Ray Jr. on Sports

  1. Pirates Acquire All-Star OF-This is not a joke, folks. After all the blah, blah, blah that we’ve heard from Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bob Nutting and GM Neal Huntington about how the team can use all the minor-league talent (they acquired 2 minor-league left- fielders this week) the acquired a Major League OF in the person of Corey Dickerson from the Tampa Bay Rays. Wow! What got into them? Guilt? Amnesia?
  2. Who is Corey Dickerson? In addition to him being an All-Star (Which they continue to emphasize), Dickerson hit .282 with a career-high 27 home runs, 33 doubles and 62 RBIs for the Rays in 2017. He broke into the majors in 2013 with the Colorado Rockies and has 90 career home runs. He’s left-handed and will probably play Center Field, which means he’s former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen’s estranged replacement.
  3. Who Did the Pirates Give Up? Pitcher Daniel Hudson, minor league infielder Tristan Gray and cash considerations. The fact that the Pirates were able to rid themselves of Hudson (2-7, 4.38 ERA in 2017) was remarkable. As critical as I’ve been towards them, I will give them credit on that move.
  4. Will Dickerson Fit In? He’s already the best OF on the team. And I guess the Pirates figure that promising prospect Austin Meadows still isn’t ready (plus, they’re too stingy to call him up anyway) and the fact that even they couldn’t convince folks that 2 minor- league outfielders meant they were serious, the Pirates did this to appease the fans.
  5. Why did the Rays Release Dickerson? I’m wondering that too. You don’t just release a player after an all-star season…unless it’s about money. Apparently, they did not want to pay Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary. Apparently, the Rays are cost-cutting. Of course, that reminds me of the Pirates.
  6. Nutting’s Comments that the Pirates are learning from the Milwaukee Brewers- Give it a rest, Bob. The Brewers aren’t even acting like the Brewers these days. They’re spending the monies.
  7. Other MLB News-Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson plans to be in NY Yankees camp? Holy Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, Batman! Is he serious?? He claims to be, but I can’t see a QB being a 2-point star. It gets me that Wilson (who was drafted by the Texas Rangers) was traded without playing an inning of ball. Go figure.
  8. More MLB News-The Boston Red Sox made the biggest free agent signing when they inked the former Arizona OF to a 5-year, $110 deal. Now the Sox already have $217 million P David Price. I guess that’s the benefit of not having a salary cap…at least for the so-called large market teams, anyway.

    NBA Report
  9. NBA-As you know, the All-Star Break has finally come to an end and the ‘Second Half’ is underway. I’m expecting things to heat up in the Eastern Conference with the revival of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the continued battle between the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors in the West. To call it fun, is an understatement.

10. Cuban Fined for Telling Mavs to ‘Tank.’-I mean, really. Is there a such thing as being subtle anymore? Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban may have had his moments, but this one takes the cake: He said his team should tank this season, as if NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wouldn’t eventually hear it. Come on, dude. It doesn’t take Einstein to figure out that teams have tanked in sports. The NY Knicks did when they got Patrick Ewing, the Pittsburgh Penguins did when they got Mario Lemieux and Sidney Crosby. But you don’t say you’re gonna do it. Now pay your $600,000 fine.

11. NBA Considers reseeding playoffs-Commissioner Silver revealed he is weighing the merits of adjusting the postseason to the top 16 seeds, regardless of conference, in the hopes of improving the chances of the two best regular-season teams facing off in the NBA Finals. And I ask why? The current system works just fine and it gives 16 teams the chance to fight for the Larry O’Brien trophy. I agree with LeBron James on this one: “”It’s cool to mess around with the All-Star Game — we proved you can do that — but let’s not get too crazy about the playoffs.”

12. Spurs Leonard may miss rest of the season-You figured it was going to happen. After all, San Antonio F Kawai Leonard hasn’t been healthy all season and it didn’t look like he was going to be joining the Spurs at all. Plus, the Spurs are doing pretty good without him this season. Spurs HC Gregg Popovich confirmed Leonard’s fate on Wednesday.

13. Cavs Nance to wear Father’s retired number-What better way for a player to honor his father who played in the same sport by wearing his number. That’s what the Cavs Larry Nance Jr. has chosen to do as he will wear Larry Nance Sr’s #22 the rest of the season. The NBA and Cleveland Cavaliers gave Nance the permission.

NFL-The offseason continues as teams get ready for free agency which begins March 14. In the meantime? Teams are figuring out if they want to place the Franchise Tag on certain eventual unrestricted free agents.

15. Landry gets first Franchise Tag-Yep the Miami Dolphins made WR Jarvis Landry. I will give Landry credit, he had an excellent 2017 (112 receptions, 937 yards), but he’s not worth $16 million, in my opinion. But the Dolphins were desperate to give him the tag to keep him from testing the free agent market. To each his own.

16. Le’Veon Bell-Apparently there’s some news reports out there that the Pittsburgh Steelers will indeed place the franchise tag ($14.95 million) for a second-straight season. I hope not, unless the promise is that they will keep negotiating with Bell on a long-term deal. If they do, then they will have 5 months to get him signed.

17. Lawrence Timmons returning to the Steelers? I think that would be perfect as LB Ryan Shazier continues to recuperate. But it would take the Dolphins to cut him. After all, he’s due $12 million in 2018. If he’s cut, the Steelers need to go after him.

18. Adam Vinatieri re-signs with Colts, set for 23rd NFL season-He deserves it. He will be 46 years old and he Still has it. He’s a very decorated kicker (4 Super Bowl rings in 6 appearances) he’s 58 points shy of breaking HOF Morten Anderson for most career points and he’ll eventually join Mort in the Hall.

19. Pitt Basketball-Still winless in the Atlantic Coast Conference, they will miss the NCAA Tournament, they probably won’t qualify for the ACC Tournament and HC Kevin Stallings is on the hot seat. All caught up now?

20. My pick to win the NCAA Tournament- Villanova. I am impressed with current #1 Virginia, but I think the Wildcats can get it done again.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com
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