How was your week?

Posted: June 15, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

On Thursday night the Toronto Raptors won their first NBA championship in team history. They beat the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 to win the series 4 games to 2 and capture that title. As you know I’m not a huge fan of the NBA but I did find it interesting to see how the fans of each team reacted in this series.

I can understand that a fan base is very excited when their team is on the verge of winning a championship especially the first won but that’s no excuse for how the Raptors fans cheering when Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson got injured in this series. It’s one thing to clap as the player is being helped off of the court. However, it’s something else when you’re clapping for the actual injury. I guess you’d say classless.

Now I’m sure you’re wondering how it was possible for Raptors fans to cheer for Thompson’s injury since the game was at Oracle Arena. Well through the magic of social media there where some posts from different establishments where Raptors fans had gathered to watch Game 6. These posts clearly show fans jumping out of their seats and applauding when Thompson goes down injured. Sorry that’s just not the way to go about that situation unless you’re a 10-year old kid and you don’t know any better. Obviously it was easier to see Raptors fans cheering when Durant was injured since Game 5 was played at Toronto’s Scoatiabank Arena.

Golden State fans don’t think that you’re off the hook. Your Warriors have been to five straight NBA finals and they’ve won three titles for you. You have to be able to give credit to the team that beat you even if you’re not 100% sure that they would’ve beat you have circumstances had been different.

Now instead of doing this Warriors fans immediately started complaining that their team wasn’t healthy and if they hadn’t had these injuries they would’ve easily won this series. Now sure on paper you’d think that a healthy Golden State team would beat a healthy Toronto team, but you don’t know that for sure because it didn’t happen. Also I’m curious as to how you know that the Raptors weren’t dealing with any injuries. While they didn’t have any player miss any games, there were reports throughout the series about injuries that both teams where dealing with.

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me or maybe this is just how NBA fans are. I don’t remember St. Louis Blues fans cheering when Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins broke his jaw in the Stanley Cup finals. Maybe there is a difference in fans from different sports.

Now that the NBA finals is over, there are questions abound for both of the teams that were playing for the championship.

Front and center was Durant’s free agency looming over the Warriors and now with his injury it will be interesting how this changes the off season. There were a few teams that were clearing salary cap space to make a run at Durant and another top free agent and now that Durant will miss all of the 2019-20 season due to his injury, what will these teams do? There have been some reports that teams will still pursue Durant just like they would’ve had he not been injured and allow him to rehab next season on their dime.

While Durant was the big name heading into free agency once the finals ended don’t forget that Thompson was also headed into free agency. There was less being made about Thompson becoming a free agent since most people thought that he’d re-sign with Golden State. Thompson ended up tearing the ACL in his left knee. They’re saying that he’ll be able to return in February of 2020, but there have been cases of guys who’ve had ACL surgery missing the entire season after that surgery.

The Warriors also have Kevon Looney who played very well for them in the playoffs and DeMarcus Cousins headed into free agency. So they’ll have some decisions to make.

Don’t think that Toronto is off the hook. When the Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard, they knew there was a chance that they might only have him for one season, but they wanted to try and win a championship with him and hope that would convince him to re-sign with the Raptors. Well they got their title and now will have to see if Leonard will re-sign with the Raptors or if he’ll move on.

Danny Green and Jeremy Lin will also be headed into free agency while Marc Gasol has an option year on his contract for a little over $25.5 million dollars, so he can he invoke the option and stay with Toronto or decline that option and take his chances in free agency.

It will be interesting to see where some of these free agents end up. Will they return to the team they where with? Or will they end up wearing a different uniform next season?

The other big question I saw coming out of this NBA finals was; is the Warriors dynasty over?

After five straight trips to the NBA finals and with a couple of crippling injuries to a couple of their top player next season might not be the Warriors year, but over might be a little bit too much.

Remember this is a team that will still have Stephen Curry and Draymond Green and the one thing that no one seems to have mentioned is the fact that the Warriors are allowed to add players in free agency like all the other teams. Of course the one big thing that could hinder the Warriors is if Durant decides to invoke the option year on his contract. If Durant does this he’ll be paid $31.5 million dollars next season. Having to carry a salary like that would pretty much end the Warriors pursuit of any upper level free agents unless they would be willing to take a very friendly team contract. It would also be interesting to see how Durant exercising his option year would affect Thompson. It’s possible the warriors would have to let Thompson walk if Durant’s big salary has to be counted against their salary cap next season.

It looks like next season could be tough for the Warriors but are you counting them out?

Listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen to the podcast any time you want.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

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Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: June 12, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Now I’m sure that Major League Baseball believes they’re not doing anything wrong and let’s face it they’re never going to admit to anything and why would they since this worked for them once before, but it’s clear there’s something going on with the baseball this season.

Some people used the termed juiced other say the baseball is wound tighter this season. I even heard someone say that with the increase in pitching velocity the number of home runs was bound to go up, but I think even the average baseball fan realizes that it’s the baseball.

Let’s go back to 1998 when baseball was coming off a strike and there was quite a bit of backlash from the fans. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa had an epic home run battle that helped bring fans back to the game.

McGwire win the battle with Sosa as he hit a single season record at that time of 70 home runs. Sosa ended up with 66 home runs and won the NL MVP in 1998.

Of course Barry Bonds went on to break the single season home run record with 73 home runs in 2001 and he also has hit the most home runs by a player n baseball history with 762 for his career. Of course all three of these big time home run hitters have come under scrutiny for the use of performance enhancing drugs to help them reach those home run totals.

This season it doesn’t appear that any player is getting help hitting home runs from any other substance but a supped up baseball.

We’ve played about 1/3rd of the season and right now there are six players with 20 home runs or more. That would mean if these numbers held up all six of these players would reach the 60 home run mark for a season. Eight times in Major League Baseball a player has hit 60 or more home runs in a season; so just imagine if this season there are six guys who reach that number.

I’m sure with the short attention span society we live in today Major League Baseball probably thought it would be the right thing to do to add some excitement to the game and what better way to do that than make home run numbers go up. To be honest it just makes the game boring and hard to watch. You get one moment of a baseball flying into the stands in between a large amount of strikeouts and the baseball not being out in play. It’s bad enough that every single major league ballpark is designed to have regular flyballs land in the bleachers. Now with the baseball the way it is even pop flies are turning into home runs. How is this good for the game?

On Monday we had a firestorm of sabermetrics, analytics and a juiced up baseball put on a sad display of power at Citizens Bank Park as the Philadelphia Phillies hosted the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Phillies and the Diamondbacks combined for a Major League record 13 home runs in a game. Now you would think with 13 home runs being hit in a game we’d see one of the higher scoring games in baseball history as well, but we didn’t. Some how with these two teams combining to hit 13 home runs they only managed to score 21 runs combined.

This is where the sabermetrics and analytics come into play. Since players no seem no long interested in doing anything but hitting home runs there just weren’t any runners on base when all of these home runs where hit.

I’m sure the sabermetric/analytic community has an excuse for this, but we all know that would be just complete garbage. There where runs scored in every inning of this game except the 7th. There where 27 hits in this game and 13 of them where home runs and the teams combined to leave 15 runners on base.

I’m kind of at my wits end when it comes to baseball. This is the game that I’ve been interested in the longest out of the four major sports. Now I’ve given up on the new style of play in the NBA and slowly but surly it’s staring the look like baseball might be next.

The Golden State Warriors kept their NBA title hopes alive with a 106-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 on Monday night.

There where quite a few interesting storylines to come out of this game, but let’s go with the most obvious of them all the Kevin Durant injury.

I find it very hard to believe how many people who watch the NBA game much, much closely than I do think that Durant was some how forced or conned into playing by the Warriors. Just think about that statement for a minute; then try to figure out how they’d be able to do that.

Durant was about to be the biggest free agent on the NBA market where there is a lot of money out there with the television deal they have. Why would he risk that? Do people honestly believe that Durant and his team of people only took the word of the Golden State team doctors before agreeing to play on Game 5? There is no chance at all that Durant didn’t consult his own physician before playing in Game 5.

Durant looked really good for a guy who hadn’t played in a month. He played 12 minutes and scored 11 points. He was 3 of 5 from the field, but he went 3 of 3 from behind the 3-point line. He also made all both free throws he attempted, grabbed 2 rebounds and blocked a shot before going down with a torn achilles.

It looks as thought this injury may keep Durant out all of next season, but there’s really no telling how long he’ll be out until surgery is performed.

After his injury again there where a lot of people saying that he wouldn’t be able to come back as the player he is now because big men have a difficult time coming back from this injury. The first question that popped into my mind was; since when is Durant anything like a normal big man in the NBA?

I actually don’t care how this affects the NBA Finals at all. I’m more interested to see how this affects the off season. There where quite a few teams that where making salary cap room to try to add Durant. Which direction will those teams go now?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen any time you want.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

How was your week

Posted: June 8, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, post season, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

Speculation was that once the Major League Baseball draft was I the books it wouldn’t take ling for Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel to sign and they where right on the nose with that.

It was officially announced yesterday that Kimbrel has signed with the Chicago Cubs and that Keuchel has signed with the Atlanta Braves. Let’s see who got what.

Now if you listened to the Sports Time Radio podcast at all during the baseball off season I said over and over the Cubs needed to add bullpen help, but like always no one listened to me. I guess they had to learn their lesson on the field before they realized my idea wasn’t so bad.

Kimbrel received a 3 year deal for $43 million dollars from the Cubs. At first I thought they may have overpaid for him, but there where reports that the Tampa Bay Rays had upper their offer for Kimbrel to 3 years and $39 million dollars; so the Cubs had to out bid them and they did.

Now Kimbrel has been one of the best closers in baseball since his rookie year in 2011. He’s got a 50 save season under his belt and has never saved less than 31 games in a season. Kimbrel has also been one of the healthier pitchers in baseball and has appeared in at least 57 games in every season he’s pitched, but there have been some bumps in the road.

Kimbrel posted the second highest ERA of his career 2.74 last season, but his issues really showed up in the post season. While he did record 6 saves last post season in the 10 2/3rd innings he pitched he allowed 7 earned runs that’s an ERA of 5.94. Kimbrel gave up 9 hits and walked 8 batters last post season as well. Now Kimbrel’s struggles have been attributed to him tipping his pitches which is a correctable problem; so hopefully when he takes the mound for the Cubs he’ll be back tp his normal form.

The question now becomes how long will it take Kimbrel to get ready to join the Cubs bullpen? Kimbrel himself said he thought it would take two weeks while Cubs manager Joe Maddon went with three weeks when asked this question. Once Kimbrel is in the Cubs bullpen the other question will come up. Can he pitch on back to back days? Can he pitch more than one inning? Along with a few more questions; I’m sure.

It looks like a good signing for the Cubs as Brandon Morrow is still injured and while Pedro Strop did  solid job in the closer role he’s always been a better set up man though his career.

Did you like this signing?

I believe that it’s going to be easier for Kimbrel to get back into his role of closer than it’s going to be for Keuchel to be a top of the rotation starting pitcher like he’s been in his career. Just the last few seasons we’ve seen starters who have just reported to teams either at the end of spring training or right after spring training had ended and they’ve had rough seasons. Keuchel is joining a team with about 1/3rd of the season in the books. It makes you ask; what will the Braves get?

There was some talk mostly from Keuchel’s agent Scott Boras that Keuchel wasn’t going to sign a one year deal, but in the end that’s exactly what he got from Atlanta. Keuchel signed a 1 year deal for $13 million dollars with the Braves.

Keuchel made 34 starts last season and threw 204 2/3rd innings. The starts where a career high while the innings total was the second highest in his career. He did however give up more hits 211 than innings pitched and his strikeouts per 9 innings rate dropped a whole point. There where reports that Keuchel’s velocity was down and since he pitches to contact that could result in more hits off of him.

Now Keuchel is just what the Braves appear to need; a veteran top of the rotation starter. Don’t forget that Keuchel has not only won 20 games in a season, but is also a Cy Young ward winner. He posted an ERA of 3.74 last season, but that was in the American League and ERA’s are always higher there.

The question now just like for Kimbrel is; how long before Keuchel will be ready to join the Braves starting rotation? Keuchel is scheduled to make a start in Triple-A and it was agreed upon in his contract that he can only stay in Triple-A until June 18th. Even if Keuchel is injured he has to be called up and placed on the Injured List by June 18th. So expected Keuchel in the Braves rotation in 10 days.

Did you like the signing of Keuchel for the Braves? Who do you think made the better signing; Atlanta or Chicago?

Last night the Toronto Raptors took a 3-1 series lead over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals as they won Game 4 by a the score of 105-92. There are many ways to look at this, but the one thing I’m wondering is did this series just set up for Kevin Durant to be the hero?

Durant hasn’t played in a month due to a calf injury. His last game was against the Houston Rockets in the second round of the playoffs on May 8th and after the Western Conference final series against the Portland Trail Blazers there where a lot of people convinced that the Warriors didn’t need Durant to win the title. I wonder if those people have changed their minds now.

Remember that we’re talking about a player who is considered by some to be the best player in the NBA. Don’t forget that Durant is a two-time finals MVP. He’s also won a league MVP. As well as being a 4-time league scoring leader. That’s a lot of offense for even a team like the Warriors to be missing.

It’s an interesting scenario for Durant who is headed into free agency once these finals are over. If he returns and Golden State runs the table; wins three straight games and their third title in a row; how big of a hero is he? Now if he returns and they still end up losing the title to Toronto he should still be covered because he returned and tried to help the team out while possibly being less than 100%.

In all honesty no matter which route Durant chooses to take it’s not going to impact his free agency at all as he’ll still be the top target for every team looking to add a top player. I guess maybe it’s just the visions of Willis Reed walking out of the tunnel or Michael Jordan being almost carried off the court with the flu that makes me wonder if Durant could have a moment like that over an entire three game span.

What do you think. Does Durant play in the NBA Finals?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen to the podcast any time you want.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @Burketime

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: June 5, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

I became a baseball fan at a very young age. My father use to bring the portable black and white television into our backyard and he’d watch the Cubs game and read the newspaper while I ran around and pretended to be whichever Cubs player was hitting or pitching. As time went on my enjoyment of the game grew more and more as I began to understand the ins and outs of the game. There was nothing more I liked than sitting down to watch a baseball game and seeing how a pitcher was trying to set up a hitter and how that hitter would try to counter wat the pitcher was trying to do to him. Now sadly over the last few seasons I’ve come to realize that I don’t enjoy the game as much as I use to and I think I’ve finally figured it out.

I’m drawing a blank on which game I was watching, but this team had runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. Now normally this sets up for a big inning and can really put a game away for a team; well not this time. The first out came on a weak grounder to 3rd base and with a drawn in infield there was no chance for the runner on 3rd to score. this batter had an incredibly poor approach at the plate as he was trying to hit everything he saw out of the ballpark and never came close. So one out with runners on 2nd and 3rd still could play into a big inning, but the next man up chased a ball that was in the left handed hitters batters box and grounded out weakly to the first baseman. Again with the infield still in there’s was no way that the runner on 3rd could’ve scored. So after two really poor at bats with two runners in scoring position this team still had one more chance to try to drive those two runners home. One of their young and what they hope is a future superstar was up. This batter worked the count to 2 & 2, but sadly like all young players seem to do in todays game he swung at a curveball that just about bounced on home plate and struck out for the final out of the inning.

It became incredibly clear watching this team try to drive these two runners in what one of my biggest issue is in todays game. Situational hitting is dead; as none of these three batters that made the outs had any idea what to do at the plate except swing for the fences. When an average flyball would’ve gotten this team at least one run they couldn’t even get the baseball out of the infield when it counted. The pitch recognition in these three at bats was just terrible as well.

After watching these three horrendous at bats I started thinking what I miss in baseball. I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw a batter try to intentional hit behind a runner. There’s also a huge lack of quality two strike hitting. I know there are still a few players who will choke up on the bat and try to take the baseball the other way with two strikes, but there aren’t very many. With the stolen base pretty much legislated out of the game for some reason I was trying to figure out if teams still hit and run. These kind of things use to be considered as playing winning baseball, but no longer. Now if you can’t hit a home run very time you come up to the plate you’re looked at as a failure.

Now one of the reason I’ve heard that players no longer develop these skills because teams don’t pay for them and only power hitters get the big contracts. I’m not sure how much I believe this or how much truth there is to it, but if there is any truth to it then it’s a crying shame that baseball has went down this path.

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not against home runs in any way. They’re one of the best parts of the game even though it seems like there’s something going on this season with the large amount of home runs being hit. My problem starts with the other stat that seems to come with home runs these days; strikeouts.

Bryce Harper has struggled with the Philadelphia Phillies after getting that big contract, but he does have 11 home runs. Of course Harper has also struck out 79 times in the 61 games he’s played this season.

Javier Baez is a legitimate MVP candidate for the Chicago Cubs and he hit his 15th home run last night. Now Baez has always had an issue with strikeouts and this season is no exception. In 57 games this season Baez has struck out 78 times while walking just 16 times.

Mitch Haniger and Domingo Santana of the Seattle Mariners and Will Myers of the San Diego Padres have each struck out 77 times this season. Haniger has 15 home runs in the 61 games he’s played while Santana and Myers have each hit 10 home runs. Santana has played in 60 games while Myers has appeared in 59 games.

While these five players are managing to hit some home runs they can’t get seem to cut down on those strikeouts, but that’s not the case for all of the home run hitters.

Last seasons MVP Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers has hit 22 home runs in 54 games while striking out just 39 times. Yelich has even drawn 36 walks this season. While Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers has hit 20 home runs in 59 games this season he is also one of just a handful of players who has more walks than strikeouts right now. Bellinger has 36 walks to just 35 strikeouts.

So as you see not every power hitter strikes out at a high rate, but you have to wonder if they had done some situational hitting in some of their at bats if those strikeout numbers may be lower. Of course the trade off may be they’d have a few less home runs depending on the situation they might have been able to exchange a strikeout or two for some RBI’s.

I still do get confused on what’s considered important in baseball today, but I do believe that the team with the most runs still wins the game and a few less strikeouts and a few more RBI’s could give your team some extra wins. Isn’t that the goal?

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @Burketime.

Don’t forget that the Sports Time Radio podcast airs live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen to the podcast any time you want.

 

How was your week

Posted: June 1, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, hockey, post season, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

I’ll be the first one to complain about the extra days off in a playoff series. It’s become common place in the NBA no matter if it’s an opening round series or the NBA finals that at some point there will be an extra day off added into the schedule. Sadly now it seems that the NHL has adopted this terrible scheduling pattern for the Stanley Cup finals.

Now the main excuse given is always travel even though the last time I checked teams are no longer taking the train to get from one destination to the next. Most if not all teams have a team plane which should make their travel much easier than you or I, but they still need that extra day off.

To the point teams and leagues do this because of their television contracts and I don’t understand why they just won’t come out and admit that.

ESPN and TNT grossly overpaid to broadcast NBA regular season and playoff games. It was so bad at ESPN that they had to let quite a few employees go to save their bottom line; so you have to figure that they have quite a bit of control over the schedule; especially when it comes to playoff games.

Here’s how this could play out. The NHL started off okay as they had Game 1 on Monday and then Game 2 on Wednesday, but then they threw in the extra day; so Game 3 is tonight. The Boston Bruins where the prohibited favorite coming into this series, but the St. Louis Blues picked up a Game  win before the Bruins evened thing up with a Game 2 win. Even if one of these teams wins the next three games the NHL season won’t end until June 6th. If this series happens to go seven games the NHL season won’t end until June 12th. Except for fans in St. Louis and Boston; who pays attention to what’s going on in the NHL in the middle of June?

Over in the NBA the season could play out even longer. The Toronto Raptors picked up a Game 1 victory over the favorite Golden State Warriors and Game 2 is in Toronto tomorrow night. Now everyone expected Golden State to win this series and if they did win four games in a row to capture the NBA title the series would end on June 10th. Now if this series ends up going to full seven games in won’t end until June 16th. Since this is the first time the Raptors have ever made it to the NBA finals their fans will stay with this series no matter what, but if this does go all the way until June 16th there will be Golden State fans that won’t care who ended up winning.

Game 1 of the NBA finals was another example of how the television contracts these league get into doesn’t really help them.

Like I mentioned for the first time in team history the Raptors had made it to the NBA finals. Toronto also had the better regular season record; so they got hosted Game 1 and have home court advantage. What did that get for their fans? It got them a 9:00 p.m. start time for Game 1. Now you’ll hear the various leagues talk about growing the game and making it more available to kids. How many kids got to see the end of this game? The only reason I got to see any of this game was because I just happened to be on vacation from my job otherwise I wouldn’t of seen any of Game 1. To be fair tomorrow nights game isn’t much better as it will start at 8:00 in Toronto, but if that’s what television wants that’s what television is going to get. Sorry fans your not important to the NBA!

The Major League Baseball draft is coming up in a few days; I believe it ight be June 3rd, but I’m not sure of that date. I have to give baseball some credit for trying to make it out like it’s a big deal. They’ve created a draft show and it seems like there’s a commercial for it on the MLB Network ever time they go to break. I’m sure they’d love the MLB draft to be looked at and turned into a spectacle like the NFL and NBA drafts are, but that’s just not going to happen for them.

When your favorite NFL or NBA team makes a draft pick the player goes right to training camp with the team that picked him and in most cases will be on the field or court when the season starts. When you get drafted by an major league team you go to spring training, but you spend that time in minor league camp. Maybe the player that a team took with their #1 pick makes an appearance or two in the major league camp just so they ca be seen by reporters and the teams front office people, but there’s very little chance that player will see any time in the major league for quite some time.

Now’s there’s really nothing that MLB can do about this it’s just the nature of their game and it takes time for a player to develop until the NFL and NBA where they can walk into a training camp and compete for a job.

The Baltimore Orioles have the first pick in the MLB draft and in just about every mock draft I’ve read they’re going to select Bobby Witt Jr. a shortstop who is almost 19 years old and played at Colleyville Heritage High School in Colleyville Texas. If the Orioles don’t take Witt Jr. they may go with outfielder Riley Greene from Hagerty High School in Oviedo Florida or left handed pitcher Zach Thompson who pitches at the University of Kentucky.

Now maybe down the road one of these players will have a Hall of Fame career, but I don’t think any of them will be in the big leagues this season; so unlike the NFL and NBA draft we just have t wait and see how these players turn out.

If Witt Jr’s name sounds familiar to you that’s because his father Bobby Witt  pitched for seven different major league teams over a 16 year career.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live just head on over to TuneIn.com and you can listen to the podcast any time you want.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @Burketime

 

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: May 29, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in basketball, post season, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

When the Los Angeles Lakers signed LeBron James the team was expected to re-claim it’s spot among the elite of the NBA. Unfortunately for James and the Lakers things went from bad to worse.

The season didn’t go anywhere near as expected as James played in just 55 games due to injury. That was the least amount of games he’s ever played in during the regular season in his career. James also couldn’t find a fit with the young core of players that the Lakers had assembled and he did his best to get them shipped off in a trade for Anthony Davis that didn’t come to fruition.

Even with the addition of the best player in the NBA the Lakers finished 37-45 and missed the playoffs for the 6th year in a row.

To no one’s surprised Luke Walton was fired as head coach and there was a report earlier in the week that Rich Paul who runs Clutch Sports for James wanted Walton removed very early this past season.

Apparently there was a dinner where James and his business manager Maverick Carter sat down with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to discuss certain things one of which was the state of the Lakers. While these three sat at one table it was reported that Paul was at another table within ear shot of the three. Now there’s no way to knw what was actually talked about, but this seems a bit off to me.

Now after the Walton firing things got even weirder for the Lakers. Magic Johnson who was team President just up and quit without telling anyone. Since Johnson’s departure there has been a lot of finger pinting with Johnson blaming everything on General Manager Rob Pelinka.

Besides the signing of james the Lakers added some veteran players Lance Stevenson, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler. According to reports these players where signed by Johnson and Pelinka without any discussion from the rest of the front office or coaching staff.

So how can the Lakers fix this? Apparently James has already spoken to Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard about joining the Lakers as free agents this off season. I know you’d think this would be tamoering, but since it’s James nothing will come of it. Kyrie Irving has also talked about teaming up with James again and is another free agent the Lakers could sign. Add in the fact that they somehow magically moved up in the draft lotttery and now own the 4th pick which I’m still guess will be used in a trade for Davis and the Lakers are on their way back.

Aftr the removal of Walton from the head coaching position the Lakers had a difficult time finding someone to accept the job. Of course the first choice was Tyronn Lue who was the head coach whne the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA title with James a few seasons ago. For some reason the Lakers didn;t want to go any more than three seasons on a conttract for a head coach while the going rate in the NBA is five years. Lue declined the offer and the two side couldn;t come to an agreement.

The Lakers next choice seemed to be Monty Williams who was an assistant coach with the Philadelphia 76ers at the time. It was clear that Lue was the top chpice for the Lakers and Williams was just a secondary candidate; so while the Lakers where busy trying to workout their issues with Lue the Phoenix Suns swooped in and hired Williams as their head coach.

After whiffing badly on their first two attempts to hire a head coach they finally found someone to take over the team.

Former Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic head coach Frank Vogel was named head coach of the Lakers. Vogel spent 6 seasons with the pacers and made the payoffs in five of those six seasons. His two seasons in Orlando didn’t go as well. The Magic never won 30 games in a season with Vogel as their head coach and they missed the playoffs in both of his seasons with the team.

Vogel acccepted the Lakers three year contract offer with the caveat being that Jason Kidd would be one of his assistant coaches.

Kidd spnt a season as the Brooklyn Nets head coach and then three and a half seasons as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. Kidd was fired 45 games into the 2017-18 season by Milwaukee. Kidd made the playoffs his only season in Brooklyn and two of the three full seasons he coached with Milwaukee.

It seems as though the Lakers would’ve liked to have just hired Kidd as their head coach, but you wonder if his history had anything to do with them going about things the way they did. Will have to see if the natural order of progression has Kidd taking over the Lakers in three years or less.

The Lakers apppear to be a mess right now, but don’t expect them to stay that way. James should be able to recruit one or two top players to join him and I still fully expect them to end up with Davis one way or another. Would it shock you if the Lakers where competing for the top spot in the Western Conference next season?

I just saw a big deal made of the fact that we’re 100 days away from the kickoff of the NFL regular season. Does everyone miss football that much that this needed to be celebrated like it was?

I get that the NFL is still the top sport in most people’s opinion, but there was a lot of other sports going on. Maybe your not into baseball because it’s May and there’s still a long way to go. I understand that the NHL comes in at the bottom of the four major sports, but the Stanley Cup finals have started. By the way the Boston Bruins beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 in Game 1; Game 2 is tonight. Also the NBA Finals are one day away from starting. I don’t know; maybe it’s just me, but I think we didn’t need to make this big a deal for the NFL being 100 days away.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live all you have to do is head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen any time you want.

You can also follow me on Twitter @Burketime

 

How was your week

Posted: May 25, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

With the way that sabermetrics and analytics have taken over baseball I’m not really surprised at anything that comes out. I’m to the point now where I’m more humored or curious on how they got to this conclusion. That was the case this week when I read one story and the heard a report on MLB Network that has Texas Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo as an MVP candidate.

To be fair I haven’t followed Gallo closely this season except to plug him into my FanDuel home run derby line up; so I thought we could go over his numbers and see if or how he’s starting to be mentioned as an MVP candidate.

Gallo has played in 43 of the Rangers 48 games this season. Gallo is hitting .285; he came into the season as a career .203 hitter over the first four seasons of his career. He’s had 151 official at bats this season. Of his 43 hits this season 11 of them have been doubles, he has 1 triple and 15 home runs. At least right now he has more singles 16 than home runs. Gallo also has 35 RBI’s this season. His strikeout rate is still very high and he’s on pace to strikeout about 228 times this season. Gallo has walked 35 times and you can also add 3 stolen bases to his stat line.

To be honest his numbers are better than I thought they would be, but is he an actual candidate for MVP?

I can see why people would have Gallo in the MVP conversation right now. There really aren’t a lot of candidates in the American League. If I had to guess right now I’d say that George Springer of the Houston Astros is the front runner for the award. I’d think that Springer’s teammates Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley would garner some votes as well. You could add Gallo in as the 4th contender and just to round out a Top 5 you could throw Gary Sanchez of the New York Yankees in the MVP race.

It is a bit of a down year right now in the American League. The Yankees have had a lot of injury to their key players who would grab a lot of those MVP votes from the East coast writers and at this point of their season there’s no one on the Boston Red Sox who’s an MVP candidate.

If this situation was to continue I’m not sure who all of those writers would cast their votes for; so that might make Gallo a viable contender for the MVP award. If I had to guess those writers would end up pushing Sanchez o the award as there would be no one else to vote for.

Gallo is tied for 2nd in the AL in home runs. He’s tied for 6th in RBI’s and his average puts him 27th out of all qualifiers. He is tops in OPS right now which is a big stat among the analytics community; so I’m sure that’s one of the main reasons we’re hear his name mentioned as an MVP candidate.

Now there’s still a long way to go in this season. Gallo and the Rangers still have 114 games to play, but right now I can understand why they have him in the MVP conversation. Will he win it? I guess will just have to wait and see how the rest of the season plays out.

I wanted to drop in a quick update on the Sports Time Radio podcast instead of waiting to the end to do it. We’re going to be off the next five Sunday’s as Mr. Fantasy is on a European vacation. Then of course since Monday is the Memorial day holiday will be off because Dan the Man likes his holidays, but other wise will be rolling along like usual.

The podcast can be heard live on BlogTalkRadio.com. We’re on Monday thru Thursday from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Then on Friday we start 30 minutes earlier as we’re on from 5:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. The podcast is also available for you to listen to any time you’d like at TuneIn.com.

Sports Time Radio also has a Facebook page; so you should check that out and give it a like while you’re there. The podcast also has it’s own Twitter account @SportsTimeRadio. If you’re interested in following that. The hosts also have Twitter accounts if you’re interested in follow us. Dan the Man is @DanZeeeMan, Mr. Fantasy is at MrFanofSports while I am @Burketime. Sadly Schaumburg Stu doesn’t have a Twitter account, but maybe someday he’ll start one.

Feel free to interact with us on social media or by calling into the podcast and talking to us.

The Golden State Warriors are still waiting to find out who they’ll be facing in the NBA finals and tonight there’s a chance that they might get that answer.

The Toronto Raptors host the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals. The Raptors hold a 3 games to 2 lead in the series and with one more win will advance to the NBA Finals for the first time in team history.

If Milwaukee finds a way to win Game 6 on the road the series would head back to Fiserv Forum for a Game 7 on Monday.

No matter how this Eastern Conference series plays out the NBA Finals will start on Thursday May 30th. It also won’t matter which Eastern Conference teams wins as they both had better regular season records than the Warriors; so they’ll be hosting that Game 1.

With the finals on the horizon this brings up an interesting question. Would you rather be Golden State or the team that wins the Eastern Conference?

It seems as though the biggest advantage that Golden State has is they can get healthy; but besides that is there anything else that helps them being off this long? Golden State hasn’t played a game since May 20th when they swept the Portland Trail Blazers out of the Western Conference finals. That means that the Warriors will have 10 days between games. Now I’m sure they will have practices and scrimmages, but that doesn’t recreate an actual game. I mentioned earlier that health could be the Warriors one advantage, but even with this time off it’s being reported that Kevin Durant won’t be ready for the start of the NBA Finals; so that advantage might not mean anything.

Is it at all possible that it’s better to be the team still playing? That of course would be as long as one of your players doesn’t suffer an injury before the NBA Finals.

I don’t think that either the Raptors or the Bucks will beat the Warriors for the NBA title, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they look better than them when Game 1 rolls around. It wouldn’t even be a huge shock to me if that Eastern Conference team picked up a Game 1 win.

Feel free to let me know what situation you’d rather be in heading into the NBA Finals.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: May 22, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

It seems that a Major League Baseball manager and NFL quarterbacks have at least one thing in common. When their teams win they get too much and credit and when the teams loses they get too much blame. At least in the NFL the quarterback gets his hands on the football when his team is on offense. A manager doesn’t get to hit or pitch, but he’s the one that loses his job when that team doesn’t perform. That seems to be the case in New York right now as Mets manager Mickey Calloway is on the hot seat after a prolonged slump by his team.

The Mets where on a 5-game losing streak and it looked like Calloway might be out of a job. First year General Manager Brody Van Wagenen came out and said that Calloway would be the Mets manager, but he used the term “for the foreseeable future”; so that really didn’t answer anything.

As it turned out the best thing for the Mets was to return home to face the Washington nationals another struggling National League East team. The Mets have taken the first two games of this four game series with the Nationals. Thursday the Mets picked up a 5-3 win and then last night the Mets won 6-5 on a walk off infield single by Amed Rosario.

With those two wins the Mets improved to 22-25 on the season and you’d have to think that for a short period of time Calloway’s job is safe. Of course who knows if he’ll last through another losing streak.

As early as it still is in the season I’m not sure that a managerial change would make that much difference on a team like the Mets.

The Mets have struggled with injury like a lot of teams have this season. Jed Lowrie was a big off season signing for the Mets, but he’s yet to play a game due to injury. Lowrie sprained his left knee capsule which kept him out of all of spring training as well as the 47 regular season games the Mets have played. It appeared that Lowrie was recovered from his injury, but had a setback when he strained his left hamstring. Lowrie is going to be re-evaluated in two weeks and there’s no set timetable for his return. Todd Frasier also started out the season injured, but has returned to play in 23 games this season. Frasier is off to a slow start hitting .206 with 2 home runs. You can add Michael Conforto to that injury list as he is currently on the IL with a concussion. Hopefully Conforto will just miss the 10 days that the Injured List calls for, but you never know with a concussion.

Then there’s the plight of Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes has battled injuries for the last three seasons with the Mets. In 2017 he played in 81 games, last season he played in just 38 games and this season it doesn’t appear as he’ll play any games for the Mets this season. Cespedes was sidelined after having surgery on both of his heels. While it’s unclear how Cespedes had an accident while working on his ranch and suffered multiple right ankle fractures. As of right now there’s no idea when he’ll be able to return.

The only Mets pitcher to miss significant time has been Jason Vargas. Even when he was healthy Vargas wasn’t very good. In 7 games 6 of which where starts Vargas was 1-2 with an ERA of 5.92 over 24 1/3rd innings. Vargas injured his hamstring and landed on the 10-day IL. He’s scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Friday and then a decision will be made on a return date. When Vargas returns the Mets will have to decide if he’ll go back into the starting rotation where he wasn’t very good or he’ll be oved to the bullpen. There’s also a possibility that the Mets could release Vargas when he returns.

Now injuries are out of the managers control, but they do affect a teams record and that indirectly can lead to the manager losing his job. Even at 3 games under .500 the Mets are only 5 1/2 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East.

Do you think a change in manager would help the Mets? Or do they just need their players to get healthy and back into the line up?

While it’s really no surprise that the Golden State warriors are going back to the NBA Finals for the 5th season in a row it is a little surprising that they did it by sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers.

Now remember Golden State Played the entire series without Kevin Durant who is recovering from a strained calf. Andre Iguodala also missed game 4 of the Western Conference Finals with a calf injury.

Luckily for Golden State Iguodala’s injury isn’t serious and he’ll be ready for Game 1 of the NBA Finals whenever that is. Durant’s stats for the Finals is still unclear.

The Warriors will now sit and wait for the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks/Toronto Raptors series. Toronto won Game 4 of the series last night 120-102 to tie the series at two games apiece.

If this series was to go seven games it wouldn’t end until Monday, May 27th. There’s never really a quick turnaround with these NBA series; so the NBA Finals might not start until mid-week or later.

That means the Warriors will have at least a week to get their players healthy and prepare to try and win their 3rd NBA championship in a row and their 4th title in 5 years.

Do you think this much time off is go for the Warriors? Or do you think it would’ve been better for them to only have a few days off before starting the NBA Finals?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com The podcast airs Monday thru Thursday from 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Then on Friday’s we start a half hour early at 5:00 p.m. and we go until 6:00 p.m. Now if you do happen to miss the podcast live all you have to do is head over to TuneIn.com and you can listen any time you want.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

How was your week

Posted: May 18, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in baseball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

With a collection of veteran players on their roster there was a chance that the San Francisco Giants would bounce back this season and hopefully contend for a playoff spot. Now that San Francisco is 43 games into this season it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. So the question becomes when do they start rebuilding?

The Giants find themselves sitting in last place in the NL West at 18-25 and are already 10 1/2 games behind the 1st place Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Giants have one of the lower ranked farm systems in major league baseball. They do have two players ranked in the Top 100. Catcher Joey Bart is inside most Top 25’s as a prospect while outfielder Heliot Ramos generally sneak into the Top 100 in most rankings. The Giants do have some veterans on their roster that could be traded to help improve the farm system.

Of course, the name that everyone is going to talk about is Madison Bumgarner. Bumgarner is in the final year of his contract and believe it or not only makes $12 million dollars. Bumgarner does have a list of 8-teams he can’t be traded to but that shouldn’t hinder the Giants in finding a trade partner for him.

In 9 starts this season, Bumgarner is 2-4 with an ERA of 4.04 over 55 2/3rd innings. Bumgarner has struggled with some injuries making just 17 starts in 2017 and 21 starts last season. While his starts where limited the last two seasons his ERA’s where very solid with 3.32 in 2017 and 3.26 last season.

The fact that Bumgarner is in the final year of his contract will limit what teams will be willing to give San Francisco for him but it should still be a decent return if they decide to deal him.

Now Bumgarner isn’t the only veteran or the only pitcher that the San Francisco has that could really help out a team, especially in the bullpen.

After being brought in to be the Giants shutdown closer, Mark Melancon ran into some injuries and ended up losing his closing job.

The Giants brought Melancon in on a 4-year $62 million dollar deal. He has this season and next season left in that contract and is due to make $14 million in each of these two seasons.

Melancon has appeared in 15 games this season and is 1-0 with an ERA of 2.76 over 16 1/3rd innings.

Melancon is 34 years old but with the numbers he’s putting up this season and a very reasonable contract number there is probably a contender out their that would be interested in added him to their bullpen.

The Giants also have veteran left hander Tony Watson in their bullpen. San Francisco signed Watson this off season to a 2-year deal. Watson gets $6.5 million dollars this season and he has a player option for just $2.5 million dollars next season.

Not only does Watson have an team friendly contract  he has also pitched well this season. Watson has appeared in 17 games this season. He is 2-0 with an ERA of 2.40 over 15 innings.

Watson is 34 years old, but with left handed pitchers age doesn’t seem to matter and if he can get people out their will be a contender interested in him.

Sam Dyson has been San Francisco’s main set up man out of the bullpen and seems to have found stuff when there was talk of him becoming a shutdown closer type of reliever.

Dyson did have a 38 save season back in 2016, but I don’t think there would be a contender out their looking at him to come in and close games for them, but with the success he’s had setting up there would be a spot in any bullpen for him.

Dyson has appeared in 19 games for the Giants this season. He is 1-0 with a 2.91 ERA and 1 save over 21 2/3rd innings.

Dyson has one more year of arbitration, so any team that acquired him would be able to hang on to him at a decent price next season if they where interested in doing that.

Believe it or not the Giants bullpen has one other pitcher that could draw some interest from teams as they look to strengthen there bullpens.

Will Smith has been closing games for San Francisco for almost a full year now. Last season Smith picked up 14 saves in 18 opportunities and posted an ERA of 2.55 in 54 games covering 53 innings. This season Smith is a perfect 11 for 11 in save opportunities. He has appeared in 17 games; he is 1-0 with an ERA of 2.70 over 16 2/3rd innings.

Smith is making $4.225 million dollars this season and will reach free agency at the end of this season.

Smith would give any contender a big time left hander coming out of their bullpen and with the success he’s had he could even be used as a fill in closer if a teams regular guy needed a day off.

I’m not sure how much interest he would draw, but there might be a team out there that would want to add a starter like Jeff Samardzija to the back of their rotation.

Samardzija has this season and next season left on his 5-year $90 million dollar deal the Giants signed him to. He’ll make $19.8 million dollars this season and is due the same amount next season.

Samardzija is 34 years old but has been solid for San Francisco this season. In 9 starts Samardzija is 2-2 with a 3.69 ERA over 46 1/3rd innings.

Samardzija does come with a pretty big price tag but you know how these trades go. The more of a players salary you pick up the less you have to give up to acquire him. If the deal was right Samardzija could be a good pick up as a 4th or 5th starter on a contender.

If the Giants are going to rebuild it looks like they’re going to have to use their veteran pitchers to get the process started. There might be a veteran bat or two that a team would be interested in, but I doubt the Giants could get much in return for any of them as they all have multiple seasons let on their contracts.

Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford are signed through the 2021 season and Evan Longoria is singed through the 2022 season. Maybe Joe Panik could get something in return. Panik is making $3.85 million dollars this season and has one year of arbitration to go through.

Now I left Buster Posey out of any possible trade talk as I don’t believe that San Francisco will deal Posey unless they’re overwhelmed by  an offer. Posey is the face of the San Francisco franchise, but you do have to wonder with prospect Joey Bart working through the minor league system how much longer Posey will be the Giants everyday catcher.

Let’s keep an eye on the Giants and see when or if they start making deals and try to get the rebuild under way.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live all you have to do is go over to TuneIn.com and you can listen to the podcast any time you want.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: May 15, 2019 by Sports Time Radio in basketball, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

The NBA held it’s draft lottery last night. Now there are a lot of people who believe the lottery is rigged and I happened to be one of those people. Now last nights lottery did nothing to slow down the conspiracy theorist at all.

The New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Phoenix Suns each had an equal chance to win the draft lottery with the Chicago Bulls next in line percentage wise. When it was all said and done the Knicks where the only team that stayed in the inside the Top 5. The Cavaliers ended up with the 5th pick, the Suns pick 6th and the Bulls pick 7th. Even the Knicks fell a little as they ended up with the 3rd overall pick.

The overall winner of the draft lottery was the New Orleans Pelicans who will have the #1 pick and the right to select Zion Williamson. The Memphis Grizzlies moved up to the #2 spot while the Knicks sit at #3. The Los Angeles Lakers jumped up all the way to #4 which was no surprise at all to me as I expected the Lakers to come away with the #1 pick.

Now I’m sure most people would look at this and not think there was anything fishy going on, but let’s take a closer look at how things fell out.

As I mentioned I thought the Lakers would end up at #1 and if it wasn’t them it would be the Knicks who got the first pick. but New Orleans fits into this conspiracy just fine.

As everyone knows Anthony Davis has no interest in returning to New Orleans next season and since he’s signed with the agency that LeBron James owns it’s no shock at all that he wants to play with the Lakers. The two teams tried to work out a trade around the deadline, but couldn’t come to terms on a deal because the Lakers didn’t have enough assets for the Pelicans to make the trade. Now the trade package the Lakers can offer has greatly improved.

I’m guessing the deal will go down something like this. The Lakers will send the #4 pick along with multiple other draft picks to New Orleans with Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball for Davis.

The Lakers will get the star they want in Davis and James will be able to shape the team the way he wats with that young core gone. This should also be enough for the Lakers to return to the playoffs even in the tough Western Conference which is where the NBA wants them.

The Pelicans will gain a solid core of young players that they immediately add Williamson and one other young talent that they’ll get with the 4th pick to the mix. Remember most experts think that there are four top players in this draft; so the Lakers pick landed just inside of where they needed it to for this deal to happen.

Memphis landing at #2 may have been the biggest surprise of the night, but when you look at the Grizzlies closely you can understand why the NBA wanted them up there.

Memphis is one of the lowest drawing teams in the league and last season they tried to sell for their top players. Marc Gasol ended up in the Eastern Conference finals as a member of the Toronto Raptors, but the Grizzlies where unable to find a taker for Mike Conley. You’d have t think without a top pick in this draft that Memphis would deal Conley in the off season and that may still happen.

By landing in the 2nd spot of the draft the Grizzlies will most likely select Ja Morant. There are experts who think Morant might be a better NBA player right out of the gate than Williamson. Now don’t go crazy their not saying for his career; just for the start of their rookie seasons. This would give Memphis a bonafide young superstar for fans to come out and watch as the teams begins a rebuild.

The Knicks came away with the 3rd pick in the draft and I’m not really sure if there’s anything of interest here. There where repots that if the Knicks landed the #1 pick in the draft they’d try to trade it to New Orleans for Davis. I guess you could look at the fact that the Knicks are owed by James Dolan who is not only the worst owner in the NBA, but the worst owner in all of professional sports; so maybe the NBA didn’t want to do him ay favors and allow him to end up with Williamson.

Luckily for the Knicks they landed n a spot where they should be able to draft a young player like R.J. Barrett to help their team out. The other teams with chances like the Knicks in the lottery; the Cavaliers, Suns and the Bulls will all be back in the draft lottery next season with the picks they got.

The other team that walked away from the draft lottery with some bad luck was the Atlanta Hawks.

The Hawks had two chances to move into the top of the draft since they also owned the Dallas Mavericks pick. Sadly for the Hawks they didn’t get close to a top pick as they ended up at #8 and #10. It would’ve been very interesting if the Hawks had moved up into the Top 3 and would’ve been able to select one of those players that will go in those spots.

Now no matter which side of the draft lottery conspiracy you’re on there are two things that you have to remember. 1) The draft lottery is a made for television event and 2) the NBA is a business and they’re going to do what’s best for business.

It’s always been good for the NBA when the Lakers and the Boston Celtics are good. The Celtics where a playoff team even though they where a bit of a disappointment in the playoffs, but the Lakers on the other hand need some help to find their way into the playoffs. While it appears as though the Celtics will be good enough to find their way into the playoffs next year the Lakers would need some help. Did the NBA give the Lakers enough help to get into the playoffs next season?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but if you miss the podcast live you can head over to TuneIn.com and listen to the podcast any time you want.

Remember to follow me on Twitter @Burketime