10 Reasons Why the Little League World Series Sucks

Its that time of the year again. Middle of the MLB regular season and first preseason games for the NFL just starting up. Lots of slow days in the sports world. So, for some reason, America decides to become infatuated with 12-year-old baseball players playing on a miniature field. Kam summed up this phenomenon best. “The Little World Series represents everything wrong with youth sports.” Here’s 10 reasons why it sucks.

  1. They play on dwarf fields. The rubber is only 46 feet away! And basepaths are 60 feet in length. Lastly, are you ever like wow these kids have a lot of pop? Wrong. The fences are only 225 feet. A 12-year-old who has never touched a bat before in their lives could hit a ball that far. A normal baseball player stopped playing on fields this small when they turned 9.
  2. Calls like this happen. Often. gif llws
  3.  They can’t lead off. What is this, softball? gay kid not leading off
  4.  Kids high-five the other team after the kid takes them deep. Come on. If anything, throw some dirt on him or spit on the ground as he runs by. Anything but a damn high-five. Have some pride.                  gay hi 5 after bomb
  5. ESPN’s love for showing 12-year-olds crying. If it is MJ or Lebron crying after a tough loss, it’s one thing. But let’s keep the crying children to a minimum ESPN. There’s no crying in baseball. crying puss
  6. Instant Replay. They’re 12. There is no need for instant replay in these games. Bad calls happen. It’s part of the game. Make them learn to deal with it when they’re young. You already let calls like the one above happen. Be consistent.
  7. The stupid Little League Pledge. i wont cheat pledge I won’t cheat? What does this even mean? How can a 12-year-old cheat in baseball? This message needs to be much more directed at the coaches who virtually every year try to sneak some 14-year-old into the tournament.
  8. They aren’t even the best 12-year-olds. In some areas, sure. They might be fairly legitimate. But in many areas of the country, playing in Little League is the equivalent of being in AA. I cannot speak for the entire country, but no one in Tennessee plays Little League, yet somehow there seems to be a Tennessee team in the LLWS every year. You know what that says to me? The LLWS is a sham.
  9. Random adults being way too invested in the games. When they do not even have a kid in the tournament. If you were a parent at a normal game for your 12-year-old, how weird would it be for unaffiliated adults to be there just to watch some good ole 12-year-old baseball. Creepy right? Why is it suddenly acceptable in this environment?
  10. We treat the biggest kids like gods and freaks of nature who are destined for the MLB. No, sorry. Your kid just hit his growth spurt early. For all we know, he’s done growing and that 75 mph fastball he’s pumping past 100 lb kids is the hardest ball he will ever throw. giant 12 yr olds

Okay, nevermind. 6’4” is big no matter how old you are. Are you serious? 6’4” at 12. What are we feeding these kids?

     Your series still sucks.

Freshwater in Florida: Lane Kiffin & the Start of Something Great at Florida Atlantic

The Florida Atlantic Owls were very bad (3-9) in 2016, leading to the firing of head coach Charlie Partridge. The Owls would go on to make headlines for arguably the first time ever by naming controversial figure Joey Freshwater a.k.a. Lane Kiffin as their head coach. They stayed in the headlines by bringing in Kendal Briles to be offensive coordinator from Sexual Assault U, otherwise known as Baylor University. Briles, who is the son of  former Baylor head coach Art Briles, is facing a lawsuit after reportedly saying to a recruit (maybe multiple) “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players.” During Briles time at Baylor, recruits were ‘allegedly’ consistently taken to strip clubs, used alcohol and drugs, and made women sexually available through their hostess program. So, mixing ole Joey Freshwater with this guy has to be a recipe for success, right?

Well, FAU’s rare time in the spotlight did not end there as the dynamic duo of Freshwater and Briles have created a 4-year Last Chance U in beautiful Boca Raton, Florida. Kiffin signed eight junior college (JUCO) transfers including several players with less-than-immaculate disciplinary records. This class is highlighted by Last Chance U, EMCC, quarterback De’Andre Johnson, who is hoping to become a redemption story after being dismissed from Florida State after punching a woman. The link to this video is below. Don’t click if you do not want to see a girl get nailed. Another highlight from this class is Deandre McNeal, a 4-star receiver out of high school who was dismissed from Texas for a violation of team rules before playing a season of JUCO football and finally choosing FAU over UCLA. A 3rd player is Tim Bonner, another Last Chance U product, who was dismissed from Louisville following an incident surrounding a gun. To keep with the Last Chance U theme, Kiffin also brought in QB coach Clint Trickett from EMCC to be the Tight Ends coach for the Owls. Kiffin appears to be all about second chances as the coach of the Owls, as he should be considering this is his fourth chance at being a head coach.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxZLDBqnxgM

This class, which is loaded with JUCO transfers and other 3 stars, was ranked the best class in the Conference USA. How could you not sign the best class in the conference with a hype video of this quality? Please click the link below and watch this. It is 100% worth your time. Also, can you guess what the best recruiting class in the CUSA is ranked nationally? 71st. The future of the CUSA is very bright, my friends.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BB6VzJ1qYo4

However, if we avoid the controversies and character flaws with many of these new additions and focus on simply the product on the field, there is no way this team will not be significantly improved in 2017. Lane Kiffin and Kendal Briles have led two of the most dynamic offenses in the country over the past several years, and both have thrived when using a dual-threat quarterback like a De’Andre Johnson. Briles’ QBs at Baylor rushed for 506 yards in 2016 and 712 in 2015, and everyone saw what Kiffin did with freshman Jalen Hurts a year ago.

Image result for deandre johnson emcc

De’Andre Johnson is a straight up winner. This is a guy who has lost one game in his entire high school and JUCO career. From the documentary, Johnson has a clear ability to be a vocal leader of the team. When he talks, people listen. He inspires his teammates to play better and does not get rattled in pressure moments. Along with Johnson, FAU is predicted by Athlon Sports to have the best running back unit in the conference, returning a stud RB in Devin Singletary who along with Buddy Howell ran for 1,849 yards and 25 touchdowns a season ago. An almost entirely new receiving corps led by potential star Deandre McNeal should provide Johnson with reliable options throwing the ball as well.

The bottom line is this offense is going to put points on the board, especially in the C USA. However, this is a defense that gave up 40 points a game a year ago. The defense is projected to start mostly upper classmen, but when the defense was torched a year ago with these players on the field, that is not necessarily a positive. The improvement made on that side of the ball will be much more indicative of how this season turns out for the Fighting Freshwaters.

FAU will win 8 games in year 1 of the Kiffin era.

Everyone knows the best way to rebuild quickly is by recruiting JUCO players, who are closer to game ready than freshmen would be. That is the route that Kiffin took, getting a number of quality players who were cast away from Power 5 schools. Athlon Sports predicts this team will finish at 6-6, which would be a 3-win improvement for this football team in year 1 under Lane Kiffin. However, this team, led by offensive minds in Kiffin and Briles and talent at skill positions that will be elite for this conference, should find a way to win 8 games. Their schedule is not set up for success as they start with Navy and Wisconsin, which should be losses. They play on the road at WKU and LA Tech, who are the two favorites to win the conference. Games at Old Dominion and home vs. MTSU should also be tough games for the Owls. But at the end of the day, De’Andre Johnson is an elite talent who is going to keep the Owls in virtually every game they play. Couple that with the weapons he has at his disposal at skill positions, and this is a team that will definitely surprise some people in the Conference USA in 2017 and easily make it to a bowl game.

https://athlonsports.com/college-football/conference-usa-football-2017-predictions

MLB Trade Deadline Winners and Losers: The Yankees are the Yankees Again

The rich got richer. The Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers made big moves while the Astros, Red Sox, and other contenders sat back and watched.

The rich got richer. That was the theme for this trade deadline. The Yankees, currently leading the AL East and playing great baseball right now, made a huge splash by trading for Oakland A’s ace Sonny Gray. The Dodgers, who have the best record in baseball, added all-star Yu Darvish and acquired bullpen help all just hours before the deadline. The defending world champion Cubs also made big moves, going out and getting Jose Quintana, a reliable backup catcher in Alex Avila, and Tigers closer Justin Wilson. These teams are in great shape to win this year and went out and solidified their position by adding marquee names. Other teams in contention failed to make any major moves to address their key weaknesses and because of that, you will see the gap between these teams and their main contenders likely widen.

Now let’s look at the Deadline Winners and Losers.

Winners

New York Yankees

The biggest winner at the trade deadline this year must be the New York Yankees. After being big sellers at the deadline only a year ago, the Yankees have made a quick turnaround to being the biggest buyers in 2017. The trading frenzy began early, a week and a half before the deadline, when the Yankees filled several holes by getting Todd Frazier to man 3rd base and bullpen help in the form of David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle. Frazier appears to be heading towards the end of his career, seeing his average drop mightily since 2014, down to a shade above the Mendoza line (.200) this season. However, he still plays solid defense and brings a veteran position to a position that previously had been a liability all season for the Yankees. The biggest piece in this trade is the guy least known, Tommy Kahnle. Kahnle has an electric fastball averaging 97.97 MPH this season and a phenomenal ERA of 2.34 so far in 2017, which is down to 1.42 in 7 appearances for the Yankees thus far.

Next, they added veteran lefty Jaime Garcia to their rotation which was crucial after losing Pineda for the season. As previously mentioned, the big move came on the day of the deadline, acquiring Sonny Gray from the A’s. The great thing about this trade is Gray (6-5, 3.43 ERA) is not simply a rental, but is under team control until 2020. The Yankees did pay a steep price for Gray, trading three top prospects. However, the price was smaller for their other acquisitions, and all in all, the Yankees avoided trading their best prospects, so they did not sacrifice their future through these trades. The Yankees now have 6 starting pitchers for 5 spots, depth which could be huge should they lose another arm to injury. They added quality depth to the ‘pen. They also added a proven third baseman in Todd Frazier. Through these deadline acquisitions, the Yankees seem poised to challenge the Astros in the AL and potentially win the whole thing this year.

Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers, who already have a stellar rotation, added to their strength by adding all-star Yu Darvish from the Rangers. This team already has the best record in baseball, and a rotation which includes Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood, and Rich Hill, with Kenley Jansen closing the door. However, anything can happen in the postseason, so the Dodgers made sure to leave as little to chance as possible. If those four starters stay healthy, what team in the NL has any chance of matching up with them? Darvish is a rental, so the Dodgers did not have to give up as much as the Yankees did to receive Gray, giving up a trio of prospects, the best being the Dodgers’ 4th ranked prospect, infielder Willie Calhoun. The Dodgers also bought low on a few relief pitchers, Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani, who should help bolster the bullpen if either can benefit from a change of scenery and return to past form. The Dodgers were already the best team in baseball and did not have to make any deals at all. But, by adding a top-of-the-line starter, the Dodgers have to be the team to beat in the MLB and I would be surprised if this team does not come close to winning 105-110 games.

Image result for yu darvish gif(Yu Darvish)

Chicago Cubs

The Cubs made the first big splash of the season getting Jose Quintana from their cross-town rival White Sox. At the All-star break, the Cubs were 2 games below .500 and several back of the Brewers in the NL Central. So, they acted early and traded for the White Sox’s ace. They gave up a haul to receive Quintana, but with a big league team loaded with youth, it is easier to trade away prospects. Quintana has turned in 3 straight quality starts since joining the Cubs, and the team now sits 8 games above .500 and 2.5 games ahead of the Brewers in the NL Central. Last night, they also added a quality backup catcher in Alex Avila to fill in for Miguel Montero who was designated for assignment because he criticized his pitchers after not throwing out a base stealer all season (link below). Lastly, they received Tigers closer Justin Wilson who has been a shutdown lefty all season, with 55 strikeouts and a 2.68 ERA in 40.1 innings. The Cubs did not expect to find themselves in a divisional race before the season, but took the proper steps to making sure they won that race by strengthening an aging rotation and addressing several smaller needs in the process.

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2718549-miguel-montero-reportedly-to-be-dfad-after-critical-comments-of-cubs-pitchers

Losers

Houston Astros

The best team in the AL appeared to be perfectly content with their roster at the trade deadline, only making one minor move by adding Francisco Liriano (5.88 ERA) to their bullpen. While arguably their three biggest threats to winning a World Series are all sitting on the Winners list above happy with their additions, the Astros did nothing. Their lineup is deadly and needed no additions, but their rotation definitely needed some help. After Dallas Keuchel, the Astros have Lance McCullers, who had been very bad lately before being placed on the DL last night. After that, the Astros have several guys who have pitched well this season, but are unproven in the playoffs and one must question if their better-than-expected performance can continue. This comment becomes especially true when looking at the team’s monthly ERAs, which have increased from 3.38 to 3.60 to 4.79 to 4.99 in the past four months. The Astros are a very good team and could still win the World Series with the players currently on the roster. However, for a team with ZERO World Series victories, you would hope they would not sit back and be complacent with this great opportunity to get their first. Especially when looking at the additions by the teams on the list above.

Baltimore Orioles

This has to be the weirdest Trade Deadline team in the MLB. They were buyers, but not big enough to dramatically help the team. The Orioles sit 6.5 games out of first in the AL East, and 5.5 games behind the second wild card. They are in 4th in the East and there are three teams ahead of them in the wild card race, and are tied with two more. The Orioles are projected to have a 4.9% chance of making the playoffs and only have 76 wins this season. But, they still trade for starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and infielder Tim Beckham. Hellickson is a rental for a team with a subpar rotation, and they must view Beckham as a replacement for Hardy moving forward. These moves will simply not get them over the hump. To make this situation even weirder, the Orioles controlled two of the most desired relievers on the market in Zach Britton and Brad Brach, but did nothing with them. The Orioles have one of the worst farm systems in the MLB and are not good enough to make the playoffs this season. But instead of trading their short-term assets to improve that farm system and build for the future, the Orioles decided to go for it? I guess? This franchise seems to be in disarray with no clear plan for the future. Best of luck to you, O’s fans. Could be tough sledding for a while.

Image result for zach britton sinker gif

And Zach Britton is stuck doing this for an irrelevant ball club.

Boston Red Sox

It is tough to put the Red Sox in this losers category, as I really did like their additions. They addressed a major hole at 3B by adding Eduardo Nunez who has been on a tear since joining the club. They also added a stud back-of-the-bullpen arm in Addison Reed. However, they did not address their rotation, which looms large with David Price on the DL again with elbow issues. Outside of Sale and Pomeranz, this rotation has been lackluster at best. Porcello has not been good this year, sitting at 4-14 with a 4.55 ERA. Fister pitched great last night filling in for Price, but his season statistics make that appear to be an outlier. The Red Sox needed to add a big time starter if they wanted to make a strong push at the World Series this year. Meanwhile, their AL East rival Yankees added Gray, and improved their team drastically more than the Red Sox, meaning it looks like the Red Sox will be left trying to hang on to a wild card spot down the stretch.

2016 QBs: Poised for Bust or Success?

After a 2016 NFL draft which saw quarterbacks taken 1st (Jared Goff), 2nd (Carson Wentz), and 26th (Paxton Lynch), many predicted these three teams (Rams, Eagles, Broncos) had all found their quarterbacks of the future. However, after one year in the league, they were dramatically outplayed by a fourth rounder, Dak Prescott, who was not ever supposed to touch the field for the Dallas Cowboys. It is tough to make claims after one season, and obviously Prescott had more tools around him than these other QBs did. But, this leaves everyone wondering how big of a mistake these teams made in passing on Prescott. In this article, we will examine the “bust” potential of these four quarterbacks, as well as the other 2nd year QB slated to start in 2017, Cody Kessler of the Cleveland Browns.

These ratings will be on a 1-10 scale, with 1 being no likelihood of being a bust, and 10 being a sure thing. For this article, a bust is considered to mean a QB who never has any consistent, significant success in the NFL.

Dak Prescott: A fourth round selection, Prescott was forced into a starting role when Tony Romo went down with an injury. Prescott thrived as a starter, leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 record, and kept his job even after the Romo returned from injury. Prescott is arguably the most hyped player in the NFL going into the 2017 season, but I am not as high on Dak as everyone else seems to be. He had the best offensive line in the NFL and a great rookie running back in Ezekiel Elliot alleviating the pressure on Prescott. It would be very interesting to see how Prescott would have performed if thrust into a starting role on the Rams or Browns, whose teams are in complete disarray and basically fed their rookie QBs to the wolves. With that being said, Prescott threw for 3,667 yards and 23 TDs to only 3 INTs, giving him a passer rating of 104.9 for the season. These stats are too good to ignore, and few could perform to this level, regardless of the tools around them. I think Prescott’s numbers will not be as stellar in 2017, but there seems to be no way this guy ends up as a bust. BUST POTENTIAL: 1

Jared Goff: Drafted 1st overall out of California, Goff was immediately expected to be the franchise quarterback for the new team in LA. Goff proceeded to play horrendously in spring training and could not even win the starter job in a virtually rigged battle against Case Keenum. After finally replacing Keenum in week 11, Goff proceeded to lose all seven games he started, posting a terrible QBR of 22.2. After appearing on Hard Knocks and All or Nothing, it is very evident that Jared Goff is not an intelligent man. In episode 1 of Hard Knocks, Goff could not even tell his coaches which direction the sun rose in the morning. This lack of intelligence continued onto the football field as Goff struggled to pick up blitzes and reads on time or correctly. ESPN’s FPI (link to article below) recently ranked the Ram’s offense with Goff at the helm 64th out of 64. FPI does predictions based on all NFL offenses with every team’s starter and backup, and the Goff-led Rams were still last. This means the FPI thinks the Rams would even be better off with backup Sean Mannion (who?) at the helm, who has only thrown 13 career passes. While the Rams did little to help Goff, dropping 5.4% of his passes and facing pressure on 35.6% of pass attempts, 1089 yards and 5 TDs to 7 INTs in 7 games is still inexcusable. The Rams screwed up with this pick. This guy is going to be a huge bust. BUST POTENTIAL: 9

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/20162229/with-jared-goff-qb-data-not-predicting-success-los-angeles-rams

Carson Wentz: Taken 2nd overall by the Philadelphia Eagles out of North Dakota State, Wentz came out of the gate hot, leading the Eagles to a 3-0 start. However, the tides quickly turned as the Eagles dropped 6 of their next 8 and finished the season at 7-9. Some of these struggles could be chalked up to lack of talent at the skills position, so the Eagles signed Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, and LeGarrette Blount to help ease the burden on Wentz. Wentz finished last season with just 16 touchdowns to go along with 14 interceptions and 9 fumbles and a QBR of 55.4. However, he did show poise in the pocket and showed some escapability when needed. He is widely considered to be a very intelligent QB, scoring a 40 on his Wonderlic test, which goes along with a well above-average arm and a great work ethic. Wentz seems poised to take steps forward in his development with a revamped roster and some more experience under his belt. Improvement in year 2 is a must or the impatient, quick-to-turn Eagles fans may quickly begin to lose faith in their supposed franchise quarterback. BUST POTENTIAL: 4

Paxton Lynch: The last of the quarterbacks taken in the first round, Lynch accomplished more at the University of Memphis than most thought possible. In his rookie season, Lynch started only two games, playing heavily in a third after failing to beat out Trevor Siemian. He put up pedestrian numbers in these games, throwing for 497 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT with a lowly QBR of 27.9. This followed a lackluster preseason in which he basically handed Siemian the starting job, despite everyone in the organization hoping he was ready to be the guy. Lynch begins training camp in 2017 with an open QB battle with 2016 starter Trevor Siemian. Lynch is known for his big arm, ability to scramble when needed, and extreme confidence in his abilities. It is still much too early to decide the fate of this gunslinger, but he has shown little when given opportunities, and it does not bode well for his future that he is struggling so mightily to beat out a very poor man’s Alex Smith for a job that should be his. BUST POTENTIAL: 7.5

Cody Kessler: Before the 2016 season, nobody would have predicted Cody Kessler to be on this list. He was taken in the third round by the Browns out of USC. Kessler impressed early, despite not being able to basically single-handedly will the hapless Browns to a victory. He threw for 2,720 yards and 17 TDs to 13 INTs, completing a respectable 62.1% of his passes. This came after being labeled the 3rd string QB to start the season, but injuries to RG3 and Josh McCown forced the rookie into action. Kessler also dealt with injuries, missing time with two separate concussions over the season. Kessler is considered to lack elite arm-strength and talent, but makes up for this with above average decision-making abilities, hard work, and bulldog mentality. Kessler is going to be the starter in 2017 but the Browns selected Deshone Kizer in the second round of the 2017 draft, meaning that Kessler’s time as starter could be limited. Kessler should have some improved weaponry in 2017 as Corey Coleman returns from injury, Kenny Britt joins the team, and rookie tight end David Njoku should be a solid addition to the receiving corp. Most believe that Kessler does not have what it takes to be a consistent starter in the NFL, but I like this QB’s potential. BUST POTENTIAL: 5.5

Why a Kyrie Irving for Mike Conley Trade Needs to Happen

To me, trading Kyrie Irving for Mike Conley seems like a no-brainer for all parties involved. The Grizzlies get a superstar who is nationally recognized, would put fans in seats, and is an absolute gamechanger on the court. The Cavaliers get a guy in Mike Conley who can help them win a championship immediately, and hopefully convince Lebron James to resign in Cleveland. Conley is a better floor general than Irving, and is known for making the players around him better, which could make him a better fit in Cleveland than Irving has been in the past.

While Conley would hate to leave Memphis, going to Cleveland would give him a chance to make the NBA Finals, a dream that seems out of the realm of possibility in Memphis. Playing alongside Lebron would lead to heightened national recognition for his skills and talents, which he has to be craving at this point in his career, although he would never admit it. Throughout his career, Conley has been labeled as the “most underrated PG in the NBA”. This title would immediately be gone as he would constantly be the topic of conversation on ESPN and NBA TV every night while playing alongside Lebron. From Irving’s perspective, this trade should give him what he has been wanting. He would be the “go-to guy” in Memphis, but still be on a team that is built to compete for a playoff spot as presently constructed. He could shoot at a higher volume than with the Cavaliers and probably still average 30 pts and 6 assists like he has without Lebron on the court.

Irving was previously reported as saying he would prefer to be traded to the Spurs, Knicks, Heat, or Timberwolves. The Spurs do not seem likely to give up what would be needed to land Irving. The Timberwolves just signed Jeff Teague and appear to be too messy of a trade partner for this to work. The other two could work but do not have the roster built for as much immediate success for Kyrie as the Grizzlies do. Reportedly, the Suns appear to be the most likely landing spot for Irving, although supposedly these trade offers from Cleveland have included Eric Bledsoe and Josh Jackson, the #4 pick in the draft and a guy the Suns are very hesitant to trade. A deal with the Suns not including Jackson makes this trade less appealing in my eyes than a trade for Conley would be.

However, it all depends on the outlook of both teams. Do the Cavaliers believe they will be able to resign Lebron, or will he opt out after this season? If they are preparing for life after Lebron, this trade with Memphis makes no sense. Cleveland would be much more interested in bringing in young talent and trying to build a deep, young team for the future without Lebron. If they believe they can resign Lebron, trading for Conley makes more sense. Conley is signed for four more years and would keep the Cavaliers as the team to beat in the East.

For the Grizzlies, there are a lot of factors at play here. A major faction of the fan base would be angry with this trade at least for a while. Conley is beloved in Memphis and has been part of a team that has made seven straight playoff appearances. However, this team is stuck in the worst possible spot for an NBA team. Mediocrity. They are just good enough to compete for a 6-8 seed in the Western Conference, but definitely not good enough to beat any of the top tier teams in the conference. They aren’t bad enough to get the high draft picks needed to effectively rebuild either and have a terrible history of finding value through the draft anyways. Trading for Irving would bring excitement to a team that is slowly losing interest and relevancy and can do little to stop the bleeding. Irving is signed for three years instead of Conley who is signed for four. The Grizzlies would love to sign Irving again after this deal, but should it not happen, is it really that bad? The Grizzlies would finally have freed up some cap space and would be able to begin to rebuild in a time in the NBA where there are less than 5 teams that can legitimately win a championship, making it the best time to be rebuilding. At some point, the Grizzlies are going to have to get really bad before they can get better, so why not bring in Kyrie Irving for a few years to make it entertaining in the meantime?

A minor hiccup in this trade is the salaries of both players. Irving makes $18 million per year, while Conley makes $28 million. Both teams have little financial flexibility, so the salaries exchanged would have to virtually equivalent. So, a player such as Channing Frye, or more likely Iman Shumpert would have to be included for this trade to work. With the Grizzlies already signing Tyreke Evans and Ben McLemore this offseason, along with having Troy Daniels and Wayne Selden already on the roster, the Grizzlies would have little need for Shumpert. So, either a third team would need to get involved, or the Grizzlies would either waive Shumpert or immediately start looking for another trade partner for him. As you can see from the ESPN Trade Machine below, this trade keeps both team relatively equal in terms of wins and losses. But, it does present a small problem in terms of cap room for the Grizzlies, which is why Shumpert would most likely never dress out for the Memphis Grizzlies should this trade happen.

trade machine.png

The last question that needs to be answered in this situation is if a trade were to go through, would the Grizzlies retire Mike Conley’s number? The Grizzlies recently decided to retire Zach Randolph’s number after eight solid years and seven consecutive playoff appearances during his time with the Grizzlies. Conley has been with the Grizzlies for ten seasons, including those seven playoff appearances. An argument can be made for either player having a greater contribution during those playoff seasons, but all in all, they were of relatively equal importance. Conley meant just as much to the Memphis community as did Zach Randolph, so I do not see how you can retire one’s number without the other. However, this does raise an interesting question of where do you draw the line with retiring numbers? Gasol has been with the Grizzles for eight years, and Allen for seven. Both have been around for all the great moments in recent Grizzlies history, but is it legitimate to retire four players number from one team from an era where no championships were won? No way. But how do you distinguish the level of importance of each player when realistically the Grizzlies could not have accomplished what they have without any of them?

This trade is a win-win for both organizations and needs to happen. The Cavaliers get a player in Conley who can help them compete for championships for years to come as long as Lebron sticks around. The Grizzlies need to face the writing on the wall and begin to move in a different direction. Z-Bo is gone, Tony is most likely gone too. The Grit-N-Grind era is over. Irving makes this team much more exciting and should the Grizzlies in playoff contention. He frees up salary cap room quicker and makes this team younger and gives them a legitimate superstar, something that has been lacking in Memphis since its very creation.

If you like reading Amateur Hour, please sign up on the right to follow the blog and receive emails whenever new blogs are posted.

Tim Tebow: Stage Set for for Big League Debut?

Tim Tebow is one of the most unique phenomenon in sports history. The Heisman who became a bust. The bust who was forced out of the NFL and into broadcasting. The broadcaster who needed sports so badly he picked up baseball. Striking story! It seems like a modern-day version of a Gladiator quote. I could not imagine anything greater than Tebow’s career having a poetic, Gladiator-esque storybook ending. This would obviously be Tebow getting promoted to the MLB and becoming just another big leaguer. Is this a possible scenario though, or merely a pipe dream? Should his growth as a hitter and outfielder continue, a September call-up when rosters expand may not be out of the question. It won’t happen this year, probably not even next year. But some day, if the Mets are out of playoff contention by September, the value from the publicity stunt will simply be too great to ignore.

A minor leaguer interviewed for this blog who faced Tebow while at Columbia was quoted as saying “He hustles while on the field, but he still looks like a football player. A lot of his actions are stiff especially when he throws. He has a lot of power which you can see in batting practice but his swing is long and stiff right now.”  This indicates that Tebow is easy to beat on inside fastballs right now, and baserunners are not afraid to challenge his arm from the outfield.

Looking at Tebow’s stats with the Class A Columbia Fireflies of the Mets, it would appear that it was merely a pipe dream. Tebow batted .220 with only 3 HRs and 23 RBIs through 64 games and 214 ABs. Tebow was also striking out 29% of ABs which is widely considered as terrible. But for some reason, GM Sandy Alderson decided this play was worthy enough of a promotion to High A St. Lucie. Alderson claims it was because of advanced metrics, such as his chase rates and exit velocities drastically improving since he first began the season. These statistics generally indicate a higher batting average, which Alderson hopes will follow soon for Tebow. He also mentions that Tebow’s OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) is twice as high at home as it is on the road, so playing at St. Lucie should bring added comfort and production for Tebow.

These reasons all seem like ways to confuse the common fan and use stats they do not understand to avoid questions regarding the true motives behind the promotion. Tim Tebow makes the Mets a lot of money. Darren Rovell of ESPN reported a 30% increase in attendance so far this season for Columbia, and attendances double the norm for road games. This weekend, the Florida Fire Frogs are taking the Tebow experience so far as to sell $50 souvenir bottles of dirt from home plate where Tebow will stand.

The New York Mets own the St. Lucie Mets, unlike the Columbia Fireflies. This means all this additional revenue that Tebow brings in from ticket sales and marketing promotions will flow directly into the pockets of the Mets organization, instead of being split between the Mets and the Fireflies.

However, whatever the real reasons for the promotion might be, Tebow has made the most of his opportunity. Through 22 games and 72 ABs with the St. Lucie Mets, Tebow has batted .306 and seen his slugging percentage increase from a mere .336 to .514. He has managed to maintain an above average walk rate of 11%, while cutting his K% from 29% to 18%, which is generally considered a slightly above average percentage. While 72 ABs is still a small sample size, it indicates that there has been some growth in Tebow’s approach and discipline at the plate. For example, early this season, many teams shifted their infield for Tebow to pull the ball, but since then, Tebow has shown the ability to hit the ball to all parts of the field.

Below is a link to a video of Tebow’s walk-off homerun around a week ago for St. Lucie which also mentions his 11-game hit streak which reached 12 games before ending on July 15th. As you can see in this video, the infield is no longer shifted for Tebow to pull the ball, and this home run is hit to the opposite field, indicating power to all parts of the field, not just pull-side.

https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/07/13/tim-tebow-hits-walk-off-home-run

In my opinion, the chances of Tim Tebow becoming a productive everyday player in the MLB is slim to none. However, if he continues to show growth in his abilities and approach at the plate, it is very realistic to think that Tebow could continue to rise through the farm system for the Mets. If his growth continues, I would honestly be shocked if Tebow never plays in the MLB for a team out of contention in games that do not matter. What better way to convince fans to come to games that are meaningless than have one of the most discussed athletes in recent history running around on the field?

If you like reading Amateur Hour, please sign up on the right to follow the blog and receive emails whenever new blogs are posted.

McGregor/Mayweather: What McGregor Win Means for Future of Boxing

Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather on August 26th may be the most hyped, anticipated, financially significant boxing match of this lifetime. The fight will cost $99.95 on pay per view and Forbes estimates that Mayweather could make as much as $400M while McGregor could make $127M. But major questions about McGregor’s boxing skills from supposed sparring partners leave doubts that this fight will even be competitive. However, should McGregor pull the upset, this fight could have major implications on boxing’s relevancy in the future. Boxers would lose substantial credibility while UFC fighters immediately seem like the ultimate badasses.

McGregor and Mayweather have been on a worldwide tour over the past several weeks building hype surrounding their pending bout. So far, I’d say that McGregor has dominated Mayweather in the trash-talking department, calling him a “peanut head”, accusing Mayweather of not knowing how to read, and running and tip-toeing around during fights. He also poked fun at Mayweather and his ridiculous spending habits like having too many meathead bodyguards and opening a new Vegas strip club. And for my personal favorite, McGregor wore an all-time great suit with the pinstripes repeatedly saying “f*** you”, as pictured below. Mayweather’s only viable comeback has been calling McGregor a “$3 million fighter” which obviously will drastically change after this fight, and when McGregor defends his title in the octagon later in the year for UFC.

mcgregor-fuc-you-suit.jpg

Will I pay $99.95 to watch this fight? You bet your ass I will. Do I expect this fight to be even close? No sir.

I will be placing a sizeable bet on Mayweather winning this fight. McGregor has never been in a boxing match before while one could make the argument that Floyd is the greatest boxer of all time. Everything that McGregor does to excel in the octagon is off limits in a boxing match. The style and strategy involved is also drastically different.

McGregor reportedly sucks at boxing. 

McGregor has apparently been getting knocked out in sparring matches while training for this fight. In sparring sessions, boxers use 14 oz gloves to reduce the impact of the blows to both fighters, making KOs more difficult. In a real boxing match, boxers use 10 oz gloves, heightening the blow of each punch. In an interview with Villianfy Media, Jessie Vargas is quoted around the 2:05 mark confirming that McGregor has been getting knocked out while sparring (link below). Another former sparring partner with McGregor, Chris Van Heerden, a 29-year-old welterweight fighter, claims that McGregor “won’t land a single punch on Mayweather” and that he has been very unimpressed with McGregor’s boxing skills. These sentiments of doubt are echoed by most boxing experts making me think this fight is going to be an absolute blowout.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7u9DZ5HQF40

With that being said, there still is that slight chance of McGregor pulling a stunning upset. Should that happen, I think the boxing world is completely flipped upside down. Boxing would be delegitimatized and UFC would take over as the kings of the fighting industry. I cannot see a scenario where people would really take boxing seriously again. If boxing tried to sell a fight as the battle for greatest fighter on earth, who would believe that? People, myself included, would think that any UFC fighter could train for 6 months and take the boxer down no problem. And to further this point, I don’t think anyone would give Mayweather a fighting chance in the octagon with McGregor no matter how long Mayweather had to train.

The UFC has consistently been gaining on boxing in terms of popularity for quite some time now, and a McGregor upset of Mayweather would be, in my opinion, the tipping point to where the UFC completely overtakes boxing in terms of popularity and never looks back. Boxing would become a dying industry should McGregor pull this upset. Mayweather and boxing have much more to lose in this fight than McGregor. For boxing’s sake, let’s hope Mayweather shows up in primetime like he has done so many times throughout the course of his illustrious career.

If you like reading Amateur Hour, please sign up on the right to follow the blog and receive emails whenever new blogs are posted.