Ray Jr. on Sports

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  1. The Pittsburgh Pirates were able to salvage a split in a 2-game series vs. the Seattle Seahawks earlier this week. They were beaten 5-2 by the Seahawks Tuesday & they rebounded to beat them 8-1 Wednesday.
  2. You may ask how the Pirates can look so ‘opposite’ in 2 games? I think you know the answer: Pitching. Game 1 Jonathan Niese pitched horrible as he helped put the Pirates into an early 5-0 hole, while rookie Jameson Tallion kept the Mariners off the board, while the offense exploded for 8 runs. And this is the reason why the Pirates are 38-41, 14 games back from NL Leading Chicago.
  3. The Pirates offense has been trying to carry this team (although OF Andrew McCutchen has been struggling) but they can’t get it done without a great pitching staff. Taillon, Rookie Chad Kuhl (who won Sunday) and AAA Stud Tyler Glasnow need to make up 3/5 of this pitching staff now. Niese and Francisco Liriano (it pains me to say this) need to be out. And hopefully Gerrit Cole will heal up soon and get back on the mound.
  4. I know I mentioned this before, but it’s really a question of the front office’s motives and it will really show in the month of July. A good July for the Pirates will mean that they will be ‘buyers’ at the July 31st Trade Deadline. A bad one will mean that they will be ‘sellers’-which I honestly think that they can’t wait to be that.
  5. That’s why I honestly hope that the Pirates pull off a miracle similar to the movie ‘Major League.’ you know, when the owner wanted to make the team bad enough to sell, but the team came together to win the Division? Well, it would honestly take a miracle for these Pirates to do so, but I hope they give it the ‘Old’ College try. They don’t need to break up this team, just add more to it.
  6. And I’ve about had it up to here about McCutchen trade rumors. The dude only won the NL MVP 3 years ago, and he’s the face of this ball club. I (like you) wish he would snap out of his struggles and go on a nasty tear, but it hasn’t happened yet. But if you trade him, half of the PNC Park fan base will go with him. Don’t even think of it.
  7. As for the rest of MLB, the Cubs (51-26) are still getting it done. You know, it gets me when folks just aren’t happy for a team. Yes, I know that they’re the Pirates divisional rival, but who wouldn’t be pulling for the Cubs? They’re not only trying to win a division title, but a championship-and they spent almost $300 million to ensure that after winning 97 games. They get my respect.
  8. Here are the other Divisional leaders: NL East-Washington (47-32), NL West-San Francisco (49-31), in the AL East-Baltimore (47-30), Central-a very hot Cleveland (47-30) and in the West-Texas (51-29) and in the Wild Card: NL LA Dodgers (44-37) and Miami (41-37) and in the AL, Boston (42-36) and Toronto (43-37) should be interesting the rest of the way.
  9. Sad news about Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, who is now on the disabled list with a herniated disk in his back. They didn’t waste any time to get help as they traded for Atlanta Braves pitcher Bud Norris who although is 3-7 (4.22 ERA) he’s 4-1 in his last 5 starts (2.15 ERA) so a change of scenery may be good for him.
  10. The Marlins also made a move as they acquired closer Fernando Rodney from the San Diego Padres for a prospect. Rodney has saved 17 saves for the Padres this season. Good moves by both teams. That’s how contenders do it.
  11. As for the NBA who is officially in their offseason, Free Agency looms (July 1st) as superstars LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Dwyane Wade (just to name a few) will be able to test the market-and what a market it will be as the salary cap will jump $20 million.
  12. I think Cleveland doesn’t need Einstein to be reminded to give James whatever he wants. The man just brought the city their first championship since 1964, and he’s agreed to one-year deals just to get to this Free Agency. Do the right thing Cleveland? If he leaves nope you don’t want to go, there.
  13. As for Durant, ESPN reported that he’s supposedly 90% sure of who he will sign with. Who? I wish I knew, but he’s apparently met with 5 teams as well as his current team, the OKC Thunder this week.
  14. As for Wade, it’s reported that he’s almost certain that he won’t return to Miami and there are even rumors that he may join LeBron in Cleveland (provided James stays) if that happens, shame on the Heat for letting him walk.
  15. Also: Congrats to this year’s Olympic Men’s Basketball team as rosters are now complete: Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks/Syracuse); Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors/North Carolina); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls/Marquette); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings/Kentucky); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors/USC);
  16. Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder/Texas); Paul George (Indiana Pacers/Fresno State); Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors/Michigan State); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers/Duke); DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers/Texas A&M); Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors/Villanova); and Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors/Washington State). Congrats to all of them,
  17. For some reason, I thought that Duke HC Mike Krzyzewski was done coaching the Men’s Olympic Team, but there he is, coaching once again. now tied with coaching legend Henry Iba for the most U.S. Olympic basketball head coaching assignments. He’s good at what he does, and I’m sure that he’ll lead them to another Gold Medal, this time in Rio De Janero.
  18. As for the NFL, Johnny Manziel is making news again, and once again, it’s not good news. The NFL has suspended Manziel for 4 games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. I mean seriously, shouldn’t that alone inspire this kid to get his life together? He’s not even signed to a team either.
  19. The NFL has also handed out suspensions to Dallas Cowboys LB Rolando McClain for 10 games for the same consequence, and his teammate fellow DE DeMarcus Lawrence has his 4 game suspension upheld. Plus, the NY Jets DE Sheldon Richardson is suspended for a game for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Wow.
  20. I close this segment honoring two sports figures who passed away this week: Women’s college basketball HC Pat Summit, who won 8 NCAA National Championships with Tennessee, and NFL coach Buddy Ryan, who was the architect of the ’46’ Defense, one of the greatest formations in NFL history. Prayers for both of their families.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

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