Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas trade places

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Published on : August 23, 2017

 

Breaking news out of the NBA is that the Cleveland Cavaliers have traded Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizec and an unprotected 2018 1st round draft pick (from the Brooklyn Nets). This is huge. We all knew something was brewing after Irving shocked everyone by asking to be traded. Since that announcement, it was only a matter of time before Kyrie found a new home but no one could have guessed the deal would be this juicy. This is everything you need to know about the big move.

 

The Cleveland fanbase has to love this trade. Kyrie Irving wants to leave but you want to get some value for him. The Cavaliers get the offensive spark in Thomas, a solid defender and scorer in Crowder and big men depth with Zizec. But the reason this deal looks so good from the Cleveland side is because of that draft pick. It could be the number one overall depending on where the Nets finish. This is the critical part. That pick is the future of the franchise. Maybe that future rookie plus the existing core will be enough to keep King James in town after next year. The Cavs might not be done adding pieces. Rumors continue to swirl. The most recent gossip is that D Wade could be joining his BFF LeBron for another title run. Maybe they get Melo too.

 

 

The folks in Boston are doing backflips right now. They traded in their 29-year-old guard with a hip injury for a 25-year-old superstar with a championship ring. The Celtics are getting younger. Their new roster will feature Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, Marcus Morris and rookie Jayson Tatum. That’s a ton of talent. Plus Boston has a stock pile of upcoming lottery picks so losing the 2018 1st rounder isn’t a backbreaker. You can see the plan here. Build the core that will eventually take over the eastern conference after LeBron James leaves or goes on the decline. It feels like the Celtics gave away a lot but they are really focusing on the long term. But don’t be fooled, this crew will be in the playoff mix from the jump.

 

The craziest aspect is that two teams who are direct rivals in the east agreed to a deal with each other. It’s one thing to ship pieces across conferences but to make a deal with your own road block? Seems perverse. Only time will tell who won this trade. It was a blockbuster to be sure. Cavs open their season at home versus the Celtics on October 17th. Should be a good game.

 

Changes.

 

 


Get to know: the Big 3 basketball league

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Published on : August 18, 2017

 

No, it’s not the NBA but it’s hoops and it’s totally fun. It’s a 3-on-3 basketball league featuring some of the game’s favorites. The Big 3 is the brain child of Ice Cube and entertainment executive, Jeff Kwatinetz. They managed to create something that is new and familiar all at the same time. So lace up your Jordans and let’s get inside the Big 3 basketball league.

 

The Big 3 plays by it’s own rules. Beyond being only 3-on-3, the game is half court ball and has many unique differences as compared to traditional basketball. The most flashy of the changes are the 4 point shots. There are three 4 point hot spots on the court all 30 feet away from the basket. Almost feels a little Rock-n-Jock. Also, the shot clock is 14 seconds but there is no game clock. Half time comes when one team gets to 25 points. Get to 50 and you win. Must win by 2 though. Other rules of note, all fouls are assessed to the team, no personal fouls, so no player can foul out. And no jump balls, home team starts with the rock.

 

In terms of game play, teams must take the ball beyond the arc after a rebound. But in the instance of a steal or an air ball, the team can go straight to the hoop. All of these rules are in place to create isolation basketball. A chance to get to see an elite talent, in space, creating offense. That’s the best part. That’s what the NBA lives on. The Big 3 found a way to boil the sport down to just those entertaining moments. While also making the game it accessible to some older stars who still have plenty to give.

 

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The Big 3 started with 8 teams (7 players on each roster) in the league and each crew features a big name coach. Names likes Allen Iverson, Gary Payton, Rick Barry, George Gervin, Clyde Drexler, Rick Mahorn and Julius Irving. That’s some legit basketball intelligence leading the way.

 

The teams are:

Ball Hogs – Brian Scalabrine, Josh Childress and Bobby Simmons.

3 Headed Monsters – Rashard Lewis, Jason Williams and Kwame Brown.

Ghost Ballers – Mike Bibby, Ricky Davis and Larry Hughes.

Power – Corey Maggette, Cuttino Mobley and Jerome Williams.

3’s Company – Allen Iverson (player/coach), DerMarr Johnson and Al Thornton.

Trilogy – Kenyon Martin, Al Harrington and Jannero Pargo.

Killer 3s – Charles Oakley (player/coach), Chauncy Billips and Stephen Jackson.

Tri-State – Jermaine O’Neal, Bonzi Wells and Mike James.

 

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The last name to know is actor and basketball fan, Michael Rapaport, who acts as the on-court reporter and is normally very funny. The Big 3 is basically a love letter to the NBA, street ball and all of basketball culture. If you are totally new to this sport then you are in luck because the Big 3 playoffs are about to kickoff and if you call yourself a hoops fan, then you should check it out.

 

Messed around and got a triple double.

 

 


Most intriguing games of the upcoming NFL season

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Published on : August 12, 2017

 

The NFL season is so close I can practically taste it. It’s early August and we are just beginning to get some preseason football action. This is an exciting time of year when football (and Burning Man) is pretty much all I can think about. This is the time when I have an uneasy optimism about my beloved Detroit Lions as I allow myself to believe that maybe, just maybe, this will be the year we overcome the god damned Packers and win the division.

 

Aside from the Lions, I’m excited about the season in general and I’m starting to form opinions (based on nothing other than my own analysis and guess work) about who is going to be worth watching this year. With that in mind, I’ve started to take a look at the schedule and pick out games that I think will be exceptionally entertaining. Here are the most intriguing games of the upcoming NFL season.

 

Chargers at Broncos. Week 1.

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Bruno thought I was crazy for this one but hear me out. The Chargers still have Phillip Rivers and Melvin Gordon, and if the rest of the team can stay healthy they should have a solid squad. The Broncos should have a good defense with Von Miller leading the way and if they can find any semblance of a competent passing game then they should be in the running for the AFC West. This game, though early in the season, should go a long way to sorting out what that division will look like all year.

 

Cowboys at Cardinals. Week 3 MNF: League’s top young running backs (removed).

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Before the Cowboys electrifying young running back, Ezekiel Elliot, got suspended for being an asshole this was one of my favorite early matchups of the season. The Cardinals have my favorite running back and the MVP of my championship fantasy football team last year, David Johnson. This was going to be an epic battle on the ground, but now I just hope David Johnson rushes for 250 yards, has 200 receiving yards and scores 5 touchdowns.

 

Atlanta at New England. Week 7: Super Bowl rematch.

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Remember that one time the Atlanta Falcons had a Super Bowl Victory firmly in their grasp only to choke away a 25 point lead in the second half to Tom Brady and the Patriots? Well this is their chance to get some sort of payback.

 

Dallas at Atlanta. Week 10.

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This is the first of my potential conference championship game previews on the list. Atlanta represented the NFC in the Super Bowl last year and the Cowboys were favorites to make it to the conference final before running into the Green Bay Packers. Theses two teams will be in the running for it again this year and this first matchup should be a good one.

 

New England at Oakland. Week 11: Mexico City.

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In the next potential conference championship game preview, we have the Patriots facing off against the Raiders. I would bet money that the Patriots will be heading back to the AFC Championship game and the Raiders seem poised to build on a successful 2016 campaign that was derailed by an injury to their young QB, Derek Carr. Estadio Azteca in Mexico City will surely be rocking as the greatest quarterback of all time faces off against one of the best young gunslingers in the league.

 

New England at Pittsburgh. Week 15.

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This is a rematch of last years AFC Championship game and if us football fans are lucky, it will be a preview of this year’s. Give me Tom Brady vs Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown any day of the damn week. This is deep enough in the season to have serious playoff implications but not so late that Bill Belichick is resting half his team. Get ready for a barn burner in this one.

 

Green Bay at Detroit. Week 17.

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Normally no one is getting all that excited about any Detroit Lions game, but for the second year in a row the Lions will host the rival Green Bay Packers at home to end the season. Last year this game decided the NFC North and the hope is that it will be the same scenario. And hopefully my Lions will win the NFC North for the first time since the division was created back in 2001.

 

Well there you have it. The most interesting matchups of the upcoming NFL season as I see them. Are there any games that you think shouldn’t have made the list or any marquee games that you think I missed? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 


Oh no, not again: NFL edition

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Published on : August 8, 2017

 

The NFL is a wild and entertaining league with tons of new and exciting storylines to follow but then there are these other headlines. The ones you see year after year. It’s like a broken record. You think “oh no, here we go again”. We aren’t even into preseason games yet and already some familiar news items have surfaced. Let’s dive right into it.

 

More off-field trouble for the Dallas Cowboys. Running back, Ezekiel Elliott, got into a fight outside a Dallas bar. This after pervious issues with failed drug tests and claims of domestic abuse. But these are the players that Jerry Jones likes to draft. Fans in Texas are used to their stars having run-ins with the law. It feels like the players act like the old movie cowboys and treat the world like the wild west. Shoot first, ask questions later and hire a great lawyer.

 

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When the Chargers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles, the hope was that the franchise could turn over a new leaf. Start fresh. Shed that rotten luck that always hamstringed a talented roster. Well, I hate to report but the injury bug still haunts the Chargers. They’ve already lost rookie guard Forrest Lamp to an ACL tear and their top draft pick, Mike Williams, is currently out of all training camp action with a back injury. Not a great start for the bolts.

 

Speaking of ACL tears. Miami Dolphins QB, Ryan Tannehill, got hurt again. He re-injured the same knee that held him out parts of last year. He likely needs season ending surgery to repair it. And in a hilarious turn of events, Jay Cutler, has been signed out of retirement/broadcast booth on a 1 year/$10 million deal. He will become the starter with Matt Moore serving as backup. Miami must now consider the future of the quarterback position. Even if Tannehill comes back healthy, can the organization trust him? Next year’s draft will tell us how much faith they still have.

 

Rumors are that the Dolphins considered Tim Tebow for the job as fill-in QB. That’s nuts and officially proves that NFL owners are black balling Colin Kaepernick. That can be the only logical reason. Why else would one look to a minor league baseball player and an announcer before a guy who played in a Super Bowl? I hope Kap gets a shot somewhere. He is too talented and only 29-years-old. Racist ass league. SMH.

 

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As we inch closer and closer to real football, the news cycle will continue to spit whatever they can. Maybe a hyper interesting piece about an aging star going vegan or something else really cool and important. The hope is, among all that noise, some real developments will emerge. But for now, let’s feast on the old faithfuls. Who wants to guess when the next Cincinnati Bengal going to be arrested?

 

Rinse and repeat.

 

 


Pay Stafford his money

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Published on : August 4, 2017

 

 

Lions training camp is underway and the team is looking to get back to the postseason for the third time in four years. This is a big change from the days when Detroit was bottom-of-the-barrel looking up at the playoffs. And quarterback Matthew Stafford is a big reason for this recent success. Because of that, management is working on getting Matt a new contract extension to lock up the young gunslinger for the next half decade. This is the move to make. The Lions need to open their checkbook and pay Matthew Stafford the big bucks he deserves.

 

Haters are going to say Stafford hasn’t won a playoff game yet so he doesn’t deserve $25 million+ per season. Or he throws too many interceptions. Or that Tom Brady isn’t even making that kind of money. Or that he sucks and Detroit needs to move on from him. These type of statements drive me crazy because they are so misguided. Talents like Matthew Stafford do not come around that often and the Lions are lucky enough to have drafted him, the franchise cannot afford to let a commodity like that walk away.

 

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The truth is, the NFL has a quarterback shortage. There are about 10-15 good to great QBs and 32 teams so you do the math. Most GMs are always looking for the next brilliant single caller. But they aren’t there. For comparison, Derek Carr was just given a 5 year/$125 million deal. Carr has never won a playoff game either. This just proves that the rate for a quality man under center has gone up. Carr helped set the price point. So forget all that talk about who is making what. All these numbers are going to shoot up. Stafford just happens to be next in line to get paid.  

 

Brady’s pay was cut because of the suspensions he was going to face. This allowed the team to pay him less in salary and give him most of his money via bonuses and performance incentives. Plus Tom is one of those guys that is already so rich that he doesn’t want to hamstring the rest of the roster with his huge contract. Keeps them so damn competitive. And in terms of interceptions, Stafford threw 10 picks in 2016. His fewest in 6 years. Also the 4th lowest total for QBs that played all 16 regular season games. Speaking of playing all 16 games, Matt was done that the last 6 years as well.  

 

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On to the good stuff. Matt Stafford or as some of my buddies call him, Dad Stafford or Matt Dadford, has thrown for over 4,000 yards in all of the last 6 years. That’s bonkers. He is only 29-years-old but has a wealth of game management experience. Stafford is one of the best clutch players we’ve seen since John Elway. To date, Stafford has 28 comebacks in the 4th quarter or overtime. This is the guy you want to have with the ball in his hands. Plus the dude has a straight cannon. One of the best arms in the league. Hands down. Let’s not forget his legs either. Not known as a mobile guy but he routinely makes plays with his feet. AKA, the total package.

 

Matt Stafford is a recent father. He is maturing, becoming the leader the Lions needs. It’s time to reward him for all his growth and hard work. In the immortal words of John Malkovich’s character in the film Rounders:

 

Pay that man his money

 

Talk is that the contract could be worth somewhere around $30 million a year. That’s wild but Stafford earned every penny of that. And when he wins a Super Bowl, it will look like a real good deal.

 

Cash money.

 

 


Do I have to care about the 2028 Olympics?

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Published on : August 2, 2017

 

 

It was announced this week that Los Angeles had won its bid to host the 2028 Olympics. The City of Angels originally had eyes for the 2024 summer games but eventually ceded that year’s hosting duties to Paris, which hasn’t hosted an Olympic Games since 1924. This will be the third time that LA will host the games and city had been in tense negotiations with the hopes of hosting this major sporting event that means so much to so many people around the world. Or does it?

 

I mean, who actually cares about the Olympics? Everyone knows that the people who run it are corrupt and don’t give a shit about the cities who host the games. That’s why they usually make these cities cover any cost overruns and an assortment of other costs. At least my town was smart enough to set certain stipulations regarding just how much of those cost overruns they would agree to cover so that they don’t get stuck with some ridiculous bill. Pretty smart on the part of mayor Garcetti and others involved in making sure that LA got the coveted Olympics. But then again, it shouldn’t be much a surprise that LA knew what they were doing. After all, the 1984 games were the only ones in history to turn a profit, and the people running the city government think they can do it again.

 

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Okay cool, I guess I can be happy that my city isn’t going to bankrupt itself just so the rest of the world — a world that probably already sees enough of us in movies and television — can see us host an international sporting event. But I still feel like I don’t really care. I guess I’ll check out an event or two, if we aren’t living in some post-apocalyptic hellscape by then, but I have trouble getting excited for the Olympics in general. Aside from soccer, our country is already Mecca for team sports, which I find far more entertaining than individual sports. When we already have the Stanley Cup how am I supposed to get amped up about Gold Medals?

 

I’m sure someone out there could hate on me for some kind of lack of patriotism, but I don’t see it. I love my country, despite its (ever-increasing amount of) faults, and I want America to be considered among the best in the world, no matter the category. But at this point I’m more worried about America falling behind in every other category of life than losing a medal for an event that is mildly entertaining at best. A lot can change in 11 years, and who knows, maybe I’ll be more excited as the games approach but as of now I’m not really feeling it.

 

LA Mayor, Eric Garcetti wanted this thing bad and he thinks it’s going to be great for the city. Luckily for us, we are one of the only places in the world that has the entire infrastructure for this venture either already built, or already in development and scheduled for completion prior to the games. We won’t have to spend millions and millions of dollars building facilities for athletes and the games. That’s all I’m really taking away from this. When the Super Bowl comes to town I’ll be stoked but for now, I’m sorry to say that I don’t really care about the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California.

 

 


I’d rather be the underdog

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Published on : July 28, 2017

 

 

As football season approaches there is a pretty wide range of thoughts and feelings that approach with it. There’s the excitement of finally being able to watch my favorite sport every season. There’s also the uncertainty that comes along with not being a fan of the New England Patriots or the Alabama Crimson Tide. It’s an uncertainty rooted in the volatility of the sport from season to season. Aside from a privileged few who produce top notch teams every single year, there’s no telling for sure who will be any good. For everyone who doesn’t have Bill Belichick or Nick Saban at the helm, it’s a crap shoot on any given year. A few thing go wrong and poof! Season is over.

 

Before any games are played, preseason or otherwise, it’s impossible to predict a team’s performance, but that doesn’t stop the legions of sports media from trying to figure out which teams will rule and which will drool. This leads to endless preseason rankings and in-depth analysis of where every team is thought to stand by people who have no real idea of what will transpire over the course of a football season. No one should put any stock in these preseason lies and conjecture, but alas, they do. And inevitably someone’s favorite team will be picked to be among the worst.

 

 Harbaugh at the helm and still no preseason love.

 

This brings me to my two favorite football teams, the Detroit Lions and the University of Michigan Wolverines. Neither of them are getting a ton of love this summer leading up to the 2017 season. Michigan lost almost all of their starters so there’s reason to temper expectations and the Lions are the punching bag of the NFL, so there’s that. It’s not like everyone is saying that both these teams will suck this year, but most of what I’ve heard about their prospects has been negative. And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

I’m not saying that I want the Lions or Wolverines to be a laughingstock, but I would rather have them coming into the year with a chip on their shoulder than have people calling for them to win the Super Bowl or the College Football Playoff. I enjoy being the underdog and without the overblown expectations I like to believe my team is free to just go out there and play the game. Not to mention that every time one of my teams is picked by the talking heads to do big things they inevitably trip over their own feet and do something stupid, like lose to Appalachian State in the season opener.

 

 Give me some Matthew Stafford with something to prove, please.

 

No, no. Better to be overlooked out of the gate and shock the world. There’s no better feeling than be discounted only to come back and shut up all of the naysayers. Because when everyone thinks you ain’t shit, the only way to go is up. It’s so much sweeter that way. Maybe it’s just my Detroit roots, who knows. But I’d rather be the underdog any day. This season and for every season to come.

 

The Patriots can have their next championship handed to them before any games have been played, but as for my Lions, I’d rather have them earn it. Alabama or Ohio State can get crowned before the school year even begins, but I’d rather have the Wolverines ruin someone else’s perfect season out of nowhere. Like a cobra laying in wait for it’s prey, I like my teams to surprise the opposition and the spectators alike. I identify with the little guy and the life of an underdog is the one for me.

 

 


Derrick Rose joins Cavs

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Published on : July 25, 2017

 

Derrick Rose is bringing his talents to rust beach. The 29-year-old point guard has signed a one year deal at the vet minimum ($2.1 mill) to join the Cleveland Cavaliers. This move could shake up the Super Team rankings but word is that more moves are on the way. Let’s dive into this new war of the roses.

 

This story really started a few days ago, when the news broke that Kyrie Irving said he wished to be traded from the team. The report was that Irving wants to be in a situation where he is the top dog and the number one option. That’s a bold choice. Kyrie already has ring and is routinely in the NBA Finals. He is decently rich so this move is just about wanting to get away from LeBron so Kyrie can write his own story. That’s his choice but the real issue is that the Cavs don’t have to do anything if they don’t want to. Irving is still under contract. So now the stage is set. Enter Derrick Rose (stage left).

 

 

So Rose, the former New York Knick, is now on the Cavs. Many think that means Irving is being packaged to leave. Maybe. Maybe they all stay. Chances are, Kyrie finds a new home and Cleveland gets a quality player and a solid draft pick or picks. Or maybe the cap space to sign Melo. Cleveland was close to getting Paul George but missed out. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that no knows if James is staying in town after this year. The only thing that’s clear is that I said “maybe” too many times in this paragraph.

 

29-year-old Rose for 25-year-old Irving isn’t an upgrade. Especially when it’s only for one season. But as said above, who knows what’s going to happen in Believeland in a year from now. Both can score. Derrick Rose has famously had many injury issues but he is very talented. He was the 2011 league MVP and if he’s healthy, he will be a great overall companion to LeBron James as the Cleveland Cavaliers hunt another title.

 

Derrick Rose trade

 

The Cavs may be building a new super team. James, Rose, Love, and another talent could put this crew over the top. Melo is still the wild card that has yet to be dealt. Just imagine them all together. That’s a crew that actually give the Warriors a run for their money. But maybe Kyrie goes to the Spurs and Melo goes to the the Thunder or Rockets or Dallas Cowboys. Who knows. Time will tell but it’s still fun to guess.

 

Rose could be deadly if he isn’t forced to the max on every possession. Watch the old MVP flash for a moment or two.

 

Thorns.

 

 


The first step in the Detroit Tigers rebuild is a concerning one

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Published on : July 22, 2017

 

The moment fans have been waiting for, some of us for years, has finally come. The Detroit Tigers have finally conceded that they are not competitive in their division and have seemingly gotten serious about overhauling the team. The opening salvo in this long awaited rebuilding project was a move that seemed imminent for some time now.

 

The Tigers finally went and did what everyone knew they were going to do and they traded away their most valuable market piece, JD Martinez. It was all but certain that Martinez’ days were numbered in Detroit due to the fact that he has a major pay day – one that the Tigers have made clear they want no part of – coming his way. This should have been a happy event for realistic fans of the team who knew that there were some painful days ahead.

 

 Detroit Tigers newest prospect, Dawel Lugo.

 

Trading away a slugger like JD to a contender in need of a monster bat was going to yield some exciting new prospects that would help build the future of the team. Maybe a promising young bat or a hot pitching prospect. Instead, team president, Al Avila, came back with a haul of underwhelming infielders. Which I’m sure the Arizona Diamondbacks were more than happy to ship off for Martinez. The most promising among them is 22-year-old third basemen, Dawel Lugo. The Tigers think his combination of fielding and hitting will continue to develop to the point that he could be in the majors within the next couple years. The other two guys, shortstop Sergio Alcantara (21) and shortstop Jose King (18), are too raw to even project when they might be ready for the big leagues.

 

Looking back to when the Tigers traded away Yoenis Cespedes in 2015 and got Michael Fulmer in return, you would think that the team could have gotten a better haul for Martinez. The you realize that the team really shit the bed by not trading him in the offseason. This is because after years of reckless spending, the team’s payroll is set to exceed the 2018 luxury tax threshold, set at $197 million. What that means is that if the team kept JD Martinez and he left in free agency (which he will because the team can’t afford another $20+ million contract), the team would only be able to receive a 4th-round pick at best for compensation. This gave other teams way more leverage than they should have had in this situation, resulting in this underwhelming return.

 

And this is why I’m concerned about this first step in the Detroit Tigers rebuild.

 

I can’t blame Al Avila for everything that’s wrong with this team and it’s roster, but the strikes against him are starting to add up. It’s because of Avila that the salaries of both Jordan Zimmerman ($18 million this year, $24 the next and $25 the two after) and Justin Upton ($22 million/year) are on the books and killing this team’s ability to be competitive. When coupled with the salaries of both Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, both of whom were homegrown and deserved their big money deals, it’s too much to handle. The guy running the team should have known that this team was getting old and already saddled with some painful contracts, and that adding those two players at that price was a horrible idea. Instead here we are.

 

 Al Avila. Just in case you want to focus your blame somewhere.

 

It’s clearly going to get a lot worse before it gets better for the Detroit Tigers and their fans. The Martinez trade was the first of a probable many trades that the Tigers will make before the July 31st deadline. If this is any indication of how the team is going to shed salary, then what could have been a 2 or 3 year project could take much longer. This team gave baseball fans in Detroit a ton to cheer about over the last decade or so, but they never quite reached the mountain top. Fans have held out hope for a renaissance with this roster in the last couple years in order to finally get that World Series title, but it’s clear that even the team has given up on that hope. Now comes the really hard part, and if this is any indication of how’s it’s going to go down, then it’s going to be harder than even I thought.

 

BE AFRAID.

 

 


Art: The Spectator Sport

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Published on : July 20, 2017

 

Professional athletics is the ultimate spectator sport. Whether you are at the game or set up in front of the big screen, the role of the sports fan is clear: cheer on your squad and express your fandom in any safe way that doesn’t harm anyone else. But are the rules of viewership different from thing to thing? What about art? The original spectator sport. Before the NFL, we had cave paintings. And believe you me, those images were judged by every slopping-brow who lumbered past. But even in its infancy, art had some guidelines about how it should be digested. Later, other creative minds would challenge this vary notion leaving us in a place where the boundaries were no longer clear. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The words below are dedicated to the discussion of how we should approach a work of art in 2017.

 

Let me first start by saying that I never have trouble finding my words but this whole issue has me very vexed and confused. The fact that I reacted so strongly means this topic demands to be explored.

 

Not to brag but my folks dragged me to tons of museums, exhibits and other strange art things ever since I could walk. So I learned gallery-etiquette at an early age. For those unfamiliar, it goes like this: don’t touch anything. Ever. Unless there is a giant sign or person that says you can. Be aware of the viewers around you. Any one person is entitled to look as long they’d like and from as many vantages points but try not to limit anyone else’s experience with your enjoyment. Just beware of the space you are occupying. This is a basic idea and should resonant deeply with the sports community.

 

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This is the old man part of the argument. Where I complain about “kids these days” and how they “don’t respect their elders” and all that other trite garbage. Unfortunately, the world of viewing art has in fact changed with the younger generation. It now seems just as important (if not more) to document your museum day via social media. To let everyone know what you are up to. Show that you are hip and that you check out inspiring works because you are so cool and creative. But this trend is bothersome because it seems like all the thought is in the broadcasting of the piece and not digestion of it. There is no time limit or minimum but if you spend all your time getting the perfect pic and then you move on, then you didn’t witness the art. You saved or sent a skewed reproduction of the piece. Not the same. Would you put a filter on Andy Warhol?

 

Because some artists understand our love of our phones, we have seen the rise of interactive pop art that just begs that you pose with it. Enter the era of the Instagram art museum. Each installation is another photo op. A quick tour of the building and you’ll have enough grounded content for the week. Score. This article was inspired after a recent trip to Los Angeles based pop up, The 14th Factory. Gram worthy works include a room full of rakes hanging from the ceiling, a garden of giant airplane wings and the all white bedroom from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Another photo-bait spot in LA is the Museum of Ice Cream. Swimming pool of sprinkles, oversized everything, all painted the brightest pinks and yellows and whatnot. AKA Internet gold.

 

But whatever you do, don’t be this person who ruined $200,000 worth of beautiful work from Simon Birch at the 14th Factory. In a quest for the perfect selfie, the dummy in question knocks over part of the installation which causes a horrifying domino effect.

 

 

That video legit made me cringe when I first saw it. It took me back to 6-years-old and running in a gallery only to have my mom snatch me up and explain why that was a bad idea. To this day, I keep my hands behind my back when I get close to a piece. My lady calls it “museum hands” and she teases me endlessly each time she witness them. But I’ve never knocked anything over. So maybe museum hands should be protocol with everyone.

 

I get why you take pictures of art. I do it too. Where it is allowed, of course. And if you don’t know or there are no signs posted then ask an employee about their photography policy. Below is an image I took of one of Simon Birch’s gorgeous crowns. This crown was in the middle row, not the row that got knocked over. But close. Overall, this was maybe my favorite thing in the whole 14th Factory. A stunning work.

 

Crown 14th factory

 

So what’s the compromise? People are not going to put their phones away. But is it so bad that young people are excited about art that they want to share it? All the museums in LA that require tickets are sold out for weeks or months at a time. That’s incredible. Everyone needs more art in their life. I guess I’m just asking for everyone to be a little more aware that a gallery space is a public space. Be conscious of your fellow art fans and maybe keep your phone away as much as possible.

 

There is no one right way to enjoy art. So try different stuff. Bring a sketch book and sit with one work and see what you come up with. Or try that stupid headset with narrated tour. Bring different friends of family members for a new perspective in your conversation. Create new angles, it may surprise you what you find. Just remember this one thing: don’t knock anything over.

 

Posers.

 

 


Calvin Johnson has the right to speak his mind

Written by :
Published on : July 16, 2017

 

 

The Detroit Lions world is once again in an uproar over comments made by Calvin Johnson. The best receiver to ever don a Lions uniform is getting a ton of flak from fans and pundits after a recent trip to Italy. When prodded by the Italian media about his early retirement, he stated that in addition to the well-noted breakdown of his body and its declining ability to recover from the rigors of playing in the NFL, he didn’t see a shot at a Super Bowl with the Lions. This has fans all over the internet hating on Megatron and complaining that he is dragging the organization, the same one that made him a very rich man, through the mud.

 


Everyone needs dial back the talk of Calvin Johnson bashing the organization and remember that he is entitled to his opinion and he is no longer an employee of the team. Not only can he say whatever he wants but he was the only bright spot in a horribly mis-managed operation for years. He suffered through so much as a Lion and always did it with class. He showed up to work, did his job and did it well. And through all the losing, and the coaching blunders, and awful rosters, he never once complained. Or demanded a trade. He was a Lion for his entire career, and when his body couldn’t take the abuse anymore he walked away from the game. That he didn’t see a Super Bowl in the immediate future for the team factored into the decision, big deal.

 

Megatron also added that he was “stuck” in his contract and had approached the team about possibly being released, which the Lions were never going to do. The only thing I really take issue with is him saying he was stuck when he chose to sign the contract in the first place. He could have entered free agency and went to any number of teams but he signed a 7 year/ $132 million extension in 2012 to be sure he would retire a Lion. If he was stuck it was his own doing.

 

Other than that I don’t really see a reason to be mad at Calvin. Can a man who is retired and not on the team not answer a question candidly? He no longer owes anything to the team and should be able to say what’s on his mind. Everyone already knew this was the case. Fans need to stop getting their feelings hurt by what was plain to see.

 

With all that said, the ongoing Calvin Johnson post-career drama is getting old. Sadly, we as fans are going to have to get used to it. Unless Calvin Johnson becomes a hermit and is never seen in public again, the conversation will eventually always come back to a career that was far too short. And most people will place the blame for that on the Lions and try to bait him into admitting that the team is the reason the world was robbed of Megatron too soon.

 

 


SBS Guide to: Fidget Spinners

Written by :
Published on : July 14, 2017

 

If you don’t know what a fidget spinner is by now, you’ve been living under a rock or just woke up out of a coma. Marketed as an item for the ADHD afflicted, the fidget spinner is the fad of 2017. If you don’t have one, you’re missing out. These things are fun as hell.

 

There are many different types of spinners out there. Plastic, metal, light-up, mini, doubles, ones with superhero logos, even ones with Bluetooth speakers (Don’t buy those, I hear they can explode). All you need to get in on the craze is a plain ol’ plastic spinner with metal weights. They come in a variety of colors.

 

Fidget Spinners

 

Where did they come from? Short answer: China. Long answer: I’m not really sure. In the mid-90s, an inventor named Catherine Hettinger submitted a patent for a Spinning Toy, a small UFO-shaped plastic disc that is “designed to be spun on the finger” for enjoyment. Wikipedia incorrectly credited her as having created the ’17 Spinner, a claim to fame that she’s using on her own Kickstarter page even though she’s confirmed it isn’t true. In the mid-10s, an IT guy named Scott McCoskery invented the Torqbar. It’s basically the same concept, but it’s only got two arms instead of three. Having not used either of these antecedent objects, I cannot say how fun they are. I can only repeat that the fidget spinner, sold wherever money is accepted, is very fun.

 

How does it work? Simply balance or grip the toy and spin, spin, spin. I get a hypnotic satisfaction from watching it spin. Momentum carries it for a satisfyingly long time. But be warned, you’re buying a $4 dollar toy, and they can wear down quickly. That’s why you get two. Not only for that, but so you can learn how to do tricks.

 

 

Tricks are the reason that fidget spinners have been banned in schools all over America. It’s an addictive pursuit, but also distracting and potentially very destructive. YouTube is full of fidget spinner trick videos with kids pulling off some amazing shit. All tricks start with learning to catch. Toss the spinner with one hand and grasp it mid-air. It seems easy, but from experience, it’s difficult as hell. But I’m also over 30.

 

 

Better than the trick videos are the fail videos. These things can break a lot of stuff. One kid even chips his tooth while trying to spin it on his tongue. Idiot.

 

Should you get yourself a fidget spinner? Absolutely, 100% yes. It’s not just a toy, it’s a fad. Fads are time capsules of a specific era. Specifically, the (usually very short) era when everyone thought this one thing was really cool. Fidget spinners are 2017’s entry into the Fad Hall of Fame, ready to stand with fads like Beanie Babies, Hoverboards, The Macaerna, Pogs, Snuggies, Chia Pets, The Clapper, the Ice Bucket Challenge, Magic Eye books, Pokemon Go and Weird Al Yankovic.

 

Seriously. Buy one, play with it for a week, then put it in a drawer. Your future kid is going to love it.

 

 

 


Ranking the NBA’s Super Teams

Written by :
Published on : July 12, 2017

 

It looks like every GM in the NBA is trying to build a monster that can challenge the Golden State Warriors. That means packaging multiple stars on one roster. These super teams are popping up all over thanks to the recent moves in free agency. This a current ranking of the top super teams in the league.

 

7. San Antonio Spurs

Not exactly a true super team but they do have Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, Patty Mills and Rudy Gay. More importantly, the coach is still Gregg Popovich who has the power to make any 5 players look like all stars. San Antonio doesn’t normally make big flashy deals but it wouldn’t be surprising if they added another name at some point this year. They need something to help them get past the Warriors, beyond the starters staying healthy.

 

6. Oklahoma City Thunder

This roster is by no means loaded but it now features two of the league’s premier scorers in Russell Westbrook and newly added Paul George. That alone is enough for the Thunder to make this list. The hope is that George can help carry the offensive weight so Westbrook isn’t forced to do everything himself. The real question remaining is will this be enough firepower to get Oklahoma City back to the NBA Finals?

 

Russ and PG13

 

5. Minnesota Timberwolves

The cinderella super team. Minnesota has been slowly building a contender and this offseason they really turned up the aggressiveness about adding talent. As of now, the Timberwolves will feature Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford. Not a bad group. Lots of upside with enough vets to keep the team grounded. Wolves will make the playoffs and maybe even surprise some people.

 

4. Boston Celtics

Marquee names were falling fast off the big board but Boston waited for their guy. When the time was right, they finally sprung into action and acquired Gordon Hayward (formerly with the Utah Jazz). They had to deal Avery Bradley to make room for his contract but the Celtics think they now have the pieces to get past LeBron and the Cavs. The Boston roster will feature Isaiah Thomas, Gordon Hayward, rookie Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris. That’s a deep crew that should prove to be a real challenge for any Eastern Conference squad.

 

Isaiah-Thomas Hayward

 

3. Houston Rockets

Houston made two gigantic moves in the last few weeks. First, they added Chris Paul and changed the entire landscape of the NBA. Then they gave James Harden a record breaking contract of 4 year/$228 million. Holy hell. That’s a literal boatload. Rockets also added 7’2″ Chinese star Zhou Qi and got Nene a new deal. And let’s not forget about Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson. But the really crazy part is that Houston is rumored to still be searching for another big time player. Carmelo Anthony anyone?

 

2. Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavs didn’t make any huge moves since losing the NBA Finals. They brought back Kyle Korver, added Jeff Green and Jose Calderon. Some hoped they would get Paul George but we know how that went. They still have Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, JR Smith, Kyrie Irving and most importantly, LeBron James. That is more than enough to be one of the NBA’s top super teams. Could Cleveland still get a big name to join them? Sure. But with no certainty that James will stay in town beyond 2018, their options appear limited.

 

lebron-james-cavs big 3

 

1. Golden State Warriors

There was talk that opposing GM’s were going to deliberately overpay the few Warrior free agents in an effort to breakup the team. Well that didn’t happen. Like at all. Andre Igoudala, Shaun Livingston, David West all re-signed. KD inked a new 2 year agreement and Steph got his $200 million max deal. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are both still under contract so this whole crewing is coming back for another run. Some of those guys could have cashed in elsewhere but it looks like they value championship rings over a few extra bucks. Oh yeah, they also picked up former Laker, Nick Young. Some of you may know him as Swaggy P. Either way, another weapon added to the ultimate super team. Good luck everyone else.

 

These rankings are by no means set in stone. Celtics add Marc Gasol and maybe they move up a spot. Carmelo could join one of the above crews and mess everything all up. Kobe could come out of retirement, who knows? All we do know is that as long as this Warriors team plays together, super teams are here to stay.

 

Super-duper.

 

 


Boozeball: An Alcoholic Reimagining of the NBA

Written by :
Published on : July 10, 2017

 

Welcome back to the world of Boozeball. Last time, we took a long drink of the NFL and enjoyed what all 32 teams had to offer. This time around, we are mixing up a new twist on the world of basketball. So please enjoy this alcoholic rebrand I call Boozeball: NBA Edition.

 

The Milwaukee’s Bests

One of the cheapest beers around. Maybe not a bad as Natural Light (AKA Natty Light) but close. Milwaukee hasn’t been good in forever. Just like all these dollar store beers the city keeps pumping out.

 

The Indiana Chasers

Slow down there Indy. You can’t just take shots all night, you’ll die. How about some chasers to soften the blow of all that liquor. Most go for something sugary to help wash the taste out. I prefer a very cold beer as my chaser.

 

The Detroit Stone IPA’s

stone_ipa

 

The IPA, not always loved but respected amongst those who know. This is not everyone’s flavor but it’s it has the history and isn’t going anywhere.

 

The Cleveland Case-of-Beers

LeBron finally broke the Cleveland curse and brought home a championship. You can be sure, that the beer sales during that NBA Finals run in the city of Cleveland broke some records. They were pouring it out, big time. Better buy another case.

 

The Chicago Bull Shots

Never had a Bull Shot? It’s like a Bloody Mary but made with a beef bouillon cube. It adds a hearty element that is usually missing from most cocktails. This drink has some real kick.

 

The Miami Hot Damns

hot damn

 

Hot Damn is the original shitty cinnamon flavored booze. Way before Fireball was cool, kids were drinking their parent’s Hot Damn. or After Shock depending on where you grew up.

 

The Orlando Maker’s Marks

Nothing is more more magical than American bourbon. And nothing is more pure Kentucky than Orlando. Also there’s something about the heat and burn of whiskey that feels at home in Florida.

 

The Alizé Hawks

For those squares who don’t know, Alizé is a French cognac that is blended with fruit juice and other flavors. It’s also half of Tupac’s ‘Thug’s Passion’ cocktail which is mixed with Cristal (champagne).

 

The Washington Wallbangers

Harvey-Wallbanger

 

Move over Harvey, there is a new sheriff in D.C. and he’s ready to party. Don’t think this one fits? Who is Washington’s best player? John Wall. Wallbangers. Boom.

 

The Charlotte Hornitos

Medium leveled spirit. Medium level organization. Salute. And please get some limes. You are going to need it.

 

The Boston Coolers

This drink has origins in Detroit because it features the soda Vernors, a ginger ale-type drink with intense bubbles. Add vanilla ice cream and your favorite spirit. Pick vodka for a clean taste. Or go bourbon for a nice twist.

 

The New York Kamikazes

kamikaze

 

Simple, strong and deadly. This drink can be a shot or served in a cocktail glass. Combine vodka, triple sec and lime juice. Shake over ice, strain and pour. This concoction seems perfect for the dumpster fire that is the Knicks organization.

 

The Brooklyn Neats

The coolest bartenders in the world serve it to you straight up. You want ice? Be a Knicks fan.

 

The Philadelphia 99 Bananas

The 76ers have gone bananas. This spirit is 99 proof but tastes like candy. You’ll go ape for that tropical flavor. This is very high school parking lot drink to me.

 

The Toronto Razzle Dazzles

razzle dazzle

 

Start with your favorite raspberry vodka, add Chambord then top with equal parts club soda and Sprite. Add fresh berries, lime and mint to really class up the presentation.

 

The Oklahoma Thunderbird Wines

Bum wine for a bum town. I mean, I’ve never been to Oklahoma city but I was stuck in Tulsa once and I couldn’t find a place that sold coffee that wasn’t the gas station and I got pulled over.

 

The Denver Goldschlagers

There’s gold in these mountains! This dorm fav pairs perfect with the Denver franchise. This drink has actual gold flakes floating in its nectar. And the city of Denver is full of flakes.

 

The Minnesota Tequila Sunrises

Tequila-Sunrise

 

Have you ever seen the sun rise over one of Minnesota’s ten thousand lakes? It’s breathtaking. Just like the new mascot. Simply mix tequila, orange juice and grenadine for a refreshing but potent elixir.

 

The Bottle of Port Trailblazers

That’s right, we’re talking fortified wine. Port normally tastes a little sweeter but it packs a punch. The good stuff can be around 20% alcohol so be careful on blazing down a bottle.

 

The Utah Fizz

Gin – check, sugar – check, lime juice – check, egg white, yes, eggs – check. Mix all that goodness together and you have a crisp and frothy cocktail that is sure to make the playoffs.

 

The Houston Ciroc-kets

ciroc

 

Time for lift off. Order another bottle and let’s dance till they kick us out. Normally, high end vodka people think Belvedere or Grey Goose but when in Houston there is only one choice.

 

The Memphis Gin and Juices

Rollin down the street, smokin indo, sippin on gin and juice, laid back. Sounds like Memphis to me.

 

The Dallas Malbecs

Aged like a fine wine. Like a glass of Dirk Nowitzki, and it pairs just perfectly with your prime rib. Owner, Mark Cuban, loves a good vintage and so should you. Keep it classy, Texas.

 

The New Orleans Hurricanes

hurricane drink

 

Throw some rum, some fruit juice, a little grenadine and some Mardi Gras beads all together and you have a one of the classic Bourbon Street beverages. Careful though, a few of these and you may take your top off.

 

The San Antonio Sazeracs

A serious drink for serious drinkers. Just like the spirit of the basketball team. These are the experts who find themselves deep in the playoffs every year. They may not be for everyone but you have to tip your cap to them.

 

The Golden State Rum Barrels

Straight from the recipe book of Don the Beachcomber himself. This potent potion is sure to make a splash. Careful tho, this joint is strong. Just a few of these cocktails and you’ll be ready for some championship level trouble.

 

The Phoenix Sex on the Beaches

sex-on-the-beach

 

Sex on the beach is one of those drinks everyone knows but no one orders. It’s a terrible gimmick. Just like Phoenix. Both are hot and sandy. It also fits perfect in the world of NBA since Utah has no Jazz and Phoenix has no beaches.

 

The LA Pan American Clippers

The Pan American Clipper is a good old drink that dates back to as early as 1939. Start with a quality Calvados or other apple brandy. Add fresh lime juice, pomegranate grenadine, and several dashes absinthe. Shake ingredients over ice, strain and serve in a stemmed glass, garnish with lime. Lob City will love it.

 

The Sacramento Kingfishers

Kingfisher is a great beer from India. It’s a super clean lager that goes great with food. Sacramento could use a strong pairing to help them on the court. This is some outsourcing we can all get behind.

 

The Los Angeles Shakers

cocktail shaker

 

Shake-and-bake baby. The Lakers are so essential they are like the cocktail shaker of the league. Not every ingredient going in is quality but Los Angeles tries it’s hardest to make it all go down smooth. It’s showtime.

 

Boozeball is done. Some of these jokes are better than others. I’ll drink to the bad ones and toast the good ones. It’s tough out here. Stay safe everyone.

 

Dunks and drunks.

 

 


Rebuilding the Detroit Tigers

Written by :
Published on : July 7, 2017

 

 

It’s no secret that the 2017 Detroit Tigers are pretty awful. As they sit right now, they are 38-46 and have shown nothing that says they have a chance to contend for the AL Central title or an AL wild card spot. The team’s performance this season, and recent seasons for that matter, has left fans in the Motor City frustrated and ready for a change. But just how much can this team change? And is it even possible to blow it up completely and start a full scale rebuild?

 

The first, and most important, thing the team can do is part ways with manager, Brad Ausmus. He inherited a title contender in 2014, and since being swept out of the ALDS in that season, his team’s performance has steadily declined. While he can’t be totally blamed for the team’s roster and much of the blame lies with the players themselves, this team has not grown under his watch and his all star type players haven’t been able to reach their full potential. For that, he should be given his walking papers and certainly will unless the team wants a fan revolt on their hands.

 

 

On the other hand, team president, Al Avila’s job should be safe for at least one more season. With the recent death of longtime owner, Mike Ilitch, it’s hard to believe the team will want to cause anymore of a stir in the organization. With Avila probably safe, you have to wonder what players, if any, the team will be able to trade away for assets in this coming team rebuild.

 

Miguel Cabrera isn’t going anywhere. His contract is insane (he will make at least $30 million annually through 2023) and he’s an icon in Detroit. It would be nice to be able to send him on his way in search for another ring and get something in return for the future hall of fame slugger, but it’s not happening. Being saddled with that contract for years to come hurts but it can’t hurt fan, or organizational, morale to have (arguably) the best player in the team’s history retire wearing the old english D. It’s a nightmare of a contract but there was no other option for the team at the time and that’s just the way it goes.

 

Justin Verlander is almost as iconic as Miguel Cabrera, and for good reason, but the team must ship him off if it can. The trade might not even be possible because of the amount of money that Verlander ($28 million a year through 2019) is owed over the coming seasons. It’s another case of a franchise icon getting paid what they have rightly earned but hamstringing the team with an enormous contract in the end. At 34-years-old he isn’t having the greatest season, but he is coming off of a Cy Young caliber season in 2016, so a contender with money to spend might be willing to risk it. If that happens, the Tigers would be crazy not to pull the trigger and shed that enormous salary.

 

Most likely is a scenario in which Verlander and Cabrera stay in Detroit for years to come. That JD Martinez as arguably the most likely player in the league to be traded to a new team, and he will fetch a nice return for the team. The Tigers have no indication that they wish to re-sign him and add to their already bloated payroll, and his bat would immediately help any team that he went to. So he’s gone.

 

 JD won’t be a Tiger for long.

 

Other trade-able pieces include Jose Iglesias, Ian Kinsler, Justin Upton, Nick Castellanos, Alex Avila and Anibal Sanchez (that’s right, Anibal Sanchez). Upton’s contract probably makes a trade unlikely, but everyone else should draw some amount of interest. The team has Dixon Machado as the shortstop of the future so Iglesias should be gone too, and Alex Avila has been playing great since the team brought him back so he could see himself traded away by his own father. How much the team can get in return for any of these players remains to be seen, but you can’t imagine getting any team’s top few prospects for anyone on this roster.

 

With it being unlikely that the Tigers are going to get any world beaters in a trade, it looks like they’ll have to do this thing the old fashioned way and start drafting and developing players in the system. In recent year’s, they have traded away all of their top prospects for big names in the interest of winning now and getting that elusive World Series title. But that never happened and now the team is getting old and is considerably overpaid.

 

It’s going to be a rough few years but it’s time to stop putting it off and get serious about changing this team in a fundamental way. Al Avila has made it clear that the days of spending huge money are over. Even though they will have to simply ride some of these bad contracts out, they can and must trim their salary and build from within. There are some good young pieces on the roster in guys like Michael Fulmer. If the team is smart with their money, with a little luck they could be a contender in a few more seasons. A new era of Detroit Tigers baseball is imminent but it could be a painful journey to get there.

 

 


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