The Devils' Twitter Fired the Initial Shot of the Hughes/Kakko Era, and It Was a Pretty Damn Good One
The truth of the matter is that the New Jersey Devils have far too much going right for them as a franchise that, after one turn of a clock, now boasts endless intrigue for me to be all that concerned with what's currently burning in James Dolan's dumpster fire.
That said, with the schedule having just been released, a rivalry having just been reinvigorated, and a Finnish freak having just been sentenced to a commercial flight into a public airport where an awkward and embarrassing display of fandom awaited, the time was definitely right for Devils' twitter to strike...
Rangers' fans can claim that rare objectively funny pun is proof of the Devils never letting their biggest rival out of their head, as they are too uncreative to think up a more clever retort to 'The Rock' being entirely unwelcoming of the NHL Draft's runner-up come October. However, with their own team's account having deleted their despondent draft pick's hilarious hostage video, I'm not sure they have much room to point out the insecurities of others at the moment...
Fact is, in the form of PK Subban, this past weekend's biggest splash was made on the New Jersey side of a Hudson River that now separates two teams that have made significant steps forward. That, of course, says next to nothing about the outcome of the blood feud that will play out on the ice over the next decade, but as far as the oh-so-important internet is concerned? Big brother is, for the time being, getting noogie'd to hell and back by a first class organization that is suddenly looking about as endearing to the casual fan as one Jack Hughes.
Of All the People to Question the Warriors' Treatment of Injured Players, Golden State Surely Considers Andre Iguodala an Unpleasant Surprise
Well, after watching Mr. Myers kiss Kevin Durant's entire ass throughout a oddly tearful postgame presser that pointed more fingers at those outside than inside the organization that told their best player he couldn't possibly make his injury any worse on the same day he eventually sacrificed a season of his prime to an achilles tear, I think the general consensus from this clip has to be...
A role player like Andre Iguodala admitting to being medically misled through media manipulation in the process of being pressured to play against a crappy Cleveland Cavaliers' team that realistically stood little chance of beating the Warriors with or without him is bad enough in its own right. What it implies about what KD might have faced as a soon-to-be free agent of a savior to a team that was on the brink of NBA Finals elimination, however, is substantially worse.
Whether or not the decision to play in Game 5 was ultimately in the hands of the consummate competitor in question, one of the most well-respected veterans in the league, who shouldn't have a bone to pick with the franchise that's paying him 17+ million next season, just added quite a bit of context to what already had the unfortunate feel of guilt-born blubbering...
Fact is, if you think the Golden State Warriors had any responsibility to clearly lay out all the risks without laying the peer pressure on thick then they probably didn't fulfill it. I thought to be the case before, and hearing someone who has had a wealth of success in Golden State speak to his own personal experience with being pushed to play through duplicitous means certainly didn't change my mind for the better. Never mind disavow the legitimacy of the following report...
The Rockets' Twitter Will Let Giannis Finish, But Not Before Reminding Everyone Who Might Have Forgetten That James Harden Scored A Lot This Season
I got to be honest. I don't really have a problem with the Rockets having a pre-drafted list of James Harden's personal accomplishments, that could have been summoned up with something as simple as "did you know he scores...like...a lot?" ready if their superstar (who didn't even bother showing up last night, mind you) missed out on winning a 2nd straight MVP Award. Team-run Twitter accounts are meant to pander to the most fanatical of followers, so being shamelessly biased and insecurely defensive about the one-man team it's devoted to, even if comes off as giving the most egregious "well, actually..." to Giannis' historic season, is kind of fitting of its job description.
Now, to post it while the actual MVP, who is universally beloved enough to make James Harden look like Judas by comparison, was on the verge of leaking all over himself in talking about what his dearly departed father and the rest of his family meant to what has been a selfless and meteoric rise to superstardom?
Needless to say, I've certainly seen better looks. Again, I get why it was posted, but when it was posted is a different story. Maybe, just maybe let the ultimate overseas success story give what was almost guaranteed to be a heartwarming speech and have his well-deserved moment in the spotlight. After all, doing the social media equivalent of screaming "what about us?" like 'us' wasn't last seen melting under the spotlight as their former MVP once again went MIA in another massively passive postseason moment was, ironically enough, bound to flop in embarrassing fashion when introduced to an always unforgiving internet.
KC Radio Host Kevin Kietzman Went Full Shameless Shock Jock in Indirectly Referencing the Tragic Death of Andy Reid's Son to Criticize His Coaching
“Andy Reid does not have a great record of fixing players. He doesn’t. Discipline is not his thing. It did not work out particularly well in his family life. That needs to be added to this as we talk about the Chiefs. He’s had a lot of things go bad on him — He is not good at fixing people. He is not good at discipline. That is not his strength. His strength is designing football plays.” - Kevin Kietzman
Ah yes, because why wouldn't Andy Reid's son tragically succumbing to a deadly addiction that's become an awful, awful epidemic throughout middle-to-upper class America "need" to be added to a conversation about his coaching? I mean, how else could we possibly question his leadership and put into context his inability to completely alter the instinctually erratic behavior of a grown ass adult like Tyreek Hill, whose dangerously destructive mind dates back to him choking out his then pregnant girlfriend in college?
If I were to justify such an idiotic criticism with a response, that response would be to wonder when we started demanding that NFL Head Coaches become licensed therapists and round-the-clock babysitters to the dozens-upon-dozens of professional athletes assembled by those higher than them in the organizational hierarchy. Luckily, I don't feel the need to have to dive head first down the deep, black hole where Kevin Kietzman's heart is supposed to be, as the most shameless of shock jock doesn't even deserve to be debated on such an inexplicably stupid take. Exploiting a coach's most heartbreaking moments as a human in basically blaming him for the passing of his one son and/or the imprisonment of his other son as a plea for "any publicity is good publicity"-type attention in sports talk is just unspeakably tasteless.
While we're on the topic of needing help, Kevin Keitzman's current employer should let him use the last of his medical benefits, prior to unemployment, to hire a medical professional to find what exactly has him so fucked in the head. The parallel between disciplining football players and making sure those football players aren't terrible people away from the field is only even slightly existent relative to the parallel between disciplining football players and parenting someone with the disease that is drug addiction. Anyone that can even find any correlation whatsoever between the latter, even if doing so entirely disingenuously, has no place to be judging anyone for being unable to "fix" others, as if people can be "repaired" as easily as a leaky facet, since they quite clearly can't even fix them-fucking-selves. As evidenced by this blubbering line of unapologetically misdirectional bullshit below...
Doc Rivers' Reaction to Mike Budenholzer Winning 'Coach of the Year' Over Him was so Classically Doc Rivers
I'd say that in most cases we'd expect head coaches to plaster professionalism across their face when dealt disappointment during something as subjectively selected as Award Show winners. As the strategist behind the young team with the best record in basketball, it's tough to be too surprised by Mike Budenholzer winning 'Coach of the Year' anyway, so you'd think the disgust would be a little less undeniable in the expression of someone who definitely served as worthy competition.
That, however, simply isn't who Doc Rivers is a person, so if absolutely nothing else, I appreciate how on-brand a reaction that was from someone who has never suppressed his emotions or agreed with a single judgment call that didn't go his way. Had the presenter at the time happened to be wearing a whistle around his neck, we might well have been the Pavlovian Rottweiler in Doc Rivers come out during an award show freakout capable of making Taylor Swift drop the mic and Kanye West feel second-hand embarrassment.
For that reason, I'm pretty proud of the guy for merely being caught looking like he smelled some shit on his lip for two seconds by a camera guy that knew damn well what he doing. After all he did in making a gift out of the present in getting to Game 6 against a full-strength Golden State with a roster that was undercut by a management team that had their sights set on the future, I understand his outward objection. Even though I ironically wouldn't be as willing to give a pass to an NBA coach that hasn't broken me down and made me immune to his barking throughout years of shameless bitching.
The Mets' Mickey Callaway-Led Confrontation With a Reporter Was Allegedly Over the Reporter Saying "See You Tomorrow, Mickey"
Newsday- “Mickey came out of his office, dressed, and I thought he was leaving for the day, so I said, ‘See you tomorrow, Mickey,’ ” Healey said. “And then he said, ‘Don’t be a smart-ass.”
Healey said he was told by other reporters that Callaway continued to curse at him. Healey said he did not hear that because he was “10 feet away at that point.”
Healey said Callaway then went into another room, and when the manager returned after a few minutes, he picked up where he left off.
“I couldn’t confidently tell you exactly what he said, but he said, ‘You know we’re going to be in a bad mood after a loss,’ or something like that. And I tried to tell him, I didn’t mean anything by it. I was just saying I’ll see you tomorrow. And then he said, ‘Get this guy out of here,’ and that got the attention of Jason Vargas.”
According to Healey, Vargas was getting dressed at his locker, which was about 15 feet away in the cramped visitors’ clubhouse, and Healey noticed the pitcher had been staring at him for what seemed like roughly 45 seconds. Healey said he was just standing there, “wondering why Mickey was blowing up,” when he saw Vargas.
He recalled asking him if everything was OK or if there was something he wanted to say.
That’s when Vargas threatened him.
“He said, ‘I’ll knock you out right here’ and then took a couple of steps toward me,” Healey said. “Some people said charged — charged is super-strong.”
Mets media relations manager Ethan Wilson got between Healey and Vargas while other players, Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Gomez among them, moved in to make sure the pitcher remained at a distance. Healey said he walked away at that stage.
“I was shocked, and at the same time trying to tell Vargas or Callaway or Ethan, ‘Hey, I didn’t mean anything by it,’ which might have been interpreted as aggression on my part. I was in no way trying to be aggressive or antagonistic or anything. At that point in the day, I want to talk to Diaz and then leave, you know?
“What’s the point in me trying to pick a fight?”
Working under the unsafe assumption that Mickey Callaway isn't intentionally sabotaging his job security in hopes of being granted the sweet release of a paid-in-full termination from an organization whose ownership makes employment in pro sports feel pretty close to imprisonment...
...I think it's safe to assume that he probably isn't long for his current workplace if someone can't say something as benign as "see you tomorrow" without him interpreting it as a condescending dig at his chances of seeing even one more day on the job.
I wouldn't know Tim Healey if he walked up to me and said "nice to meet you!" in a difficult to distinguish tone, so I haven't the slightest idea how cantankerous his relationship might be with the New York Mets. Hell, even if I did know it to be relatively peaceful, I'm not sure how reliably objective Newsday can be in reporting on their own reporter's unfortunate incident.
That said, I think we can all agree that the team said reporter happens to cover is entirely capable of starting a death-match with the media over minor miscommunication. Like, the idea of an MLB clubhouse turning into a clusterfuck over a misheard pleasantry would be entirely out of realm of possibility...if not for it being the one MLB clubhouse that makes the movie Major League seem like it might be based on a true story. I'm not going to point fingers because are there three sides to every story, but the side that makes the most sense might just be the one in which a Manager lost his shit over a "see you later", as if the meanest thing you could offer Mickey Callaway is a reminder that the Wilpon's are too cheap to can his ass. I think that right there tells you everything you need to know about the flammable top-down culture of a franchise that makes the "this is fine" dog seem fire retardant by comparison...
Realistically, when you consider Ray Shero's unspoken affinity for American-born players and John Hynes' history in coaching them, it's pretty easy to envision the Devils' scouting staff keeping a keen eye on Patrick Moynihan regardless of his former teammate's understandably biased thoughts on how he projects as a pro.
That said, with New Jersey welcoming both Jack Hughes and PK Subban in a window so small that it barely offered Devils' fans an opportunity to breath, the world we live in is now surreal. Therefore, I'm all for taking some liberties with the truth and letting myself believe that the most electric prospect in franchise history was doing amateur scouting on behalf of the organization before he had even become a part of it.
Hell, at the very least, he was cocksure enough in his own draft standing to use his first question to the team with which he saw himself spending his foreseeable future as a chance to talk up another prospect. I can only speak for myself, I suppose, but there are certainly on-ice opinions I'd value less than the one belonging to a player I had my sights set on selecting first overall. Especially when he drags his balls all over the ground he eventually left the room on in going entirely out of his way to correct me in making such a convincing case for someone other than himself.
The truth is that Patrick Moynihan was probably pretty close to the next man up on the Devils' draft board at Pick #158 with or without the prior input from Pick #1, but how can you not let yourself believe in the lore of a white lie when the last 72 hours feel like a fairy tale of a fantasy anyway?
Cam Newton Offered Another Passenger on His Flight $1,500 to Switch to a Seat With Less Leg Room and Got Reminded of What It's Like to be Regular
Just given the...shall we call it...tumultuous history of the player in question, there will likely be no shortage of people scoffing at Cam Newton trying to throw money at a rich person problem in trying to pay his way into a more comfortable spot in coach. I'd venture to guess the one thing that all those people have in common is a somewhat normal-sized human body that can be crammed uncomfortably into a uniformly-sized seat without a single concern regarding the profitability of their professional career. Point being, even though I am the furthest thing from a Cam Newton apologist, I can sympathize with his plight of being a 6'5 professional athlete who was willing to give a more than gracious gift to not have to jam his long legs, that are made even more precious by an arm of questionable accuracy, into the back of stranger's seat for ten hours on end. Even if it was a product of his own careless booking.
That being said, I am even more empathetic to a much more relatable plight, which is that of the passenger that told a high-end NFL quarterback straight to his face that his pride plus his traveling convenience couldn't be bought. I won't take umbrage with Cam Newton for his offer, but I will say that he re-learned a valuable lesson that he may have forgotten over the course of his career. That lesson, of course, being that going about the painstaking process of commercial travel, never mind a flight spanning multiple countries, without being unnecessarily bothered is priceless.
As far as I am concerned, negotiations on both sides were more than fair. I'd say going into said negotiations wearing sunglasses and a particularly pretentious hat made for an asshole-ish look that was easy to say "no" to out of principle, especially considering the shortness of one's patience when preparing to spend damn near a full day trapped in a steel tube thousands of feet in the air. Still, in my opinion it was an entirely understandable question and, to anyone that understands the inherent irritability of travel, an even more appreciable answer.
I shouldn't be as shocked as I am. Perhaps that's a feeling that comes naturally with an unprecedented and expedited influx of skill, creativity, personality, swag, and charisma (never mind high jersey numbers) into a lineup that might well have left Lou Lamoriello in need of a Xanax and a 1995 Stanley Cup Championship VHS. However, the moves, as impactful as they'll presumably be to the present and the future of the organization that almost immediately went from one appearance on national television last season to being one of the most intriguing teams in the entire league next season, aren't anything we shouldn't have seen coming.
I was skeptical that the most dispiriting price tag on a formidable first-pairing defenseman wouldn't be the one that was preceded by a dollar sign, but leave it to Ray Shero to pull off a heist in doing exactly what he said he was going to do all along. That, of course, being the use of a little luck, a lot of patience, and some maniacal cap management to push the Devils into contention at the perfect time. With Taylor Hall stopping just one step short of begging for a real reason to make New Jersey the place where he can attempt to do some all-too-elusive winning, that perfect time wasn't any one of countless times fickle fans bitched for Ray Shero to majorly overpay in making a minor move for the sake of making a move. Rather, it was the 24 hour window in which the franchise was given the type of facelift that leaves you in complete disbelief of what your suddenly seeing in the mirror.
Regardless of what happened at the World Championships, Jack Hughes was basically an inevitable addition. The Devils now have the type of one-two punch down the middle that's knocked out no shortage of playoff opponents throughout recent Cup runs. Perhaps just as importantly, that second punch is one that is liable to completely take your breathe away as quite easily the most dynamic offensive prospect the franchise has ever gotten their hands on at a time when dynamism is at an absolute premium throughout the NHL. It might not be from Day 1, as the kid could definitely benefit from sprouting a few more ass hairs, so to speak, but Jack Hughes was born to be a game-changer.
In that sense, it makes total sense as to why his selection is what ultimately changed the way Ray Shero was playing the high-risk game of rebuilding. Make no mistake, trading for PK Subban is a risk, as he is now past his prime and performing below his pay grade. However, it's a risk that's almost entirely mitigated by giving up a package centered around a former 7th round pick, albeit one that has developed into much more, for a player at a position of desperate need whose prime literally had him atop the conversation for best defenseman in the league. As far as I know, 90 out of 100 is still an 'A', and there are hardly any blue-liners on the Devils that could have dreamed of grading out with Scott Stevens-level scores over the last few seasons. This is a massive upgrade that makes the depth throughout the right side of the Devils' defense flat out dangerous. It might be one that's objectively overpriced, but it's one whose expiration date so conveniently coincides with those of entry level steals like Jack Hughes and Ty Smith that you'd think this was all planned out years in advance if that were even remotely possible.
Despite his seat getting hotter, mostly just amongst a petty and premature public opinion, Ray Shero repeatedly maintained that everyone should just chill before filling the two biggest holes on his roster in less than 24 hours. Admittedly, this all feels like a franchise-altering blur, but this is a picture that was outlined ad nauseam by the man that just painted a large portion of his masterpiece. It may have become harder and harder to hear him out, but if you did then you shouldn't be quite as dumbfounded by debatably the fiercest fleecer of cap-strapped teams continuing to do what he's done best in picking first overall and making a lop-sided trade for the type of talent that you usually need far more than money to buy.
I don't know about you, but I'm starting to think he may have been onto something more than serendipity in not sacrificing a long-term vision that's blindingly brighter than it has ever been for a short-term payoff of a couple more points in the standings. It was a great "day" to be New Jersey Devils' fan, which means it was also a great day to be their MVP...
The Tampa Bay Rays Received the MLB's Permission to Look into Becoming a Two City/Country Team by Playing Half Their Home Games in Montreal. Yes, Really.
I'd ask "what in the devil?", but I'm pretty sure that word is frowned upon amongst the tens upon tens of true blue Rays' diehards out there. Honestly, I've tried repeatedly to read that tweet without spending the next few minutes staring at my screen in complete confusion as if i had just come face-to-face with the most malicious of Magic Eye poster, and I just can't do it. The thought of a professional team theoretically having to go through customs in traveling from one "home" game to the next is so beyond the realm of any sort of reality that I can't even begin to logically process the logistics of international dual residency in sports.
That being said, I have no choice but to applaud the creativity. It's certainly a bit shameless to desperately pander to the forgotten fans in Montreal in Expos'ing and exploiting a vulnerable market for an long-overdue uptick in attendance. However, it's a hell of a lot more innovative an idea than trying to tempt people to buy tickets by offering them lukewarm "hot" dogs for a dollar a piece.
Now, I haven't the slightest clue if it's even remotely feasible, but it's Expo-nentially more interesting than anything the Rays have done throughout a recent history that even 80% of Tampa Bay residents would consider a myth if not for the results being recorded. Seeing as there ain't no such as halfway crooks, I don't know why you wouldn't just drop 'The Trop' and steal an organization in it's entirety from a city that's largely liable to leave it's front door unlocked and allow you to do so. Still, I'd be lying if I said moving the team to Montreal full-time was anywhere near as intriguing as making them the first regional polygamists in pro sports. If only because this idea seems laughably doomed for failure in pissing off pro athletes that feel as though having two homes is essentially the same as having none, I absolutely love it for how preposterously crazy it is in its cutting-edge counter-productivity.
Anthony Davis is Employed by an Incompetent Organization, And for the First Time in a Long Time it is Not the New Orleans Pelicans
Ya know, I can't help but wonder if Anthony Davis is a fan of irony. I know he's a fan of the idea of playing alongside another transcendent talent in LeBron James during a convenient time in which the league has been busted wide open by the dethroning of a damaged dynasty, but is he a fan of irony? Make no mistake, the conclusion to his messy, drawn out divorce proving symbolic of the Pelicans' finally figuring it out in the front office in moving him to a franchise whose The Office-esque parody of a front office makes the one that largely wasted his limitless talent for seven years look competent by comparison is a prime example of it.
I don't want to speak on behalf of the self-awareness of a 7-foot freak of nature that let himself be paraded around as nothing more than the most precious of pawn by Klutch Sports. However, Anthony Davis has to see the self-deprecating humor in Rob Pelinka and the Los Angeles Lakers salary crapping their pants in failing to realize that they had yet to open up enough space for another max contract in acquiring him, right? He's definitely in a better position to win now and win big in front of much fuller crowds, but he's also in a position to become quite the punchline in wanting nothing more than to be tasked with throwing buckets of water on the Lakers' dumpster fire of dysfunction.
LeBron, AD, and - to a lesser extent - Kyle Kuzma make for an unconscionably formidable front court, but whatever help they might be getting isn't coming from the men and women running a complete circus of a shitshow. As far as I could tell, mismanagement was one of the main reasons for Rich Pau...I mean, Anthony Davis' trade demand in the first place. Therefore, he better hope he doesn't finish in second place or worse if he doesn't want to be mocked for defiantly deviating from the now ridiculously reinforced 'Road to Zion' just to run directly into the same type of dead-end that he did his damnedest to avoid. Simply put, if organizational stability was high on his list of priorities then, in waving off David Griffin to go from Dell Demps to Rob Pelinka, his list of priorities is still laughably unfulfilled and in a fairly familiar way.
The Fact That I Can't Immediately Dismiss This Story Tells You All You Need to Know About Kyrie Irving
To be as clear as the day is long, let me first say that the only person I'm less likely to take at their word than Doug Gottlieb is...well...Doug Gottlieb when he's making a guest appearance on the Colin Cowherd show. To put it lightly, I'm suspicious of this story's validity.
That said, it speaks volumes to the quirkiness of subject that my suspicion is based entirely on the source, as opposed to the flat out foolishness of a tale that would seem tall if not for featuring the NBA player who is most likely to come off as dumb in an exaggerated effort to sound smarter than he is. As someone that fears Kyrie Irving might come to Brooklyn and be late to the Nets' home opener because he let the universe guide his path to Barclays Center after turning off his location to go MIA to the all-knowing eye, I can't entirely dismiss this as fake news. Whether or not it's true is actually kind of irrelevant, because it being even mildly believable in a "sounds about right" sort of way is a problem in and of itself.
I don't know for sure that he was walking around the Celtics' facilities asking people for their personal meaning of 'government' like he was conducting a verbal admissions test to Tinfoil Cap University, but Kyrie Irving is way out there and it's not because he accidentally stepped off the edge of the Earth. Rather, it's because, much like someone opening their eyes as wide as possible to fight off exhaustion, he tries so incredibly hard to be woke that he's ironically one step away from being asleep at the wheel. Just his Instagram captions alone are proof of someone who makes for an odd mix in being a type of pretentious that you can't help but pity.
Obviously he's still an insanely talented basketball player, despite what his percentages from this postseason might show, but he'sone that is just a little too close to giving up his hoop dreams to pursue the type of "truths" outlined in rarely viewed but oddly convincing YouTube videos.
Max Scherzer Broke His Nose by Bunting the Ball Off His Own Face During Batting Practice, In Case You Needed Another Argument for Universal DH's
There you have it. Your irrefutable evidence that what a professional sport whose leagues (multiple) operate under some idiotically non-uniform rule regarding something as fundamental as batting orders doesn't need is more, never mind any, pitchers "trying" to hit.
Granted, the visual of Max Scherzer flashing the form of a 5-year-old in fouling the MLB equivalent of a floater pitch off his face during the practice of something he has little need to make perfect was sadistically hilarious. However, I think we can agree that if the only reward to be gained from a 3x Cy Young-winning stud stepping to the plate is a blooper fit for 'America's Funniest Home Videos' then it doesn't quite match up with the risk of him sacrificing nothing more than a straight schnoz and an intact septum with a bunt.
I assume the same could be said about having almost all of baseball's best arms focus primarily on throwing. Maybe having everyone play a game, whose plunge in popularity was pretty much predestined due to its refusal to adapt to an era in which excitement is at an all-time premium in professional sports, by the same rules could be a good idea. That is, if maximizing entertainment value by protecting pitchers from themselves, highlighting the game's greatest hitters, and showcasing the most lethal offenses available were anywhere near as traditionally gratifying as (near) automatic outs are in the National League.
Skip Bayless Seems to Think There is Some Truth to the "Report" of James Harden Leaving Practice in Tears After CP3 Made Fun of His Man-Boobs
Incredible. Just simply incredible. It can't imagine it gets anymore satisfying than watching the consummate troll wander aimlessly into the internet's unforgiving forest of fiction only to get the wool pulled over his eyes by a much more creative troll. A patently ridiculous "report" that reads as though the reigning NBA MVP has basically been a tumultuous teammate's mood swing away from receiving an atomic wedgie at any time throughout the last two seasons? Talk about having your britches beat off you in your own game.
I honestly don't know what I appreciate more, that the current age of social media allows us to trick contrived public personas into sounding even more incredibly stupid, or that the current age of the NBA (that would be best labeled as "rebellious teen") is just dramatic enough for something so egregiously satirical to be taken at all seriously.
Either way, the combination of the two just got the most shameless of sports' personalities to utter "man boobs" on-air with 100% sincerity. For that I will eternally grateful, as it shows exactly how much we...ahem...milk narratives, such as that of Chris Paul being an insufferably big-mouthed bully...or that of James Harden being a soft and lazy lactater...or that of the both of them sharing the same backcourt would create an inevitable fight fit for 5th grade recess.
If only Skip Bayless had finished reading the entirety of the thread, preferably in that same dumbfounded/stern/disappointed tone...
To be clear, it really shouldn't be all that comforting that the General Manager of a young NHL team on the rise isn't worried about sparing the feelings of his competition in the cutthroat quest to acquire more talent. It really should be common sense that Ray Shero, or anyone else in his position, would take full advantage of every opportunity contractually afforded to him in making his team better. Unfortunately, lazy narrative or not, history speaks to that not being the case, as some sort of unspoken gentleman's agreement makes for a better explanation than anything else that might explain the continued absence of offer sheets throughout the NHL over the years.
So, while I don't know that I'd want Ray Shero to go down such an asset-expensive path in improving his roster, it is good to know that he's not the type to shy away from taking a long look down it like some of the executives that frame their cowardice as consideration. "Fuck that shit" couldn't possibly do a better job mirroring my feelings on the matter of playing nice with other negotiators, so I'm glad it came out of the filterless mouth of the man tasked with taking the New Jersey Devils to the next level by any stupidly stigmatized means necessary.
If robbing cap-strapped teams of their restricted free agents is wrong then Ray Shero clearly isn't overly worried about being right. That's exactly the type of mindset you want your primary decision maker to have when you're in the business of risk-taking, never mind one that hopefully has over-anxious Devils' fans putting a pin in their pissing and moaning, at least until we're anywhere remotely near the eye of the offseason storm.
The Saints Sound Willing to Pay Top-Dollar to Keep Michael Thomas Happy, As They Know Better Than Anyone That He's Not Someone You Want to Make Mad
Money. If you've been paying any attention whatsoever to Michael Thomas' social media presence, two themes were mistakable. The first being an unrelenting adoration of all things New Orleans, and the second was...you guessed it...money. After both statistically and aggressively proving every team that passed on him wrong, multiple times over, a higher grade of fuel was needed to keep accelerating his eternally dissatisfied drive to remain dominant, and what motivator throws more gas on a competitive fire than money?
Unfortunately, being on an insatiable search to secure the bag meant that the adversary most likely to become the target of Michael Thomas' immutable irritability was the franchise for which he has become an emotional leader. For that reason, this surprise that Mickey Loomis and New Orleans Saints are, for the first time in a long time, more than willing to break the bank on a skill position is a pleasant one that serves as precautionary damage control to what could have pretty easily become a distraction.
The wide receiver that proved, time and time again, that you can't guard him has earned a payday unprecedented at his position, and giving Michael Thomas the ability to flex on every last one of his peers by offering him what he earned is the best way to keep his eyes laser-focused on a much more elusive prize. The thing that made him so great, with that being hyper-competitiveness, is also one of the only things that could have caused a rift in an otherwise cohesive culture if he, rightfully or wrongfully, felt disrespected within his own organization. Said organization appears ready to reinforce what's been an insanely productive relationship in approximately 100 million different ways, and the negotiating table was exponentially more likely to be the place where it went awry than the football field or the locker room.
Now, I do have a slight hesitancy towards setting the market for a pass catcher when they haven't proven to be a time-honored piece to the championship puzzle, but Michael Thomas is the type of irreplaceable playmaker that can help ease an inevitable transition from an elite quarterback. He's a prominent member of a young, talented core, and if the Saints are going to keep open their window after they, Lord willing, send Drew Brees off into the sunset with a second Super Bowl then they are going to need to both retain and lean heavily on said core.
To put it another way, I can promise you that this implication that a deal is all but done sits well Teddy Bridgewater, so it stands to reason that it should also set well with the fans who expect to see him starting under center sooner rather than later. Michael Thomas has proven too money not to be paid handsomely, and doing so now should keep happy a guy who, as opposing corners can attest, you certainly don't want to see mad.
Not on the Umpires Association's Watch Will You Chastise Their Officials Without Being Harshly Reprimanded By Hashtags
While I think that "aggressive arguing" is a pretty lame basis for a suspension, I can't really get myself too riled about a player being sentenced to a one (of 162) game timeout. Especially since it was for challenging the eternally fragile masculinity of umpires that are well-known for accepting any and all forms of screaming, yelling, and finger-pointing, so long as it's part of their own, and only their own, over-reactionary displays of emotion. Simply put, Manny Machado basically asked for supplementary discipline with a how he acted in throwing around his helmet, his bat, about five dozen words that require censorship, and the most pugnacious of pointer fingers, so I'm not all that upset that he got it.
Where I draw the line, however, is with the Umpires Association's weaponizing the internet against him by having their 65-year-old intern hike his khakis up to his nipples and looking up what a hashtag is before centering his spectacles and slowly-but-surely typing out a bunch of inflammatory phrases, letter-by-letter, to show widespread disapproval of player disagreement all throughout the Twitter machine...
Tagging the MLB, the San Diego Padres, and...::audible gasp::...Buster Olney in their attempt to libelously label Manny Machado an unappreciated purveyor of nonsense throughout any and all internet groups that are religiously checking up on the recent additions to #Disappointed and/or #TemperTantrum? Well, in my opinion, that's taking vigilante justice too damn far....never mind setting the intended use of technology as far back in society's rearview as baseball's repressed sensibilities.
Yankee Stadium Greeted Giants' Daniel Jones With a Rousing Chorus of Boos, As it Has Become Pretty Hard Not to Feel Bad for the Kid
Leave it to nauseatingly insufferable New York sports' fans to ruin a great thing with their entirely unjustified entitlement. First it was a laundry list of overpaid yet under-appreciated superstars that didn't quite account for the rampant toxicity of the fly-by-night human fleas that the limelight attracts. Now it's the pleasure the rest of us were deriving from watching the Giants do backflips in trying to secure Eli Manning's starting job until his AARP card arrived in the mail.
Honestly, watching Daniel Jones take the stage on draft day, and - more importantly - listening to the bitching and moaning of a fickle fanbase that had not one reason to expect a more rational pick before he did was absolutely delightful. Ever since, unfortunately, I can't help but feel bad for a rookie who isn't even being given a real chance by a city that is trying to self-fulfill his prophecy with failure before their first round pick even steps on an NFL field in any sort of meaningful way. To feel better about pointing and laughing at Giants' fans for their feces-flinging front office, I'm going to need them to start believing in the shit their team has thrown against the wall. I just don't feel right being a part of the world that is clearly against a young, talented player who certainly didn't idiotically draft himself at 6th overall when that world is also inhabited by a bunch of (up-their-own) assholes dressed in Eli jerseys and cloaked in nonsensical superiority complexes.
I genuinely hope David Gettleman made the mistake of all mistakes when he trusted misinformation and highly-opinionated anecdotal evidence to make a selection that no one else in their right (or wrong, for that matter) mind would have. However, I'm going to need the Giants' fans of the greater New York area to get on board with that potential mistake so that I can take comfort in knowing that Daniel Jones will have some support on the ship while I mock its General Mismanager as he inevitably navigates it directly into a goddamn iceberg.
The Rockets Have Reportedly Had "Preliminary Talks" About Trading Chris Paul, Which is Executive-Speak for "Short Conversations"
TheAthletic- The Rockets have had conversations around Capela — and had preliminary conversations about All-Star Chris Paul, including discussing Paul deals with teams that have the necessary cap space to absorb his three years and $125 million after the free-agency moratorium in July, league sources said. Rockets GM Daryl Morey said publicly that the team does not plan to trade Paul.
I'm not going to hate too hard on this report. When you've got an asset as distressed as a 34-year-old, perpetual pain in the ass who is somehow only going to become more oft-injured with age, you really have no other form of recourse than to do and/or say anything to exaggerate its value. For that reason, I understand Daryl Morey floating his name on the trade block like that trade block won't be abandoned in an entire ocean of its own as Chris Paul collects the NBA equivalent of $125 million in social security while incessantly bitching at James Harden like he's the son he's eternally disappointed in...
That being said, the usage of "preliminary talks", as if said preliminary talks aren't similar to those that you might have with a stranger at a bar before she takes the drink you bought her and disappears forever, is absolutely hilarious. Making it sound as though only the details need to be hammered out when the devil is more alive and well than ever before in those details is just laughably misleading.
Something tells me that if Daryl Morey manages to keep you on the line, by hook or by crook, long enough for the FBI to figure out your whereabouts, he considers you officially complicit in preliminary talks regarding the acquisition of his most expensive and annoying anchor. So long as the phone call doesn't end extremely quick with an abrupt click, you're in the market for a middle-aged malcontent. So much so, that I wouldn't be half-surprised if those that made the mistake of picking up haven't had to go through a 6-step process to unsubscribe from daily e-mails reminding them that Chris Paul is on the clearance rack.
I don't know that the Rockets had much of a choice when it came to extending CP3 in hopes that he'd help them win a championship before contaminating the team, but they might have even less of a choice when it comes to keeping him on a catastrophic contract that's gotten worse every single second since it was signed.
Congratulations to Everyone That Had Mid-June in the 'First Time Aaron Rodgers Gets Pissy About the New Playbook' Pool
Mini-camp. Fucking mini-camp. I thought I was a little too skeptical of Aaron Rodgers' ability to maintain a professional relationship and compromise with a new Head Coach by having productive back-and-forth conversations about the playbook behind closed doors. Yet, even I had my first "told ya so" tentatively scheduled towards the end of training camp.
That's not to say that the most irritable arm in the NFL doesn't make a fair point about winning games by way of winging it, as he's done just that an entirely inconceivable amount of times over the course of a career that wasn't exactly maximized with Mike McCarthy having the adaptability of AOL. It is, however, to say that getting passive aggressive about play calls before even running them in pads is a precursor to a pretty familiar type of petulance. Matt LaFleur is is still getting used to gimping around on a torn Achilles and he's already got his superstar starting quarterback undercutting him out of nowhere in handicapping his hold on the philosophy that got him hired in the first place.
I don't want to give too much benefit of the doubt to someone whose last gig had him teasing what ended up being an endlessly impotent Titans' offense, but it stands to reason that more than a quick summer fling with Matt LaFleur's style would breed a little freedom within it. Kind of feels like Aaron Rodgers hit 'Install' on a new operating system, saw the loading bar have a quick hiccup around 12%, slapped the entire fucking computer off the table, and immediately went back to drawing up plays in the dirt. Spent all offseason discrediting any and all reports of an entire era of undeniable agitation atop the Packers' organization only to start massaging his own ego, at the expense of his new progressive play-caller's peace of mind, the first time he had an audible abolished.
In fairness, he has earned the right to be more of an arrogant asshole than most. That, however, doesn't make him any less of an arrogant asshole for going out of his way to create a little tension in the locker room before going out of his way to put a name to every new face in it.