For sports fans, the summer is made up of extreme peaks and valleys. One day it’s the NBA Draft, the next day it’s a San Diego Padres doubleheader.
These are my thoughts on ten of the stories that are holding us over until the X Games start.
1. If you’re not watching baseball, I don’t blame you. But please take a minute to explore the right fielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Yasiel Puig. Spend extra time learning how to say his name.
Some people (me) are ready to call Puig the best player in baseball history. The dude is a five-tool wrecking ball. Through 27 games, his batting average is .443, he has 22 runs, eight homeruns, 18 RBIs and a 1.218 OPS.
Naturally, Puig may not be showcased at the MLB All-Star Game because baseball is the sport of dinosaurs. The holier than thou purists want no part of the most exciting thing to happen to the game since Curt Schilling retired.
2. Raul Ibanez has 21 homeruns. At age 41 and in his 17th year of professional baseball, he is on pace to set a career-high in single season bombs.
Ibanez would be the first player to hit 30 homeruns after turning 40. Ted Williams was close with 29, but old Teddy was no Ibanez.
There’s surely some complex algorithm that explains the weird success Ibanez is having, but I’d rather chalk it up to baseball making no sense.
3. While we’re on the topic of baseball being an unexplainable and perplexing game, how about Bartolo Colon?
Colon went 5-0 and had a 1.75 ERA in the month of June, which was good enough to earn him the AL Pitcher of the Month award.
What makes this so great is that Colon got away with receiving stem cell treatment a couple years ago. After the reports came out, I imagine league officials said, “Yeah, go ahead, Bartolo, get all the stem cell treatments you want.”
Now the 40-year-old is a legitimate contender to win the Cy Young.
4. Former Butler coach, Brad Stevens, inked a six-year deal to head the Boston Celtics’ bench. It’s a progressive and risk-averse hire.
Stevens is driven by advanced metrics, which is a refreshing trait for a basketball coach. He’s young (36) and has immense upside. If he works out, the Celtics pulled of a big coup. If he doesn’t, the Celtics can eat the contract and will have no qualms about going in the gutter for a season or two.
I’m a Stevens-backer. He’s a wunderkind. However, I pray he doesn’t plan on bringing that dreadful Butler motion offense to the league with him. That’d be a suicide mission.
5. Can’t bring up the Celtics without mentioning the monster deal they struck with the Brooklyn Nets. Jason Terry, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce for Keith Bogans, Kris Humphries, Gerald Wallace, and first-round picks in 2014, 2016, and 2018.
That trade is breathtaking.
My favorite part of this masterpiece is that Bogans is getting $5 million strictly as a means to make the trade work salary-wise. It does not suck to be Keith Bogans (anymore).
I think the Nets “won” the deal. Even though they’re about to owe almost $100 million in taxes for a team that will most likely lose in the second round of the playoffs.
6. My last NBA note is on the subject of teams plummeting next year for a top pick in the loaded 2014 draft. I fully condone it. As a fan of the tanking Philadelphia 76ers, I can’t wait to watch them throw games in late-March.
The NBA is not about keeping your head above water; it’s about drowning yourself, then blasting out of the pool with a superstar player in tow.
7. Hoop freaks should can the WNBA jokes and watch Elena Delle Donne play. The rookie out of Delaware is doing her best Kevin Durant impression for the Chicago Sky.
8. Seth Jones – son of the distinct-looking former NBA player Popeye Jones – was picked fourth in the NHL draft.
I’d like to see more basketball players send their kids to the hockey rink. Or even the tennis court. Share the wealth, if you get my drift.
9. I think there’s an outside chance that Aaron Hernandez is guilty. If he does walk, his lawyer is going to represent half of the NFL by the end of the year.
10. NFL training camps start in three weeks.