Dat Dude BP looks strange in a Braves uniform. Too bad Brandon Phillips couldn’t play out his career in Cincinnati, where the fans adored him. He tried to give back in his return to GABP on Friday, going 0-for-5. Nice of him to try to help his old team.
We can try to talk ourselves into believing the NBA Finals will be competitive. And this is a good time to mention that the Cavaliers got whipped last year in Game 1 at Golden State. But this group of Warriors looks better than last year’s, which was excellent. This skinny Kevin Durant fellow sure does make a difference.
The rested Cavs weren’t ready in Game 1. They didn’t run much of an offense and turned over the ball at the same rate as a bad junior high team. I took Golden State in six, but that might be way off. The finals have the look of a sweep, which would make sense considering the playoffs have been a one-sided debacle. Then again, LeBron will get plenty of rest because of an inexplicable two-day break between games 1 and 2.
NBA commish Adam Silver said last week that the one-and-done rule is “not working for anyone.” He said college basketball coaches and athletic directors are not fans of bringing kids onto campus for less than a year before they head off to pro ball. I doubt the NBA will try to require kids to stay in school longer. As litigious as our society is, there would be a ton of lawsuits if the league tried to make the “student-athletes” study for two years or more.
The Bryce Harper brawl last week showed us a couple things: 1) The pitcher who beaned Harper has a long memory. Harper’s long home run trot with Giants reliever Hunter Strickland on the mound happened three years ago. 2) Harper cannot throw a helmet. He tried to wing his batting helmet at Strickland, but looked more like 50 Cent trying to throw out the first pitch.
Malik Zaire will play quarterback for some high-profile college football team soon, but he might want to get the show on the road. After all, classes start in less than three months. Florida seems like the most logical landing spot for the Alter alumnus, now that the SEC has changed some rules. The Gators always need a QB and Zaire could help them. He was on his way to a great career at Notre Dame before a broken ankle forced a detour.
Trending up: Christian Kirksey, Devin Mesoraco, Penguins. The Browns made a good move by giving Kirksey a four-year, $38 million contract extension, with a whopping $20 million guaranteed. Kirksey is a good linebacker, and you can’t win unless you can tackle. Kirksey’s 148 tackles ranked third in the NFL last season. And by all accounts he’s a good guy. He went to Iowa, and when was the last time you heard of someone from Iowa being a jerk?
Trending down: The U baseball program, Robert Stephenson, Mr. Met. The University of Miami is not playing in the NCAA baseball tournament for the first time in 44 years. That incredible streak ended when the Hurricanes were not put in the 64-team field by the NCAA. If there were a First Four for baseball, the U would’ve made the cut, but the Canes’ 31-27 record wasn’t good enough.
KNUCKLEHEAD OF THE WEEK
Steven Bench played one season of football at Penn State, appearing in two games, before transferring to South Florida. The quarterback didn’t play much for the Bulls, either, so he needs to find a job. Or not. Bench, who turns 23 this week, is facing burglary and criminal mischief charges after he was arrested attempting to break into a car wash in Tampa. It was 3:30 a.m. when he met the boys in blue. According to an affidavit, Bench admitted to breaking into the business, but wouldn’t give a reason. He set off an alarm before he was busted, so obviously his 40-yard dash time isn’t pro material.