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

We did it, friends…another week in the books. With it, Sunday State of Mind has arrived.

Rob Gronkowski just doing Gronk things
Setting world records and winning rings
A six hundred foot catch, a new world record
Leave it to Gronk to be a Guinness book wrecker

Dodgers and Padres, an amazing series
Two of the league’s best, just my theory
Some good back and forth between two teams
This rivalry is a thing of baseball fan’s dreams

Gerrit Cole and Shane Beiber, aces for sure
Went head to head, could you ask for more?
A pitcher’s duel in Cleveland, Yanks win 2-1
A lack of offense, but the game was fun

This week we could’ve had another great match
Bucks and 76ers, but some players were scratched
No Embiid, no Simmons, and the Bucks took advantage
A blow out for Milwaukee, the Sixers couldn’t manage

Who Wore it Best? 79-70

Photo: Dr. Odd

We continue our fashion countdown of who wore each number best. In this edition, we’re hopping into the 70’s. Will we get more NFL lineman? Will some random hockey or basketball players sneak in? Let’s dive in and find out.

79 – José Abreu

José Abreu has to be up there in the greatest players with the weirdest numbers category. According to Abreu, his mother picked his number so he would stand out. Stand out he has; Abreu was last year’s MVP, has garnered three All-Star selections, and even hit for the cycle in 2017.

Honorable Mention: N/A

78 – Bruce Smith

Bruce Smith is the all-time leader in sacks with an outlandish 200. His resume is long and silly; we won’t waste too much time here, but just know he was named to two different All-Decade teams in the 80’s and 90’s.

Honorable Mention: N/A

77 – Ray Bourque

Bouruqe was one of the best defensemen in NHL history. His offensive numbers are pretty impressive for a defensemen, scoring 1,506 points in 1,518 games played.

Honorable Mention: Vladimir Radmanović

76 – Orlando Pace

Photo: USA Today

Pace was about all you could ask for in a left tackle during his career. In college, he was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in 1996, which is wild enough for a lineman. In the NFL, he earned seven trips to the Pro Bowl, was a three time first team All-Pro, and a member of the 2000’s All-Decade team.

Honorable Mention: PK Subban

75 – Joe Greene

“Mean” Joe Greene was one of the most dominant nose tackles in NFL history. He was a part of the “Steel Curtain” defense that won four Super Bowls in six years for the Steelers in the 70’s. Mean Joe was also named to the 1970’s All-Decade team on top of the 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time teams.

Honorable Mentions: Barry Zito, Howie Long

74 – Kenley Jansen

Jansen has been absolutely lights out since entering the Majors in 2010. He’s recorded 312 saves, a 2.39 ERA, and a 0.91 WHIP in 636 innings in his career.

Honorable Mention: TJ Oshie

73 – John Hannah

Hannah was a dominant guard for the Patriots from 1973-1985. Over that time, he went to nine Pro Bowls, was a 10 time All-Pro, is a member of the 70’s and 80’s All-Decade teams as well as the 75th and 100th Anniversary All-Time teams.

Honorable Mention: N/A

72 – Sergei Bobrovsky

Bobrovsky has had an impressive run since coming into the NHL with the Flyers in 2010. Since then, he has an impressive .921 save percentage and a 2.41 goals against average.

Honorable Mentions: Carlton Fisk, Dan Dierdorf

71 – Walter Jones

We’ve gushed over Walter Jones before, and we’re here to gush again. A bonafide Hall of Fame left tackle, nine Pro Bowls, four first team All-Pros, and never missed a start in 180 career games.

Honorable Mention: Evgeni Malkin

70 – Dennis Rodman

Photo: ESPN

Who remembers this weird shit? Rodman played 12 games for the Mavs in the 1999-2000 season. Honestly, this is an awful number for this list and we’re obviously stretching here.

Honorable Mention: N/A

Have to be honest, I thought this edition was going to rely heavy on NFL offensive/defensive lineman. Pleasantly surprised with the baseball, hockey, and basketball representation here. On to the 60’s!

Dear Baseball: Welcome Back, We Love You

Dear Baseball,

You made it. You’re back. Every year, Spring rolls around and you reappear in our lives just when we’re all at our wit’s end with Winter.

Your debut is upon us, and league-wide hope is at a premium. Spring Training has wrapped, and all thirty teams have traveled back home to start the long, arduous road to a pennant. The weather is starting to turn; summer is creeping around the corner, and with it, thoughts of cold beer and hot dogs dance in our heads.

Opening Day is a time and feeling unlike any other. It’s like waking up in the middle of the night thinking your alarm’s about to go off, to find you’ve only been asleep for an hour. It’s like taking out your contacts after a long day, or hitting every green light when you’re running late. It’s hard to exactly describe it, but have you ever found a $20 bill in your pants that you forgot about? That’s what it feels like having you back.

From Wrigley to Fenway, Yankee Stadium to Petco Park, let the hum of fastballs and pop of catcher’s mitts fill the air for the next seven months. Let the home runs fly out of Coors Field, pop ups die in the acres of foul territory at RingCentral Coliseum, and Bernie Brewer take all of the home run slides his heart desires.

Who cares if the pace of play is a little slow? Who doesn’t want to to piss in a urinal trough, pay $12 for a mini helmet full of ice cream that melts in five minutes, or step in dropped neon yellow nacho cheese while awkwardly scootching past eight of your fellow attendees all while squeezing into undersized seats in 98 degree weather?

We definitely don’t get embarrassed when our favorite players get injured in hilarious ways while playing a noncontact sport. We don’t care that you make a bunch of old men squeeze into baseball uniforms, or that your Hall of Fame voting is incredibly flawed, or that your fields of play aren’t equal in size like every other legitimate professional sport. No reason to complain about the fact that the DH rule isn’t universal, unwritten rules are dumb, and that hitting at this point is either home runs or strikeouts.

Baseball, we could not be happier that you are back.

Love,

Baseball Fans Everywhere

Who Wore it Best? 99-90

Photo: Dr. Odd

We’re kicking off a new series; and we’re going by the numbers. This countdown is dedicated to the best players of all-time by each jersey number. No concrete formula here, just career stats, impact on the game, and some good old fashion opinion. Let’s hop right in.

99 – Wayne Gretzky

Photo: LA Biz

He’s called “The Great One” for a reason. Hard to pick a favorite stat to demonstrate Gretzky’s dominance, but one of my favorites is that if he never scored a goal, he still would have had 11 straight 100-point seasons and won four scoring titles.

Honorable Mentions: Manny Ramirez, George Mikan, Warren Sapp

98 – Casey Hampton

Not a widely popular number, so not our largest name on the list. Appropriately nicknamed “Big Snacks,” Hampton made five Pro Bowls as the Steelers nose tackle in the early aughts.

Honorable Mentions: Jason Collins

97 – Jeremy Roenick

Maybe not the best guy, but a pretty good hockey player. The eighth overall pick in the 1988 NHL draft scored 1,216 points in 1,363 games played.

Honorable Mentions: Bryant Young, Cam Heyward

96 – Cortez Kennedy

Kennedy recorded 58 sacks in his 11 seasons for the Seahawks. He recorded 569 tackles and 11 forced fumbles.

Honorable Mentions: Metta World Peace, Tomas Holmstrom

95 – Richard Dent

A bonafide Hall of Famer who was a part of one of the greatest defenses of all time, the ’85 Bears. What more can you ask for?

Honorable Mentions: N/A

94 – Charles Haley

The defensive centerpiece of two all-time franchises in the Cowboys and 49ers.

Honorable Mention: Demarcus Ware

93 – John Randle

Anyone who goes undrafted in their respective sport and go on to become a Hall of Famer is good enough for this list. Randle made seven Pro Bowls and was a six time first team All-Pro selection en route to Canton.

Honorable Mentions: Pat Neshak, Metta World Peace

92 – Reggie White

Photo: Quotes Gram

“The Minister of Defense” was one of the greatest free agent signings of all time, when he left the Philadelphia Eagles in 1992 and signed with the Green Bay Packers. He finished his career with 198 sacks, two NFL defensive player of the year awards, and a Super Bowl ring.

Honorable Mentions: DeShawn Stevenson, Gabriel Landeskog

91 – Dennis Rodman

An obvious answer for a surprisingly strong number. But Rodman’s five rings, seven NBA All-Defensive first selections, and nearly 12,000 career rebounds puts him on our list.

Honorable Mentions: Kevin Greene, Sergei Fedorov

90 – Ndamukong Suh

Suh has had a late-career number change to 93, but he donned 90 early in his career for the Lions when he was arguable at his best. During his time rocking the big 9-0, Suh was the NFL Rookie of the Year, made four Pro Bowls, and was a three time NFL First Team All-Pro.

Honorable Mention: Ryan O’Reilly

High numbers, a lot of hockey players and defensive lineman, to be expected. Will we have some different sports and positions represented in our next set of jersey numbers, 89-80? Only time will tell.

It’s Literally Impossible for The Baltimore Orioles to Make the Playoffs

Photo: Sports HD Wallpapers

Baltimore Orioles fans, if there are any of you left…look away.

FanGraphs, who describes themselves as “[y]our home for advanced baseball analysis and stats” released their projections for all 30 MLB team’s chances at making the playoffs in 2021:

Seems fairly benign, right? A few surprises here and there, but check out that last line item on the AL East projections…

Nothing? Not a single chance in the entire world that the Baltimore Orioles make a miracle run to the postseason? Even the Colorado Rockies, who traded away their best player this offseason and share a division with the defending World Series champion Dodgers and most exciting team in baseball in the San Diego Padres, have a 0.1% chance of making it. Zero chance?! Literally absolutely impossible, according to FanGraphs.

The beginning of baseball season is always a great feeling. The weather is warming up around the country, spring training is done, and it’s time to get to the games that count. Hope springs eternal that this year might be the year your team hoists the World Series Trophy. For FanGraphs to just cut the legs out from the baseball community in Baltimore before the season even starts is just brutal. Scientifically proven, but just brutal.

I hope Chris Davis, Trey Mancini, and the other 37 Orioles on the 40-man roster who I’ve never heard of take this disrespect and shove it in FanGraphs face. Use this as motivation to outperform those pesky analytics, show everyone in baseball what you’re truly capable of, and exceed all expectations by losing less than 120 games next season.

Go Birds!

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

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

Sunday State of Mind: August 3rd-August 9th

Photo: Photo by Blake Richard Verdoorn on Unsplash

Happy Sunday, everyone. Please enjoy this journey back in time on the week that was in sports in this week’s SSM.

At the time of this blog, the PGA Championship is still live
DJ, Finau, Scheffler…who will survive?
To be completely honest, the most important thing though
Is the continued trolling, of Bryson DeChambeau

The Cubs and Cardinals, cancelled this weekend
St. Louis’ COVID positives have gone off the deep end
It’s the best rivalry in baseball, there’s no debate
Yankees/Red Sox? Giants/Dodgers? Not that great.

This week us NBA fans lost a good one
76ers standout Ben Simmons is done
According to this tweet, Ben had a left knee subluxation
He left the NBA Bubble, on a surgical vacation

Connor McGregor is engaged! The Notorious MMA.
Asked his girlfriend of 12 years, announced on Saturday
Seems like Connor’s enjoying his “retirement” so far
Engaged and staying out of trouble, no hitting old men in bars

Joe Kelly May Just Save 2020

We all saw this coming.

For those of you who don’t remember, the Houston Astros got in to some trouble this offseason after being outed as sign-stealing cheaters who legitimately stole a World Series from the Dodgers in 2017. They have, appropriately, been mocked beyond repute. One of my favorite Twitter accounts to follow is @AsteriskTour, the 2020 Astros Shame Tour, go follow now if you haven’t yet (also, follow @untimed_down while you’re there). Unless you’re on the Astros roster, or a fan with your head in the sand, most of us agree that the Astros have everything that’s coming to them this season.

This is where our hero, Joe Kelly comes in. Last night, the Dodgers played the Astros for the first time this season, and Kelly took it upon himself to show his displeasure. After falling behind 3-0 to Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, one of the most defiant Astros in the cheating scandal, Kelly buzzed one high and tight right past Bregman’s dome for ball four. After Bregman went to first, Kelly fired two pickoff attempts that, if not caught by Dodgers first basemen Max Muncy, would have caught Bregman square in the ribcage. The unwritten rules of baseball were in full affect.

The Dodgers reliever wasn’t done at that point. Kelly later faced Carlos Correa, who was as, if not more defiant than Bregman in response to the cheating scandal. Correa got a breaking ball thrown over his head before being struck out by Kelly. The post-strike period is where the fun began.

From the aforementioned @AsteriskTour Twitter feed:

The tongue, the pouty face, the “shut the fuck up” to end the performance. It’s all perfect. Mockery at the highest level to the biggest villain in sports today.

All of this eventually lead to “benches clearing,” which is usually pretty weak in general when it comes to baseball. However, with COVID rules in the MLB this season, any chance of any actual fights happening is even lower, so it’s all worthless. I’m just glad Joe Kelly stepped up, did his duty as a Dodger, and made the first of what I can only assume will be many spectacles of beaning Astros this season.

Edit: right after publishing this blog, the MLB announced Kelly has been suspended for eight games. CBS Baseball Writer Danny Vietti put things into prespective: