LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- I appreciate you. I try to respect you. I listen to you, even when we disagree.
But, most of all, I admire you, especially the emotional and financial commitments you make to follow your favorite teams.
It's become increasingly difficult for me to do what you do -- plunk down my money for a seat at my favorite stadium or arena and then be unable to watch a game because of the nonsense percolating around me.
Allow me to explain -- in the Monday Muse.
1. I'll Watch On TV, Thank You
In the early days of interleague baseball, I was generally motivated to get to Chicage for a White Sox-Cubs’ game if the opportunity developed.
Until a brawl broke out in the upper deck about 10 rows away from my son, two of our friends and me at US Cellular Field in 2005. It was similar to the one in the video below, but more dangerous because I always worry about people tumbling out of the steep upper deck at 35th and Dan Ryan.
“No I am marrying Kris Bryant”“NO I AM! I’VE BEEN A FAN SINCE 2015 I DESERVE HIM” https://t.co/ey0XqfvBhP— Nick Senzel (@EvilNickSenzel) July 8, 2019
I gave it another try with my wife on June 27, 2009. Ryan Dempster for the Cubs vs. Mark Buehrle for the White Sox. Packed house. About 80 degress. Should be dazzling.
We were surrounded by a collection of Cubs' fans who made certain the Old Style vendor remained parked in the aisle every half inning. They hooted and hollered and hectored their way through the game -- until Sox infielder Gordon Beckham singled home Jason Nix with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
My rivalry friends left several half-full cups of Old Style and started moving toward the exits before Beckham's hit rolled between Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley.
I couldn't let them leave without saying the proper goodbye.
"Where are you going?" I asked. "The fun is just beginning."
Not the wisest move. Lucky I didn't get flattened. But 8-1/2 innings of their nonsense deserved a nine-word farewell, right?
That was the last major league baseball game I attended without sitting in the press box.
Too toxic out there. You can find videos of Mike Tyson wannabes nearly every day. But here is another from the latest gathering of Chicago baseball fans last weekend.
Like I said, I admire you. It's simply silly out there.
2. NBA Does Free Agency Right
Baseball free agency has gotten so cumbersome and adversarial they say it will lead to another labor stoppage.
Football free agency has its frenzy but you don't see Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Donald changing teams.
In the NBA, the landscape shifts during free agency. The biggest names move. Franchises are altered. Super Teams are formed. Feelings are hurt. Conversation roars.
You can argue about the value of Super Teams. You can ask if smaller market teams like the Pacers, Magic, Thunder and Bucks will get left behind.
But the NBA has people talking -- about the new season, less than a month after the last season ended. Free agency is an essential part of today's professional sports. It ought to come with a buzz. The NBA makes certain that it does.
3. Kawhi For The Win
Has an NBA player ever won Most Valuable Player and Executive of the Year?
Jerry West, Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan have tried -- but not during the same season. West has delivered the most success, but did not start running teams until he finished playing.
LeBron James put together a nice squad in Miami and backed it up by winning a title in Cleveland.
But Kawhi Leonard exceeded James this summer. Not only did he quietly slip into the Clippers' lineup, he brought Paul George with him, while stringing the Lakers along and making it difficult for James and Anthony Davis to recruit another max contract free agent.
Also: After the ruthlessness we saw from Kawhi Leonard, on and off the floor, we checked in with the Hall of Fame scribe @SamSmithHoops to ask if it's time for him to start working on "The Kawhi Rules" --> https://t.co/auwmxmWXSc— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 8, 2019
Give Leonard credit. He knows how to play the game -- from every angle.
4. Remembering Jared Lorenzen
If you doubted the impact Jared Lorenzen had on people, all you had to do was read the moving string of tributes that his passing inspired last week.
From smaller local outlets that covered Kentucky football to national college football mainstays like Bruce Feldman, many shared their warm thoughts on Lorenzen.
In his senior season (‘98) at Highlands, Jared Lorenzen completed one of the greatest seasons of any QB to have ever played in Kentucky.🏈3,392 Passing Yards🏈904 Rushing Yards🏈45 Passing TD🏈15 Rushing TD🏈15-0 Perfect Season🏈1998 Mr. Football pic.twitter.com/8Wg8JuIbM5— KY HIGH FOOTBALL 🏈 (@KYHighFootball) July 3, 2019
Paul Jensen, a friend in Arizona, also reminded me of this six-part series on Lorenzen that attempted to explain his struggles with managing his weight. (The first link.)
They're not an easy watch but they are an important watch.
5. Touting Keldon Johnson
NBA Draft Night wasn't a season highlight for former Kentucky star Keldon Johnson. He was the third of three UK guys selected, nearly sliding out of the first round before San Antonio selected him at No. 29. The Spurs rarely rely on rookies -- and Gregg Popovich considers anybody with less than five years of experience a rookie.
It had to be encouraging for Johnson to hear what Becky Hammon, his Spurs' summer league coach, said about him during NBA Summer League play in Las Vegas last week.
She said Johnson could be "the steal" of the draft.
6. Brendan McKay Will Return
What did Brendan McKay do wrong in his two starts with the Tampa Bay Rays to earn his return to the team's Class AAA affiliate in Durham?
That's right. It was a a demotion about nothing.
McKay beat Texas in his first big-league start and then delivered five solid innings in his second start against the Yankees. Tampa returning him to Durham was merely a move to add an extra bullpen arm for the Rays' final two games against the Yankees last weekend.
According to multiple reports, McKay will be return Saturday and pitch one of the Rays' game during their post-All Star game doubleheader at Baltimore.
7. Jo Adell Update
My ETA on Jo Adell's arrival date as the right fielder for the Los Angeles Angels remains June 2020. I expect he'll play another month or so in Class AA this season and then finish 2019 at the Angels' Triple-A squad in Salt Lake City.
The former Ballard High School phenom earned national TV time Sunday night while batting cleanup for the American League in the Futures Game in Cleveland. Adell earned a single, two walks and a game-ending strikeout in four plate appearances.
The Los Angeles Times filed this story on the guy about to become one of Mike Trout's best friends. He's going to play in the big leagues for a long, long time.
8. Most Obnoxious Thing You'll Read All Week
The end of the July Fourth weekend traditionally means one thing: College basketball recruiting is about to overrun your Twitter timeline.
If you follow recruiting, you know that Duke has already moved to the front of the line with 2020 prospects by securing oral commitments from a pair of 5-star guys -- with more reportedly on the way (including the next Christian Laettner).
If you want to read something that will remind you how overbearing Duke basketball fans have become, I believe this piece will deliver.
Some staffs bag five-stars by giving money bags. As for Krzyzewski & Sons -- the undeniable top dogs on the recruiting trail and gatekeepers of the most successful program since 1986 -- all they must pull from their bag of tricks is #TheBrotherhood pitch.https://t.co/ckyvGhcyRD— Matt Giles (@MattGilesBD) July 5, 2019
Delete it at your earliest convenience.
9. MLB Power Ratings
1. Los Angeles Dodgers -- Anything less than a ring will be a failure a Chavez Ravine.
2. New York Yankees -- Anything less than a ring will be a failure in the Bronx.
3. Houston Astros -- The Astros have begun the process of unloading former UK star A.J. Reed.
4. Atlanta Braves -- Second-best run differential in the National League.
5. Minnesota Twins -- Cleveland has quietly eased back into contention and the Indians are injured and cheap.
10. Tweet of the Week
👍🏾 Through ups and downs in life tomorrow is never guaranteed. Live it to the fullest everyday, have your cup half full, and do what makes you happy. pic.twitter.com/N3ggbdeBu5— Taylor Trammell (@Taytram24) July 8, 2019
Help is on the way Reds' fans.
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