Well, I’m back from a week in Kauai, and man am I glad to be back in San Francisco. Does that sound believable? Because it’s a complete lie. Fog, street-poop and my job. Yeah, I’m really glad I’m not still in that tropical paradise.
But that’s the last I’m going to mention Hawaii, because nobody cares about other people’s vacations. Oh, you might pretend you’re happy that your friend/coworker came back looking tanner than before, but in reality there’s nothing you’d rather hear about less than surfing lessons, sea turtles and sunburns.
But besides a small Twitter foray during that awful hour of ESPN-produced silliness on Thursday (You mean, a scripted interview of LeBron James done by Jim Gray fell flat? I’m floored.), I feel like I’m way behind. So bear with me as I try to wade through the inbox. Luckily, every single sport is pretty much on vacation for at least the next 3 days, so there’s a little time to catch up.
— The only baseball I listened to was the last few innings of the 15-inning game between the Giants and Rockies on Sunday. Other than that, I checked box scores and fantasy standings sporadically, noticing that Buster Posey seemed to be playing pretty well. Then we got home yesterday and found out he was 17 for his last 37 with 6 homers. What?!?!?!
— Caught a little bit of Marty Lurie’s marathon postgame show last night while waiting for tater tots to cook in the oven, and he was soliciting ideas for a new nickname for “Buster.” Which, if you didn’t know, is already Gerald Posey’s nickname. Has this ever worked, the talk-radio “submit your idea for a nickname” gimmick? Aren’t the only nicknames that stick these days the ones that come from teammates? Back in the day, when there were only like 10-15 columnists in the entire country, a writer could come up with a nickname like “The Iron Horse” and everyone would cling to it. Not anymore. Now we have guys like Kenny Smith calling Shawn Marion “The Matrix” and we’re all supposed to follow suit, or a talk-radio segment that nobody remembers 15 minutes after they heard it where people call Posey the “SlumpBuster” or some similarly stupid and ill-fitting nickname. Stop it.
— Not hard to understand what all the fuss is about, though. While watching the game yesterday (first game I’ve watched in 10 days), it was damn near heartwarming to see Posey trot out to the mound to chat with Madison Bumgarner, who I can’t keep from calling “MaddyMaddy BumBum” in an English accent whenever I see him (I know … I’m weird). A 23-year-old and a 20-year-old, starting based on talent rather than name recognition, going over how to attack the next hitter. And the world didn’t spin off its access due to the lack of veteran grittygamertude shared by the pair of rookies talking to one another. Makes you realize what a depressing influence the old, slow, fat, and most of all pouty Bengie Molina really was.
— So, what exactly is wrong with Pablo Sandoval? Let’s see, he’s fat, he’s so desperate to perform without having to lose weight that he’s visibly pressing during every at-bat, and the league has figured out that he’ll swing and miss at high fastballs and swing and hit weak grounders on low breaking balls out of the strike zone. Other than that, he’s doing just fine.
— Still, I think by the end of the season, Sandoval will be one of the three best hitters on the team along with Posey and Huff. Call me crazy, but I still think the guy’s talent level is much closer to what he showed us last year than what he’s been doing so far this season. I know, my lack of reactionary thought there means I should probably hand in my blogging card now. Hawaii makes a man soft.
— With everyone from Dwight Howard to Jesse Jackson weighing on in the response to the response to LeBron’s awful “Decision” show, I think everything has pretty much been said about the new Miami supergroup. The only thing I have to add, after watching James struggle through coming up with verb tenses and adjectives on the fly in response to Gray’s and Michael Wilbon’s hard-hitting questions: LeBron is definitely a better player than Monta Ellis, but he isn’t much smarter.
— Put it this way: when Gray finally asked LeBron what his decision was, I wouldn’t have been surprised at all if his answer was, “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach, and sign with the Miami Heats. And I’m always gonna be a Heats.”
— Oh, and watching LeBron’s face when they showed his jersey on fire was priceless. Now THAT’S a guy who doesn’t deal well with adversity. Dude, you got what you wanted, you’re joining the popular kids in Florida, and now you’re that upset that the fans in Cleveland aren’t immediately writing you thank you notes for winning a bunch of regular season games in a league where they don’t matter?
— If you’re Joel Anthony, why would you possibly sign for less money in Miami just to be the whipping boy when you’re the only interior defender on the entire team? Chris Bosh couldn’t guard Kendrick Perkins, let alone Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum or Kevin Garnett.
— Luckily, the Heat have studs like Jon Scheyer on their Summer League team ready to come in and make a contribu… OK, I can’t finish typing that sentence in good conscience. However, if they do succeed in luring Derek Fisher with a lower offer than the Lakers would pay… OK, can’t finish that sentence in good conscience either (update: Fisher re-signed with the Lakers). Face it, Miami: you’re going to end up with Kwame Brown, one or both of the Collins twins and Rafer Alston.
— Second update: Udonis Haslem just signed with the Heat for $10M less than he could have gotten with the Nuggets. Nice pull for the Heat, I have to admit. Maybe the Warriors don’t suck because their front office is stacked with imbeciles more interested in turning a profit than choosing a plan and sticking with it, but because they have to deal with California’s steep state income taxes. But the Lakers have to deal with the same taxes, so…
— While I was gone, the Warriors sent off over $9 million in expiring contracts (Ronny Turiaf, Anthony “my favorite Warrior” Randolph and Kelenna Azubuike, otherwise known as “3 trade pieces to offer New York for Tony Parker”) for the rights to lock up David Lee for six years, meaning their supposed plans to become financially flexible enough to sign star free agents in the future and make the franchise more attractive to potential buyers have been scrapped.
— Here’s the new plan: make the team Don Nelson friendly, put out a lineup with enough offense and name-value to pretend to contend for the 8th spot in the West and sell 17,000 tickets to the sheep who will continue to populate Oracle Arena, and hope Larry Ellison or someone else gets impatient and ups his offer to Cohan to $400 million in the next year or so.
— Then I read Marcus Thompson II’s story that two groups are in the running to buy the team, the sale will be completed by August, and Cohan has a good chance of getting more than $400M. Like I said, I’m a little behind. Still wonder why Cohan’s allowing business-as-usual to occur if he’s only going to keep the team for another month or two. Of course, wondering about Cohan’s doings is like a guy with a schizophrenic girlfriend wondering why she cries when he talks to her on the phone.
— I feel like I should almost write an entire post dedicated to Anthony Randolph, who certainly breaks the top 10 if not top 5 on the list of most compelling Bay Area athletes since BASG started back in January of 2008. And now he’s going to a coach who like Don Nelson, will have Randolph playing in a fast-tempo, open offense, but unlike Nelson won’t treat Randolph like the stepchild he never wanted. Of course, the Knicks will probably trade Randolph to the Spurs where he’ll become a 16/11/3 guy for the next 10 years. Should we all just start running our heads into brick walls now or wait until Randolph becomes an All-Star?
— Guess the Warriors really wanted to see what they had once and for all in Brandan Wright, who’s busy not rebounding in the Summer League.
— And if the Warriors feel like they can afford the $30M+ trio of Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins and Lee, how could they not afford their 2nd round pick?
— Don’t come at me with the whole, “Well, they still have expiring contracts so they’ll have cap room for the new owner to use” line of reasoning. The Warriors will have to overpay to keep Stephen Curry and have no center on the roster after this year other than Biedrins, so this is the team they’re stuck with.
— And….now they’ve traded Anthony Morrow to the Nets for a $4M trade exception that they won’t use. They’re going to go with Dorell Wright instead, who’s a better defender but not exactly the most stable or consistent player in the world. Who’d have thought of all the positions on a team, small forward would be the toughest one for the Warriors to fill? The Portland Trailblazers are currently nodding after reading that last question.
— World Cup Final: too many yellow cards, too few scoring chances, but at least the game ended with a great goal which meant avoiding penalty kicks (which, while fun, have nothing to do with the game the two teams played for the previous 120 minutes).
— I think the game could have been improved if they didn’t use the European version of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to call the game. I know soccer/football has a different cadence, but would it kill those guys to show a little emotion? And was the color guy asleep during the winning goal?
— So there you have it. Now I have a little time to catch my breath before tomorrow’s All-Star Game. Hopefully Timmy can keep the “dehydration” to a minimum this evening.