Sports and politics
By now, everyone knows the president and the Philadelphia Eagles are not exactly on speaking terms.
A day after the planned celebration/cancelled celebration/complete disaster, details are still surfacing and still somewhat unsettling.
It was unsettling the way Fox News handled its business in the matter. Using pictures of Eagles players praying and portraying those images as kneeling during the anthem.
It was unsettling that Donald Trump obviously either did not know the words to "God Bless America" or decided that he did not want to sing along.
It was unsettling that the Eagles appeared more than content to show up the president.
And beyond that, at least for me, is how unsettling this entire matter has become. Like so many others, there is a dividing line of solidarity on each side that has been galvanized with big-time buzz words of patriotism and equality.
In truth, what started as Colin Kaepernick's original mission has now become more political than purposeful.
What of this discourse now is about better treatment of minorities by police officers? (And where in this discourse is the honest sentiment that we are dealing with a minuscule fraction of the daily operations of police dealings in general and with minorities in particular.)
As for the rest of the talking points, well, the more the president participates in the debate of athletes' activities, the more the "shut-up and dribble" argument becomes laughable.
In fact, Malcolm Jenkins made a slew of valid points in his social media statement Tuesday. He did fail to mention what was certainly appears to be an underhanded attempt to embarrass the White House and the president by only having 10 players and the mascot show up for the celebration.
Now, to be fair, other athletes who have refused White House visits in the past — and did so openly and talked about the reasons why (Google Matt Birk and Tim Thomas) got ripped in the media. Were those guys white? Yes. Were their causes important to conservatives? Yes.
But once again we find our nation in a divide with no proposed solutions and nothing more rallying cries.
This is politics — and talking points — and that may be the worst part of all of it.
As the Trump-Eagles stuff was happening, the players in the NBA Finals were talking about how neither team would go to the White House if they won. (LeBron started this, and here's abetting that LeBron is not going to have to worry about making that decision.)
Couple or three quick things about this.
First, it will be interesting to see if these public comments affect the TV numbers. They may or they may not for a few reasons.
One, LeBron is the most connectable American athlete. Connectable may not be the exact word for it, but popular is not exactly right either because there are a lot of folks who watch LeBron to cheer against LeBron.
Two, there are fewer fringe NBA fans than fringe NFL fans, and the more ardent hoops fans are going to watch tonight either way.
Three, a lot of the folks who were offended by the NFL protests during the anthem may or may not support Trump, and the NBA players are going at the president not the flag.
That said, if LeBron and Co. do not put together a strong effort tonight and find a way — any way — to win then he's assuredly not going to have to worry about any more questions about attending the championship celebration at the White House.
And the only way for that to happen is for at least one and maybe two Cavs not named James or Kevin Love deliver on the offensive end.
We have frequently discussed that the Braves' biggest hole is atop the rotation.
We wondered a couple of weeks ago that if the surprising start of these Braves could cause them to explore the trade market and find a No. 1 or 2 start. That question will remain as long as a) the Braves are in contention and b) Julio Teheran battles a thumb injury.
But that eventual need and ultimate concern potentially is being answered right in front of our eyes.
Ladies and gentleman, Sean Newcomb is dealing.
His numbers in May were nasty. He was 5-1 in six starts with a 1.54 ERA and a .158 batting average against.
His numbers in one start in June — he went six scoreless innings in last night's 14-1 blowout — are nasty, too.
And as great as thought individual numbers are, Newcomb is delivering in the ultimate definition of an ace. In starts after a loss, Newcomb is 5-0 after a Braves loss this year.
Friends, that's a dude that comes in and makes sure that a bad day does not become the start of a losing streak.
And that gang, is every bit as important as stuff and stats when you talk about a legit staff ace.
This and that
— Here's our man Weeds on the loss of C.M. Newton. And, as Chas noted Tuesday, Newton's was a life well-lived and a service well-served.
— Here, from TFP North Georgia preps ace Lindsey Young, is an MLB draft update on a couple of former high school stars from the area.
— OK, we have been on board with Shohei Ohtani being the best story in baseball for a while now. But we all need to realize that Max Scherzer is having a magical run through the first half of the season. This is how good Scherzer was on Tuesday: He needed only 99 pitches — 81 of them were strikes — to whiff 13 in eight innings. Need more? He allowed two runs in eight innings and his ERA went up. Still need more? Scherzer joined a pretty stout list of Hall of Fame names — Lefty Grove, Sandy Koufax, Nolan Ryan, and Randy Johnson — to have more than one immaculate inning. (If you are wondering, an immaculate inning is striking out the side on nine pitches, and those five dudes are, according to Elias, the only ones in MLB history to have more than one.
— Wow, this obit makes you want to be a better parent. Here's the final paragraph: "She passed away on May 31, 2018, in Springfield and will now face judgment. She will not be missed by Gina and Jay, and they understand that this world is a better place without her." Yikes.
— How about some Cubs gambling news: First, the first legalized sports bet in Delaware was made by the governor and he put $10 on the Phillies over the Cubs. That hit as the Phillies won 6-1. As for one of the worst baseball beats in a long while, try this situation on for size. Imagine Saturday night putting your hard earned coin on the under-7.5 in the Cubs-Mets game. Through five innings it's scoreless. Through eight innings it's 1-1. It goes to extra, and all the while the Cubs are striking out at a frantic pace. The Cubs — at New York — scored in the 14th. And then scored again and again and again. Despite 24 strikeouts in the game, the Cubs scored six times in the top of the 14th for a 7-1 win and an awful beat for those who had the under.
— Today's inter web rock star, some girl named Gabby, who caught a foul ball in her beer cup and then proceeded to chug the rest of the beer. Game. Set. Match.
Which way Wednesday, so which way will Game 3 go tonight?
Today is D-Day. I wrote a little about it in Tuesday's TFP.
We should all reflect on the magnitude of the sacrifice and bravery of those who delivered on this day on those French beaches 74 years ago.
Also on June 6, the electric iron was patented. Ironing, friend or foe?
Bjorn Borg is 61 today.
Bobby Kennedy died on this day in 1968. Anne Bancroft died today in 2005 and here's to you Mrs. Robinson.
Let's go off the board. Rushmore of best athletes mentions in song (as in "Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you?)
Go, and remember the mailbag.