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I'm thinning, not balding... I've got a lifetime of embarrassing moments just waiting to be shared RCNJ Baseball '19

Seahawks Clean House; Some Potential Offseason Moves

The last two weeks of the Seahawks 2017 season was a rollercoaster of emotions.

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From no hope to tons of it, to seeing the Falcons win and Blair Walsh miss another important field goal to ensure the Seahawks’ loss in Week 17 and miss the playoffs. As a long-time Seahawks fan, I’m no stranger to seeing them miss out on the January festivities, but based on their success under Carroll, I really thought they could find a way. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, and it’s time to move forward.

A good thing for the fans is that the Seahawks organization is clearly not accepting this failure. Yesterday, they fired offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and offensive line coach/assistant coach Tom Cable. There are also rumors that defensive coordinator Kris Richard and QB coach Carl Smith could be asked to hit the road, too.

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I personally would love to keep Richard. I think he has an extremely level head and is a calming presence in what is often a boisterous locker room. The numbers were only bad because the players on the field couldn’t stay healthy. But, he has interviewed for the job in Indianapolis, so if he is ready to move on, then let him walk. Also, former DC Gus Bradley, who left the Seahawks to be the head coach of the Jaguars in 2013, has been rumored to possibly make a comeback to the team (although those rumors were recently smashed). As for Carl Smith, I’m not sure why the Seahawks would let him go as Wilson had a great year and I’m sure Boykin was ready if need be. But he is old and could be moving to a consultant role in the organization.

Coaching is something nearly impossible to predict until rumors break down, so I am not even going to try. But I will play GM and highlight a few moves (albeit somewhat obvious) that the Seahawks should look into:

  • Resign Jimmy Graham/Luke Willson
    • Despite what people say about Jimmy Graham not being the player he was with the Saints, you cannot argue against his recent productivity. His 520 yards are disappointing, but his 10 TDs are impressive. Although, I will say his negligence in blocking is sometimes destructive, I am a big fan of bringing him back. As for Willson, he is the perfect #2 TE. He just seems to have a great rapport with Wilson and I feel he is one of the more underrated players in the league. If they cannot resign one, then I would rather see Graham walk and Willson stay.

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  • Draft an NFL-ready offensive lineman
    • Enough is enough. With only two capable players on the offensive line (Britt and Brown), fans have seen enough of Russell Wilson having to perform a magic act for every first down. Protect him. The Seahawks have drafted linemen in the draft over the years, but they haven’t turned into much. Ifedi and Pocic, still young, aren’t playing at the level they need to. George Fant got hurt, but was he that good anyway? It’s silly to say the Seahawks are ignoring the needs at offensive line, because they are not. But, I think they are relying too much on their “magic eye” that has been used on undrafted players like Doug Baldwin or late-drafted players like Kam or Sherman. Draft a lineman that is ready to go Week 1. If you need to trade up to get him, do it.
  • Don’t worry about running back
    • Chris Carson looked fantastic at the beginning of the year until he broke his leg and Mike Davis was effective in most games. In addition, C.J. Prosise should be healthy next year, although who knows if he really will be, and J.D. McKissic was actually great this entire year. So, there are plenty of options in the backfield, there is no need to waste salary space on another Eddie Lacy.

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  • DO NOT TRADE RICHARD SHERMAN
    • There are already rumors floating around about this, and I absolutely hate it. Yes, he is in a contract year, and yes, he is beginning to age, and yes, he is coming off a very tough injury. But you are not going to find a cornerback that is feared like him, and will produce like him when healthy. His wisdom at the position is unmatched. He is willing to be a Seahawk for life, and I’m sure whatever problems he and Russell Wilson, they can act like men and figure it out. If anything, draft another cornerback like they did last year with Shaquill Griffin, and allow Sherman to mentor him. Only problem with that is, Sherman might feel inclined to walk if he feels to Seahawks are trying to replace him. It’s a unique situation, but trading him is not the best option.
  • Improve the pass rush
    • The idea of cutting Cliff Avril is, in my opinion, a good one. He is owed $7.5 million and is getting old (31), and I would love to see Frank Clark and Dion Jordan get more time. Last year’s draft pick Nazair Jones was a pleasant success, but who knows if Malik McDowell will see the field after 1) getting into a very serious car accident and not playing this entire year and 2) being arrested in December. He has all the talent in the world, but there’s a chance his off-field issues can’t be beat.
  • Address Kam Chancellor injury
    • His season-ending neck injury is something that could also end his career. This could be tragic for a player with so much talent, but I think the Seahawks need to evaluate their options at this position if Chancellor can never reach full health again.

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  • Kick Blair Walsh to the curb
    • He wasn’t the worst kicker on Earth, but he was close. I don’t want a kicker on my team that more than half the world assumes he is going to miss. While he was able to be relatively good this year, he missed too many important kicks to be apart of this team next year.

I think it’s also important to note that the Seahawks dealt with a LOT of injuries this year. Prior to the season, a healthy Seattle Seahawks team had 8:1 odds to win the Super Bowl. A complete shift in the direction of the team is NOT necessary. Changes need to be made to keep up with the rising talent in the NFC, specifically the division rival LA Rams, but just because we missed the playoffs, the whole world does not have to end. The key to this offseason is DO NOT PANIC. Evaluate the injuries, and move on from there. A healthy Seahawks team can still 100% contend, and I look forward to any changes they can make to improve an already talented roster.

#GoHawks

You’ve Heard of the Steroid Era…But We Are About to Enter the Weed Era

A few weeks ago, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon revealed to ESPN that he smoked or drank before every single game he played in the NFL…and still led the league in receiving in 2013. However he managed to do that, whether the alcohol/weed cooled his nerves or made him feel like he was on top of the world, it’s an incredible feat.

Today, Stephen Jackson, a former 20 PPG journeyman in the NBA, revealed to Bleacher Report he smoked his entire career.

A lot of high points during Jackson’s career.

A post shared by Bleacher Report (@bleacherreport) on

First things first, let’s not overreact to how good of a career Stephen Jackson had. He was good, probably never achieved over an 84 rating in 2K. He averaged 15.1 PPG for his career and never eclipsed more than 21 PPG. Good, but relax on the “Hell of a career” statement. Save that for the Hall of Famers, please.

Secondly, I think we are about to enter a whole new era of sports. Obviously, the 90s brought us the Steroid Era in baseball, which drizzled it’s way down into other sports over time. It was iconic, to say the least. It’s cheating, and it was entirely wrong, but Barry Bonds hit 73 HR in one season while batting .328…that is inhumane and absolutely incredible to watch. Bonds was hitting home runs with broken bats, and baseball reached a peak it had never known before.

But now, we are in the WEED ERA. Everybody and their brother is going to start revealing they smoked, drank, or did some other crazy shit before going out onto a field and being professional athletes.

Personally, I cannot wait until this happens. We’re gonna see things like Hines Ward smoked a blunt during halftime of Super Bowl XLIII, or Kershaw crushes Four Loko’s before every start. The Steroid Era took away from the accomplishments of athletes who used them, but the Weed Era is going to make your mouth drop at what some athletes accomplish while baked or drunk, further adding to their legacies.

A plethora of athletes are going to come forward, more likely when weed is entirely legal in more states so they avoid getting in trouble. Jackson could come out because he is retired and cannot exactly get in trouble with the league. Gordon came out because it was no secret and already got banned 7,000 times. Remember Michael Phelps? The guy smoked and got caught, but in case you haven’t heard, he was still an unreal athlete. The more people that get associated with this aspect of athletics, the more acceptable it will be, and the more people will continue to come out and say they followed the Josh Gordon Method. Not necessarily a good thing for sports nor the integrity of its players, but I believe it’s a trend that is about to hit this world hard.

Essentially, weed is going to be the backbone of athletics in like six years. Stay tuned.

Seahawks’ Playoff Chances Are More Alive Now than Ever

After what was a 13% chance for the Seahawks to make the playoffs, a locker room that was seemingly falling apart, and a Rams team and entire NFC that looked stronger than ever, playoff hopes, as well as the future, seemed bleak for the Seattle Seahawks.

Week 16, though, was very, very kind to the former Super Bowl Champions. Beating the Cowboys 21-12 took care of their main NFC competitor, the Falcons were defeated by the Saints, and the Lions, who were still mathematically competing, lost and were entirely eliminated. In order for the Seahawks to claim that 6th spot in the NFC, a repeat of Week 16 is much needed.

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Seahawks CB Justin Coleman hops into Salvation Army bucket to mock Cowboys RB Zeke Elliot, who did the same thing last season

The Atlanta Falcons (9-6) are taking on the Panthers (11-4) in Atlanta in Week 17. The Carolina Panthers have rebounded from their Super Bowl embarrassment as well as their 6-10 2016 record to become a contender once more. Their recent success gives them a chance to win the division and possibly receive a first-round bye, depending on how other games play out in Week 17. On the other side of the football, the Atlanta Falcons are currently in the 6th spot in the NFC, and with a win, regardless of what happens in Seattle, clinch that spot. But beating the Panthers is no simple task, and the Falcons have been consistently inconsistent this season. Matt Ryan is far from the success level of his 2016 MVP season, and the Falcons already lost a nail-biter to the Panthers earlier this year. So while I predict a a Panthers win in this game, I never feel good about a team that has lost once already to a division rival since more often than not, division rivals find a way to split the season series (unless you are the New England Patriots).

As for Seattle (9-6), their fate is not in their own hands, which is what happens when you lose down the stretch as they have. Their loss to the Falcons earlier this season also desperately hurts them because now Atlanta has the full advantage this week, even if both teams lose. They take on the 7-8 Arizona Cardinals at home, and Bruce Arians has gone on record to call Seattle the Cardinals “home field” and wants to “kick their ass”. I’m not exactly scared of Arians (I mean, would you be scared of a man who wears a plaid fedora?), and the Cardinals aren’t a very good team, but this statement essentially means that the Cardinals aren’t planning on laying down for the Seahawks. They plan to end the season of their notorious NFC West rival.

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With all this in place, if the Seahawks win, and the Falcons lose, Seattle is in. From 13% to what feels like a 50/50, Seattle has to feel confident about how their luck has turned. As for the locker room problems, this team believes in each other more than ever. Pete Carroll was able to keep the drama form consuming the team, and Doug Baldwin publicly said that the Seahawks have a tremendous ability to brush off controversy. So whatever happened in that locker room, the leaders stepped up, and the younger guys followed. The Earl Thomas going over to the Cowboys locker room saying “Come get me”, implying he wants the Cowboys to pursue him in free agency in the future, is very unusual, and leaves in the bad taste in the mouth in a lot of players and fans. After a great team win, it’s not the best move to go over to the other team and say “I want to play for you guys instead!”. How do you expect your team to react positively to that? Regardless, team chemistry is at an all-time high a week after it being at an all-time low, and the Seahawks have all the tools to bring a victory home to Seattle. Although, all eyes will be in Atlanta, scoreboard-watching from Minute 1 to Minute 60.

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With the NFL moving most of the playoff implication games to 4:25 on Sunday, every NFL fan should be ready for an action-packed weekend, in what is essentially the first week of playoffs.

#GoHawks

Sunday’s Blowout Loss to the Rams is the Beginning of the End for the Seattle Seahawks

There has been something different about the Seahawks over the past few weeks. Their early season faults was not a surprise, but the way they, as a whole, have collapsed in the second half of the season is astonishing.

Their losses, which have been in crucial, playoff-implication games, have been complete and total defeats. Their loss to the Jaguars hurt, but the 42-7 embarrassment against the Rams AT HOME seems to have put the nail in the coffin for the 2017 campaign. I cannot tell you how much pain that puts me in to say.

Their playoff chances are minimal, with a 13% chance to get in and a 2% chance to win the division. But the thing is…I can deal with losses. The Seahawks have had wild success over the past four or five years, so I expected them to come down to Earth at some point. I did not think it would be this year, but life comes at you fast. It stings, but is part of the game. But the way they have handled themselves in these losses is pathetic…

Earl Thomas said he didn’t think Bobby Wagner should have played on an injured hamstring, and Bobby Wagner came right back.

These are our stars, and supposedly good friends. Now they are going at it on social media? It just feels like that chemistry they once had, the fun they had on the field, is dwindling down. Maybe that’s because secondary leader Richard Sherman isn’t around to keep everyone in line (people seriously underestimate his leadership abilities on the field), but Pete Carroll has to have a clue what is going on. I pray he did something about this in practice this week, because if they are to make the most of that 13% chance, then these two star players need to have a clue.

There has also been the consistent physicality on the field with fans and opposing teams. Pete Carroll PREACHES energy and passion. It is the number one thing he looks for in players, and a big reason why he and GM John Schneider find so many undrafted free agents that turn into stars. He looks at them as people, not as players. But the drawback of that is when passion turns to anger, and the appearance of being a “sore loser” is projected to the public.

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DL Quinton Jefferson tries to come into crowd after fan throws a drink at him. While he has 1000% the right to be furious, you have to understand after a tough loss, the public is going to label you an angry, sore loser. 
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Safety Delano Hill got ejected for throwing punches in the Rams game
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And just another fight to add into the mix.

From a team standpoint, it looks horrible. The Seahawks have always had a bad rep, but this just adds fuel to the fire.

So while the Seahawks playoff chances are minimal, I would like to see them go out with some class at the end of this season. We have reached the beginning of the end for the 2017 season, but I feel that we still have a very strong team with a big championship window. We patch up a few holes (trade up for Saquon?!?!?!), figure out some depth, get healthy, and find a way to start better in 2018. No need to drop everything and rebuild, we just have to hop out of the middle of the pack and find a way to be elite again.

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As usual, #GoHawks

Can the Yankees Land Another Top Player This Offseason?

Apparently…

I don’t mean to brag, but I predicted this. In my coaches office, my friend and I were discussing the Yankees next steps, and realized Gerrit Cole was on the trade block. However, we did argue which outfield pieces would be best to trade away for Cole.

With an abundance of outfield talent, the Yankees have to get rid of somebody this offseason. Ideally, it is Jacoby Ellsbury, but he has a no-trade clause that he does not want to use. Plus, nobody really wants him due to his massive contract and sub-par play…not a great combo.

In second place is Aaron Hicks. He is one of the better defensive center fielders in the game with a rocket of an arm.

He is also coming off the best season of his career. His intake will never be higher, so sell on him now.

Brett Gardner is a leader in the clubhouse, and he was an essential part in the Yankees’ success in 2017. In my opinion, these young hitters still need guidance, and a familiar role model to shadow their at-bats over the next few years will help them tremendously. Gardner is that dude, and needs to remain at the top of the lineup at all costs.

Lastly, Clint Frazier is a potential superstar, and we all saw what he was capable of during the summer.

He was always thought to be the future of left field in New York ever since he was the centerpiece of the Andrew Miller deal. But now, we have Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton manning the corner spots for the next ten years.  He is also the most appealing asset out of the Yankee outfielders the Pirates could receive in this deal. So my question is, do we need Frazier?

My answer is yes, but it is also no. Is our window for a championship now? Yes. Is our window also in five or six years from now? Yes. That seems to be the dilemma. Do the Yankees want to solidify their offense for the next decade, or do they want to fix their one problem remaining and be the favorite World Series contender right now. Are we still rebuilding, or are we officially rebuilt? I’d argue our work is done, and it is time to focus on the now.

Sending Red Thunder to Pittsburgh for an ace-caliber pitcher is something that is mouth-watering to think about.

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A 98 MPH two-seam fastball that moves like a lefty slider. I could definitely get used to that. 

Frazier will not reach his max potential for another 3-4 years, and frankly, the Yankees window for a title is open now. Who knows if we will have the same bullpen in four years, or if Sonny Gray will stick around.  Will we be able to resign all these young, budding superstars?

Brett Gardner is the third outfielder right now, he has earned that. Clint is going to be stuck in Triple-A, or be the 5th man up after Hicks. It really hurts trading away somebody with so much talent and “legendary bat speed”, but that’s the price of becoming a complete team.

In my opinion, acquiring Gerrit Cole now makes them by far the most complete team in baseball. Here’s a look at the rotation (assuming C.C. Sabathia is signed and this trade is made):

  1. Luis Severino
  2. Gerrit Cole
  3. Sonny Gray
  4. Masahiro Tanaka
  5. C.C. Sabathia
  6. Jordan Montgomery

Having six capable starters is a luxury, for multiple reasons:

  1. Tanaka is injury prone, and most effective on an extra day of rest. Giving him that added time every week will save him this season, and hopefully avoid another disastrous summer.
  2. Severino and Montgomery are still young, and could benefit from throwing less innings to help their arm in the future. This applies more to Montgomery, considering Sevy is the ace and will need to hold down the fort, but is still an added bonus.
  3. C.C. Sabathia is old as fuck, and those legs holding up 300 lbs can’t trot out there every 5th day.
  4. If somebody does get hurt, we are good to go with five capable starters, as well as Triple-A guys that are able to jump in if the 6-man rotation is working out.

These are luxuries indeed, but this depth is something that is required for a championship team. The last weakness the Yankees find is the rotation, but with the addition of Gerrit Cole and the probable signing of C.C., it could quickly become a strength. The only downside…is parting with Clint Frazier and his wealth of potential. I think that is worth a ring.

 

 

 

The Mariners Have Placed Themselves Right Back into Playoff Contention in 2018

Last night, the Mariners completed a trade for 2-time All Star second baseman Dee Gordon.

With Cano obviously locked in at second base, their plan is to move the speedy Gordon to center field, a position he will have to learn in the next four months. In my opinion, this is a dumb, yet exciting, move defensively, because speed does not always translate to being a good outfielder. He will have to learn how to track balls, get good reads, hit cut-off men, proper decision making, throwing ahead of the runners, and so many other things that go into being an effective center fielder. Can he do it? I believe so. He’s a talented guy, and the Mariners have a plethora of good center fielders who are still heavily involved in the organization to help him out (See below).

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The reason why I really like this move is what it does for the Mariners from a talentperspective. Baseball will never be like basketball, where players can essentially be “positionless”, but it’s turning into a game where athletes are capable of doing a little bit of everything.

Trading for an All-Star, regardless of his baggage (heavy contract and an 80 game suspension in 2016), and only giving up your #7 prospect and another pitcher in return is a steal, I don’t care what anyone says. Dee Gordon is one of the more talented players in baseball, and at 29 years old, still has 4-5 really good years left.

Here’s my projected lineup for them next year, with a few key stats to show they now have some decent depth:

  1. Dee Gordon (.308 BA, 60 SB, 201 H)
  2. Jean Segura (.300 BA, .349 OBP, 157 H)
  3. Robinson Cano (.280 BA, 23 HR, 97 RBI)
  4. Nelson Cruz (.288 BA, 39 HR, 119 RBI-also a man who I thought should have gotten more MVP consideration)
  5. Kyle Seager (27 HR, 88 RBI)
  6. Ryon Healy (see article as he was traded earlier this offseason)
  7. Mitch Haniger (.282 BA)
  8. Mike Zunino (25 HR)
  9. Ben Gamel (.275 BA, .322 OBP)

I think the Mariners are really going to surprise some people next year. Not only this trade, but they are currently in the running for Japanese superstar Shohei Otani, especially since in this trade they also acquired $1 million in international money.

Don’t expect them to be the Mariners of the late 90s/early 2000s, but in an AL West that belongs to the Astros for the next few years, the Mariners will make a strong case for that second wild card spot after finishing a rough 7.0 games out in 2017.

Japanese Television is Always the Answer

Last night, I came across this gem:

That’s correct, loyal BTB readers. That’s possibly the greatest hitter of any generation (if you count the steroids) stepping up to the plate against a man jumping on a trampoline.

Note: I’m not sure what type of trampolines they have in Japan, but this guy has to be over 30 feet in the air. It’s like it’s an American trampoline on roids, which I guess would make it a fair match against Bonds #lmao

I also wonder how much they had to pay Barry Bonds to do this. If I remember correctly, he would not even be in video games. I had to play against some “Reggie Stocker” in MLB 2006 that somehow hit .345 with 54 home runs, until I finally figured out it was him.

My point being, Japanese television fucks.

If you don’t believe me, here’s more proof:

and fuck it, one more:

I don’t know what’s in the water over in Japan, but there is something electric about their energy. They are absolutely fearless. I think we can all learn something from them, and maybe it’s time to take a page out of their playbook instead of starting another season of American Idol that nobody will be watching.