We love sports for the surprises.
A key part of following athletic enterprises is thinking we know something then finding out we don’t.
That’s the straw that stirs the drink of sports fandom, the paradox we encounter daily.
Somehow being wrong turns out to be a good thing.
Well, we were right about the Golden State Warriors.
Their NBA Finals Game Three win over the Cleveland Cavaliers proved they are just better than everyone else.
Back home after losing the first two games in California, the Cavaliers got off to a great start.
They were energized by the home crowd, confident in what they were doing and taking the fight to the defending champs.
This is exactly why waiting until a series changes venues to conclude we know what we know about how the teams match up is always advisable.
Cleveland played about as well as can reasonably be expected in the first half and led by as many as 13, but the difference was only six at the break.
It wasn’t enough.
The Warriors rallied on the back of Kevin Durant to win 110-102 and put a stranglehold on the series.
They won despite Steph Curry and Klay Thompson combining to go 7 for 27 from the field and 3 for 15 from 3-point range.
They won despite a triple-double by LeBron James, 20 points by Kevin Love and 13 points by JR Smith.
Cleveland even got 15 bonus points from Rodney Hood off the bench and still had only another loss to show for it.
Yes, the Cavaliers are good — the Warriors are just better…
The Rockies are just better than the Reds, but that isn’t saying much.
Colorado won again at Great American Ball Park last night as Sal Romano continued to scuffle.
The Reds’ starter needed 93 pitches to get through five innings. He struck out six and walked only one, but the Rockies turned six hits into five runs.
“My off-speed stuff was really good most of the time. The change-up was the best it’s been my whole career so far. But I didn’t guys out when I needed to, didn’t put guys away when I needed to and I paid for it.”
Romano struck out six, one shy of his season high, but five of the six hits he allowed went for extra bases, including a Wolters double in the second that plated the first Colorado run.
“I gave up five runs,” Romano said. “We lost again when I pitched, so there’s really not much to say. It doesn’t really matter what I did good today. I gave up five runs.”
Cincinnati continued getting runners on base but failing to bring them around.
The Reds had 11 hits but stranded 13 men on base, going 3 for 16 with runners in scoring position. They scored six runs on 17 hits the night before.
Four stellar innings from the bullpen were wasted (we all know by the time the starters come around, the ‘pen will have fallen apart again, right?).
While the team has successfully transitioned from historically bad/unable to do anything right to your average last-place team that just can’t put it all together on a nightly basis, the off-field machinations continue to confuse.
Jesse Winker has continued to play consistently since he was “benched,” while Homer Bailey is going to rehab from his recently revealed “knee injury” as a starter in the minors.
I’m fine with giving Winker, Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler regular at-bats along with Hamilton, but I’m not sure why they decided to take the PR hit of announcing they were going to emphasize Duvall and Schebler when it was not going to happen right away because of off days and .
Their explanations make sense, but the handling of it does not.
Given that Bailey’s stuff is now just ordinary as a starter and he has never been a consistent one anyway, maybe the bullpen would be a place for him to actually find success.
If he won’t do that, the team needs to draw a hard line and cut him. Better to pay him millions not to pitch than pay him millions to lose games and defy orders, right?
Lastly, did you see the latest on the NFL’s “anthem protest scandal”?
If you long ago turned this out, I don’t blame you.
The media coverage of the whole thing from the start would be laughably bad if it weren’t so sad.
No matter what happens, most stories invariably focus on the protest and the reactions to the protest rather than the message — even when the protests and the reactions have rarely changed from day one and thus themselves stopped being news.
So what Malcolm Jenkins did yesterday was really smart.
Not wanting his words to get glossed over or lost in translation, the former Ohio State star brought signs to the Eagles locker room and held them up during the team’s media availability.
Of course, many of the headlines were still something like, “Malcolm Jenkins brings signs the the locker room,” but at least the substance was still there in the stories for the people who clicked.
You could not show the pictures without sharing Jenkins’ message in his terms, a wise media process hack if I have ever seen one.
I can tell you this: Continuing to kneel isn’t going to accomplish anything other than making the same people mad, so it would probably be wise to try something else.
The knowledge there are people mad about the protests was useful to begin with, but their ongoing anger is not newsworthy and shouldn’t continue to be a story — even if that person is the President of the United States.
Trump’s decision to weigh-in was foolish from the start, and it has done nothing but make a bad situation worse — especially given the attention span and news sense of most of the national media (which yes is a catchall term that includes a lot of people who shouldn’t have influence but do).
Once everyone knew players were kneeling, the story has always been “why,” and continually covering the act and the reaction more than the substance is letting the public down continually as well.
Maybe we should all send Jenkins a thank-you card for helping bring that into focus.