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Sometime late in the last Millennium, at a mini-golf course in New Hyde Park, N.Y., I rimmed out on a short putt, broke my club in half in frustration, and earned myself a “permanent” ban from the facility. Hard to believe, I know: The teenage goon who would later punch an intramural football ref, acting a fool over putt putt.
The sports news cycle has seen a spate of blowups and meltdowns in recent days, and as an expert on such matters, I will rank them now in order of how excusable I feel they are.
1. The Stro show: Shortly after news broke that he was traded to the Mets, Marcus Stroman made — by his own account — a “commotion” in the Blue Jays’ clubhouse. But despite the widespread assumption that he was mad he had been traded to the Mets — a non-contending team with a long history of botching health decisions on star players — Stroman claims the hubbub came in an exit interview of sorts, wherein he let “some of the higher-ups in the organization” know he didn’t like the way “a few things were handled.”
If that’s the case, then Stroman’s seems by far the most defensible of the meltdowns here listed. Stroman can be a bit of a firebrand, but he did always seem dedicated to repping the Blue Jays and Toronto hard, and there’s a good case to be made that the team would’ve been better off trying to sign him to a contract extension than trade him. Rightfully firebombing one’s bridges is really the best type of meltdown.
2. The display of great strength: When manager Terry Francona emerged from the dugout to pull him from a rough start on Sunday, Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer spun around and fired the ball over the center-field wall. I got into this a bit in Monday’s newsletter, but it’s a) an extremely impressive feat and b) pretty funny, in a Happy Gilmore-ish kind of way. Bauer would go on to apologize, but I think maybe a fun spin on this little hissy fit would be to make it part of his routine after good starts in home games. I imagine the crowd would really get into that: The celebratory chuck.
In any case, Bauer earns points for originality. I’ve seen so, so many baseball blowups. I’ve even seen guys heave balls into the stands in anger before. But I’ve never seen a guy choose to fire a ball clear over the home-run fence in frustration. It didn’t necessarily look “mature,” but it did look impressive.
3. The whiny toddler: Only a week after he threw his driver at his caddy brother, Sergio Garcia reacted to a poor drive by slamming his driver down on the grass and creating a huge divot on the tee box. Seems like this is very poor golfing form and also generally poor human-being form, since someone’s going to need to fix that and it’s obviously not going to be you.
While this one feels the most like something I myself might do in frustration at some point, that doesn’t make it defensible. He looks like a total derp. Prince Derpo of Derpistan, the pampered brat throwing a whole tantrum over a golf shot. I’m not often inclined to play golf, but I definitely don’t want to golf with this guy. It’s just golf, bruh. I’m only here to do donuts on the cart path.
4. Getting a double-technical in your kid’s youth game: Matt Barnes is a grown man and actual former NBA player who apparently got himself kicked out of the gym while coaching his kid’s team, then made light of it on Instagram. It’s funny in concept, I guess, that a guy who often lost his temper in the NBA is now losing his temper during youth games, but the photo shows some of the kids on the team, and the kids on the team are maybe seven years old.
Even without seeing what Barnes did to get himself a double-technical in a game being played by adorable, impressionable young children, I can say with confidence that this is easily the worst of these meltdowns. I’m with Charles Barkley in that I don’t think being a pro athlete means signing up to be a role model, but when you’re coaching youth sports, yeah, you’re pretty explicitly agreeing to be a role model. And they’re little kids. The likelihood any of them — even the ones with Barnes’ bloodlines — winds up playing in the NBA is exceedingly slim, and it probably only gets slimmer if you make them fear or resent basketball by acting like a madman on the sidelines. Work out your stuff, dude.
Monday’s big winner: Mike Trout
Mike Trout! (Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)
Did you know that Mike Trout surpassed eight Hall of Famers in career WAR in July alone, or that he has now surpassed 35 Hall of Famers in career WAR this season? Did you know that one of the guys he passed this month, Big El Delahanty, got kicked off a train in 1903 for drunk, disorderly behavior and wound up dead at the bottom of Niagara Falls? Did you know that another guy he passed this month, Johnny Mize, had a pronounced unibrow? It’s all there for you, in the latest edition of Hall of Famers Mike Trout surpassed in WAR.
Quick hits: Head tats, errors, Bachelorette
– Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster gave season tickets to a Steelers fan who got Smith-Schuster’s autograph tattooed on his head. That’s cool, and I guess the thing about head tattoos is you can always just grow your hair out and cover them up. Still, I’m really not sure if this is worth it. Now you have some stranger’s signature inked onto your head, forever.
I don’t know JuJu Smith-Schuster from Adam, but I do recall that once upon a time, a guy named O.J. Simpson was a universally beloved football hero and transcendent cultural icon. I hope for everyone’s sake this doesn’t play out that way; I’m just saying I’d want to feel like I really, really knew a person before I got his autograph permanently emblazoned on my body. I think probably my dad is the only guy I know that I’d trust to not make me someday regret that, and if I showed up to my parents’ house tomorrow with my dad’s signature tattooed on the side of my head, he’d probably be pretty creeped out. It’s a tribute, Dad. You need to get me Steelers season tickets now.
(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
– The Diamondbacks did some bad defense and gifted the Marlins two runs. They also gave the Marlins two runs, and time was you could just say “gave.” Now we say “gifted.” It turns out that the use of the word “gift” as a verb dates back at least 400 years, but Merriam-Webster associates its recent popularity with a Seinfeld episode. What’s the deal with “gifted?”
– Nick Schwartz and our team of Bachelorette experts examined a fascinating hypothetical: Who would’ve gotten Hannah’s final rose if series villain Luke P. did not exist? Without looking up the names of actual contestants on the show, I’m going to say: Logan. I bet there was a Logan, and I bet Logan would’ve won the darn thing if it weren’t for that awful Luke P.
Havertz lives up to the hype, says new Leverkusen signing Sinkgraven
Tuesday July 30, 2019
Daley Sinkgraven has quickly come to "love" Kai Havertz's displays in training for Bayer Leverkusen. Lothar Matthaus rates Kai Havertz as a potential Ballon d'Or winner and the excitement surrounding the midfielder is entirely justified, according to Bayern Leverkusen team-mate Daley Sinkgraven. Bayern Munich, Liverpool and a number of other top European sides have been […]
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