More yesterday at Charlotte’s roval, as race leader Chase Elliot #9 wrecks himself on the restart. This after he had just won the second stage with clearly the fastest car in the field. This was a cut-down race (16 to 12), and Elliot’s stage win secured his place in the Round-of-12. Best drivers in the world, my ass…
I saw this live on NBC, and the analysts pointed out that Brad Keselowski & Kyle Larson (good drivers by NASCAR standards) did the same thing last year. Here it is…
This keeps happening because the restart takes a different route from than the one they race. That’s NASCAR stupidity on two fronts: 1) the restart at an unfamiliar speed & direction, and 2) drivers not learning from previous mistakes.
If you are a race fan, do you see these types of bonehead errors with such frequency in Indycar or F1?
Final NASCAR manipulation note: When Chase Elliot locked his brakes & skidded off the track into the Tums safer barrier, he was clear of the track with his car only suffering minor front-end damage. In real racing it would have been kept under green flag, and Chase Elliot would have to wait until everyone behind him cleared. Only then could he back out and return to the track.
But instead, NASCAR immediately threw the yellow flag, because Chase Elliot is an old-timer favorite & has solid sponsorship. Therefore, he gets the benefit of freezing the field, only dropping to 20th or so, while also getting a chance to go into the pits under yellow and get repairs.
“They took our power, and incorporated it into their system.”
Does this above quote from ESPN’s Football is US: The College Game Documentary, directed by Jonathan Hock, imply a Marxist perspective of labor power being co-opted for capitalist exploitation?
No, this is (again) a racialist narrative of “black power” being rolled into the “white system.” Rich black people who exploit (as well as poor white folks) don’t count in this distorted equation.
Football is US: The College Game Documentary, is to begin “five months of original content dedicated to recognizing college football’s place in history and society.”
This initial installment focuses heavily on historically black colleges & universities (HBCUs) as institutions of higher education in the United States, established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In college football, they served the same purpose as the Negro Leagues in baseball, giving black athletes an opportunity to compete at a high level, as well as an audience.
When de-segregation was introduced in the 1960’s, the enrollment of top black athletes at HBCUs declined, the same way the Negro Leagues did in the 1950’s, after Jackie Robinson entered MLB in 1947.
Generally among those who are educated & enlightened, these milestone achievements of integration are celebrated as progress, but not for today’s revisionist racialists.
To them, integration (sadly) hurt these all-black institutions, as the “white” NCAA stole their talent in order to re-enforce “Jim Crow dominance” in college football. These deluded racialists instead prefer to idealize the era of the Negro Leagues & HBCUs as mythical representations of “black power.”
The rest of this romanticized documentary is divided into several chapters. It begins with a look at the origins of the college game, discussing the many violent deaths that occurred on the field in its early years, and the formation of the regulatory institution that would later be known as the NCAA in 1905.
What’s missing is any discussion of football’s deep links to gambling & organized crime. Concussions, brain injuries & CTE are also glossed over, while words like “teamwork” & “sacrifice” are thrown around freely. Terms such as militarism, conformity, nationalism, domestic violence & PEDs are never mentioned.
In total, this concealment is meant to make football palatable & nostalgic, in response to those who have been turned off by recent revelations of its true ugliness. ESPN’s whitewash (with black stripes) tells us football is still a beautiful game– an indelible part of our culture & fabric of our society.
Just look at all the vicarious fans who wear football jerseys every weekend! Football is here to stay, because it is as American as Ford cars made by under-paid/over-extended, two-tiered workers, and as wholesome as GMO apple pie. Bon appétit!
Introduction: This is a self-analysis of my twelve most-viewed blog posts over the past year, dated as of this publication. This is what my fans (& haters) are viewing, so if you want to get up-to-speed, this is where to start.
These aren’t necessarily all of my best writings, just the most popular. I now have over 340 posts on this site, and there are several on politics which I consider to be my best, but aren’t among the most-viewed. This is strictly how my readers have judged the writings.
These essays span a period of over 5 years, from August 2014, up to last week. This proves these writings have weight & substance, which makes them not only timely reporting, but classics which last into posterity– unlike the garbage propaganda produced by corporate fake news media.
Final note: I excluded FREE Music Downloads (the coolest original downloads page, anywhere!) from this list. Pages with my music content are different from written publications, which are posted as a blog. FREE Music Downloads would have ranked 12th on this list, just ahead of the MST3K piece.
1)Why Does Danica Patrick Wreck So Often in NASCAR? Published March 14, 2016, this is still my number-one, most-viewed article– by a 3:1 margin over the runner-up. This piece made me infamous as a blogger for lots of reasons. The subject is both beautiful & controversial. The content & style was revolutionary. A few of the damning YouTube videos I originally linked have been taken down, which only proves the case further. Danica Patrick retired from racing over a year ago, and yet she still remains relevant to the public. Many right-wing gun nuts link this piece around their forums. You don’t have fans without gaining haters too– that’s the lesson here.
2)NFL History: The Super Bowl Era Published August 16, 2014 along with American Football & Early NFL History, my intention was to kill the NFL. I played football on the playground as a kid, and loved the game. But for a long time the NFL has been allowed to mask its ugliness & violent nature in glory, and that is dangerous. I care mostly about current football players who have to deal with this, and if this two-part historical essay discouraged one kid from joining this mad parade of concussions & conformity (or encouraged a player to leave), then it served its purpose.
3)Taipan! (1982): Gameplay Basics & Tips Published May 10, 2015, and I’ll confess this is my all-time favorite– for several reasons. Firstly for me, it is the most personal in spirit. This game is elegant, thrilling & difficult– it simply kicks ass. I re-discovered something beautiful here which had been lost, and shared its secrets with everybody. The programmer of Taipan! is brilliant, as this ancient computer game has layers of nuances which need to be peeled back like an onion in order to discern its essence. There are life lessons here and if you don’t understand the game, then you don’t have a chance of succeeding.
4) Patient Refunds at Aspen Dental Published August 30, 2017 as a discussion on dental ethics. I am still a dentist by profession, since I can’t make money at music or writing– due to blacklisting censorship. The videos I posted of Aspen Dental’s then-latest advertising campaign have all been taken down by their owners. Aspen Dental is a joke, a disgrace to the profession. Hedge-fund investors, Wall Street, and multi-national corporations have ruined the professions of medicine in the 1980’s & 1990’s, and then dentistry in the 2000’s.
5) The Ambidextrous Athlete Published November 26, 2016, this piece references medical essays previously written on hip & back injuries. This article is more of a layman approach, discussing the benefits of becoming ambidextrous. The originality of this is that it targets people of all age. Most sports training essays are written for young athletes or professionals, but the healing & energizing power of ambidexterity applies to all ages. So whether it’s training oneself to be the dominant Next-Gen athlete in a sport, orrehabilitating old injuries, this piece has revolutionary ideas & overflows with pearls of wisdom.
6)Where Were You When…? Published January 1, 2016 because I had just seen Soaked in Bleach (2015) on Netflix. It turns out Kurt Cobain was most-likely murdered by his wife Courtney Love & her accomplice Michael “Cali” Dewitt. This conspiracy is not to be discussed in the music industry, nor mainstream media, but by this point the fans already know. I was a big Nirvana fan back in the day, and Kurt Cobain was a huge influence on my performing & songwriting style. Being murdered is better than suicide, but someday this case needs to be re-opened so an honest investigation can proceed. I included many photos of what’s left of the evidence. These pictures of the crime scene & suicide note, as well as Cobain’s personal notes, have become harder to find over the years on the internet. People come here to get them.
7) Lieutenant Columbo on the Jeffery Epstein case Published August 10, 2019, just 9 days ago [!]– this became an instant classic. This event took up precisely one week’s news cycle, and has already been flushed by the media. Where is the CC video of Jeffery Epstein’s cell during his death? One can’t even make a case for cause-of-death, much less close it, without that crucial & definitive evidence. My follow-up titled Conspiring to squelch conspiracy theories published on August 14, 2019 completes my thoughts for now. The photo above is Jeffery Epstein walking with Prince Andrew in Central Park, NYC. There are still lots of loose ends to tie up here, if you know what I mean.
8) Marquette: What’s in a Name? Published February 23, 2015, this essay is from the perspective of an alumnus. It deals with racism, jingoism, and loyalty to an institution. It deals with “selling one’s likeness,” in a way few people have considered. This piece was difficult yet fascinating to write, because of the emotions one has towards a university one attended for seven years. Marquette University alumni have passed this essay around extensively, but no one from MU ever asks me to speak there, nor mentions this article publicly.
9) San Diego Padres: Gay Pride Night, Smokeless Tobacco & Losing Published May 26, 2016, I had to re-read this piece to remember what I’d written. It is one, in a long line of Padres reports during a most-interesting season, where their GM traded away their entire pitching rotation, closer, and overpaid veteran position players– changing the rules-of-the-game in the process. Baseball is about handling losing, so maybe that’s what resonates here. Or maybe it’s my censored comment to ‘MLB satisfied with Padres’ response to chorus mix-up’ on mlb.com/padres. “Unfortunate, but well-handled, Padres. Bring the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus back to sing the national anthem on a military Sunday. Now that would be interesting!”
10)Lone Ranger Norris: Beer, Guns & Stupidity Published July 22, 2016 as a narrative on Lone Wolf McQuade (1983), which stars Chuck Norris. I took pictures of this movie playing on DVD, which really helps. Otherwise the reader might not believe what’s written. This is an awful movie, but to be fair, I do like A Force of One (1979),The Octagon (1980), An Eye for an Eye (1981), and Invasion U.S.A. (1985) as guilty indulgences. Also note that Breaker, Breaker (1977) is so bad, it has extreme camp value. Everything else from the reactionary actor Chuck Norris is pretty much unwatchable, IMO.
12) The Circus of Dr. Lao & the Satellite of Love Published December 19, 2014 this references Mystery Science Theater 3000, my favorite television series ever. Episodes (experiments) ran two hours for 10 seasons on cable during the 1990’s, and MST3K was brilliant in concept & execution– until most of the talent departed after Season 7. Joel Hodgson leaving during Season 5 was the beginning of that demise.
The only blockbusters of this year’s MLB Trade Deadline were the Zack Greinke & Jake Bauer deals. Both were for controllable, elite starting pitchers, which is what wins the World Series. Houston won this Deadline as a buyer, by getting Greinke for 2+ years which means 3 play-off runs. Jake Bauer is only signed through 2020, and the Reds aren’t a play-off team, so they lose. The San Diego Padres won that 3-way deal, by acquiring the best prospect dealt this trade season, while only giving up a young, cost-controlled slugger– of which they had a surplus. Taylor Trammell is in AA, and has star make-up & tools in CF.
Besides me, only AJ Cassavell, the beat writer for the Padres on MLB.com has reported these facts & goings-on accurately. Only prospect guru Keith Law correctly called this as a big win for the Padres. As outlined below, most ESPN & MLB head writers are too biased to provide any objectivity or clarity on what occurred. They represent fake news in sports.
Once again, San Diego Padres GM AJ Preller pulled off the biggest deal of the MLB Trade Deadline. Cleveland’s RHP Jake Bauer was the best value pitcher who moved this trade season, and San Diego landing center-fielder Taylor Trammell from Cincinnati was the best prospect. That’s the name of the game when you are a seller– get the best prospect(s).
AJ Preller did it again, as the Padres receive lefty-hitting CF prospect (#30 MLB pipeline) Taylor Trammell (below) from Cincinnati. The Reds get Trevor Bauer from Cleveland. The Indians get OF Yasiel Puig & LHP Scott Moss from Cincinnati; OF Franmil Reyes, LHP Logan Allen & A-level 3B prospect Victor Nova from San Diego.
It only cost the Padres slugger Franmil Reyes, who slots better as a DH in the AL. Padres have depth in the corner outfield with Hunter Renfroe having a similar profile and being better defensively. Wil Myers has been benched due to poor performance, with a near-40% strikeout rate. He will now get more starts again, which is needed, but Myers is an expensive problem. The San Diego Padres will have to eat contract to move him, and I imagine he was brought up in proposed trade discussions by Preller. The Padres are again stuck with Wil Myers, and expect him to perform better, otherwise he’ll be benched again. They still have CF’s Franchy Cordero & Travis Jankowski as in-house outfield options.
At this point, I will admit that I was wrong about the famous Wil Myers–Steven Souza Jr–Trea Turner deal. AJ Preller gave up the best player, but it was justifiable. He was looking for a franchise player, and Wil Myers had that potential as a former minor league player-of-the-year. Turner has a more limited upside and is an injury risk due to his style. Trea Turner was the best Padres prospect Preller inherited when he took over as GM in August 2014. The Padres farm system was ranked dead last in MLB. Five years later it is #1, by far. This is one of his few mistakes, but it wasn’t too costly.
Trea Turner currently has 11.0 WAR to Wil Myers 9.7 according the baseball reference, so it wasn’t a huge loss, but still the Padres would be better with SS/2B Trea Turner than OF/1B Will Myers. Turner is two years younger. It’s a gamble AJ Preller lost, and that will happen when you have to turn everything over as the new GM of a sad-sack franchise that has never won anything.
General managers in MLB are judged by their colleagues not in terms of straight “wins & losses” on each deal, but in the aggregate. Actions need to coordinate with overall objectives that improve the organization’s chances of winning a World Series– either this year or in the near future. In these terms with the Padres it’s always the future, but now the future is closer than ever. Each year that AJ Preller can continue to acquire the best prospects, the longer and more open the Padres “window of contention” becomes.
AJ Preller played this deadline beautifully– AGAIN. By that I mean for the 4th year running. Since his legendary performance in 2016, when he acquired SS Fernando Tatis, Jr & RHP Chris Paddack for stale beans to the White Sox & Marlins, AJ Preller has been the leading GM in MLB. He locks up the trade market these days, because he has what every other team covets– top prospects in numbers at all levels.
AJ Preller has that blend of “scout’s eye” for baseball, along with analytic understanding of what it takes to win. He has an owner with deep pockets, who will spend on whatever AJ Preller needs. Every trade deadline, or hot stove season now seems to begin with, “Who can make a deal with AJ Preller for some of his top prospects?” But it never happens. Preller and Padres beat writer AJ Cassavell played this Trade Deadline beautifully, by downplaying & stringing the Mets along on Noah Syndergaard (below) trade rumors, all of which came straight from New York.
For the record, the Padres have acknowledged they would love to add Noah Syndergaard to their rotation, but not at the price the Mets ask. Keep in mind it’s the Mets & the east coast media who have been pushing a Thor deal to the Padres for at least 18 months now. Last year I recall it was SS Fernando Tatis, Jr and a few pitching prospects, Chris Paddack, Cal Quantrill, etc. for the mighty Mets hurler. That was the Mets proposal, or something like that…
Unfortunately Thor contracted Hand Foot & Mouth disease around the 2018 deadline, which killed any idea of that deal. The Mets & company tried again this past winter, but Preller decided to go with his young arms, until it’s time to get a real ace. A good GM goes into that acquisition mode when his team is a threat to win the World Series, which the Padres aren’t in 2019.
Nevertheless, the Mets went hard after the Padres farm system again this Trade Deadline, demanding MLB players & prospects this time around for their superhero pitcher with an 2019 ERA over 4.00. Top hitting prospect 2B Luis Urias & CF Manny Margot were floated in the NY/ESPN media, but there was no way AJ Preller was dealing either of them for 2+ years of Syndergaard. How about ace pitching prospects Mackenzie Gore or Luis Patino? These wishful speculations reflecting extreme east coast bias hooked the NY sports media. Preller & his media team fed them enough to remain hopeful, in order to keep them occupied, while he consummated his three-team deal with Cleveland & Cincinnati.
The Amazin’ Mess
So what are the Mets doing? Acquiring RHP Marcus Stroman from the Blue Jays for their top pitching prospects three days earlier was a head-scratcher. Was it to flip him? Why did the Mets keep Stroman from the NY media until after the trade deadline? How can the Mets expect to flip a pitcher they just acquired, for more than they paid, with only three days with which to do it? Doesn’t make any sense, but these are the Mets, so anything is possible.
Of course the industry responded by collectively sitting on their hands, while the clock expired on the Mets. So much for that idea. Stroman now can’t be traded until after the season, making him less valuable. The people running this Amazin’ Mess, behave similarly to those at the Federal Reserve who believe they can will things to happen– through hype & fiat.
The Mets still have too many expensive starting pitchers, for a team that sits in 4th place in the lackluster (over-rated) NL East. Their bullpen is a disaster, offense inconsistent, and defense one of the worst in MLB. Being in the same division as the Miami Marlins keeps them out of last place, while inflating their deluded expectations. This team has no chance of winning in the post-season, yet they are trying to spin their inability to deal Noah Syndergaard (and the rest) for a boatload of top prospects, as a commitment to “winning in 2019.” And people wonder where fake news comes from, and why it exists.
After the Marcus Stroman acquisition, the Mets traded starter Jason Vargas to the Phillies for 26-yo AA catcher Austin Bossart, to compensate for dealing away their two best pitching prospects. I have no idea what the Mets are doing, but what ever it is, it’s going to fail badly. These deals have no chance of turning out well in the short term, or long term.
By mid-day Wednesday, July 31, 2019, the MLB “Trade Talk” headlines led with “Mets pull Thor off trade market (source).” Noah Syndergaard pitched 7 innings last night against the White Sox in Chicago giving up one run, unearned, in a no-decision the Mets won. Syndergaard in 2019: 7-5, 4.10 ERA in 134.0 IP. That’s not an ace, but his stuff is good enough to be priced as a #2 starter with two years of team-control remaining.
The problem is the Mets publicly value Thor as an ace, when in 5 years he’s never pitched 200 innings in a season. Noah Syndergaard is a huge injury risk, and the Mets have a reputation for mishandling pitching. You can not get the NY media/Mets management to admit to any of these facts, nor rationally discuss what they mean.
An analogy that personifies Mets management in this situation is the high school boy who boasts he will only take the prettiest girl to prom. He arrogantly claims he is the stud on the market, and any girl should be honored to be his date. Of course, it’s human nature to reject such chutzpah. So when prom day arrives, and our self-acclaimed Don Juan still has no date, he proclaims to take himself off the market, because he didn’t receive an acceptable offer. All his loser buddies (ESPN, etc) prop him up, as group-think rules in this crowd.
The Mets think they are stockpiling pitching, for when it becomes a “seller’s market.” The problem is that markets move on, and the Mets are stuck with devaluing assets they don’t need, can’t afford, and can’t get return value in trade– due to their own incompetence & intransigence.
Trade Deadline Conclusions
The second Wild Card has changed the MLB Trade Deadline significantly, to the point where 1) there is just one deadline, July 31; and 2) the fact that so many teams remain in contention that it’s hard to determine who is (and who should be) buying or selling. The San Francisco Giants were out of contention a month ago, but have become hot since. Therefore they aren’t trading their ace LHP Madison Bumgarner. The second wild card is within reach.
It’s the right move to hold on, because the Giants wouldn’t get fair value for him anyways. The ace pitching market values prospects above rentals. Expect the Giants to offer Bumgarner a qualifying offer (QO) in November, and it will be interesting to see if he accepts. It will be ~$18M for one year. If MadBum declines, he could end up like Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel, who had to wait until the following June amateur draft for the draft pick compensation to expire for him to sign a fair “free agent” deal.
I haven’t published on MLB since relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel & starter Dallas Keuchel signed with the Cubs & Braves in June. Here’s the bottom line. Kimbrel is toast, and the Red Sox knew it. Kimbrel still got a 3/$43 from the Cubs, which is another disaster free agent overpay for the northsiders. So far in 2019 Kimbrel is: 0-2, 6.75 ERA in 10.2 IP.
LHP Dallas Keuchel signed with the Braves on June 7 for 1/$13, and is 3-4, 3.86 ERA in 49 IP so far. As you can see, the Braves did better here, but still Dallas Keuchel isn’t anything that moves the needle significantly towards them winning a World Series. That’s why teams didn’t want to give up the draft pick to sign either of these pitchers. That’s the risk a free agent takes these days when he declines a QO. The rule is: you need to be worth MUCH more than that pick to decline, otherwise accept, and become a unrestricted free agent next year. Otherwise the QO-tagged player will get squeezed in free agency. A player can only be made a QO once.
RHP Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers is an example of someone who understood this situation correctly and is now set for his payday, because he was patient and willing to play one more year at $18 million, in order to become a true free agent next year. Ryu didn’t have to wait out suitors that weren’t calling this past winter like Keuchel, Kimbrel and so many others. Maybe that’s why Hyun-Jin Ryu is having a career year, just when he needs one. It’s like he planned it.
Frontline starters Robbie Ray, Madison Bumgarner, Noah Syndergaard, Zach Wheeler, etc were all rumored to be available, and they all stayed put. The fact is all these pitchers have more value to their teams than what they would net in trade return, due to their contracts and/or 2019 performance.
In a last-minute Trade Deadline blockbuster, the Astros acquired Diamondbacks ace RHP Zack Greinke for 1B/OF Seth Beer (Astros’ No. 3 prospect, per MLB Pipeline), right-hander J.B. Bukauskas (No. 4), righty Corbin Martin (No. 5) and infielder Josh Rojas (No. 22). Houston receives $24 million as part of the deal. Greinke has two more years at $35M/year on his contract. The Houston Astros are a smart organization trying to win it again, and this is how you do it. Notice that they held on to their top prospect OF Kyle Tucker. The best GM’s are the ones who can declare certain players & prospects untouchable, and still make deals.
Outside of Stroman, Bauer & Greinke it was the likes of innings-eaters such as Tanner Roark, Daniel Hudson Aaron Sanchez & Drew Pomeranz that led the list of pitchers moved at the deadline. The market had already been set by the Jake Bauer-Taylor Trammell trade, and few teams were willing to or capable of making that kind of deal. That’s why movement in the trade market was so limited.
The truth is that the Mets & Reds had no business obtaining these starters, for what they gave up. These are two 4th-place teams, giving up valuable prospects for one-year pitcher rentals. The Mets decided to make a splash & crapped out, while the Indians & Padres needed a third team to take on Jake Bauer to make their deal. The Reds were there, and they’ll probably be in 4th place next July, shopping Jake Bauer before he leaves as a free agent. That isn’t planning, it’s impulsive buying.
Relievers were also capped by AJ Preller in the form of Kirby Yates (above), the best closer available. For the past two seasons it was Brad Hand. This time, no one made an acceptable offer, so there was no deal for the Padres ace closer. The market followed by going after lower-end relievers at the finish. Lots of middle relievers, bench players, PTBNL & international slot money was exchanged, but few impact players or pitchers. That was the story of this MLB trade season.
The men’s final just completed between Novak Djokovic & Roger Federer was the greatest tennis match ever. Djokovic defeated Federer 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 13-12 (3); in a match that was impossible to determine who was going to win until the very end.
This match was broadcast exclusively on ESPN, meaning many US households that cut-the-cable/satellite-cord a long time ago, didn’t get to see this live. Perhaps this is why America hasn’t produced a homegrown men’s Grand Slam winner since Sampras, Agassi, etc?
The point is that the Wimbledon finals (men’s & women’s) needs to be broadcast on a major network. Wimbledon finals is the Super Bowl of tennis, so you want as many viewers as possible for advertisers. That’s the traditional theory of television advertising which everyone understands.
People in the US are interested in great sporting events, even if they don’t involve Americans. The USWNT in soccer just proved quality women’s competition garners serious interest on all sides in winning World Cup 2019.
With Wimbledon, ESPN and the major networks pandered to crude interests by not broadcasting the Federer-Nadal semifinal match, and both the men’s & women’s finals on a major network– meaning ABC, CBS, NBC or Fox. The games of tennis needs that exposure, and Disney, which owns ESPN & ABC made the conscious decision to stunt the growth of the game by keeping both finals on ESPN. In Sanford-Orlando, FL it was infomercials from car dealers on ABC during this instant classic, a ratings-loser move for sure.
On the women’s side, 7-seed Simona Halep defeated 11-seed Serena Williams 6-2, 6-2 in the finals to win her 1st Wimbledon title and second Grand Slam. Bitch factor was kept mostly under control this time around.
Taking a closer look at Serena Williams’ 2019 Wimbledon run reveals (once again) that she played no top-quality opponents until the finals. She defeated 18-seed Julia Goerges in the 3rd Round, and 30-seed Carla Suarez Navarro in the 4th. Everyone else was unseeded, until Halep (pictured above) thrashed her in the finals.
The draws in the WTA majors are obviously constructed to keep Serena Williams in it as long as possible. Since Serena Williams’ “comeback” at the 2018 French Open, she has magically avoided playing Halep, Kerber, Muguruza, Osaka, Stephens, Sharapova, etc in her section of the draw in every major. How & why does that happen? Every time Williams has lost to one of these named above opponents, it has been in straight sets, which means it isn’t a fluke. You don’t see that deliberate favorable seeding of a top player in the ATP.
What I’ve noticed is that the women players have adapted. Simona Halep defeated unseeded Victoria Azarenka (always a tough opponent) in the 3rd round. Halep had to beat 8-seed Elina Svitolina in the semis. All her other opponents before the finals were unseeded. A bunch of big women names went down early again, and Halep’s path to the Wimbledon finals was also cleared. At this point, as long as Simona Halep is rested & healthy, she will beat Serena Williams. Halep is age 27, and Williams is 37. It appears the women are working together, taking turns denying Serena Williams another major. This is under-the-radar bitch factor at work, FYI.
The Serena Williams era in women’s tennis is at its end, as far as winning majors goes. Wimbledon is always her best shot with her dominant serve, and again she couldn’t come close to winning a set in the finals. This happened last year against Angelique Kerber, and then against Naomi Osaka at the US Open.
After her third straight Grand Slam final defeat, Serena Williams was inanely asked in her postmatch news conference whether she should focus on tennis over being a celebrity or fighting for equality. “The day I stop fighting for equality and for people that look like you and me [black] will be the day I’m in my grave,” Williams responded.
This was a shot across the bow of lesbian WTA legend Billie Jean King, who stated to the BBC mid-Wimbledon, “Quite frankly, if I were Serena, I would give up being a celebrity for a year and a half if she wants to win titles, if she wants to beat records, that’s the question. I don’t know what she wants.” King later tweeted to clarify her views after Serena Williams’ retort, saying she supported the work Serena Williams did to push for equality.
I find it interesting that Serena Williams who is worth over $180 million feels that she is fighting for equality, and so does Billie Jean King. Serena Williams is in the top 0.1% in terms of wealth, in the most unequal society in the world. Billie Jean King is obviously blinded by the politics here, but correct in that Serena Williams is living in a fantasy world, and that won’t win any more majors.
Sensationally [!] Serena Williams made a public apology to Naomi Osaka as the tournament began. Notably, her apology didn’t to extend to chair umpire Carlos Ramos, who was most abused by Serena Williams’ vile outburst at the 2018 US Open. Serena Williams only felt the need to apologize to a black woman, which says everything about her politics. Reactionary feminism & racialism to the core. That’s what pays today.
Does anyone else notice how well-coordinated all of Serena Williams’ media campaigns are? She got the cover of Harper’s Bazaar (above) as a platform for her apology to Naomi Osaka. That’s when the “time was right” for this super-connected & spoiled female athlete to burnish her image. What about the refused drug test at her home last June? What about TUE’s? What about the $10,000 fine for practice court abuse at Wimbledon a few days ago? How come no one in the corporate media asks these questions?
The Celebrity-Fan Zone:
Here is celebrity equality in action at Wimbledon. Actor Woody Harrelson was in attendance watching Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah win a four-and-three-quarter-hour epic in the Wimbledon men’s doubles final. But Woody Harrelson stole the show by being treated like an average fan by the Wimbledon security attendant, who wouldn’t let him back to his seat until the game was over.
Players don’t like fans moving about during a game, and therefore patrons must wait to move in or out of the stadium. Woody Harrelson acknowledged that, and sipped his drink in the tunnel while he waited. Lots of celebrities would flip out, instead of respecting the etiquette. Harrelson would tell you, it’s HARD WORK looking that goofy. HARD WORK!!
Theoretical tennis question for men: How good is Serena Williams?
Most men would lose 6-0, 6-0 to her, unless they are a really good player. If she double faults or hits one wide, you didn’t “win” that point, she gave it to you– so respect that difference. A “good player” is defined at minimum as: 1) an upper-tier D1 NCAA player, or 2) a top recreational player who bagels everybody he plays.
A quality male competitor with his serve should be able to win a few games against the greatest women’s player ever. But respect the fact that Serena Williams is an experienced professional, so consistency with her overall game bagels 99+% of males who ever picked up a tennis racket.
The ATP is in its most glorious era ever, with the three greatest players ever winning every major in site. Federer still has 20 majors, Nadal 18, and Djokovic 16. I predict that when it’s all over, they’ll all be tied. How’s that for objectivity? Nadal (age 33) is still unbeatable on clay, and Djokovic (age 32) is barely the best on grass, while clearly the best on the hardcourts. Roger Federer turns age 38 on August 8, and for him to be a part of the latest “greatest match in tennis history,” says so much about his greatness.
The women’s game is in turnover, and there remain serious questions about the integrity of the seedings & draws in the WTA majors. With Serena Williams leaving the game, PED’s need to become an open discussion, as I believe the vast majority of women players favor strict bans on all usage.
The ubiquitous desire to be alpha-dominant on the men’s side, doesn’t exist so much with women in sports. Women generally favor comfort & safety over athletic glory. That’s why a hardened & overwhelming competitor like Serena Williams can come along and wipe everybody out for an era. It was amazing to watch, but the excesses & ethics of doping need to be considered in total. Is it worth it?
Her situation will eventually be viewed the same as Barry Bonds & Lance Armstrong. This means Serena Williams was clearly better than her competition, but still felt disrespected, slighted, provoked, or whatever into pushing the PED envelope. The truth is none of them needed it. Even if their numbers suffered a bit, they would still eventually be recognized as the best ever. But when you cheat, and deny it; the public has no tolerance for that. When this gives the best player an unfair edge, Serena Williams’ claims of fighting for equality come off as hypocritical nonsense.
The USWNT won their 4th women’s World Cup beating the Netherlands 2-0 in the finals in Lyon, France today. Megan Rapinoe (PK) and Rose Lavelle scored in the mid second half, eight minutes apart to settle the match.
Rapinoe who plays professionally for the Seattle Reign FC won the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer & the Golden Ball as its top player. Alex Morgan (below) of the Orlando Pride won the Silver Boot.
There have now been 8 women’s World Cup events since its inception in 1991. The US has won four times (1991, 1999, 2015 & 2019), Germany twice (2003 & 2007), Norway (1995) & Japan (2011) once.
There were many new trends in this tournament worth discussing from a sporting & social perspective. First, was former women’s players being allowed to dominate the broadcasts, lead discussion of rules disputes, and provide needed commentary where required. Most of it was spot-on, and much better than the hysterics & apologetics we get regularly in men’s FIFA. A pleasant eye-opener.
The women’s WC 2019 was also another advance for sports science, in that Video Assisted Replay (VAR) was given a chance, competently managed, and used effectively. There were issues early-on, for sure, but the women stuck with it and learned from their mistakes. They needed to, because there were a lot of blown calls by officials & lines-women in WC 2019.
The stat at the beginning of the Fox broadcast was 32 VAR’s as a tournament total before the finals, with 28 resulting overturned calls, and only 4 confirmed. As we can see, VAR certainly helped make up for really bad officiating, which is endemic in the women’s game, because it’s so much newer than men’s competition. To their credit, it takes courage to stand in the middle of the pitch, with headphones tuned-in to a replay booth and being overturned repeatedly, but that’s what it took for this tournament to be legitimate.
In the end, the best team won on their merits, and there is no controversy about a blown call costing a team a critical match. When the officials get overturned over & over, they review those mistakes, and learn from them. That’s what I saw in the end. As the final match began, there were a few seconds when a second ball was in the field-of-play, and the official & lines-woman didn’t blow their whistles– until it got embarrassing.
It was in the midfield, and it didn’t affect the match, but it’s worth noting the competence level of even the best women’s officials. There’s definitely room for improvement, and VAR can be helpful as a training & accountability tool. It always helps to get the call right, and that’s what VAR can do, so there are no more “Hand of God” goals ever again. That is the main takeaway in the women’s World Cup 2019 for men’s fútbol.
In the US_Netherlands finals, the woman official was excellent. There was a hard foul early-to-mid first half, which was immediately whistled and correctly yellow-carded. Making that correct call, at the correct, time gave the referee control of the match from there on. The players respect that call, and from there on she’s essentially coaching both sides equally to play the game fairly & competitively.
Lots of flops weren’t whistled, leaving wanna-be’s & fakers on the turf looking foolish, as they should. It was under control on both sides, which is the point of officiating. VAR got them there, with a steep learning curve. You have to respect that.
Here’s another one. The 23 players on the USWNT consider themselves to be a family, and stick up for each other. Their motivation was to win back-to-back World Cups– the right way. This isn’t a brutal hacking or flopping USWNT team. They probably take more than the give but they have to, being the overwhelming favorites going in, that’s what you have to deal with.
By the end, the USWNT was clearly the best, but with the caveat that the world has very much caught up. The US-England semi-final was a 2-1 squeaker without their captain & playmaker Megan Rapinoe. Only a blown penalty kick prevented that from being 2-2, and likely OT. With that said, championship teams need to be able to handle injuries & adversity, and they did it without coming off arrogant in the end. They respected their opponents & the game.
The USWNT did a fantastic job of pulling themselves back, especially after their perceived over-exuberance in their 13-0 thrashing of Thailand in their opening match. They apparently learned that winning is important, only if you do it in a way that lets people like you when it’s over. No one likes loudmouth showboats, no matter how good they are.
No one like cowards either, so when Donald Trump tried to inject himself into the narrative and grab himself some glory he doesn’t deserve, Megan Rapinoe spoke for the USWNT and took the media heat without backing down. She didn’t sing a word of the US national anthem as it was played before the finals, and she wasn’t alone on the US team. I respect that. The USWNT will not be visiting the White House for a ceremony, photo-ops & congratulations from the US President.
Rapinoe who is lesbian, has already said she will visit House Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. My thoughts on that? When people back up their confident talk, then you have to give them their stage & let them speak, even if you don’t like what they’re going to say. The US has a president who doesn’t acknowledge that it is his sworn duty to defend the Constitution, whose First Amendment is free speech. The USWNT winning the 2019 World Cup the way they did, is a blow to Trump’s brand of fascism.
This is the 1-year anniversary of ESPN.com shutting down all its comment boards due to my posts, and this serial is the proof. Before this event, there was never any indication to anyone that the ESPN forum boards for every sport, and all their articles would no longer display or allow reader comments. ESPN has never made a public explanation for this policy change.
The background here is that Wimbledon was obviously fixed on the Women’s side, so I blew up the ESPN/tennis comments section– and people got angry on all sides. I believe the Serena Williams camp forced ESPN to shut down all ESPN website comments because she was looking really bad in the discussions among tennis fans. I was leading those discussions, but very soon I didn’t have to. Serena Williams’ apologists were being shouted down with calm reason, objective facts & countless unanswered questions by many fans.
I mistakenly thought this censorship was a targeted ban (just me) at the time, but it was universal– to my great surprise. I shouldn’t have been, as I did the same thing to MLB.com during the “Shohei Ohtani Affair,” and the collapse of the free-agency market due to MLBPA ignorance & duplicity. The MLB online comments board which had existed for years have disappeared. They connected thousands of MLB fans with their favorite teams, and created many new friendships. All that is now gone, because of MLB censorship.
No “outsider” criticism of MLB or ESPN can be tolerated in online boards, by the powers that be. Who do these neo-fascist censors think maintains the game? Answer: it’s the interest of the fans that pays for everything. When MLB & ESPN cut fans off from each other due to politics, fans lose interest because the game has been stolen from them.
When this occurs, there is little interest for me to report its internal news anymore. Eventually others feel the same and the bottom-line suffers, which is bad business. The big issues here are clear & unambiguous. Is MLB to be run by a cartel of powerful east coast owners who dominate the commissioner & executive offices? If malfeasance is suspected and evidence shown against MLB (and/or its favored franchises), then what?
These questions cut to the heart of the game, deciding who gets the best players and who does not. When a team that is not a “traditional power” thinks & acts outside-the-box to gain a competitive edge, they are reined in with suspensions & the threat of sanctions by this MLB cartel.
This was the case with San Diego Padres GM AJ Preller, who was suspended for one dull month in August 2016 by MLB for “undisclosed anti-inflammatories” in the LHP Drew Pomeranz trade. The top-prospect the Padres received in return RHP Anderson Espinoza, has just undergone his 2nd Tommy John surgery, and will probably never reach the majors. Yet many in the Red Sox media still whine on this false narrative pushed by MLB.
The actual reason AJ Preller was suspended by MLB is because it was perceived the Padres won that trade by getting the Red Sox to overpay for a 4th-starter (Pomeranz), whom the Red Sox foolishly thought was a #2. Even though Preller lost the deal in the end, the Padres are still vilified because he made a big-wheel GM (Dave Dombrowski) look bad in his valuing of MLB talent. That is a contentious truth for Red Sox Nation, believe me.
AJ Preller was also targeted in winter 2017 when Buster Olney acted as Boston Red Sox hatchet-man using his ESPN media clout to threaten sanctions on the Padres if they didn’t give up their pursuit of prized Japanese free-agent pitcher & hitter Shohei Ohtani. That was a clear case of the Red Sox tampering to prevent a hated rival (Padres) from getting a free-agent prize. Preller had to kick Ohtani to his buddy Billy Eppler, Angels GM, to avoid the wrath of MLB.
No one at MLB.com or ESPN ever explained how Ohtani became an Angel, when it looked like the San Diego Padres had him for sure. Here was my real-time serial which is mostly wrong (in that Shohei Ohtani will not become a Padre), until it reveals a greater (& nastier) truth at the end, which is the MLB Black Hand in action.
Coincidentally, this is when MLB.com went black on it’s comment boards for a day or so, and then reset everybody anew with no old content available for viewing. A year later the comments were all gone everywhere on the MLB site, and remain so as of this publication.
INTRO: Basketball is not an easy game to play well. It takes a long time to develop ambidextrous dribbling, passing & shooting skills that can hold up with & against real ballers. Beyond that, skills without-the-ball are elite, and enable the baller to help his team win, even when his “teammates” aren’t sharing the ball. It is very rare to find five players with ability, playing together and sharing the work needed to win. The ones who understand and do the work consistently are the ballers. The rest are basketball wanna-be’s & bums.
Here’s some basic basketball theory. If everyone is sharing the ball equally on offense, you will have the ball 20% of the time you are on the floor. This is ideal, but rarely occurs anywhere– even in the NBA. But the other half of the game is defense, which means you have the ball only 10% of your minutes played– in the best of circumstances.
Even the worst pick-up game ballhogs are without the ball for two-thirds of the game. As a player, what are they doing during this majority of the game to help their team win? Most guys who strut onto the court don’t even think about this stuff, yet it is the essence of winning basketball. Those are the basketball bums.
The truth is most guys walk onto the court in a full-blown ego trip. They think they’re a superstar, and nothing can refute that narrative in their head. So when reality bites, and their bad play inevitably starts to show up as a losing score, these basketball bums turn into bitches.
For example: the basketball bum make a bad pass, so he blames a teammate they don’t like for not being there to catch it. On defense, bums let their man blow-by for a clear path to the basket & easy lay-up. The next time this happens, the baller anticipates & slides over to cut that off, but the penetrator kicks to your man left open for an easy 3– which he nails.
The bum tries to blame you for leaving the shooter open, so the baller replies, “Play some ‘D’ and quit letting your man blow-by for easy lay-ups, and I’ll stick with my man.” That handles the bum for the moment, but he’ll be back soon enough with more trash, unless the baller gets some help. If it’s all bums, then it’s hopeless after a game or two, and best to walk away, even mid-game.
Ballers don’t let the bums drag them down. If you’re done with their nonsense before the game is over, just look for someone waiting to play and call them in to take your spot. Since these bums never gave any effort, no need to explain anything nor apologize to them– just leave quietly. This is where patience meets experience, saving you harsh words that bruise tender egos. Ballers don’t pander to that, nor do they leave the court with any personal negativity.
You really have to know the game to handle trash-talking in hoops, because there is a whole lot of stupidity on most courts. This article is about pick-up basketball, either in a gym or outdoors, because that’s the level most people play. I don’t need to tell the pros this stuff, because they already know, it’s just that I’m a better writer.
The first thing to notice is that the game of basketball moves quickly, and it’s the players who responds first & most appropriately that always win the trash-talking battle. That’s the baller in a game filled with bums.
In pick-up/playground basketball, the shooting percentages tend to equalize on both sides, and are low– due to too many bad shoots taken by bad shooters. As in real basketball, it’s the team that rebounds, limits turnovers, and gets the most easy baskets which wins. In most pick-up games which I’ve witnessed and/or participated, there are at least 7-8 bums on the court. This makes the game a lot more work for the ballers, and it’s the main reason why I don’t run much anymore.
Bums won’t pass the ball to a baller, because he will score easily– where the bums can’t. Dicks immediately shrink, and then there’s issues… Every bum bitches about not getting the ball enough. The worst ones are the “big guys,” who won’t defend in the paint– nor rebound. They want to play point guard & shoot 3’s all day. When they don’t get enough of that, these bums become completely toxic, and that “team” basically can’t beat anybody.
You must control your defensive boards, or you have no chance to win, and that’s up to the big guys. Too many tall kids want to play like Steph Curry or James Harden. A lot of bum teams seemingly have 3-4 point guards– at least. Much of the hardcourt pick-up action can’t even rightfully be called basketball, as it’s mostly guys playing with themselves & their buddies.
Bums break down on defense, then blame others to deflect their lack of effort, basketball intelligence & skills. On a real court, with real ballers, these bums are given a swift kick in the ass about stupid turnovers, bad shots, and not defending/rebounding. If they don’t turn it around, they get sent off the court by the big guy, and replaced with someone waiting to play who is willing to do the job. I’ve been one of those guys picked to replace a bum by a real baller on a real court, and it feels great to be chosen.
In the game of basketball, one guy can break down an entire defense on every possession, if the opposition is smart & can play. If this isn’t accounted for, it really sucks for the other four guys, and it isn’t fair to those who are giving an honest effort. Running up & down the court is a lot of work, and no one likes their efforts to be wasted.
Baller rule: Kick the bums off the court, mid-game if needed. In real basketball, no bums & bitches are allowed. That goes for the girls & women too. You know what I mean.
Big guys have to play big, and everyone should try to play above their size. This means “little guys” have low-post skills & can finish around the basket, and everybody rebounds on both ends as needed. Big guys have to control the paint & rebound, otherwise they are basketball bums.
Little guys have to pressure the ball to prevent penetration and easy low-post feeds, while keeping their man in front of them and not giving up easy 3’s. If you can force steals, and limit the turnovers, then congratulations [!] you are a winning basketball player, even though you are out-sized.
It’s a big man’s game, and size rules in basketball. The cliché goes: you can’t teach 7’0″. The fact is the closer you are to the goal, the better you can attack & defend it. Little guys can influence the action without-the-ball even when they are being frozen out, by running (when necessary) to create movement within the offense.
Another elite without-the-ball skill is spacing. Move to the side of the floor opposite the ball, and stay there. This will at least draw your man away from the basket, and create needed space for others to drive. How long you want to do this without receiving a pass is up to you. Keep making yourself available on that side and when you’ve had enough, quit the game as instructed above.
I see all kinds of games where all 10 players are on the same side of the court, or everyone is standing behind the 3-point line. Bums take their turns jacking up bad shots from downtown, and it’s one low-percentage give-away possession after another. Proper spacing, intelligent movement & effective screening are non-existent in a game filled with bums. Good players rarely get the ball here, and have nowhere to go when they do, as “teammates” are literally obstacles.
Baller notes on ’21’ Twenty-one is often a scam pick-up game, and this is how it works. A group of guys who know each other, call you over to play 21. The game’s objective is to get exactly 21 points before anyone else, in a half-court setting. This can be a fun version of basketball when everyone is playing equally. But in the common scenario I’ve presumed, it turns into an unwinnable game of one-against-the-rest. The outsider has to fight for every rebound & score, against a gang of buddies taking turns letting each other get easy shots. Since you can’t defend everybody, you just wear yourself out when you try.
It’s Mission Impossible to win, so focus on improving your skills instead. If you’re going to play this bastardized version of ’21’, my best advice is to get straight on the rules with everybody before you start. Everything from scoring, to takes-backs for steals & airballs, etc. The ones who want to cheat are those who are confused about the rules, and hamper discussing them.
I’ve played against chumps who declare they can win ’21’ on 22. The rule of ’21’ has always been if you land on 20 points, you go back to 15 or whatever lower score you agree on. That’s because the next bucket get you to 22. It’s like blackjack when you bust. The basketball version of ’21’ was developed & widely-played long before the advent of the 3-point shot. Today, that means if you have 19 points and then make a 3-pointer, you drop back to 15. As a rules side note, the dumb shooter still gets his free throws (today @ 3-point line), because he did make the shot. Only chumps think they win on weak stuff like that, because ballers aren’t defending a 3-point attempt in that situation.
Basketball is a beautiful game when played right. In my life I can recall only a handful of times where everything was right with my game & teammates. But when it happens it is magical in its effortlessness & efficacy. When the work load is shared by 5 ballers, no one gets tired & worn out. Everyone is working in synergy to shut down the opponent, no easy looks & no second shots.
Transition to offense begins with boxing-out and securing the rebound, which is immediately outletted to a good ball-handler & pushed up-court for a fast break opportunity. Everyone gets their looks, and the rule is to finish– no excuses.
Very few see the work that goes into making it appear so easy when done right, and even fewer are willing to do that work to become a baller. What I’ve described here is what it takes. Players as true teammates energize each other at this level, allowing elite maintenance with little fatigue & maximum fun.
In pick-up ball, an organized team of ballers can steamroll every opponent for hours on end because of this. The few times I’ve been a part of such an experience are what makes the game an addicting elation. This is where creativity & skill blend, and the game of basketball become as much an art form as a sport.
Here’s a Kevin Durant status blurb before Game 4 of the NBA Finals, in which he did not play.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said early in the series that he did not want to play Durant without first going through a full practice. Kerr told reporters on Wednesday that he thought Durant would scrimmage on Thursday [June 5], a meaningful step in returning to action. Yet Warriors trainers did not feel Durant should scrimmage. Kerr said Durant had not had a setback.
The Golden State Warriors announced before Game 5 [June 10] of the NBA Finals that Kevin Durant was cleared to play, with “no possibility of injuring his right Achilles tendon”– their only concern was a “tweak” of his injured calf (gastronemius) muscle. This is what the ABC announcers relayed to their viewers just before tip-off.
Well, the Warriors won 106-105 to extend the series another game, but Kevin Durant tore his Achilles tendon during the game. This was nothing less than a medically irresponsible decision. No one in the organization has seriously stepped up to take the blame they deserve for this potentially career-ending injury to one of the game’s greatest stars.
As in any other industry under capitalism, it’s only defeating the competition that matters in business. The Golden State Warriors are a successful pro basketball franchise, winning three NBA titles in the last four seasons. Their overwhelming desire to win another one was the primary factor in pushing Kevin Durant back onto the court, when he clearly wasn’t ready to play.
Anyone watching the 1st quarter of Game 5 could see that Kevin Durant was not moving well from the start, even when he made his first three 3-point attempts. The first time he tried to make a real basketball move, his Achilles tendon ruptured, and he fell to the floor in pain. Evidentially, there were at least a few trainers from the Warriors who didn’t want Durant to play, but they were overruled by management.
Golden State general manager Bob Myers said after Monday’s game, “It’s an Achilles injury. I don’t know the extent of it. He’ll have an MRI tomorrow . Prior to coming back, he went through four weeks with a medical team, and it was thorough, and it was experts and multiple MRI’s and multiple doctors, and we felt good about the process. He was cleared to play tonight. That was a collaborative decision. I don’t believe there’s anybody to blame.
“If you have to, you can blame me. I run our basketball operations department. And to tell you something about Kevin Durant: Kevin Durant loves to play basketball, and the people that questioned whether he wanted to get back to this team were wrong.
“He’s one of the most misunderstood people. He’s a good teammate, he’s a good person. It’s not fair. I’m lucky to know him. I don’t know — I don’t have all the information on what really the extent of what it all means until we get an MRI, but the people that worked with him and cleared him are good people. They’re good people.”
This is shameful deflection, apologetics & self-pity from a GM, meant to misdirect responsibility for coercing a star player into playing when he shouldn’t have been cleared medically. Doctors need to have final say when it comes to clearing an athlete, with no organizational or corporate interference. Otherwise this avoidable tragedy will continue to play out in professional sports.
As Charles Barkley points out in the video above, players always want to play. That’s their nature. It’s the responsibility of management (with all its resources) to protect its players, for the good of the game.
If this means sacrificing the 2019 NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors — so be it. Players are assets in a business sense, to be exploited for maximum advantage in competition. But they are also human beings with physical limitations, and this should always be a primary consideration. It wasn’t here, and the culprits are all-too-obvious.
Everything Charles Barkley says about the Golden State Warriors being negligent is correct. How do we know they were negligent? Because Kevin Durant immediately got hurt again. That doesn’t happen to an elite athlete who is healthy & rehabilitated.
The talk around the league now centers around how this will affect the rest of the NBA Finals, and even more importantly– free agency this summer. Kevin Durant was set to be the top prize this off-season, along with Kawhi Leonard of the Toronto Raptors.
Now Durant will not play in 2019-20, so he’ll exercise his $31.5M option to stay with Golden State. He’s fortunate in that sense that he has that option. The question remains: what will Kevin Durant be like if/when he returns? Achilles tears are a difficult rehabilitation, and often the athlete is never the same again. All this could have been avoided, if the Warriors had taken a human & medical interest in Kevin Durant, instead of rushing the basketball star back onto the court in a desperate attempt to win another NBA title.
Winners don’t make short-sighted decisions like the Warriors made before Game 5. Blame GM Bob Myers first & foremost, then head coach Steve Kerr, and then every member of management & their medical staff that pushed Kevin Durant into playing, or underplayed the injury risk.
Team owner(s) sign the paychecks and can be a bullying force too. Was that the case here? That’s a lot of investigating & accountability. I don’t expect much of this to be done by the NBA. So how can blame be properly assigned? That’s why I (and many others) don’t watch much of this game anymore.
As far as the media goes, ESPN has major broadcast deals with the NFL (first & foremost), college football second, and then the NBA. Therefore ESPN, the “world sports leader” will report no dirt that hurts on this matter. Honest in-house reporting would cut across ESPN corporate interests. Only independent journalists will uncover the names & facts here, and I leave it to them to do it– if they care.
The goal in management under our current economic set-up is to always avoid blame, and transfer the responsibility for mistakes to others in a lesser position of power. Therefore there will (most likely) be no long-term consequences for anyone, except Durant. No one will get fired or punished for negligence & incompetence, and all NBA franchises retain the right to coerce their players into getting hurt– for the good of the team.
The most relevant comparable example of this nefarious manipulation is the Curt Schilling “bloody sock” game (photo above) in the 2004 ALCS against the NY Yankees. The Boston Red Sox needed Schilling to pitch, despite a torn Achilles tendon, otherwise they would be eliminated. Schilling pitched gruesomely & brilliantly, as they won. He pitched one more game in the World Series, as the Red Sox ended “The Curse.”
These heroics forever glorified the athlete who is willing to do anything to help his team win. What gets left behind is that Curt Schilling was never the same pitcher again, because of this injury abuse. Look at the numbers for proof. Schilling probably doesn’t regret any of this, because that’s the competitor he is, helping his team win when they needed him most.
For those of us who say that sports are about much more than winning, the precedent he set with his “heroics” was a bad one. No athlete should have to risk their health & career for his or her team. The fans who cheer during the game, quickly forget about the players when it’s over. Very few in their lust for victory question the heroic approach. It’s the injured athletes who have to live with the lifetime consequences of being treated as disposable commodities. Where’s the glory in that?
Thur 13 Jun 2019 ~9:30 AM EDT
Final wrap-up: Kevin Durant had surgery on Wednesday, June 12 for his ruptured Achilles tendon. ESPN & the NBA have gone into overdrive trying to spin this foolish catastrophe caused by misguided ambition for basketball glory into a glorifying moment of team fandom.
It’s clear that even Durant himself has been made to “play ball,” and quietly accept his fate. That’s what his $31.5M option buys for the Golden State Warriors, since Durant can’t play anymore. He’s a team player, and who can refuse THAT money? I don’t blame him.
The official narrative is that everyone in the Warriors organization was “on the same page” with allowing Kevin Durant to play hurt, which (by that logic) makes their disastrous & careless decision okay. As long as they were all wrong together, the main thing is team unity!
This is ignorant group-think & media apologetics after-the-fact. Expect nothing else from ESPN, ABC & the NBA. All this garbage must be rejected with contempt by any rational & thinking sports fan, otherwise these senseless injuries, driven by corporate greed, will continue.
In the bigger picture, if this can happen to one of the NBA’s greatest stars, then it’s clear we all have become disposable to our paymasters. If a player with Durant’s stature & clout can’t resist the corporate pressure to conform, and sacrifice his right Achilles tendon for a lost cause, then what chance does an ordinary worker have in rejecting unreasonable demands from their bosses?
Fri 14 Jun 2019 12:57 AM EDT
Game 6 final score:Raptors 114 Warriors 110. Raptors win the series 4-2 and are the 2019 NBA Champions. The refs did everything they could to bring us a Game 7, but the Warriors sustained another injury to a key player in Klay Thompson, and the Raptors are just a better team at this point.
When this series was set to begin, the Warriors were already being christened a NBA dynasty, about to win their 4th title in 5 seasons. Yes, they had lost Kevin Durant to a severe calf strain already, but they still managed to handle their biggest rival, the Houston Rockets before sweeping the Portland Trailblazers in the conference finals. All this without their best player, Kevin Durant.
The path that lay ahead seemed clear: win the NBA Finals, then resign Durant and win a few more titles. Two weeks later, everything is in ruins for the Golden State Warriors. Kevin Durant is now gone from basketball, pending a long & painful rehabilitation. Just getting back on the court again will be an accomplishment for him. In my legal opinion, the Golden State Warriors & NBA owe him hundreds of millions of dollars in lost wages.
Klay Thompson was seen leaving Oracle Arena on crutches, from a knee injury he sustained late in the game. All that’s left is Steph Curry who is still great, but not enough to win it all. This franchise went from league darling, to crashing itself into a mountain during this fateful NBA Finals.
I’ve never witnessed anything like this in sports before. If the Warriors had not played Kevin Durant in Game 5, they would have lost this series 4-1. Now that it’s over, the question forever remains: Was the sacrifice of Kevin Durant’s career worth it?
Every great player needs a theme song. This kid (age 20) is going to be a great player.
So here’s my “Weird Al” Yankovic version of “Fernando,” the ABBA melodramatic classic…
Note: There’s only the opening two verses in my version, because he’s still a rookie.
“Fernando (Tatis, Jr)”
Can you hear the drums Fernando? I remember long ago another starry night like this In the firelight Fernando You were traded from the White Sox, by an owner who had no clue We saw the Padres future at shortstop And waited patiently through the minors just for you
Now you’re in MLB, Fernando Every hour, every minute seems to last eternally I was so afraid Fernando When you tore your hamstring on a painful stretching try And I’m not ashamed to say That gruesome injury almost made me cry…
There was something in the air that night The stars were bright, Fernando They were shining there for you & me, Padres victory, Fernando Though we never thought we’d dump James Shields– there’s no regret If we had to make that trade again We would, my friend, Fernando If we had to make that trade again We would, my friend, Fernando
[Listen to ABBA original 3rd verse in solemn silence for his father; then repeat chorus & fade out..]