Sunday State of Mind: November 23rd-November 29th

We took some time to give thanks this week, and ignored the blog while doing so. But we’re back, and ready to review what we missed in the past seven days in this week’s Sunday State of Mind.

The Match 3 went down, teeing off on Friday
Phil, Chuck, Peyton, and Steph were excited to play
In a big upset, Charles Barkley played well
Chuck and Phil won 4 & 3, Peyton and Steph fell

Some more random sports, Mike Tyson is back!
He fought Roy Jones Jr., but the excitement lacked
It wasn’t a full match, only an exhibition spar
The “fight” was a draw, and was as slow as tar

Moving on to real sports, college basketball
A little behind schedule, still started in late fall
It’s great to see action back on the hardwood
A small step towards things feeling more like they should

Hate to beat a dead horse, but COVID’s still here
Ravished the Ravens, a realized fear
The MVP Lamar Jackson had a positive test
Ravens/Steelers delayed six days, not the best

Sunday State of Mind: November 16th-November 22nd

Photo: Sas Kia on Unsplash

A NBA specific SSM this week! We celebrate the start of free agency in the only way we know how…shitty sports poetry.

Your defending champion Los Angeles Lakers
Have not been free agency givers, but free agency takers
Montrezl Harrell, Denis Schroeder, and Wes Matthews too
The Lake Show roster will be stacked with players old and new

The Washington Wizards, a continuous mess
Robin Lopez signed, that’s good I guess?
There were rumors of a John Wall for Russell Westbrook trade
Sad state of affairs if that’s the best move that can be made

Danilo Gallinari and Rajon Rondo both signed with Atlanta
Some serious veteran presence, both good moves, duh
The Hawks pair their new signings with a solid core
Make no mistake, this team is going to score

Very strange signing in the city of Charlotte
Gordon Hayward wanted a payday, and the Hornets bit
An injury-prone veteran got $120 million over four years
If I discovered this signing as a Hornets fan, I’d be in tears

Theo Epstein has Resigned as President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs and I Am Sad

Photo: SFGate

Damn…what a ride.

This morning, news broke that Theo Epstein would be stepping down as President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, effective immediately. Epstein joined the Cubs in October 2011, and completely transformed an organization known for being long time losers into consistent post season appearances, success, and of course, World Series champions.

Epstein noted in his press conference this afternoon that the original plan was to transition out of his position in October 2021. However, with important roster and organizational decisions coming this offseason, he believed it best that those who would be with the Cubs longer-term should be making those decisions.

The now former President of Baseball Operations has always maintained that 10 years is about the maximum he would ever stay at job, and he is holding true to his word. In his presser this afternoon, he noted there was “no sense of burnout. I enjoy building, transformation, and accomplishing. Maybe I’m not as great at maintenance. After a while, I need a new challenge, and with the Cubs in a state of change with the roster, it felt like the right time.”

This sucks. Epstein has been the face of the Cubs for the past nine years. His list of accomplishments and the stories that have come out of his tenure is as impressive as it is long. I watched the press conference this morning, and wanted to outline some of the best moments and quotes.

  • When asked about his overall feelings about his time with the Cubs: “A life changing experience, the best part being the relationships and connections I’ve made along the way.” Epstein continued “Our goals were to build a foundation of sustained success and build a team that would win a World Series for the Chicago Cubs. It was not perfect, but we did it.”
  • Describing Cubs fans: “The depth of the connection with the fans, how intimate and easily shared…is really is different here, thanks to [the fans]. Right as we started to turn the corner, walking home from a game, I could ease drop on conversations that were so optimistic, it was such a special time. The lines between fans, team, and front office members were blurred. We all knew what was going to happen before it did.”
  • On the 2016 World Series victory: “Such a privilege to run into strangers and hear what the World Series meant to them.”

Jed Hoyer, current Cubs General Manger, will take over as the new President of Baseball Operations. Hoyer joined the Cubs with Theo initially as GM, and has more than earned this promotion. Epstein believes he is leaving the Cubs in incredibly able hands: “[Hoyer] ensures great continuity, and is also realistic in ways we need to change and get better” he said.

Additionally, Theo ensured Cubs fans that Hoyer “does not need me over his shoulder…he is ready, willing, and able.” He supported his claim by giving an anecdote on the now famous trade with the Baltimore Orioles that brought a struggling Jake Arrieta to the North Side, and as we now all know, to the MLB Awards stage as the 2015 Cy Young Award winner. Epstein said that Hoyer kept “banging the table” for an additional throw in on the trade, saying that the throw in must be included in the trade or the Cubs would walk away from the trading table. That throw in at the time, was a relief pitcher with a woeful career 4.82 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. That “meaningless” throw in was named Pedro Stop, who like Arrieta, resureccted his career in Chicago to become one of the best relief pitchers in team history.

This, and many other reasons, has Epstein feeling confident that the Cubs are in great long term shape as he proceeds with a peaceful transfer of power. Epstein noted that while he anticipates he will eventually return to baseball, for now, he and his family will continue to live in Chicago, and be Cubs season ticket holders moving moving forward. He noted that now he can enjoy the bleacher bum experience, and when he does, “it will feel like home.”

While this is a sad day, I also cannot help but feel happy. This nine-year stretch has been the best in Cubs history, and I feel lucky to have been able to see it from the foundation to the peak of baseball. Thank you, Theo Epstein, for putting all that you did into the organization for as long as you did, and bringing Cubs fans like me success that we only dreamt of before you came to Chicago.

Sunday State of Mind: November 9th-November 15th

Photo: Vlad Hilitanu on Unsplash

Another weekend come and gone…let’s reflect on the week that was in this weeks SSM.

The Miami Marlins, shattering the ceiling
The team has hired the first female GM, an absolute awesome feeling
Kim Ng has been hired to run the show for the Marlins
Here’s hoping it all goes well, and she leads the team to many wins

The 2020 Masters was as always a treat
Dustin Johnson, simply could not be beat
Yes DJ took home his first green jacket
He’s the #1 golfer in the world, in his own bracket

The Bills and Cardinals, holy shit
Kyler to DeAndre, Cards didn’t quit
On the last extra point, the Cards took a knee
An incredible cover, for those who had Buffalo +3

The Tompa Bay Bucs got back on track
TB12 with four touchdowns, put the team on his back
Ronald Jones went yard with a 98-yard score
The Buccaneers are gelling more and more

We’ve Got Pairings for Thursday at The Masters and We’re Hyped

Hello friends…we’re so close. Thursday marks the beginning of the 2020 Masters. We’ve dealt with a lot of shit this year, and we deserve it. Yesterday afternoon, the PGA dropped Thursday pairings that we’ll see get going at the always pristine Augusta National Golf Club. There are some incredibly interesting groups we’ll see on Thursday and it’s got us like:

Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Louis Oosthuizen

At 7:33, Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, and Louis Oosthuizen will get their rounds started. While still looking for his first major, Rahm has remained one of the most consistent golfers on tour since turning professional in 2016. DeChambeau is, of course, the scientific freak of nature currently terrorizing golf balls wherever he goes. It will be interesting to see how his powerful game meshes with Augusta.

Adam Scott, Collin Morikawa, Tyrrell Hatton

Adam Scott tees off with Collin Morikawa & Tyrrell Hatton at 11:38. Scott won The Masters in 2013, and his last major in 2018. Can he get back to playing elite level golf and add another green jacket? Only time will tell. Morikawa is a baby, both in terms of his PGA career and in real life, coming into the 2020 Masters at 23 years old. He exploded onto the scene while winning the 2020 PGA Championship. This will be Morikawa’s first Masters Tournament.

Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, Rory McIlroy

In the group with the most name recognition; Dustin Johnson, Patrick Cantlay, and Rory McIlroy tee off at noon sharp. With five majors between DJ and Rory (Cantlay really not pulling his weight here), this group has a ton of fire power. No Masters wins can be found between these three, with DJ coming closest with a second place finish in last years tournament. Rory’s best Masters finish came in 2015 (4th), and Cantlay’s best finish came in 2019 when he finished 9th.

Tiger Woods, Shane Lowry, Andy Ogletree

With all due respect to Shane Lowry & Andy OgletreeTiger Woods tees off at 7:55. What else can we say about Tiger that hasn’t already been said? Fifteen majors, 82 career PGA Tour wins, the clear cut best to ever do it. Last years Masters tournament, in which Tiger won after carding a -13, was one of the greatest moments we’ve seen in sports, and the conclusion of a huge, huge, comeback story.

Photo: Mirror

We hope you all relish and savor this years Masters Tournament. Enjoy it while it’s here, it always seems to go by way too fast. Even better news: if this years tournament doesn’t quite quench your golf thirst, the 2021 Masters is right around the corner, scheduled for April 2021.

Sunday State of Mind: November 2nd-November 8th

Photo: Matthew Smith on Unsplash

It’s Sunday. The weekend is slipping away from us. Let’s enjoy this week’s SSM while we still can.

Dalvin Cook just keeps going and going
Last week and this week, after his injured groin
He’s topped 200 yards two games in a row
What a gift for the Vikings, wrap that man in a bow

Notre Dame bested Clemson in a top five battle
The Golden Domers now sit in college football’s saddle
Students rushed the field, said “we can’t stop” like Miley Cyrus
Here’s hoping this scene doesn’t lead to a spread of the Coronavirus

Not a sports topic, but what the heck
We want to pay tribute to Alex Trebek
The GOAT game show host, his memory won’t cease
All the best to his loves ones, may he rest in peace

Sunday State of Mind: October 26th-November 1st

Photo: Annie Nyle on Unsplash

Fall is here, friends. The leaves have changed, the sweaters have been donned, and the clocks have moved back. Let’s all get comfortable and enjoy this week’s SSM.

Tua Time in Miami, the rookie made his debut
A surprise win over the Rams, the Dolphins feel anew
Tua didn’t have a big game, or put up many stats
But if the Dolphins keep winning, they’ll no longer be AFC East cellar rats

We crowned a new World Series champ this week, the Dodgers from LA
Emerged victorious over the Rays of Tampa Bay
A lot of talk on the internet on the decisions of Kevin Cash
If he kept Blake Snell in longer, it could be the Rays throwing the championship bash

Trevor Lawrence, Clemson’s long-haired quarterback
Tested positive for COVID, by the disease he’s been sacked
The best QB in the NCAA missed this week’s game
It was also announced he’ll miss Clemson’s next contest against Notre Dame

This week the Chicago Cubs declined Jon Lester’s option for 2021
Unless he’s brought back on a cheaper deal, his time with the Cubs is done
Big Jon did something very cool this weekend, something very dear
He’s buying the entire city of Chicago their first rounds of beer

The White Sox Hired Tony La Russa and…Yikes.

Woof.

The Chicago White Sox are one of the most young, exciting teams in baseball. They have a treasure trove of young talent not only on the major league roster, but still coming up through their farm system. The South Siders made the playoffs this year for the first time since 2008, but were eliminated in the first round by the Athletics.

Due to “differences of opinion” regarding analytics and strategy in general, the team relieved manager Rick Rentería of his duties after the season. In doing so, the Sox created for themselves a great opportunity to sign a dynamic, exciting manager to take this young group with an enormous skillset and lead them to a championship, right?

WRONG.

Ladies and gentlemen, give it up for your new manager of The Chicago White Sox….

This guy.

Tony La Russa: seventy-six year old, hasn’t managed since 2011, Tony La Russa.

As you’ll notice in the picture above, the man is a Hall of Famer, a fact you can’t deny. However, isn’t that a reason not to hire him? His last managing gig with the Cardinals ended when he retired nine years ago. Per Baseball Reference, La Russa holds a career record of 2,728-2,365 in 35 years of managing the White Sox (for the first time), Athletics, and Cardinals. He last managed the White Sox in 1986. One of the White Sox’s best players, Luis Robert, was born 11 years after, in 1997.

The White Sox roster is full of young, lively talent. Tony La Russa is a baseball dinosaur who has been in the sport since 1963, when he made his playing debut with Oakland. This enormous age gap can cause major issues. How does a man capture the attention and respect of a group of studs 50 years his minor? I just don’t see it.

Now, with as loaded of a roster as the White Sox have put together, this could very well work out. At some point, the manager of a baseball team simply cannot lose if he’s given the right combination and talent and potential. If you’re a White Sox fan, you can only hope your new geriatric leader lets his guys be themselves and take the next step that they clearly have enough talent to take.

“Saved by the Bell” is Back and It Looks Awful

Photo: The Playlist

What the hell is this?

So I’m going about my Tuesday, getting caught up on Twitter, and I’m accosted by this absolute train wreck of a preview:

Who’s asking for this? Why do we need this? “Saved by the Bell” was an absolute masterpiece when it came to early 90’s sitcoms. It ran for four seasons from 1989-1993, amassing 86 episodes. I don’t need to explain the wacky high school hijinks we saw from Zach, Slater, Screech; or the “real life” lessons we were taught from Kelly, Jessie, and Lisa.

The show had a perfect lifespan. From Kelly getting a zit while running for homecoming queen, the gang breaking Screech’s parent’s Elvis statue, and the big fight between Zach and Slater, the show did all it needed in its four seasons. It had a perfect ending, with the fourth season ending at high school graduation.

Then…things started going to shit. After graduation, those greedy fat cats at NBC tried to keep the party going:

Embarrassing.

Two made for TV movies (“SBTB Hawaiian Style” got a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes, “SBTB Wedding in Las Vegas” got a 69%) and a cheap spinoff series that lasted 18 episodes (and a 9% on Rotten Tomatoes) weren’t enough? Now we have to deal with a FOURTH spinoff? I won’t stand for it. I’m out.

In the current age we’re in with endless, top shelf content to choose from, we shouldn’t have to waste our time even having to consider this cash-grab trash heap. I’ll apologize on behalf of the fine folks at NBC: I’m sorry you had to watch this trailer, and in turn read a blog about it.

Sunday State of Mind: October 19th-October 25th

Photo: Frank McKenna on Unsplash

We took a bit of a break from SSM last week. We couldn’t be more excited to return, please enjoy.

Dodgers and Rays, not even here
To talk about tonight’s game, because Saturday was so weird
Game Four ended with two errors and a slip
It was so insane, an absolute trip

A sentence I thought I would never say
Things aren’t going great with the Patriot Way
Three picks for Cam, and a loss to San Francisco
After all their success, hard to feel bad for New England Massholes

Big 10 Football is back, and we had a wild one
Indiana beat Penn State on a last second run
The call was so close, and was impossible to call
How can you not love college football?

On the flip side of college football, Jaylen Waddle
Sadly fractured his ankle while going full throttle
Another week one star, Badger QB Graham Mertz
Tested positive for COVID, both injuries must hurt