August 1st, 2016
We’ve reached the baseball trade deadline, and the Dodgers do not look like they are going to do anything of significance yet. Even though they have until 1 pm PST on Monday to do so, don’t hold your breath. The Boys In Blue have crept within 2 games of the Giants in the NL West, and have a 2 game lead in the wild card standings. However, Andrew Friedman and the Dodger front office probably look at where they are as a pleasant surprise. LA has less talent than in previous years, and their next wave of talent is still developing. The trade market is complete garbage (as is the coming free agent market), so less than impactful players are commanding premium talent. It’s like a Ford dealer asking $100,00 for a Prius, because there aren’t that many Ferrari’s available. Still, a player like Jay Bruce makes too much sense for the Dodgers, because they need power in their lineup, and they shouldn’t have to give up top tier prospects to get him. I guess that explains why all they want to give up is Yasiel Puig, who’s play is about as consistent as Hilary Clinton is on any social or economic issue. I also love how Dodgers reliever Adam Liberatore told the LA Times that he’s the best left hander in baseball. Is Clayton Kershaw dead and we just don’t know about it? That’s a pretty awkward statement for Liberatore to make considering arguably the best left-hander of all time is his teammate.
Then there’s the Angels, who endured a rough weekend against the Red Sox. The Halos ended up splitting four games with Boston, but closer Huston Street blew yesterday’s game in brutal fashion, giving up 5 runs in the 9th inning. Street cost the Halos last season down the stretch as well, blowing a crucial game against the Astros that probably prevented the Angels from making the playoffs. At least this year the team won’t have to worry about his games costing them the playoffs, because they stink even when he doesn’t blow games. On the bright side, Tyler Skaggs looks great, while Matt Shoemaker and Hector Santiago are looking more and more reliable. In fact, teams have been calling the Angels about Santiago and Shoemaker, but the Angels are hesitant to give up any cost controlled pitching when they barely have any healthy arms for next year. I’ve never seen a situation like this before: a team that can’t afford to be buyers or sellers. It’s the worst possible situation, and one that sets up the Angels as no better than a .500 team for the next three years.
For years people criticized Michael Jordan for not being outspoken enough against social issues. Finally, MJ stepped up and not only spoke out against police brutality against African Americans, but also made a $2 million donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the Institute for Community Police Relations. Still, journalists like Kevin Blackistone are finding a way to criticize Jordan for his actions. Blackistone suggested that he donate his money elsewhere, like the Black Lives Matter movement, and also felt that Jordan should encourage Hanes to bring jobs back to the US from overseas. These types of criticisms are ridiculous because Jordan is simply trying to be part of the solution, and not part of the problem. How much money did Blackistone donate to Black Lives Matter? Jordan can’t be criticized for putting his money in the place where he feels is best to solve the problem. Also, the notion that bringing back jobs to the US will suddenly improve relations between policemen and African Americans is shortsighted. Jordan should absolutely be applauded for stepping up and speaking out. As for why he never acted before, his livelihood was never impacted the way social issues impacted the livelihood of Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, and Jim Brown. Times change, and Jordan should be credited with adapting to the changing social environment around us.
The Clippers are reportedly exploring options to move to a new arena. It’s about time this happened, however, it won’t be easy. The Clippers are the bastard child of the Los Angeles sports market. They have their best team they’ve ever had, yet their popularity is unchanged. Do you have any idea how difficult it’s going to be to get approval to build an arena on the westside of Los Angeles? I highly doubt Steve Ballmer could get the approval to build in Santa Monica, Westwood, or even Inglewood. Look how hard it was just to get a football stadium approved in Inglewood. That makes me think he would consider Orange County, but suburban stadium and arena building is becoming a thing of the past. There’s still some conspiracy theorests that think this is all the start of a ploy to eventually move the team to Seattle. However, those that think that just don’t understand business. Even as the least relevant sports franchise in the Los Angeles market, the Clippers are still far more valuable in Los Angeles than they are in Seattle. The same way a piece of real estate is more valuable in Southern California than it is many other places in this country, the Clippers can command more TV money in LA than in Seattle. The Nets just recently built a beautiful new arena in Brooklyn but it didn’t make them any more relevant compared to the Knicks in New York. Expect the same with the Clippers if they build a new arena.
The next time the NBA collective bargaining agreement is negotiated, it’s going to be interesting to see which way the owners decide to go. Do they care more about making money, or competitive balance? During the last negotiation, it appeared as though they wanted competitive balance, but in the end it was all about profitability. Now there’s whispers that they want more competitive balance again. They hate the idea of super teams, like the one Kevin Durant just created by signing with the Golden State Warriors. If the owners are really serious about competitive balance, they might consider a rule that allows them to place a “franchise tag” on one player on their roster. Under that rule they could pay one player as much as they wanted without it counting against the salary cap. That would likely eliminate super teams from being created, but the owners might balk at that since it would cost them quite a bit of money. Just think, a player like Lebron James might get $50 million a year from a team. Even though that might eliminate the super teams, it would give the bigger markets a competitive advantage over the smaller markets when bidding for superstars. It would also expose certain owners as being cheap or more frugal than others. Ultimately, I think the owners care more about profitability than anything else, but we’ll find out come the next negotiation.
What a great turnout the Rams had at UC Irvine over the weekend as training camp opened up. 10,000 fans showed up on Saturday, and they had another great turnout on Sunday. I stopped by for a couple of hours to watch practice, and the energy surrounding the team was incredible. Jared Goff looked a lot better in the last two days than he did at the end of OTA’s. However, it probably won’t matter who the Rams quarterback is because they really don’t have any reliable wide receivers who can make plays. The teams success is going to rest on their defense, and how effective they can run the football with Todd Gurley, who looks like one of the best backs in the game. We’ll see how long the honeymoon lasts, but this is definitely going to be a brutal division to play in. Also, now that Nick Foles has been released by the Rams, he should have plenty of free time to film Napolean Dynamite 2.
Elsewhere around NFL training camps, Tony Romo decided to add 20 LBS of fat to protect his collarbone, since the Cowboys offensive line couldn’t do so. The Titans have signed Andre Johnson. His retirement plans is to play on a worse AFC South team this year. Anquan Boldin will sign with the Lions. At 106 years old, he should be an excellent replacement for Calvin Johnson. Josh Gordon celebrated his re-instatement with a few more bong rips. Starting next Sunday, there will be professional football every Sunday until February. Unless of course you live in Cleveland. It’s going to be hilarious when Ryan Fitzpatrick returns to his horrendous play after his dramatic contract standoff with the Jets.
Someone asked me about Sharknado yesterday, and why they needed to make four of these movies. I explained that this was a very complex question. One that is similar to “what happens after we die?” Or “Are there other forms of life in the universe?” Then again, those questions can probably also be answered just by watching a movie or two on the SyFy channel. Sure enough Sharknado 4 premiered last night on SyFy, and once again, this mock buster nearly broke Twitter. This movie actually featured Gary Busey, who was a mad scientist. I think it’s far more likely a Sharknado occurs before Gary Busey would be any kind of a scientist. Speaking of Busey, if you played a drinking game while watching the movie, your BAC still wouldn’t be higher than that of either Busey or Tara Reid. I still think a movie about a Sharknado is far more factual than the Republican and Democratic National conventions combined. If this movie has taught us anything though, it’s that Apple needs to come out with a shark emoji instead of that stupid whale emoji we are forced to use if we need it.
Finally, the RNC and the DNC were like nothing we have ever seen before. This is the new reality TV. It’s polarizing drama that people are tuning in for, just to see what kind of disaster is going to happen next. At this point though, it would take WWIII or martial law to keep Obama as President. Maybe WWIII is better than Trump or Hillary? Every single speaker at the DNC was fantastic. All I could think about was how all of them would make better Presidents than her. I’m also amazed at the networks. CNN used to hide their democratic bias. Not anymore. We always knew Fox News wore the Republican tendencies on their sleeve. However, in this election, watching two networks that are totally polar opposite extremes is way more interesting than watching a balanced perspective. Still, I don’t need 9 analysts on CNN giving me their opinion. That’s right folks…NINE! CNN apparently thinks this is NFL Primetime.