Gerald McCoy's Impact In Carolina, Cam Newton's Shoulder Status, and Ron Rivera's New Defense With Cat Scratch Reader's Brian Beversluis

Chase Thomas is joined by Cat Scratch Reader's Brian Beversluis to talk about the Panthers' tumultuous 2018 NFL season, the big-time addition of Gerald McCoy, how it affects Kawan Short, the possibility McCoy has hit Father Time, Ron Rivera's defensive scheme changes, why the Panthers' defense has gotten progressively worse, the health of Cam Newton, how Norv Turner has helped him and the offense, the state of the o-line and the brutal NFC South.

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DC United Is Back? Plus, Atlanta United's Rocky Season and What Is the Open Cup Anyway With Red and Black United's Jason Anderson

Chase Thomas is joined by Black And Red United's Jason Anderson to talk about DC United's solid 2018-19 season thus far, the addition of Wayne Rooney, moving over to Audi Field late last season, the team's young, intriguing players, the Montreal Impact's poor goal differential, Atlanta United starting to get it together, and MLS storylines we're interested in for the second half of the season.

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KD's Injury and NBA Finals Game 5 Aftermath, Lakers Getting AD, and Lindsay Gottlieb in Cleveland With NBA Canada's Carlan Gay

Chase Thomas is joined by NBA.com's Carlan Gay to talk about a wild Game 5 in the NBA Finals, the aftermath of Kevin Durant's injury, the play of DeMarcus Cousins, how the Raptors can win Game 6 or 7, Durant's free agency choices, the Lakers getting involved in the Anthony Davis sweepstakes again, why the Knicks shouldn't be in, what the Celtics can do, and the Cavs hiring another college coach to their staff with Lindsay Gottlieb. 

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The Rangers Are Rolling, Braves Sign Keuchel, and the Mariners Suck Again With Yahoo Sports' Chris Cwik

Chase Thomas is joined by Yahoo Sports' Chris Cwik to talk about the Texas Rangers being in the playoffs if they started today, their awesome gamble on Mike Minor, their lack of offensive talent outside of Joey Gallo, the AL not having any real contenders, Dallas Keuchel going to the Braves, Atlanta's rotation problems continue with Newcomb and Gausman, the Braves not moving some of their young arms for veteran talent, the Mariners falling off a cliff, if this is it for Jerry DiPoto, and Seattle's historically bad defense. 


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NFL Offseason Mailbag With PFF's Austin Gayle

Chase Thomas is joined by Pro Football Focus' Austin Gayle to talk about Trent Williams and how worried should teams be about his recent PFF-grade slide, will the Patriots shifting focus from TEs to WRs drastically change how the Pats operate on offense, what is the final number for Dak Prescott going to be and can the Cowboys still win a Super Bowl once it’s signed, have the Eagles fixed their secondary problem, which unit finishes better from PFF this year: Oakland’s offense or defense, did the Packers add enough WR help for Aaron Rodgers this summer, are we all a year or two early on the Browns, can you sell Giants fans on the offense being better in 2019, will Bears fans notice the difference between Vangio’s defense and Pagano’s, rank the 4 NFC North QBs, does it matter that with Doug Baldwin retiring Wilson has basically nobody to throw to now, better chance at ROTY: Bush or Johnson for Pittsburgh, highest graded offensive player for San Fran this year, is Kirk Cousins a good fit for Kubiak’s scheme, if Broncos defense is in the top-3 or 5, is that enough to make the playoffs, who leads KC in rushing by the end of the season, biggest obstacle for the Rams to not get back to the SB, do the Redskins have enough RBs to the win the NFC East, Jets have enough pass rush to compete in the AFC East, and oes it matter who starts at center for the Saints?

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What Would Make the Lakers Favorites to Win the 2020 NBA Title

Depending on which sports book you are looking at, you might see the Los Angeles Lakers listed with the best betting odds to win the 2020 NBA title. Yes, the franchise that has had the summer from Hell, from a general manager that lies about Heath Ledger and Kobe Bryant rendezvous, to a shadow owner who was revealed to be Linda Rambis, to a former executive who can’t stop burying the Lakers and sending out some room-temperature tweets, not to mention the franchise just missed the playoffs again to continue their downward spiral to Knicks West. If you have been paying attention at all over the past few months, the idea that the Lakers could win the title next season, much less even contend for the title, is unbelievable.

But it’s the Lakers.

Nothing out of this organization should surprise us anymore. Nothing. So why are we all struggling to wrap our heads around the Lakers stumbling back into title contention next season? Would that not be on-brand for this franchise at this point to blow our minds once more, just in a positive manner this time? If Kobe Bryant were to be named Assistant General Manager under Rob Pelinka this summer, we’d all understand. If Jeannie Buss were to make Jason Kidd the highest paid assistant coach in the NBA, we’d all understand. (Wait, what, that already happened? Damn.) If Phil Jackson was given Magic Johnson’s role after Page Six reports Buss and Phil are back together, we’d all understand. This is the Lakers. Or Klutch’s NBA team. It just depends on who you ask, right?

The Toronto Raptors may have just won the NBA title, but there is a very real chance that they’re a memorable, fun one-and-done story. If Kawhi Leonard departs, one would think they’ll tear it all down. That removes the defending champs from the equation, but what of the runner-ups? Well, they’re all injured and the Golden State Warriors will in all likelihood follow LeBron’s seemingly enjoyable gap year -- err, vacation? --  in Los Angeles last year with their own metaphorical semester abroad. Then there are the Milwaukee Bucks, who will have to overpay at least one role player this summer; then there are the Philadelphia 76ers, who will try to fill out their bench while also keeping together an increasingly expensive starting five; then there are the Boston Celtics, who may still trade for Anthony Davis even if Rich Paul and Davis open their introductory press conference by saying he is most definitely still outta’ here after next season.

It’s wide-open.

Part of the reason it is so wide-open is basically everybody is a free agent, and that includes the Lakers, who signed, roughly, 43 guys to one-year deals last summer to ensure they were major players in free agency this summer. The Clippers, that other LA team, operated roughly the same way, just with a better owner, a better front office, a better coach, and a better supporting cast for a superstar to join. If the New York Knicks had landed the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, it wouldn’t be all that crazy to assume they’d be betting favorites to win the title next season. However, Kevin Durant’s injury complicates this hypothesis, as you’d need a healthy Durant, Zion Williamson and Kyrie Irving to make this Instant Contender soup. In an absolute stunner, though, shit went south for the Knicks and they’re on the outside looking in. (Who is going to be their Amare Stoudemire signing this summer? My money is on Tobias Harris. Yeesh.)

It seems like everything has to start with Davis for Los Angeles. If Pelinka pulls it off, even if it means giving up all the damn assets the Lakers have left, they’re immediately the most appetizing spot for both role players and one final star to hitch his wagon to. Davis and LeBron is a scary proposition, potentially spacing issues aside, but more than that, with LeBron and Davis under secured, you have two top-10 players in basketball and that is enough to warrant contendership-status. Most teams spend years, shoutout to Daryl Morey, just to nab one, and the Lakers would immediately have two.

Everything gets easier after the Davis domino falls. Like last summer, the Lakers have to win in free agency. Unlike last summer, the Lakers don’t need to attract the best player on the planet. No, they just need to attract one of the 20-best talents on the planet in Butler. The former Marquette wing will have his suitors, and has she showed in the playoffs this season, having a two-way wing like Butler is a nice thing to have. It helps that LeBron has reportedly already reached out to Butler about joining the Lakers. However, if you’re Butler, you don’t entertain leaving the Sixers, assuming they offer him the max, without the Davis deal already having gone down. You need to know you won’t be tasked with finding a way to score enough points to survive with LeBron, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball on the floor. Butler is at a stage in his career, both from age and injuries, where surrounding him with a mixture of win-now guys and might-be-good-one-day guys is no longer on the menu. This has to be a group like the 2019 Warriors -- a plethora of star veterans and replaceable bench guys.

But if the Lakers trade for Davis and sign Butler, what does their backcourt look like? Paying LeBron $35-plus million, along with trading for Davis and signing Butler, that doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room to put together a backcourt that jumps off the page. So what if post-Davis, the Lakers are faced with paying a star wing or a star guard to flank LeBron and Davis? The good news is that LeBron has won championships in both scenarios both in Miami and Cleveland. So if you’re LA, though, who makes more sense to pay for four years -- Butler or Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker, or, wait for it, D’Angelo Russell? Do you go the Milwaukee route with Giannis and just add two role player guards like Eric Bledsoe and Malcolm Brogdon to flank your star wings in LeBron and Butler like Giannis and Middleton? Or do you go the 2015 Cleveland route and just add one superstar guard in Kemba or Kyrie or Russell and bring in J.R. Smith to flank him for a year? If this is the choice the Lakers are faced with, you can understand why Vegas likes them next year -- both avenues could lead to a title, health permitting.

But how tasty would a D’Lo return in Los Angeles be, especially after the way Magic left the organization. The guy Magic clearly wasn’t a fan of, coming back, and becoming LeBron’s New Kyrie next to the King and Davis. As long as Nick Young isn’t involved, this would be incredible. (Wait, actually, if Young was involved, it would still be incredible.) LeBron has already told the All-Star he’s proud of his development in Brooklyn and he just seems like the perfect personality and playmaker to assist LeBron late in games, especially in the playoffs. Sure, the defensive upside isn’t comparable to a Butler/LeBron/Davis trio, but, at the very least, you’ll know this trio would have the shooting to survive.

Kawhi still exists, though. The Claw may very well be the best basketball player on the planet, and you’d think if he stays in Toronto or sets sail to the Clippers, that team should be the favorite. But winning by yourself without another superstar(s) to shoulder the burden is hard, and Kawhi showed signs of being absolutely gassed and hobbled in the Finals. Maybe it’s not crazy to assume Kawhi’s body can’t handle back-to-back deep playoff runs on a team devoid of other superstar talent. If Kyrie goes to Brooklyn, Butler stays in Philly or goes to the Lakers, who else is there for Kawhi to partner with. This summer, LeBron and the Lakers will be speed dating, while the Kawhi and his team may parsing through the Yellow Pages trying to find Tobias Harris’ phone number.

Poor Kevin Love, too. The guy had an injury-riddled season in Cleveland, signed a huge contract, and he can’t rejoin his former co-star in LA because of the Lakers’ bonker cap sheet, or lack thereof. When it was revealed that Kyrie and Love and LeBron reconnected midseason, it was maybe my favorite off-the-court moment in the NBA this season. I really enjoyed that trio in Cleveland, and it really sucked to see it end the way it did. Outside of maybe LeBron, it looks as though everyone involved would have been better off sticking together a while longer. Seeing that trio try to capture magic once again, but this time in Laker Land would have just been really cool and something we rarely see in sport -- a dynasty do-over. Instead, we find Love in a hopeless place. Somebody save everyone’s favorite Banana Republic model, please?

Rob Pelinka, err, Klutch Sports (?), err, Linda Rambis, pulling this off would be something else. Like the Knicks with Steve Mills and James Dolan, it’s fair to remain dubious about their chances of landing one superstar, much less two in the same offseason. This stuff changes fast, just look at Brooklyn swooping in with a Crabbe Attack and clearing enough room to sign to max slots. The Knicks really believed they were getting Durant and Kyrie this summer to pair with a lottery pick, and it looks like Mills and Friends will end up with Harris and R.J. Barrett. Holy yikes, Batman. Now, the Lakers believe they’re going to finally get Davis and add one more star from LeBron’s contact list. Things change. Fast.

Ultimately, though, this is good news for people who like seeing the best player in the world play on good basketball teams. Watching LeBron try and make it work with the young guns in Los Angeles this season was rough. At 33-years-old, LeBron should be playing with younger stars who can shoulder more of the burden so he can turn it on in the playoffs a few more times. LeBron just missing the playoffs, injuries aside, just shouldn’t happen yet. Basketball fans should want to see LeBron play on one last contender before Father Time breaks through that cryogenic chamber he maintains in every offseason. I want Davis in LA. I want Russell in LA. I want the Lakers to be good. Mostly, I want to hear one day about the time Pelinka got LeBron James a meeting with Bart Starr this fall to pick the brain of an original champion.

No, the Braves Should Not Be the Favorites to Win the NL East After Signing Dallas Keuchel

Two things can be true: the Atlanta Braves signing free agent starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel is good move and the Atlanta Braves signing free agent starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel does not mean they are the team to beat in the NL East. Had the Braves signed free agent closer Craig Kimbrel the Braves should not have been seen as the favorites in the NL East, but it would have inched them closer than Keuchel. No, the only type of move that would have accurately placed the Braves in the “Favorites to win the NL East” category had to occur during the offseason when superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper were available for the taking. Instead, the Braves shopped at Lucille Bluth’s least-favorite store, Quantity Plus, and inked Josh Donaldson and Nick Markakis to one-year, cheap-as-hell deals hoping that this inexcusable follow-up to a 90-win season would result in something close to another 90-win season.

And they’ll probably be close.

According to Fangraphs’ playoff odds, the Braves have the highest playoff odds of any team in the NL East as of this writing. Cool. If I were a betting man, I would bet on both the Braves and Phillies making the playoffs this season fall -- the Phils winning the division, the Braves winning one of the wild card spots. While the Phillies’ outfield has been ravaged by injuries and off-the-field matters, the Braves have seen Josh Donaldson play in 60 games, Austin Riley scorch the earth with his obscene power, and Luke Jackson emerge as a “He just might be OK for this season” guy in the closer spot.  If there was ever a time to make the case that the Braves, not the Phillies, should be considered the favorites to win the NL East, that time is now.

But the baseball season is a long one. As painful as it was for Philadelphia to lose Andrew McCutchen after the season he was having, there was a Adam Haseley waiting in the wings. Haseley, of course, was the team’s 2017 first-round pick who, because June is clearly not the Phillies’ month, immediately got injured himself. Throw in the Odubel Herrera awfulness, and suddenly that super Philly outfield doesn’t look so superb. This is why you don’t just sign McCutchen and call it an offseason like the Braves did with Nick Markakis. The Phillies traded for JT Realmuto, who is tied with Freddie Freeman in WAR at 2.5; the Phillies traded for Jean Segura, who, you guessed it, has been better than Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies and Josh Donaldson this season; the Phillies even signed this cat named Bryce Harper just because their owner wanted to spend “stupid money” and did just that. (Spending money to ensure your on-field product is good? Quite the novel concept.)

On the flip side, the Braves’ key contributors have stayed healthy. Freeman is having another MVP-like season at first base; Ronald Acuna Jr. is back in the leadoff spot and is going to be awesome for the next decade; like previously mentioned, Donaldson has played in 60 games and already has more plate appearances than he did in all of 2018. But Donaldson is 33-years-old and has seen his games-played number drop in each of the last three seasons. Then you have Dr. Thunder in human form, Nick Markakis, who, early in the season had certain Atlanta sports radio hosts celebrating his return and laughing at Harper’s rough start in Philly. Because Harper is a superstar in his prime and Markakis most certainly is not, this was always a foolish take. Flash forward to June 9 and Harper has a WAR of 1.9, a WRC+ of 116 while Markakis has a 0.3 WAR and painfully average WRC+ of 100. But it could be worse; he could be in the disastrous Ender Inciarte zone, where you have 140 plate appearances and a 63 WRC+. (Do we get into Swanson and Albies quietly regressing back to average hitters? No? OK, another piece on another day, perhaps.

Maybe the most frustrating thing about looking at this Philadelphia team if you’re a Braves fan is that the former’s two best hitters, Realmuto and Harper, could have easily been Braves. If you’d like to see what a NL East favorite looks like, not even for just this season, it’s that Atlanta lineup with one or both of Realmuto and Harper. Acuna and Freeman and Riley sounds like a dangerous wild card team; Acuna and Freeman and Harper and Realmuto -- Riley is wearing a Marlins jersey right now if the latter is a Brave -- sounds like a NL East juggernaut for the next several years. Perhaps the most frustrating part of this dream scenario for Atlanta fans is how feasible it was this offseason. Atlanta could have trumped Philadelphia’s offer for Realmuto, and Atlanta could have signed Harper or even Machado to what they ended up signing for if the Braves weren’t a real-estate first endeavor for Liberty Media. So, tell me again why the team that showed a commitment to winning this offseason and currently resides in first place is no longer the favorite in the NL East because of the addition of a player who isn’t in the lineup everyday?

Right now, the Phillies are down. Right now, the Braves are up. But according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, the Phillies will be “in on everything” ahead of July 31’s MLB Trade Deadline. If the Braves were in a similar spot, with Markakis and Donaldson going down with injuries, would you expect to read that same kind of piece on MLB.com? And if you would, would you believe it? Would you believe this team would go get Starling Marte like the Phillies might? Would you believe this team would continue adding payroll to ensure on-field success? Or would you expect them to go the way of the Cleveland Indians and take the “Thoughts And Prayers” route?

READ: I Don’t Have Enough Time For Everything

Had the Phillies not been aggressive this offseason, I could understand the skepticism about this club being the favorites in the NL East in 2019. I mean, this is an organization that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2011. But this team said they would spend and they did. By acquiring Realmuto and Segura and by signing Harper,  the Phillies earned the benefit of the doubt were things ever to go awry in 2019. Things have started go awry. To fend off a healthy Braves team, they will have to be proactive. Are we really betting on the team that signed Harper and traded for Realmuto and Segura in the same offseason isn’t going to continue being aggressive?

I can’t do it. I can’t bank on the team that banked on Donaldson and Markakis over Realmuto and Harper. I can’t bank on a team that won 90 games a season ago and saw their payroll decrease in the following season. I can’t bank on a team that operates more like the Indians than the Red Sox or Yankees.

I just can’t.

AEW's Perfect PPV Debut, Jon Moxley's Pipebomb Podcast, and WWE's Creative Direction With Kate Foray

Chase Thomas is joined by longtime pro wrestling fan Kate Foray to talk about AEW's "Double Or Nothing" PPV, what made the event a success, how AEW will handle their roster's commitments going forward, if Britt Baker is the star of the Women's Division, Kenny Omega starting 0-2 in AEW, Jon Moxley's insane debut, his comments on Talk Is Jericho, if WWE and Vince McMahon will change to adapt to the times, a bad week of RAW and Smackdown Live, who Brock Lesnar should cash-in on and if it's time for Undisputed Era to win all the titles in NXT.

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I Don't Have Enough Time For Everything

The older you get, the more you find yourself thinking about time. It is an unavoidable part of becoming an adult.  At 28-years-old, I have never been more cognizant of time. My days, even my weekends, are organized around some sort of schedule and routine to ensure I get what I need to get done, you know, done. A novel concept, to be sure, but when you mature and are a little less of a dipshit and start prioritizing your time on a more granular level one thing becomes crystal clear: you do not have much time. Between all the articles I have to read, the articles I have to write, the day job I have to work, and even that precious sleep that I have to get, there are only so many hours left to watch the shows I want to binge, the movies I want to view, and the games I have to see.

I simply need more time.

Unfortunately, God hates sportswriter with a propensity to curse, so divine intervention probably isn’t in the cards. So, I have to give up something. To maintain a healthy work-life balance, something has to give. I can’t watch everything. I can’t even read everything. We do the best we can with what we’re given, and, as of this writing, I am at a place where I am trying to keep up with too much in sports.

Wait, what?

Too much sports?

As someone who has known what they wanted to be since they were getting up early on Saturday mornings to read the sports section of the newspaper, this kind of sentiment seems preposterous. And, perhaps, it kind of is. If I want to be really good at writing about sports, I have to be really good at watching a lot of sports. You can’t have one without the other. But I don’t have time to watch it all. This is a feeling I haven’t been able to shake since last fall when my weekends were gobbled up by college football games on Saturdays and professional football games on Sunday and, oh, you know, more college football games on Thursdays and more professional football games on Mondays. I was overwhelmed trying to stay on top of Cole McDonald leading Hawaii back into the national spotlight with the return of their spectacular run-and-gun offense while also being tasked with trying to stay on top of how Stephon Gilmore became one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL with the Patriots.  

It was just too much.

Once both seasons came to a close, I knew I needed to make a change. I did not want to spend the rest of my adult life having so much of my time tied to sports -- both college and pro. As much as we all love our cake and want to eat it, too, it only leads to an upset stomach. Watching four or five college games a week along with watching four or five NFL games a week is not something I want to do forever.

But it’s more than that; it’s not just that this model isn’t sustainable, it’s that I feel as though the more variety in my football-viewing consumption, the less I feel I know about everything. There is a reason that now, more than ever, sportswriters are finding a niche and sticking to it. Less general sports columns, more NBA film reviews. Rather than know a little bit about everything, sportswriters now would rather know a lot about something. From Zach Lowe to Buster Olney to Aaron Schatz to Bill Connelly to Tom Ziller to Matt Moore to Kevin Clark, the list goes on and on. The best sportswriters today all write about one thing.

This shouldn’t come as any sort of surprise, as it should have been obvious from the start that if you want to be a very good NBA writer you need to watch a very healthy amount of the NBA. To be the next Zach Lowe you have to skip that Sunday Night Football broadcast on NBC for a Kings vs. Suns game on NBA League Pass. There just isn’t enough time for both along with a healthy work-life balance. There simply isn’t enough time to watch it all.

But I think there is a middle ground. Rather than finding my niche in one particular sport that so many people on the internet blogosphere have done, eliminating the collegiate and amateur ranks from my viewing rolodex just might be the answer. College football fans, I’ve noticed, do this already with MLB. (Just take a look at UGA reporter Logan Booker’s Twitter timeline.) Since college baseball isn’t a revenue-generating sport, it isn’t on television all that often so Georgia fans, rather than spending a Tuesday night watching UGA baseball on CBS, watch the Atlanta Braves on Fox Sports South. If they want to watch a local baseball team they have to watch the Braves. Maybe it is a coincidence that so many Georgia football and basketball fans care so much about the Braves and so little about the Diamond Dawgs. I don’t believe that is the case. The content just isn’t available, so they don’t have to make a choice between the Braves and the Dawgs every night, the channel guide makes it for them. Like everything else in 2019, content, or lack thereof in case, trumps all.

RELATED: Do the Clippers Have a Better Young Core Than the Hawks?

It’s frustrating, though, that I wouldn’t have to be making these sort of compromises if college football and college basketball hadn’t become the behemoths they have become over the years. But I suspect even those that claim to be big college basketball fans did not watch a healthy dose of Seton Hall, Stanford and Alabama basketball throughout the course of the season. It was, likely, just a March Madness bender. What is the point of watching any of it if you can’t watch enough of it to be comfortable voicing any sort of strong, educated opinion on the subject? There is a reason we value the Todd McShay’s and the Jonathan Givony’s of the world -- their opinions hold weight because they actually do watch enough to form strong, educated opinions on the storylines and players in the amateur ranks. I’d love to be able to tell you a lot about Cam Reddish’s game, but I didn’t watch a Duke game all season, so I’m not going to do anything of the sort. If I can’t accrue enough game-watching and article-reading moments in time for that particular league, why bother at all?

Fuck it.

But with college football it’s different. I grew up in the suburbs of Atlanta, and, folks, let me tell you, it just -- I’m so sorry -- means more here. Not caring about college football in the fall is an easy way to find yourself ostracized in most social settings. Now, if you’re a 20-something in Atlanta who abstains from college football and alcohol, in the words of that Very Bad Man in TAKEN, “Good Luck.” As a loner since birth, the subtraction of college football from my life isn’t all that concerning. As a family-minded person since birth, the subtraction of college football from my life is concerning. My dad, my brother, my mom, my uncles, my cousins, my grandparents, and so many other humans that I really care about all really care about their teams -- Tennessee, Georgia, Florida State, Alabama, etc. If there was a family gathering I was present at in the last 28 years that didn’t include at least a bit of college football talk, I had to have dreamed it. My family loves arguing about college football almost as much Erick Erickson loves boycotting Asian food on December 7.

But I’m OK with not talking about it anymore. I have long been annoyed with the NCAA, have long found it gross that not every professional league follows the MLB or NHL model -- or even the European Soccer Prodigy model -- when it comes to athletes having to go to college when they shouldn’t have to. I have long been annoyed at the growing plutocracy in college football where only a handful of teams can win a title by virtue of just recruiting extremely well for a four-year stretch. I have long been annoyed with just arguing with my family about college football and, really, just having an opinion about it at all. (Have you ever listened to other people talk about a subject you don’t already have an opinion on? It’s delightful.) I want to know nothing. I want to know as little about Washington’s defense as Vince McMahon knows about creativity in 2019.

Still, there will be casualties. I’ll have less things in common with people I care about, but that is unavoidable if I want my fall back. Maybe one day, instead of ever paying players, college sports is just removed from America’s television screens and we can all watch the same stuff and be happy and, wow, that is never happening. I will sacrifice Thanksgiving arguments with uncles for Saturday nights at the movies with absolute zero hesitation.

I want more balance. I want to just focus on the professionals. I want to watch professional actors on the big screen; I want to watch professional actors on the small screen; I want to watch professional athletes on all the screens; I even want to watch professional wrestlers on all the screens. I can keep up with MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, MLS, WWE, and the Premier League. I cannot keep up with all of those sports along with their amateur counterparts. I tried and I hated it. I hated not knowing enough to feel confident in my perspectives. So, I’ll do what Georgia football and basketball fans do when it comes to their baseball team -- I’ll just watch the pros.

NBA Finals Preview, Rockets Suddenly In Disarray, and Kyrie Could Be A Net With Jared Dubin

Chase Thomas is joined by veteran NBA writer Jared Dubin to talk about his note-taking work covering the league, how taking notes has changed his view of the game, how the Raptors should fair against the Warriors in the Finals, the potential return of OG Anunoby for the Raptors, who guards Kawhi, Danny Green getting back on track, the absence of Kevin Durant, if Dwane Casey could have done this, Draymond's biggest roadblock against Toronto, the Rockets' weird offseason moves, moving on from Mike D'Antoni, Chris Paul's contract and playing status, the Knicks and Lakers actually landing stars this summer, and whether it not it's wise for the Nets to sign both D'Angelo Russell and Kyrie Irving to massive contracts this summer.

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Oilers Hire Holland And Tippett, Bruins Steal Game 1 Against St. Louis, and DJ Smith Taking A Risk In Ottawa With Tyler Yaremchuk of Oilers Nation

Chase Thomas is joined by Oilers Nation's Tyler Yaremchuk to talk about his Edmonton Oilers shaking up the front office, hiring Ken Holland after weird GM search, bringing David Tippett out of retirement, how Connor McDavid could get better, offseason strategy for Edmonton, the Blues missing their shot in Game 1 versus Boston, if the Blues can make this a series, DJ Smith taking the Ottawa Senators job, and Mike Modano returning to his roots in Minnesota. 

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Do the Clippers Have a Better Young Core Than the Hawks?

Wait, what?

The Los Angeles Clippers? That scrappy underdog unit led by Lou Williams, Pat Beverley and Danilo Gallinari? That Clipper team?

Yes, that Clipper team.

While most casual basketball fans may associate Doc Rivers’ team with scrappy veterans that overachieved this season, there is a lot more to this collection of players than that overachieving Phoenix Suns team under Jeff Hornacek a few years back. Like that Phoenix team led by a never-ending supply of pretty solid point guards, it was strange to see them thrive. You look at their win-loss record with the same raised eyebrow one makes when one finds the President of the United States made some notes for a speech in the Rose Garden -- something seems off. But that Phoenix team was weird, which is exactly what a team lead by Lou, Beverley and Gallinari in 2019 had to be -- weird. Sometimes, weird teams win a lot of games -- shoutout to the 2019 Best Team In Baseball As Of This Writing Minnesota Twins! -- and that is OK.

But there is more meat on this Los Angeles Clipper bone. (What is the ship-equivalent of a human bone? Asking for a friend who is much better at ship-to-human analogies.) There was the emergence of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as a do-it-all guard who may not go Full Rondo with his jumper. There was the Tobias Harris deal that landed the Clippers the long, range-y guard Landry Shamet. There was even the arrival of Montrezl Harrell as the perfect pick-and-roll big in today’s NBA. Similar to the Atlanta Hawks, the Clippers have three young pieces -- two guards, one big -- that are all kinds of intriguing. But while everybody is talking about the Atlanta’s young core led by Trae Young, nobody is talking about a big who could win the Sixth Man of the Year Award, a guard who bested Trae in ESPN’s RPM, and another guard who bested Kevin Huerter in ESPN’s RPM.

So why isn’t this Clipper 3 garnering the same sort of hype the Hawk 3 is? Well, Trae Young can shoot and pass the basketball quite well, if you did not already know. Out of the six players discussed in this piece, it is fair to assign the former Oklahoma Sooner as the young gun with the highest upside. He doesn’t have Luka Doncic upside, to be sure, and, look, if the Hawks could have taken a player like Luka in last year’s NBA Draft, they obviously would have because that was the obvious move. But Trae is going to score a lot points and make a lot of assists and appear in a number of All-Star games and Three-Point Contests. Trae Young will always be fun but who knows if he will always better than SGA?

SGA, like Young, had to work his way into the starting lineup in Los Angeles to usurp the sitting, veteran guard in from of them. For SGA, it took three weeks before he was handed the keys on what would be a playoff team in the West. Unlike Young, SGA has a 7-foot wingspan, and has the look and feel of a guard who will one day at excel at guarding all five positions. While Trae will be target on pick-and-rolls over and over again in the playoffs to the point where even Hawk fans will wonder if he is even playable in critical moments, that same late-game uncertainty doesn’t exist for the former Kentucky guard because his jumper is just good enough to keep defenses honest.  For all the concern over SGA’s jumper, the rookie did shoot above league-average from deep at 36 percent. As a rookie.

But then you read what great coaches and great players see with SGA and it becomes clear this kid absolutely deserves the same sort of Future Star Guard hype that has already been bestowed on Young.

From Steve Kerr in Complex:

“He’s a really good player,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “For a rookie, to come in and attack with the confidence the way he did, that shows you what he’s about. I thought he was great. He really hurt us, especially in that first half and I thought we did a better job on him in the second half. He’s got a great future.”

To start all but nine games on a team that won 48 games and made the playoffs in a deeper conference has to mean something.

Garnering this kind of praise from Kevin Durant, also from Complex, has to mean more: “I seen Shai come out and wanted to impose his will in the game early,” Durant said. “He played with no fear tonight and that’s what kept them in the game most of the game.”

Are we sure Jimmy Butler figures to utter similar words about Trae Young in a first-round series in the 2020 Eastern Conference Playoffs?

I have my doubts.

But then you look at Landry Shamet. An overlooked piece in the Tobias Harris trade that spent the first half of the NBA season under the tutelage of the player he grew up idolizing -- JJ Redick. Shamet was another Clipper rookie who was a net-positive for a 48-win team -- +5.6 per 100 possessions -- and, you know, shot 45 percent from 3 with the Clippers.

And then you look at how he functioned next to SGA, the guard he figures to play next to for a long time in Los Angeles, and The Ringer’s Paulo Uggetti found that this duo is going to be just fine writing:

“The rookie backcourt of Shamet and Gilgeous-Alexander has now started 27 games together, and, during the regular season, the Clippers had a plus-4.1 net rating when they were both on the floor—SGA’s most effective combination with any teammate he played next to for at least 60 minutes.”

On the flip side, the Young and Huerter combination ushered in a less-than-inspiring -3.4 on the floor together per 100 possessions. Sure, this was a bad team so there were negative two-man lineups galore, but with Young posting one of the worst Defensive RPM’s ever, Huerter almost has to become an All-NBA worthy defender to make that combo work long-term. Those same backcourt worries don’t persist in Los Angeles. That has to matter.

And then you have the So Damn Fun Center Montrezl Harrell, who may very well be four years older than offensive-rebounding machine John Collins, but found a niche with less long-term concern. There is no doubt that Harrell is a five, but what is Collins? Can you really survive with Collins and another big on the floor in the playoffs? If Collins can’t move and defend fives at some point, can he really be considered a core piece or is he really just another Jerami Grant in Oklahoma City?

It’s tough.

Like Collins, Harrell isn’t a great defender. Unlike Collins, Harrell doesn’t gobble up offensive rebounds like Hermione Granger gobble up books. But we know who he is. We know he is one of the most efficient bigs in the league who is always going to bring the mother-f*cking...you know the rest. We also know he is a hard-worker who tweeted out “MIP” prior to the 2018-19 season.

This little nugget from Clips Nation doesn’t hurt, either:

“Through six games, Trez leads the Clippers in: blocks per game, block percentage, player efficiency rating, defensive box plus/minus, box plus/minus, win shares per 48 minutes, and defensive win shares. He is only allowing opponents to shoot 40.8 percent from the field when he is guarding them, and has a defensive rebounding percentage of 24.6 percent, third best on the team.”

But Collins shoots corner 3s, and Collins started nabbing some awesome chase-down blocks, and Collins is several years younger. This battle could go either way, really, but if the choice is Jerami Grant or Maybe Clint Capela, you lean toward the latter every time, right?

This is what makes these two teams so interesting. While certain sports radio hosts in Atlanta call for Durant to consider the Hawks and all of their cap space and tantalizing young pieces this summer, the Clippers have all that and more. They have the veterans who were bamboozled at how they were supposed to defend such a brilliant isolation scorer, they have the young backcourt who figure to gel perfectly with a superstar wing who will command the majority of the attention, and they have the big who can be just the spark they need win the shots aren’t falling.

Yes, the Hawks’ three is intriguing, especially offensively, but to ignore what the Clippers have in SGA, Shamet and Harrell is patently absurd. If you’re Durant or Kawhi Leonard which of those young three pieces would you go to bet on to go to battle with you come playoff time? Something tells me the answer lies in Los Angeles.

AEW Double Or Nothing Could Not Have Come at a Better Time

Remember New Japan Pro Wrestling? Remember Ring of Honor? Remember Impact Wrestling? ‘Member? Yeah, I ‘member, too. It wasn’t all that long ago that so many professional wrestling fans swarmed New York City to overwhelm themselves with professional wrestling. Yes, WrestleMania & NXT: TakeOver is cool, but what makes WrestleMania Weekend (trademark?) extremely cool is that everybody gets in on the action. If sitting around for seven-effing hours for a Very OK Wrestling Show isn’t your thing, you have a multitude of other options at your disposal. As a professional wrestling extremely bored with the WWE product at the moment, just having stark contrasts to the former’s product is a delight -- yes, diversity? Actually good. One of the biggest reasons that NXT works, especially at TakeOver events, is because of the stark contrast to the main product in length, characters and feel.

That’s what makes AEW putting on their first Pay-Per-View Double Or Nothing tonight so exciting -- you don’t know if it’ll be good but you know it will be different. You know you won’t feel like you normally do when you sit through a standard, forgettable WWE Network special. All In last year was a perfectly fine appetizer, but Double Or Nothing is the main course. There are stakes. There are cancelled matches. There are mystery debuts on the horizon. Double Or Nothing could signal the start of something special -- a real, consistent alternative to a WWE product that has never been more unorganized and more lifeless.

Timing is a funny thing like that -- had AEW put on their first show later this summer around SummerSlam, it may have found itself lost in the pro-wrestling shuffle. As bad as the current product is in WWE right now, fans inevitably find themselves drawn back into the company around this time because of how good SummerSlam and NXT: TakeOvers typically are. Instead, this event happens when WWE ratings are plummeting, the USA Network is reportedly pitching bad idea after bad idea to the WWE, and the introduction of a “Wild Card” rule that ensures quality control on creative is an impossible feat. Not to mention, the bizarre obsession with keeping Shane McMahon strong, building both shows around whatever Roman Reigns is doing, and having young stars like Ricochet lose clean to the likes of Baron Corbin. (Hey, at least the company allowed The Revival to do what The Revival actually does well this week on RAW -- you know, have fun, long tag-team matches. Baby steps.)

This rut that the WWE has found themselves in especially ill-timed because it lowers the bar for AEW in just how competent the company needs to be right away. It should be a disaster that PAC vs. Adam “Hangman” Page was cancelled at the last minute for creative differences, but it’s not. It’s not because fans still expect Cody Rhodes and friends to figure something else out that maybe end up being better than the original plan. Pro wrestling fans don’t give Vince McMahon and the WWE that same benefit of the doubt because they have seen this movie before and they know it sucks. It would be like any moviegoer purchasing a ticket for another Michael Bay movie because some part of them thinks, “Hey, maybe this is the Transformers sequel that wins him an Oscar.” People don’t do that because people know that that is not going to happen. You can talk yourself into Cody and the Young Bucks figuring it out, but you can’t talk yourself into Vince McMahon in the year 2019 figuring it out, because, man, how many Lars Sullivan-type pushes and idiotic name-changes is it going to take before you admit that maybe this guy sucks at this creative stuff now.

This doesn’t mean that Cody and the Young Bucks will figure it out. This doesn’t mean AEW will end up being a better product than the WWE. They may talk themselves into Now Shawn Spears And Not Tye Dillinger as a pro wrestler worthy of a serious push. They may actually allow Jim Ross to hire his old friend Jerry Lawler. They may sign Jon Moxley and focus on his extremely boring and extremely repetitive match-types. As exciting as it is that this company has the financial backing ostensibly necessary to become a real challenger to the WWE one day, we don’t know what kind of owners the Khan family might be. We don’t know how involved WarnerMedia will be on the creative front for their weekly television show. We don’t know if they will be able to sign enough entertaining men and women to maintain a healthy television rating each week.  We simply don’t know how this is going to go for AEW, but isn’t that what makes this so fun? For the WWE, they will always be “fine” but they will never be anything more. They don’t need to be because of their revenue stream, because of their social-media success, and so many other frustrating reasons. Creative can suck and Vince can still record record profits. Creative can’t suck for the Khans and Cody and the Young Bucks because that is where they have to excel at to really compete with the WWE -- be short and good, while the WWE is long and bleh.

It’s really that simple. If tonight’s PPV goes for 2 hours or so. Home run. If tonight’s PPV goes for 4 hours. God damn it. The WWE won the Content Wars a long time ago. (Who isn’t stocked for NXT: Australia, BABY?!) This show should end with its audience walking to their cars wishing it was longer. Wishing they got to see more. Wishing they knew where things were headed. We know the in-ring work tonight will deliver, but we don’t know if it will be too much. If this company prioritizes time in a way for fans that only Greg Maddux could appreciate, they’ll already be ahead of the curve. If every shows feels like an hour of Game Of Thrones where the hour flies by and you are bummed you won’t get to see your favorite characters again for a while, you’ve won. Less is more.

That’s all I’m hoping for tonight. To not find myself checking my phone. To not find myself looking for an excuse to go out. To just be completely invested in the moment and to be completely and utterly dismayed when the moment is gone.

No pressure, though.

Clippers Getting Kevin Durant? Plus, Pelicans Summer Plans and Tim Connelly Spurns The Wizards With Jovan Buha of The Athletic

Chase Thomas is joined by The Athletic's Jovan Buha to talk about Marc Stein's bombshell that the Clippers are serious threats for Kevin Durant this summer, why the Clippers will get KD or Kawhi Leonard, the front office staying in-tact, the future of the team's role players, the Pelicans new front office with David Griffin leading the charge, the best deal for Anthony Davis this summer and the Tim Connelly spurning his hometown Washington Wizards to remain in charge of the Denver Nuggets.

LISTEN: iTunes / SoundCloud / Stitcher / RSS/ Google Play / Spotify / TuneIn / iHeartRadio / Podbean

NL East On Fire, San Jose Earthquakes Break A MLS Record, and the Lakers Have Problems With Justin Klugh of The Good Phight, Elliot Almond of The Mercury News and Andrew Ungvari

Chase Thomas is joined by The Good Phight's Justin Klugh to talk about the sad state of the New York Mets and the Washington Nationals, if the departure of Bryce Harper is to blame, the Mets' promising offseason moves, if the Nationals' bullpen and offense will figure it out, the bizarre Cespedes injury, if Juan Soto is OK, the Phillies' weak starting rotation, which NL East team will sign Kimbrell, the Braves' hot offense, Dansby Swanson dipping back to normal, and the Yankees making it work with role players offensively.

Then, the Mercury News' Elliott Almond jumps on the pod to talk about San Franciso sports fans, Chris Wondolowski breaking an MLS record, the attendance issues for the Earthquakes, the Quakes' exciting young prospects and much more.

Then, Laker Superfan Andrew Ungvari takes us home to unload on Magic Johnson's crazy First Take appearance, Jeanie Buss as an owner, how the Lakers got here, the future of the roster around LeBron James, and much more.

Ducks Offseason Questions, Hurricanes Magical Playoff Run Ends, and the Blues Are Deep With Felix Sicard Of Anaheim Calling

Chase Thomas is joined Anaheim Calling, SB Nation's Anaheim Ducks blog, Felix Sicard to talk about the tough offseason questions facing Bob Murray and the Ducks, missing out on Jack Hughes, the state of the farm system, who will be the next coach, Ryan Kessler's bummer of an injury, the importance of Ryan Getzlaf over the years, the Hurricanes' goalie situation this offseason, free agency questions for their best players, their chances of getting back to the playoffs, how the Blues are taking it to the Sharks, Jaden Schwartz's brilliance and what's going on with New York Rangers' front office.

Subscribe: iTunes / SoundCloud / Stitcher / RSS/ Google Play / Spotify / TuneIn / iHeartRadio / Podbean

Why Do I Care About WWE Money In The Bank 2019?

I don’t like this.

I don’t like that it’s not even June and I’m already having to write about WWE’s Money In The Bank WWE Network special. ( Note: At some point we all will stop referring to these events as pay-per-views now that they are not, you know, pay-per-views, right? RIGHT? I will die on this anal-ass hill.) I should be writing about Backlash. I should be writing about whatever WWE Network special took place at this time last year. (Remember when everything was so simple for pro wrestling fans’ calendars? Armageddon in December. Vengeance in June. New Year’s Revolution in January. Enough Member Berries, Chase. Jesus.) And yet, it’s the middle of May and here I am writing about what has been traditionally a middle-of-summer thing since exiting from the WrestleMania fold. I don’t like it, have I mentioned that yet?

Part of the disdain for writing about this special event now rather than later is that this event has become one of the biggest in the company in recent years, replacing Survivor Series as the Big 4 with WrestleMania, the Royal Rumble and SummerSlam. If the WWE were to flip Fastlane and the Royal Rumble next year and we got those two events back-to-back it would feel just as weird. You need a breather before you jump from one gigantic, long-ass event to the next. I want the Kofi Kingston WWE title reigns to start to get stale before I have to fantasy book how Sami Zayn is going to cash-in on with the help of his old frenemy Kevin Owens. I don’t want to have to start audibly sighing at the possibility of WWE once again pretending that they’re going to go all-in with Braun Strowman.

Maybe that’s why I miss the Backlash and Judgement Day and Vengeance days of pro wrestling. The big matches felt inevitable. It was fine that Triple H vs. Batista was happening again on back-to-back PPVs because Batista just had his moment at WrestleMania and you just wanted to see him continue to win matches and retain his title. The same was true for John Cena and JBL and others like them. As a fan, you just want to enjoy a summer of dominance from your favorite babyface superstar who had their crowning moment on the biggest stage of them all at WrestleMania. With low ratings, a chaotic brand split, and stiff competition from the Game of Thrones series finale, anything can happen -- but I just want to see Becky Lynch, Seth Rollins and Kingston retain their titles and continue with their moment in the sun.

With all that said, here is what I care about heading into tonight’s event.

***

Definitely Not Roman Reigns vs. Elias

Yes, this is kind of cheating. No, I don’t give a shit. We need to talk about Roman Reigns becoming the primary protagonist on both Raw and Smackdown Live in this Wild Card-filled world. It should come as no surprise that the Big Dog is back on top, even without holding the top belt on either show, as that has been the story of Reigns’ career to this point -- even when he is away from the title picture, his storyline feels bigger than whatever else is going on around him.

So why is he facing...Elias? For one, it feels like these two have wrestled more than The Ascension and Roode & Gable did in that month-long slog of insanity on Raw. But this also doesn’t feel like the right match for this card. It feels like it should be Roman Reigns & The Miz vs. Shane McMahon & Elias and Lashley and Insert Boring And Generic Heel Here in a handicap match that ends with Reigns and Miz overcoming the odds. You could even make the case this kind of match should close the show because of how the television shows have been written over the past month.

Instead, we’re getting Shane vs. Miz again and Reigns vs. Elias again. Why? Who cares? This is just lazy and a waste of time.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship between Tony Nese and Ariya Daivari

Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander did not die for this.

Pull The Trigger On Andrade & Nikki Cross

Another problem with the Money in the Bank ladder match happening right now as opposed to later is that nobody has any momentum right now. They haven’t had time. (It doesn’t hurt that the Wild Card rule has muddied up creative more so than usual, too.) Winning this kind of match should be the reward for getting over leading up to the event. It should be a fun-as-hell feeling for fans who have jumped aboard that particular wrestler’s bandwagon.

Who fits that description in this match?

Nobody.

So you have to adjust. You have to work around the “Who Is Ready Right Now” question to something more along the lines of “Who Can We Get Ready?” So the obvious two choices are then Andrade “Cien” Almas and Nikki Cross.

With Almas, you’re betting on the best in-ring worker in the company right now to get over. Vince’s English-concerns aside, Almas has the look and work rate to be the Top Guy on Smackdown Live when they move to Fox this fall. If the dirtsheets are to be trusted, the blue brand figures to be a sports-centric show with less focus on character development and more focus on quality matches. With that likely being the case, what is the argument against placing your top title on the best worker in the company to kick things off on Fox on the right foot?

With Cross, you suddenly have a character with an intriguing storyline and the in-ring work to back it up. Granted, Alex Bliss’s injury-status is paramount to this booking decision ultimately being worthwhile. Sure, this company did something similar with Nia Jax last year, but, initially, it was the right call use Bliss is a foil to get Jax over as a top babyface in the division. This is because Bliss is that good at what she does and what followed falls on Jax being extremely bad at her job as both a likable babyface and good pro wrestler, nothing more. Fans want to cheer Nikki Cross, and if Bliss can return from injury, heel her way to the Raw Women’s title once again with the help of a naive Cross, WWE could stumble onto their next over, likable babyface who is actually good at her job.

Lacey Evans Is A Character That...Works?

I cannot believe I’m here, but here I am. Put the belt, on Lacey Evans, man. She is Actually Good at social media; she is Actually Good at character work when given the chance; she is Actually Good at holding her own with Becky Lynch. Again, I cannot believe that I am here, but here I am. An over-confident Lynch getting blindsided by an Evans fist wouldn’t be the be the worst route to take. Lynch is an established, beloved character now -- she can handle a loss, especially after spending the last several months beating Charlotte Flair at every turn and pinning Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania. Evans needs something to establish herself in the upper-echelon of a Raw Women’s Division that has devolved into whatever is worse than a dumpster fire -- Natalya, Tamina, Dana Brooke! Let’s Go! Lynch needs to move on from Flair, but she needs a new rival that much more -- Evans surprising Lynch with a knockout here sets the stage for a fun summer program.

Book it, Vince.

Not AJ Styles vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship

I should and it’s the WWE creative team’s fault for booking a dream build match with this stale of a build. (Yes, the hype promo from WWE television this week was phenomenal, but that doesn’t excuse the weekly booking decisions leading up to this match.)

Yes, this match will be awesome. Yes, the build sucked. So why do I care who wins again?

I Think Kevin Owens Should Win And I Am So Sorry

KofiMania was fun and different and unexpected. After 10-plus years of being trapped in midcard purgatory, Kingston escaped by chance. If he loses here, it is hard to see Vince ever put the belt back on him. The roster is too deep and too many mouths eventually have to be fed. ( For instance, Daniel Freaking Bryan is on the preshow of this event. Daniel. Bryan. In 2019.)

But Kevin Owens is really damn good. For years, I have said that Owens is the best professional wrestler in the world. On a random episode of Monday Night Raw, the man cut a heel promo while walking out to his match and ended the match with the crowd firmly in his corner. Not many wrestlers today can pull that off, but KO can. From a purely entertainment perspective, I would rather have Owens on top because I know I will enjoy seeing him on my television screen each week. I would like to see how Zayn gets involved in his future once again. I would like to see if this led to Big E’s return and a big-time match between the WWE’s best Twitter follow and the WWE’s best talker. And, really, if anyone is going to get an interesting feud out of Roman Reigns at this point, it is Kevin Freaking Owens. As fun as a “I respect you, and you respect me” program between Reigns and Kingston would be, I would rather see what Owens could pull of.

I’m so sorry.

Welcome To Page 11

Shit another blog.

The last thing the Internet needs, besides more Kim Kardashian West screenshots of her text conversations with Kanye West, is another blog to muddy up the content waters that are so polluted with filth and lost souls that Lake Lanier has grown rather jealous, but here we are.

I’m doing this.

I’m doing this because I have to do this. As much as I love doing my podcast each week, I never get quite the same satisfying feeling that I always get after I hit publish on a piece that I have written. It’s euphoric. I’ve written a lot, sporadically, on another page on this site with the Very Official Name of “Blog”, but I always wanted to branch off and start a page that has a real name, a real edge, a real sentiment that fits who I am both as a writer and as a human being.

Enter Page 11.

Growing up, I read a ton of ESPN’s Page 2. I still have several columnists Page 2 columns bookmarked to this day so that I can go back and revisit them whenever I feel like I need some inspiration or direction. I miss it. I miss that kind of writing and journalism on ESPN. But Page 2 is a thing of the past. It’s not coming back and I don’t want to bring it back. Instead, I want to blaze my own trail like Miguel Prado on ‘Dexter’ after learning the tricks of the trade from Miami’s favorite serial killer. So Page 11 is alive.

But where does Page 11 stem from? Well, I’m glad you didn’t ask and I just assumed you might, because I grew up with a dad who served in the military — Marines, specifically. I have uncles and grandfathers and great grandfathers who have severed in the Army, Navy, etc. But after doing some digging, I found there was this thing called “Page 11” in the USMC, which can be both positive or negative for the a service member, depending on the circumstance. By my estimation, it’s really an administrative remarks page for a service member that usually has a negative aura around it — is that not what a sports column oftentimes feels like? An administrative figure writing out his or her remarks about a person or team or event that usually has a negative aura around it?

Hopefully you see where I am going with this.

I think it’s perfect. It’s a name that makes sense for me, it’s a name that speaks to my personality and writing style, and it’s a name that has some sort of connection to my dad and my family. (It doesn’t hurt that the number “11” is my dad’s favorite number.)

On this page, you will see posts about my podcast, you will see pieces about the sports that I am watching, the movies and television shows I am seeing, and, really, whatever the fuck else I feel inspired to write about because that is what I do. A light bulb goes off and everything else in the world freezes — I have to write this down. I have to get this on paper — er, Google Doc — and send it out into the world. Nothing excites me more. It’s hard to imagine something else ever will.

Now about that damn light bulb.