August 22nd, 2016
The 2016 Olympic Games came to a close last night, and for those of you who actually watched it, you know it was memorable. The U.S. won 121 medals, 18 more than the last Olympics. For the most part, the men’s and women’s track team were a big improvement from the disaster that was 2012. The U.S. relay teams were great, they dominated the field events, and surprised in the distance running events. More importantly, the team culture and character was much improved from the high school like drama that symbolized the last Olympic track team. Allyson Felix is nothing but class. She graciously took the silver medal in the 400 meters and made no complaints about the somewhat controversial dive her opponent made at the end. Then she overcame what initially looked like a disqualification in the 4×100 relay, and was instrumental in helping the team win the gold in that event. Finally, she helped the 4×400 relay team win gold by running a spectacular last leg, and became the most decorated female track athlete in U.S. history. If only we could duplicate her work ethic and character with every single one of our track athletes. My only gripe is that our U.S. male sprinters not only didn’t deliver, but acted idiotic too. Justin Gatlin was a fool in the 200 meter semi finals, showing off just before the finish line, and letting three people pass him, causing him to miss the finals. It’s time for a new crop of U.S. male sprinters to take over 2020. I’m done with the old guys who have been busted for PED’s.
Elsewhere around the summer games, Ryan Lochte is like a real life version of the guy from “Dude Where’s My Car”. Of course he made up that story about getting robbed. He was probably baked out of his mind. Usain Bolt is a lot of fun to watch, but there’s no question that Michael Phelps is a greater Olympian. Phelps competes in twice as many events as Bolt in every Olympics, and as great as the Jamaican is, his work ethic is nothing like Phelps. It’s still hard for me to believe that somehow, an island of two million people has generated five of the six fastest male sprinters over the last eight years. Sounds like some serious institutionalized doping to me. Keri Walsh had a great beach volleyball run of dominance that came to an end, but she and April Ross should still be applauded for their bronze medal. Walsh looked like she lost her confidence for a second, but got it back quickly to make the podium. She definitely increased the popularity of the sport over the years. Then there’s Simon Biles, who is the best female gymnast I have ever seen. I don’t want to be prisoner of the moment and say “ever”. Her boyfriend should give her a hall pass for a couple of weeks with Zac Efron.
It was definitely a relief to see the U.S. men’s basketball team win the gold. Most of them probably would have been deported had they not. This is probably the only time players from the Knicks, Clippers, and Kings will ever win something important. Harrison Barnes did nothing but sit on the bench for the last two weeks, so his gold medal should be a Hershey’s chocolate instead. The team was definitely flawed with a lot of one-on-one players, however, don’t underestimate Coach K figuring out the right mix. You also can’t underestimate that the U.S. lucked out with a lot of other countries aging, and not having all their best players. An Olympic gold medal is a fantastic accomplishment, but of course DeAndre Jordan would say it’s more important than an NBA Championship. That’s because only a Clipper would say that.
Speaking of the NBA, what another terrible signing the Lakers made last week by bringing in Yi Jianlin for $8 million. Jim Buss must have been incredibly impressed by his willingness to sign with the team. This guy hasn’t been in the NBA in years, yet somehow he’s getting $8 million. I also can’t envision how he’s going to get minutes. The Lakers have Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr. playing most of the minutes at power forward. Yi was a very ineffective center during his last stint in the NBA, and was far more effective as a power forward. If you’ve never seen him play, all you need to know is that last week when the US destroyed China, NBC analyst Doug Collins, acted shocked that he actually knew how to play basketball.
The fact that the Dodgers are battling the Giants for 1st place blows my mind. The Boys in Blue managed to lose three in a row to the Phillies and Red, have a pitching staff that is being held together by chicken wire, yet they are in the thick of the pennant race. LA and San Francisco will battle it out this week for a three game set at the Ravine. The Dodgers need Clayton Kershaw and Andre Ethier back from injury to give themselves a real chance, despite the fact that Giants have been atrocious in the 2nd half the season. The real question is whether or not the team will continue to use Julio Urias if he continues to pitch well like has been. Urias was supposed to be on an innings limit of about 115 this year, and he’s rapidly approaching that. Starting him in a playoff game would be way more sensible than starting Scott Kazmir, Bud Norris, or Brett Anderson, who are all capable of spectacular failures on the mound in any given moment. Of course Andy Friedman is probably torturing numbers right now in some way that will convince Dave Roberts to start one of those three stiffs in the most important games of the season.
Meanwhile, the Angels season from hell has a little over a month to go. The Halos haven’t been this bad since ’99, and only the D’Backs, Braves, and Twins are worse than them. Two of those teams aren’t even trying to win! I have no idea why the Angels didn’t start tanking two months ago, because that’s effectively when their season ended. Other than a full blown rebuild, the Angels options for improving their roster are about as bad as our options for a Presidential candidate this fall. As good as Mike Trout is, and as big of a name Albert Pujols still is, fans are much more intelligent than most owners give them credit for. The Angel fans would rather see a team built the right way that is going to compete, rather than this smoke and mirrors concept of “staying competitive” that Billy Eppler and Arte Moreno are trying to sell us.
To the NFL where the Rams made it 2-0 with another preseason win, this time over the Chiefs. I think we’ve reached the point where Jeff Fisher should name Case Keenum his starting quarterback. The competition between Jared Goff and Keenum is about as competitive as a Usain Bolt 100 meter dash. Goff still shows you some flashes of skill, which make him a likely bet to become the starter down the line, however, the Rams have much bigger problems than that. LA’s secondary has been getting torched like there’s been riots at the Coliseum, and their receivers are dropping more balls than Times Square. Jeff Fisher claims this team isn’t going 8-8, 9-7, 7-9, or hovering around .500 in any way, shape, or form. He better figure out a way to get those two areas fixed or else this team is going to be a lot worse than that.
Finally, great start to the college football season by those Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Irish basically lost their entire starting defensive backfield, and a total of 6 players, due to complete stupidity over the weekend. Senior starting safety Max Redfield was kicked off the team, and senior cornerback Devin Butler was suspended indefinitely, highlighting these six morons that were disciplined. I get that kids smoke weed, play some hackey sack, and then figure out what their next entree is at Taco Bell. However, why would any of these kids need to carry around a gun with them? Still, this isn’t Ohio State or Alabama, and I mean that for the better. Props to Brian Kelly for taking action against these clowns, and teaching them a bigger life lesson, as opposed to just letting them play. This is nothing new for Notre Dame. Last season they were devastated by injuries and disciplinary issues, yet found a way to make it to the Fiesta Bowl. I wouldn’t expect any less competitiveness this year.