August 15th, 2016
Michael Phelps has been a joy to watch over the last 10 days. He’s an athlete that makes you want to stop everything you are doing, and watch him because he’s that good. He’s arguably the greatest Olympian of all-time, and maybe even one of the greatest athletes of all-time, but I don’t for one second believe we’ve seen the last of him. In 2012, he claimed he was walking away, and was adamant about it, yet he came back. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Even his teammates don’t believe he’s done. He’s too good and too competitive to not come back for another run four years from now in Tokyo. See you then Mike.
Elsewhere around the Olympics, I admit that watching the fastest man in the world competition is very entertaining, and I was glued to the TV watching the dominance of Usain Bolt last night. However, I’m definitely ready for a new era of sprinting for the U.S. and others. We already know that Justin Gatlin was caught for doping years ago, even though he might be clean now. It’s also hard to believe that Usain Bolt and all the other Jamaicans are clean with their weak drug testing program. As far as I’m concerned, any 100 meter time under 9.80 seconds is suspicious, a mark that Bolt has gone way under before. I don’t know why any of those parents of the U.S women’s gymnastics team looked so stressed, since they dominated, especially Simon Biles. They clearly don’t pay attention to betting odds. My hat goes off to American swimmer Lilly King, who called out her Russian rival, Yulia Efimova, before and after beating her in the 100 meter breast stroke. Like King said, U.S. Olympians are tested multiple times a month. You should know everything that is going in your body, so Efimova has no excuse. It’s obvious the IOC has no integrity by allowing the Russians to compete, so good for King for calling out the drug cheats, and then backing it up. Speaking of swimming, I feel bad for Missy Franklin, who suffered an unbelievable fall from grace in these Olympics. It seems to be more than just an injury issue for her but nevertheless, she deserves credit for being a good teammate and handling everything with class. The same can’t be said for Hope Solo, who showed no class when the U.S. Women’s soccer team lost in the quarterfinals to Sweden. Apparently she think she shouldn’t be accountable for her own play, or her teammates.
Then there’s the U.S. men’s basketball team, who has had some major close calls. If these guys lose, frankly, they should be deported. This team has some major defensive issues. Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, and Carmelo Anthony are known to struggle at the defensive end, and the team often relies heavily on isolation basketball. I still think at this point, the only way to insure that the U.S. wins the gold medal in basketball is to send their very best players. In other words, nothing is for sure without Lebron James and Steph Curry.
If Ryan Lochte and his three swimming teammates getting robbed at gun point but walking away unharmed is the worst thing that happens during the Olympics in Rio, then everyone should consider themselves lucky. This kind of thing happens in Brazil everyday. This whole thing was a disaster waiting to happen, and those disasters have been rather minor in the big picture. Then again if Michael Phelps was held at gun point, he would have beaten the criminals with his 23 gold medals.
NFL Football returned to LA over the weekend, but it only took one play to remember how much the Rams stink. The Rams ended up giving up a 60 yard TD kick return to the Cowboys on the first play of the game. I thought by halftime the Rams were going to board a plane and head back to St. Louis. Despite the victory, LA has to have some concerns. Jared Goff looked pretty bad after only 9 passes, Case Keenum was underwhelming, and the secondary was getting burned like breakfast toast on every play. The Cowboys didn’t play anybody of significance, and the Rams didn’t play Todd Gurley, so I wouldn’t take too much away from this, other than the fact that Jared Goff, the Rams franchise QB has a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to stick in the NFL. I do really love what I’ve seen on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” so far. Through 1 episode, the show has helped me get to know some of the players a little better, and didn’t just focus on the obvious story lines of Gurley’s star power, and Goff’s potential as a quarterback. I also found it entertaining how stupid Deon Long was for getting cut just for having some girls in his room. That sounds like something Michael Beasley would do. Oh wait…that’s because it is something Michael Beasley did.
The Olympics nearly made me forget that the Dodgers existed for the last week. The Boys in Blue missed out on an opportunity to overtake the struggling Giants in the NL West, by losing two of three to the Pirates over the weekend. Brett Anderson is back, and he reminded us of his mediocrity in an instant, by giving up 5 runs in the first inning. Since Brandon McCarthy is going back on the DL, it’s only right that LA replaces one mediocre pitcher with another by activating Anderson. I don’t care how good the bullpen is on paper. If the Dodgers continue to throw out mediocre starting pitching, they will burn out their bullpen very quickly. The acquisition of Rich Hill makes more and more sense with every passing day. He’s an injured starting pitcher that has been mediocre for a long time. He should fit in quite nicely with the rest of the Dodger pitching staff.
Then there’s the Angels, who not only got swept over the weekend, but have now lost 10 in a row. They now have the 3rd worst record in the AL. The Halos just can’t seem to find the pitching. Yesterday it was Jared Weaver who got bombed early. In the two days earlier, it was Matt Shoemaker and Tyler Skaggs. The Angels don’t just have bad pitching, they don’t have any pitching because so many are on the DL. It’s going to take some extreme creativity on the part of GM Billy Eppler to fix this team. On a better note, the Angels are now looking at re-negotiating their lease in Anaheim, and potentially renovating their current stadium again. Although renovating the stadium again seems shortsighted compared to building a new stadium, the Angels have their focus in the right place by trying to keep the team in Anaheim. LA has too many stadiums at this point, and it would take a lot of approvals and a lot of obstacles to overcome to get a brand new stadium. Plus, the Angels would have lost quite a few fans, had they moved the team to South Orange County.
I just don’t understand Tim Tebow. Now he wants to play baseball? Isn’t it obvious that the guy just wants to be a football player? He should just suck it up and go play in the CFL or the arena league. He’s a good enough player to get back to the NFL if he were to switch positions, but unfortunately, most coaches and players don’t want to deal with the media circus that he brings with him. That problem is still going to exist if he were to get himself on a major league baseball team. I also find it odd that he decided to try baseball since he’s never actually made it past first base. Tebow’s phone has been blowing up since he said he’s going to try baseball. Here’s a look at his text inbox….
Finally, the NBA didn’t do the Lakers any favors at all when it came out with the 2016-2017 schedule a few days ago. LA will have to play 20 of their first 33 games on the road, and will play the Warriors three times in the first month of the season. They have 16 back-to-backs, and 13 of them end with road games. Their longest road trip of the season is 7 games in December, and they’ll also have a grueling 5 game trip in February for their annual “Grammy Trip”. Oh, and just in case the last game of the season means anything, they’ll have to finish up against the Warriors on the road. For a young team that is trying to learn to win in the NBA, that definitely does not bode well for a much improved Laker season. Nevertheless, if the Lakers can manage to win 30 games, that would be a significant improvement, and something they can continue to build on.