Christian Vazquez becoming Red Sox unicorn

Every championship team has that moment–the one you put your finger and proclaim as the moment of destiny as you reek of champagne from the previous night’s celebration. Sometime’s these moments are disguised as hustle plays or locker room speeches yet they almost always come during times of despair. With this past weekend’s antics vs Toronto, Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez, or as my friends in Puerto Rico call him “Chrithian Vathqueth”, has now delivered two of these moments for his ball club.

Despite splitting time with Sandy Leon all year, Vazquez had made the most of his opportunities in the second half especially late in games. The first of his unlikely heroics came on August 1st in an absurd game in which Boston’s thoroughbreds gave up 10 runs to the Cleveland Indians. Following a rare shelling of Chris Sale and an even rarer blown save by Craig Kimbrel, the Red Sox found themselves down one heading into the bottom of the ninth. Vazquez would launch a two out, three run bomb to left center for a win which was as perplexing as his clutchness. In game number 108 of the season, it was only Vazquez’s third home run.

The dramatic win over Cleveland propelled the Sox to six straight victories and a four game lead in the AL East. Their streak wouldn’t last long however as the most recent Red Sox skid put the Yankees back in the rear view mirror.

After a disastrous ‘Players Week’ in which the Sox were outscored 38-10, the AL East lead was back to 2.5 and in real danger of shrinking again as Boston found themselves down late to Toronto on Monday night. Trailing 3-2 in the 7th, Vazquez hit just his fourth homer of the year and subsequently snapped the entire Boston offense out of their slump. They would go onto score two more runs in the inning which would prove the difference in their 6-5 win. That momentum carried over into last nights victory as they blanked the Blue Jays 3-0 en route to a four game lead in the division.

Neither of these games was life and death for the Red Sox but they were win or loss. In times of turmoil come postseason it will be these plays that give fans and players alike hope that things can change with one swing. While I still maintain this team lacks a feeling of destiny that the teams of 2004, 2007, and 2013 exuded, they do have a guy that just might write his own. Bueno, Vathqueth. Muy Bueno.

 

Conor McGregor caught between reputation​ and payday

Long before the suits, the cars, and the jewelry, Conor McGregor made a name for himself by fighting anybody, anywhere.

It started with taking Chad Mendes on short notice for the interim featherweight title. After dropping Jose Aldo in 13 seconds, he agreed to fight Nate Diaz at 170 pounds- a 25-pound jump in three months. Following the Diaz rematch, it was presumed he would go back to 145 pounds to defend his title however he jumped ship once again to claim the lightweight belt as well. The first two belt holder in UFC history had dreamt bigger, talked bigger, and fought better than anyone en route to the top of the industry. At 28 years old he had done pretty much everything one could do in an octagon. So he found a new ring.

Super fights such as Pacquiao/Mayweather and now Mayweather/Mcgregor often rub me the wrong way. Two independent contractors, guaranteed hundreds of millions as long as they step foot in the ring, leaves little incentive for an actual fight. If you could preserve your brain and walk away rich enough to never have to work again, you would too. But this time is different. This isn’t a boxer in Conor Mcgregor. He was molded by the need to fight, not the desire to.

Mcgregor’s camp has said Conor’s philosophy in the fight game has always been, “Get in, get rich, get out.” This is that chance to walk away, as beautiful and young as ever but he must fight. If he does a 100 million dollar dance around the ring with Floyd Mayweather, the people won’t remember him as the bare knuckle Irish brawler that he actually is- he’ll be remembered as the guy who talked his way into the heist of the century. I want to see a fight and win or lose, this is the guy who can give it to me.

So on behalf of myself and the 100 dollars I will spend on 12, three-minute rounds tonight, I say this: You have been paid sir, now it is time to pay us.

List of QB’s not named Colin Kaepernick who somehow have NFL jobs

While Colin Kaepernick remains unemployed, here’s a list of some surprising quarterback names who currently hold NFL roster spots:

Blaine Gabbert, Arizona

Trevor Knight, Arizona

Drew Stanton, Arizona

Matt Sims, Atlanta

Alek Torgersen, Atlanta

Thad Lewis, Baltimore

Ryan Mallett, Baltimore

Josh Woodrum, Baltimore

T.J. Yates, Buffalo

Continue reading “List of QB’s not named Colin Kaepernick who somehow have NFL jobs”

Dan Le Batard shares story involving Saudi Prince, NCAA violations

Former University of Texas quarterback Chris Simms made waves last Thursday when he revealed he regularly received illegal payments while in college. Speaking on The Dan Patrick show, Simms said he received 100 dollar handshakes from athletic boosters “all the time.”

The story made its way to ESPN radio’s Dan Le Batard Show on Monday, where Le Batard one-upped the tale told by Simms:

“I know a player, who was given by a Saudi Prince booster, a suitcase full of watches… and he didn’t know what the watches were worth. So he just started giving them out to friends because he had a suitcase of them, and each of the watches were worth tens of thousands of dollars.”

Impermissible benefits are hardly a new concept in the world of shamateur athletics. However, the notion that Saudi royalty would have enough of an interest in college football to give gifts to players is startling.

Since Simms played at Texas from 1999-2002, it’s hard to imagine what those “100 dollar handshakes” look like today with the natural curve of inflation and increased revenue in college sports.

Le Batard did not go into detail as to what time period or where this duffle bag deal took place so I’m unofficially reporting it here that it was either Miami or Ole Miss.

What the hell is going on with Mitchell Robinson?

Despite being the 11th ranked player in the 2017 ESPN 100 recruiting class, Mitchell Robinson will not play college basketball this season. Or probably ever for that matter.

A rising college freshman taking a gap year before trying his luck in the NBA draft isn’t uncommon, yet it’s the series of events that led us here that has me befuddled.

Robinson, a 6’11 Center from New Orleans is by far the best player in his state, and some would say the best at his position in the country. He’s made appearances on the national stage for USA basketball in 2016 and 2017, Nike Elite 100 in 2015, Nike Academy in 2016, and a Mcdonalds High School All American this past year. He also starred for the “ProSkills” team in the Nike EYBL league this year. Despite his impressive credentials, Robinson managed to receive offers from only five schools:

Depaul, Umass, Murray State, Texas A&M, and Western Kentucky.

Short of killing somebody, I couldn’t think of a fictional scenario in which as many elite programs pass on a player like Robinson and even that usually wouldn’t be enough to scare away the Calipari’s of the world.

So how did he manage to scare off so many teams? In an age of information and oversaturation, I must confess: I can’t find a single reason. Not an unverified report, not a twitter rumor, not an educated guess.

We are talking about a multi-billion-dollar industry, cloaked in innocence, with teams that stop at nothing to put the best teams on the floor year after year…and there are only five teams that wanted this kid.

For every obstacle in collegiate sports, there are ways around them if you want someone bad enough:

Test scores too low? Get someone to take his SAT for him. (Derrick Rose)

Kid’s demanding money? Charles Barkley will pay him to go to Auburn.

What about legal issues? Pitino could make an exception.

Continue reading “What the hell is going on with Mitchell Robinson?”

Start your day off right with this Blake Bortles stat

Cian Fahey of Presnapreads.com has made a name for himself in the football community thanks to his unique quarterback charting system which logs every throw, from every quarterback for the entire NFL season.

Despite watching from Ireland, even Fahey can see how repugnant the Jaguars quarterback was in 2016 when attempting to push the ball down the field.

The most amazing part of this for me is that Bortles ranks 33rd out of 32 starting quarterbacks when throwing more than 20 yards down the field. Some pretty elite company when you can put yourself in the same conversation as Brocket-ship and Jared Gawful this early in the morning.

In his first three seasons, Bortles has an 11-34 record as a starter, accounting for 69 TD (nice) and 51 interceptions.

But keep telling yourself he’s better than Kaepernick.