Ray Jr. on Sports

Baseball Hall of Fame-The Class of 2018 is set. In addition to Detroit’s Jack Morris and Alan Trammell from the Senior Committee, Atlanta’s Chipper Jones, Montreal/LA’s Vladmir Guerrero, San Diego’s Trevor Hoffman, and 1B Jim Thome are all selected as Baseball’s next Hall of Fame Class. Congrats to all of them.

 

Did they Deserve it? Yes, they sure did. Each of them had exceptional MLB Careers, with Jones earning the World Series ring. But the Hall of Fame isn’t about championships, it’s about excellent careers. Jones was one of the best Switch-hitters, Guerrero was a bad ball hitter, Thome destroyed baseballs (612 career HR) and Hoffman was one of the top relief pitchers in MLB history (All- Time Saves leader)

What about Bonds and Clemens? Nope, didn’t make it this time, but their percentages have slightly increased. Clemens had 57.3% and Bonds 56.4%, but needed 75% to get in. Although they were tied into the steroid age, neither failed a drug test and set crazy records. Bonds is baseball’s HR King (762) and Clemens has 7 CY Young awards. The both need to be inducted.

Edgar Martinez-He had 70% of the vote, so it’s just a matter of time for him (hopefully next year) he’s the top Designated Hitter in MLB history and he was pretty good at it (.312 career average, 309 HR) and a true class act his entire career with Seattle.

Andrew McCutchen-Ok, I’m over being shocked about the trade, because I knew it was going to eventually happen, but I still shake my head at the Pittsburgh Pirates for trading away the Face of the Franchise, but I wish him the best and hope that he can turn the SF Giants around like Barry Bonds did when he left Pittsburgh for them in 1993. And hopefully he’ll get paid his dues come free agency.

McCutchen’s letter to Pittsburgh-Like the Class Act that he is, the former Pirates outfielder wrote a goodbye letter to the Pittsburgh fans in The Player’s Tribune. It really proved that he loved the city and didn’t want to leave but understood the Pirates ‘philosophy’ of doing business. He also pointed out that GM Neil Huntington was classy and up front with him about the trade as well.

 


The State of the Pirates-According to Huntington and owner Bob Nutting, the Pirates are fine, but that’s assuming we all are stupid. We see a team that refuses to give into the common way of winning: Spending money and are trying to stick to old fashioned ways of doing so, which will produce nothing. I just hope that Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Josh Bell and Jameson Tallion are ready for this challenge, because it will be a big one.

Josh Harrison-Well, since he gave his mild request to be traded, his situation has gotten quiet. It’s really going to be a matter of time before he gets dealt because he’s due to make $10 million in 2018. No way the Pirates plan to pay him that. Stay tuned.

Super Bowl-Moving onto the NFL, Super Bowl 52 is set with the New England Patriots facing the Philadelphia Eagles in a rematch of SB 39 in which the Pats won 24-21. To be honest, the only person from both teams that is still on the field is Patriots QB Tom Brady.

 

 AFC Championship Game-I shake my head at the Jacksonville Jaguars for not delivering the knock-out punch to the Patriots when they led 14-3 in the first half. The fell into the ‘trap’ that so many teams fall into against the Pats: They don’t put them away and start playing conservative. Result? The Patriots are in the Super Bowl.

NFC Championship-I thought it was the Minnesota Vikings time, but apparently the Eagles thought otherwise. I respect them for not taking their foot off the pedal against the Vikes, and it paid off. I was truly impressed with QB Nick Foles, who was masterful on Sunday. And I loved seeing the Eagle fans celebrate.

The Pro Bowl-Are you kidding me? I’m not going to talk about that glorified sparring session, but I will congratulate the Pittsburgh Steelers on getting 10 Pro Bowlers this season, their most since the 1979 season. And then include Head Coach Mike Tomlin and the assistant coaches. Hey, you might as well have fun while you’re there. Plus, each player can add the honor to their Resume.’

NFL MVP Talk-Who’s your pick to win it? I’m tired of quarterbacks winning it. I think either the LA Rams Todd Gurley or the Steelers Antonio Brown deserves it. Both were truly vital to their team’s success. But please don’t give the award to Brady again. He’s already won (2007, 2010)

Le’Veon Bell-He’s still talking, but on the positive side. Bell is very optimistic that he’ll get a new deal done with the Steelers by Feb 20, he was quoted by ESPN. I like how he and the Steelers are optimistic about getting it done.

XFL Plans to be back in 2020-I guess WWE’s Vince McMahon didn’t learn the first time, eh? Sometimes you must bang your head twice to learn once.

NBA All-Stars-Apparently, the teams are set, and LeBron James and Steph Curry have selected their teams: Team Stephen will include James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thomson and Draymond Green, while Team LeBron will include: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kyrie Irving. I may not like the format, but it will be fun to see them play.

No Paul George or Ben Simmons in the ASG-I realize you can’t include everyone, but not having these 2 is flat-out wrong. George speaks for himself, but Simmons is part of a Philadelphia 76ers revival that might land them in the playoffs.

 The Cavs-They’re a mess right now. There’s no chemistry because the team they’ve put together isn’t working. Plus, the addition of G Isaiah Thomas needs time that they don’t have. I think they need one or two blockbuster trades to add more talent, defense and youth.

David being traded-I still don’t understand why. New Orleans are still in the playoff hunt and he’s their cornerstone. They trade him, and they’re done, plain and simple and don’t expect Boogie Cousin to carry that team.

 

“Send It IN Jerome!” Yup, 30 years ago Thursday, Pitt F Jerome Lane took a pass from G Sean Miller and not only dunked the ball but shattered the backboard at the old Fitzgerald Fieldhouse as Pitt destroyed Providence by 34 points. To honor that moment, Pitt will wear that team’s retro unis and Lane, Charles Smith and others plan to be at the Petersen Events Center Saturday when Pitt faces Syracuse.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbnamediaRay on twitter

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