Saturday, July 22, 2017

Kyrie's Next Destination: Which One Makes Sense?

            The Cleveland Cavaliers' offseason cannot get any worse. LeBron and his family want to make a move to Los Angeles. To make matters worse, the Cavs let GM David Griffin go, who was a favorite of LeBron's. Then, they didn't add any big pieces to the team like Paul George (who went to Oklahoma City) and Jimmy Butler (who went to Minnesota). The latest news involving Kyrie Irving insures the destruction of the Cavs and may come sooner than later.
            Kyrie has stated that he "wants to find a bigger role" and "no longer wants to play alongside LeBron James". The teams that Kyrie wants to play for include the Knicks, Spurs, Heat, and Timberwolves.
            There are only two teams that make sense for Kyrie to go to: San Antonio and Minnesota. Kyrie can go to Miami and be the centerpiece of that team. However, he won't be able to win another championship with the current group he has. It would've been nicer if the Heat had gotten Gordon Heyward so that Miami could at least be a threat in the East. The Knicks? Forget about it. Their ownership and front office are absolute disasters and would probably bring ruin.
            Minnesota makes sense because they have a great team being developed. Karl Anthony-Towns and Jimmy Butler constitute a young Wolves team on the rise and Kyrie would make Minnesota a threat in the West. Plus, the team has Tom Thibodeau as a head coach, who had a successful run with Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler during his Chicago Bulls days.
            San Antonio makes sense because there's no one else who can compete with Golden State right now. The Spurs are perhaps the closest team in the West. Seeing Kyrie with a great basketball mind like Gregg Popovich should make opponents uneasy. They'll add more scoring to a stellar defensive unit.
            So which is the best destination for Kyrie? If he wants to be the focal point and win, it'll be San Antonio. Minnesota's not a bad option, either. After all, the Wolves are finally getting their act together. But the Spurs need another piece to compete with the Warriors, and Kyrie just might be the guy.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hot Teams Right Now And Can They Make It To The Postseason?

            We've reached the point of the MLB season where contending teams are making trades to bolster their postseason chances. There's no doubt that there will be plenty of moves made this summer. Who's rolling and who's sliding?

Rolling: Los Angeles Dodgers: The winners of 11 straight are starting to pull away with the league's best record. Cody Bellinger and Alex Wood have helped the Dodgers skyrocket to the top, giving Dodger fans hope for this season. The Dodgers are looking at the likes of Brad Hand and Zach Britton to help boost their bullpen. Will this be the year the Dodgers make (and win) the World Series?
Rolling: Milwaukee Brewers: In just five days, the Brewers' lead in the NL Central has shrunk to a mere game. They've lost five straight and their division rival, the Chicago Cubs, have won six straight. The Brewers need to make a move now if they're to contend for the division and win.
Rolling: Chicago Cubs: Suddenly, the defending champions are riding a six-game winning streak and closing in on Milwaukee. Adding Jose Quintana helps the Cubs, but it seems like they're not done making moves.
Rolling: Kansas City Royals: 2-7 in their last nine games, the Royals have fluctuated from sellers to potential buyers back down to sellers. This may be the last hurrah for the Royals since many players are free agents at the end of the season, so the Royals should decide if they want to give it one last push or tear it all down.
Rolling: Seattle Mariners: Ironically, the Mariners are 7-2 since getting swept at Safeco by those same Royals, including a series win at Houston. They've added David Phelps to give their 'pen a pick-up and may get Hisashi Iwakuma back for the end of the season. If Felix Hernandez returns to Cy Young form, the M's could make their first postseason appearance in 16 years.
Reeling: New York Yankees: Will adding Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle help the Yankees make the postseason? Not if players like Aaron Judge keep slumping; Judge has gone 3-for-26 with no extra-base hits since the All-Star break. The Yankees have lost 22 of their last 32 games and are slipping in the AL East.
Rolling: Pittsburgh Pirates: Surprise! The Pirates are 8-2 in their last ten games and are suddenly closing in on the NL Central. Three games back of the Brewers in the Central, the Bucs have a big question regarding if they want to add pieces for a postseason run.
Reeling: Cleveland Indians: Starting off 1-5 after the All-Star break isn't ideal for the defending AL champions. They had a horrid Bay Area trip that helped the Minnesota Twins close the gap in the AL Central. The Indians could use another starter since the hitter's market is rather anemic. Maybe Sonny Gray can help if he doesn't go to the Astros or Yankees?
Rolling: Washington Nationals: The Nats got out of the post-All-Star break gate winning five straight games. They've also acquired Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle to hold their sloppy bullpen together. They might not be done adding to their 'pen; the Nationals have shown interest in Tigers reliever Justin Wilson.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Worst-Run Franchises In Sports Right Now

            It's not an easy task running a sports franchise. With 30+ teams vying for supremacy in a league added on with the heightened expectations of the average fan, front office jobs in sports can be excruciating with so many people breathing down your neck. We know the people who do a stellar job in spite of these problems. But what about those who screw up constantly? Here's a look at those who can't get it right.

  • New York Knicks (NBA): As highlighted on the podcast quite frequently, the Knicks are a hodge-podge of mess. Between the Carmelo Anthony trade rumors and the Phil Jackson drama, it seems like the NBA's wealthiest franchise can't do anything right. At least the owner can play a mean kazoo.
  • Cleveland Browns (NFL): The Browns have been one of the most woeful franchises in all of sports, facing misfortunes like failed draft picks and relocation of the original franchise. They've taken a "Moneyball" approach to rebuilding their team, but it remains to be seen if this tactic will work or if it will be another "Brown" brick in the wall.
  • Miami Marlins (MLB): Jeffrey Loria doesn't have many friends in the baseball world; he ran the Montreal Expos to the point of being moved to Washington, D.C. and conned the Miami-Dade area into building a heavily-funded-on-taxpayer-money stadium with a cheesy ornament in center field. Let's also not forget the routine fire sales that he has involving his players (mainly done via trade).
  • Washington Redskins (NFL): I have no problem with Dan Snyder objecting to the idea of changing his team's name. After all, it is his team. I do have a problem with Snyder suing the fans, barring the fans from carrying signs into FedEx Field, and lowballing a potentially great quarterback to the point of pursuing more money elsewhere the next season.
  • Brooklyn Nets (NBA): The team traded a 1st round pick to the Boston Celtics for aging superstars in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce a few years ago. What more do you need to know?
  • Arizona Coyotes (NHL): Marred by relocation rumors, a revolving door of owners, an arena that no one knows how to get to, and years of mediocrity on the ice, the Coyotes can never catch a break. Will they be out of the desert in the future with their uncertain arena situation?


Monday, July 17, 2017

A Way Or Two To Pay NFL Players More

            In the wake of the absurd contracts being paid in both the NBA and MLB, NFL players have struck back, vocalizing their concern about being underpaid in their sport. NFLPA representative (and Seattle Seahawk corner) Richard Sherman invoked the idea of NFL players striking to get NBA-type money, implying that there hasn't been an NFL strike in ages. Granted, the NFL's current CBA doesn't expire until 2020. Therefore, all strikes will have to wait. But it isn't a bad idea to get the ball rolling on ideas.
            There are some deterring factors as to why the league refuses to pay players guaranteed money. One reason is due to NFL rosters containing more players than both the standard NBA roster and standard MLB roster (non-expanded roster) combined. NFL rosters are constituted of 53 players, meaning that there would be a lot of money to go around. Another reason why the NFL doesn't want guaranteed contracts is the injury rate is greater than both the NBA and MLB. Players deal with concussions in the NFL at a far greater rate than in baseball or basketball, along with other injuries due to American football's barbaric nature.
            So what would be the solution to the underpaying problem when the time comes to renegotiate? One way is to feature a "soft cap" the way the NBA does with its players and teams. This allows for teams to sign players even when they've exceeded the salary cap. However, the more years a team stays on the soft cap, the more that team gets penalized (the team gets penalized by percentage). This would allow NFL teams to pay more for their players and still sign key members to their team. NBA teams also hand out individual contract based on the amount of service the player has in the league and the current salary cap. The NBA's salary cap has grown quite a bit over the years, allowing players like Stephen Curry and James Harden to get ridiculous amounts of money.
            Another way (this might benefit the players the most) to help NFL players get more money is the MLB way: Just have no salary cap at all. The salary cap is viewed as a way for professional team owners to garner more money because they won't have to pay players as much if the cap is in place. The salary cap is a way of controlling costs in many leagues, but it leaves the owners with more money at the end of the day. Without the cap, players will not only get guaranteed contracts, but they can get more money out of the contracts as well.
            Will there be a change of money going around come 2020? Maybe. NFL players play a dangerous sport while getting paid peanuts compared to baseball and basketball players. There are also plenty of hoops to jump through before any change happens, especially with Roger Goodell as the commissioner. However, NFL players should dedicate their energy towards making a change in their sport and vocalize their need for more cash.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Can The Dodgers Win It All This Year?

            It was almost 30 years ago that Kirk Gibson hit this iconic home run against the Oakland Athletics in game one of the 1988 World Series. Ironically enough, this was the last time the Dodgers made (and won) the World Series. It seems that no matter how close the Dodgers get, they can't seem to break through.
            Take last postseason, for example. The Dodgers were up two games to one on the Chicago Cubs before Chicago broke the "Curse of the Billy Goat", won the next three games, and made the World Series.  The Dodgers seem to falter when it matters most and that can be partially attributed to Clayton Kershaw's postseason woes. The former MVP has a career postseason ERA of 4.55 and has a WHIP of 1.16, not Kershaw-like at all. Kershaw has been especially atrocious in his four NLCS appearances; his ERA balloons to 5.58, while his K/9 falls from 10.7 (his career postseason total) to 7.9 in the NLCS. He also has a WHIP of 1.27 and a BB/9 rate of 3.5 (his postseason rate in his career's 2.7). In other words, Kershaw has been unbearable to watch in the postseason.
            This year seems a little bit different compared to past seasons. The Dodgers, who are 62-29 as of today, hold the league's best record with Houston hot on their trails. They've won 10 of their last 11 and show no signs of stopping. The Dodgers are fourth in baseball in runs scored with 469 and have a team OPS of .790. Led by wunderkind Cody Bellinger, the Dodgers have gotten lineup production from unheralded names such as Chris Taylor (.292 BA, .372 OBP) and Justin Turner (.370 BA, 87 hits, .466 OBP). The Dodgers are 2nd in MLB in run differential (+165) as well, only behind those same Astros (+167).
            It hasn't just been the bats that have been a big part of the Dodgers' success. Kershaw has gotten some help from other rotation arms, starting with Alex Wood (10-0, 1.56 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 101 SO). Brandon McCarthy has also been a nice arm for the rotation (6-3, 3.38 ERA, 1.17 WHIP). But one of the best performances this year has come from the closer, Kenley Jensen. Jensen, who had been rumored to be a target of teams of the Cubs and Giants last offseason, has an ERA of 0.93 along with a WHIP of 0.54 and 22 saves in 37 appearances.
           If the Dodgers are to make (and win) the World Series, they'll need one more arm to put them over the top. Sonny Gray seems like a good fit for the Dodgers, especially with the Dodgers' farm system being quite healthy with talent. There's a good chance they'll face the Astros in the World Series, so it'll be the best lineup in baseball against Kershaw and company. That should make for some great October baseball.

Photo Courtesy of DodgerBlue.com

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Will Carmelo Make The Rockets Better Than The Warriors?

            Answer: No.
            Unless you're talking offensively, where you have Chris Paul running the floor and Carmelo Anthony pulling out all the stops on offense, then the answer's no. Believe it or not, the Warriors aren't just good offensively. They were first in defensive efficiency (I apologize for knocking their defensive performance throughout the year) last season at 1.009, whereas Houston was 15th with an efficiency of 1.055. Golden State was also one of two teams (Detroit being the other at .998) who had a defensive efficiency of below one (.994). This was with the likes of Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley. Now that they've traded away some of their better defensive stars for a chance at an aging Chris Paul, they won't be able to keep up on the defensive end of the floor. They'll try and outscore Golden State, which is fine. But that strategy won't help them in the long run.
            The Rockets have the right idea in trying to build a superteam. After all, Mike D'Antoni is an offensive genius who loves a good up-tempo offense. However, it's still possible that the Rockets won't even make it to the Western Conference Finals with their offense-only team. Teams like San Antonio and Memphis, squads who ranked in the top ten in defensive efficiency in 2016-17 and who've proven to beat Golden State from time to time using gritty defense and terrific coaching, will be the teams that'll give the Warriors the most trouble. In the mean time, teams like the Thunder and Rockets will have to just sit back as the Warriors' current reign continues barring any extreme injuries.

Photo Courtesy of ESPN.com

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Random GIF Post

            So here's the deal: I'm trying to put up a blog post, but my new browser's being a pain in the ass. That's not the only pain in the ass I'm dealing with. I'm also dealing with a thing called "writer's block", where I can't think of a topic to write about. So I'm going to vent my frustrations with this GIF post. Enjoy.









Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Tribute To A True Red

            Wayne Rooney has been an iconic staple of Manchester United, scoring 183 goals in 393 games with the Reds from 2004 to 2017. He returned to his boyhood club, Everton, a few days ago with Manchester United allowing a transfer. He also played for the English National Team, scoring 53 goals in 119 international appearances. As a tribute to Rooney's time with the Reds, here's some of his finest moments with Manchester United.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Knicks Lost The Small Chance They Had Of Getting LeBron In The Future

            The sliver of a chance that the New York Knicks had of trying to lure LeBron James to the Big Apple went up in smoke on Sunday. Former Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin pulled his name out of consideration for the candidacy for the Knicks' front office, exposing the apparent problems with the organization.
            Like many front office heads in the NBA, LeBron James has always been a big fan of David Griffin's work. He had a great relationship with Griffin before he was let go earlier in the summer. This was made evident by the tweet sent out on the day of Griffin's firing from the Cavs.



         
            It's only a matter of time before LeBron leaves the mess he's embroiled in involving Cleveland for greener pastures. While a great relationship with a front office figure isn't a surefire way of securing a big name for your organization, it does help a hapless organization turn their latest misfortunes around if it works. That is what the Knicks needed most: A superstar like LeBron to put them back on the map. LeBron has been a target and a rumored match of the Knicks in the past and it would've helped them immensely. Kristaps Porzingis is emerging as a franchise cornerstone and has the makings of an NBA superstar. Unfortunately, the Knicks' mistreatment of their superstars, namely Porzingis and Carmelo Anthony, has been the highlight of the franchise's summer. It all points back to owner James Dolan, who hired Phil Jackson a few years ago to turn the franchise into a circus. How will a franchise that has only one playoff win in the past 17 years be able to lure someone like Griffin?
            The latest news should infuriate Knicks fans quite a bit, knowing that they missed out on a big name that could've helped to turn their misfortunes around. As for the Knicks franchise itself, it seems like the same ol' song and dance, with James Dolan on the kazoo.


         

Saturday, July 8, 2017

What Certain Teams Need To Do Post-All-Star Break

            The MLB All-Star Game is rapidly approaching, which means teams will either be buyers or sellers come the trade deadline. What do certain teams need to do in order to either get in contention or brighten their future?


  • Milwaukee Brewers: Put the Foot on the Throat: The Brewers have a 4.5 game lead on the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central, which is surprising to many experts. If Milwaukee wants to expand their lead, they need to make a move at the trade deadline and go for another starter. They have the farm system to do as such.
  • Chicago Cubs: Figure It Out: It's surprising that the Chicago Cubs are at .500 right now considering the amount of troubles they've had throughout the season. Rotation woes, injuries, an inconsistent lineup. With the wild-card currently out of the grasp of the defending champs, they'll have to make a move in the NL Central. Otherwise, they're done.
  • Washington Nationals: Fix the 'Pen: The Nationals have the worst bullpen ERA in the National League (5.15) and their closer-by-committee experiment isn't working. They'll have to look at some closer options to help them out. Maybe Rafael Iglesias (15 saves, 0.94 WHIP, 1.73 ERA, 10.80 K/9) could be of assistance?
  • Houston Astros: Find Another Starter: The Astros have been dominant this season thanks to their offense. But they could use another arm. Jose Quintana has been linked to the Astros for quite some time.
  • Cincinnati Reds: Sell Assets: As stated in a previous blog post, the Reds should try and acquire as many top-level prospects as they can. But Votto and Cozart shouldn't be the only options they have for trades. 
  • New York Yankees: Get the Judge Some Help: Aaron Judge is on a tear; he has 30 homers and 66 RBIs before the All-Star Break. However, the Yankees have been sliding as of late and could give Judge a pick-me-up in the lineup. The Yankees should look at the likes of J.D. Martinez and see if they can stick him in the other outfield corner.
  • Boston Red Sox: Work the David Price Drama Out: David Price seems to be at ends with the Boston media. The Boston media has a tendency of being extremely critical of underperforming stars and Price is no exception. A 4.02 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP doesn't seem Price-like for the former Cy Young winner.
  • Toronto Blue Jays: Break It Down: With the AL East deeper than it's ever been, the Blue Jays don't have a good chance of making the postseason again. Selling players like Josh Donaldson and Marcus Stroman can help the Jays fetch some prospects in return.
  • Colorado Rockies: Get Back on Track: The Rockies have fallen to third in the NL West after going on a 47-26 start. They've only won four of their last 16 games and the Dodgers are rapidly pulling away from the pack. Making their move at the trade deadline can assure the Rockies don't completely break down.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Blending Buddy

            Here's another edition of "Blending Buddy", where I show you how to make healthy drinks with a blender!! I hope that these will help you adjust to a healthier lifestyle and lead a better life!! Anyways, enjoy and bottoms up!
            This week's edition is for the summertime. Are you looking to enjoy the hot weather and be conscious about your health at the same time? Here's a blending recipe for you to try out. I call this, "A Southern Summer". The drink requires the following fruits and vegetables to mix:


  • 1 cut-up peach
  • 1 collard green leaf
  • 5-6 blackberries
  • 3-5 strawberries
  • 1 cut-up sweet potato
  • 1 cut-up tomato
            Just because the South has plenty of 'fattening' foods that'll fill you up doesn't mean that that's all they have. The peach is the state fruit of Georgia, whereas the sweet potato is the state 'vegetable' of North Carolina and Louisiana (both states also call the strawberry their state fruit). The blackberry is Kentucky and Alabama's state fruit and collard greens are South Carolina's state vegetable. 





Tuesday, July 4, 2017

An Independence Day Playlist!!

            Founded in 1776, the United States of America has grown into a global powerhouse. To honor America's birthday, here's some artists dedicating their musical prowess to the good ol' U.S.A.


Monday, July 3, 2017

The Reds Should Consider Trading Joey Votto (and/or Zack Cozart)

            The Cincinnati Reds have some exciting bats in their lineup, but don't have a lot to show for it. They're dead last in a weak NL Central division at 35-46 and are missing some players due to injury. Granted, the Reds don't plan on contending for a few seasons. But it would be wise to make some moves to brighten their future.
            One move that would benefit them greatly would be to trade Joey Votto. Just named the National League Player of the Week, the All-Star has a 3.8 WAR along with 23 homers, 59 RBIs, a .429 OBP, a 1.050 OPS, and 92 hits. While he did sign a massive extension with the Reds in 2012, trading him to a team like the Yankees would probably make sense considering Votto's 33 years old. Have the Yankees take some of the contract on and the Reds could get some of the Yankees's best prospects. The former NL MVP is still hitting well and his value's still good, but decline always comes to even the best athletes.
            What's another option (and a more realistic option) for the Reds is to trade their All-Star shortstop Zack Cozart. This is perhaps the best value you'll get from Cozart, with Cozart hitting .322 with nine homers and 33 RBIs. Cozart could probably fetch a top prospect like Votto can, but he'd be a rental the same way Johnny Cueto was when he was traded from the Reds in 2015. The Reds want to extend Cozart, but why do that when you can get something while Cozart has value? Cozart is far less of a financial burden than Votto is and would be more appealing to a contender because of this, but Votto would fetch quite a bit back for the Reds.
            The point is this: The Cincinnati Reds need to make some moves at the trade deadline. Considering that the only noteworthy prospect in recent memory they got was Brandon Finnegan, they've disappointed in their trading. Maybe a big move like getting Votto traded will work. Maybe sending Cozart somewhere else will. Who knows? It all leads back to the Reds needing to make some moves for the betterment of their future.



Saturday, July 1, 2017

On The Playlist

            Welcome to another edition of "On The Playlist", where I show you what's bumpin' on my playlist!! Some songs you'll like, some you won't care about. Anyways, check out my playlist!!


Don't Jinx It!!

             During Mike Foltynewicz's no-hit bid against the Oakland A's, the A's took to Twitter to troll the Atlanta Braves on the matter. Foltynewicz is a starting pitcher for the Braves and is one of their rising young stars.














            As many baseball fans know, it is one of the unwritten rules to not talk about a perfect game or no-hitter going on in a game. The A's have a strong troll game going on.