Taking it all with a pinch of salt …
The weekend within the sports’ world has supplied us with very little news , which was really noteworthy . At St Andrews , in the third Grand Slam Major of the year the PGA has been turned on its head with an amateur leading, heading into fourth round of The Open . Pressure being too much to bear Paul Dunne has now slipped back three shots behind joint leaders Louis Oosthuizen and Zach Johnson with world number two and two-time Major winner for this season , Jordan Spieth a shot behind at twelve under par (-12) at the prestigious St Andrews Golf Course , St Andrews , Scotland.
Whether or not Spieth can make history by becoming only the second player in PGA Tour history to have won the first three Majors of the season. Tiger Woods having achieved the feat , bowed out of The Open,having failed to make the cut , with many now wondering whether or not the former world number one will ever win another Major much less a PGA Tour title , given the slump in his game this season and over the past two years. With the whole world watching it will be interesting to see whether or not Jordan Spieth can win his third Major this season and jump ahead of Rory McIlroy in the world rankings.
It would be fair to suggest the NBA remains devoid of any type of leadership even when David Stern helmed the league hierarchy. His autocratic rule was simply one of a dictator and the old boys’ club that exists among the owners and league executives remains something of a joke. The NBPA (union) remains all powerful and Stern’s successor Adam Silver has now proven to be just as incompetent as his predecessor. In the wake of the latest troubles bedeviling the career of Ty Lawson , it would appear Silver doesn’t see fit to punish the player for his actions and the very fact in the last six months, this has been the second time the player has ran afoul of the law having been charged with a DUI . Lawson’s former team the Denver Nuggets have seen fit to rid themselves of the point guard and his legal woes sending him to the Dallas Mavericks in a trade. Given the issues of the Mavericks last season and the lack of productivity seen with Rajon Rondo , I am not so sure Lawson will prove to be any better.
Ty Lawson has since admitted himself into a drug and alcohol program of his own volition, but the mere fact the NBA has not seen fit to even address the issue and suspend him for his actions even when there is a precedent to do so , sends a disturbing message about the NBA and the image it is now sending to its fans. Personally, I believe the league itself has become too wrapped up in its self-importance and the chase to increase its revenues rather than dealing so many acute issues now bedeviling the league. Homophobia , misogyny and racism seems to be ongoing and in spite of the actions taken against former Los Angeles Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling , where the league’s handling of the situation was simply comedic, simply indicates how out of touch with reality the NBA still remains.
The two best teams in baseball over their last ten games have been the Los Angeles Angels and Kansas City Royals . Both appear to be heads and shoulders above everyone else within the American League (AL). Yet for all of the prowess seen from both teams , the second half of this MLB season will likely prove to be an immense decider as to the fate of both ball-clubs. The Angels’ game against the Boston Red Sox was rained out due to rain and the two teams will make up that game up on Monday with a double-header, day and night game on Monday. On the mound for the Angels for the two games at Angels’ Ballpark in Anaheim California , will be Hector Santiago (6-4) in game one and Andrew Heaney (3-0) in game two of the double-header.
Mike Trout and the Angels are likely to take both games in the home stand, given the inconsistency shown by the Boston Red Sox over the course of this season. This will also prove to be a make or break season for Mike Scioscia after the apparent turmoil within the organization which led to the departure of former general manager Jerry Dipoto . If Scioscia fails to lead the team and their making a deep postseason run. Then there is every belief Arte Moreno will make the decision to rid himself of Sciocsia and the entire managerial staff .
It is becoming increasing difficult to assess how good the Los Angeles Dodgers are said to be. They may well lead the NL West , with a comfortable lead over their closest divisional rivals, but if that were enough of an indicator to suggest how good the Dodgers are said to , one only has to look at their failure over the last two years in the postseason to realize how much of a disappointment this ball-club continues to be. Clayton Kershaw was scintillating last season on his way to winning the NL Cy Young and NL MVP Awards. This season Zack Greinke has been putting up astonishing numbers of the team leading league , NL low ERA. Greinke is on pace to match,if not lower the MLB season low ERA for a starting pitcher during the regular season. Bob Gibson’s record setting stat of 1.12 ERA was once deemed untouchable and the mark set in 1968, puts into perspective how spectacular his season just happened to be for the St Louis Cardinals that season.
For now Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers will look to continue their pace, while seeking to distance themselves from their divisional rivals and trying keep apace with St Louis and the Pittsburgh Pirates for the best record in the National League. Monday will see the Dodgers on the road , when they face the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta , Georgia , when Brandon Beachy (0-1, 6.75 ERA) will be on the mound to face the Braves’ Matt Wisler (3-2, 3.10 ERA) .
This may well be the season that the Chicago Cubs are able to turn things around , albeit , they find themselves in a tough NL wild-card race, with the divisional race itself already lost to this Joe Maddon managed team . A great has been made about about the developing talents of Kris Bryant with his having been brought up from the minors this season. Maddon and the front office staff of Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein finally believe they have a team ready to compete at the highest levels of the game. From my own perspective, I do not believe the Cubs are yet ready to compete at the elite within the NL much less the rest of baseball . For years this has been a franchise complacent with its attitude with a loyal fan-base which yearned for success , only for them to witness either blatant stupidity or failing to grasp the opportunities that came their way.
This is unlikely to be the Cubs’ year , but finally , it may well be the season where the fans might feel, there is some hope for their long-term future. When Clayton Richard takes to the mound to face Michael Lorenzen at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati Ohio, for the Cubs . It will be interesting to see how Richard fares against the Cincinnati Reds in this NL Central clash.
Rob Manfred just can’t seem to get out of the way of his own ongoing stupidity and like his predecessor , Bud Selig , the current MLB Commissioner will simply rehash the same old lame ideas , refocus their importance by trying to present them all in a new way. Manfred is currently behind the call for the expansion of Major League Baseball with the possibility of three or four new franchises within the next five years and the increase in the number of participants in the postseason. Pardon me for saying this, but Rob Manfred might be an even bigger @sshole than his predecessor , given his lack of intelligence and his unwillingness to address one of the most acute issues facing the game of baseball. At a time , when several teams are facing financial uncertainty, expansion should be the furthest thing from the hierarchy’s mind. Teams such as the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics are having trouble with game attendance, as well obtaining the assistance of Manfred in the possibly of fast tracking their need for a new ball-park.
This commissioner seems to more focused seeking more addition of more teams at a time when baseball’s popularity among teens is said to be on the decline. Their Returning Baseball to The Inner City Initiative (RBI) seems to have fallen on deaf ears , never mind the fact , many of the game’s biggest ball-clubs now spend more money on developing baseball academies in the Caribbean and Latin American than they do in developing home grown talent. Call me naïve , but at what point will Manfred , his associates as well as the team owners realize that they are on the wrong track , with the train having already left the station ?
We are now less than three weeks away from the start of the NFL preseason schedule and it has to be said even in the aftermath of the NFL Draft, fans were still not able to get enough with regard to the latest stories encapsulating the league. From Deflate-Gate down to the latest report of player misconduct or that of Rex Ryan making proclamations as to how good the Buffalo Bills will be this upcoming season . The stories just seemed to be a non-stop flow of relentless media reports , no matter how trivial and asinine they might appear to be on the surface.
There are impact players in the NFL and players, who believe themselves to be players who can impact a game . Dallas Cowboys’ wide receiver Dez Bryant believes himself to be the former , whereas I believe Bryant , is a very good player , he is not a player who on a consistent basis has known to impact a game much less be an impact player. He lacks maturity , leadership ability, as do several of his teammates on the current Cowboys’ roster , without one having to delve into the lack coaching acumen shown by Jason Garrett . But , as we know the Dallas Cowboys remain the NFL’s biggest whipping posts and one of constant ridicule , as to their aspirations year in and year out , over the last eight years.
This off-season Dez Bryant is holding out , refusing to attend the Cowboys’ OTA’s, until he is given a long-term contract , a deal which he believe he merits , making him among the highest paid wide receivers in the league , by way of a contract and salary . Bryant is not on par with the likes of a Calvin Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald and his seeking to be even placed on their level seems absolutely ludicrous .
If Dez Bryant and his agents at Roc Nation Sports are seeking the long-term deal the player believe he is worth , then he might now be placing himself in something of a corner. Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones known to be a shrewd businessman has already made one mistake , with his allowing DeMarco Murray to go elsewhere during the off-season , when in reality franchise failed to deal with a player who if anything was more productive than Bryant throughout much of last season. Now Dez Bryant is seeking a six or seven year deal , with a minimum of $45 million in guaranteed money , with a contract worth a minimum of $120 million. Bryant is not a $15 million or $20 million a year player and even if the NFL enters 2016 with revenues at an all-time high and a salary cap likely to exceed $130 million per team . I seriously doubt Jerry Jones is willing to “break the bank” for a player yet to show anything of note during postseason. .
Dallas will begin their preseason in earnest, as Jason Garrett gets to assess his team, the latest acquisitions , and rookies on the roster , before they hit their stride with the first game of their regular season schedule . The NFC East remains a riddle and conundrum all rolled into one alongside a great deal of mediocrity. With the level of coaching now bordering on incompetence and so many of the head coaches on appearance seemingly out of their depth . I certainly believe this upcoming season will be bland and milquetoast in the level of play and hype created by the media !
Picture gallery. Click on a frame and you can view that image in a reformatted size along with an accompanying narrative.
What have been your thoughts on the weekend stories emanating from the world of sports ?
This month in NBA history
This week in MLB history
On this date in baseball history