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One of the major-league bats Mr. Sports scored when he was a kid hanging out at the ballpark all the time.
Bats, balls, hats — being a kid in a large city sure was a lot of fun. And you could get into the stadium real cheap, not like today when a kid has to drain his bank account to go to one game.
Maybe this fall, I will chronicle the story of scoring a jersey from an NFL Pro Bowl player in exchange for a 25-cent RC can. True story.
What a crazy Saturday full of sports and if you left your house even once today, you kind of fail at life.
If you missed all the sporting events, you are likely one of the following: Incarcerated, marching the streets of Baltimore or wasting your day on a used-car lot.
Suddenly, playing for the Cleveland Browns doesn’t sound so bad. Well, if you can figure out how not to live in Cleveland while cashing their checks.
Before the big fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao even hit the pay-per-view airwaves at $99.95 plus tax per purchase – you mean people don’t understand you can find FREE online streams for these fights? – we got to view an outstanding Game 7 between the San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers. And it was on FREE TV and it was outright amazing.
Clippers point guard Chris Paul was hobbling on a sore hamstring he injured earlier in the game and sidestepped Danny Green’s defense and avoided Tim Duncan’s attempt to swat it aside to bank in the decisive shot with one second left to give Los Angeles a 111-109 victory. Good bye defending champions. See you next year.
The unexpected thing was that the basketball game was much more exciting than the big boxing bout. Mayweather improved to 48-0 in his career with a unanimous 12-round decision but it was hardly an entertaining tussle and nothing like its billing as “Fight of the Century.”
There was no knockout for Mayweather. He apparently saves those for the women he hits.
Who can forget that American Pharoah became the luckiest horse of the year by winning the Kentucky Derby. Since horses don’t spend money, American Pharoah gets all the bales of hay he wants forever and will never have to worry about sitting hungry in a barn again.
Good food if you can get it. Well, for a horse. Just ask Secretariat.
“He eats bales of hay, Sec-re-tar-i-at.” (Use tune of Toto’s “Rosanna” for full effect).
The NFL Draft finished up but nobody was even chatting about that by dark. Not with all the other good stuff going on.
Oh yeah, the New York Yankees tried to spoil our day of fun by saying they won’t pay Alex Rodriguez his $6 million bonus for catching Willie Mays on the all-time homer list with his 660th blast. It’s hard to ever be on Rodriguez’s side on anything but you know, it is in the contract and it wasn’t written in that it is voided if you cheat.
Wow, so weird to commiserate for A-Rod the fraud.
OK, on to the top 10 list:
10. The Kansas City Royals played a baseball game without getting in a fight. They must have missed the word that Saturday was “Fight Night.” In fact, the Royals were so punchless that they scored just one run while losing to the Detroit Tigers
9. The New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals 3-2 to even their playoff series at one game apiece. I have no idea if this was a big accomplishment or not because it is the NHL but I also know I need to mention it or else my inbox will be filled with hockey fans calling me names over the omission.
8. The NFL Draft is lucky to crack the list as the once-anticipated Saturday has been rendered a complete waste of time due to the league’s switch to a three-day event. When the best thing you have to talk about is whether Blake Petty or Brett Hundley will go first in the fourth round, you know there is no further reason to watch.
7. The big Twitter outburst that CNN’s Rachel Nichols and ESPN’s Michelle Beadle had credentials pulled for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight because they said mean things about Mayweather’s history of domestic abuse. I understand why Mayweather and his handlers don’t like Nichols (see interview here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a21U_fXjGTA) but Beadle is one of those harmless fools who hosts some kind of lowly fluff show on ESPN. She’s just happy to get some pub. Oh yeah, Mayweather’s camp denies there were any games played with the credentials. Um, OK.
6. Shortly after American Pharoah won the Kentucky Derby, @NBCNews tweeted BREAKING: American Pharoah wins 141st Kentucky Derby. Good thing I wasn’t drinking a mint julep as I would have dropped it upon seeing the response from a Bo Pelini parody account: “That has to be a record.”
5. The bugle at the Kentucky Derby. As soon as that familiar race-day jingle is played, I know my yearly output of two minutes of horse racing is near. Love that bugle.
4. Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros are the talk of baseball. Wait, the HOUSTON ASTROS are the talk of baseball? This is indeed a Saturday Sports Day for the ages. Altuve hit a three-run homer – he came up short in his bid for his 10th consecutive multihit game – and the formerly woeful Astros have won nine straight games and 13 of their last 14. Call them the first-place Astros. Wow.
3. Quite a performance at the Kentucky Derby for American Pharoah and, gosh, do we wish the horse could talk so we wouldn’t have to hear owner Bob Baffert drone on and on about nothing of substance. Jockey Victor Espinoza rode the horse way wide as they hit the stretch and the finishing kick was stellar to win the Run for the Roses.
2. Special thanks to the Website known as vipleague for the free boxing stream as there was no way the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight was worth $100. I knew that before the fight – duh – and it became even more obvious during it. So much hype means so much dollars for all involved. But the actual action didn’t live up to the hype and I can’t believe how upset people must be for forking over that much cash.
1. NBA playoff basketball is about 100 times more exciting and intense than the regular season and the epic contest between the Clippers and Spurs once against proved it. And how badly does San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich want to beat up – Mayweather style – the shot-clock operator at the Staples Center for messing up the team’s last-second play?
All that bluster about Philip Rivers being dealt to the Tennessee Titans turned out to be unfounded chatter.
Turns out it was allegedly started by a writer at UT San Diego – which is typically the first sign there is little validity to a report.
When you aren’t properly aligned with inside sources – and the general manager doesn’t trust you – you tend to swing and miss more often than Mike Trout in the playoffs.
The San Diego Chargers never intended to trade their productive quarterback for the No. 2 overall pick and the chance to draft Marcus Mariota. The Titans didn’t deal the pick at all and went ahead and selected Mariota.
The Chargers are on their way to Los Angeles and they really need to have a solid season before moving to the land of smog. San Diego has failed to make the playoffs in four of the past five seasons – a pitiful fact when you consider the talent the franchise has had – and relocating after a losing season wouldn’t help prompt the fickle Los Angeles area to rejoice over the team’s arrival.
So Rivers is badly needed to be at the helm and not a novice rookie that may or may not be prepared to start in the NFL. The tough part will be convincing Rivers to sign a contract extension but there is something about making $20 million a year that causes one to do something they might not originally be thrilled about.
Don’t think so? Offer me $200,000 a year and you’ll be surprised at the places I’m suddenly ready to call home.
That includes Arkansas and North Dakota … yikes, did I just type that?
Anyway, the Chargers kept their quarterback and moved up to No. 15 overall to select running back Melvin Gordon, the standout from Wisconsin.
The pick is solid – and will forever be known as the final first-round pick by the “San Diego Chargers” – but I don’t understand why the Chargers dealt two future draft picks to the San Francisco 49ers to move up two spots. Sounds like there was some fear the 49ers might trade the pick elsewhere and another team would land Gordon.
Regardless, Gordon should be a much better NFL player than the departed Ryan Mathews and also is a much better option than journeyman Donald Brown. Gordon averaged 7.8 yards per carry in his college career and rushed for a then-record 408 yards in one game last season against Nebraska, breaking a mark set by LaDainian Tomlinson.
You might recall Tomlinson. The Chargers haven’t had a bona fide back since the future Hall of Famer left town.
Gordon should solve that problem. There are questions about his receiving ability but let’s face it: The Badgers weren’t telling a guy averaging nearly eight yards per carry to go run flare routes. You hand the ball off to a guy like that.
There is a reason why the guy rushed for 2,587 yards and 29 touchdowns last season. He can play.
He should be a force over the next six to eight years. Of course, the question will soon become where he plays those games.
For now, he goes into the books as the final first-round pick of the San Diego Chargers. And quite a good one at that.
Winston Shepard is smarter than any of us knew.
Yep, he realized that it would be better to live in San Diego next season than Belgium.
The San Diego State forward has decided to return for his senior season of college basketball and it is one of those decisions that prompt one of the following reactions:
–Duh. He’s nowhere close to being ready to play in the NBA.
–Duh. When you can’t even crack the mock drafts, you have no business applying for the NBA Draft.
–And duh. He probably found Belgium on the world map and had one of those ‘What was I about to do?’ moments.
Shepard did the right thing in returning for several reasons and you can imagine what NBA talent evaluators say in the safety of their own offices. (Hey, let’s go back to those dashes and duh comments since they were so fun).
–This Shepard kid doesn’t have a good enough outside shot to play for us. Duh, we’re not drafting him.
–This Shepard kid doesn’t have a good enough inside game to play for us. Duh, we’re not drafting him.
–This Shepard kid doesn’t have a good enough mid-range game to play for us. Duh, we’re not drafting him.
–This Shepard kid can’t handle the ball good enough to play for us. Duh, we’re not drafting him.
–This Shepard kid does a lot of silly things at the worst time possible. Duh, we’re not drafting him.
Who will ever forget the 2014 NCAA tournament when Shepard did one of those silly things. It wasn’t Brandon Heath bad (see 2006 NCAA meltdown against Indiana) but it changed the complexion of the game.
The Aztecs trailed Arizona by three points with less than three minutes to play in a Sweet 16 matchup when Shepard decided to become a ball-handler in a one-possession game. He turned the ball over, the Wildcats cashed it in for two points and dominated the rest of the contest to end San Diego State’s season.
That play defines Shepard’s career at the moment as he has never elevated his game over his first three seasons with the Aztecs.
He arrived as a self-proclaimed one-and-done player who felt the NBA was his destiny. But something about a 9.6 career scoring average over three seasons helps a college player learn that he’s not the star player he thinks he is.
Had to hurt Shepard’s ego a bit to see that freshman teammate Malik Pope (who has yet to even prove himself as a college player) is more coveted by NBA scouts. There’s also the current-day knock that a player only reaches his senior season if he isn’t good enough to play in the NBA.
Right now, that is Shepard’s reality. He isn’t good enough to play in the NBA and needs to make a lot of improvement over the next 12 months.
But the really, really good thing is he recognized it and didn’t make the bad decision that dozens of college players make each season.
And because of that, Shepard can postpone living in Belgium. Well, for at least one year.
We haven’t done a Sports Disgrace post in a while and apparently Britt McHenry has been aiming to get her chance to be profiled.
Who is Britt McHenry, you ask? Good question, I had never heard of her until just recently and she happens to be one of those 20-something blonde gals that somehow lands a job with ESPN despite very little experience.
And you thought ESPN looks for established pros with a long history of stellar journalism. Yeah, right.
Experience aside, we know now all about McHenry and there is nothing pretty about the girl on the inside.
Mocking a (possibly) minimum-wage tow truck yard worker with elitist rhetoric and making fun of her weight is well below the standard of somebody worthy of working for ESPN. I knew what was coming from reading about it and I still cringed when I saw McHenry spewing some of her garbage on the video tape (see it here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5JesKdZJ2Y).
You know you have lost when you have to resort to “I’m on television and you’re in a f–king trailer, honey” and “lose some weight baby girl.” Kind of like when NFL bust Ryan Leaf yelled “I can buy your dad” after being kicked out of a college party.
McHenry is her demeaning best when she ridicules the woman’s education – “Do you feel good about your job? So I could be a college dropout and do the same thing? Why – cause I have a brain and you don’t? Maybe if I was missing some teeth, they would hire me, huh?”
If you’re throwing out that you’re on TV to a woman working at a tow lot, you rank pretty low on the classy meter. Save that entitlement for when you’re trying to impress yourself in front of the mirror.
The rest of the stuff is just beyond embarrassing. Not that it matters Britt, but you don’t seem as pretty in the tow lot video as when ESPN covers your face with makeup that must take hours to squeegee off.
ESPN suspended McHenry for a week and she tweeted out a apology that seemed about 50 percent apologetic. Not the least bit surprised – deep inside she probably doesn’t get why her behavior was so wrong.
I’d be willing to bet McHenry acts different when she has to interview an athlete. That I’m on TV stuff act doesn’t impress too many athletes or coaches.
Hopefully McHenry learns a lesson from the whole ordeal. But now she can cross off one of those goals from her list – she made it on MrSportsBlog!
Because she’s the latest Sports Disgrace. Congrats, Britt!
The email came across saying “Malik Pope to return to #AztecMBB for 2015-16 season” and I didn’t know whether to laugh a little or laugh a lot.
Like was Pope considering foregoing his eligibility to become an electrician? Was he going to concentrate on his studies in hopes of someday becoming the head of San Diego State’s music department? Or did he think about going to Rome to see what it takes to become a real Pope.
He surely couldn’t have been entertaining the possibility of entering the NBA Draft, right?
Every year around this time, 15 to 20 players who shouldn’t be departing college do so and two years later they wonder why they are playing in Belgium. Or why they’re on their way to being D-League lifers, which places them about two notches above YMCA veteran.
Pope averaged a whole 5.1 points while coming off the bench for the Aztecs. Remember, that is for a team that couldn’t score and desperately needed a player who could score.
The 6-foot-10 Pope has promise – so do most of those other players who depart school early and never make it in the NBA – so this assessment over his decision doesn’t mean he can’t play. He displayed on a couple occasions that he has ability and could develop into a difference-maker.
But reaching double digits a measly four times in 31 games played doesn’t make you NBA ready. What it shows is you aren’t close to being ready to play against grown men for a living and you need to get back in the gym and improve your game.
Pope has been injury-prone so playing a full college campaign next season will be telling. The Aztecs need him to be a double-digit scorer and he certainly should be able to average between 12 and 15 points per game.
My favorite part of the press release is this quote from Steve Fisher.
“After a long discussion with Malik and his family, and after receiving feedback from the NBA office, Malik has decided to return to San Diego State for his sophomore season,” Fisher said.
It was a LONG discussion? Shouldn’t have lasted more than five minutes.
Because Malik Pope isn’t close to being ready to be an NBA player.
Excuse me while I laugh some more.
If the date would have been April 1, no sane individual would have believed the deal.
But it was the afternoon of Easter Sunday and I’ve never heard of the Easter Bunny making up bogus baseball deals.
So it defied logic when you initially heard that the San Diego Padres acquired standout closer Craig Kimbrel from the Atlanta Braves for two clunkers, two prospects and a draft pick. You know, because you typically have to give up at least one bona fide player for a dominating All-Star who is just entering his prime.
Suddenly the Padres have a real closer – sorry Joaquin Benoit, you are an eighth-inning guy as I’m pretty sure David Ortiz’s blast off you is still sailing. Solidifying the back end of the bullpen makes winning the National League West a real possibility.
The Padres had to take strikeout-machine Melvin Upton Jr. in the deal – he’s the brother of solid-hitting Justin Upton – but gave Atlanta some of its own trash in clunkers Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin.
The Braves obtained pitching prospect Matt Wisler and whether or not he pans out will determine whether they received something of value in the deal. The baseball world is full of prospects who never lived up to their billing or even reached the majors so that is quite a gamble when you are giving up one of the top two closers in the game (Kansas City’s Greg Holland being the best).
Kimbrel has 185 saves over the past four seasons so Padres general manager A.J. Preller is again proving to be a magical trader as a first-year GM. The offseason haul included the offseason acquisitions of outfielders Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers, catcher Derek Norris and third baseman Will Middlebrooks and the signing of starting pitcher James Shields as a free agent.
It is a weird feeling to know the Padres are entering the season with a solid chance of making the National League playoffs and also a candidate to win the NL West. It is quite the transformation from last season’s horrid hitting squad.
It is hard to understand what the Braves were thinking by dealing Kimbrel but you can tell general manager John Hart is worried about the reactions of the players. He told reporters that either himself or manager Fredi Gonzalez will explain the situation to the players and answer questions prior to Monday’s season opener.
When you have to hold a meeting to explain a trade, you’re not in a position of strength.
But the Padres certainly are – a glaring hole has been filled in a most surprising manner and nothing but optimism reigns heading into Monday’s opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Because Sunday they pulled off the equivalent of showing up at the car dealer with a Tonka Toy and trading it for a Rolls Royce.
Studying the NCAA tournament bracket so I can fill it out before Thursday and I can’t believe who I see as an 11 seed.
Is that UCLA? The underachieving Bruins? … hold on a second while I LOL about 1,000 times.
Wait, selection committee chairman Scott Barnes says UCLA passed the eye test?
Most people’s retinas want nothing to do with seeing these Bruins and chronically cranky coach Steve Alford.
Let me guess, Barnes had his eyes closed when Kentucky held UCLA to just seven first-half points in an 83-44 trouncing.
Perhaps that tape didn’t get to Barnes. Or maybe he watched it to see if the Bruins passed the smell test.
Who knows if Barnes truly has much knowledge about basketball. His day job is athletic director at Utah State, which tells me he better had been doing a lot of networking with the other committee members in hopes of landing a much better job.
The Bruins aren’t even Dayton bound and that means they didn’t sneak in. Sorry, this UCLA team shouldn’t be leaving Los Angeles.
Sooooooooo, there is Texas sitting there as an 11 seed as well. The Longhorns definitely pass the eye test with some of the physical specimens on the squad so that makes you wonder about a few things.
Texas went just 3-12 against Top 50 teams. Tells me the Longhorns are not a Top 50 team if they could only win 20 percent of their games against good teams. I think the correct term is underachievers.
Think about this, give snubbed Colorado State 15 games against Top 50 teams and maybe they go 5-10 against them. Heck, let’s give UC Santa Barbara 15 such games and maybe the Gauchos go 4-11.
So when the ESPN clowns kept pointing out the record against the Top 50, the more sense it made that Texas belonged in the NIT. Then it led Iowa State by double digits in the type of win that could seal a bid and the Longhorns watched the Cyclones score the final 12 points and win on a game-winning shot.
Texas never trailed in the game until it ended … and that choke job didn’t hurt. The Longhorns were easily in.
The other thing I wonder is this – if Texas has so much talent and all it can do is beat equal or lesser teams, what does that say about coach Rick Barnes? He obviously isn’t connecting with this year’s Longhorns for them to be such underachievers.
Hey, maybe Scott Barnes and Rick Barnes are related! Now things finally add up.
Ummmmmmmm, the second Wyoming won the Mountain West tournament title, I knew either Boise State or Colorado State was in big trouble.
No way the Mountain West was getting four teams in when the conference had an average season. Remember some of those seasons the Mountain West was stacked and only got three teams in? So four this year made no sense.
Turns out Boise State had a lot of sweating to do as a 12 seed sent to Dayton. Heard some complaining about Boise State having to play on Dayton’s homecourt in the play-in round and I have a few thoughts.
–Don’t exit the Mountain West postseason tournament in the semifinals when you are the No. 1 seed. Get to the title game or win the tourney and you get a higher seed and you go to a real NCAA tournament site.
–Play a better schedule. Having Adams State, Northwest Nazarene, Southern Utah and Abilene Christian on the home slate does nothing for you. There are five Pac-12 teams in close proximity. Figure out how to play at least one of them each season.
–And don’t lose to Loyola-Chicago. Ever.
Colorado State coach Larry Eustachy was apparently too confident that his team was getting in and didn’t play star forward J.J. Avila (ankle) in the Mountain West semifinals against San Diego State.
Holding out your best player when he actually can play is silly in the month of March. Guys tough it up in December against the Akrons and UNC-Wilmingtons of the world when there is little at stake so Eustachy’s decision was pretty poor.
And making it because you think your team is in is doubly silly.
Sooooo, Colorado State, enjoy the NIT. And thank your coach for that.
I really couldn’t tell you who will win the game between San Diego State and St. John’s. Either team can win the game and either team can lose it.
The Red Storm lost shot-blocker supreme Chris Obekpa to a suspension so perhaps the Aztecs will find success driving to the hoop instead of having the ball slapped into the third row.
On the other hand, San Diego State can’t score. And that surely includes practice.
The winner of the game probably gets to play Duke. You need to have the potential to score 75 points to upset Duke.
It is terrific that San Diego State can play great defense. But this is March and the NCAA tournament.
If you can’t score, you will go home.
One of the things about college athletics is that it never fails to remind us that there are some real jerks involved.
Not talking about the players – you’re off the hook on this one, Jameis Winston – but the adults.
And sometimes the arrogant buffoon involved has won a national championship – supposedly won by the rules but who really knows.
Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim is the latest to remind us that a powerful control-freak coach will do whatever he wants. Nobody on campus wants to challenge the guy with a ton of victories who also happens to be the most famous person in the city.
Who wants to mix it up with the guy who won the national championship if it means their own job might be lost?
But the NCAA brought the hammer down on Syracuse’s program last week and the allegations included academic fraud and failure to follow the drug-testing policy among other things. Those two claims alone show there was a lack of control in the program.
Academic fraud always comes across as extra scummy. Especially in this case since Boeheim is such a powerful figure and has been the head coach since 1976.
Nothing goes on in that program without him saying so. Nobody he hired is just going to start writing papers for players for the fun of it. It happens because Boeheim tells them to write them.
Nobody decides to skirt the regulations of the drug-testing procedures on their own. It happens because Boeheim directs them to do so.
Syracuse’s penalties include a nine-game suspension for Boeheim – to be enforced next season during ACC play – the loss of 12 scholarships and 108 vacated victories.
The latter sets Boeheim back on his quest to become the second coach to ever reach 1,000 wins. Let’s hope he retires before he gets there.
But worse than reaching the milestone for Boeheim is this:
He will never restore his reputation. His integrity is gone forever.
The San Diego Chargers aren’t getting their way and are threatening to take their footballs – hope they are inflated properly – and their team to Carson, a city in the Los Angeles area.
The Chargers are frustrated in their attempts to get a new stadium in San Diego and have now switched tactics. Instead of finding a solution, it has become we will go elsewhere because we can’t get our way.
Pro sports owners do not care about their fans – only how much money they can fleece out of their pockets – and it is now Dean Spanos’ turn to show how greedy he is … and has always been.
Remember, any NFL team could build a new stadium at ANY time. But they always want the city and the taxpayers to pay for their expensive digs.
Word got out earlier this week that the Chargers will begin pursuing the new stadium in Carson – jointly sharing it with the Oakland Raiders, of all teams – while they try to work out a deal in San Diego by the end of 2015.
Kind of odd timing, don’t you think? If the franchise is so committed to working out a deal in San Diego, then there is no reason to be dealing with other brokers 100 miles away. There should be a one-sided focus to get the deal done.
It is like the Chargers started to panic once the owner of the St. Louis Rams started talking about building a football stadium in Los Angeles.
So this negotiating through 2015 stuff might really be just a case of making sure season ticket sales don’t plummet and make it sound like San Diego is still in play and just get the calendar to Jan. 1, 2016.
Remember, the Chargers are horrible at public relations. When they were collapsing during the 2012 season and blowing big leads, the team’s public relations director told all the fans to take “chill pills.”
First of all, you have to be pretty inept at your job to think that is conduct worthy of a public relations director. Secondly, it is a reminder of what I have been telling people for years – the Chargers do not care about their fans.
Never have, never will.
So think how much fun the 2015 season will be with it being known the Chargers are attempting to fly the coup. Then factor in the team has a public relations director who shouldn’t be handling anything above mopping the locker room showering area.
Spanos can take the Chargers to Los Angeles and become known as this century’s Donald Sterling if he wants. Go ahead and share a facility with the Raiders – who called home Los Angeles once before – and you immediately become the No. 2 team in the market.
Oh yeah, the Chargers would be No. 3. USC will always be more popular than any NFL team that moves into the area.
We will see how this plays out in coming months but the Chargers are playing a high-stakes leverage game and their latest move shows that the almighty dollar is what matters and not a single one of their fans.
Perhaps the city of San Diego should pull out this doozy in July – you can’t play here this season.
Now that would be the all-time, fun leverage deal.
One the Chargers should recognize by their feeble tactics.