Washington Nationals Are Chokers No More

Like Ovechkin’s Caps these Nationals had the stench of being perennial post season underachievers. In most cases, the choking took place against either the Giants, the Cardinals, or the Dodgers.

But like Ovechkin’s championship hockey team of two seasons ago—this baseball team went on a magical almost surreal run to garner the first ever championship for these Nationals of D.C.

How fitting this Game Seven 6-2 road win occurred the night before the U.S. House voted to move forward with impeaching the most overtly corrupt POTUS in the history of our Republic.

I’m almost certain one of the two Dem votes against impeachment came from my own 5th Congressional District where I’m equally certain Kenrda Horn received conditional quid pro quo threats from the Trump faux Christians if she were to vote yes.

But enough of that…this is about the Washington Nationals and their improbable run to the apex of the baseball universe which no one really saw coming except possibly Mike Rizzo and Dave Martinez.

These Nationals were in Al Pacino–On Any Given Sunday Hell at 19-31 in late May. There was chatter of Dave Martinez being fired. But Mike Rizzo held steady with his field manager. Dave Martinez likewise displayed biblical patience with his team which was known for having a penchant for choking when it mattered most. Rizzo stuck with Martinez. Martinez stuck with his players. The fans were skeptical.

Slowly it happened…these Nationals week by week… month by month transformed from a cocoon into a beautiful butterfly of a baseball team which had baseball’s best starting rotation and some clutch hitters who made every fan wonder why it took so long for the Nats to get rid of Bryce Harper.

In the post game series celebration to a man the Nats talked of all 25 rostered players pulling their link on the chain. Next man up. Do your job and the guy next to you will do his. The kind of cliché talk out of vogue at times in contemporary sports.

Dave Martinez talked of ‘Finishing the Fight’ in his old school manner somewhat in the same manner as Craig Berube urged his Blues to beat the Boston Bruins in Game 7 on the road in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Perhaps–I shouldn’t be weaving the Nationals, the Caps, and the St. Louis Blues into the same tapestry of champions, but I can’t help it . All three of these recent teams which won unlikely championships all had a history of choking—yet found a way to utter total redemption to climb atop the peak of their sport’s world in a magical way which inspired our hearts and reminds all of the inherit beauty of what it is to win a championship with a group of guys you love.

This Nationals team won five elimination games in this post season run. They won seven games on the road. They beat higher seeded teams in the Dodgers, the Cardinals, and the Astros. They shouldn’t have gotten past the Milwaukee Brewers in the wild card game, but they found a way. They fought, they grinded, and when it came down to a Game 7 date with Houston on the road they Finished the Fight and put themselves in elite rarified air as far as World Series champions go in the history of baseball.

Along with the ’69 New York Mets this Nationals championship team will rank atop my list of favorite World Series champions.

If Rendon leaves in free agency this summer–he leaves. This is the world of professional sport in the collective bargaining era. But it won’t matter–these Nationals are chokers no more.

Instead they now possess an epic pristine loft atop the mountain of baseball history.

Juan Sota Trolls Little Alex Bregman After Homer

I loved last night!!!! So much emotion…unlike what we get from the NBA developmental team in Oklahoma City with Billy Donovan.

Dave Martinez and Trea Turner went after the umpire on the botched play. There was caring and emotion. It was a big boy ball moment. I thought Martinez was going to be arrested for a second. It was like watching Traber chase that little pitcher in Japan all over the outfield.

And before that Bregman with his little carry the bat to first base bullshit.

No, no, no. Alex Bregman.

Not on Juan’s watch.

Juan Sota gets the last laugh by knocking the ball much than further than Bregman’s home run and then carries the bat with him as well.

If Sota homers tonight in a win…. I hope he carries the bat all the way to Bregman at third base, taps Bregman on the ass with the bat, and then drops it on the third base line on the road and flips the annoying little motherfucker off.

Washington Nationals Push Astros to Game 7

What an amazing World Series this has been. Both teams have been dominant on the road and not one game has been won by the home team.

After being blitzed 19-3 in the their three home losses, the amazing Washington Nationals won an iconic Game 6 by a 7-2 count over Justin Verlander and the Astros.

It has been a historic journey for these Nationals who were 19-31 in May and looked dead in the water.

Manager Dave Martinez didn’t flinch though. He knew he had some key injuries–namely one to shortstop Trea Turner. Once Turner returned to his lineup this team has been the best in baseball this season.

How ironic it is Trea Turner was the player involved in biggest play of this World Series when he was called out for runner interference in the seventh inning of what was then a 3-2 game in favor of the Nats.

It was a horrible call. It could have decided this World Series. But it didn’t. Martinez went berserk and fought for his player. He went to war for his player. He got ejected. But the message was clear: “I’ve got your back. You have mine.”

What happened next will forever go down in baseball history. Anthony Rendon who had struggled in this series went yard to left center for a two run homer. Rendon would bat again in the ninth and add a two run double for the final margin of 7-2. On the night—Rendon had three hits and four RBIs.

Normally, he would clearly be the star of the game. But on this historic night he shared honors with Steven Strasburg who made it to one out in the ninth inning before he gave the ball to Doolittle. Strasburg with the exception of giving up a first inning home to Bregman was as good as any starting pitcher could be in this era of the live ball.

He was dominant with his fastball, changeup, and curve. He made Jose Altuve look mortal. He made Altuve chase pitches out of the strike zone in clutch situations.

Juan Soto and Adam Eaton homered as well. Washington’s two, three, and four spots in the lineup all homered on this historic night.

They had the back of Dave Martinez. He had their back. He has had their backs this entire season and his ball club knows it.

Can you imagine Billy Donovan ever doing what Martinez did last night?

I can’t because Billy Donovan is the Ward Cleaver of the NBA. It’s not in his DNA as a coach. He’s too nice. Sam Presti can only hire nice coaches. OKC is the nicest franchise in all of pro sports. They develop their players who can shoot and then either trade them or don’t sign them. Little did David Stern know Oklahoma City would be the premier AAA level affiliate for the NBA with their pleasant coach and Trump faux Christians in the stands.

Tonight is Game 7. This won’t be about Martinez as much as it will about Max Scherzer and teammates. Scherzer, Ryan Zimmerman, and Howie Kendrick are the vets who know this may be their last chance at a world championship.

It may not be Rendon or Soto tonight. It might be someone at the bottom of the lineup, but all season long in this remarkable journey of redemption a player has stepped up for Martinez.

I won’t be watching the Thunder game live. The Thunder are anecdotal in this season of trading and tanking.

I’ll be glued to the flat screen to see if these Washington Nationals can complete their journey with a fourth win on the road in Houston.

It doesn’t get any better than this as a baseball fan.

What a Real Hero Looks Like After the Death of an Al Qaeda Terrorist

I refuse to put Donald Trump’s video on the killing of Baghdadi on my blog. I congratulate the true heroes who are responsible for this feat. I winced when I heard the predictably stupid and immature comments come out of our president’s mouth in his announcement of the death of Baghdadi.

Only our village idiot prez could take an accomplishment such as this and make our country look bad in the process. Only this president, who of course, did everything possible to avoid serving his country get in front of television cameras and talk this level of fourth grade bullshit to the world.

What an absolute embarrassment this man is to our country. The fans at Game 5 of the World Series booed him and then chanted…”Lock Him Up”.

I thought long and hard about putting a Lock Him Up video on my blog, but thought better of it remembering the sagacious words of Barack and Michelle Obama:

‘When they go low, we go high.’

God bless President Obama, God bless Michelle, and God bless America.

Donald Trump and his base don’t know any better. It’s their DNA. They think it would be appropriate to read an excerpt from Hustler magazine during the presser for such an event as this. It’s who they are. Give them a couple of tax breaks and two Supreme Court justices and they could care less. Trump could rape daughter Ivanka and then kill her on television and they’d be okay with this as long as they still have his marginal rates in place.

Again….God bless President Obama

Thunder Lose (Win) to Rockets in Houston, 116-112

I hate all of this intentional losing and my competitive heart is not into tanking. But here’s the thing, the Thunder have to tank because outside of drafting in the top five spots of the lottery Sam Presti hasn’t been anything special with the exception of drafting Serge Ibaka late in a first round.

The college market writers here in Trumpland would never write this, but it’s true and last night’s box score bears out what I write this morning.

In last night’s game the five leading scorers for the Thunder were all acquired via the trade route. SGA had 22 points, Big Gallo had 17 points, Dennis Schroder scored 22 points, CP3 had fifteen points, and Nerlen on an outlier night notched 15 points.

Let’s look at what Sam Presti drafted players did last night scoring the ball. Steven Adams had 6 points, Diallo had 9 points, Darius Bazley scored 3 points, and for the third time in four games Terrance Ferguson did not score a single point. Andre Roberson was a DNP and as we all know he struggles scoring the ball as well.

I know the college market bloggers are enamored with what Presti did this summer in acquiring fifteen first round draft picks, but the hard core truth is Sam Presti needs a top five pick based on his history in Oklahoma City unless you think Reggie Jackson and Serge Ibaka were franchise game changers.

Alex Abrines was a bust. Mitch McGary was an even bigger bust. Josh Huestis was an experiment to show the rest of the league the Thunder don’t believe in shooting and I ‘think’ Cameron Payne is currently on an NBA roster as I blog this morning.

The Thunder don’t need massive amounts of late first round draft picks. They need four or five players around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who can actually play basketball and shoot the ball.

Visualize in your own mind how ugly this would be right now without Big Gallo, CP3, and Dennis Schroder. Who amongst a current Sam Presti draftee on the Thunder roster would you wager could score in double figures two games in a row?

There isn’t one.

So for me as much as I hate the concept of losing by design, I don’t really see any other way out of this for the Thunder except to lose and to lose in a big way as this season moves along. I have no idea whatsoever WTF the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns are thinking right now, but at 1-3 the Thunder are winning and winning in the only way possible to pull themselves out of the roster hole they find themselves in currently.

Portland comes to town on Thursday night and the Thunder need to win the right way.

  • Correction—Portland is in town tomorrow night. The previous entry I had the location of the game in the wrong city. Tanking does not bring out the best in me. If Presti had kept Jerami Grant I’d be okay and see light at the end of the tunnel with this process. If Jerami Grant isn’t a perfect match to be a third core piece with SGA I’m not sure who would be. I wonder if Jerami’s agent just said his player like Paul George wanted out of Trumpland and away from the white angry evangelicals.

Thunder Smoke New Warriors, 120-92

Even when you tank you don’t go 0-82 and that’s kind of where I put this game for the Thunder against a rebuilt Warrior team which didn’t have Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney, or even Willie Cauley-Stein.

What Bob Myers and Steve Kerr trotted out there on Sunday afternoon was offensive to the spirit of what the NBA should provide to season ticket holders across the league—namely teams in visiting arenas which look like they belong in the NBA.

The two best players on the floor did not include Steph Curry or Draymond Green. From my perspective the two best players were Shai-Gilgeous Alexander and Danilo Gallanari. If Big Gallo was twenty-one years of age instead of thirty-one years of age he’d be a very nice running mate for SGA heading down the road. He’s a very smooth NBA player and I’m going to enjoy his stay here until Sam Presti pulls the trigger to add another first rounder to his arsenal of draft picks. Unlike Little Nick Gallo…the Big Gallo has won me over as a fan.

The best news for the Thunder in this game was that Terrance Ferguson actually looked playable on the offensive end of the floor. Isn’t it amazing what happens to your offense when the shooting guard can actually make some shots to take the heat off his point guard.

The timeline for Sam Presti’s tank I’m to think would be to play the first fifteen or twenty games straight up and see exactly what he has he can keep and what he needs to move as the season progresses.

Let’s say the Thunder win 22 games this season. What happened on Sunday in winning this game shouldn’t hurt them that much. I’ve come to the thought the Thunder should tank and tank hard when it matters.

This is the draft pick the Thunder have ultimate control of and they need to use a high lottery pick to select a core piece to go along with SGA. It would be nice if this core piece could shoot a basketball night in and night out.

I’m glad I backed out of my Adopt the Warriors for a season idea. That would be going nowhere with Klay Thompson on the shelf. Instead…I think I’ll just watch the Thunder tank and enjoy the moments SGA shows me pieces here and there of what the future might be in Oklahoma City as far as the NBA.

Seattle’s hockey team here would still be nice, but if we keep this NBA team and see through the rebuild we might actually have something interesting to watch in two years if Sam Presti learns from what he did wrong as far as team construction the previous decade. Namely…make sure you have enough players who can shoot a basketball.

The Thunder in Houston tonight to play the Russell and James Harden for the first time as a couple. Such a strange season if you’re a Thunder fan.

But as we saw just yesterday karma escapes nobody. Not even Kevin Durant or the Golden State Warriors.

Sooner Final Four Hopes Crushed in Manhattan

Just a stunning loss for the Sooners in Manhattan which unless the rails come off for Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, and Clemson pretty much allows the selection committee to ignore the Sooners this time around regardless if they finish as a one loss Big 12 champion.

It’s one thing to be a one loss team if the loss is to Texas or Ohio State—it’s another thing when you were hit in the mouth by a Kansas State team which scored 13 points against an Oklahoma State defense which can’t filter air at times.

This time around OU won’t have a resume win or two against a top ten team to give the committee an excuse to match Jalen Hurts against Alabama in the national semi-finals.

One word would describe the Sooners performance for the middle thirty minutes in Manhattan, Kansas…..weak.

The Sooners were weaklings on Saturday versus a Kansas State program in its first season in a while without iconic Bill Snyder on the sideline.

I give the Wildcats credit they got behind 10-0 early, but came back and physically whipped the Sooners in building a 48-23 lead which withstood a furious rally by OU in the game’s final twelve minutes.

It’s one thing to get behind Alabama or Ohio State like this, but you do this against Kansas State and it’s something the committee can’t rationalize even if they want Jalen Hurts vs. Tua in one of their national semi-finals.

Barry Tramel used a great line this week in describing Oklahoma State’s at times invisible defense against Texas Tech and Baylor earlier this season.

Tramel wrote, “Watching the O State defense is like watching a group of sixth grade infidels abuse a bunch of fourth graders during an unsupervised recess.”

Great line. I laughed my ass off. But the bitter truth is that line would be apropos to describe the Sooners on both sides of the ball for the second and third periods on Saturday in Manhattan.

Lincoln Riley’s Sooners have been here before, but never with Ohio State and LSU being this good during the same season.

Live by the graduate transfer quarterback and eventually you’ll die by one as well. As in Joe Burroughs and Justin Fields. That was my line, not Tramel’s.

The goals for OU are now different. Win the Big 12, go to the best New Year’s Day Bowl available, and get Jalen Hurts to New York even if he doesn’t win the Heisman.

Some might say what if Alabama were to beat LSU by three touchdowns or the inverse happens?

I would say, “But neither one of them got their asses kicked by Kansas State for thirty minutes on a good weather day with their quarterback healthy.”

OU hosts Iowa State in two weeks after an off week.

I would guess the Sooners respond, but this was a season the Sooners needed to be unblemished for the committee.


Thunder Start Tank March in Game 2 Loss to Lowly Wizards

If you looked at the Thunder schedule in these opening fifteen games you figured this home game versus the lowly Washington Wizards and Scott Brooks to be a win for the Thunder.

Not to be though as the Wizards without John Wall and with Bradley Beal having an awful night went on a 14-0 run to cement a loss for the Thunder… but which is in actuality a win for the tanking Thunder.

For those needing some semblance of a recap the final score was 97-85.

Moving forward this is how the Thunder fanbase, Lollipop Twin Little Nick Gallo, Michael Cage, and the lost generation of millennials over at Daily Thunder herein after referred to as Neverland should view a loss.

Namely a loss is a win. A loss moves the Thunder up the list in the draft pecking order which is good because since the drafting of Reggie Jackson late in a first round way back when even Lollipop Twin Gallo would have to question the wisdom of drafting of Cameron Payne, Mitch McGary, Josh Huestis, Terrance Ferguson, and Darius Bazley.

And of course there was the drafting and signing of Spanish folk singer Alex Abrines to satiate the shooting guard woes after the one year rental of Kevin Martin who could actually shoot a basketball.

Presti didn’t trade Jeremy Lamb–he only traded James Harden for Lamb, the pick which led to Steven Adams, the rental of Martin, the Euro folk singer Abrines,, and the draft pick which led to cannabis savant Mitch McGary. So we shouldn’t hold any of this against Sam Presti because the trade to send Serge Ibaka to Orlando would have been brilliant if any of those players were still in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder now stand 0-2 after two games and with another home loss on Sunday afternoon to the rebuilding Warriors could stake an early claim to prime lottery territory fifty days before the December 15th marked tanking date for the NBA land rush for future prospects. Hopefully–Sam Presti can at some point perhaps draft a prospect who can shoot a basketball.

Anotherwords, the Thunder should cheat the tanking process and break early before the official gun sounds. Just like the Sooners did back in 1889 in the historic land run.

SGA was once again stellar in this loss to the Warriors, Danilo Gallanari was efficient, and Diallo showed some life, but otherwise the Thunder appear to be a dumpster fire in prime shape for an historic tank which might render the Chesapeake Energy Arena half empty before the Christmas Day games in which the Thunder used to be asked to participate in by the NBA.

There is a karmaesque justice in all of this though as the people in Seattle take great joy in witnessing this from afar in the Pacific Northwest.

Perhaps a trade could be made between the cities. Seattle will have an NHL franchise next season and Oklahoma City has their basketball franchise held hostage in a place where the David Duke candidate garnered almost 70% of the angry evangelical white vote.

This makes no cultural sense whatsoever. Whites dominate the NHL. Blacks dominate the NBA. Think about what I just wrote and take notice of how well the NHL franchises have done in Nashville and Las Vegas.

Seattle please call OKC mayor David Holt and take the high ground here. Be like Michelle Obama and go high despite what these Trump people did to you over a decade ago. David Holt—don’t be stubborn and go talk to the mayor of Nashville about what an NHL franchise has meant to their city since the Preds made the Stanley Cup Finals several years ago.

Has this ever happened before?

I don’t think so. But think about what I’ve proposed.

An inter-sport franchise swap would align two polar opposite cities, cultures, and fanbases to their rightful destinations in major league sports.

Why not?

Golden State Warriors–Not Without Klay Will I Adopt Them

Whoa. I watched both games of the TNT doubleheader and came to some immediate conclusions about the upcoming NBA season.

  1. I can’t adopt the Golden State Warriors if Klay is going to miss the entire season. I’m too old to waste a season adopting a team which is in almost as much chaos as the Oklahoma City Thunder. I agree with Charles Barkley that these Warriors without Klay are in very deep shit and could very well miss the playoffs. The Warriors’ bench is almost as bad as the Thunders’ bench. I can’t believe I just wrote this.
  2. I might change my adoptive team to the New Orleans Pelicans depending on what I see from them tonight at home versus Dallas. Even without Zion for awhile they could be vastly improved with Reddick, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, and Hart. I’ve always loved Holiday so this is probably why I’m going to make this change. Plus, this way—no one can say I took the easy path and aligned with what used to be a front runner.
  3. I watched the entire Milwaukee at Houston game and I think I have Houston just about right as the No. 5 seed in the West. I just don’t see how this is going to work in Houston with Westbrook and Harden. If anything…it will probably hurt the production of Eric Gordon. Don’t get me wrong—they’ll be incredibly entertaining to watch. Maybe the league’s most entertaining team as far as pace and the jacking of threes. If Kenny Smith wants to pick them to win the championship that’s fine. Good luck with that, buddy.

Since I’m not in the Daily Thunder Western Bracket Contest and am only doing this for fun—I will at this point exercise a one-time mulligan to the middle five of my bracket sheet because I was lead to believe Klay was going to be back in late January.

One thru five I’m staying pat. Twelve thru fifteen I’m staying pat. But because of Klay not playing this season the middle of my bracket must be redone so as I have some interest in this upcoming NBA season. Older guys who are nice to dogs and hate Donald Trump are allowed to do this.

My new mulliganized bracket now reads:

  1. Denver Nuggets
  2. LA Clippers
  3. LA Lakers
  4. Utah Jazz
  5. Houston Rockets
  6. San Antonio Spurs
  7. Portland Trailblazers
  8. Golden State Warriors
  9. Dallas Mavericks
  10. New Orleans Pelicans
  11. Sacramento Kings
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder
  13. Minnesota Timberwolves
  14. Phoenix Suns
  15. Memphis Grizzlies

As Thunder fans we should take solace the Golden State Warriors are one Steph Curry serious injury away from pretty much being in the same boat as the OKC Thunder. It is truly amazing how fast things can change in the NBA with the movement of players and a key injury here or there.

Let’s get to know Anibal Sanchez a little better for anticipation of Game 3 tonight in Washington D.C.. It’s sad when the Thunder will be third on my remote flat screen rotation…. 1 Game 3-World Series, 2 Dallas vs. Pelicans, 3 Scott Brooks vs Billy Donovan. Sigh. Note to Sam Presti—hire Bill Self if you must have a college coach. He might be available.

Mike Gundy Presser Following Loss to Baylor

I’m not an O State football fan, but I’m not a hater either. I love Pat Jones on the Sports Animal. Eddie Sutton is one of my favorite college hoops coaches of all-time and as I wrote on here before I have an autographed photo of Barry Sanders in a Detroit Lions jersey. And BTW… I think Sanders’ 1988 season is the best season I’ve ever witnessed by a running back in college football history.

O State has had bad back to back losses to Texas Tech and Baylor. A tough Iowa State team awaits the Cowboys in Ames.

Should O State fans be concerned?

Well… they can be concerned, but if they’re smart they’ll shut their mouths with the benching of Spencer Sanders nonsense and realize he’s a freshman quarterback who’s has turned the ball over eight times in the last two games.

You can’t do that at any level. Ask Baker Mayfield—he’s killing the Cleveland Browns this football season and he’s a second year pro who won the Heisman.

The future of the O State program requires Spencer Sanders work thru this or else this will be the program known as death stops for both Bobby Reid and Spencer Sanders. You think other schools might point this out to future QB recruits who live in Texas?

He’s learning and trying to grow as a quarterback. He knows he needs to get better. He knows this is a process.

He’ll get better incrementally this season. Having Drew Brown replace him now would be a disaster for the program moving forward.

Some of these O State fans need to take a reality check. You’re not OU, Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson or Auburn. You’re a football program which has never won a national championship in football minus the fictional one in 1945.

This program would not even be where it is now if not for the $1 billion dollar generosity of Boone Pickens.

Boone has a right to bitch, but he’s in Boone heaven currently and quite frankly I don’t think Boone would bench Spencer Sanders given the possibility this young man works thru this rough spot and becomes a program changer for Boone’s franchise.

Brandon Weeden took the back half of a lost season to make the adjustment to DI college ball.

O State fans,,,please leave Spencer Sanders alone and go watch college wrestling if you can’t be supportive of your quarterback. I’m almost certain Lincoln Riley would love to have this kid on campus in Norman as a graduate transfer at some point. Just a thought or two.