Everything you need to know heading into the weekend in the world of sports.
The biggest stories of the week were the ongoing developments in NBA free agency, specifically the Summer of ‘Melo and the Summer of LeBron.
Going back to the holiday weekend, we learned the Cleveland Cavaliers were optimistic about their chances of convincing LeBron to return to Cleveland. Adam talked about the development on Monday.
Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony reportedly narrowed his list of teams to three; the Knicks, Bulls and Lakers. Adam started out Tuesday’s show talking about why taking less money to lose more games with the Los Angeles Lakers would be a bad idea for Carmelo.
On Wednesday, the Cavaliers made a three-team trade with the Nets and Celtics, moving Jarrett Jack’s contract to Brooklyn and opening up enough cap space to offer LeBron a max contract. With the Cavaliers clearly all-in on trying to convince LeBron to return, Adam Schein said the choice is clear: For LeBron to add to his legacy, he needs to try to win an NBA championship in the city of Cleveland.
After Wednesday’s show, we had some new developments:
Adam kicked off Thursday’s show saying it’s time for King James to make a decision.
For a free agency period where it seems like there are countless twists and turns, it’s funny how little has actually happened. The rest of the NBA appears to be waiting for LeBron’s decision, and LeBron has smartly played this close to his vest. Very few people seem to actually know what is going on; it’s the equivalent of an airplane continually circling before getting clearance to land.
On Friday, LeBron announced his decision: He is coming home to Cleveland.
Adam reacted moments later and read the SI exclusive on the air.
Now that LeBron has made his intentions clear, expect the rest of the dominoes of NBA Free Agency to fall shortly.
Interview of the week
As you know by now, Adam is not a fan of instant replay in sports.
There was more controversy surrounding the new instant replay system in Major League Baseball during the ninth inning of the Braves-Mets game on Monday night.
MLB’s instant replay rules clearly state that so-called “neighborhood plays” can not be reviewed. Gary Cohen and the rest of the SNY broadcast team did a wonderful job explaining the situation, but at best, this was a borderline play that was inexplicably reviewed after Mets manager Terry Collins convinced the umpiring crew to take a look. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was not pleased after the call was overturned, and he was ejected for arguing a reversal.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman joined the show on Thursday. He isn’t a fan of the instant replay system in MLB, either.
Not only does Freeman like the human-error element in baseball, but he also cites how long the games are to begin with. He’s right. Baseball has had an issue for years with how long the league’s games are getting, and it’s really gotten out of hand.
I would prefer that they get the call right, and to be fair, we are seeing more plays called correctly thanks to replay. But it’s really frustrating as a fan to watch the rules applied incorrectly. I believe the neighborhood play should be reviewable, because isn’t the idea for the fielder to have to touch the base on a force play to record the out? MLB feels differently, citing player safety. I would expect MLB to overhaul their entire process this offseason after seeing some of the flaws already this season.
Underrated story of the week
Red Sox pitcher John Lackey was asked by reporters to comment on a big performance by Orioles slugger and one-time PED user Nelson Cruz after he went 5-for-5 and beat Lackey and the Red Sox last weekend:
I’m not going to comment on him. I’ve got nothing to say about him. There are some things I’d like to say, but I’m not going to. You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.
Lackey was alluding to Cruz’s PED suspension last year for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
Cruz’s Orioles manager, Buck Showalter, responded, saying, “Everybody needs to make sure their own backyard is clean.”
I love it. Showalter is 1000 percent right. It’s hypocritical for Lackey to complain about somebody’s steroid use when he’s played on World Championship teams with players linked to PEDs, and has hence benefited from their cheating.
Several of Lackey’s teammates from the 2002 Angels are listed in the Mitchell Report, including World Series MVP Troy Glaus. David Ortiz was reportedly on the list of 104 players that tested positive for PEDs in 2003. (I’m sure a pudgy 37-year old DH hit .688 “the right way” en route to another championship, though.)
Lackey may be clean. But his backyard?
GIF of the week
Why am I posting a GIF of Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka smiling after a hard-fought win? Probably because it looks like it will be the last time we’ll see Tanaka smile for awhile.
Earlier this week, Tanaka complained of elbow pain after his start against the Cleveland Indians. After undergoing an MRI and consulting with multiple physicians, they discovered a partially torn UCL in his right elbow, and recommended rehab instead of surgery, which could lead him to return in six weeks if all goes right. More often than not, though, with tears to the UCL, the player will ultimately need Tommy John surgery. That could cost Tanaka roughly one calendar year of his career.
I’m a Yankees fan. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Tanaka pitch twice in person this year. He quickly became one of my favorite players on an otherwise forgettable 2014 Yankees team. This is a devastating blow to the Yankees playoff hopes this year and in 2015, and I have little incentive to watch any Yankees baseball for the rest of this year outside of Derek Jeter’s retirement tour.
What to watch this weekend
The World Cup final between Germany and Argentina takes place Sunday.
There’s plenty of MLB this weekend, as the unofficial first half of the baseball season comes to an end.
Who knows? Maybe Carmelo and the other top NBA free agents finally get around to deciding where they will play next season.
What will I be watching this weekend, though? I’ll be at Marlins-Mets on Saturday. Why? For the postgame concert with Huey Lewis and the News, of course!
You can follow Adam Schein, Nick Kostos, & Jared Moore on Twitter to keep track of the latest with the Schein on Sports crew!