It must feel unusually powerless for the powerful — silly and meaningless, even — to wear the words “How many more” or “Listen to us” on the back of your jersey while another Black man takes seven bullets to his own back. Police brutality isn’t worse than it has been; it is just televised more often. The system isn’t actually broken; it works as intended and a little too well (police forces didn’t even exist in the South until they were created to prevent slave revolt and chase down runaways). Black men are killed and incarcerated at a disproportionate rate in America, which is why Clippers coach Doc Rivers gives voice to the heartbreak when he wonders why the country Black people love can’t just love them back. What the hell is controversial about requesting equality?
It’s Monday August 17th, and there are four NBA playoff games on starting at 1:30PM Eastern. One of the many things that just a few months ago did not seem possible. The NBA and NHL have both done a good job with their bubble setups, and it has provided hours of entertainment in a time when people still should be staying home when they can. While some people believe that sports being back is a reward for a society that has handled COVID (something the US has not), I have a different take. Constant sports on TV might just help keep a few more morons busy enough so they don’t mind staying inside instead of heading out without their mask to yell at others for trying to be responsible.
Now on to the playoffs. In the East I like the Raptors coming out. The Bucks were head and shoulders the best team in the NBA during the regular season, but I have them losing to Miami in the second round. The Bucks going cheap and letting Brogdon walk last summer finally catches up to them as I don’t trust Bledsoe as the go to ball handler. Toronto has the best coach in the NBA and they have created a roster of interchangeable parts that does not miss a beat no matter who is on the court. They are also fun to watch, as they play a refreshing style of basketball. Two small guys who can handle in the backcourt, an entire front court of players that can play any of the 3/4/5, and a big enough rotation that allows them to play pressure defense for 48 minutes without getting tired are the reasons Toronto once again wins the east.
Now lets go out west. The Rockets are fun, OKC is fun, Denver is fun, but something is clear. After all the smoke clears there are two teams head and shoulders above the rest. Those would be the two teams that play in LA. LeBron and Anthony Davis are the best duo in the NBA right now, but I am not confident in the roster around them. During the season the Lakers have tried to remake the roster including making moves during the long layoff, but they still have a few square pegs that need to fit in round holes. The Clippers on the other hand are deep. Kawhi and George are a great duo to start with, but like the Raptors in the east they can come at you in waves and most importantly the depth will allow them to lock down the defensive side of the floor. The difference on defense is why I like the Clippers to take down the Lakers to win the west.
A few months from now Kawhi will get his third ring on his third team. The Clippers having the best two players on the court will just be too much for the Raptors.
After correctly picking the Nationals to win the World Series last year, it’s time for my all important 2020 projections.
*I had to edit this post the day after posting as baseball changed the rules around who makes the post season! Now the top two teams in each division get in while keeping the next two as Wild Cards. My picks to win it all did not change.
NL East: Phillies/Braves
NL Central: Cubs/Cardinals
NL West: Dodgers/Padres
Wild Card 1: Mets
Wild Card 2: Diamondbacks
AL East: Yankees/Rays
AL Central: Twins/White Sox
AL West: Astros/Angels
Wild Card 1: Rangers
Wild Card 2: Blue Jays
AL Champs: Rays
NL Champs: Dodgers
World Series Champions: Dodgers
Baseball is almost the only orderly thing in a very unorderly world. If you get three strikes, even the best lawyer in the world can’t get you off.
Universal DH proposed by MLB is expected to be easily approved by players, who long favored idea. It won’t impact finances in ‘20 but could boost pay for select few in ‘21 based on better stats. Teams helped: Dodgers (great depth), Nats (same), Brewers (Braun), Mets (Cespedes?)
The request for admission asks Williamson to admit he knew his mother, Sharonda Sampson, and Williamson’s stepfather, Lee Anderson, received illegal benefits to ensure Williamson attended Duke and wore Adidas shoes
The days get longer, the temperatures get warmer, and the green returns to the trees. This can only only mean one thing. It’s baseball season. The sounds, the smells, and me yelling at my TV that they should never bunt. The many things that come alive when the calendar turns to April.
As many things in our world have rightly stopped, baseball is on hold. However thanks to technology I have found my fill. First came the Chinese Professional Baseball League with its five teams, and now we have the Korean Baseball Organization. They are playing under the rules that will be our normal for a while. That means no fans, but it’s still baseball. You can find most CPBL and KBO games on Twitch, but ESPN has picked up the rights in the US to the Korean League which means there is one game a day. Most games start at 1AM or 4AM eastern, but they are shown again during the following day.
While the Mets are not coming back for a while I can root for the Chinatrust Brothers in Taipei and the LG Twins in Korea. It’s more fun to pick a team, and the Brothers were the first team I saw on Twitch from that league and someone who knows the KBO compared the Twins to the Mets on twitter. I was sold.
It might be something small, but there is just a small sense of normal when you hear the crack of the bat. Give it a try, and enjoy some good baseball!
Those of you younger than, say, 40 years will have to imagine, for Gooden’s insane ’85 — a 24-4 record, a 1.53 ERA, just 13 home runs allowed and 268 strikeouts against 69 walks in 276 ¹/₃ innings pitched, all in his age-20 season — celebrates its 35th anniversary without quite being matched. Nor had folks witnessed quite as dominant a campaign in the 71 seasons that preceded it. By Baseball-Reference’s Wins Above Replacement measure, Gooden’s 1985 ranks as the best major league season by a pitcher in the past 106 years.
I was 6 years old during Gooden’s rookie year, and it did not take long for his starts to become appointment viewing in my house. I still remember like it was yesterday sitting on the beach with my dad listening to Doc finish off another one of his complete games.
I don’t want to hear another word about whether the Americans scored too much or over-celebrated. This is a team in full attack mode, fighting not just to win a World Cup, but to prove a larger point about their worth. They’ve been denied fair pay compared to their men’s team for years and they’re out to make a statement about just how good they are, both on the pitch and in the court of public opinion. You don’t make up a chronic pay gap with ladylike restraint. You do it by kicking through a wall.
There is never anything to add to a Sally Jenkins’ article.