Breaking up a Dynamic Duo

By Steve Samek

The Cleveland Cavilers have it set. You have an NBA championship and a finals appreances the past two years. You have Lebron James, the potential greatest player of all-time. Kyrie Irving a high-level lottery pick and dynamic player compliments James. Then they went and signed former MVP Derrick Rose. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/20163596/lebron-james-derrick-rose-work-together-las-vegas. Life looks good if you’re the Cavs.

Conversely, Irving decides he wants a trade. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2017/07/26/kyrie-irving-trade-request-no-surprise-to-chauncey-billups-after-due-diligence-on-cavs/?utm_term=.f4d65cc31175 . He seems most interested in going to New York. http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/nba/report-irving-wants-trade-to-knicks-very-badly/ar-AAoVKg1?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartanntp

Not what you’re looking for if you want another championship.

I figure why in the world would he want to leave Cleveland.  In less you went to Golden State. There Irving would have to contend with Steph Curry and Kevin Durant as far as being the number one player on the floor. Why not just stick with being the number two guy behind Lebron.

Especially if you want to win championships. Golden State and Cleveland look to have the edge for years to come as far as having talent in place that laps the field.

Maybe adding a piece like Irving could transcend a team, but no guarantees. http://www.espn.com/nba/player/_/id/6442/kyrie-irving.

 The question is though does a team have enough assets to trade for him. This would be for a team that wants to win now. Numerous teams have been mentioned looking to acquire him.

I don’t see this trade happening in less a king’s ransom is in it for Cleveland.  Kyrie stays and contends with the Lebron and hits free agency in a couple years and can bolt then.

 

 

Bell Hold Out

By Steve Samek

With training camp just, a couple weeks away the hot button topic for the Pittsburgh Steelers is running back Le’veon Bell.

Bell is playing with the franchise tag this season. Bell feels like he is entitled to the big money. Wanting to get paid like a number one back and a number two receiver. https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/07/25/leveon-bell-pittsburgh-steelers-kirk-cousins-washington-redskins-themmqb-andrew-brandt.

The problem is do the Steelers want to pay for the on the field Bell, or the off the field Bell.

On the field Bell is a top talent rushing for 1,268 yards on 261 attempts while scoring seven touchdowns. http://www.espn.com/nfl/player/gamelog/_/id/15825/leveon-bell

This was in 12 games after missing the first one’s due to suspension. http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000687567/article/leveon-bells-suspension-reduced-to-three-games.

 Bell has been suspended to start the past two seasons for drug issues. The Steelers have had no trouble parting ways with stars with off the field issues like Plaxico Burress, or Santonio Holmes. Yet the Steelers also held on to Ben Roethlisberger, despite off the field issues.

Too push Bell the Steelers drafted James Conor in the third round. Conor can learn under Bell and then take over as the starter when Bell leaves in two years. http://www.nfl.com/draft/2017/profiles/james-conner?id=2557978. This would be dependent on Conor working out, but the expectation is there. Conor is a Public relations darling as well between beating cancer and being drafted by the NFL team in the same city he went to college in. He is also amongst the best-selling jerseys in the NFL. https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/look-steelers-backup-rookie-rb-james-conner-has-the-nfls-top-selling-jersey/. So, if Conor performers and stays out of trouble the organization helps to maintain the positive image the Steelers are known for.

Running backs seem to come and go and developing them seems easier than finding a franchise quarterback. That’s why I feel Roethlisberger was kept and receivers were let go, even with off the field issues.

I think that will be the case with Bell. He can play out the final two years of his contract and then move on. That way the Steelers can take advantage of his performance the next two years, but then get rid of him if he continues to be a headache off the field.

Bell wants to hold out and can do so. Antonio Brown is trying to get him not to. Brown is more focused on teaming up with Bell to get to the Super Bowl this season. http://thebiglead.com/2017/07/26/antonio-brown-vs-leveon-bell-is-an-interesting-subplot/.  Should be an interesting idea, but Brown needs to tread lightly before he gets into trouble.

Bell is a big contributor to this team. He needs to be on the field. He just needs to behave off of it.

 

 

 

Snail Racing World Championship

Odd event names champion

By  Steve Samek

Speed matters. From the fastest cars to the fastest athletes. People want information sent to them as fast as possible. We have rush delivery for those that can’t wait for items from online stores.

Animals are the same way. We celebrate the fastest horse, or greyhound. Cheetahs are known for their speed trait. The fastest animals survive and the slow are mocked

Though this next event is very much in the spirit of the old tale the Tortoise and the Hare. With both a bit of the tortoise and hare inside them. The nation where the event takes place is England. The animal competing is the is the sail. It’s the world championships of snail racing.

This has apparently been going on for at least 9 years. There is archived result from this event dating back to 2008.  http://www.snailracing.net/.  Though according to this post, it has been going on for 50 years. http://nypost.com/2017/07/17/larry-the-snail-wins-world-snail-racing-championships/.

For the contest, the snails go around an oval track about 13 inches long. Crossing the finish line first was Larry in a speedy two minutes and 47 seconds. In case you’re wondering the that’s 47 seconds behind the all-time record for sails set in 1996 by Archie. Now that is some speed. http://nypost.com/2017/07/17/larry-the-snail-wins-world-snail-racing-championships/.

View Larry’s slug to victory here. http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=20091137. The trophy is looks like a watering can filled with lettuce. Larry is a world champion and should enjoy the trophy. Look for the movie in 2025. Conversely you could just watch Turbo. Either way plenty of ways to get your fix for slow and slow winning the race.

 

Gwinnett Name Change

By Steve Samek

 

Name change time. This time for the better, or is it? The Gwinnett Braves are change their name. The final six options were revealed the other day. The finalists include Lamb Chops, Sweet Teas, Buttons, Big Mouths, Hush Puppies and Gobblers. Each one has a local connection attached. https://secure.milb.com/tickets/form.jsp?formid=team_name_vote&formcode=form&sid=t431&section=team2.

While I am a fan of each team having a unique namehttp://bit.ly/2q0kjyz.

I don’t feel better about it in this case. Braves is a better name than all of them.

Big Mouths is a after a big mouth bass. At best, this is a generic fish theme logo, or confused with Bass pro shop. At worst, well I see some perversion with this name. Its sadly, may be the best of the bunch.

Buttons has to be the worst of the bunch. What the heck logo would you come up for this. The whole idea stems from the Namesake of Gwinnett, Button Gwinnett. He signed the Declaration of Independence. Good for history and America, bad for a baseball team name.

Gobblers is a generic bird name at best. Slang word for a turkey, should make it better right. Wrong, turkeys would be unique, but don’t make for the most intimidating team.

Hush Puppies and Sweet Teas follows the food theme trend in MILB. http://bit.ly/2njLZ0M While Montgomery, Fresno and Lehigh Valley did this well. A few teams did not. See New Hampshire, Rochester and Albuquerque. Lamb Chops is thrown in there too. Terrible choices with very loose regional, not even city exclusive ties make for a weak crop of pickings.

Fans seem to be agreeing that the picks aren’t so great. Voicing displeasure of them on social media. http://www.ajc.com/sports/fans-react-gwinnett-braves-announcement-final-six-name-options/dM7dS1nzytUxN9kixBNhUI/.

I think the Gwinnett Gators, Peanuts or Dragons would make cool names. Sticking with the Braves is another option. Though it would help the organization to add a unique name after finishing last in this pool. http://bit.ly/2onj9hj.  Stay tuned to see how the vote and logo turns out.

 

Fight before the Fight

By Steve Samek

Fighting sports brings no shortage of aggression and swagger to each match. From pregame trash talk to entrance songs to holding title belts and everything in between. So, what’s wrong with a good-natured ribbing between competitors.

Its fine to do so, but you have to back it up. It also helps if you don’t cross a certain line. Recently this line has in fact been crossed.

The fight is Floyd Mayweather going up against Conor McGregor on August 26,2017. So far from this fight we have a video of the two getting in each other’s face before a new conference. http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=19976426&sf97498275=1. Then we have an incident involving a flag and a backpack. http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=19976711&sf97515410=1. Seems silly to me.

Though where McGragor crossed the line was in his choice of wardrobe. He wore a suite that if you look close enough into the pinstripe it drops the f bomb to a press conference. http://mmajunkie.com/2017/07/conor-mcgregor-fck-you-pinstripe-suit-floyd-mayweather-press-conference

 That’s just classless. They have rules against saying that on television for a reason. It doesn’t have a place at a press conference before a fight. Granted be as cocky as you want, but resorting to a suite with a vulgarity on it is ridiculous.

Not to mention why would you even have that printed on a suite. What does it even add to the look? That is being debated in this article from GQ though. http://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/suits-fashion-style. Though it agrees with me that the f *** isn’t a trend to emulate.

I’m deffinitly rooting for Mayweather. This is just a stunt that get you to be a heel and have a legion of haters looking to see you get knocked out. Conversely give the guy props for having the guts to pull off this stunt. See what happens come August 26.

 

Ball vs. Social Media

By Steve Samek

Social Media strikes again. This time it’s 2017 2nd overall pick Lonzo Ball against 2013 WNBA 2nd overall pick in Elena Delle Donne. The two are matched up in a twitter battle over what seems to be a misunderstanding.

Ball wore a pair of $495 Big Baller brand shoes in a summer league game on Friday. Delle Donne tweeted that it would be something to see the shoe get blown out. A joke was then thrown in that Ball should have just signed with Nike for a designer shoe. Delle Donne is sponsored by Nike and has her own shoe. http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/basketball/elena-delle-donne.

Social media responded in the negative, as people thought that she wanted Ball injured. http://www.espn.com/wnba/story/_/id/19919252/elena-delle-donne-says-lonzo-ball-sneaker-tweet-was-joke. She then apologized in another tweet, saying she is a fan of Ball, just not his shoes.

Lavar Ball fired back at Delle Donne and her choice of Nike, but the tweets seemed to have calmed down. Delle Donne wasn’t happy with fans twisting her words though. This is rightfully so. It would have been rude to wish injury on another player. Having them break equipment, isn’t ideal, but it’s just a harmful bit of teasing. The fans overreacted on this one.

Ball isn’t in the clear yet though. Joel Embiid made a video in which he used vulgar directed toward another player. This player was Lonzo. Jabs were also made at Lavar. This is the second time Embiid has directed comments at Ball. In June Embiid and Ben Simmons took to social media to express displeasure with comments Lonzo made about the Lakers making the playoffs. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19921313/joel-embiid-philadelphia-76ers-fined-10000-nba-inappropriate-language-social-media.

Embiid received a $10,000 fine for his posts. The league called it inappriate use of language on social media. This could be the first case of fines for this season. The NBA is committing itself to stopping Twitter wars and promoting responsible use of social media by the franchises and players in the league. http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19921313/joel-embiid-philadelphia-76ers-fined-10000-nba-inappropriate-language-social-media.  This was the subject of a memo sent to all teams in February.  Play nice children, use social media responsibly.

 

Softball World Cup 2017

By Steve Samek

July 5-9th 20017 featured the best in the world going at it in a tune up for the 2020 Olympic games. The event in question the Softball World Cup.

The event featured the top two ranked teams in international softball, Japan and the United States. Six other squads participated in the event as well. http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Softball/Events/2017/July/05/World-Cup-of-Softball-XII.

Scores were relatively competitive.  Didn’t see any ten run games at this tournament. The standings were pretty even as well. Three teams finished with winning records and one finished at .500. The remaining teams were within a game of each other, except last place Mexico at 1-7. http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Softball/Events/2017/July/05/World-Cup-of-Softball-XII/Schedule.

The top two teams coming in, where the top two at the end. Japan and USA split a pair of games to each finish at 7-1. The USA won game one by a 5-0 score on July 7th. Japan took Sunday’s championship 2-1 to win the tournament. http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Softball/Events/2017/July/05/World-Cup-of-Softball-XII/Schedule. NO doubt we see these two teams competing for gold in 2020 against each other.  The rivalry has always been there and was certainly renewed when they played on Sunday.

Interesting enough Team USA is made up of amateur players. Granted very good players from high profile college teams, but still no members of National Pro Fast Pitch like you think would be the case. http://www.teamusa.org/usa-softball/team-usa/women. A development team in The USA Jr Women’s national team also played in the world cup and went 4-4. Nice to see that team getting a high level of competition to play against.

The event did a good job in showcasing the talent the USA has in the system. It’s a good appetizer for softball fans to see what the team is going to be like down the road. It just isn’t the same as watching the return of Olympic softball. Stay tuned.