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.
The Saints and Michael Thomas Have Begun Talks on an Extension, So Cue the Cautious Optimism of What is a Prematurely Positive Development
PFT- Payton said that the team and Thomas “probably have already begun discussions” about an extension. Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis confirmed that was the case during an appearance on Mad Dog Sports Radio without saying much else about where things stand.
“Yeah, listen, we’ve had some conversations, and I like keeping that close to the vest until there’s something to report,” Loomis said. “Look, we love what Mike’s done for us. He’s a fantastic player, one of the best at his position in the league, and hopefully we can keep him as a Saint for a longtime as well.”
Thomas, who is in the final year of his rookie deal, said last month that he’s “pretty certain that everything will get taken care of” in time to ensure he stays in New Orleans.
Realistically, the only thing to take away from this relatively meaningless morsel of information is that both the New Orleans Saints and Michael Thomas are interested in prolonging what only the incredibly cocksure Ohio State product could have predicted to be as mutually beneficial a relationship as it has been. Seeing as it's not all that surprising that a player who has embraced all things New Orleans and a team that is currently at its most promising due in large part to his productivity are interested in lasting the long haul, I can't put too much stock in the fact that contract talks have commenced. I suppose it's a good sign that said contract talks haven't sent Michael Thomas into one of his infamous Twitter tirades, but I'd imagine that things are still quite far from a done deal.
Simply put, when it comes down to brass tacks, there's not one single reason to believe that an athlete who has made no bones about being in search of a secure bag will waive any sort of tax on behalf of anyone. In order to get Michael Thomas to legitimately listen, the money is going to have to talk. That same money has been hesitant to speak to other prominent playmakers that have, to varying extents, been a product of Sean Payton's offensively-friendly system. I don't doubt that it will actually raise its voice this time around, as Michael Thomas has both the tools and early resume to be far and away the best wide receiver in Saints' history. I do, however, wonder whether it'll boast loudly enough to out-annunciate the entirety of a market that Michael Thomas might very well envision himself setting, despite it being one that hasn't historically returned too many titles from the top down.
Someone who has backed up his moniker in proving pretty damn unguardable has already made as great a case to break the bank on the field as he has on social media, so time will tell if two, at times, temperamental sides can come to terms. However, barring a sizable concession one way or the other, I can't exactly see that time being upon us.
Kyle Lowry Started a Resounding "5 More Years!" Chant, And Kawhi Leonard Was More Unfazed Than Humanly Possible
Unbelievable. Simply unbelievable. We're in an age of the NBA in which fans are at their most investigative in finding any little easter egg that might hint at a player's mindset and/or potential movement. Yet, any easter egg to be uncovered might as well have been hidden by a career crook as the only reaction that Kawhi Leonard was willing to offer up as reading material to millions of people in attendance to honor him as much as the franchise he carried to new heights was the most hollow of hardcovers. Seemingly the whole damn country of Canada, never mind the city of Toronto, begging for his acceptance, and the only NBA superstar capable of doing so remained entirely undeterred in expression.
Hell, even his Uncle Dennis got wrapped in the emotion of the moment and threw up five fingers, that might eventually be seen as a wave goodbye if his client does end up leaving for sunnier skies, but the client in question? Hardly an acknowledgement of the countless people pleading for even a pea-sized indication of impending commitment from someone whose smile and posture were having none of anything that could even be remotely interpreted as a reply. Other than that dethroning his second dynasty has helped him rediscover that thing most people call happiness, I haven't the slightest clue what Kawhi Leonard was thinking in that moment. That makes it all the more amazing that he has yet to have driven his actual wife to the nuthouse in dating outside his marriage to basketball, as his intentions are impossible to unearth from under an impenetrable poker face.
P.S. The machine. It...it...it's...SELF AWARE!!!
An NFL Reporter Taught His Son a Powerful Lesson (About Taking Yourself Far Too Seriously) by Destroying His Tee-Ball Participation Trophy and Posting it Online
I don't want to act as though I don't get the premise of pulverizing a pity prize for participation, because I do. Society as a whole has become increasingly concerned with making children feel like winners, as if legitimate winners are even possible without a hell of a lot more losers. There are definitely lessons to be learned from the disappointment of going home empty-handed, and those lessons aren't being taught as often amongst sports.
Unfortunately, I have a hard time believing that breaking the smiley-face of a baseball off an award that was given for showing up to play a sport in which success is quite literally placed on a tee for all children to repeatedly swing wildly at, without limit, is the best way to teach those lessons. After all, we are talking about kids who still need to be helplessly directed around the base paths with an urgency that would put my father's oft-ignored GPS to shame. Therefore, whether Albert Breer's 5(ish?)-year-old son is eventually MLB material or not, I have serious doubts that he fully understands the "lasting" impact of his dad destroying his otherwise attic-bound piece of crap for the greater good of attention on Instagram.
I genuinely hope this is an example of an NFL reporter showing a sense of humor in mocking the type of former NFL player that it goes ill-advised to mock, in James Harrison, but it being posted with complete sincerity âis neither anywhere near out of the question nor at all rational.
There Isn't a Jacket Thick Enough to Save You From Suffering Douche Chills While Watching Brad Marchand Shamelessly Celebrate 2nd Place
Let me first say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with professional athletes letting loose, in almost any way they see fit, after putting in an extraordinary amount of effort and sacrifice prior to suffering a painstaking end to their season. Any fan that disagrees and think that players should be holed up in dark bedrooms wrapped in a thick cloak of humiliation and spending all summer sweating out their shame is an insufferable asshole. That's especially true when those players came within a couple unfortunate bounces of securing the most physically demanding trophy in all of sports.
That being said, with the lone exception being any or all Stanley Cup Champions, these things can also be pretty uniformly said...
A 31-year-old man dancing on top of a bar is a bad look.
A 31-year-old man with a soul patch dancing on top of a bar is a worse look.
A 31-year-old man with a soul patch dancing on top of a bar topless is an even worser look.
A 31-year-old man with a soul patch dancing on top of a bar topless while wearing ski goggles is the worst of looks.
Yet, none of things instances, in and of themselves, quite compare to a 31-year-old man with a soul patch dancing on top of a bar topless while wearing ski goggles in case of errant champagne during a celebration of second place in representation of a city that is entirely up its own ass in accepting nothing less than first. The only thing that compares to that, in terms of being objectively embarrassing, is a laughably untimely line change that played a prominent role in a team being left to tearfully watch history made on their home ice...
Again, to be very clear, Brad Marchand has every right to singlehandedly compromise the stick-up-the-ass superiority complex on Boston sports' by giving the entire internet second-hand douche chills. I just want to clarify that that is exactly what he did with a painfully cringeworthy display, fitting of a frat brother who forgot he graduated, that proved he's just as unabashedly unlikable off the ice as he is on it. Someone should call pest control because I can't be the only one whose skin legitimately crawled while watching a grown ass man so obnoxiously revel in being a runner-up.
Arena INsecurity: The Sheriff's Deputy That Got in a Shoving Match With Masai Ujiri Immediately After The Raptors Won the Title is Pursing a Battery Charge
CBC- U.S. authorities will push for a battery charge against Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri after the executive was accused of pushing and hitting a sheriff's deputy in the face as he tried to get onto the court when his team won the NBA title in Oakland, Calif., a police spokesman said Friday.
Moments after the Raptors won their first NBA championship Thursday night, Ujiri allegedly assaulted a local police officer at Oracle Arena, the sheriff's office said.
A spokesperson for the Alameda County Sheriff's Office said Ujiri was making his way to the court when he was stopped by a sheriff's deputy and asked for his credentials.
"This deputy had no idea who [Ujiri] was," Sgt. Ray Kelly said in a phone interview.
Ujiri didn't have the credentials on him, Kelly said, adding that the former NBA executive of the year then allegedly pushed the deputy out of the way in an effort to get on the court.
"Our deputy pushed the man back and told him he couldn't go onto the court," Kelly alleged. "At that point, the gentleman pushed our deputy again, and during that push his arm struck our deputy in the jaw."
He said at that point NBA security intervened and Ujiri was able to get onto the court. A local television station, NBC Bay Area, shared video from the immediate aftermath of the alleged incident that appears to show another man separating the deputy from Ujiri, who is then led onto the court by Raptors guard Kyle Lowry.
Kelly said that rather than arrest Ujiri on international television, the department decided to take the "high road" and file a misdemeanour complaint to local prosecutors. He said the officer was not seriously injured in the alleged incident, but did complain of pain in his jaw.
"We'll be submitting a report to the Alameda County district attorney for complaint of battery on an officer," he said.
Asked about the appearance of a well-known executive being held back from celebrating a historic win with the team he built, Kelly said optics were of no concern.
"There is a credentialling policy that the NBA has in place. Everybody from the top executives all the way down ... know that you must wear credentials to get on the court," he said. "We would expect more from a team president."
This is just sad. It's one thing for a sheriff's deputy to let his authority complex get the best of him in somehow being unfamiliar with one of the very few faces that absolutely needs on the court after the conclusion of the NBA Championship. That's bad enough in its own right. However, taking that mistake a step further by doubling down on an alleged absence of credentials, that can clearly be seen clutched in the hand of Masai Ujiri throughout the entirely of the altercation, and crying victim of "battery" after ending up on the ass end of nothing more than a complete misunderstanding of a shoving match?
Well, that's sufficient enough proof for me to say that this security guard, aside from any other potential wrongdoing, failed to fulfill the most basic of his job responsibilities in being the most insecure person in all of Oracle Arena.
I don't want to make things about race, because that's a deep conversation that requires far too much nuance. That said, these two instances both took place in the same building within the same week...
1) A very white and largely unknown minority owner of the Golden State Warriors shoved an active athlete, in Kyle Lowry, during an NBA Finals game then casually sat comfortably back down in his courtside seat before kindly and respectfully being asked to leave on his own accord minutes later...
2) The very black and largely recognizable President of the Raptors enthusiastically tried to get on the court after reaching the apex of his life's work as a longtime NBA executive and ended up getting into a physical altercation with law enforcement before, ironically enough, that same Kyle Lowry reached out and dragged him into a celebration for which he was a main honoree.
Again, I'm not going to definitively say that race played a huge role, but I'll leave it to you to attempt to draw alternative conclusions. After all, I can't think of too many other factors that can adequately explain such an eye-popping juxtaposition. Never mind the utterly shameless lack of understanding displayed by an officer that still refuses to swallow his pride and let one of two black men a top an NBA front office fully enjoy an incredible accomplishment after reaping the ultimate reward of his unprecedented risks.
Winning Finals MVP Meant so Much to Kawhi Leonard That He Forgot/Left The Trophy at the Podium After His Postgame Press Conference
Nothing if not symbolic. Hilariously fitting of a player that returned from a suspicious season off and led the entirety of a championship run like it wasn't as much of a redemption story as it was the conducting of business that's as usual as the refilling of an empty coffee pot, but mostly symbolic.
While many found themselves more enamored with debating whether or not Steph Curry would get the media-manipulated monkey off his back by adding a Finals MVP to his extensive trophy case, Kawhi Leonard mechanically engineered a near-unanimous heist (Hubie Brown, you good fam?) of it just to leave it sitting on a table like a complimentary bottle of warm water. If that doesn't speak to just how unwilling he is to be about the (incredibly entertaining) bullshit of basketball as a coldblooded competitor with the one goal of winning then I don't know what the hell does.
We're talking about an award that represents a Jordan-esque performance that willed his team to a peak previously unknown in toppling a dynasty and defining a legacy. Yet, I'm honestly not convinced that Kawhi Leonard forgot the Finals MVP trophy as much he just couldn't even be bothered to pick up something that didn't have the word 'Spalding' stamped on it.
I don't know if a species of Black Mamba whose assassinations are silent and that wouldn't be caught dead counting his rings with his fingers has been discovered as of yet, so I'll just assume that dude is a different breed. Judging from its apparent disinterest in all things shiny, it's safe to say that it's one that can only be satiated by success despite not giving a half of a damn about sinking its fangs into the glitz, glamor, and gold that comes with it.
Take a Hike Drake, Because 'Plant Guy' Was the Real Star of the Show in Toronto's City-Wide Celebration of the Raptors
I have to be honest, I love this dude, and that's saying a lot of someone that typically finds disturbing the appetite for destruction that long-suffering sports' fans seem to develop while amidst the chaos of absolute ecstasy. This is where environmentalists should close their eyes, because I think there's something about the relative harmlessness of matter of factly plucking a small tree out of the ground with the interior decorating of an NBA superstar at least satirically in mind that I can't help but find endearing. Plant Guy, with his 'Kawhactus' in hand, was so delightfully drunk and deadpan in explaining the intent of his pro bono grooming of Toronto's garden that I can't help but feel drawn to his cause.
And ya know what, oddly enough, no can say whether or not he contributed to the cause of
getting 'The Klaw' to dig in north of the border for the foreseeable future. If we know anything about Kawhi Leonard it's that we know almost nothing about Kawhi Leonard. I'd say it's about as likely that he is a fengshui aficionado as it is that he's interested in actually leaving his residence to eat free meals in...::robotic gasp::...public. Maybe the thought of uprooting greenery on his behalf plays to a love of fellow largely lifeless organisms and counts enough for him to spurn Southern California and consider rooting himself in Canada for the next 4-5 years. Almost definitely not, but you have to think out of the box when trying to persuade someone whose entire personality appears to packaged in one. Might as well attempt to warm his house to feel like a home before his blood turns back cold...
Regardless of whether or not they end up being in vain, I appreciate Plant Guy's efforts. After all, his ability to sarcastically(?) elaborate on them makes him unquantifiably less obnoxious than 99% of the fans doing patently stupid shit as a form of celebration.
The Warriors Lost More Than Just a Chance at Another Championship Last Night, As Klay Thompson Became a Casualty by Tearing His ACL in the Process
Unless the Golden State Warriors' empire was built on damp cardboard, "when it rains, it pours" doesn't seem like a destitute enough analogy to use in reference to a consummate champion finding out they basically lost another season while licking their wounds following a futile fight for a three-peat that turned fatalistic. The weather going from bad to worse doesn't quite encapsulate the sullen state of a dynasty dethroned, unless we're talking about the type of 100 year storm that would put Noah to work on his next Ark in potentially reshaping the entire landscape of the NBA.
With both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson currently being the most top-dollar of damaged goods, it remains to be seen what direction Golden State decides on going, but it's safe to say that neither they nor a previously predetermined NBA will ever be the same again. Throughout a postseason that wasn't short on shock value, every health-compromised Warrior had me saying to myself "not like this" about an overdue changing of the guard. That guard, while having just been manned by a Raptors' team that vindicated their decision to say "fuck it" to forethought in a way that might inspire copycats in the Anthony Davis' sweepstakes, is now up for grabs going forward. The West is suddenly wide-open on the heels of the East being owned by a group that manifested its destiny by adding the ultimate mercenary.
The way we got here reminds everyone to be careful what they wish for, as no one feels good about the sequence of events that ended the Warriors' reign, but the truth is that greatness never bows out gracefully. To say it was inevitable that injuries would eventually rear their unforgiving head makes for far too bleak of a fate-fulfilled horoscope, but their impact makes it impossible to ignore how much luck plays a factor come playoff time. It's honestly as if the basketball gods made up for lost time in blindsiding Golden State with a black cloud that became more and more saturated as their roster was a relentless ray of sunshine while tallying up titles. That doesn't make it all that much easier to accept the impending year-long absence of two of the NBA's top 10-15 talents, but it does a decent job of explaining how painstaking playing through June, seemingly annually, can be.
It could just be crushingly coincidental, but it certainly seems as though Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson just paid a hefty price, perhaps both figuratively and literally, for sustained success. In a fashion that speaks to the endless entertainment value of the most eventful offseason in sports, such devastating news might just make for a summer that is exponentially more interesting. What it doesn't do, however, is make for an enjoyable end to an era in the aftermath of what was otherwise an awesome NBA Finals.
Mike Vrabel Admitted to Hating Lines and Always Being in a Hurry, As if That Makes Him Special or Something
First and foremost, I have very little doubt that Mike Vrabel is a highly competitive person. I think that much is supported by him carving out a 14-year NFL career during which he was entrusted as a jack-of-all-trades by one of the greatest coaches in sports' history for a team that won three Super Bowls in four years. If, for some strange reason, that isn't enough proof of his aggressive ambition then his ability to transition to the sidelines with enough success to work his way up through the entirety of the ranks and snag a head coaching gig as a spry 42-year-old certainly should be.
That being said, him (over)valuing his time as an impatient person who hates lines enough to silently race other adult men to them does not make him special. That's not to say that he's not special. It's just to say that being an anxious and irritable asshole that wants to be where he wants to be when he wants to be there without anyone, his own family included, slowing him down or standing in his way only makes him as special as every non-special ingrate that spent a significant portion of their life living in the Northeast.
Perhaps instilling in his team the "kill or be killed"-type attitude that one develops when dealing with Massholes daily for nearly a decade could coincidentally inspire a sense of urgency that breeds winners on the football field. Sort of sounds like a big load of Belichickian bullshit, but I suppose I could see that being the case.
On the other hand, I could also see how forcing those around him to adopt the same socially abrasive mindset might make life less stressful for someone who has probably found himself biting his tongue while being inconvenienced by one too many tedious acts of Southern hospitality since his arrival in Tennessee. Judging by how taken aback the local media was by what is standard operating pissyness above the Mason-Dixon line, I'm leaning towards the latter, as strictly enforcing a speed minimum greatly reduces the road rage of those living life in the fast lane.
You know what, credit to that poor bastard. I typically find it obnoxious when adults go scrounging around for relatively useless foul balls that would mean so much more to the children standing idly by so as to not get bowled over by boozehounds, but a little self-awareness goes a hell of a long way.
As evidenced by his own bittersweet words, that dude very clearly didn't like what had become of him as a person as he got on all fours to swipe a little bit of joy away from the next generation. He wasn't happy to play the unruly asshole, but three decades is a long ass time that's undoubtedly been made to feel exponentially longer by the unrelenting thanklessness of rooting on his favorite team live. You know the extent of what that man's 30 years of loyalty have been rewarded with? Zero World Series, zero pennants, one division title, one wildcard berth, and one record-setting Ironman streak that now serves as symbolic in reminding him that the "best" part about Baltimore Orioles' baseball is its consistency in taking the field.
Point being, you're goddamn right he's going take what he can get, even if he has to begrudgingly take it right out from under the puppy dogs eyes of children who might as well get used to leaving Camden Yards disappointed. Not because he wants to, but because he basically has to if he's going to justify continuing to show up to watch the worst team in the sport as they go nowhere fast in a painfully familiar fashion.
This isn't a particularly surprising viewpoint from a player who has appeared fairly care-free in taking things as they come throughout a rocky (top) ride to the peak of his profession. In a lot of ways, Alvin Kamara's public persona comes off as the polar opposite of Michael Thomas', in that he remains pretty low-key in taking anything he may or may not take personally in a familiarly smooth stride. For that reason, I hardly envisioned him bashing those that were laughably far-sighted in not being able to see clearly an unprecedented playmaker while he was directly under their nose.
That said, can you imagine being one of the coaches that so poorly mismanaged the otherworldly talents of someone who went on to become the NFL's Offensive Player of The Year that said talents waited until the second day of the draft to get selected? Butch Jones has since been humbled, as he was interning as Nick Saban's most trusted window washer while Alvin Kamara was turning in a studly sophomore season...
However, I wouldn't be surprised if his original reality check came in the form of watching #41 make a stage out of every single Sunday. In fact, I don't even know how you don't look in the mirror after one of your offensive afterthoughts immediately becomes the NFL's ultimate X-factor, and question your entire life's work as a coach. Alvin Kamara is so preposterously versatile that you have to actively try harder to underutilize him that badly than you do to utilize him to the best of his abilities. We're talking eating steak with a spoon levels of stupid. If the former brain trust at Tennessee couldn't figure that out over the course of one single New Orleans Saints' offensive series then merely telling them how dumb their depth chart was when Jalen Hurd was a top it certainly isn't going to do the trick.
Let Brad Marchand's Tears Hydrate the Hockey World, As His Laughable Lack of Focus Played a Huge Part in Costing The Bruins a Stanley Cup
To be honest, I'm struggling for the words. The timing on a line change that all-too-perfectly resembled a rat choosing flight after having the brightest of lights turned directly on it while its mind was in a gutter was so mystifyingly stupid that I'm still damn near speechless. The most acceptable excuse for Brad Marchand scurrying off the ice as one of the last men back after whiffing defensively is that he thought periods had been changed to 19 minutes and 50 seconds in length. Unfortunately, he's probably going to have to do better than that to explain the otherwise inexplicable to the segment of the Bruins' fanbase that doesn't blindly blame Tuukka Rask (who was one win away from a Conn Smythe trophy, mind you) whenever they drunkenly dribble a little pee on their own pants.
Now, to say Brad Marchand is guilty of losing the entirety of a Game 7 with one lazy lack of awareness would quite obviously be false. However, to say that going down two downright deflating goals with mere seconds remaining in a period that the Bruins completed dominated otherwise against a road warrior of a opponent whose goaltender already successful stonewalled their best shot is an inglorious gut punch couldn't possibly be more truthful. There was still a ton of time left in the game, but the Bruins' odds of winning the Stanley Cup were dealt such a sperm-stunning kick to the crotch by an insurance goal that the league's biggest lover of low blows almost had to be complicit in it. Combine that with yet another no-show from a top line that basically bottomed-out offensively all series, and 'The Pest' was predominantly a pain in his own team's ass.
Of course, the Blues deserve a ton of credit for exterminating the impact of him and his linemates with a system that could suffocate even the most relentless rodent, but in playing 'Gloria' there's no more fitting undertone than the tearful face of failure belonging to Brad Marchand. After all, it was his familiar lack of focus that eternally altered a game that was well within reach...