It’s hard to be a football fan in this state right now. ASU & UofA are each 1-1 and are trending downward in terms of fan support. NAU is 0-2 and recently announced that longtime head coach, Jerome Sauers, will be relieved of his duties at the end of the season. And the Cardinals…well the 0-1 record doesn’t tell the story. The loss of their best player (David Johnson) for most of the season does…
Hanging out “Where The Turf Meets the Surf” this weekend. The summer racing season at Del Mar is always one of my favorite past times and it’s a nice bridge from the doldrums of Summer to football season. Please root for me to hit a sizable Pick 4 this weekend…
-On Tuesday’s episode of “Morning Fanatics” with Bauer and Fouhy, I was asked if I thought Kirk Cousins made sense for the Cardinals at QB in 2018 and beyond. My short answer: NO! Is it worth paying a quarterback who has as many playoff wins as you and I nearly $30 million a year?? That’s crazy talk. Listen to the full interview here
-Don’t get me wrong…Cousins is probably a top-15 QB in the league. But if you think he’s worth 20-25% of the entire team’s salary cap, you’re drinking the kool-aid.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My weekly wrap-up of all that’s good and not-so-good in the sports world:
-Here’s the winning trifecta for Saturday’s Preakness Stakes. You’re welcome in advance. 1st: (4) Always Dreaming – should win by daylight if he runs similarly to the Kentucky Derby. 2nd: (2) Cloud Computing – Been firing bullet workouts since his 3rd place in the Wood Memorial and I’m a big Javier Castellano fan. 3rd: (6) Gunnevera – Dismiss jockey Mike Smith at your own risk (who takes over for Castellano) on this major closer.
Last night’s NBA Draft Lottery actually kept me up in the middle of the night. What a flawed system! We know it’s rigged (or strongly suspect it) so what is the NBA hiding? Why no more ping pong balls or frozen envelopes? Why does only one person get to see the results picked live?
Three top-10 TV markets got the top three picks…Boston (#9), LA (#2), and Philadelphia (#4). Yet Phoenix (#12) somehow dropped two spots from their projected #2 draft slot (no surprise given the Suns franchise-long jinx but still…).
The draft lottery process also got me thinking what else I’d immediately change if I were sports czar for a day. Here are my top five rules / policies that I’d correct if I had the chance: