Second thoughts: Watching LeBron drama is tried-and-true summer sport

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 08: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers defended by Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Four of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 08: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers defended by Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Four of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Jill and I are watching the new Kevin Costner series Yellowstone on Paramount, which I didn’t know was a network. I’m a sucker for anything close to a Western; the scenery alone is worth a look. It’s fine entertainment, but Costner never will do anything that matches Field of Dreams or Bull Durham.

We're entering another Summer of LeBron. This happens about every four years, like the Olympics and the World Cup. It captivates our attention and provides material for the TV sports shows during the annual sports news drought. You can show only so many baseball clips. I even saw some lacrosse highlights the other night.

»RELATED: LeBron opts out, becomes free agent

LeBron seemingly has been linked to every team but the Washington Generals. I guess the Lakers are the frontrunners, if only because they're the Lakers, and heaven forbid the NBA's best player stayed in flyover country. But LeBron going to L.A. is tied to Kawhi Leonard being traded from San Antonio – the anti-L.A.

The most shocking thing about the Cavaliers’ predicament is that they’ll still be over the salary cap if/when LeBron leaves. See: Horrible Tristan Thompson contract, which LeBron pushed hard to get. The idea floated by Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal that LeBron should stay in Cleveland for another year and see what happens in 2019 is interesting. But I think LeBron wants to win ASAP. One thing I know for sure: He won’t announce his next stop on a TV special.

I'm not an Arkansas fan, but I feel terrible for the Razorbacks baseball team. They were one out – heck, one strike – away from winning the College World Series before misplaying a foul popup. It fell between three defenders, disappearing into a baseball Bermuda Triangle. Everyone knew what was coming next. Oregon State rallied to win Game 2 and cruised to victory in Game 3.

Freshman pitcher Kevin Abel threw a 2-hit shutout in the decisive game, throwing 129 pitches. It was refreshing that the Beavers coaches let him finish the game. Nolan Ryan, who hates pitch counts, had to be smiling.

If Reds pitcher Matt Harvey loosens a couple more buttons on his jersey he'll look like Englebert from The Bad News Bears. Harvey, who will be a hit on Disco Night if he wears a couple chains, has been decent since the Reds picked him up. He's 3-3 with a 4.31 ERA in nine starts. Not bad, but not good enough to command a great prospect at the trade deadline.

»MCCOY: Buyers or sellers at trade deadline? Reds should be neither

The NCAA can be too "by the book" sometimes. Case in point: U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis will host the Final Four next season. The home of the Vikings features massive windows and a clear roof that lets in natural light. The games are played at night, but the NCAA is requiring the stadium to install special window treatments to darken things so the lighting is the same at day-time shootarounds and the games. The cost? $5.2 million.

Trending up: Saquon Barkley, Brandon Phillips, Tim Tebow. Barkley has the hottest-selling jersey in the NFL and he hasn't even taken a handoff. That will change soon enough. The Giants' new running back also is a good guy off the field. He bought his parents a house in Pennsylvania last week, posing in the front yard for a social media post. What a good son.

Trending down: Zack Cozart, Jerry Richardson, Germany soccer. Cozart is out for the season with a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. He will have surgery, which is tricky and will make him questionable to return to the Angels lineup in time for opening day next season. Cozart, who left the Reds as a free agent last December, batted a measly .219 in 58 games this season for the Halos.


Knucklehead of the Week

Rodrigo Lasmar, a doctor for Brazil’s World Cup soccer team, had an interesting take an unspecified “injury” that sent a player who goes by Marcelo to the sidelines of a match last week. Lasmar, who has two names, blamed whatever happened on a Russian bed in the team hotel. Those Russians apparently like to meddle in everything. I know soccer players get “hurt” if an opponent touches them or gives them a mean face, but this ailment is in another league. Brazil plays Mexico on Monday in what I like to call the Sweet 16. (I’m sure that’s a serious breach of soccer lingo.)

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