Whoever loses the World Series, in Game 7, will have to live with it for a long, long time. Give me the tears!
It’s November. Holy crap. And yet, games six and seven of the World Series were scheduled for this time. I don’t get that. Luckily, the weather held out and there wasn’t snow on the field, like there was when the Indians opened the regular season. That’s neither here nor there. The changing seasons have given light to the basketball and hockey seasons. Football still sucks, so at least there’s that. Here’s some hot takes ready for you in this first week of the 11th month of the year. Check out last week’s too if you feel so inclined.
1. This is everything I could have dreamed about for the World Series
To say I’m ecstatic for Game 7 of the World Series is an understatement. I’m not a Cubs or an Indians fan. I’ve been pretty down on baseball as a whole this year because of the pace of play to be perfectly honest. But Game 7 of the World Series between the two teams that have gone the longest without winning the title is appointment television.
As I said last week, I wanted a Game 7. I needed a Game 7. Not just for the winner-take-all thing, but because of how these teams have suffered for so long. Nothing is more gut-wrenching as a fan of a team than Game 7. Hearts are in throats, stomachs are churning all day long. It’s everything you want as a sports fan, but dread as a fan of one of the participating teams.
That’s why this is going to be so monumental. Cubs, looking for the first title in 108 years. Indians searching for their first championship in 68. So very long to wait, and one city/team will exhale for the first time in forever. That’s cute and a nice story.
What I can’t wait for is the losing team. The losing city, that comes so close, only to be turned away again. Oh my God it’s sweet magic. I need to see the tears, the anger, the bars emptying with looks of agony. That’s the best narrative that will come out of this World Series. Cleveland will have lost a 3-1 lead (poetic justice for all the shit they’ve thrown at the Warriors) including two games at home, or the best team in baseball will come up short yet again and leave their fan base searching for answers.
I don’t think another World Series will ever top this one in terms of agonizing storylines for fans. That makes me sad. But the plethora of Crying Jordans and sad baseball fans after the game makes me so, so happy.
2. The kids are stealing the show in the NHL – and that’s awesome
I mentioned in my blog last Wednesday that scoring was up in the NHL this year. I’m still not the biggest fan of that. But, if that’s the trend, at least have some of the younger players, and the next generation of stars in the league, leading the way. Inside the top 10 in scoring are: Connor McDavid (19 years old), Jeff Skinner (24), Jonathan Marchessault (25), William Nylander (20), Victor Rask (23) and Auston Matthews (19).
The league is in good, nay, great hands. While the Maple Leafs suck, at the very least they have two studs in Nylander and Matthews to kickstart their revival. The Oilers have been another revelation so far this year, and McDavid looks like the create a player in a video game. His speed is other worldly. His hands are magic and his playmaking ability is second to none.
The guys like Crosby, Ovechkin, Malkin and the other superstars in the league have been around now for over a decade. They’re still some of the best players in the world. But after the display that we saw at the World Cup with Matthews, McDavid and others, the league is trending in the younger direction. Instead of having to wait until handful of years for the next group to take over for the young guard, it looks like they’re already here.
3. NBA teams need to cool it with how they’re spending their money
Some of these numbers dropped my jaw.
Victor Oladipo – 4 years, $84 million
Cody Zeller – 4 years, $56 million
Rudy Gobert – 4 years, over $100 million
Like how in the fuck is this possible? NBA owners do know that they use actual currency right and not Monopoly money? Because some of these numbers are outrageous.
I get that the NBA salary cap is rising because of expanded revenue due to television contracts and everything else, but these numbers are ridiculous. Rudy Gobert is worth over $25 million a year in Utah? Cody Zeller comes in at $14 million per? What fucking planet am I living on?
I always thought that being a specialist reliever in the big leagues was the best way in sports to make a comfortable living. I guess not now. All you have to do is be over 6’7″ and have some scoring touch near the basket and pull down some rebounds, and you can be filthy rich and mediocre in your sport.
These contracts remind me of before the NHL lockout, when Jaromir Jagr was making upwards of $12 million per year and other guys were making money they had no business even sniffing. When the financial bubble popped, those deals became the focal point of renegotiation.
The NBA’s labor situation looks fine, but I can’t imagine these contracts lasting forever. Get em while they’re hot!
4. Get rid of the NFL trade deadline
NHL, MLB and NBA trade deadlines often see blockbuster moves. Contending teams pluck the best players off the weak teams to make a playoff push. Crappy teams reload with hopes of a brighter future with draft picks and other assets.
It’s a day of movement where superstars sometimes make their way to different locations. It’s what makes the three sports I listed pretty exciting on deadline day.
And then there’s the NFL. The league barely makes any trades to begin with. For whatever reason, trades in the NFL are extremely rare. Free agency is nuts, and that’s exciting, don’t get me wrong, but if general managers don’t feel the need to make any trades on the deadline, then just get rid of it.
Every year leading up to the trade deadline, analysts project some big moves. In this year’s edition, the New England Patriots questionable dealing of Jamie Collins to the Cleveland Browns for a compensatory draft pick on the day ahead of the deadline was the biggest move. Don’t get me wrong, it was a big move, but it wasn’t one that huge outside this New England bubble.
The deadline is supposed to increase moves and add another day to the sports calendar where people are glued to their TV and computer screens. Instead, you can turn off everything and not miss anything. Eliminate the deadline and let teams make trades all year (since they never happen) or do something to add incentive for teams to make a move. Otherwise, it’s just another day in the fall.
5. Enough is enough, stop the MLB All-Star Game from deciding home field advantage in the World Series
So now that we know there will be a Game 7 between the Cubbies and Indians to decide the champion of MLB, let’s dive back into this. I know Matt (Stat) Tardiff highlighted it in this blog, but I, unlike my mathematical counterpart, am going to get really pissed off about this.
How, in 2016, are we still okay with the All-Star Game, a meaningless fucking exhibition game, determining who gets home field advantage in the most important series of the year. It seems so simple, and yet MLB continues the “This time it counts” mantra for their midsummer classic.
Yes, we all agree, the tie in the 2002 All-Star Game was a disaster. The knee jerk reaction of Bud Selig to make the game count the following year was so shortsighted then and I can’t even believe how it still exists. The game is meant to be a celebration of the best and brightest in a beautiful ballpark with laughs, smiles and a grand time had by all.
And instead, it guarantees that the winning team of that league gets to host Game 7 of the World Series. Come on now folks, let’s get rid of this. Change the rules of the All-Star Game to add some other gimmick to it, but let’s just abolish this bullshit.
Now, I’m not saying that playing on the road should be the reason why the Cubs don’t win the World Series. Brendan made the argument that the team with games 3-5 actually has the advantage. I disagree, but with the talent this team has, the Cubs should still win. But how is it right that the team with the most wins all season has to be on the road for the last game of the year?
Did the Cubs players in the All-Star Game not try hard enough? Or was it that their league sucked in the game. Either way, it’s shenanigans that it determines the home field of the World Series. It needs to be taken away and buried forever.
That’ll do it for us. We’ll be back next week with some more hot takes for your Wednesday reading enjoyment. Follow Tim on Twitter@culvey13 and Brendan at @MurraySportTalk for more, or to tell me us we’re morons. Either way, have at it.