It is good to be back and – not surprisingly – I have a bunch of stuff on the clipboard on which to comment. Just as a matter of recordkeeping, I saw the mariners lose twice to the Phillies last week. That means the Mariners have a record of 24-21 when I am in attendance since 2001 – the first year of my baseball trips to the Great Northwest. That may not look like a spectacular record, but it is better than the Mariners’ cumulative record over the same period. They ought to pay me to come more often – or at least comp me the tix…
In the middle of last week, Dodgers’ closer, Kenley Jansen walked his first batter of the year. When that happened, he had faced 112 batters so far in the season and had struck out 51 of them. Not a bad strikeout to walk ratio…
After the NBA Draft where the Lakers took Lonzo Ball with the #2 overall pick, LaVar Ball declared that Lonzo would lead the Lakers to the NBA Playoffs next season and that when that happened, he would be back at the Draft next year wearing a hat that says, “I Told You So”. After a period of relative quiescence, LaVar Ball was back on his game and that reminded me of a comment several weeks ago by bob Molinaro of the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:
“Static alert: About 2,500 years ago, Plato anticipated the arrival of the boorishly brash LaVar Ball, father of future NBA guard Lonzo Ball, when he said, ‘An empty vessel makes the loudest sound.’ Judging from Ball’s easy access to the media, it also makes a popular talk show guest.”
The folks in Las Vegas who set wagering odds for various things posted the opening odds on teams to make the NBA Playoffs next year soon after the Draft was over. Three of the teams who garnered lots of headlines on Draft Night drew this opinion from the Vegas oddsmakers:
- Minnesota Timberwolves: Make playoffs minus-260; miss playoffs +220
- Philadelphia 76ers: Make playoffs minus-125; make playoffs +105
- LA Lakers: Make playoffs +500; miss playoffs minus-700.
The oddsmakers do not share LaVar Ball’s certainty…
Staying with the NBA, the Knicks fired Phil Jackson as the team president and basketball maven. Since he arrived in NYC, Jackson’s Knicks have gone 80-166 which is hardly laudable. One could spot him the bad record in his first year there; the roster was a mess when he arrived. The problem was that his moves did not make the roster nearly competitive. In fact, other than drafting Kristaps Porzingis, I would be hard pressed to cite any of his actions that deserve high praise.
This being the Knicks, however, there has to be a strain of “unusualness” in the situation. Earlier this year – in March or April as I recall – the Knicks had an option on the final 2 years of Jackson’s 5-year/$12M per year contract. They picked up that option then and put Jackson in charge of the draft and all the events leading up to the draft. Then – owing him $24M more than they owed him about 3 months ago – they fired him. As with many of the Knicks’ decisions over the last 20 years or so, one can only shrug one’s shoulders and ask, “Why not?”
By the way, since the Knicks won 80 games during Jackson’s tenure and he made $60M while he was there, that works out to a cool $750K per victory. Well done, James Dolan….
With the NBA Draft in the past and with hockey on hiatus and MLB coasting into the All-Star break, this is a slow time in the sports world. Perhaps that is why folks have paid even minimal attention to the John McEnroe/Serena Williams pillow fight. McEnroe’s comment that Serena would rank #700 in the world if she were on the men’s listing seems to have reignited the “Battle of the Sexes” one more time. Even in this slow news period, can we please put this old war-horse out to pasture? Let me summarize:
- Serena Williams is possibly the best women’s tennis player of all time; she is absolutely one of the 5 best female tennis players ever.
- Serena Williams would beat John McEnroe in a tennis match in 2017 – once her pregnancy is ended. We do not need to reprise the Billie Jean King/Bobby Riggs soap opera once again.
- Serena Williams would not be nearly as highly ranked among professional men tennis players as she is on the women’s ranking. In fact, I doubt she would get past the second round at Wimbledon were she on the men’s side of the draw.
- Regarding her ranking #700 on the men’s scale, are there actually that many male pro tennis players?
On July 1, the good folks in Canada celebrated Canada Day. Here in the “lower 48”, July 1 is celebrated more restrictively as “Bobby Bonilla Day”. That is because on July 1, Bobby Bonilla – despite being retired from MLB since the end of the 2001 season – received a check for about $1.2M from the NY Mets and he will continue to do so every July 1 until the year 2035. This is a result of the Mets deferring about $6M of the salary they owed him for 2000 until 2011 which would then be paid out as an annuity that compounded at 8%. In all, Bobby Bonilla will collect almost $30M from the Mets for the deferred payment on July 1 of every year…
Finally, here is a note from Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald regarding a variety of topics and people we noticed today:
“The New York Mets promoted Tim Tebow, hitting .222, to Class A St. Lucie. I’m thinking it may be a PR stunt because the Mets also called up Khloe Kardashian and LaVar Ball. Tebow is now playing in high A. It’s the baseball equivalent of when he was with the New York Jets.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………