Friday, July 11, 2014

Extra! Extra! LeBron Returning to Cleveland

*This essay from LeBron -- breaking the news, mind you -- was wonderful. "Pitch perfect" comes to mind.

*"I’m not promising a championship." Thank you. It's not a guarantee, but he'll try. To wit...

*"My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio."

Think about that for a second, because it's absolutely spot-on: In LeBron's case, the legacy isn't "more rings than Jordan." It's "rings where they haven't been in forever." Good for him.

*Aside from the fact that the Cavs stand in the way of my Wizards winning the East, it is very easy to root for LeBron and root for a fascinating way this challenge plays itself out.

*And if it inspires Kevin Durant to return to his own hometown in two years to try to bring home a championship, all the better.


-- D.S.

7/11 Friday LeBron World Cup Quickie

*I think LeBron SHOULD return to Cleveland (many/most agree), but it sure looks like he's going to go back to Miami. That'll go over well.

*Then Bosh goes back to Miami (spurning Houston) and Carmelo goes back to New York and whydidweevenbother. Regardless, can NBA Free Agency finally start now?

*NBA Summer League: Tonight's Wiggins-vs-Parker match-up to tip off the Vegas summer league is as good of a Friday night sports-TV option in mid-July as you'll get.

*Actually, it gets better: Start with Wiggins-Parker at 8, then fire up your MLB TV package to watch the A's lineup face King Felix at 10-ish, ducking over to ESPNU at 10:45 or so to watch a replay of the end of the Auburn-Alabama game. That's a VERY solid mid-July Friday night of sports.

*Let's get to it: Germany over Argentina on Sunday in the World Cup final. Netherlands over Brazil on Saturday in the 3rd-place game. Wow, has the past month been a lot of fun. See you in '18.

-- D.S.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

7/9 Wednesday 7-1 Hangover Quickie

*Germany 7, Brazil 1: There has not been a more fascinating blowout in the history of sports.

*Ian Darke and Steve McManaman were brilliant -- it's a lot harder to keep up sincere disdain during a throttling than keep up sincere enthusiasm during a taut match.

*Netherlands over Argentina in PKs.

*Cavs free up money to make max deal for LeBron: He's gotta go to Cleveland.

*I'm dabbling with a new feature -- it's a guide to what's worth watching in sports today. Check it out.

(No, this isn't a prelude to the newsletter -- that'll be separate... and more like this.)

-- D.S.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

7/8 Tuesday World Cup Semi Quickie

*Brazil-Germany (4 ET today) should be phenomenal. Brazil (playing without Neymar) is in "win-or-fail" territory; the Germans aren't too far off.

Put simply: Losing to Brazil in Brazil wouldn't be as bad for Germany as losing to Germany in Brazil would be for Brazil. But Germany should rightfully be considered the favorite.

*NBA Free Agency: Really enjoyed this piece on the NBA's Trade Rumor Era from Grantland's Bryan Curtis. He downplays two things I think about a lot:

(1) The commodification of the actual news scoop itself (which is why the rumor and the post-scoop analysis is so valuable), and (2) the overarching power of Twitter in all this -- Woj, Stein, Broussard, Amick and the rest are all really working for Twitter, not Yahoo or ESPN or USA TODAY Sports.

(Now, the commodification of the scoop means that putting it on Twitter is OK, as long as you have some sort of native context ready to go; everyone else will, off the scoop. But be clear that the news outlet reaping the most benefit here is Twitter -- more power to 'em.)

Otherwise, I'd like to see Chris Bosh take the power back and make the first move here, signing with the Rockets. (Don't know why he wasn't the Rockets' first move anyway.)

That would force LeBron to seriously reconsider any notion of wanting to re-sign with Miami, instead heading to, say, Cleveland. Dwyane Wade is left with Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger.

(The other option, as has been speculated, is that if Chris Bosh leaves Miami for Houston, then Carmelo vaults from "NY or LA?" to joining LeBron in Miami.)

*Missed this yesterday: Love DirecTV's idea of creating a "Fantasy Football Red Zone." I had always considered Red Zone pretty fantasy-football-oriented as it was, but it has a lot of potential.

(It'll be interesting to see if the NFL's cable version of Red Zone Channel -- hosted by the incomparable Scott Hanson and my preferred Red Zone -- ups its fantasy quotient.)

Monday, July 07, 2014

7/7 Monday 4th Hangover Quickie

*The whole "LeBron back to Cleveland" thing is enticing/amusing only because it represents the ideal ending to his free-agency situation.

*It would also trigger the dissolution of the Big Three -- Chris Bosh would realistically relocate to another contender, like Houston.

*Carmelo to LA is just sort of... well, OK. (It's more intriguing than him staying in New York.) A team with Kobe and Carmelo would be fun to watch, at least.

*MLB All-Stars: It's hard to fathom that Chris Sale wasn't picked and must rely on the "Final Vote" (a gimmick I have always loved, btw) -- he'll win the AL slot easily.

Otherwise, it's really hard to begrudge the fans their picks. (The reserves? OK, folks seem to have a quibble or few, but as long as Jose Abreu is on the roster, I'm fine.)

*World Cup: Germany-Brazil-Netherlands-Argentina might represent a dream final foursome, but it would have been more fun had Costa Rica crashed the semifinals. As it stands, no fan base (aside from the champ's) will be more satisfied with how the tournament played out than Costa Rica fans.

*Not much to say about the NBA's Orlando Summer League, except Nerlens Noel's debut was awesome enough for me to go back to lamenting m Wiz passing him up to draft Otto Porter.

*Josh Gordon is your new No. 1-ranked "best athlete to really screw things up." Hope he gets help.

-- D.S.