Monday Morning Update: August 22, 2016

 

Lochte gets teammates locked up, the Yankees are fun again and the end of #VeseyWatch2016

  1. Locked up Lochte

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I’m not one to make light of others’ misfortune (then again maybe I am), but I got to enjoy a pretty big I told you so with this whole Ryan Lochte fiasco. I’ve been driving the Lochte annoyance/hate train for years, probably peaking when I first saw his stupid hair on NBC’s Olympic coverage. I obviously was far from the only person who haven’t liked Lochte for a while, but still, being vindicated always feels a little good (or a lot.)

In Lochte’s defense, though, everyone keeps saying how stupid he is, and how great of an example this was of his own stupidity, but I’m not entirely sure that’s true. I think if he was as dumb as everyone seems to believe he is, he probably wouldn’t have gotten on a plane back to the U.S. in time to avoid bein held or arrested like the rest of his boys.

Jeah, Lochte was probably told he should leave by his agent, lawyer, family or someone else looking out for his best interest. But, he’s also been (presumably) advised against lying to police about a crime, and he didn’t take that advice, clearly. This wasn’t very good, but at least there’s some improvement there.

  1. A Bolt of lightning (thanks, journalism class)

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 Pretty sweet headline, I know. In all seriousness, though, how impressive is Usain Bolt?

Typically, in sports and in life, I like some parity, some equity. Things are more fun if everyone believes they have a chance, even if that belief is more than a little misguided. When everyone has a chance, everyone is interested, just ask the NFL.

But when it comes to the Olympics, for one reason or another, I want pure domination. We’ve all been fortunate to watch Michael Phelps collect gold medals like they were lucky pennies, even if that medal count is a bit inflated thanks to the number of events he’s able to enter. Katie Ledecky was my favorite part of the Olympics’ opening week, and I cackled with delight as she swam so fast during the 800m freestyle that her opens couldn’t even fit on the screen. (If you haven’t yet, check out this piece from the NYT on just what an incredible performance that race from Ledecky was.)But for my money, Bolt bests them both. He’s won every event he’s entered for three straight Olympics. He may not have the medal count that Phelps does, or win by the same comical margins as Ledecky. But he’s batted 1.000,  9 golds on 9 tries, in three straight Olympics.

But for my money, Bolt bests them both. He’s won every event he’s entered for three straight Olympics. He may not have the medal count that Phelps does, or win by the same comical margins as Ledecky. But he’s batted 1.000 in three straight Olympics.

For 12 consecutive years, for the length of a standard American education up to high school, Bolt has been the fastest man in the world. Sure, he’s cocky, but who among us wouldn’t be if we possessed speed like his. When you really stop to think about, its almost inconceivable that someone could stand alone for that long—after all, as Title Fight reminds us, no one stays at the top forever.

  1. It’s just Roger being Roger

goodell 

I could say a lot of the same things about Roger Goodell that I did about Lochte. I’ve been on the commissioner’s case for a long time, really since Bountygate, but I’ve been joined by the thousands who have come around on sports’ most famous ginger.

What we’ve seen in the past few days is exactly why Goodell and the league fought so hard to keep Tom Brady suspended for deflating footballs. As Brady and Goodell were sworn in during an actual legal proceeding in an actual court of law as part of an actual case about the air pressure of footballs, everyone screamed that the league should let the fight go. But the people that couldn’t understand why the league kept bringing this up were missing the forest for the trees.

By the time we got to the courts, this case wasn’t about deflated footballs. It wasn’t even about Brady, really. It was about Goodell.

For better or worse, the current CBA essentially gives Goodell unlimited power to suspend players. Brady and the Player’s Association essentially were challenging that authority, by saying that someone else could overrule him. An appeals court decided that wasn’t the case.

Now, with this recent mess of the Al-Jazeera PED rumors, Goodell is emboldened by that ruling, and is using it to supplement his authority.

As much as I’ve railed against the league and Goodell for their decisions and power grabs, I find it tough to criticize too harshly when it comes to the CBA. Most people, and someone like Goodell especially, is going to take as much power as they can get. The Player’s Association, I think, is at fault here. They made a massive miscalculation in giving him the power they did.

  1. Is the Giants’ glass half-empty or half-full

 eli.jpg

I can’t figure out the New York football Giants this year, and, apparently, neither can a lot of fans, including my dad.

In one sense, the offense has the chance to turn into a real powerful weapon. Beckham seems to be on track to become one of the best two or three wide outs in the game, despite my (very misguided) criticism of the Giants selecting him, and second round pick draft pick Sterling Shephard could provide a great young second option. We’ll get a chance to see what Rashad Jennings looks like as a true #1 back. It could be a high scoring season for Eli and the boys.

And the defense may be much improved. The pass rush is looking more like the 2008 glory days than it has in a while, with a (hopefully) revived JPP and the addition of Oliver Vernon and former Jet Damon Harrison. The Giants also moved to replace oft-disappointing Prince Amukamaura with first-round pick Eli (the big) Apple. (I swear to god, if that doesn’t become his nickname, there will be hell to pay.)

But something about this feels like its held together by toothpicks and bubblegum. Shepard still has to prove he can play with the big boys on Sundays, Eli isn’t getting any younger, and any hope of having Victor Cruz make the Giant receiving core a terrifying threesome seems to be growing fainter by the day. The defense was supposed to get a bump from Spagnolo’s return last year, and we saw how that panned out.I have a good feeling, but it isn’t particularly strong. (Look for more on the Giants on ChinMusicPod.com soon…)

I have a good feeling, but it isn’t particularly strong. (Look for more on the Giants on ChinMusicPod.com soon…)

  1. The Yankees are good fun again

Who would have thought that August would be the best month to be a Yankee fan in 2016?

Yet, here we are. Flying high off the retirement of guys like A-Rod and Texiera and the prospect-returning trades of Beltran, Chapman and Miller, Yankee fans have gotten a real good look at just how good some of their top prospects might be after Aaron Judge and Tyler Austin hit back-to-back homers in their debut at-bats.

Add in Sanchez being named the starting catcher and Justus Sheffield’s impressive trio of starts for Tampa (2-0, 1.04 ERA, 17.1 IP 17 Ks since being acquired by the Yankees), and it really is the best time to be a Yankee fan in a long time.

The idea that the young Yanks could somehow supplant the Orioles or Red Sox was a fun, if remarkably unrealistic, idea for a few days. But, even after that idea fizzled out, its nice to turn on the Yankee game and see a team worth watching, if only for a few moments.

  1. All hail Hotshots

beer

Everyone is getting ready for football in L.A., but as a sports fan, you gotta feel for the St. Louis fans of the Rams, who now have to decide if they want to keep supporting an owner that moved their favorite team or find a new squad to support.

Luckily, they still have the Blues and the Cardinals to keep them entertained, although plenty of sports fans don’t follow all four major sports.

Now, they’ve also got cheap beer, thanks to a local bar called Hotshots, which is giving away pitchers of $1 domestic beer for every touchdown scored against the L.A. football team this year. Given that Jeff Fisher is still their coach, this could end up being an expensive good deed by HotShots.

7. Quick Hits

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This blog hasn’t contained quite as many musical entries as I thought it would, so let’s try to give it some space here.

A lot of bands I really like, or at the very least am really interested in, have been active this year. Here’s what I think of a couple of the new E and L Ps:

Demos, Reworked by Brand New

More not quite new music from Brand New, who’ve received by far the most space here on Chin Music Pod so far. I eulogized them earlier this year, and it seems fitting that the next record the group released after that was a reworking of demos that are nearly a decade old (holy shit) now.

To be fair, the new demos are really good, if predictable, full versions of Brother, Missing You and 1996. The demo tape these come from ended up becoming Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, but even the songs that didn’t make the band’s magnum opus really hold their own, especially the ones that Brand New has given a proper “reworking” to.

But this is all starting to feel more and more drawn out to me. Maybe its time to turn the 2018 to 2017, release the record and call it a day. (Just kidding, please never go away.)

If I Was Ever A Child by Wilco

So Jeff Tweedy doesn’t want to be considered a dad-rocker, but then he forms a band with his son and writes an album called Schmilco? I mean, come on man, what did you expect?

The song is exactly what could be expected by Wilco at this stage in their careers, but I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. The track has a cool, if a bit twisted and wistful, vibe, and it’s genuinely enjoyable.

It seems as though the consensus has flipped on this band. They were critical darlings that were pushing the envelope with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Ghost is Born, and then became has-been dad-rockers with Wilco (the Album) and the like.

Say what you will, but I enjoy the niche that Wilco has carved for themselves. Sure, YHF and Ghost are certainly the heights of their career and two of my favorite records of all time. But no band makes a masterpiece every time. Some bands just put out pleasant and enjoyable, if unremarkable records. That’s what Wilco is doing now, and I’m still a fan.

8. Centrowitz ends the drought

Matthew Centrowitz ended a more than entury long drought for the US in the mile on Sunday in what was a pretty dramatic finish on Saturday.

The mile is a great race to watch on TV, it turns out. It’s long enough to sustain more drama than the 100/200/400m, but short enough as to keep the event long in the teeth, as can happen in the 5k/10k/marathon.

Any time a drought that lasts so long, especially among Olympic events, its also a great watch. Cheers to Centrowitz on pulling it off in exciting fashion.

9.  Vesey, Vini, Vici

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So what do we make of Harvard grad and Hobey Baker winner Jimmy Vesey’s saga to the Rangers?

Obviously, I’m much less than thrilled than Vesey is joining the Rangers, especially considering the Isles were apparently in the hunt after all. (Quick side note, the fact that the Islanders are playing roles in discussion of major free agents like Stamkos and Vesey, even though neither signed is a VERY promising sign.)

But all over the internet, as Vesey dominated the deepest doldrums of the hockey calendar, the Twitter tide began to turn on him, as it so often does. As fans realized the wunderkind may not be  coming to their team, or even just  grew a little tired of the only story in hockey, they got MAD ONLINE.

I’m all for getting mad online, but this just didn’t make sense to me. Maybe I’m biased towards players for one reason or another in these situations, as I tend to land on their side, but I just don’t see what Vesey did that was so wrong.

The rules for entering  the NHL afford certain players the ability to play four years of college hockey after being drafted and sign as a free agent. That’s what Vesey did. If you don’t like it, your qualm should be with the rule, not Vesey.

The kid went to goddam Harvard after all, so it’s not like he was wasting those four years. And he went where the market allowed him to go. If no one other than Nashville wanted to sign him, he’d either be in Nashville or out of the NHL. It takes at least two to tango, and  Vesey had about 10 potential dance partners.

At the end of the day, the kid what was best for him. Isn’t that what everyone does in life? Why is he, and  so many other athletes, held to a different standard?

(Seriously, though, I hope he flames out on what could be a god awful Rangers team this year. I’m rational, but not too rational)

 

 

 

 

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