An All Star Night
July 18, 2013
It could only happen to the New York Mets it seems.
The 2013 Major League All Star game was supposed to be a Mets night. Their young stud pitcher started the game. Their captain, David Wright was hitting cleanup in the lineup. Former Met great, Tom Seaver, threw out the first pitch.
Still, it ended up being a New York Yankee night. Again, the Mets played second fiddle to their in-city rivals.
The American League dominated the night with a 3-0 win and Yankee great Mariano Rivera stole the show while being named as the game’s MVP. The ovation for Rivera was the best of the night, likely one of the best of his lifetime, and Mariano soaked it up. And the cool thing is, he did it alone.
The other American League players stayed in the dugout so the total focus would be on the greatest reliever to ever play the game. The resounding ovation grew with each warm up pitch Rivera threw. He subsequently showed his class again, tipping his cap, and turned around, facing each section, and showing his appreciation for the adulation from the crosstown Mets fans before he threw a perfect inning.
Baseball Suspensions On Hold
The cloud hanging over Major League Baseball will continue into 2014 it seems. The cloud that just won’t see to go away within the game. The rumored next round of suspensions due to performance enhancing drugs.
I first mentioned the story a few months ago. Since then, the story now has a name - the Biogenisis case. And the biggest names reportedly involved in the story are still Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun.
As the season progresses, it is beginning to look like no players will serve any suspensions this season. The players union has let it be known that it will not be ready to file appeals until September. I guess baseball does not want to deal with the negative publicity, and the actual suspensions, during what it hopes to be an exciting final month of the season. And the playoffs of course.
There has been talk that the upcoming suspensions for the players to be named later will be between five to 100 games. During the all-star break this week, commissioner Bud Selig made it clear that he still does not know if the players’ names will be released before the appeal process begins.
Keeping It In The Family
This story hit me out of nowhere. I read on Tuesday that Michael Jordan promoted his older brother, Larry, to be the Charlotte Bobcats director of player personnel.
First of all, I did not even know he had a brother. And I sure did not know he had the experience or qualifications for such a vital position within a professional sports franchise. I did find out that he previously was the team’s director of special projects.
Quite a promotion. Though as I look at the Bobcats’ roster, there are a number of projects listed. Still, this move does not instill confidence within me that the Bobcats will be making any major improvement soon. Of course, after you read the story below, you may think that has been the plan all along.
And in case you wondered, Jordan also has his oldest son, Jeffrey, and daughter, Jasmine, involved in roles within the organization.
And in case you wondered about Larry Jordan’s playing experience. He played with MJ at Laney High School and saw a little action professionally in the World Basketball League back in 1988.
NBA Class Of 2014
Word is starting to get out to the sporting public that the NBA draft of 2014 is going to be loaded. Loaded with talent that has the potential to turn struggling franchises around. Scouts are talking about 2003 loaded when LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Carmello Anthony made their way to the NBA.
This time the names are Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, Dante Exum, Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart, and Glenn Robinson, Jr.
Rest assured, the NBA has noticed and I have been reading story after story about how teams are preparing for the 2014 draft. Stories about how teams are trying to move up in the draft and stories of how beneficial it would be if teams had a horrible season. Alot of what I read spoke of how many teams have done nothing in the offseason to improve themselves. It is almost like they are calling next season in so they can improve their chances to get one of the before-mentioned players I noted. I even added a new word to my vocabulary - tankademic. That is a term one writer used to describe how a handful of teams already seem to be making sure they have a bad 2013-14 season.
Tankademic could make for some bad basketball late next season. There are already a half dozen teams that do not have a shot at the playoffs. I include the Charlotte Bobcats within that list. The list will grow once teams realize they are out of playoff contention. Once that happens, get ready for the blowout losses, the release of big salary players, and the tanking of games.
I am not suggesting that the players will lose games on purpose. I am saying that a team’s management will create a situation where that team cannot succeed despite its best efforts.
The tricky part is for franchises who are going after the class of 2014 draftees is to pretend that they are competing for a playoff berth while secretly coveting one of the potential stars coming into the league. It has been proven of late in the NBA that you almost have to hit rock bottom in order to find a franchise player.
The key with the 2014 draft is that it’s not about Wiggins at all. It is the depth of the draft. There is a good chance that the top 10 picks could all end up being all stars. That is a rare proposition. In comparison, I can only count two or three players from the 2013 draft that may end up being all stars.
You basically have to be in the draft lottery to get one of these potential franchise-changers. And how do you do that. You lose games. Get prepared for it.
You will be seeing teams subjecting their fans to five months of terrible basketball, but they’re justifying it by giving their fans a real chance of landing a difference-maker. They will be selling hope. Hope that the next LeBron or Kevin Durant ends up in their town.
It is a risky proposition. But the formula has worked in the past and likely will again. I just find it hard to fathom how millionaires are banking on 17 and 18 year old athletes to turn their franchises around. As good as the class of 2014 will be, there will be some busts. There always are.
We will be living it here in Charlotte so we will keep talking about it in these pages.