Time Out for Sports Talk: Some Unconventional File Maintenance
Todd: To our loyal readers, hope you’re all enjoying your summer! Between us being away on separate vacations and other summertime diversions, it’s been awhile since we’ve filled this space with our usual blend of sports and humor.
Speaking of diversions, for those of you who only follow us through our written words and might be curious what we actually sound like, you can check out the all-new TOST audio ‘Todd-Cast’ featuring both Mike and myself doing an expanded version of what you read here. Great way to beat the heat for an hour (or more).
Among the topics from our recent podcast, Mike tried catching me up on news from the WWE, an organization I haven’t followed much in the last twenty years. But Mike actually inspired me to check out the current happenings in professional wrestling, so Monday night I turned on the tube to watch one of the guys make their typical dramatic entrance:
Wait, this isn’t from WWE Raw? Can’t imagine anyone in the real world wanting to be taken seriously would ever be introduced with rock music blaring in the background…(OK, the above video wasn't the actual entrance- but the music was better!0
Probably should get around to clearing off the sports hard drive once again, as I can’t believe we haven’t typed a column since the Cleveland Cavaliers became the first team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 Finals deficit, and in doing so won the franchise’s first championship and the first sports title for the city of Cleveland since 1964.
Coincidence? When Cleveland sports fans last celebrated a championship, LBJ was running things from our nation’s capital. Five decades later, another LBJ was again running things (choosing teammates, his head coach and probably drawing up the occasional play or two) from the nation’s current hoops capital.
I’ve never been a huge LeBron James fan, but even a Green Team loyalist like me has to respect what the guy did in his last three games, including an NBA Finals Game 7 triple-double capped off by that crazy shot block.
Regarding the C’s, the signing of Al Horford is well short of a fireworks finale in my mind. But at least it represents an unprecedented moment in Celtics free agency history. One can only hope that Danny Ainge can continue adding pieces to a young and talented squad on the rise while trying to pose a challenge to LeBron’s Cavs for Eastern Conference supremacy.
With the start of Patriots training camp imminent, I’m somewhat saddened that Tom Brady finally gave up the fight to have his four-game suspension overturned, if only because the thought of Commissioner Voldemort doing a happy dance upon reading TB12’s announcement has me feeling weak and with a headache…although maybe that’s just heat exhaustion.
Ok, much better after a water break! I suppose the one consolation of Brady’s extended absence from the Pats is that Bill Belichick and the rest of Patriots Nation will all get to find out just how good Jimmy Garoppolo is and whether he can win some games in September while potentially creating some trade value for down the road. How odd would it be if, after the Pats had to forfeit their 2016 first-round pick and Brady gets suspended, that Garoppolo starts and plays well, and then the Pats deal him for a 2017 first-round pick?
Anyway, enough football talk for now. The Red Sox still have a few days left to themselves on the sports calendar, so let’s celebrate that 93 games in to the baseball season, the New England Nine are in first place thanks to a 12-3 start this month. Not to look too far ahead, but right now the best record in the AL belongs to Terry Francona’s Indians, while the best NL mark belongs to Theo Epstein’s Cubs. What a potentially satisfying playoff path that would be if the Sox continue along their winning ways…
But I sure don’t want to put the cart ahead of the horse, since after going 10-16 in June it looked like the Sox were about to once again ‘Ruin our summah!’ Instead, Dave Dombrowski targeted the holes that needed filling and acquired key players like Aaron Hill, Brad Ziegler and Drew Pomeranz.
Pomeranz is a somewhat controversial acquisition, at least if you ask some members of the Boston sports yakker circuit. While my first reaction was ‘wow’ upon hearing Dombrowski sent top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza to the San Diego Padres to land Pomeranz, it sounds like that was the going rate for acquiring a 27-year old southpaw starting pitcher with a 22-31 career big-league mark and 2.5 years of team control on his contract.
Supposedly Oakland GM Billy Beane also asked for the 18-year old Espinoza when Boston inquired about Rich Hill, a 36-year old SP having a breakout season but who is a free agent at the end of this season. Dombrowski has had a history of dealing good minor league prospects for big league-caliber players with mixed results; let’s hope he’s right in this instance.
His Red Sox debut (3 IP, 8 H, 5 ER) notwithstanding, if you want to hold out hope that Pomeranz is starting to come into his own after adding a third pitch (cut fastball) to his repertoire, there was another 27-year old starting pitcher traded this decade who also then added a cutter to his pitching arsenal and then went on to win the NL Cy Young last year: Jake Arietta of the Chicago Cubs.
The more I watch these Red Sox, it’s hard not to get excited about how far they could go. David Ortiz—energized by all the young talent—is literally going out with a bang (or 24), and if the first 3-HR game of Hanley Ramirez’ career marks the return of his power swing, the Sox have a middle-of-the-order combo that rivals any other team in baseball. Add in a pitching staff with two 12-game winners (Steven Wright, Rick Porcello) and David Price and a bullpen that will only get better when Kimbrell, Uehara and Tazawa all return from the DL, and the sky is the limit.
Now if they could only find a National League team to take Clay Buchholz…
Mike (checking in from an undisclosed location, where he is on vacation): Wow, I wonder if that Trump guy will be at Wrestlemania this year...
Oh wait, he was...(OK, not this year, but go with it...)
Yeah, that's presidential...can we do better?