his Mom and older brother. It’s so sad that Dobson lost his life due to shots being fired for no reason. He sounds like a wonderful young man who had a bright future. Even sadder, his Mom revealed that his 12-year old cousin also was shot and killed after coming back from a basketball game. These kind of stories are a humbling reminder of how deadly guns can be in urban communities. Something needs to be done. I wonder what can. It almost always involves drugs and gang wars. If they tightened gun control, would it prevent such senseless tragedies? I wish I knew the answer.
6.I was so floored by how calm and well spoken Mrs. Dobson was along with her family. I can’t imagine losing someone that young. The pain they’ll have to live with the rest of their lives.
7.As for the awards, it was mostly an ode to LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers for finally getting the monkey off their back. James won Athlete Of The Year and the Cavs got Best Team. Their comeback against the 73-win Warriors was inspiring. I can’t disagree with the selection.
8.However, the Kansas City Royals got no love. How about that ridiculous eighth inning comeback at Houston in Game 4 of the ALDS? Hell-o! I get that it happened last year. But come on. Those guys just wouldn’t die. The Royal Crown basically got ignored. They weren’t the only team.
9.During the broadcast, I don’t think anyone ever referenced the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup. Jeez. I get that ESPN doesn’t cover the NHL. But they are broadcasting the World Cup this Fall. Would it hurt to at least mention the Pens, who dug deep to come back and beat the Lightning before winning in six over
Team Martin Jones the Sharks? Sidney Crosby won the Conn Smythe. It really should stand for Con because he wasn’t even his team’s most consistent playoff performer. Bitter and biased Canadian media who just couldn’t admit Phil Kessel deserved it. No wonder Toronto hasn’t won a Cup since 1967.
10.It would’ve been nice if Novak Djokovic was up for Best Athlete. I guess because he’s Serbian and isn’t represented by Nike like other tennis stars, he doesn’t count. And Serena Williams only got a brief mention from Cena on her tying Steffi Graf for the most grand slams (22) after winning Wimbledon. I don’t think she was there.
11.At the end of the day, the ESPY’s are mostly about the two sports ABC/Disney cares about most. The NBA and NFL. When you have Aaron Rodgers winning Play of The Year for the hail mary against the Lions which beat out Kris Jenkins’ buzzer beater that won the national championship for Villanova, it speaks volumes. That was the signature moment of 2016. It took a well executed play with Ryan Arcidiacono dribbling and kicking for a wide open Jenkins, who drained a 3-pointer cold blooded at the buzzer to stun North Carolina. Don’t forget Marcus Paige’s equally money off balance trey in which he double clutched in mid-air and tied the game. Those two plays consecutively were amazing.
12.If you really think about it, LeBron’s ridiculous block pinning Andre Iguodala’s potential game-winning lay-up was better than Rodgers’ hail mary. You don’t have to think twice. James’ clutch defensive play led to Kyrie Irving’s championship-clinching three over Curry. Not to take away from the athleticism and determination Rodgers showed on the hail mary that beat the Lions. But it ranks third behind LeBron’s block and Jenkins’ three at the buzzer to win the national title for the Wildcats. That shot cost my friend and brother lots of money. They had Carolina and the over. If it had gone to overtime and the Tar Heels prevailed, they would’ve won big. Crazy.
13.I just can’t understand what more J.J. Watt could’ve wanted in a woman than the hot and flirtatious Lindsey Vonn.
14.Russell Wilson doesn’t have to win anything else in the NFL. He already won at life marrying Ciara. Ciara makes Beyonce look average.
15.Are we at the point yet where that tool Randy Levine still needs convincing that the Yankees must sell before the July 31 deadline? I wish someone would send him on a one-way trip to Siberia.
16.I’ve said it all along. Michael Pineda just doesn’t have the head to be a consistent successful starting pitcher. BP Pineda has the stuff. But he doesn’t execute pitches. So, you get games like last night where he served up three home runs in a frustrating 5-3 loss to the Red Sox at home. The Yankee bats again went silent with only two runs against a Boston starter who had over a 7.00 ERA. Tone setter, much?
17.At least Brian Cashman can say he won the trade by getting Pineda and Vicente Campos for Jesus Montero. The 23-year old Campos has rebounded nicely. He’s currently pitching for Double-AA Trenton with a 4-1 record, 2.65 ERA over eight starts with 44 K’s in 51 innings. Maybe there’s still hope. As for Pineda, I wouldn’t count on it.
18.Cashman has done well recently using players who had good major league debuts. He correctly used Montero to acquire Pineda and Campos. Cashman also only parted with Shane Greene for starting shortstop Didi Gregorius. Gregorius has been the Yankees’ best position player. The 26-year old is not only a superb defensive shortstop but his offense gives Yankee fans something to get excited about. Didi is .295 with 11 homers and 41 RBI’s while hitting seventh in the order. He could’ve been an All-Star.
19.Is there a reason Gregorius doesn’t bat higher? I can’t think of any. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you have Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira barely hitting. A year after being factors in a wildcard, they’ve shown their age with injuries and inconsistency part of the reason the Yanks find themselves two under .500. The last time they were this late in the season and under .500 was 1995. That team had character and better talent, rallying around Don Mattingly to make the playoffs.
20.I’ll never understand the whiny Mets fan who’s angry at Daniel Murphy for having a career year with the Nationals. Following a great postseason, the Mets made it perfectly clear they didn’t want the second baseman back- preferring to go in a different direction. So what if Murphy is killing the Mets with over a .400 average, seven dingers and 21 RBI’s. After how even the Mets broadcasters talked bad- most notably Gary Cohen– it was obvious that it came from management. A PR smear campaign. Typical of how things are run these days. We saw this with the Rangers a couple of years ago when they purposely leaked what Ryan Callahan wanted before trading him for Martin St. Louis. Turn the fans against a player they loved and supported. Classy, eh.
21.Here’s why I don’t get the Mets fan who calls up the radio and complains over Murphy. His replacement Neil Walker has 16 home runs and 40 knocked in. Sandy Alderson stole him for Jon Niese. It’s not like the Amazin’s aren’t getting consistent production from Walker, who’s better in the field than Murphy. Also, the signing of Asdrubal Cabrera was excellent. The Mets’ middle infield has improved from last year. Cabrera also is a lot better offensively than Ruben Tejada, who now is playing third for the Giants after a failed stint with the Cardinals. Sometimes, fans will find any reason to complain.
22.So, ESPN has this promo for Sunday Night Baseball featuring the Red Sox and Yankees in tomorrow night’s series finale. In it, David Ortiz is prominently featured. Big Papi is having a final season for the ages. He’s always destroyed the Yankees. In the ad, the end of it shows a pic of Ortiz with a message that says Own The Bronx. Could they be any more obvious? Yes. Ortiz has owned the Yanks. But it does come off a little arrogant. It’s bad enough the Red Sox have a much better team than the Yankees. But do they have to rub our faces in it?
23.If Boston had better starting pitching, they would be a legit contender. That lineup is scary. Xander Boegarts. Mookie Betts. Jackie Bradley, Jr. Travis Shaw. Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia. Hanley Ramirez too even though he’s so not the player I thought he would be. Once part of a deal for Josh Beckett, Ramirez looked like he’d have a long distinguished All-Star career at short or third with the Marlins. Instead, he failed at left field in Year 1 back in Beantown and now is playing first and has lost his power. Wasted talent.
24.AL MVP Race:
A.Jose Altuve, Astros
B.Manny Machado, Orioles
C.Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
25.If you’re wondering, Mike Trout is in the top 5. Unfortunately, he plays in obscurity on a dreadful Angels club. Francisco Lindor is the best kept secret in baseball. The Indians shortstop is in the conversation.
26.NL MVP Race:
A.Daniel Murphy, Nationals because of course
B.Kris Bryant, Cubs
C.Brandon Crawford, Giants doesn’t get much recognition
27.Nolan Arenado is right there but like Trout, plays for a mediocre team in Colorado. He’d have to blow away the competition to win.
28.When I’m getting excited for Summer League, that’s depressing. D’Angelo Russell gave his best Kobe impersonation in the second half of a Lakers’ loss to the Cavs. Not a ringing endorsement. What if Jordan McRae makes the Cavs stronger? Kay Felder also looked good as did former Johnnie Sir Dominic Pointer. I always gotta support my boys.
29.I saw that Jamie Benn got a new contract with the Stars. It’s for eight years, $76 million. Yes, that’s over nine million per year. But the Dallas captain is one of the top three stars in the NHL. Compared to other superstars, that’s actually a bargain. I hope one day he leads the Stars to a Cup. He’s one of my favorite players. A complete hockey player in every sense.
30.The way things are going for them, would the Rangers ever consider exploring a trade for Henrik Lundqvist? Even with GM Jeff Gorton doing a solid job improving the fourth line and penalty kill, things aren’t exactly looking up. At best, they’re third in the Metro Division behind the Pens and Caps. That’s glass half full. At worst, they’re on the fringe fighting it out with the improved Devils for the wildcard.
31.I’ll just quote good buddy Brian Sanborn of our Hard Hits Network show again:
“The Oilers traded Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson AND… “
32.I still have that Dwight Gooden no-hitter scorecard saved in the attic with the pencil. One of my favorite moments at the House That Ruth Built.
“Tell me why Mattingly isn’t in the Hall of Fame while Kirby Puckett is.”
If you answer the lame reply that dope Bill Madden gave about championships, you lose.
.318 career average
1 batting title (.339 in 1989)
3 top 3 MVP finishes
6 Gold Gloves
2 World Championships (’87, ’91)
.307 career average
1 batting title (.343 in 1984)
1 MVP (.324-35-145 in 1985)
2 other top 5 MVP finishes
9 Gold Gloves
34.If you want to see an unreal season, go look up Rickey Henderson’s ’85 with the Yankees. Best leadoff hitter and one of the greatest outfielders ever.
35.Kinda feel for Matt Harvey. Pitchers are so fragile. Who knows if the Dark Knight will ever be the same?