Friday, August 19, 2016

Amazing Work by U.S. Swim Team

First off, let's congratulate them for winning 33 medals at these 2016 Rio Olympics 16 of them Gold. Michael Phelps himself, of course, after coming out of retirement no less, has one five golds and one sliver, bringing his career total to 28 medals over four Olympics, including 23 golds. Yes, the results in the pool for the U.S. swimmers are pretty awesome.

But, let's talk for a minute about the results out of the pool. Did you realize Phelps had two DUIs? Even though he doesn't seem to be hiding it, I guess I didn't. I did know about the infamous bong photo. And when people expressed disbelief, I always harkened back to the swimmers I knew in high school, who we used to joke had "swimmers lung" and thus could take the biggest hits. I other words it was no real surprise to me that Phelps was smoking pot. It obviously doesn't seem to have negatively affected his ability to swim really fast.

Of course, this whole Ryan Lochte posse thing at the Rio Games sheds new light on the US Swim Team's partying. Unfortunately, it really makes the guys involved come off like assholes. In their defense, it seems they were truly drunk after attending a part at the French Olympic house. Yes, those damn French. Who could expect a bunch of naive American swimmers to keep up with them? Then again, Lochte seems to have a bit of a party history: There is this Las Vegas race with Prince Harry. Then, there was this failed reality show, ominously titled, "What would Ryan Lochte Do?" Apparently just about anything.

Then, there is this guy: 35-year old Anthony Ervin who won gold at the 2000 Olympics and then again this year. In between he apparently smoked cigarettes, took acid, and rode a motorcycle really fast in an apparent attempt to kill himself.

So, there you have it - what could possibly be the most successful swim team in Olympic history, punctuated by a least a few individuals who are not afraid to color outside the lines at times. Not sure what this says. Does partying and being an elite swimmer go hand in hand? Are the U.S. training methods so great that our swimmers can win despite their out-of-the-pool forays? Is all this irrelevant? I don't know, but I know I like to swim, especially in open water and it's been a great summer for that. And that Usain Bolt can really run - and he's from Jamaica...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Make A-Rod the Yankees Manager

If the scene between A-Rod and Sterling Castro really played out like this piece on Deadspin says it did, why not fire Girardi and hire A-Rod to manage the Yankees? I have been a big Girardi defender for the past few years, as he seems like a pretty good guy who tries hard at his job and isn't totally incompetent. By all accounts, he did a great job before getting fired by the Marlins, due to an apparent rift with the owners. And, stuck with multiple aging players and bad contracts, I think Girari has done a  decent job coaxing the Yankees into the playoffs most years and even winning a World Series.

That said, there seems to be something missing in his managerial style. I think this blog post by Wallace Matthews sums it up pretty well. In criticizing Girardi for not playing A-Rod down this veritable home stretch (okay, maybe "tail end" is better) of his career, he calls the manager "the rigid, joyless man who writes out the Yankees' lineup card each day." Right there is Girardi's problem: he's joyless. Perhaps his dour personality is what has dragged the strength out of our luckless veterans. (Apparently there was no love lost between Ichiro and Girardi.)

So, what about offering A-Rod the ultimate comeuppance on his current adversary and firing Girardi to make A-Rod the manager? Look, everyone says A-Rod has a very high baseball I-Q. And he certainly will bring more joy, at least on the exterior, to the Yankees dugout. And, then there is the aforementioned Castro story from yesterday:

"I asked [A-Rod] about the pitcher and he said, ‘Be ready for a curveball on the first pitch,’” Castro said. “He was so happy in the dugout when I looked in there after the double. He told me to be ready for the first-pitch curve and I was. If he didn’t tell me that, I would have taken that pitch because I would have been looking for something harder.”

Okay, maybe A-Rod would be better suited to be a batting coach, like Barry Bonds, but, fuck it, the opportunity to turn the tables on Girardi seems too good here. I know A-Rod said emphatically during his press conference that he would not be a coach, but could he really turn down this opportunity?

I am currently reading a book about baseball in the 1920s called "Big Sticks" (insert favorite porno joke here) and during that time, it was very common for star players like Rogers Hornsby, Ty Cobb, and Tris Speaker to manage. (Babe Ruth apparently thought he was qualified as well, but the Yankees did not.) I think A-Rod ranks right up there with those guys - in terms of baseball acumen, as well as being a jerk, so why not give him a chance? Kind of a throwback choice if you will. What's the worst that could happen? And, what if he did manage to lead them to a World Series win at some point? What a redemption story that would be!