Other than the World Cup, the big story this week was (now former) Nets head coach Jason Kidd’s power play backfiring, which resulted in his trade to the Milwaukee Bucks for two second-round picks. Doggie has long disliked the new Bucks’ head coach, and he didn’t hold back when discussing the entire situation.

Russo brings up plenty of good points about the whole situation. Here’s my biggest issue with Kidd: I want to know what reality he lives in where he feels he deserved a major promotion within the Nets’ organization. He entered this past season with zero coaching experience, and, with a team of veteran all-stars, got off to a horrible start, barely recovering to make the playoffs as a lower seed with only 44 wins. Brooklyn then barely beat an inexperienced Raptors team in seven games in Round 1, and were quickly disposed of by the Miami Heat in Round 2. This team had championship aspirations, confident they would take down the Miami Heat in the playoffs. They accomplished none of their goals, failing to even win their division. Where does Jason Kidd get off demanding full control of the organization? Talk about a guy that has an inflated view of himself. Wow.

Another story that surfaced this week: The Miami Marlins may be shopping their power-hitting star, outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. If the Marlins move him, it will continue the embarrassing tradition of the revolving door of young stars Miami continually trades away, rather than paying to keep them. Doggie chatted with our own Steve Phillips about the trade rumors.

The plight of the Miami Marlins has been an ongoing debate in baseball for quite some time. The Marlins can’t draw flies despite a new ballpark; the team is near .500 despite a low payroll, and even though the future is looking up, they are still 27th in attendance. It leaves them with an impossible choice with Stanton.

Stanton is a true star and a great player the team could actually build around. However, with their modest budget, the Marlins will not be able to shell out the money to keep Stanton; instead, they’ll trade him for prospects and start over. Sooner or later, Jeffrey Loria is going to have to spend some money and actually keep players on the roster. Until he makes a commitment to the city of Miami, the city isn’t going to make a commitment to Loria.

Stanton will almost certainly get traded, whether its next week, next month or next year, and the Marlins will go back to drawing less than 10,000 per game. The bottom line is that baseball never should have expanded to Miami in the first place, and now they have a team with poor ownership and a new stadium. They aren’t going anywhere for the next 20 years, and it will continue to be a major problem.

The World Cup dream ends

The USA’s run in the World Cup ended Tuesday with a 2-1 loss to Belgium in extra time. Excitement was high for Team USA’s chances, and as millions of Americans watched the World Cup, the rhetoric began once again how this will be the point that soccer begins to take off in this country.

This is the same conversation we have in this country every four years.

Now, admittedly, more people watched this World Cup in the U.S. than ever before. But I still don’t think much is going to change. Sure, the USA team has improved over the last 20 years, but has it improved that much? Yes, it was a huge accomplishment to get out of the “Group of Death,” but we were still knocked out in the first round of the elimination tournament, something that has now happened in three of the last six World Cups. I hear the conversations about how we hung in there against Germany and Belgium, but from what I watched, we were thoroughly outplayed in both games, and only stayed competitive both games thanks to excellent goaltending from Tim Howard. Unfortunately, Howard is 35, and this was certainly his final World Cup. Do we have a goaltender in waiting that is as good as Howard? I can’t say I’m an expert, but he was clearly the best player on the field for the U.S., and we know he won’t be on the team in four years.

Jurgen Klinsmann is clearly an outstanding coach, and I would think that if someone could build a program and create a top-five team in the world, it’s him. But as the time the next World Cup comes around, much to the soccer fans dismay, we will see a significant drop off in interest over the next four years. First, ESPN loses the World Cup rights to Fox, and without the ESPN promotional machine, there will be a significant drop in viewership with the games on FS1. Second, the time zone for start times in Brazil is tremendous, with games starting here in the afternoon and evening. In the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar, games will be on early in the morning.

The biggest factor in all of this is that until I see someone from the United States that is a consensus top-five player in the world, the United States will not go all-in on soccer. The U.S. doesn’t care about tennis, but it did when Pete Sampras was winning Wimbledon; golf doesn’t do tremendously well, but it does when Tiger Woods is in a tournament; the Tour de France is totally off our radars, except when Lance Armstrong is winning races. When we as a country have a world-class athlete that dominates an international sport, we will watch, and until we have that in soccer (something we have never had), the United States won’t fully embrace the sport.

Stream of consciousness

#ThingsTimHowardCouldSave is tremendous …  It will be very interesting to see how MLB responds to this latest report that they signed off on Alex Rodriguez’s use testosterone in 2007 … Jimmy Kimmel proves that there are plenty of uneducated “soccer” fans jumping on the bandwagon … Not sure why the Saints would try and belittle Jimmy Graham as much as they did to save a few million dollars … I would be shocked if Chris Bosh took $11 million a year to stay with the Heat. If I was him, I would leave … Keepsake – Grace Potter & the Nocturnals … If Carmelo was single, he’d join the Bulls, but Carmelo is not single, and he might just be staying with the Knicks … I wish NBA free agency was like NHL free agency where everyone signed in basically 12 hours … Note to Bryce Harper: If you have an issue with the manager, talk to the manager, not the media … Johnny Manziel has officially bottomed out. Partying with Justin Bieber? Oy vey …

Tweet of the week

Good or bad, positive or negative, we provide you with the best tweet sent to @MadDogUnleashed.

A tip of the cap from Scott referring to Doggie’s hilarious attempt to keep listeners up to speed on the Belgium-USA World Cup match on Tuesday afternoon.

A baseball tradition

Check out the video below. It takes a while to get going, but there’s nothing better than an old-fashioned “hot foot” nicely executed by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

[mlbvideo id=”34164517″ width=”600″ height=”336″ /]

Mad Dog Underground

Episode 6: In Episode 6, Babchik and Billy Z discuss Doggie’s efforts to do play-by-play during the Belgium-USA match, Mad Dog and Billy Z’s epic off-air fight and Babchik’s daily run for Evan Cohen’s salad. Plus, an invasion from Adam Schein!

Next week on MDU

Mad Dog is back for all five days after he returns from his Independence Day holiday! We’ll mix in plenty of baseball next week, a little World Cup – but not as much with the USA eliminated – and we will be heavy on NBA free agency, as we expect the dust to settle with the Miami Heat’s Big Three, and we’ll see if Carmelo leaves the Big Apple.

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