I wasn’t planning to start this series until next week, but when Christmas comes in May, you have to take notice. When every normal person absolutely sees a train barreling down a bus full of kindergartners coming and the only person that could stop it is tied to railroad tracks, Snidely Whiplash style. The baseball equivalent of Old Man Yells at Cloud was not only returning to Major League Baseball, he was taking over a team that had a diverse group of big personalities that are redefining how to play the game with fun and joy.
I thought I’d take a big giant step onto a frozen pond and take a look into the NHL playoffs. After all, they started two days go. Perfect timing… except the NHL, while starting Round 1 of the playoffs is STILL MAKING TEAMS FINISH THE SEASON WHO DIDN’T MAKE THE PLAYOFFS.
Seriously, CAPS is the only way I can make a statement here. This is so blindingly stupid I cannot even put it into words other than MAKING THEM ALL CAPS. The Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames, two teams who haven’t been in any contention whatsoever to snag any playoff spot in the Scotia North division since, I don’t know, mid-March, have two regular season games left. The play tonight and tomorrow. This is going on DURING ROUND 1 OF THE PLAYOFFS.
Does this make any sense? Is it me? Have the NHL brass been playing pond hockey without helmets again? Traditionally – well hell let’s just throw tradition right out the window into a snowdrift shall we – the playoffs begin when the season ends. Every single major sport does it this way. Why you may ask? So the entire focus is on the playoffs and not wondering how the bottom tier teams are going to do tonight and what impact it has on their draft slot. WHO CARES?! NO ONE!
By the time the season ends for the Flames and Canucks, four of the first-round matchups will be done with Game 2 of their respective series. This is so incomprehensibly stupid I cannot get my head around it SO I JUST HAVE TO USE CAPS.
Sigh. Deep breath. STUPID. Try again,. Sigh. Deep breath. Meditate. Don’t think. Let it go. Frozen. Frozen. Canada. Flames. Canucks. DAMMIT. I’ll be back.
If you have been paying attention to the minutiae of baseball television rights alongside the proliferation of new modern baseball stadiums, and i’m sure you have, then you are very aware of the situation of the Oakland Athletics. The A’s, formerly of Philadelphia and Kansas City, debuted in Oakland in the Oakland Coliseum in April of 1968. Since then, the Athletics have played all of their home games in the stadium, which doubled for many decades as the home stadium of the Oakland Raiders.
First off, I am a San Francisco Giants fan. Ergo while I will love this series, it’s Giants first for me. Have been since the mid ‘80s when I moved to Los Angeles and found the Dodger faithful about as lackadaisical a fan base as I have ever witnessed. Show up in the 3rd inning, leave in the 7th. Loved Dodger stadium, Dodger dogs, and the game. But the fans? Not so much. When I was able to go to the NLCS in 1985 and watched as Jack Clark cranked out a 3-run homer so the Cardinals could advance and leave the Dodgers at home and watch Pedro Guerrero throw his mitt up in the air in disgust, I smiled. The team may not have deserved this fate, but the fans did. The Dodger were up 2 games to nil and had lost 4 straight, with the last two being losses in the top of the 9th behind their closer Tom Niedenfeur, who was then dubbed Tom Need-in-fewer-games.
So, I jumped onto the Giants bandwagon and have been a fan ever since. After all, they were the Dodgers main rival no matter how far behind them that season they were as the Giants ended up an awful 62-100 in 1985. By 1987 I had moved from Los Angeles to northern California and the Giants were a team on the come. The rivalry grew more intense, intense enough that on April 21, 1987 in Candlestick Park, someone threw a battery (along with beer) at Dodgers first basemen Mike Marshall who made an ass of himself rounding the bases after hitting a 3-run homer. It wasn’t a car battery, don’t be ridiculous. I think it was a D and I’m pretty sure it didn’t hit him plus other small hard objects were tossed as well (and more beer). Hence, we started calling every Giants home game when they Dodgers came into town “Spark Plug & Battery Night.” Needless to say, security got beefed up a bit more.
The Giants fans were far more rabid. They had to be. Before the jewel the Giants play in now – Oracle Park – Candlestick Park was their home and was one of the worst stadiums ever. When you went to a game in July and sat in the cheap seats, you didn’t just bring a jacket, you brought a sleeping bag. The fog coming in off the bay was so cold it could turn a mild California summer day into a Midwestern winter one. 1988 saw the Dodgers get to the World Series and they upset the favored A’s led by a blindered Tony Larussa who just couldn’t see how his two main hitters went from normal big men to ginormous hulks. By 1989, the Giants had caught up and got to the World Series the summer I moved to Chicago. I intensely watched and cried. Not because they were swept by the A’s, but because of the devastating earthquake that hit during the beginning of Game 2.
I could go on and on about the Giants, Dusty Baker pulling the same crap Larussa did except this time it was one player rather than two, and the three World Series victories they captured in the ‘10s once they got a far better manager in Bruce Bochy… who came from the Padres. But this is not about the Giants, it’s about the current rivalry between the Dodgers and the Padres.
Every year, thousands congregate, participate, and millions view the Kentucky Derby. But the question on everyone’s mind is the same- how did this happen? For nearly a century and a half, the Commonwealth’s signature event has been one of America’s great pastimes. Though the race only lasts a few minutes, the tension could fill a Safdie Brothers movie. There have been changes to the race, and there are plenty of mysteries surrounding it, and I am here to uncover it all for you on this sacred Saturday in May. Come along. I might just teach you something.
Welcome everybody to my constantly updating live blog where I’ll be giving my thoughts about picks throughout tonight’s first round of the NFL draft. All of the lovey eyes being made between prospects and teams. All of the subterfuge and personality testing. Everything is done. Tonight is where the rubber hits the road. Tonight is about changing teams through the draft and…..BAH GAWD THAT’S AARON RODGER’S MUSIC!
On Monday, we discussed all of the things I got right and wrong last year. On the whole, I definitely could have done worse. That is mostly because I simply refused to reread every word I wrote in the leadup to the draft. My writing is tiring to both write and read. I just glanced over the bigger points, and the points I specifically remember (KMEEEEEEEEET!)
I realize, though, that it would just be easier to dump all of my hot takes into one place. So here we go! Here are the things I think about the 2021 NFL Draft!
There’s a warm static over the ballpark on Chicago’s south side. Typically by this time in late July, the weather is overbearing. Today, however, is unlike most days before it. An unseasonably cool stretch had this game begin in weather echoing late spring, and the giddiness that annually comes with that was palpable as well. Through eight innings, the Tampa Bay Rays have brought twenty-four men to the plate. None have reached base. Mark Buehrle, the White Sox’ quick-working ace is inching closer to one of the rarest feats in professional sports- the perfect game. Manager Ozzie Guillen, a White Sox folk hero in his own right, has made a defensive substitution to start the final frame. He is pulling Carlos Quentin from left field, sliding centerfielder Scott Podsednik into his place, and bringing DeWayne Wise into the game to play center. The move is to shore up the defense for two-thirds of his outfield ahead of three consecutive right-handed hitters to end the game. The first of these, Gabe Kapler, fouls a few pitches away, takes a ball high out of the zone, and stays alive. The next pitch will be remembered forever in the Windy City.
Every year, I throw myself down a flight of stairs in an attempt to give my opinion on the NFL draft. There is obviously no way to be 100 percent accurate with your predictions, but sometimes I am egregiously bad! Sometimes I’m right, but people aren’t interested in that so much. As is a yearly tradition, i’m going to go over the stuff I got wrong last year, with the occasional sprinkling of stuff I got right. Actually, screw you guys! I’m leading off with what I got right. Don’t like it, go start your own website you human merkin!
What I got right: The Bears were dumb to draft Cole Kmet.
This could be thought of two ways – the NHL has reached the 80th percentile on their way through the regular season… or the NHL is really playing at about 80% overall right now.
In truth, it’s both.
This article was all set to run Monday morning… as in Monday the 19th of April. Sunday the 18th was supposed to be Colorado Avalanche game number 45, the benchmark for roughly 80% through the regular season.