Four Downs – August 7th: It’s time to shorten the NFL’s preseason

I had a great time co-hosting “The Saturday Morning Tailgate” with Jeff Dean talking two hours of college football and an hour of NFL this past weekend. Jeff is a true pro, a fellow UofA grad, and even better, the public address voice of Arizona Basketball at McKale Center! If you’re looking for some (fairly) intelligent football talk, take a listen here (see the audio player at the bottom of the page).

FIRST DOWN: The NFL preseason is WAY too long.

Someone please tell me how or why it’s necessary that the Cardinals and Cowboys are scheduled to play FIVE preseason games. By virtue of both teams playing in the Hall of Fame Game last Thursday night, each team had another meaningless game added to their schedule.

And now the Cardinals are down their rookie speedster / likely #1 kick returner, T.J. Logan for half the season due to a dislocated wrist.

As I mentioned in Friday’s blog and on Saturday’s radio show, the second half of just about every preseason game is unwatchable. As someone who loves college football and will watch even the most meaningless of games, don’t compare Kansas-Iowa State to the 2nd half of Cardinals-Cowboys.

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Four Downs – July 24th: Is Kyrie Irving to the Suns a real possibility?

Well I can tell you from on-scene experience, if you like to play the horse favorites at Del Mar, it’s a losing proposition.

FIRST DOWN: Does Kyrie Irving to the Suns actually make sense?

Yes, depending on the return. If the Suns can acquire Irving from Cleveland without giving up Devin Booker or Josh Jackson, then I’m ALL for it! But would Cleveland really consider that?

Eric Bledsoe, Tyson Chandler, and a future 1st round pick or two…is that enough? Maybe throw in T.J. Warren instead of the draft pick(s)?

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Irving is clearly unhappy and knows that the 2016 NBA Champions are a sinking ship. LeBron James is leaving (for L.A.) in 2018 and immediately Cleveland goes from the East’s best team to an also-ran.

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Four Downs – July 17th: Solving AZ’s stadium dilemma

FIRST DOWN: The Phoenix area needs new stadiums / sporting attractions – where should / will they go?

This one is super easy to me and would make everyone happy.

But let’s first run down what needs fixing / replaced:

Chase Field: Opened in 1998. The Diamondbacks are asking for $180 million in stadium improvements from Maricopa County…and they’re not getting very far.

Talking Stick Resort Arena: Opened in 1993. To me, I think it’s still a fine arena as it’s been renovated multiple times and still feels fresh. The Suns disagree and will likely be getting a replacement sooner than later.

Gila River Arena: Opened in 2003. Great hockey venue except for the fact that the Coyotes won’t be playing there come Fall 2018.

-Turf Paradise Race Course: Opened in 1956. Completely run down and archaic. Something needs to be done or the Phoenix-area will lose horse racing for good very soon.

-Soccer Stadium: The small pop-up stadium at McKellips and McClintock is fine for a minor league soccer team but will need to be fully constructed with 30,000+ seats for an MLS team. At least the location of the larger soccer stadium, if and when necessary, is ideal.

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Pretty much every team / professional sport other than the Cardinals needs a new venue. And there’s a logical place to put most of these teams…on the Native American land across the 101 from Salt River Fields and next to Talking Stick casino. It makes perfect sense.

Here’s what I would propose:

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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 – June 19th

This is the column I plan to write each Monday this Fall recapping the football weekend…so might as well start a few months early. Let’s call it the Monday equivalent to Friday’s Quick Hitters. Here I’ll recap four hot topics from the weekend with detailed thoughts and opinions regarding what’s going on in the sports world.

FIRST DOWN: Erin Hills was a joke of a U.S. Open course this weekend. It was WAY…and I mean WAY too easy. Congrats to Brooks Koepka for shooting 16 under for the tournament but it’s NOT how the U.S. Open should be won. When I wrote my picks column last week, I was expecting the winning score to be around -3 or -4. Had I known the setup would play so favorably, I never would’ve made some of the bets and predictions that I did. By the way for those of you scoring at home, yes they were all losers.

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As I wrote then, “It’s the one tournament that makes a lousy golfer like me (21 handicap) feel better about my game. Now I have no doubt that I’d probably shoot a 150 at Erin Hills…but it’s fun watching players struggle to make par on most holes…like I do for an average 18 holes.” But this time it really didn’t. Yes the course was extraordinarily long and no doubt would’ve eaten me alive considering I can’t hit a drive straight right now, but the tournament wasn’t nearly as fun to watch compared to other years. Too bad.

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Friday, 6/16 Quick Hitters

What’s going on in the sports world as only I can see it…

-This year’s Golden State Warriors were the best NBA team of my lifetime. There…I said it. How can you argue? They had FOUR ELITE PLAYERS, including two of the top five in NBA. And as long as Kevin Durant stays a Warrior, no one is beating them. Period.

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-Here’s what SHOULD happen in next week’s NBA Draft:
1. Boston – TRADE THE PICK!! They don’t need Markelle Fultz or any other rookie at this point. They need a veteran scorer like Jimmy Butler or Paul George.
2. LA Lakers – Just take Lonzo Ball and be done with it. He’s the perfect Lakers PG despite the fact that his dad is a pain-in-the-ass.
3. Philadelphia – Trade this pick to Sacramento along with something else for Picks 5 &10. The Kings would get the best player in the draft as I see it, De’Aaron Fox while the Sixers could add multiple quality pieces to their already strong stable of young prospects.
4. Phoenix – If Fox is gone as I predict, then Josh Jackson is the EASY pick. If Philly stays at 3 and takes Jackson, the Suns have to take Fox. Or they trade with the Kings…
5. Sacramento – Anything short of landing star point guards Fultz, Ball, or Fox is a complete failure by Kings management. Then again, look who we’re talking about here…

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Vlade Divac was the ultimate flopper as a player. As the Kings GM, he has been the ultimate FLOP to this point.

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Quick Predictions: U.S. Open

I freaking love the U.S. Open! It’s my favorite golf tournament to watch every year and I’ll be doing a lot of that tomorrow through this weekend.

It’s the one tournament that makes a lousy golfer like me (21 handicap) feel better about my game. Now I have no doubt that I’d probably shoot a 150 at Erin Hills…but it’s fun watching players struggle to make par on most holes…like I do for an average 18 holes.

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Shooting 150 on this course might be optimistic for me!

Here are my plays for the weekend:
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