4 August 2014
I. Double Duty
A great birthday present for President Obama would be that Secretary of State John Kerry becomes successful in his efforts to create a lasting cease fire plan in Gaza. Not that he doesn’t have a lot on his plate, but if he can do that – given the history of the region – I would want him to return stateside and try to effect a cease fire in Chicago. Dr. King was correct in saying that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, but sometimes we get so caught up in atrocities around the world that we forget about horrific things happening here at home.
II. A Change Is Gonna Come
Now that it has been determined that the chokehold is what caused the death of Eric Garner, along with the recent revelations of a chokehold on a pregnant woman and handcuffing a naked one, in the matter of stopping police brutality, NYPD – you’re on the clock.
III. Hardest Working Man In Show Biz
Congratulations to Michael Strahan on his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (along with the other inductees, including Ray Guy, the best punter ever), as well as on his transition off of the football field onto the playing field he will occupy for the rest of his life.
When thinking of Strahan – seemingly ubiquitous now – I am reminded of a story a mother told about overhearing her child ask a friend if he knew Paul McCartney had been in a band. The way Michael has blown up on TV, that may be the type of question asked about him before long.
Were it not for the dog fighting conviction some years back, our question might be when Michael Vick would be joining Michael Strahan in Canton, OH. The chances of that being greatly diminished, Vick is in the middle of a little controversy of sorts, which for some is a good thing. Controversies sell papers, and keep eyes and ears watching and listening to the news, as in the case of yours truly.
Why would controversy be needed in this case? For me, cable, satellite, and marriage. You see, I used to be all over pre-season football. This first week in August was around the general time in which I would sit down at my desk and write out predictions – usually seen by no one else – for the forthcoming NFL season, complete with each team’s projected record. But in the ensuing years came the proliferation of cable and satellite channels, which for me meant that there was more baseball available for me to watch than ever before, as well as NBA League Pass which has made virtually every NBA game theoretically available. And did I mention marriage? I kinda thought something had to give…and that something became the NFL, or at least fanatical following of everything NFL before Thanksgiving.
That being said, a preseason battle for an NFL starting job is not something that would usually capture my attention – but the question of whether there is actually a battle for the New York Jets starting quarterback position to me begs the larger question of why there is an issue at all. It comes down to the generally-accepted tradition that the starting quarterback is not subject to removal from a game except for injury. And why is that?
In the NBA superstars and future Hall of Famers usually play between 36-42 minutes out of the 48-minute game, meaning that they sit out from 12.5-25% of the action. Often a star is removed from the game by his coach with the intent of returning him within three minutes, but the guy that goes in does so well that the star winds up being out for eight or ten minutes – and the team thrives in his absence. In baseball it’s rare when a starting pitcher throws a complete game nowadays, and position players are removed from games or are not played in others for various strategic reasons.
Even in the NFL, players are removed from time to time to create different alignments – but basically never the quarterback. In an ideal world, Jets, you start Geno Smith and let him learn the position you expect him to hold for years – but when the situation calls for it, bring in the tested and ready Michael Vick.
V. A’s and Rays
The Oakland A’s better win the World Series this year after trading for Jon Lester. Pitching may be 75% of the game, but after trading Yoenis Cespedes to get Lester, they may very well regret the move if it does not pay off in a major way. Here’s one reason why:
As for the Tampa Bay Rays, it’s got to be hard being a fan when you know your stars are going to be dealt as their contracts near their end, as – yet again – in the case of David Price.
VI. What’s Happening Now
One of the characters in the show “What’s Happening Now” was named Rerun – and in thinking about the Los Angeles Dodgers and what’s happening with them, I see a rerun. I’ve seen this before. I’ve been in the New York area during the Darryl Strawberry era when you scheduled your bathroom or food run – if necessary – based on when he would be coming to bat, for that was something you certainly didn’t want to miss. And now, were I in Southern California, I’d feel the exact same way about Yasiel Puig.
If the Pacers had known what would happen this past weekend with Paul George, they would have certainly moved heaven and earth to re-sign Lance Stephenson.