Can anybody else feel the holiday weekend approaching? I sure as shit can. It’s almost America’s birthday, which means a three-day weekend filled with patriotism and lots of frosty beverages. But before we can get there, here’s a compilation of six hot takes in this midweek extravaganza to hopefully make the day go by faster. Miss last week’s story? Check it out.
1. Pat Summitt meant more to women’s basketball than Geno Auriemma ever will
First things first, we can acknowledge the elephant in the room. Yes, Pat Summitt’s son did bang one of his players and allegedly got her pregnant. That’s a story for another day, but for this, let’s focus on Pat, and what she did for the sport of women’s basketball.
Brief history on Pat: She started coaching with at Tennessee when she was 22. Summitt was literally just out of college, and stepped into the position in the infancy of the sport. Over the next five decades (holy shit) she put together one of the greatest coaching runs in the history of sports. Don’t give me this shit on how it’s just women’s basketball. Fuck that.
She turned the sport from a sideshow to a pillar of success at the highest level in amateur sports in this country. And, she did it all despite the fact that when she started as a coach, most women didn’t hold that role. As Summitt evolved the game others tried to emulate her success (she’s the winnigest college coach in basketball history with 1,098), UConn emerged as a continuous contender, as Summitt and Geno Auriemma did battle.
While the Lady Vols won eight national titles, Summitt became a household name, battling the Huskies in classic games throughout her run. And that leads me to my main take on this Wednesday. Summitt was able to recruit some of the top players in the country, as a female coach, and bring the sport to another stratosphere. She had to compete against Geno and other strong programs in her career. Since she retired in 2012, the Huskies have basically been uncontested.
Geno picks the best players in the country, and suits up an all-star team to blow teams out all season long. Without Summitt, there really isn’t much competition on the women’s side. And that’s what made Pat so special. She churned out so many outstanding players and teams while competing with other top-tier programs. Summitt left her mark on the sport, and not even just the women’s side. And that’s something Geno will never accomplish.
— Crying Jordan (@CryingJordan) June 27, 2016
2. England needs to cool it with this shit
We don’t talk politics here on the Chin Music Podcast, so all the #Brexit stuff can be left at the door. I’m focusing specifically on English soccer, and the fact that Iceland, fucking Iceland, just knocked the English out of the 2016 Euros. For those of you who don’t know, and I’m sure there are plenty, England is basically the home of soccer. They just lost to a country of 323,000 people.
Some perspective for you on that: The top 58 cities in the United States have a bigger population than the entire country of Iceland. Riverside, Calif. and St. Louis are the two closest cities by comparison. Now imagine that, and take the best soccer players from those cities and go beat the soccer capital of the world.
It’s the Miracle on Ice(land) and England just left a pile in France.
English soccer has choked in major tournaments for a while now, and their manager resigned his position just minutes after the final whistle. Imagine that. The guy who leads the national team just up and saying goodbye after one of the worst losses in the history of the country. Oh, and he was outcoached by a guy who is a dentist on the side. Good job, good effort England.
And if you aren’t behind Iceland to win the whole tournament you need your head checked. This is a story for the ages, and one of the many reasons sports are so great.
3. Steven Stamkos signing with the Toronto Maple Leafs would be a disaster
Disclaimer: No, I’m not just saying this because I’m a Bruins fan. So get that out of the way.
If Stamkos returns to his native Toronto, he’s setting himself up for failure more so than any NHL player in my lifetime. It would be LeBron returning to Cleveland times 10, with the New York City of Canada, and all the bright lights that comes with it, magnifying this young stud as he tries to bring a Stanley Cup to Toronto.
The thing that sucks about this is that I love Toronto. It’s one of my favorite cities to visit, and it’s the mecca of hockey in North America (no Montreal, not you). The Maple Leafs are tied with the St. Louis Blues for the longest time without a Cup in the NHL at 48 years. Toronto last won the ultimate prize in 1967. Of teams that have won Lord Stanley before, Toronto is ahead of the Flyers by eight years. It’s been that long for Maple Leaf fans, and the end isn’t coming any time soon.
And that’s what I think is the biggest factor in all of this. It’s not his decision to return home, but whether Stamkos wants to be part of a massive rebuild with the Leafs for the better part of his prime. Yes, Toronto was just gifted hockey-phenom Auston Matthews with the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft, and the Arizona-born forward is expected to be the pillar that the Leafs build on for the next decade.
Does Stamkos want to go watch this kid develop? And play on a team with no defenseman and a solid-ish goalie in Frederik Anderson? Even the allure of playing at home for an Original Six team has to take a spot on the backburner when your team still blows. Not even Mike Babcock can coach this team to the playoffs in the next couple of years. So Steven, take your talents elsewhere. Don’t let your career go to waste in Toronto.
Editor’s note: Disregard all of the above, he’s coming to Brooklyn
4. It’s about time to believe in the Cleveland Indians
Holy shit in saying that, right? The Cleveland Indians are rolling. Ever since the Cavs won the NBA title, somebody forgot to tell the Indians that they’re supposed to suck for the rest of eternity. Tito Francona has found some magic in the city by the lake, leading the Tribe to a five-game lead over defending World Series-champion Kansas City in the AL Central.
Cleveland has won 11 games in a row, jumping to the top of the division with some strong pitching (which I have to admit came out of nowhere) and timely hitting. Michael Brantley, who many (including myself) considered to be a bright spot on this team without many others, has been hurt for most of the season. And all the Indians have done is lead the AL in team ERA while hitting the ball well and playing pretty good defense.
Want a recipe for success and sustainability? Pitch well, and pick up the hits when you need it most. And that’s exactly what Cleveland is doing. Who would have guessed that by the start of July that the Indians would be ahead of the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central, and that all of a sudden Cleveland looks like a city with two legitimate title contenders (no Browns, you aren’t even fucking close). Watch out folks, the Indians are on the warpath and there doesn’t seem to be a sign of stopping any time soon.
5. Lionel Messi quitting Argentina soccer would be such a cop-out
Chile captured its second-straight Copa America title over the weekend, knocking off world No. 1 Argentina in penalty kicks to capture the title. I went into detail last week about the USA shitting itself in their semifinal against Messi and Co., but what the Argentinians did in PKs is on a whole other level.
Messi sent his penalty kick to the moon in the final against Chile, opening the door for the eventual winners to take command of the shootout en route to a win. And then Messi comes out after the game and says that he’s done playing for his country?
Hold the fucking door.
Abandoning your country after one huge gaffe is such a candy-ass way out of putting yourself in that position in the future. It also showcases that Messi doesn’t handle pressure very well. You missed a PK in the biggest game of the year for your country? Own it and move on Lionel.
If this is the case and Messi sticks to his guns, Argentina takes a serious blow as World Cup contenders in 2018. Not having the best player in the world play for your team out of pity is such a cop-out that I don’t think is getting enough press here in the US. Imagine LeBron James saying he’s not done with Team USA because he missed the game-winning shot in the Olympics? He would get KILLED for that. It’s the same thing, and it’s not really being talked about here. Don’t do it Messi, it would be a really, really dumb move.
6. The Yankees continue to be the Evil Empire and do really, really dumb PR things
Less than six months after announcing that print-at-home tickets wouldn’t be allowed at Yankee Stadium, the Bronx Bombers announced earlier this week that the team had signed a deal with ticket reseller Stubhub to be the official partner in ticket resales.
Make sense to you? Because it sure as hell didn’t to me.
In layman terms, the Yankees said before the season started that you would need a physical ticket, not one printed out or on your cell phone, to enter Yankee Stadium for a game. You could still buy the tickets through the secondary market, but day-of-game purchases would need to require a pickup of a physical ticket. That move pissed off a lot of Yankee fans and baseball fans for that matter, because it took away some spontaneity of getting tickets last minute before a game. and would emphasize buying tickets through the team for “face value” when tickets were being sold for a fraction of the price elsewhere.
And then this week New York announces that Stubhub would be the official ticket reseller for the team. It’s a complete 180 from before. But because the Yankees are insistent on grabbing every single, last penny they can out of you, they signed the deal by including a ticket floor on each ticket. I’ve seen tickets in Yankee Stadium on Stubhub for as low as $5. Not anymore.. The Yankees will set a minimum price on these tickets, half the box office price, to recoup any potential missed profits.
It’s such a slimy move that doesn’t surprise me in the least bit from that franchise. I think the Red Sox ownership has done some pretty shitty things when it comes to ticket prices and gouging the average fan for money, but this one takes the cake. Good for you Steinbrenner brothers, enjoy your empty stadium as your team sucks throughout the summer.
Editor’s note: I’ve been so annoyed at all the Yankee ticket stuff that I’ve completely divorced myself from the entire process now that I’m in Boston. Thanks for covering this in my stead, Tim. Go Yanks though.
7. Camel of the Week: Me
So why did I get my own designation this week? It’s simple. I spent a good 4/5 hours last week watching both the NBA and NHL Drafts.
And to make matters worse, I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was convinced the Celtics were going to trade their pick. Then I thought for sure that Kris Dunn was going to go at that three spot, whether to the Celtics or someone else. The next night, I was sure the Islanders were going to trade their pick, and that the first three picks were a fait accompli.
Good job, genius.
And so, in the interest of fairness, I am the Camel of the Week. Great shame be upon me.
That’s it for Tim this week. He’ll be back next Wednesday for some more flaming hot takes. Follow Tim on Twitter@culvey13 and Brendan at @MurraySportTalk for more, or to tell me us we’re morons. Either way, have at it.