Hump day hot takes: Tom Brady didn’t really give up, David Price disappoints & more

It’s officially the dog days of summer. It’s hot, it’s sticky, there isn’t a lot of rain but when it happens holy shit. You know, the middle of July basically. Thankfully, the sporting world still has plenty of stuff going on for me to get irrationally angry about. So without any further ado, here’s this week’s hot take parade for your Wednesday reading. Don’t forget to look at last week’s column if you haven’t already too.

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1. Deflategate isn’t really over, and no, Tom Brady didn’t give up too soon

The long, national nightmare known as Deflategate came to a screeching halt last week, as New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady dropped his appeal after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals basically told him to fuck off. In Brady’s Facebook post (how about that, ending this entire circus via fucking Facebook) he thanked everyone and blah, blah blah. The most important thing to come out of this was that Brady wasn’t going to pursue this matter in the legal aspect any further.

Guess what? He doesn’t have to. Get ready for the dryer, because here’s some serious spinning to wrap your head around.

Sure, Brady said he’s done. He’ll take the four games (still an ABSURD amount for an equipment violation) and let Jimmy Garoppolo take over as the starting QB for the Pats in the first four games of the season. How will that go? I have no fucking clue. But, Brady dropping his appeal has bigger ramifications then his bullshit suspension.

Almost immediately after Brady announced that he was done, the NFLPA came out and said that they were going to bring the matter to the Supreme Court. Now they won’t petition the highest court in the land for a stay of Brady’s suspension, but they will continue this fight against dickhead Roger Goodell and his obscene amount of power as judge, jury and executioner in the NFL. And that’s where I’m diving right in.

You see, Brady’s name has been dragged through the mud since the Patriots demolished the Colts in the AFC title game. Whether he served the suspension or not, his name, brand and career were tarnished with this bullshit asterisk because of being generally aware of deflation. But, as the NFLPA continues to pursue the manner, and maybe even has it overturned at the Supreme Court level, Brady will be the poster boy for shining a light on Goodell’s wild abuse of power. TB12 won’t get the games back, but he will go down as the player to push back against the league, and ideally change the way player punishment is handled by a dictator-like commissioner.

Brady made the decision that works best for the Patriots, and the NFLPA is taking his case on for him. Suspension or not, this court case means much more as a manner of a player taking power as compared to the deflation of footballs.

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2. David Price is the most disappointing free-agent signing in baseball this year

I went on record at my old job as saying that I hated the David Price signing. I got a lot of questions about it and a lot of shit for it, but I stand by my initial take. Price has been the biggest disappointment of the 2016 free agent class. His numbers don’t necessarily show it, but the eye test proves how he’s been just an average pitcher for the Boston Red Sox so far this season.

Price’s contract of seven years, $217 million was the biggest ever for a pitcher, and trumped the dollars given to Zack Greinke and Johnny Cueto. Hell, Cueto is in contention for the NL Cy Young and he makes $10 million less a year than Price does. And Greinke has been hurt, so you have to consider that in this equation.

But back to Price. Let’s take a look at his numbers. 9-7, 4.36 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 141 strikeouts in 130 innings pitched.

Here’s the thing, I hate numbers. They can be concocted to tell you whatever story you want to hear. So, take those for what you want. They’re black and white and people love referring to them. I just don’t think they tell the whole story.

Price is supposed to be the ace. He’s supposed to be the stopper. He’s supposed to be the guy that even when your team sucks offensively or when the other team rolls out their ace, he gives you a chance to win. So far, that hasn’t been the case. Against three of the better pitchers in baseball, Madison Bumgarner, Masahiro Tanaka and Chris Tillman, Price pitched just okay. For someone making the money he does, he can’t simply pitch okay.

He strikes a lot of people out, but in the bigger games of the year against the top competition, he hasn’t been able to earn a win or fan down those arguments of Price sucking in big games. I’m not expecting a no-hitter every start, but the fact of the matter is simply that Price has been overwhelming and overall a huge disappointment in his first season in Boston.

Fans sticking to the numbers and drinking all the Kool Aid from the Red Sox defenders love to point to his numbers and how some of his losses were because of tough luck. You know what? Fuck that. Make better pitches, own up to your mistakes, and be the pitcher who called David Ortiz out for pimping a home run against him. Show some balls, and endear yourself to Red Sox fans. Don’t take to Twitter to say the sky isn’t falling.

If the playoffs started today, Boston would host Toronto in the Wild Card Game. I’m not starting Price based off his shitty season, and I’m sure as hell not starting a knuckleballer in Steven Wright. So I guess it’s Rick Porcello time? Woof.

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3. Either ban Russia from the Olympics and take away their medals, or let everyone use PED’s

Oh Russia, you never cease to amaze me. Amidst all the chaos of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio (did you know they start in just over two weeks? Holy shit) the biggest story not involving dead bodies and poop in the water is from the Russians, and how basically all of their athletes were using performance-enhancing drugs in 2012 and 2014.

A country built on corruption, hosting an Olympics built with corruption in 2014, using all sorts of corrupt ways to cover up rampant drug use? Who would have thought?

But here’s the deal. I’m not all that upset about it. I said to Brendan earlier this year that I think steroids and PED’s should be legal in sports. You want to look like a “Create a player” from a video game by taking all sorts of drugs? It’s your body and your risk, so go for it. But since people will bitch and cry about how it’s not fair and not ethical to allow it, I know that belief is a pipe dream.

So, then drop down the fucking hammer and not allow Russia to participate in Rio, and strip their medals from 2012 and 2014. Want to make an example of this to have it never (ideally) happen again? Drop the sanction nuclear option, and kick out one of the biggest countries in the world from the Olympic games.

The IOC is among the most corrupt organizations on the planet, and the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) isn’t that far behind. In my corrupt sport organization power rankings, I would go FIFA, IOC, WADA, NCAA and NFL just so you know.

But, what I’m saying here is this. Lower the boom, drop the hammer, kick them off the tour Doug! If you don’t want robots participating in the Olympics, cut the chord and knock this shit off. Boom problem solved.

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4. I’m all for the NCAA allowing the No. 1 overall seed in the Men’s Basketball Tournament to choose their first and second round location

It’s not often that I agree with the NCAA. Hell, it’s rare. But when the fourth-most corrupt organization in sports (see above) makes a right decision, it’s a hot take to back them 100 percent.

The top seed in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, aka March Madness, getting to choose their location for the first and second round is a brilliant idea. You’re the best team in the country going into the dance, so it makes sense to get rewarded for it. There’s going to be some strategy involved in this too.

Do you choose the location closest to home to bring in the home fans? Or maybe you travel further away to ease some pressure of playing in your backyard. Or maybe you look at who you could play and try to fuck over the competition. Or you consider where the next big studs are coming from and use these games as a recruiting pitch. I’m fascinated by the whole concept of this, and applaud the NCAA for finally making a smart, and pretty easy decision.

Along with this addition, the NCAA is also reviewing the selection and seeding process moving forward. Lower seeds aren’t supposed to be that good in the NCAA tournament, but that’s what makes it such a fun thing to watch every spring. So if they can figure out a way to make the seeding more accurate, and create even crazier matchups, I’m all in.

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5. Tiger Woods needs a new sponsor to get his golf game back up

So Tiger announced the other day that he was going to pull out of the PGA Championship, wrapping up his major-less 2016. The best golfer in the world from my childhood is now a mere shell of himself, as the younger generation of stars take over. But I don’t think Woods’ career is over. Phil Mickelson finishing second at the British Open at age 46, and Henrik Stenson winning the Open Championship at age 40 should give Tiger hope for a resurgence down the road.

Injuries have wreaked havoc, as Woods looks like he’s rather flaccid on the course. When Tiger was at his best, he was pounding the ball off the tee and putting like nobody’s business. He was also going to pound town with pretty much everyone off the course, until that ended in pretty fabulous fashion. And that brings me to my main take.

Tiger at his best was sleeping with countless women. Most sponsors backed off because of his extramarital affairs. Now he needs a new one to reboot his drive.

Insert Viagra.

Is this a match made in heaven or what? Want to turn your life around on the course and in the bedroom (which are most definitely linked with Tiger) then take this pill and get back in the game. I can’t believe it took me until today to think about this. Viagra, here’s your new spokesman. Tiger, here’s your chance to get back to chasing Jack Nicklaus. Let’s make this happen.

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.

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Monday Morning Update: July 18

Punk rock and basketball, Phil and the British Open, and emo rock and bro-tunes. Don’t call it a comeback.

Continue reading Monday Morning Update: July 18

Chin Music Podcast Episode 8- Benny Horowitz of the Gaslight Anthem, Bottomfeeder

Sometimes an interview surprises you. In this edition of the Chin Music Podcast, Benny Horowitz of the Gaslight Anthem, Bottomfeeder, and more joins host Brendan Murray to talk, Nets, Yankees and plenty of basketball and baseball.

Listen above or below and download the Chin Music Podcast on iTunes.

Hump day hot takes: Giancarlo Stanton rules the Home Run Derby, Joe Paterno is still a scumbag & more

It’s another edition of my midweek column featuring six flaming hot takes from around the sporting world. I’ll admit that it’s the dog days of summer, and the sporting world is really slow this time of year. But have no fear, I’m still dishing out some flaming hot sports takes for you to digest at the middle of your work week. So let’s dive right in.

Continue reading Hump day hot takes: Giancarlo Stanton rules the Home Run Derby, Joe Paterno is still a scumbag & more

Hump day hot takes: Good for Kevin Durant going to Golden State, NHL free-agency palooza & more

Everybody feeling the post holiday weekend blues? Probably right. All those beers and dogs that you chowed down on for three days are sitting pretty well in the cube by now. But it was a good run while it lasted. I’m back for another installment of my midweek column, featuring flaming hot takes from the world of sports. It was a prolonged holiday weekend with plenty of action, so let’s dive right in. Here’s last week’s edition to catch you up as well.

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1. If you’re comparing Kevin Durant’s decision to sign with Golden State to Lebron James’ “Decision” to sign with Miami, you’re a moron

I’ll preface this take with this. Kevin Durant is my favorite basketball player on the planet. He has been since he lit it at Texas, and then took over the league at Seattle and Oklahoma City. I also have this strange affinity for expansion and relocated teams. Since I was a little kid I’ve always been drawn to new franchises, adopting them as my second team. Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001? Yup. Four new hockey franchises in the early 2000s? Hell yeah. Oklahoma City Thunder with my favorite player? You’re goddamn right. So now that you know I had a Durant jersey and t-shirt, let’s get into it.

Durant signing with the Warriors in a two-year (NBA contracts are stupid, just call it a one-year deal because he’ll re-evaluate next summer) deal on July 4th stunned the sporting world. He shunned OKC and the Celtics (he was never coming to Boston) for the opportunity to join three of the best basketball players on the planet for a chance to win a title, or multiple titles. He announced his signing on the Players Tribune, and went from there.

Immediately, Twitter nutjobs proclaimed that Durant took the easy way out, and began comparing this free-agent deal to LeBron’s decision to sign with the Heat. That blew my fucking mind. Especially Stephen A. Smith. But I won’t even dignify that blowhard with any more space in this story. After he “threatened” KD earlier this season, he should be removed from talking about him in public. It’s just dumb.

Anyways, there are two major differences between James’ and Durant’s signing. The first one: Durant didn’t leave his hometown, his literal birthplace, that was starved for a title until this year when their “King” came back. He’s leaving a franchise that could never get over the hump. Durant admitted he wants a title, and Golden State gives him the best opportunity to do that. LeBron shunned his city by recruiting Chris Bosh to go to the Heat. Durant left to join Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green to get another title in the Bay Area.

The second, and bigger difference between the two signings involves how it was made. LeBron wanted a special on ESPN to announce to the world where he was signing, because he’s the biggest news. Durant wrote a short release on the Players Tribune and sent a corresponding tweet to announce his decision, and went off on his way. One needed a TV special, the other needed three paragraphs and less than 140 characters to announce where he was headed.

See the difference? A quick story and a tweet is pretty damn low key. A TV special is about as high-maintenance as you can get. So get over yourself, and praise Durant for pursuing a NBA title. It stings as a Thunder fan, but I’m rooting for him to do well.

Lastly – Golden State over Cleveland in the 2017 NBA Finals.

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2. The Montreal Canadiens just made the biggest mistake in franchise history since trading Patrick Roy

Seriously, what in the fuck did the Canadiens do last week by trading PK Subban to the Nashville Predators for Shea Weber. Beyond the fact that this move makes very little hockey sense – Subban turned 27 in May, Weber will be 31 in August – Montreal has traded away one of the most electrifying players in the NHL for an aging defenseman.

The Canadiens can spin the move as a way to get tougher on the blueline or give coach Michel Therrien a sturdy stay-at-home defenseman who led the NHL in powerplay goals last year, but the eye test doesn’t add up.

Subban is one of a handful of players on Earth who makes hockey fans lift out of their seat whenever he turns around the net with the puck. He’s that kind of special player that captivated Montreal fans, and drove other fans (especially me) nuts. Subban’s antics of diving and embellishing are well documented too, but he was still one of the best players in the game.

And the Canadiens traded him.

Was it because Subban didn’t include Montreal when he donated $10 million to Montreal Children’s Hospital? Was it because he didn’t speak French? Whatever the reason is, the Canadiens made a dumb fucking move that will haunt that franchise for years to come.

Oh, and couple the contract situation of both players – Subban is signed for the next six seasons at $9 million AAV, Weber is signed at $7.85 million for the next DECADE – and you see that it’s a trainwreck. Sacre bleu!

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3. The Chicago Cubs are starting their choke a little earlier than I thought

I talked with Brendan about this during last week’s podcast featuring Yankees pre and postgame host Jack Curry, about how the Cubbies are struggling of late. Since starting off the year red hot, Chicago has dropped 10 of its last 15 games, falling to the Mets and Cardinals with relative ease.

Now I’m not saying it’s time to panic in Cubs-land, but what I am saying is that this team that was rolling along through April and May has revealed some holes that need fixing if the team wants to break their century-plus long World Series drought. The bullpen is in need of some late-game help, and the Cubs could use some extra depth off the bench. I have full faith in Theo Epstein to make a trade and improve this team for this season and moving forward.

But, if history tells us anything, it’s that Cubs fans have every reason to be worried about this team moving forward. Last October, the Mets shut down the Cubs with power pitching against the strikeout-heavy Chicago offense. The power-hitting Cubs offense is a juggernaut, but they have struggled against good pitching, which they figure to see in the postseason. Whether Chicago can weather this recent swoon and get back into playing almost .650 baseball is to be determined, but this ongoing decline does serve notice that the Curse of the Billy Goat is still alive and kicking.

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4. Iceland’s run in Euro 2016 ended, but it’s the best story of the year

After the tiny island nation shocked the world and reached the final eight of the Euro 2016, Iceland was unceremoniously disposed of by host France 5-2. Their historic run came to an end at the hands of a better team, but what Iceland did over the past three weeks is nothing short of miraculous.

It’s about as close to the “Miracle on Ice” as sports fans have seen, as a country that had little business even being in the tournament reaching the knockout stage was a story that captivated the soccer world. We saw 1/10th of the population invade France for five games, while the other 98% of the country watched the games back home. It’s something that the United States will never see for any sporting event, and I still can’t get over the run Iceland made.

The calls from the Icelandic broadcaster were amazing, and showcased how invested the country was in its soccer program. No other sporting event this calendar year, not even the Olympics, will reach the same level of euphoria that resulted from Iceland’s run in the Euro tournament. Soak it in sports fans, we won’t be here again for a very, very long time.

Also, their postgame ceremony is awesome and intimidating as fuck.

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5. Coastal Carolina’s run in the College World Series was another feel-good story

The Chanticleers, the fucking Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers, came from behind to win the first National Championship in school history, knocking off the University of Arizona two games to one in the College World Series. CCU, located near Myrtle Beach, SC, barely had a baseball field around 2000. Now, they’re National Champions.

I’ll admit I didn’t watch most of the CWS, but I definitely remember checking in earlier in the tournament when the Chanticleers were down to their final strike in a regional game, and needed to wait overnight through a rain delay before coming back to win the game and continue on their run.

Even though the CWS draws nowhere near the ratings as March Madness and the College Football Playoff, the champions that come out are rarely the teams that enter as the top seeds. It has the most random teams making it into the final part of the tournament, and I think it gives the smaller schools/lower seeds the best chance at taking home the trophy. CCU is a great example of that. Fresno State a couple years ago did the same thing. It’s a fun event, and Coastal Carolina knocked off a traditional power to capture the title. It’s not quite Iceland, but it’s an awesome story nonetheless.

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6. PETA protesting and interrupting the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest really pissed me off

I’m fine with protesting a message, but interrupting a hot dog eating contest on July 4th is pretty dumb. Joey Chestnut won the event by eating some insane number of hot dogs, but PETA members jumping on stage to protest God-knows what at the 100th anniversary of the event – when it wasn’t even shown live on TV – is just dumb. I’m all for the ethical treatment of animals too, but this just went above and beyond. Fuck these guys for interrupting a niche event to prove a point.

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.