It’s Sunday, May 27, 2018, which if you’re keeping track, is, of course, not Friday, May 25, 2018. (Big, if true.) My goal is for this column to be a Friday staple, but, well, we’ve gotten off to a rocky start. As I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten better with time management, Pomodoro Technique and Coffitivity was a game-changer for perpetual procrastinators like myself, and if you ever see me on my laptop, I can almost guarantee you there will be two Google Chrome tabs open that include both. Every time.
But I still fuck up.
It happens, and you have to roll with it. I didn’t have time Friday to bang out a long, mailbag-style column, so I wrote about something else. I wrote about the Atlanta Hawks and Marvin Bagley III and Luka Doncic and everything surrounding the Hawks No. 3 selection in this summer’s NBA Draft.
So it’s not like I didn’t write Friday. I did, and I like what I was able to put together and hope you did, too. The point is, I wrote, and I wrote to completion. Not writing is one of the easiest things a writer can do. You have this idea that hit harder than a James Harrison tackle while sitting in rush hour traffic, you scramble to write it down, and you make the plan to do something with this idea. I can’t tell you how many times the light bulb has gone off in the shower, in traffic, on the phone with a family member or friend, or even just walking my old-ass dog (he’s fifteen-years-old, his name is Bandit, and he’s the best), but I never get around to following-up on it.
I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to write. I want to write every day. I’ve written all weekend. Tomorrow is Memorial Day, and, yes, I’ll be writing tomorrow, too, because if you type it, you do it, right? (Shit, this is going to be really embarrassing if I don’t end up writing tomorrow.)
The idea for this kind of mailbag is simple: I talk to myself a lot. I got it from my dad, but he’s the Michael Jordan of Guys Who Walk Around The House Talking To Himself level. I’m not there, yet, but it’s in my genes, so it’s probably going to be a thing for me, too. (Early apologies, Future Wife.)
When I talk to myself, though, I’m usually thinking about sports questions or opinions. I can’t help but ask myself, sometimes out loud, how the Hell Mike Moustakas still is not an Atlanta Brave? I ask myself what it says about the Golden State Warriors to need Andre Iguodala as much as they do with four potential HOFers already on the roster. I wonder about why the WWE is even considering bringing back Hulk Hogan in any capacity? I sometimes even wonder if Junior Soprano would have been a good boss of the DiMeo Crime Family had he gotten a real run as boss earlier than when he did.
Coming up with questions to ask myself is not like escaping Alcatraz. It comes naturally, and it’s probably a big reason why I love doing my podcast. Asking other people questions never gets old, asking myself questions never stops.
So that’s why I’m titling this column the “Talkin’ 2 Myself” mailbag. In this column, I’m going to answer my own questions. I’m not going to answer each one the same, some answers will be longer than others. Sometimes, I may even answer my own questions with a 2,000-plus word response, and sometimes it may even result in a simple “no”.
I don’t have all the answers, but I have all of the questions.
First question from the mind of Chase, “Should the Suns really consider trading the No. 1 pick this summer?”
I’m not a fan of the Phoenix Suns, but I love exploring this possibility. Yes, it’s not going to happen and it probably shouldn’t happen, but, if you’re a fan of the team, aren’t you at the very least intrigued by the idea?
In the NBA, the No. 1 overall pick has been traded six times, but the results aren’t terrible. The Cleveland Cavaliers ended up with a five-time All-Star in Brad Daugherty and became a perennial playoff team. The Celtics traded the No. 1 overall pick that ended up becoming Jayson Tatum, and, recency bias aside, looks to be a home run. The Celtics decades ago flipped the No. 1 overall pick for Robert Parish in a deal that, if you ask Celtics fans, would probably be universally praised. (Kevin McHale and Parish went on to win three NBA titles together.)
If general manager Ryan McDonough, takes DeAndre Ayton out of Arizona, it’d make sense. Building around Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, and Ayton is something you can sell. I’m not sure what that means for the futures of Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss, but a young core of Jackson, Bender and Ayton is something.
If McDonough takes Donic, it’d make sense. A Donic and Booker backcourt is something worth exploring. Can it work? Who knows, but if it doesn’t, taking Doncic No. 1 overall would still make sense. Imagine giving McDonough shit for trying to create the next great NBA backcourt with Doncic and Booker. You can’t because it’s very crazy and very stupid.
But to trade this pick would be something else. It’d have to be for Kawhi Leonard. LeBron James isn’t going to Phoenix. The Oklahoma City Thunder aren’t trading Russell Westbrook to the Suns. If Neil Olshey of the Portland Trail Blazers calls asking about the No. 1 pick in exchange for a package built around C.J. McCollum you hang up the phone. If Phoenix were to trade the No. 1 overall pick, you do it for Leonard and only him.
The mind of Chase asks, “ How fucked are the Seattle Mariners?”
This is a simple question, but an interesting one that only requires a simple answer: Very.
This team is 31-20, as of this writing, and this team has a very real shot at the second Wild Card spot this fall over the Los Angeles Angels. The Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees, the Houston Astros and the Cleveland Indians are going to be playing in October. That is happening and done and I don’t like that it’s definitely settled just as much as you, but that’s what’s happening.
So that leaves one spot.
It could be the Mariners or it could be the team with WAR-leading Mike Trout and Shohei Otani and Justin Upton and other guys who are very good at baseball. The Mariners just lost Robinson Cano to an 80-game suspension, the starting rotation is less than ideal, and there is a very real chance if this team doesn’t make the playoffs this season there will be major changes in Seattle this winter.
So, yes, the Mariners are fucked, but they could still make the playoffs, I guess.
The mind of Chase asks, “When do you think The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan will happen?”
Summerslam is the only answer. WrestleMania is too far out, and the Royal Rumble match itself would overshadow it. That leaves that big pay-per-view this summer.
Once The Miz was moved over to Smackdown Live from Monday Night Raw, the fantasy booking surrounding the A-Lister and Bryan kicked into high gear. This is the match every professional wrestling fan has been waiting for ever since that infamous segment on Talking Smack. You can only tease an event like this for so long before pulling the trigger. It should take place at Summerslam, and it should draw the biggest reaction of any potential match in the WWE in 2018
The mind of Chase asks, “What if the Tampa Bay Rays are still in the AL Wild Card race this fall?”
Oh, man. I want this to happen so bad. As a non-fan of the Rays, and any team trying to tank only to end up being a lot better than they expected, I really enjoy this. The Rays gave away Corey Dickerson -- who is picking up where he left off with the Pittsburgh Pirates this season -- and have been rumored to be interesting in trading ace Chris Archer since the Ronald Reagan administration, but they’re still fine.
This club, somehow, has the third-best team batting average, per Baseball Reference, but I’m not totally sure how that’s possible even with Mallex Smith, C.J. Cron and Matt Duffy doing stuff. This team hits with a hodgepodge cast of characters, and, as of this writing, are 24-26. What if, instead of exploring trading one of their two or three starting pitchers, the Rays explored going for it? In a season where manager Kevin Cash has elected to test out “The Opener”, why not try an even bolder strategy in Central Florida: Be buyers at the deadline.
Rather than continue to trade guys like Archer and Blake Snell and Sergio Romo, what if this organization made calls to the Chicago White Sox about Jose Abreu, or the Detroit Tigers about Miguel Cabrera or Victor Martinez, or even the Kansas City Royals about Danny Duffy.
The Rays are going to hang around, so rather than continue to gut the team, what if ownership and the front office elected to just go for it this summer and play spoiler to one of the American League behemoths? That’s the kind of stuff that makes sports fun, and that’s what I want to see. Go for it, Tampa. You have my blessing.