Four Downs – August 14th: Is the Ezekiel Elliott suspension justified?

FIRST DOWN: Should the NFL reduce the six game suspension levied upon Cowboys second year RB Ezekiel Elliott?

To be honest, if the allegations are true, Elliott is getting off easy with only six games. The NFL did its due diligence by undertaking a year-long investigation into Elliott’s misdeads against his girlfriend (see the TMZ photos for more) and had to take action. Remember the Ray Rice controversy from several years back…where he knocked his girlfriend unconscious in an elevator? Rice got a four game suspension but has never played in the NFL since. Domestic violence should absolutely not be tolerated under ANY circumstances.

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Friday, 7/28 Quick Hitters: The Cardinals’ New Secret Weapon?

Which is worth more: the amount you’re paying for this column or Brandon Knight’s current trade value?

Answer: They’re both the same…ZERO!

-While that may have been a lousy joke, sadly the statement above is true. Knight is likely done for the 2017-18 season with a torn ACL suffered in a Miami Beach pick-up game last week. I would be very surprised if you ever see him in a Suns uniform again.

-But hey, at least the Suns have a shot at LeBron James next offseason (250-1 odds per BetOnline.ag)!

-An underrated signing to keep an eye on for Cardinals fans this season: Kicker Phil Dawson. Chandler Catanzaro was serviceable for Arizona the last three seasons but missed a staggering 10 field goals and 9 extra points combined in 2015-16. Dawson, despite being 42 years old and in his 19th NFL season, is about as reliable as they come. He’s only missed TEN extra points in his entire career and continues to make field goals at an 85%+ clip. Good move by Cardinals’ management here.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at New York Giants

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Friday, 7/14 Quick Hitters

-I have a true dilemma going into Sunday’s final match at Wimbledon. Though I know NOTHING about tennis, I placed a futures wager on Marin Cilic at 24-1 to win the tournament in late-June. Well guess what, he’s now in the final! So help me here…do I hedge or let it ride? Give me your suggestions on Twitter…I need all the help I can get!

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-What in God’s name happened to Sammy Sosa? Did the steroids finally catch up to him or does he have health-issues? Either way, this photo of him is SCARY!

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Looking back on it, as good a home run hitter as he was in his prime, I think of the incident below when Sammy Sosa’s name is mentioned. Add a strong suspicion of steroids to his reputation…and no wonder he’s disgraced in baseball circles.

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Four Downs – July 10th

FIRST DOWN: I’m done with the 2017 Chicago Cubs.

There…I said it. I feel like I’m in therapy for my favorite baseball team. They won the World Series last November but since then, what a train wreck!

Let’s be honest here…bad things started for the Cubs when they went down 3-1 in the World Series. Yes I know they won the next three games…but look how poorly Joe Maddon began managing the club! He was never a managerial genius but his mis-managing of Aroldis Chapman’s workload defied common sense. On top of that, his disastrous handling of the pitching situation in Game 7 which resulted in a “secure” lead being blown will never be forgotten.

As a notable baseball announcer with ties to the Cubs told me in-person in December, there is a 99.9% chance the Cubs would’ve lost Game 7 if the heavens hadn’t opened up before the 10th inning in Cleveland that night. If the game plays on without delay, the Cubs likely are retired quietly in the 10th inning before losing in the bottom half of the inning.

Flash forward to this season…the Cubs are 43-45 at the All-Star break with only one player selected to the National League All-Star team. Their run differential, which last year was +252 now sits at a whopping 0. Yes…that’s right…Z-E-R-O (hey at least it’s not negative)! Then again, giving up 10 runs in the first inning in the last game before the All-Star break didn’t help matters much…

This year’s team is going nowhere fast. Chicago sits 5.5 games behind Milwaukee in the NL Central and tied with fellow underachievers, the St. Louis Cardinals. While there are still 74 games to play this team is not playoff bound, even in the weakest division in baseball.

I’ll give you a bonus prediction: it’s going to be an ugly offseason in Cub-ville.

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The ‘L’ flag has flown much too often at Wrigley Field thus far in 2017.

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Friday, 7/7 Quick Hitters

-You know the sports season is rough when I can truly say that watching players I’ve never heard of at Wimbledon is somewhat entertaining. I’m going with Marin Cilic to upset and win the Men’s Singles and Caroline Wozniacki on the Women’s side.

-Then again, what the hell do I know about tennis…?

-Anything Wimbledon > next Monday’s Home Run Derby. I have always cared little about it and sold my tickets when the competition was here in 2011.

-I used to get excited for the MLB All-Star Game but now that means nothing since it doesn’t determine home field advantage. And speaking of, for those who thought the AL winning last season hurt the Cubs, please note how Kyle Schwarber got to DH four times instead of three. Who led off the 10th inning of Game 7 with a hit? Exactly.

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Four Downs – July 3rd

FIRST DOWN – NBA Salaries are WAYYYY out of control and it’s going to get worse.

Who the hell came up with the idea to overpay the heck out of EVERY player? JJ Redick got $23 million on a one year deal from the 76ers. Paul Millsap got $30 million annually from the Nuggets. Blake Griffin will receive $35 million for each of the next five years from the Clippers. And Steph Curry will make more than $40 million each year from the Warriors. Seriously where does it end? Are we on pace to see $100 million annual contracts by 2030?

The solution to this is a difficult one – now that the bar has been raised, there’s no way to reform this salary structure. The NFL and NHL are two sports with a relatively fair salary cap and parity generally reigns supreme in both sports. In the NBA and MLB, a luxury tax is the only penalty for teams spending wildly. If your team has an owner with more money than he or she knows what to do with, paying the luxury tax doesn’t affect them whatsoever. And in the NBA especially, parity is completely non-existent.

The moral of the story here folks: raise your kids with a basketball in their hand. Even a veteran’s minimum contract for ONE YEAR will be more money than most of us every make combined in our lifetimes.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Los Angeles Clippers
We agree, Blake, what the heck are the Clippers doing by paying you $35 million per season?

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Friday, 6/30 Quick Hitters

A round-about of what’s happening in the sports world + some 2nd half of 2017 predictions for you in today’s quick hitters:

-So the latest rumor in NBA circles is that the Suns will meet with free agents Blake Griffin and Paul Millsap this weekend. Griffin is the more flashy name but considering his injury history, I’m all for Phoenix bringing in the steady, yet under-appreciated Millsap instead.

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A four-year $130,000,000 contract for an injury-prone player like Blake Griffin? No thank you.

-Speaking of wacky NBA moves, Chris Paul to the Rockets? James Harden had an MVP-type season as the point guard so let’s bring in arguably the best ball distributor in the league? I don’t get it at all for Houston. This doesn’t make them closer to beating Golden State…let’s be honest.
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