I’m so Sick of how We Handle Players Leaving in Free Agency

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Unless you’re totally unplugged to the NBA world, you know Gordon Hayward just signed with the Celtics. If you’ve ever read this site before, you know I am a Celtics fan and have somewhat wary about some of these win-now moves the Celtics might do. You’re also probably wondering why I hadn’t addressed it yet. Well, because it all happened on July 4th and I didn’t feel like doing anything, I decided to wait until his introductory press conference to give my thoughts on the move. And I’ll probably still do that. While I’m excited to have a player of Hayward’s caliber join the Celtics, this creates a lot of issues in the short term, the chief of which is they now have way too many players. But that’s not what I want to talk about today. What forced my hand into finally talking about Gordon Hayward is the concept of loyalty.

Search #betrayward on Twitter and you’ll find hundreds of these. Judging by the reactions, you’d think Gordon Hayward just assassinated every member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. That he’s a fugitive from justice who said Joseph Smith was a crackpot. Like, what did this guy do? Oh, he just decided he wanted to work somewhere else? That’s it? I’m so sick of this stupid idea that players need to be “loyal” to their teams. So just because a team drafted you you have to spend your entire life there? It doesn’t matter if they hate it or whatever, they drafted you so you have to be miserable living there forever. Sorry, man! The teams have no loyalty to the player. Unless you’re a Kobe-level megastar, which Hayward isn’t, 99% of teams will dump you the second you’re no longer worth the investment. The entire point of free agency was to give the players some choice and control over their careers. Do people not understand that? Literally every time someone leaves a team now he becomes public enemy number one. LeBron. Durant. Wade. Ray Allen. LaMarcus Aldridge. Jason Heyward got destroyed on Twitter when he left the Cardinals. The jersey burning, the bitching online, the booing, the death threats, it’s all just so stupid. These people aren’t robots. You can’t just assume the first team they play for is their dream scenario. Unless Gordon Hayward repeatedly said something like “I’m going to run for Congress in Utah I love it so much,” why should he be forced to stay? Utah has some great national parks. You also can’t drink or do anything after like, 10 p.m. And come on, do Jazz fans really think their team has any future whatsoever in the Western Conference? Utah stinks. How are they totally blindsided by this? How were the people of Oklahoma City blindsided by the fact that a professional athlete would rather live in San Francisco than OKC? How the HELL did the people of Cleveland think it’s more appealing to live there than MIAMI? Have some self awareness, people. Your city probably stinks, your team probably stinks, and the player who dares to leave the warm embrace of your psychotic fans probably has legitimate reasons to leave. Maybe he has a brain and saw that, since 90% of the good players in the NBA are now out West, maybe going East would be a good idea? Maybe he liked his time in college better than his time in the NBA (gasp!) and wanted to recapture some of the magic with his old coach. Maybe they have friends, or family, or just want to change things up. Maybe when, the last time he was a free agent, he took note of the fact that his current team decided not to give him the fifth year and the max and decided that they clearly didn’t want him that much?

How many of you hate your job? Be it your boss, the commute, you think it’s boring, the pay isn’t right, whatever. How many of you would leave your job, if you could? You could pick the city, the company, the perfect house, everything. You could literally have your dream life, all you had to do was leave your current job. How many of you would do that? 100%? I know I would. But it’s bad when pro athletes do it because…..why exactly? They make more money than you? Well, maybe if you weren’t so invested in sports and didn’t watch or go to games then the leagues wouldn’t have all this money to give out. Because they drafted him? So no other team (besides, of course, Portland) would have wanted Kevin Durant? He was a diamond in the rough that only Oklahoma City believed in? Because they decided they had a better chance to win somewhere else? Is that not what everyone who changes companies because they can get a better position does? Are people that hypocritical? “I don’t like the team he signed with so it’s okay if I burn his jersey and tell him I’ll kill his family!” Makes sense. I know all those people in Utah don’t get to experience the outside world much so they’re probably pretty emotionally stunted, but acting like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum probably isn’t going to make Hayward regret his decision. Grow up. I’m sorry your team isn’t in Florida or California, but the world needs ditch diggers, too. Everyone, including pro athletes, has a right to decide where they work. Whining about it on Twitter isn’t going to change that anytime soon.

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All or Nothing is like Water in a Desert

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It’s summer. Fourth of July is tomorrow. Everyone is feeling joyful and patriotic and enjoying the sunshine and cookouts. Add in the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, and this is one of the happiest, most carefree times of the year for normal Americans. Well, unfortunately, I’m not a normal American, and all I can think about is how much I need football back in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I love baseball. It was the first sport I ever loved. But now that we’re knee deep in the summer grind? Someone get me to September, STAT.

As always, though, Amazon has the answer. Season 2 of All or Nothing was just released on Amazon Prime, and I’ve never needed anything more. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s basically Hard Knocks, but during the regular season not the pre-season. So take away the contrived storylines about guys fighting for roster spots, meaningless pre-season games, and people trying way too hard to become the newest Hard Knocks-guy (the guy with the catchphrase, the guy who’s just so wacky, the coach who’s way too vulgar, etc.) and add in regular season games, features about players who are actually good, and, since it hasn’t really caught on yet, everyone seems to be pretty genuine. It’s just better. Unfortunately, while season 1 was about the Cardinals and we got to see some playoff preparation, this season is about the Rams. The Rams were also the subject of Hard Knocks last year. Literally every second of the 2016 L.A. Rams season was captured for us football-starved suckers to consume. The 2016 Rams might have been the most boring team of all time, so do we really need all this Rams access? But, beggars can’t be choosers. I’ll just consume this snippet of football like a good, loyal sheep and count the days until training camp starts. It’s been a while, so I forget, who won the Super Bowl last year? I remember it was a crazy game, I just can’t think of who won. Oh, that’s right, it was the Patriots! The Patriots won the Super Bowl last year. And they’re going to do it again this year. Must suck rooting for anyone else.

P.S. Two seconds in I was triggered harder than I’ve ever been triggered before:

SMH

MLB Thoughts

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Yet another edition of MLB Thoughts is coming to you hot off the presses. We’re approaching the dreaded Dog Days of the Baseball Season, including the Bermuda Triangle of Sports that is the MLB All Star Break. But, still plenty going around around the Majors, so might as well dive right in.

  • Have to start with the obvious. The All Star rosters are being announced tonight, so I need to give my official Brian’s Den All Star Picks©. As I’m sure you know, the MLB All Star rosters are required to have at least one representative from every team, one of my least favorite rules in all of sports. So, rather than parse through the Padres bullpen in order to fill out the 25-man roster, I’ll just give my starting lineups. I use games played as a bit of a tie-breaker, so even thought Mike Trout’s stats still somehow rank among the best in the league despite the fact he’s missed the last month or so, he doesn’t make the cut. Winning doesn’t matter to me, because holding an individual position player accountable for the success of a baseball team is stupid (it just so happens that the good teams have a lot of good players. Weird). I also don’t care about fan voting, so if you’re wondering why you see players from teams that aren’t the Yankees, Red Sox, Royals, and Cubs, that’s why.
    • American League
      • C- Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals
      • 1B- Justin Smoak, Toronto Blue Jays
      • 2B- Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
      • 3B- Jose Ramirez, Cleveland Indians
      • SS- Carlos Correa, Houston Astros
      • OF- Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
      • OF- Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox
      • OF- George Springer, Houston Astros
      • DH- Corey Dickerson, Tampa Bay Rays
      • P- Chris Sale, Boston Red Sox
    • National League
      • C- Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
      • 1B- Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks
      • 2B- Daniel Murphy, Washington Nationals
      • 3B- Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies
      • SS- Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds
      • OF- Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
      • OF- Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
      • OF- Charlie Blackmon, Colorado Rockies
      • DH- Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds
      • P- Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
  • Boy, the Yankees have been scuffling lately. After spending the entire year in first place, all of a sudden they’re two games behind the Red Sox. It’s almost as if they couldn’t sustain this pace and are starting to regress towards the mean. If only someone thought this might happen. Oh, well. You can’t always be right.
  • Speaking of the Red Sox, they’re in first and haven’t even really played well all season. The offense has been stinky all year. They give up home runs every two seconds. But, they have Chris Sale, play good defense, and have gotten some unexpected dominance from the bullpen, which is apparently enough to climb to the top of the toughest division in baseball.
  • At long last, the Rockies are no longer in first place. In the blink of an eye, they’re seven games back of the Dodgers. They still have the third most wins in the National League, but I can’t beat my chest about calling their success all year without facing the music when they start sucking.
  • Brewers need to go to these jerseys full time:
  • Personally, I can’t wait until top prospect Timmy Tebow makes his MLB debut for the Mets when rosters expand later this season. You know, you just know he’ll go deep in his first game.
  • June set an all time record for home runs in a month, and, this being baseball, that’s of course a bad thing. Why can’t baseball just embrace something fun, for once. Home runs are awesome. They make things exciting. It gets new people to tune in. Higher scoring means more people care. More people care and everyone makes more money. But, predictably, the crybaby pitchers, lead by David Price (who is doing the impossible and making a run at J.D. Drew for the title of My Least Favorite Red Sox Player Ever. He and his constant bitching can go straight to hell) have to make a big stink about it. Like so what if the balls are juiced? Maybe don’t throw it right down the pipe and people won’t hit it into the stratosphere. It’s just so typical and annoying. No one’s allowed to have fun playing baseball, not on baseball’s watch.
  • A lot of great third basemen in the league this year. One would imagine it’ll be tough to crack the All Star teams at that position. I mean, someone like Travis Shaw is hitting .291/.357/.911 with 17 homers probably won’t make it. Man, can you imagine if the Red Sox had a guy like that? Can’t believe they haven’t had anyone in their organization the last couple years who has proved time and time again to be better than fat turd Pablo Sandoval. Just bad luck, I guess.
  • Julio Urias injury aside, I feel like the Dodgers have the best minor-league player development in the league. Everyone they bring up is nasty right away. Cody Bellinger leads the National League in homers. Corey Seager is going to be an All Star every year for the next decade plus. He goes through hot and cold streaks, but rookie Joc Pederson was electrifying. It feels like they never bring a guy up just to bring him up. If they bring you up, you automatically produce. And this isn’t new. Rookie Yasiel Puig threatened to completely change the game. That Kershaw guy was pretty decent. In fact, since the award’s inception, the Dodgers have more than twice as many Rookies of the Year as any other team in the majors. Maybe they just keep getting lucky with great players, but I think the Dodgers themselves have something to do with it.
  • I don’t care if this comes back to bite me later, but the Cubs are officially Dead. They stink and should feel bad about themselves.
  • Angels are 26-27 with Mike Trout and 17-15 without him. Is Mike Trout Overrated? Pick up tomorrow’s Newspaper for my column.
  • Because MLB treats its video vault like Fort Knox I can’t really embed the footage, but longtime catcher Carlos Ruiz pitched against the Twins a couple weeks ago and promptly gave up a home run to the first batter he faced. I feel like when position players pitch they never give up homers. I can’t remember it happening, at least. Almost every time a position player pitches he winds up doing okay. Maybe that’s why David Price is so sensitive about everything. He knows that if Mookie Betts decided to start pitching his ass would be out on the street.
  • I know it’s kind of played out by now, but I’m still a big Home Run Derby guy and don’t really get why people don’t want to do it. It’s just batting practice, man. One night of trying to hit homers won’t ruin your swing unless you’re Bobby Abreu.
  • I’m excited to see how Goose Gossage thinks the game is being ruined this year. I’m sure he’ll be interviewed during the All Star Break.

THUNDER TRADE FOR PAUL GEORGE AND THE CELTICS HAVE OFFICIALLY WASTED YET ANOTHER OFFSEASON


This just happened a second ago and I’m typing this out on my phone but it couldn’t wait. Thunder just traded Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. If you’re waiting for more names there aren’t any. That’s the whole deal. Seriously. And the Celtics couldn’t match it. Just like they couldn’t beat the pupu platter Minnesota just gave Chicago for Jimmy Butler. And Blake Griffin is going to re-sign in L.A. Great work, Danny!

How did they let this happen? I don’t care if he wasn’t going to sign a long-term deal, how do you not beat that? Trading Jae Crowder straight up for George would have been a better deal than what they got. They could have given any number of deals better than what Minnesota gave up. They had a LEGITIMATE CHANCE AT PORZINGIS! WHAT’S THE POINT OF HAVING ALL THESE “ASSETS” IF YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO DO ANYTHING? DO THEY NOT REALIZE YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO GIVE SOMETHING UP TO GET SOMETHING? Listen, I’ve been at the front of the pack preaching patience, but when ALL IT TAKES IS A BAG OF BALLS TO GET A MULTIPLE TIME ALL STAR, PULL THE GOD DAMN TRIGGER!!!!!!!! YOU’D REALLY RATHER HAVE JAYSON TATUM OVER PAUL GEORGE, EVEN FOR A YEAR? JAYSON TATUM STINKS! WHAT IS THE THOUGHT PROCESS HERE? WASN’T THE WHOLE POINT OF GETTING ANOTHER FORST ROUNDER NEXT YEAR TO TRADE FOR SOMEONE GOOD? WELL THERE’S NO ONE GOOD LEFT SO WHOOPS! I’d be totally fine with this if they had just kept Fultz and committed to what they were doing. But after trading him I have absolutely ZERO confidence left. He’s just addicted to acquiring draft picks. Next year they’re going to have two top five picks and trade both of them for first rounders the year after. Then the cycle will keep repeating itself year after year. It’ll never end, the Celtics will never be good again, and they will never, ever, EVER use all of these so called assets to do anything.

Peter Thiel is Funding an Effort to Revive the Wooly Mammoth

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source– PayPal billionaire and Gawker war-wager Peter Thiel has invested $100,000 in a research effort to resurrect the woolly mammoth.

Thiel, who believes that viewing death as inevitable is a sign of “complacency of the western world”, gave the money to Harvard University genomics professor George Church, whose laboratory is attempting to revive the extinct pachyderm.

The donation, detailed for the first time in a new book by Ben Mezrich called Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive One of History’s Most Iconic Extinct Creatures, was made in 2015.

The de-extinction approach taken by Church and his team will sound familiar to Jurassic Park fans: they are taking DNA extracted from frozen mammoths and using it to genetically modify elephant cells. So far, according to the book, the team has managed to get mammoth fur to grow from the side of a mouse grafted with some elephant cells. The results have yet to be published in any scientific papers.

I have a couple of thoughts about all of this. The chief one is that I hope this works. Wooly Mammoths are awesome and I’d love to see one in real life. Plus, it would open the door up to bringing dinosaurs back. It may sound scary to some, but I’d be all for it. If the last thing I ever saw was the gaping maw of some massive dino looking for an afternoon snack, I wouldn’t be all that upset. At my funeral everyone would just be talking about how I was eaten by a dinosaur and how it’s a badass way to go out. I’d finally have that street cred I so desperately crave.

My second thought kind of piggybacks off of that, but I hate Peter Thiel. And not for any political reason or anything like that. Politics have no place in the Brian’s Den. I’m talking about this:

It’s not entirely surprising Thiel wants to bring a mammal back from the dead. According to several interviews, Thiel sees death as a terrible inconvenience that needs disrupting.

“Almost every human being who has ever lived is dead. Solving this problem is the most natural, humane, and important thing we could possibly do,” he is quoted as saying on the website of the SENS Foundation, a charity Thiel funds that approaches aging as a disease in need of a cure.

In 2015 he continued on his warpath against human fragility.

“I’ve always had this really strong sense that death was a terrible, terrible thing,” he told the Washington Post, “Most people end up compartmentalizing, and they are in some weird mode of denial and acceptance about death, but they both have the result of making you very passive. I prefer to fight it.”

Thiel’s “fight” involves investing millions in biotechnology and artificial intelligence in what he has called “the immortality project”. His investment firm Thiel Capital has, according to Inc, expressed an interest in a company called Ambrosia, which is running a trial where individuals can pay $8,000 to receive a blood transfusion from a teenager in the hope that it will restore some youthful vigour. According to the company Thiel is not a client. Yet.

He has also signed up with cryogenics company Alcor to be deep-frozen at the time of his death in the hope that he too can be resurrected.

Say what? You want to cure death? Count me out. Who the hell wants to live forever? What would be the point of ever doing anything if death wasn’t always looming on the horizon? Not to mention the boredom. I haven’t even come close to hitting 30 yet and I’m kind of ready to start wrapping things up. This isn’t Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, there’s no elixir of life. This cure for death doesn’t say anything about staying young, just regaining some vitality. You’d just be an old person forever. Has he even put any thought into this? Has he never seen a movie or show? How has he never once heard about the curse of immortality? This is the worst idea ever, and I’m glad he’s out on an island with this.

My last thought is that this is exactly the kind of stuff I’d do if when I’m a billionaire. Just pay anything into existence. Oh, you want wooly mammoths back? Okay. What’s that? You want a yacht that’s more valuable than most countries’ GDP? Sure thing. Want to buy an entire town and turn it into your personal playhouse? I’m in. I just wouldn’t be a pussy about like Thiel, though. Like, $100,000 dude? You’re a billionaire, that’s not gonna get it done. You think $100,000 is going to cure death? Seriously? Like, if I make multiple billions of dollars, I’d be pretty confident I could make another billion at some point. So, if I really, really, really wanted the wooly mammoth back, I’d throw a billi at it. I’d make the mammoth an offer it couldn’t refuse. It’d be left with no choice but to come back. And then, as the guy that brought wooly mammoths back, I’d just start making money with that. I’d go on tour, I’d sell shirts, I’d charge admission to the petting zoo I created in my backyard. I’d trademark the wooly mammoth so fast it would make your head spin. I don’t know why Peter Thiel is afraid of success, but I guess he’s too busy worrying about not dying.

Bees are Dying at an Alarming Rate, and they May have Found the Cause

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source– The largest study so far on the fraught question of whether neonicotinoid pesticides harm bees is providing new ammunition for those who argue against the use of the controversial chemicals.

The large-scale field study found that overall, exposure to neonicotinoids harms bee populations. In particular, the pesticides reduce honeybees’ ability to survive their winter hibernation, say researchers.

“We’re showing significant negative effects at critical life-cycle stages, which is a cause for concern,” says Richard Pywell, who studies sustainable land management at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology near Wallingford, UK, and is co-author of a paper resulting from the experiment, published on 29 June in Science.

However, the work was mainly funded by two major neonicotinoid makers, Bayer CropScience and Syngenta. They question the scientists’ conclusions and defend the pesticides, which are already banned or restricted in several countries. The researchers who did the work say they were totally independent.

So, it all comes full circle. For years, anyone who wanted to be zany and different would hold up signs saying “Bees are Dying at an Alarming Rate” at games or concerts or something. It became an internet punchline, an anti-joke that always seemed appropriate. Well, at long, last, there’s a cause. And surprise, surprise. Chemtrails are to blame.

Now, I know the study never mentioned Chemtrails. It says the harmful pesticides is applied to the seeds before planting. But I can put two and two together. This has Chemtrails written all over it. After I infiltrated the Denver Airport, I’m kind of an expert on conspiracies now. I can sniff them out from a mile away. For those of you too ignorant to know, the term Chemtrails refers to the chemical-laced contrails left behind by high-flying aircraft, constantly spraying the unknowing public. Who’s responsible? Is it the government? Some private company? The Lizard People? Who’s to say? But, I have a theory.

You’re probably wondering why the nefarious party behind the Chemtrails would target the poor bees. It kind of seems like a waste of time on the surface. I mean, I’m not really a bee guy, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to kill them or anything. But, as you all know, I am a big flower guy, and that’s where this whole plot becomes sinister. No bees means no flowers. No flowers means everyone is sad all the time. Once the malaise and depression has fully set in, you can sell people some wonderful medication to make them feel happy again. Then you get people hooked, and now you’re printing money and run the world. So, yeah, I think I just cracked the case. Chemtrails are being produced by a pharmaceutical company whose goal is to get everyone addicted to depression medication. I’d wonder how no one else has put all of this together yet, but not everyone has my experience dealing with this stuff. What can I say? I’m the Sherlock Holmes of conspiracy theories. No web is too complex to unravel. No shadow too dark to bring to the light. Just give me a scent and I’ll give you the truth. I honestly feel bad for some of these secret societies. They don’t stand a chance once I put my sights on them. Your move, Illuminati.