(The terrifying truth, of course, was the steroids.)
Only 59 days until football! Real football! That counts in the standings! 24 days until I Can’t Believe It’s Football, the Hall of Fame Game! And 12 days until the first team’s first practice! (That would be the Cardinals.) And only 7 until the first rookies report! (That would be the Cowboys.) That’s a week away! Tomorrow you can say “this coming Monday!”
Colts waive WR Trey Griffey from the injured reserve list.
Seahawks DE Cliff Avril calls the ESPN story about locker room friction “fake news.”
Former Bears lineman Dan Hampton thinks the ’80s Bears “would have won four Super Bowls” if Jay Cutler was their quarterback.
• Bears fans would have probably still hated his guts. And he still wouldn’t care.
Twitter beef! Jets DE Muhammad Wilkerson is putting the “red dot” on Giants OG Justin Pugh after the latter tweeted that they were out of Giants hats at an airport but the Jets hats were untouched.
• So be sure to watch the Snoopy Bowl… yeah.
Move over Marquette King, Giants punter Brad Wing now has the most street cred in terms of punters, apparently getting a shout-out on a Nicki Minaj track.
• I smell a punter fight! Anyone? Anyone? Nope, just me.
In other sports news, it’s the MLB All-Star Break, so let’s make fun of some moron’s predictions, shall we?
AL East (original prediction: BOS, TOR, NYY, BAL, TB; currently BOS, NYY, TB, BAL, TOR)
So the GritSawx have control of the East since the Yankees bullpen forgot it was supposed to be one of the best in baseball thanks to Dellin Betances and Tyler Clippard either walking or getting shelled by the ballpark. But Boston being good isn’t a story. Sure, Chris Sale striking everyone out has been, David Price being meh and Rick Porcello leading the league in losses sorta has been, but Boston being good was expected. The divisional story’s been the not-demise of the Yankees and really really big man Aaron Judge putting it all together en route to probably winning ROY. And maybe MVP. And even possibly the Triple Crown. More on him later. The Jays sucking thank that story for sweeping them under the rug, and now that the Leafs are at least okay again, nobody will give a shit for another 10 years. Oh yeah, and the Rays have enough hitting to be decent. But it’s the Rays, so nobody cares.
Revised prediction: BOS, NYY, TB, BAL, TOR
AL Central (original prediction: CLE, DET, KC, MIN, CWS; currently CLE, MIN, KC, DET, CWS)
Nice of the Baseball Redacteds to show up, it took them awhile. I think they’ll take off because they still have the best pitching in the division. Miguel Sano has turned into a studly hitter but I don’t think they have enough to hold for the year. This is KC’s last stand because they’ll have some decisions next year (Moustakas and Hosmer are free agents), but right now they’d be buyers. The Tigers can finally start to actually rebuild and I imagine will trade… someone. Not sure who. Out of the stars, Victor Martinez has the contract that ends soonest (signed through 2018). Maybe Verlander?
Revised prediction: CLE, KC, MIN, CWS, DET
AL West (original prediction: HOU, TEX, SEA, LAA, OAK; currently HOU, LAA, TEX, SEA, OAK)
Good of me to pick the Astros on the coin-flip, eh? They only have a 15 1/2-game lead in the division, an 8-game lead over Boston for best in the AL, and a 1 1/2-game lead over the Dodgers for best record in baseball (which actually means something due to the new World Series format, more on that tomorrow, oh yeah, I’m doing the open thread tomorrow too). Good on the LAAoAoCAoUSA… etc. to keep themselves afloat in the absence of Mike Trout but it doesn’t really matter because they’re not getting a wild card. Felix Hernandez has been hurt and as a result the Mariners still are in holding. The Rangers bullpen has been an unmitigated shitshow (17 blown saves, tied for tops in the Majors… with the Yankees, dammit), so, uh, oops. Maybe they can get semi-hot?
Revised prediction: HOU, TEX, LAA, SEA, OAK
NL East (original prediction: WAS, NYM, ATL, MIA, PHI; currently WAS, ATL, MIA, NYM, PHI)
Remember when Mets fans say they ran this town now? That was amusing. The pitching staff injuries became the pitching staff and lineup injuries. Senor’s response remains:
Revised prediction: Same as at the beginning of the year, WAS, NYM, ATL, MIA, PHI
NL Central (original prediction: CHC, STL, PIT, MIL, CIN; currently MIL, CHC, STL, PIT, CIN)
Who saw the Brewers being good? Okay, sit down, liars. Who saw the Small Bears being under .500? Okay, sit down, also liars. Lost in the kerfuffle is hey, Joey Votto remembered that he can hit homers! FWIW, I see the Cubbies remembering they were supposed to run away with the division at least enough to win it.
Revised prediction: CHC, MIL, STL, PIT, CIN
NL West (original prediction: LAD, SF, ARI, COL, SD; currently LAD, ARI, COL, SD, SF)
I didn’t have “Madison Bumgarner dirtbike injury” in my predictions, but the Giants were shitty before that happened, and they remained shitty afterwards. So I don’t get to use it as a crutch. And apparently the D-Backs and Rockies decided to learn how to pitch? Even if just a little, in Colorado’s case. Since May the story in the division’s been Cody Bellinger doing his best to try and top the Judge story since Bellinger has 25 dingers since being called up on April 25th, propelling the Dodgers to the best record at the break (61-29) which actually means something now!
Revised prediction: LAD, ARI, COL, SF, SD
Andrew Benintendi, BOS Aaron Judge, NYY
AL Cy Young:
Corey Kluber, CLE Chris Sale, BOS
Mookie Betts, BOS Aaron Judge, NYY
Good try, me. I’m gonna say Judge falls short in the Triple Crown pursuit, either losing the batting title to Jose Altuve or the RBI title to Nelson Cruz. Or both.
(4) TEX over (5) TOR (5) NYY over (4) KC (Who had Severino vs. Vargas?)
(1) CLE over (4) TEX, (2) BOS over (3) HOU (1) HOU over (5) NYY, (2) BOS over (3) CLE
(1) CLE over (2) BOS (1) HOU over (2) BOS (I hope David Price doesn’t get shit together even though he’s on my fantasy team—the Galactic Federation Gromflomites have the third-fewest points and the fourth-best record in an 8-team lead but we lead our division so fuck yeah!)
Dansby Swanson, ATL Cody Bellinger, LAD
NL Cy Young:
Clayton Kershaw, LAD Max Scherzer, WAS
Bryce Harper, WAS Paul Goldschmidt, ARI
Come on, you’d expect Kershaw to be easy and he’s only having an average ordinary 14-2, 2.18 ERA year, that should be money in the—(googles Scherzer’s numbers) ah, yeah, that’ll do it. Because with the exception of the record, Mad Max’s numbers are somehow better than that. Scherzer also has the highest WAR (wins above replacement) in the league but they don’t like giving the MVP award to pitchers and Washington’s pretty stacked overall.
(5) SF over (4) NYM (4) ARI over (5) COL
(1) CHC over (5) SF, (2) WAS over (3) LAD (1) LAD over (4) ARI, (2) WAS over (3) CHC
(1) CHC over (2) WAS (2) WAS over (1) LAD
(1N) Cubs over (1A) CLE (2N) WAS over (1A) HOU
As long as it isn’t Boston I’ll be happy!
/Remembers it’s 2017
Well fuck. All right, let’s handicap the Derby, I guess. Maybe watching baseballs get hit far will divert me from my inevitable descent into alcoholism that will be the Knicks and Jets, and possibly sooner if I have indeed given myself the Kiss of Death.
And not this Home Run Derby. Though it would be really cool to bring it back for charity.
Names and highlights are given in reverse seed order. Yeah, there are seeds!
(8) Gary Sanchez: All the hype Judge has gotten this year was basically Sanchez at the end of last year, as he hit 20 homers in 53 games to try and push a Yankee team that had no right to be near the postseason towards one and nearly stole the AL Rookie of the Year award from Michael Fulmer, who had, you know, been good all year. He hasn’t had the same pace this year thanks to an injury sidelining him for much of April. So this year he’s only hit 13. Which led to Logan Morrison calling MLB out because no one cares about the Rays. Which is true, nobody does. Anyway, here’s the Kraken’s longest of the year, a 450-footer that wasn’t the longest of the game because it was the same one where Judge hit his.
(7) Justin Bour: The “let’s fill this one out” one of the bunch considering Bour isn’t even on the team. But it’s okay because another hometown player! Bour is third on his team in homers with 20. (The soon-to-be-mentioned Giancarlo Stanton leads Miami with 26, and Marcell Ozuna has 23.) He also has the shortest season best with a 437-footer. Although that’s because he hit it too low. Yes, all that is taken into account for projected distance. In case you’re wondering, I love the ability to track balls and how hard they’re hit using Statcast, or how much time there really was to track them down. I’ve always liked numbers and apparently when I was 4 I could give you the entire American League’s batting average because I read box scores in the newspaper religiously. Yes, I am a massive nerd!
(6) Charlie Blackmon: Gotta have someone from the land of pinball baseball (Colorado) in here. Blackmon has 20 home runs, one more than teammate Mark Reynolds. Wait, Mark Reynolds is batting .284 and just got to 100 strikeouts, what the shit? Clearly it’s the end of the world. (He holds the single-season record with 223.) Wait, we were talking about Blackmon. Anyway, Chuck Nazty (really…) hit one 477 yesterday, totally ruining my formatting as I’m on my way to the Interpid.
(5) Miguel Sano: I guess last year’s .236 season was a sophomore slump because Miguel Sano’s become a solid hitter. A .276 average is nothing to scoff at these days. Sano has 21 on the year after his young career’s high of 25 last year, and his longest of the year traveled 461. Uh, shit, I need more to write about the Twins. Not that nobody cares about the Twins, but they kinda fall off the radar sometimes, being in Minnesota and all. Sorry, guys.
(4) Mike Moustakas: In his walk year Moose has had a solid year, and his 25 homers are already a career high (he had 22 in 2015, the year the Royals won the title). His personal best of the season was the 100th of his career, traveling a solid 440. Moose was also one of the last people to be named to the All-Star team as winner of a vote for the 32nd spot on each roster (until people fill in due to injuries and starting pitchers starting on the Sunday before—those pitchers aren’t eligible to pitch in the game).
(3) Cody Bellinger: Bellinger’s got a little bit of the Sanchez/Judge storylines, though maybe a little less publicity due to East Coast Bias™. But he does play for the Dodgers, so out of all the non-East teams they’re probably the most glamorous (cue angry Giants fans). Anyway, called up on April 25th, like I said, came out like a rocket, broke the record for fewest games to 21 homers held just by Wally Berger for all those years until Sanchez joined him last year, and has 25 total. Including this one, which went 438. (It’s the first one.)
(2) Aaron Judge: Judge goes in as one of the favorites, as that he leads the league in homers (30) and does things like this in games. In case you haven’t been clicking the links, that’s the longest homer of the year at 495 feet, beyond the left-center bleachers at the Stadium. He’s also broken a TV, dented a lift gate protector, and hit the hotel in center field at the Rogers Centre. (The TV and hotel were BP, but the liftgate wasn’t, and the point stands because all those things were really far away.)
(1) Giancarlo Stanton: Defending champion after his display in San Diego last year, gold standard for hitting the ball far. 26 on the year, career furthest of 504 (at altitude), but season furthest of “only” 468. Surprisingly he didn’t break one of those windows on that shot, considering that was a laser.
Predictions? Well for the baseballs…
I’ll say Stanton gets the hometown edge over Judge, but fuck it, I want them playing H-O-R-S-E until windows and shit start breaking. (To be more brackety, Stanton over Sanchez, Judge over Bour, Bellinger over Blackmon, Sano over Moustakas; Stanton over Sano, Judge over Bellinger; Stanton over Judge.)
Oh yeah, there’s other stuff on too.
What (else) is on?
American Ninja Warrior, 8E, NBC
I believe this is the Cleveland regional. No word on whether the Cuyahoga will be lit on fire to represent them doing this all over lava. The water over the obstacles is a metaphorical lava of course, because failure is death. Or disqualification. Basically if we’re not watching the Derby I say we watch this. My friend isn’t on this time though. Keep doing your thing, bro. JD Bombers for life.
BIG3 Basketball, 8E, FS1
It’s 3 on 3 basketball. The team names are a lot of three jokes. The unis are pretty dope. There are some former NBA players. Ice Cube’s the commissioner. It sounds interesting enough.
Anyway, GO DO THE THING!