NBA 2017-2018 Season Preview: Winners, Losers, and Sleepers

With the NBA season upon us once again, it is time to make early predictions on how the season is going to turn out.  Instead of simply picking who I think is going to make the playoffs and win it all, I thought I’d share my thoughts on not only who is going to win, but who is going to surprise us, and who is going to fall flat on their face.  And let’s not forget highlighting the top rookies and players of the league.  So without further ado, I present another round of Percy’s Predictions!

 

To organize this all pretty-like, I’m going to take things conference by conference.

 

First, the West!

 

Winners: Golden State Warriors22846785-mmmain

No explanation is really needed for why the Warriors are, once again, going to be the Winners of the West.  Any team with Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green is going to be a lock to win their conference (and most likely the championship).  Barring any serious injuries to the four players stated above, there is very little chance of the Warriors not winning the West.  However, I will not say they are invincible.  Despite their star power, depth, and chemistry, I think the Warriors are still beatable, but only by two teams: The Spurs and the Rockets.  The Spurs and the Rockets are the only two teams that stand a chance against the Warriors in a 7-game series due to their depth, leadership, and play styles.  Both teams have improved this offseason (especially the Rockets) and are both seeking to take down the beast.  The Thunder have improved as well, but their bench is not much compared to the other three teams and I am weary of how three stars who need the ball in their hands will go over.  I could easily see problems arising down the line.  But if they can figure it out, then who knows?  All in all, the Warriors will finish first in the conference, however they will not win 70 games like some are predicting.  They will suffer losses to the other powerhouses of the league, and their annual loss to the Lakers will prevent them from reaching the 70 win mark.

 

Losers: Phoenix SunsPhoenix Suns v Miami Heat

I use the term ‘Losers’ a bit loosely in this scenario.  Yes, the Suns will most likely be the worst team in the West this year, but it will be nothing compared to the dumpster fire at the bottom of the East.  With players like Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, and Tyson Chandler returning, they will have some talent and experience to lead the team.  They’re a young team with potential, with guys like Dragan Bender, Marquese Chris, Tyler Ulis and others filling out their roster.  By the way, I firmly believe Tyler Ulis has the potential to become an Isaiah Thomas-esque player and will eventually reach that status.  His play at Kentucky impressed me from the first time I watched him.  He has shown development since his freshman year and I fully believe will become a solid starter at some point in his career.  Also worth mentioning is the addition of 4th overall pick in the 2017 draft, Josh Jackson. Phoenix will be a fun team to watch.  They will lose and get pummeled, but will be fun to watch nonetheless and will develop as the season goes on.  They will especially lose if they decide to deal Eric Bledsoe for draft picks like some are predicting and theorizing.  But Phoenix has a bright future ahead, no matter what direction they choose to go in.

 

Sleepers: Minnesota Timberwolves

Pretty much everyone knows The Minnesota Timberwolves have improved greatly with their acquisition of Jimmy Butler.   But the acquisition of Jimmy Butler was not the only good move of the offseason for Minnesota.  Minnesota also added veteran talent to their lineup by the likes of Jeff Teague, a solid point-guard, Jamal Crawford, a useful veteran shooter, and Taj Gibson, a solid body in the front court that adds depth to their team.  But that’s not all.  This past week, they signed Andrew Wiggins to a max extension, keeping the talented young stud in Minnesota for five more years. Their upcoming season is now filled with hype and expectations of great improvement, and I, like the others, expect great things from them.  I expect this team to make the playoffs this year with their improvement, however I see the Timberwolves doing more than that.  I believe that Jimmy Butler will have a larger impact on the team than people realize.  And in the same vein, so will Jamal Crawford.  Before these two guys got to Minnesota, the team lacked true shooting, especially from 3-pt range.  Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins were solid shooters, but LaVine is gone and Wiggins relies on driving to the hoop for scoring.  Butler and Crawford will provide firepower from beyond the arc that will help stretch the floor, which will also help a fastly improving Karl Anthony-Towns who is bound to go on a tear this year and become a top ten player.San Antonio Spurs v Minnesota Timberwolves

 

Top Rookie: De’Aaron Fox2017 Las Vegas Summer League - Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings

Yes De’Aaron Fox.  Most people predict Lonzo Ball will be the best rookie in the entire class, but I don’t think he’ll even be the best rookie in his own conference.  Going back to last year, I was more impressed by De’Aaron’s talent as opposed to Lonzo.  Yes Lonzo is a great prospect with all the potential in the world, but I do not feel he has the explosiveness and drive to reach that next level.  Ball will probably start the season off really hot, play well on national T.V., but then trail off and plateau as the season goes on.  Lonzo has a lot of pressure being in L.A. and having LaVar as his father.  If he slips up, everyone will be on him in a heartbeat.  And not to mention a lot of players are going to be gunning to punish him and shut him down for all the hype surrounding him.  De’Aaron, meanwhile, has no pressure at all on him.  He’s in Sacramento where no one will be paying attention, his team isn’t expected to go anywhere.  He’s got all the time in the world to develop and work on his game.  De’Aaron will probably start off rough, but only get better as the season goes on.  He’ll get used to the system, he’ll get used to the physicality, and he’ll improve his shooting. De’Aaron will develop into a solid player and consistently put up solid numbers night in and night out over the course of the season.  Lonzo will make some headlines every now and then, but De’Aaron will have the consistency.

 

Top Player: Kawhi LeonardHouston Rockets v San Antonio Spurs - Game Five

Golden State may have four of the best players in the West, but Kawhi Leonard will be number one.  Kawhi Leonard is one of the most well-rounded, versatile players in the league and works phenomenally in Pop’s system.  He’s a star player with his own team.  Kawhi doesn’t have to worry about other star players getting touches and shots like the Warriors, Rockets, or Thunder do.  Kawhi is able to control the game and be whatever type of player his team needs at the moment.  He can facilitate the ball and spread the floor, he can keep the ball and shoot the lights out of the place, or he can step back and shut down the opposing offense.  Kawhi is as far from one-dimensional as you can get, allowing him to have great games every night even if his shot isn’t falling.  I believe the best and most valuable player to a team is one who doesn’t have to rely on shooting to help his team win games.

 

Now, the East!

 

Winners: Cleveland Cavalierscavsnation-comderrick-rose-via-fearthes-d44be77ff8a160f0ed552574a25cf175c96f0f7a-1

Again, no surprise here.  The Cavaliers are going to be the top team in the East and there’s really no one who can stop them.  And mind you, this is even after losing a star player like Kyrie.  To be perfectly honest, I think it’s very possible that this team is even better than they were last year.  Yeah they lost Kyrie, but because of that, they gained Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn pick, which is going to be very valuable to Cleveland because they’re going to gain promising young talent while maintaining their success.  And although Isaiah is hurt right now, he’s going to be back around midway through the season with a chip larger than the sun on his shoulder.  He’s going to play his heart out and absolutely tear it up.  But until then, the Cavs are still going to be phenomenal.  LeBron will be LeBron.  Dwyane Wade will provide some solid shooting, along with JR Smith.  Kevin Love will continue to be an underrated third option, and Jae Crowder will provide solid production on the offensive end, while being very tough and intimidating on the other end.  But hhe player who I think will have the largest, under-the-radar impact on the Cavs is Derrick Rose and I believe he is more important than most realize.  If Derrick Rose is able to play solid, fearless basketball, then he will be a great asset to the Cavs.  Rose does not have to return to his MVP form, and I feel he realizes that, which takes a load of pressure off of him.  Derrick Rose seems to have adapted to becoming a role player, which will help him become more useful to a team that does not need an MVP with LeBron there.  Rose has shown intensity and explosiveness that was really lacking from his game when he was with the Knicks.  Rose seems to want to be there and make a difference and I have full confidence that he will be a great starter while Thomas is out and then become a dangerous player coming off the bench going up against the 2nd string guard of the opposing team.

 

Losers: Chicago Bullshi-res-d6c867c13dde18b3a1e6c4ce1360728c_crop_north

To understand this pick, all you need to see are images from the Bull’s media day.  They had guys in strollers, guys you’ve never seen before, and guys without last names.  The Bulls are a mess and have hardly made any improvements to their roster.  The only “gains” they really made were adding Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn.  But those acquisitions will only be viewed as solid if a few certain factors come to fruition.  The success of this trade and the improvement of the team relies largely on if Zach LaVine is able to come back and perform at the level he was at prior to his torn ACL and if Kris Dunn lives up to his expectations.  Now there’s still time for both of these players to become who they were projected to be, but it won’t necessarily happen this year.  And even if it did, they wouldn’t be nearly enough to help the Bulls climb out of that dumpster fire.  Their roster is one of the weakest I’ve seen in recent memory.  Up there with the 2015-2016 Sixers.  But at least the Sixers had promise.  I find it hard to find many positives about the 2017-2018 Bulls outside of LaVine, Dunn, and their future top pick.  Hell, they even lost Mirotic due to Bobby Portis punching him in the face, which is a black-eye (pun intended) on the organization as it is, but also reflects potentially poor chemistry amongst the entire team.  If you’re a Bulls fan, there is not much for you to look forward to this year.  Also, quick reminder, GarPax essentially turned Gary Harris, Jusuf Nurkic, Doug McDermott, Taj Gibson, and a 2nd rounder into Cameron Payne.  So as you can see, the Bulls at least have great leadership steering them in the right direction and not into an even larger dumpster fire!

 

Sleepers: Philadelphia 76ers1508268289_431c8a49cb203ab892a5d7e43a8acfa7

I almost picked Miami for this one, but decided against it at the last moment.  It honestly could go either way.  Miami showed a lot of growth last year and nearly made the playoffs with their insane run.  They’ve got players like Waiters and Whiteside that could really make a difference in a game and along with the rest of the Miami roster, have a team that could potentially play spoiler in the playoffs.  The reason I chose the Sixers over the Heat for the choice of sleeper is because I feel the Sixers’ roster as a unit has more potential to be great this season.  They’ve got young studs like Simmons and Fultz.  They’ve got great role players like Covington and Saric.  They’ve got the veteran presence in Reddick, Johnson, and Bayless.  And, they’ve got the face in Embiid.  This team has all the potential in the world to be a great team down the road, but I believe they have the ability to be effective right now.  I feel that the Sixers have the potential to play ahead of schedule much like the New York Yankees have this year.  Better outside scoring will benefit the team, making them more well-rounded.  Veteran presence will help guide and teach the younger players.  And a (hopefully) full season from Embiid will give the team a huge boost all-around.  The only problem with this team, but is also a bit of a plus is that they’re so young.  It’s good in the sense that they have great potential down the road, but it’s a problem when looking at the success of the team this year.  Since the Sixers are made up of mainly young guys, they don’t have the experience yet and still have much to learn.  Not to mention not being at their prime like the superstars of the league they’d be going up against.  They may be able to surprise people and develop ahead of schedule, they may not.  The Sixers’ entire season is made up of what-ifs, and that may prove to be the deciding factor of the Sixers’ success this season.  With their star players having histories with injuries, their seasons rest in the hands of the basketball gods.  If they all can stay healthy, then the Sixers will see great success.

 

Top Rookie: Ben Simmons

I think a lot of people have forgotten that Ben Simmons is a rookie this year.  Everyone has been so caught up with this year’s rookie class, especially with Lonzo Ball.  Why I’ve chosen Simmons over his other highly touted teammate, Markelle Fultz, is because I feel Ben Simmons is a better athlete and all-around player than Fultz.  Also, Markelle is the type of player who will need a few years to fully develop and get used to things.  Fultz is a great shooter and passer no doubt, but Simmons is simply a freak of nature.  Simmons is the size of a power forward, but has the skill set of a point guard.  He’s able to handle the ball, dish the ball, shoot the ball, and defend the ball.  It was merely two years ago, but I feel many have forgotten just how good Ben Simmons was at LSU.  He could seriously do it all.  And not only can he do it all, but he can guard them all, which I believe is a very underrated asset for a player to have in this league.  Now combine all of this with a year’s worth of NBA knowledge that Simmons has absorbed from being out for the season last year, but still being around the game.  Simmons already has a leg up on all these rookies in that regard, making him a force to be reckoned with.dixon-201061-f-wp-content-uploads-2017-10-101317_ben-simmons_1200-1200x800

 

Top Player: LeBron JamesCleveland Cavaliers v Boston Celtics

With an East really lacking in stars, it’s no question LeBron gets this spot.  He would get it even if the likes of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony were still in the Eastern Conference.  It is simply impossible to be better than LeBron.   I mean, what more is there to say about the guy that hasn’t been said before?  He can score, he can pass, he can rebound, and he can play defense.  The guy is one of the greatest of all time and his career isn’t even over yet.  And with a bit of a chip on his shoulder from losing in the finals last season and the ‘drama’ between Kyrie and the Cavs, LeBron is going to absolutely destroy anyone who stands in his way.  And look at the first game he’s already played this year.  He slashed 29/16/9.  The man had nearly a triple-double, yet after the game he said he was out of shape and wasn’t joking.  LeBron hasn’t even reached his final form and that’s how he’s playing?  God Damn…

 

Rookie of the Year: Ben Simmonsusa_today_10338309-0

Without reiterating myself too much, I chose Ben Simmons over De’Aaron Fox and the rest of the rookies because I believe Ben Simmons is the best athlete and the best talent of this rookie class.  Simmons also has a better supporting cast to help him play even better and help him win games.  I believe a Simmons playing at the level I expect him to plus his team winning will ultimately lead the voters to choose him over any other rookie.

 

MVP: LeBron James

Again do not want to repeat myself too much here, but LeBron is going to be a player that impacts his team the most this season due to what he’s playing for.  LeBron will want to show this league that a loss will not set him back, but only make him stronger.  LeBron is out to prove and remind everyone that he is the best player in the league and there is no one that can touch him.Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game One

 

So there are my predictions.  Look forward to seeing how wrong I am in the end.  Here’s to a great season of basketball!

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Current MLB players I Wish To See In a Revitalized Backyard Baseball

Like many people my age, I spent most of my childhood huddled around my family computer playing Backyard Baseball ‘til my eyes bled.  Swinging for the fences with baseball prodigy Pablo Sanchez, and striking out batter after batter with Tim Hudson using the fireball powerup.  With my busy schedule nowadays, being in college and all, quite often I find myself longing to go back to the days of carelessly clicking away on Backyard Baseball.  But with Backyard Baseball not being published on a true platform since 2010, my dreams have been shattered.  All I can do now is hope and dream.  And that’s exactly what I did.  I present to you my dream list of MLB stars I’d like to see in a revitalized Backyard Baseball.

 

First let’s start with the hitters…

 

Mike TroutAP APTOPIX REDS ANGELS BASEBALL S BBO USA CA

Mike Trout is basically a given in this case due to his current level of stardom.  Mike Trout is arguably the face of baseball and no Backyard Baseball reboot would be right without the Millville Meteor.  Seeing his five-tool abilities flourish in the sandlot would be quite the spectacle.  A spectacle only matched possibly by the stunning skills of a certain Pablo Sanchez.

 

Aaron Judge

Rookie Sensation Aaron Judge has torn up this league and every baseball in sight.  Launching bombs to the back walls of the stadium, to the left, to the right, and everywhere in between.  It’d certainly be a sight to see just how far kid Aaron could launch one when placed into someone’s backyard.  And with such a large stature, it’d be interesting to see how he would stack up against the rest of the kids.  A Baby Bomber is a must have when creating a game that turns back the clock.AP BREWERS YANKEES BASEBALL S BBO USA NY

 

Cody Bellinger

The other rookie star to blast his way into the league would be another player that would be a great fit for this game.  Pairing his power with his love of the game, he’d be quite the thrill to have.  Bellinger brings a flare of fun to the game that puts a smile on all our faces whether it be launching bombs over the fences or cracking jokes about the game.  The Dodger stud would be a perfect fit with the Backyard Baseball gang.dodgers-cody-bellinger-home-run-record-gary-sanchez

 

Francisco Lindorfrancisco-lindor-102616-getty-ftrjpg_4t6bwvqv7vom179yhe9imwism

I could easily explain this pick with two words: His Smile.  Who could ever resist that big grin of his?  And now picture that coming from a little version of Lindor.  I would just have to see that big grin looked like on the tiny head of a kid.  And Lindor is another player who gives his all on the field and is also able to take it easy and have fun every once in a while.  He reminds us all that baseball is a game and it meant to be enjoyed.

 

Kris Bryantkris

Another instance where I could explain myself with two words: Those Eyes.  Everyone knows Kris Bryant has some of the most beautiful eyes in the league (see also, Kevin Kiermaier), so one could only easily imagine how cute little kid Kris would look in a Backyard Baseball game then. MVP and World Series champ Kris Bryant’s bat and glove would be a great addition to any sandlot team.

 

Jean Segurar220924_1296x518_5-2

Jean Segura has been one of my favorite players over the past couple years.  I’ve loved watching him flourish and come into his own as a player after bouncing from Milwaukee, to Arizona, and now finally to Seattle.  Segura is great hitter and great player, but what makes him stand out and perfect for this game is his ability to have fun.  Whether it be his reactions, or his walk-off celebrations, Segura is always able to put a smile on my face.  And it also helps a bit that he reminds me of a kid at times.

 

Bryce Harper

Another player, like Mike Trout, that would leave this game incomplete if he were left off the list.  Bryce Harper’s fierce competitiveness and drive to be the best would be a real spectacle to see translated into little league.  Then pair that with his skill, style, and last, but certainly not least, his hair, you’ve got quite the player.  A player who would be awesome to play with out in the backyard.  Having him and Pablo Sanchez go back-to-back would be enough to make me faint.636303015750650205-2017-05-13-bryce-harper2

 

Buster Posey

Had to throw a catcher in here and Posey is the perfect candidate for this spot.  Posey’s leadership on the diamond is something every little league team needs if they’re looking to succeed against the likes of Kenny Kawaguchi and Achmed Khan.  He’s got a passion for the game that’s hardly matched by anyone and has served as one of the faces of the MLB for the past few years now.  It’d be a crime to leave him out.buster-posey-andy-hayt-getty2

 

Jose Altuve

Okay…I’ll just get this out of the way now…”He’s the size of a kid!”  Alright done with that.  Now for a bit more of an analysis of this choice, all you really need to know about Altuve to understand why he’s a perfect fit is his fun, upbeat attitude.  He’s always got a smile on his face when he’s out on the field.  Probably because he knows he can outhit and outrun practically anyone out there.  Since we’re dealing with video games here, a great comparison for Jose Altuve would be Monty Mole from Mario Super Sluggers, except with more power.  So one can only imagine how great Altuve would be out there on the field.astros-jose-altuve-stats-season

 

And Finally the Pitchers…

 

Corey Kluberkluber

This pick is more of a personal desire than any of the rest simply because I would just have to know what kid Kluber would look like.  Would he ever smile?  Would he be a robot?  Would the developer use a similar algorithm for him and Kawhi Leonard if they were to make a Backyard Basketball game?  Who knows?  Which is why it is driving me crazy that there’s no Backyard Baseball game for him to be.  I want to pitch a perfect game with kid Kluber never smiling.  Is that too much to ask???

 

Carlos Martinez

Carlos Martinez is another one of my favorite players of the past few years.  He’s got an air about him that is just so entertaining to me.  He’s got skill and a great personality to go with it.  His antics on the field or in the dugout, like his pyramid that he protected with his life, always bring a smile to my face.  And not to mention all the crazy colors he likes to dye his hair. Maybe it could be programmed that Martinez’s hair changes color as the game goes on.  That could be something.  Either way, he would have to be in the game, regardless of what color they make his hair.gettyimages-576527982-0

 

Sonny Graysonny-gray-6fd26c8c7cc701f0

I feel like any player with the nickname “Pickles” has to be in this game.  There’s gotta be some law about it somewhere.  Sonny Gray is one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball and always fun to watch.  He may not be as known or dominant as other pitchers in the league, but I feel that Sonny Gray fits the Backyard Baseball vibe perfectly.  Plus he still looks like a kid too. He’d fit right in amongst the best of them.

 

Marcus Stroman

Marcus Stroman is another player, like Gray, who fits the Backyard Baseball vibe perfectly.  He’s got the skill, the passion, and the style that would translate flawlessly.  With his whole HDMH (Height Doesn’t Measure Heart) campaign, he embodies exactly what Backyard Baseball is about.  It would be a crying shame if Marcus Stroman was left out of the game.  Just look at that hair and that smile and tell me he doesn’t deserve to be characterized.Marcus Stroman

 

So that’s my list.  And yes, this is what I do when I put off studying.

How To Survive Your Family BBQ

For many folks around the world, at some point or another this summer, you will be invited to a family BBQ.  For those especially shy ones out there, or ones who just want to coast through events like these, I have compiled a guide to help you all get through the trying time of going to a BBQ.  To make it easy for everyone at home, I have organized it hour-by-hour, to make it easier to follow.  So rest and read up!  You’ve got a big day ahead.IMG_3836

 

1:00-Well, you’ve put this off long enough.  Party started at 12 and you haven’t even left yet. Guess now’s good as time as ever to get in the car, cooler in hand, and head off to your uncle’s house.

 

1:30-Great!  You made it!  Time to awkwardly circle around the house mingling until you find someone you can talk to.

 

1:33-Uh oh!  Looks like your aunt caught you before you could make your way over to the one cousin you can stand.  Better give her some rehearsed answers.  If you don’t already have your own rehearsed answers, use the ones provided below! Remember to add your own personal flair to make them more believable.

  • Yes I did just get here
  • School was great!  My favorite class was (insert class here)
  • My friends are doing well.  One actually lives around here.  He’s from (insert town name here)
  • No I don’t know her.  I must’ve missed her when I was introducing myself to the other thousand kids at my school
  • No, I’m not playing sports.  I’m too focused on school
  • I know I have gotten taller
    • No there aren’t steroids in the food
  • No I’m not dating anyone, but thanks for reminding me!
  • No I haven’t gotten anything to eat yet.  I just got here, remember?

And then to make a quick dash out of the conversation, grab the nearest relative and bring them into the conversation.

  • No I haven’t heard about (insert name here).  That’s a tragedy.  What do you think about all this, (insert name here)

 

1:45-Whew!  Got out of that conversation.  Now time to go talk to your cous- oh no!  Your cousin’s brought their girlfriend!  Quick!  Take evasive maneuvers!

 

1:46-Shit!  They saw you.  Looks like you’re stuck with them for a while.  Oh well, he’s your favorite cousin, and his girlfriend seems nice.  Just gotta avoid thinking about how he has a girlfriend and you don’t.

 

1:47-Oops…Now you’re feeling lonely and depressed.  Better think of an activity to suggest to get your mind off of your crippling depression.  Choose from any of the options below.

  • Kan Jam
  • Cornhole
  • Debating the direction our nation should be going in
  • Horseshoes
  • Swimming
  • Tanning
  • Discuss the Syrian crisis
  • Volleyball

 

1:50-Swimming?  Good choice!  That’ll eat some time off the clock and get your mind off of things.

 

2:00-You make your way down to the dock.  Oh look!  It’s your older brother.  Uh oh, his wife is there.  Better steer clear of that!  Walk right off the dock and into the water without hesitation. That way no one can engage in a conversation with you.

 

2:45-After doing some basic swimming, more people will have joined you.  There will be about seven of you, and you all decide to play a game of Oreo.  For those who do not know what Oreo is, it is a game where one player is on one side and the other players are on the other.  The player alone on the one side says the initials to a movie and the other players have to swim over and try to guess it before the other players.  The winner then chooses the next initials.

 

3:30-Wow! That game lasted for a while!  Only ended because your dumbass cousins couldn’t come up with the movie E.N.G. after giving them three blatantly obvious clues.  I mean how could they not get it after saying that it’s a Disney cartoon, it stars a llama, and is the only cartoon to take place during the Incan civilization?!

 

3:30-Someone got a bottle cap and now you all play a game of Bibble.  For those who are unfamiliar with Bibble as well, Bibble is a game where the players stand on the dock and one player dives into the water with the bottle cap.  The first person to jump in, get the bottle cap, and yell “Bibble” wins and is the one to dive in next turn.

 

3:50-The games going well-Oh No!  Your uncle with the weird nipples has jumped in to swim!  Time to bail!  You and your cousins make a dart for your towels before your uncle can engage.

 

3:55-Dodged a bullet there.  But sadly, three did not make it.  They got stuck out there and are locked into a long discussion on how beautiful of a day it is.  Still wanting to continue the fun, you and the remaining cousins go up to the front yard to play some cornhole.  You smartly pair yourself with the cousin who pitches for varsity softball.  She’s got that good underhand motion.

 

4:45-You sweep your cousins in a 3-0 series victory and even beat some of your uncles.  Your confidence has reached its high for the day, despite your varsity softball cousin being the one to carry the team.  Either way, you decide it’s best to quit while on top.

 

4:46-Mmm.  Something smells good!

 

5:00-  Oh no!  You’ve found yourself next to your uncle at the grill!  How could you have been so foolish to follow the smell?  You try and back out, but there’s no stopping your uncle.  He’s got you locked in a conversation about sports; the most controversial topics amongst uncles.  It’s best not to give any hot takes about how good those damn “Steph Currys” and LeBron James” characters are.  Instead, you best just feed your uncle some BS about how much “better” the past generations.  Now, it is Vitally important here to mention that you think Larry Bird is the best player of all time.  Older folks love Larry Bird.  With your uncle now drooling over Larry Bird in those short shorts, you can make your move.  He’ll be too distracted to notice you dip out and into the house.

 

5:15-You’ve run into your brother.  Guess there was no avoiding this.  Just play nice and ask him how work is going, how their house is, and make sure to tell his wife that she is looking “lovely” today.  “Lovely” only.  Do not use any other terms.  Any other terms lead to too many unpredictable scenarios.  It’s best to stick with “Lovely.” You cannot get hurt with “Lovely.”

 

5:25-Somewhere along the way a rumor emerged that your cousins found some old fireworks from the Fourth of July and are planning on busting them out later tonight.  Let’s hope that rumor turns out to be false.  Otherwise you’ll be stuck here for an hour more than you had hoped.

 

5:30-Time for the best part of the day: The “free” meal.  I say free in quotation marks because the hell you have to endure on this day is hardly worth a couple of burnt hot dogs and a crusty burger.

 

6:00-You enjoy your food anyways because it’s free, monetarily speaking.  After you’ve finished, you head down to the dock to catch up with your Dad and his best friend from high school  These are probably the only two level-headed people at this party that you can actually stand talking to.  You three talk about a variety of topics as your baby cousins take a swim in the lake before you.

 

7:00-The conversation is going great.  In fact, you’re starting to really enjoy yourself.  You’re feeling relaxed for the first time all day.  Your dad is making some remarks on Donald Trump when BAM! Your drunk right-wing uncle joins you guys on the dock.  Shouldn’t have let your guard down, buddy.  You could’ve seen this coming and slipped out before he reached you three. Well it’s too late to back out now.  Drunk uncles’ vision is based on movement.  If you try and slip out,  your uncle will see you, engage in a conversation with you, call you a fairy for going to a “liberal” college, then trash your major for not helping you find a “real” job.  So instead, you sit back as you listen to your uncle make comments on Hillary Clinton and how she’s crooked, despite the fact that she does not even matter anymore.

 

7:30-Looks like you’ve made it out alive.  Your uncle has left to go get another beer.  Your dad and his friend begin to make fun of your uncle, so you decide it’s time to regroup with people your own age.  You head out to the backyard where you meet up with your cousins.  Best to stick with that pack for the rest of the night.  There in the same boat as you today, so it’s best you all stick together.

 

8:05-Welp.  Turns out the rumors true.  You see your cousins carry the boxes of fireworks out of the house and down towards the dock.  You follow behind, closely, but also from a safe distance to avoid being asked to help.  And whatever you do, DO NOT OFFER TO HELP.  If you offer to help, then you’ll be peer-pressured into going out on the boat with them and helping them light off the fireworks, and you’d like to keep all 10 fingers.

 

8:10-You and your cousins take your places on the dock to get a good view of your cousins as they venture out to the middle of the lake to fire those baby’s off.  Let’s just hope none fall and shoot towards you.  No one needs to have a PTSD episode now.

 

8:30-The fireworks start.  All the couples snuggle together to watch the “romantic” display.  While you sit there twiddling your thumbs waiting for the grand finale.

 

9:00-The finale starts, (which is just a perfectly random stream of explosions) signalling the end of the day.  Thank god that’s over.  You find your aunt, thank her for having you over, say goodbye to your family, and make a break for your car.  Luckily you get there before anyone else and are able to peel out without having to say another awkward goodbye.

 

Congrats!  You made it through the day!  Can’t wait to do it all over again at Christmas!  Only this time instead of burgers and beer, it’s ham and eggnog!

 

Bat flips: Friend or Foe?

In recent years, there’s been countless discussions on how to get the younger generations interested in baseball.  The reason that people cite as being the main problem is the speed and duration of the game.  Many believe that baseball is too slow of a game for people to be interested in.  Sports fans these days want nonstop action, which is why they tend to gravitate more towards basketball, hockey, and even football to an extent.  Paired with this belief that baseball is a slow game is a complaint that the game is too boring and rigid.  Baseball players don’t seem to have as much fun and freedom out on the field as players do in other sports.  A large debate within this topic is whether bat flips are hurtful or harmful to the game of baseball.  Many current and former players have taken sides as well as baseball analysts.  With no definitive frontrunner in this growing debate, I am here to answer the question…Bat flips: Friend or Foe?Division Series - Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays - Game Five

A bat flip is the action of flipping ones bat in an exaggerated manner after making contact with the ball, tending to be done after hitting a home run.  This is a celebration that has come about in recent years with the new wave of young players coming into the league.  Since this celebration came about seemingly out of this class as players, the bat flip debate has appeared to be divided into old baseball vs. new.  Older baseball players, both current and retired, seem to take offense to bat flips, while many new players are all for it, feeling that it brings more energy and fun to the game.  The two leaders of the bat flip movement, in my opinion, are Jose Bautista, and Odubel Herrera.  I say this because they have garnered the most attention from their bat flips.  Bautista brought bat flips into the spotlight with his display after hitting that clutch home run against the Texas Rangers back in game 5 of the 2015 ALDS.  Along with that instance, Bautista has bat flipped after a home run on numerous occasions, which has sparked controversy at times, even leading to benches being cleared after some on occasion.ap-odubel-herrera-bat-flip

Odubel Herrera on the other hand, I credit to being a leader of the bat flip movement simply because he partakes in it so often.  Odubel Herrera appears to treasure bat flips and tries to incorporate them into his play in any way he can.  Countless times we have seen Herrera bat flip after hitting a bomb over the fences.  And even on occasions, Herrera has done one on a ball that doesn’t even leave the yard and whether it was intentional or not, he isn’t the only one to do it.  Hanley Ramirez once bat flipped on a ball that was clearly not going out.  In fact, it was a mere looper into right field, so Herrera is not the only one.  And yes, I will admit that it is a bit embarrassing when a player does a bat flip or takes his time running to first, thinking they’ve just hit a bomb and it turns out to hit off the wall, but at the same time, it’s pretty damn entertaining.  Plus it is also the risk they take when they choose to celebrate early.  Just look at Nick Young for example.

So what’s the problem with this?  Well, for starters, pitchers do not take too kindly to a bat flip after a home run.  They see it as the batter showing them up and pitchers don’t like being shown up.  Numerous times we have seen a player get plunked his next at-bat after celebrating a home run in a manner like that.  Now whether that is a right response or not is another argument altogether, so I won’t touch that one (yet).  The main argument, however, against bat flips goes a bit hand in hand with pitcher retaliation.  Pitchers tend to retaliate and bean an opposing player after being shown up in some way.  Whether it’s after a bit of an argument, a player admiring a home run, or in the case of this article, a bat flip.  Pitchers don’t like being shown up, which means they are not a fan of any sort of home run celebration.  Many former pitchers have openly expressed that if a batter were to flip their bat in a way that some players have done, that they would drill the next guy up.  This argument, however, comes off as a bit hypocritical in my opinion.  Batters are not allowed to show their excitement after hitting a home run, but when a pitcher strikes someone out in a big spot they’re allowed to yell and celebrate as they walk off the mound?  It just doesn’t seem fair.  A batter celebrates, and he’s got to worry about being hit the next time around, but a pitcher celebrates and he doesn’t have to worry about a thing.  It just does not seem fair to let a pitcher express his emotions then deny a batter of expressing his own.rob_jkvvtmad_si9tyf9e

The commissioner of baseball, Robert Manfred, always preaches how he wants to make the game more fun and enjoyable for both fans and players, so I feel that it would only be right for him to encourage players to have fun out there.  And for a lot of players, celebrating more is a way to have fun.  Look at soccer and football, for example.  They allow their players to celebrate after scoring and it seems to make the game a lot more fun and interesting.  It’s always great to see the unique and funny celebrations players come up with after scoring a goal or a touchdown.  Fans eat that stuff up.  The amount of funny celebration compilations that are out there is astronomical.  If players were allowed to be more expressive with their celebrations, such as doing a bat flip after a home run, then I am certain that more people would become interested in the game of baseball.

One other grievance people have with over-the-top celebrations like bat flips, is that it is a bad influence on kids playing baseball.  I’m just gonna outright say that that is bull.  Kids should be encouraged to have as much fun as possible.  That’s the whole point of being a kid.  That’s the whole point of playing sports.  You’re supposed to have fun.  I think people have forgotten that over the years and need a good reminder.  Kids play these sports because they want to have fun and hang out with their friends.  So let them have fun.  Let them express themselves out on the field.  I’ve seen so many videos of kids playing little league, or sandlot, or even whiffle ball and having loads of fun in coming up with funny celebrations.  Kids are meant to have fun and baseball is meant to be fun.  Enough with all this intimidation when it comes to players expressing their joy.  Enough with all these restrictions on how a baseball player should act.  Let the players be themselves.

Although I have made my opinion rather clear so far, it is important to look at the other side of it.  Yes, allowing players to celebrate could easily get out of hand, which is why it is probably ideal to have some sort of guidelines or let the umpires make a decision on the spot.  Just like how basketball has technicals, one could have some similar penalty if a player is being too arrogant.  One then argues “But that’s what beanball is for,” and to that I give a simple “No.” Throwing a fastball right at someone is an excessive and dangerous punishment.  Players should not have to fear like that.  A simple fine or other equivalent punishment is enough.  We shouldn’t be risking the well-being of players just because someone rubbed you the wrong way.  It is immature and dangerous.

Now if the MLB were to go in the complete opposite direction and not allow bat flips at all, then I suppose players would just have to find another way to express their excitement.  They could save it for inside the dugout, sure, but if they still wished to express their joy in the heat of the moment, there’s nothing wrong with a smooth bat drop the way Griffey used to.  There was nothing sweeter and smoother than seeing Griffey take that perfect swing, and drop the bat in one fluid motion.  I’m sure players could easily adapt to doing a swift bat drop like Griffey if the league were to not allow excessive celebrations in the form of bat flips.bmbbfg0

So, what’s my conclusion?  I would wholeheartedly say that bat flips are a friend.  Bat flips and other celebrations would be a win win for both the players and the fans.  The players would be able to have more fun with the game and the fans would enjoy the flashiness.  As for what to do about the opposing side of the debate, I suppose this would just have to be something you would need to make clear: Baseball is meant to be fun.  And if they do not like it, then too bad.  The newer generation of players are only going to keep bringing their own flare to the game.

Baseball is changing whether people like it or not.  And I for one, am happy and confident in the direction that the game is taking.

All-Star Rap Basketball Team

The rap community has always had a close relationship with the sports world, especially the NBA.  We’ve seen countless rappers make appearances courtside at NBA games, numerous references to players in songs, and even some NBA players try their hand at rapping themselves.  With a number of NBA players, such as Shaq and Damian Lillard taking part in the game of rap, I thought it would be interesting to make a team of rappers that would be suited best to take part in the game of basketball.dame_dolla_bigger_than_us_long-00_03_06_10-still116

 

Owner/GM: Jay-Z

Besides the fact that Jay-Z is actually part owner of a team, I believe Jay-Z would be perfect for the role of owner for this squad since he has plenty of other business experience.  Jay-Z is great at getting people together for projects and is well-respected throughout the community.  He’s a great businessman, having experience with co-founding his own label, Roc-a-fella Records and being a certified NBA and MLB sports agent with clients on his agency’s roster of the likes of Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant, and Dez Bryant.  All in all, Jay-Z is a great businessman who could run this team quite smoothly.jayz

 

Coach: Dr. Dre

Dr. Dre could have also fit the bill of owner in this situation, but I felt he was better suited for the role of head coach.  Dre’s production skills are some of the best this world has experienced and I feel that ability to craft and create in the studio could translate seamlessly onto the court.  He’d be able to draw up plays flawlessly and whip the team into the best shape they could possibly be in.  Dre brings out the best in the people he works with and nearly everyone in the rap world has nothing but respect for him, leading him to having an excellent relationship with the players.dr-dre-2015

 

PG: J. Colej-colebasketballroc4life

Cole may be more on the taller side of talent on this team, but I feel his skills and abilities fit the Point Guard role beautifully.  Just like in his music, he has the ability to show off when he needs to, but also put his pride aside and help those around him, making him a perfect candidate for point guard.  The quiet, unassuming approach he took on his last record and seems to be sticking with would create a nice deception to the skill that Cole possesses when he has the ball in his hands.  Cole also has much experience playing basketball, having stated on numerous occasions that he loved playing growing up, even playing on his high school team.  We’ve also seen him play in the 2012 NBA celebrity game, where he had a nice dunk with the alley-oop assist from Kevin Hart, which shows that Cole is a great multi-tool player.

 

SG: Freddie Gibbs1372788855_7f76937d705d32c3aa8886f0bb25218a

Freddie Gibbs, I believe, would make an excellent addition to this team.  I was unsure where to put him exactly on this squad, but I believe SG is where he fit best.  Freddie Gibbs has a strong, aggressive style of rapping that could intimidate anyone.  This style is especially present on tracks such as “Shitsville” off of his collaborative album with Madlib, Piñata.  A style, that would without a doubt translate onto the court, making him a scoring threat, as well as a defensive powerhouse.  People would be afraid to try anything against him, leading them to be weak and weary on defense.  This is a great skill to have for a big man, but due to his size in comparison to the rest of the team, I believe he is best suited for SG.  Also, Gibbs is very knowledgeable on the game of basketball and is an avid fan, giving him an edge on his opponents.

 

SF: Tyler, The Creator

This pick is a bit out there and unexpected.  I wouldn’t expect other owners to draft Tyler high, if at all, but I believe he could be a great asset to any rap basketball team.  Despite not being a huge fan of basketball, or having any real experience playing the sport, Tyler has the athletic build that any owner would dream of having on their team.8f2d89233a5a17f8b6b7395e327ccabb-odd-future-abs  Having a tall frame, with a skinny, yet muscular build, paired with natural athletic talent, makes Tyler a deceptively athletic threat, if I may.  Finding a position for him was tough, but Small Forward suits Tyler best because he is the most well-rounded rapper on this team.  He has the ability to go hard and tough when need be, as evident by tracks such as “Domo23” and “I Ain’t Got Time!”  Meaning he could take control of the game and pound it in the paint.  Yet at the same time, he is able to play it smooth and slick as evident on tracks such as “911/Mr. Lonely” and “Treehome95”, meaning he can take a step back and facilitate the ball effortlessly.  Also, having worked with a number of other artists, Tyler would have great chemistry with his other teammates.

 

PF: 2 Chainz2-chainz-ftr-jpg_1rw6wiylhntq01vitg21u4a0ge

2 Chainz is the first of the big men on this squad.  Standing at 6’5”, 2 Chainz is one of the tallest rappers in the game.  2 Chainz also has some of the most basketball experience out of any rapper.  2 Chainz attended Alabama State University on a basketball scholarship from 1995-1997.  Experience like this is a necessity on a team like this.  Being a bit of a veteran, 2 Chainz would serve as a great mentor to the rest of the team.  His lavish raps and melodic music would translate into a very graceful and beautiful style of play.  2 Chainz, however, is still able to get down and dirty when the time comes, allowing him to play some gritty defense and really battle under the hoop.

 

C: Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg, rounding out the starting five, would for sure serve as the captain of this roster. article-2560396-1b81e45900000578-177_634x759 Having been around the game nearly as long as Coach Dre, Snoop has veteran presence up the ying-yang.  His catchy, upbeat flow would translate into some great motivation and leadership.  Snoop would be able to keep the good spirits running high in the locker room and out on the court, even if the team is down or behind.  As for his play, Snoop is an avid sports fan, coaches football, and has run basketball fundraisers in past years.  Snoop has the athletic blood in him, making him a natural talent that can easily be utilized on the court.  His athletic talent can even be seen in his son Cordell’s football skills.  Cordell was a former WR at UCLA and was highly touted in high school for his play.  And lastly, Snoop has some experience as well.  Who could forget his appearance at the 2014 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans?

 

Sixth Man: Lil B

No rap basketball team would be complete without Lil B.  Lil B could easily be in the starting lineup, but I feel that his skills would be better utilized coming off the bench.  Lil B has some experience under his belt, having tried out for the NBA D-League (Now known as the G-League), but just falling short.  He could provide an amped up energy that would surely get his teammates riled up.  Lil B is capable of lighting a fire that could spark a huge run for his team when they need it most.  It also helps that Lil B has been known to have great “influence” in the sports world.  An influence that could easily be used to his team’s advantage.17efecad

 

Honorable Mentions:

 

Lil Dicky

Lil Dicky, known at home as LiDicky, comes from a very athletic family.  For those who do not know, Lil Dicky is the often forgotten about fourth Ball brother, as seen in this video.  While he may not have been as highly touted as his other brothers, there is no doubt that Lil Dicky has some skill of his own.  

 

Wale

Wale has great athleticism, having attended multiple colleges on football scholarships, making him a good candidate for this team.  However I was unsure where he could have fit into this lineup or whose place he could have taken.  Also, his skill resides in football, so whether that athleticism would translate to basketball is unknown.

 

Meek Mill

Meek Mill does not have much of a sports background besides being a fan of it, but in recent years, he has been seen hanging out with members of the Philadelphia 76ers.  This may not mean much, but I’m certain that he could have picked up a thing or two from hanging out with the likes of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.cnsebyruaaevhn1

Alternative All-Star Break Events

With the MLB All-Star break upon us, I figured it’d be a good time to share some ideas that I had to make the All-Star break a bit more fun.  The All-star game itself is perfect.  Arguably being the best all-star game across the major sports, with no one really phoning it in or not giving it their all.  Everyone goes out and plays the game.  However, comparing the MLB All-Star break to the NBA’s, the MLB lacks the fun and exciting mini games that the NBA has.  Dunk contest, skills challenge, three-point contest, all these activities make the event more fun and entertaining for all (okay, let’s exclude last year’s).  The MLB does have the Home Run Derby, but that is only one event and fails to include players whose game is not based around power.  So I thought I’d think up some other events that could help include all players and bring more excitement to the event.

 

Bunting Challenge: Okay this one may sound boring, but stick with me here.  It would be a great way to reward and test players on their skills in situations like this.  Down each line, you have different zones worth different points.  Intervals of 1, 3, and 5, should work.  If they bunt it foul, or miss the zones, they get an out.  Just like in a real game, three outs and your turn is over.  Although bunting may not be the most exciting aspect of the game, I think this event could still be an exciting one.  And since many pitchers are used in sacrifice situations, they would be able to participate in this event.MLB: Minnesota Twins at New York Yankees

Possible Players:

Elvis Andrus

Delino DeShields

Alcides Escobar

Brett Gardner

Ichiro Suzuki

Julio Teheran

Edinson Volquez

Gio Gonzalez

 

Beat The Shift: The debate over whether the flurry of defensive shifts over the years has helped or hurt baseball is still very prevalent.  In light of this debate, a good potential activity is Beat The Shift.  The goal of the game is to hit it where they’re not.  A defensive shift like the one below would be put on and the goal of the hitter is to hit it (for a base hit) through the hole in the defense.shifts2  Home runs will not count as anything.  There will be actual fielders to make the plays, so there will be a competent team out there on the field trying to stop the hitter.  You could potentially have a defensive point system in place as an incentive for the fielders to try their best.  Perhaps even have the other hitters pick out their own team of fielders and for every stop they get in the outfield, their team gets a point.  This would keep the hitters for just swinging for the warning track.  Depending on how it all goes, I figure giving the hitter 7-10 outs is fair.  

Potential Players:

Brian McCann

Carlos Beltran

Chase Headley

Mike Napoli

Brandon Belt

Curtis Granderson

Matt Wieters

Eric Thames

 

Robbery: A contest to see who can rob the most home runs would be an exciting spectacle to watch.  Each player gets as many tries as possible, but if they miss, they receive a strike.  Five strikes and you’re done.  This would keep it fast-paced, but still give them room for error.  Robbing home runs is one of the most exciting plays in all of baseball.  Everyone loves to see a player scale the wall and haul it in.  Players who thrive in the defensive aspect of the game could finally have a place during the break where they could show off their skills.  Defense is an important aspect of the game and continues to get lost and forgotten about in an age of baseball that demands the long ball. Mike Trout 

Potential Players:

Mike Trout

Kevin Kiermaier

Adam Jones

Mookie Betts

Bryce Harper

Andrew McCutchen

Billy Hamilton

Christian Yelich

 

Retired All-Star Game: This one is fairly self-explanatory.  Basically, you take former all-stars, preferably ones that retired recently and can still play, and hold an all-star game for them.  There is an old-timer’s game held every year, but you could potentially hold another one during the All-Star break.  Also this one would be treated like an actual game.  No softball, no lobbing, just real, competitive baseball.  This is why it would be preferable to get recently retired players, that way, they’d still be able to move and throw.  Risk of injury would only increase as the age grows.  Fans would love to watch their old favorites get back out there and play.  It would provide a great nostalgic vibe to the break.New York Yankees v Seattle Mariners

Potential Players:

Literally any of your favorite recent retirees

 

Pitchers Home Run Derby: Last, but certainly not least, my favorite idea.  In recent years, pitchers have spoken up about wanting to compete in the Home Run Derby, so why not give them what they want?  Fans and players would get an absolute kick out of watching the pitchers swing for the fences.  Also it wouldn’t mess up their swing, which is a concern during the actual Home Run Derby, because these pitcher’s swing is already messed up.  It’s a win-win for everyone!21pitchers-master1050

Potential Players:

Madison Bumgarner

Johnny Cueto

Jake Arrieta

Zack Greinke

C.C. Sabathia

Bartolo Colon

Marcus Stroman

Trevor Bauer (Those Batting Stances??)

 

Invisible Force Fields: A Legitimate Strategy?

Every team in baseball looks for ways to help give their team an advantage when out on the field.  Any slight advantage could be the difference between a win and a loss.  In past years, pitchers have taken this philosophy to such great lengths that they would conceal pine tar, vaseline, or any other sort of substance to help them get a better grip on the baseball or to get the ball to move more effectively.  Because this method goes against the rules of baseball, however, teams looked to more “legal” approaches.

A big thing that teams do is design a ballpark that helps fit their style of play.  Colorado’s stadium is high up in the air, allowing the ball to fly out of the ballpark easier, so the Rockies play a more power-based game.  The Yankees have that short porch in right field, so they stock their lineup with left-handed hitters who can easily pull that ball down the line into the bleachers.  The Phillies have…an invisible force field?

Sitting in last place in their division and sporting the worst record in the MLB, the Philadelphia Phillies realized that something needed to change.  Despite being in a “rebuilding year”,odubel-herrera_kveivilgy5le129lorfd7fjmo Phillies ownership must have gotten tired of losing so terribly.  Even for a team rebuilding they have played exceptionally poorly.  With a run differential of -98 and a total of 104 home runs given up (7th most in the league), the Phillies needed something to help keep the ball in the ballpark.  A simple solution would be to trade for better pitching, but the Phillies are rebuilding.  There would be no sense in trading away prospects just to get some better pitching for the present day.  They’re planning for the future, not right now.  Another idea would be to move the fences back, but they can’t do that midseason.  So what other choice did the Phillies have but to put in invisible force fields to keep the ball from going out?  It truly is quite the revolutionary and fool-proof plan, the only problem is, it’ll sometimes backfire on you.

During last night’s Cardinals-Phillies game, the force field must have been malfunctioning because the Phillies gave up three home runs to the Cardinals.  Luckily, the Phillies were able to tie the game up at 5 and send it into extras.  But immediately in the tenth, the Cards put across two to give themselves a 7-5 lead going into the bottom of the 10th.  The first batter up for the Phillies in the bottom half of the inning was Andrew Knapp.  With a 3-2 count on him, Knapp hit a long fly ball to right field.  The maintenance workers must have been playing around with the force field generator, trying to get it to work, and accidentally turned it back on because the ball appeared to ricochet off of nothing.  The ball bounced back into play keeping Knapp at first base, preventing the Phillies from coming within one.  Good on the crew for doing their job, but too bad on the timing.  That home run could have been the kickstart the Phil’s offense needed to come back and win.  And that win could have sparked a win streak.  And that win streak could have led to a playoff berth.  And that playoff berth could have led to a playoff run.  And that playoff run could have led to a World Series ring.  How depressing.

So what am I getting at here?  Well that’s a good question Zach.  What I am trying to say is that force field could have cost the Phillies a World Series.  Yes, the intentions of the force field are good, but one must remember that the home team has to deal with it too.  Theoretically, the grounds crew could be instructed to turn it off when the home team is up, but that would be a bit too obvious.   The league would be all over that quicker than Manfred on a game that’s lasted for more than 3 hours.  So I salute the Phillies for their creativity, and hope they can come to a decision as to what they will do with the force field.  As for my opinion on the matter, I say leave it in.  You paid the millions of dollars for the prototype technology, so why spend even more to have it removed?  Just fix the problems with it and you’ll be all set.  No more home runs for anyone.  Hope you guys have learned how to bunt…

Don’t Judge LeBron Based On This Final

Welp, another NBA season in the books and boy was it a boring one.  82 pointless games followed by a pointless playoff series all to set up the matchup we all knew was coming.  At least Joel Embiid was fun to watch for the few months he was out there.  If it weren’t for him, I probably would’ve gotten into the hobby of watching paint dry just to bring some excitement into my life.  It’s too bad this season was boring because in all honesty, the finals matchup this year was one for the history books.  The only problem was that everyone saw it coming, so it wasn’t a thrilling ride and then once we got to the finals, it was made clear quickly that this series wasn’t going to be as intense as we had all hoped.  The Warriors made quick work of the Cavs, eliminating them in only five games, handing LeBron another finals loss.  But did LeBron really lose?lebron-james-6717-usnews-getty-ftr_xqvd93njhofk10z2vpv9pkw7d

To put it simply, LeBron straight up balled out this entire series.  He became the first player in history to average a triple double in the finals by posting a slash of 33.6/12/10 in the finals.  If you were to look at just LeBron’s stats for these finals, you would assume that the Cavs won solely based on that.  He was absolutely unstoppable during the finals, yet somehow it wasn’t enough.  So what happened?  Well, for starters the bench was absolutely nonexistent.   There was absolutely no help from anyone outside of the Cavs big three.  At times it felt like the Warriors had a 5 on 3 power play, leaving LeBron, Kyrie, and Kevin to fend for themselves.  Tristan Thompson got outrebounded by Steph Curry.  Deron Williams didn’t score a bucket until game four.  Richard Jefferson was their fifth leading scorer at a mere 5.8 ppg. jr-smith-6517-usnews-getty-ftr_sy1ach5ffia513rdhwunf2uzx  JR Smith started playing well, especially last game, scoring 25 on ⅞ from 3-pt range, but his play came a bit too late.  With no help from outside the big three and the Warriors bench outplaying the Cavs bench, LeBron, Kyrie, and Kevin were forced to play extra minutes in order to make up for the poor bench performance, putting all the work onto their shoulders.  Honestly if it weren’t for LeBron’s stellar performance, the result could have been even uglier than it was.

But by no means is this an excuse for Cleveland’s loss to Golden State.  The Warriors were just too good for the Cavaliers.  I don’t think any team in history could best this Warriors team in a 7-game series.  This has got to be the best team in the history of basketball.  There was no stopping them.  Kevin Durant went off this series, averaging 35 ppg.  It felt like every time he pulled up to shoot it was going in.  And when he would leave his feet to dunk it was as if he was gliding through the air to the hoop.  It was all so graceful to watch.22846785-mmmain  Add that performance with Steph Curry’s great series as well, and there was just nothing the Cavaliers could do.  Curry slashed 26.8/8/9.4 in this series, nearly averaging a triple double like LeBron.  Steph Curry really showed up this series and it made all the difference in the end.  And like I said earlier, the play by the Warriors role players really helped seal the deal.  They were able to outscore the Cavs bench and force Cleveland’s big three back out onto the court sooner than the Cavs would have liked, thus tiring out LeBron and Co. allowing the Warriors starters to punish them.  Nothing could be done to stop this Warriors team this year.  I have yet to see a weakness in the Warriors that could allow a team to beat them.  The only way for the Warriors to lose is if they beat themselves and they certainly did not do that this finals.

But LeBron still statistically lost another finals, putting him at a 3-5 record in the finals.  Many people look at that and say LeBron isn’t great because he has a losing record in the finals, which is absolute shit.  The fact that LeBron has been to 8 finals already is impressive enough, so what if he’s lost 5.  Losing in the finals shouldn’t be looked down upon as much as it is.  It’s impressive to even be there, so why give an amazing player like LeBron flak for losing five?  “Oh but MJ has never lost a final.”  Yeah well LeBron also hasn’t gotten swept in the first round.  Twice.  Also if you look back on the teams LeBron has lost to, they’re nothing to be ashamed about.  He’s lost to the Spurs twice and the Warriors twice.  Two amazing teams during their times and were not really seen as underdogs in any finals.  Yes, he did lose to the Mavericks in 2011, but you gotta remember, that team swept the two-time reigning champ Lakers team.  So why should LeBron be looked down upon for losing to that team?1465581946-bkn-nba-final-heat-mavericks_19739287

A player’s finals record should not be used to judge the greatness of said player.  People keep looking at LeBron’s finals record as if it’s been an individual affair.  LeBron isn’t 3-5 in the finals, LeBron’s teams are 3-5 in the finals.  People need to remember that this game is still a team sport.  You win and lose as a team, and one player isn’t going to dictate that.  Yes, one player can have a large impact, but it is still up to the team as a whole to perform well in order to bring home a ring.  LeBron has balled out every finals he’s been in and tried to give his team the best chance they have at winning it all.  You cannot blame someone who gives his all those losses, especially this year’s finals.  Averaging a triple double is going above and beyond what was asked of him, and I think a lot of people don’t see that.  All they see is that LeBron lost again.  LeBron sucks, end of story.  But it’s not the end of the story.  If you look at what LeBron does when he goes out there game after game, you would see that this man is an incredible talent that has nothing to be ashamed about.  LeBron is the exact opposite of a sucky player.  LeBron is one of the greatest to touch the court and too many people take that for granted.

LeBron is one of the greatest to play the game.  There’s really not much more to say.  I think those that do not see that are not paying enough attention.  Far too often LeBron’s skills are overlooked and under-appreciated.  Yet then those same people who think LeBron isn’t one of the best see him lose and blame it all on him.  It’s mind boggling to me how bipolar the fans of the NBA are towards this man.  One minute they love him, but the minute he has a “bad” game they’re down his throat.  Everyone needs to stop criticizing LeBron, especially when it comes to losing in the finals.  It’s a team game.  There is only so much that one player can do, yet LeBron day in and day out gives his team more than enough.  Honestly the fact that people expect LeBron to win a final on his own is impressive enough.  Says all you really need to know about LeBron.  So leave LeBron alone, it’s not his fault.  Teams win and lose together.  All the blame cannot be placed on one person, especially a player like LeBron.Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks - Game One

Watching The Hockey

Last night was game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators.  Pittsburgh held a 3-2 lead in the series, so with the season possibly about to be over, I decided to tune in.  I’ve always wanted to get into hockey, but never really got around to it, so I figured watching a finals game would be the perfect way to start.  Before last night I had never watched a full NHL game.  I’ve watched some college games in person, but other than that, nothing.  Instead of just writing about the game from memory, I decided to take notes on the game as it happened and then work off of those.  To make it easier, I also broke it down by period, too.  And a quick disclaimer, I do not know much about hockey.  My only knowledge comes from playing the 2002 edition of Backyard Hockey and a bit of NHL 14.  You know now that I think of it, maybe I am expert.  Anyways, let’s not waste any more time and begin!NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators

 

Pregame: So I turn over to NBC at 8 o’clock sharp and at this point, I’m pretty excited.  They show the huge crowds outside the arena and throughout the streets of Nashville.  I never expected such big crowds for this game.  At first I just assumed the power was out in the city, but then I saw all the Nashville jerseys and I realized that they meant to be out there.  Crazy kids.  Two men came out onto a stage outside the arena.  The one guy doesn’t matter, because I was focused on the fact that Dierks Bentley was the other guy. Has Dierks Bentley even been to a hockey game before?  What’s he doing there?  And that also got me thinking; Nashville is known for their Country Music.  But does Country and Hockey really mix?  I would find out the answer to that question by the end of the night.

Nashville seemed to really want it.  I haven’t seen a fan base this passionate in a long time.  They were literally smashing a Penguins-themed car…Now that’s passion.  Makes me wish I lived in a hockey town.  Is Nashville a hockey town?  I doubt it, but you get the point that it would be a lot of fun.  After seeing this, I thought that It’d be a shame if Nashville lost.  Their fans would be more devastated than an Atlanta Falcons fan.bigphotofornashville

Oh, there’s a commercial.  My dad’s flipping through channels.  The Simpsons and Tigers vs. Red Sox is on.  Any other night I would watch that.  But last night was special.  Okay so I watched the baseball game during commercials.  What else am I supposed to do?  

The game came back on.  Time for festivities.  They showed Sidney Crosby, man what a horrible playoff beard.  Looks like pubes.  I bet he wishes he could shave that off.   Also he’s the only player I’ve heard of in this game, and one of the only players I’ve heard of in the league.  On the subject of this Penguins team, I take it they’ve won before.  The way everyone’s acting, including the Penguins themselves, make me feel like they have.  Upon further research, it seems they’ve won four before coming into last night.  Including last year, so they’re going for that back-to-back title.  That sounded like a decent amount, but turns out the Canadiens have won it 24 times…Looks like I found the Yankees of the league.  

So Nashville is the last seed in this playoffs?  That’s awesome.  Plus they’re making their first finals appearance?  Man, I should’ve been watching this series from the beginning. Matter of fact, I should’ve been watching since the beginning of the playoffs.  That sounds like a lot of fun, unlike the NBA.  This NHL playoff actually sounds exciting and unpredictable, instead of the NBA’s where everyone knew who was going to be in the finals since before preseason began.  I should really watch the NHL.

Faith Hill emerged to perform the National Anthem.  Her hair looked amazing and she killed it.  I was trying to remember who she’s married to, but then he came out anyways. Hi Tim McGraw.  After the National Anthem, my dad made a pun, saying he had “Faith” she would do well.  Classic.faith-hill-predators-national-anthem

Period 1: Wow that game started off fast.  I don’t get how anyone can follow this game. And there’s so many substitutes.  How do people know who’s out there or where their favorite player is.

Would you call what they’re wearing shorts?  I think I would.

I know a Colin Wilson. That’s neat.

Someone threw a catfish onto the ice.  What was up with that?  And then the announcers said that this type of stuff has happened with other teams and with different animals? What kind of league is this?

Cody McLeod sounds familiar.  Where would I know him from?

I also forgot until about halfway through the first period that the United States was playing Mexico in soccer.  Boy yesterday was a big day in sports.  Stanley Cup game 6, U.S. vs. Mexico, Max Scherzer got his 2,000 strikeout, and Aaron Judge hit a 496 ft. home run.

Those hockey jerseys look comfy.  I should get me one of those.  I wonder how much they cost…I just searched them up, kind of expensive.  Eh, maybe someday.

I feel like I didn’t see Sidney Crosby all period.  Or maybe I did.  I don’t know, I can hardly tell who or what I’m watching.

Pittsburgh had that 2 on 1 and that guy missed that pass.  They probably would’ve scored if he caught that pass.  But he mucked it.  And then Nashville had a breakaway and their guy mucked it.  He probably felt bad for the Penguins player who missed the pass and wanted to make him feel better.  What a nice guy.  And god damn, I don’t get how these goalies block some of these shots or even see the shots for that matter.  The puck is coming at them so fast and the puck is so small, plus they have that mask with hardly any peripherals.  It’s honestly incredible that they can block shots.  Some of the shots practically just disappear.  I feel like the goalie just puts his glove up and hopes for the best.

I feel like if you’re a hockey player, you have to have long hair.  Example A, one of the only other players I know, Jaromir Jagr.  Also I’ve never seen so much red hair in one game before.  Or in one place for that matter.jagrmullet

There’s just so much going on.  And so many broken and lost sticks.  Does that happen a lot or is this game an anomaly?  Also I wonder if it’s illegal to purposefully break someone else’s stick.  I would imagine that it is.  That only makes sense.  On the same sort of subject, I don’t get how some of these hits are legal.  They look absolutely painful.  I’m surprised some of these guys are still alive.  Or at least don’t all have permanent brain damage.  I wonder what the average number of concussions is per game.

Why do some guys try those long-range slapshot.  How often do those even go in?  Or is it to send a message I wonder.

The Nashville goalie’s mask is dope.giphy

 

Period 2: Jeez only a minute in and they already got a shot on goal and then managed to knock it in.  Turns out it didn’t count though because the ref blew the whistle.  That’s bull, play shouldn’t have stopped and that should’ve been a goal.  What bullshit.  If the ref was in a better place, then maybe they would’ve gotten the call right.  He was more out of place than me at a Luke Bryan Concert.  Nashville had another chance a bit later on, but mucked the pass again.  Shame.  

Was that the first guy in the penalty box?  I think it was.  Clean game, I guess.  I wonder if those NHL workers in the box talk to the players.  If they do, I wonder what they talk about.  Dinner plans?  Hobbies?

Who’s the Steph Curry of the NHL?

These defenders have been insane all game.  Very tenacious.

Do the announcers work as auctioneers in the offseason?  If not, it’s a waste of their voice.

I bet team dentists make a fortune.

This game is absolute madness.  I can’t follow a damn thing.  And I think that one Pittsburgh player just leapfrogged that Nashville player in front of the bench.  I guess that’s one way to get around a defender.

High stick was called.  At what point does a stick become high?

I would kill to have the NBA tonight crew announce this game.

That was a great save by the Pittsburgh goalie.  Or was it?  Did Nashville just muck it up again?  Who knows?  Not me that’s for sure.

This is only the Penguins’ coach second year coaching this team?  That’s pretty impressive.  I wonder what happened to their previous coach.  Research time! Apparently the coach prior to their current coach, Mike Sullivan, was a man named Mike Johnston.  Guess they like Mike.  Anyways, Johnston coached the Penguins for a little more than one season before being fired.  Not sure why he was fired.  Oh wait it says it was because the team “Underachieved” according to the GM.  Interesting.

The splits these goalies are doing are incredible.  Especially the Pittsburgh goalie.  I wish I was that flexible.

Hockey might be the perfect sport to release any pent-up anger or frustration you have. You can just channel it into decking an opponent into the ground.

When a defender blocks a shot for the goalie it reminds me of the scenes in action movies when a guy jumps in front of a bullet for his friend.

That guy just faked a shot from center ice.  I was hoping he’d pull up and shoot like Paul George. pg2

Damn that coach was calling a timeout even after it was granted to him.  Was that the Pittsburgh coach?  I think it was.

Damn you could hear that last shot hit the post.

That period was insane.

 

Period 3: Wait Cage The Elephant is here?  What?  Why?  How?  They didn’t even show them play, either.  That blows.  I was kinda looking forward to that.  

From what I am hearing Nashville should have been winning at this point.  I guess there have been a lot of missed calls.  Besides that goal call, I haven’t really seen anything, but what do I know?

It’s hot in my house and that ice looked so refreshing.

Matt Murray is not human (look at me learning a player’s name).  He had 56 consecutive saves since what was it? The third period of game four?  Holy shit.  

I wonder how much it costs to have your ad on the boards.  I would love to be rich enough where I could just buy a space and put my face there.

The name Wilson has been said so much this game I feel like I’m watching Castaway.

That was a fresh backhand spinning shot.  Too bad he missed it.  Would’ve been great to put in your career highlight reel.

How was Trevor Daley (learned another name) not dead after that play?  Last time I did the math, Head + Ice=Bad.

What is happening.

Nashville goalie with another dope save.  I wonder what his name is.  They said it at the beginning of the broadcast, but I forgot…Just searched it up, his name is Pekka Rinne.  That’s a great name.  I like him.  He’s cool.

Some of these trips look like falls.  The one Maatta’s in the box for wasn’t, but I’m just saying in general.  But then they slow it down and it looks so obvious.  This game is magical.

They showed a replay and some Nashville player was getting absolutely punished and berated by a Pittsburgh defender.  The guy just kept pushing him in the back and then knocked him into the boards.  This game is brutal.

That 5 on 3 sequence was insane.  Great defense by the Penguins.  I thought for sure the Predators were going to score.  Probably should’ve.

What even is offside?

They said that there’s 2300 names on that trophy?  How is that even possible?  And what if they run out of room?  What happens then?1200px-stanleycupavs2000-01engraved

Fuck the post.  I thought that goal was in.  That’s happened a couple of times now.

Will anyone score?

If the puck goes into the stand and a fan catches it, do they get to keep it?

There’s some beautiful moves in hockey.  Not as nice as some in the NBA, but nice nonetheless.  They’re just so smooth and elegant.  It’s like watching a ballet.

Are these teams known for their defense?  Especially the Penguins, because these teams aren’t letting anything in.

Oops, spoke too soon.  What even happened on that goal?  It just barely squeaked in.  That was a nice reverse by 72 on Pittsburgh, though.  Props to him.  There’s nothing the goalie could do about that.  That’s just a great move and bad timing.  He shouldn’t beat himself up too much about that.

I did not know there were challenges in this sport.  Not sure why.  It only makes sense. Every other sport has reviews, so why not hockey.  Goal counts anyways, so didn’t really matter.  I didn’t think it was goalie interference, either.  It looked like he was just going for the puck.  But then again I don’t know what goalie interference is, so who am I to say anything?

Pulling the goalie always seemed risky to me.  Especially now in this case because the Predators didn’t do well during their power plays.  Don’t see how another guy is gonna help them against this Pittsburgh defense.

Open net goal.  That’s game.  I knew it was a bad idea.  I would never pull my goalie.  But I don’t think I’ll be coaching a hockey team any time soon to put my philosophy into place, so what does it matter.

Pittsburgh seems like the Warriors of the NHL.

 

Postgame: That was an amazing game.  Probably one of the best game in any sport I’ve watched all year.  Definitely better than any NBA playoff game this year.  Charles Barkley was right, the NHL playoffs are more exciting.

I feel bad for the Predators.  They seemed like they really wanted it.  Not only the players, but the fans as well.  Good for the Penguins though.  Winning back-to-back Stanley Cups is quite the feat.

And was Sidney Crosby nonexistent or did I just miss him?

Also it’s quite a feat what the announcer did.  Being able to talk quickly for nearly two hours straight and to also be able to follow what players are on the ice and what was happening when.  I know I could never do something like that, so props to them.

I don’t understand why more Americans don’t like this sport.  It seems like something Americans would really love.  It’s right up their alley.  It’s got action, suspense, and fighting.  What American doesn’t love some good haymakers?century-miracle-ice

 

Overall, I give it a 9.5/10.  Definitely would watch again and look forward to watching more games next season.  I will also be looking into a team to follow next season to help me get into the sport.  I’m not going to bandwagon any team.  I want to pick a team I love and can relate to.  Research is going to be done to find what team is right for me, but I am confident I will find a team I can love.

Oh, and to answer my question earlier…Yes.  Country and Hockey do mix.

Meme Music

Meme music is a term I like to use to describe the songs that are featured in viral videos across the internet.  Usually, it’s one or two songs that get passed around from video to video, which in turn make the song a hit.  For the most part, the songs that have been used in viral videos have been rap songs.  In recent weeks it has been Mask Off by Future that has followed this trend, mainly being used by white people in awkward dance videos on Instagram (Haha comedy!).  Another up and coming one that I have seen has been Magnolia by Playboi Carti, which is used in the same sort of manner as Mask Off is.  Meme music, however, is not a recent trend.  It may not have been called Meme music or referred in a similar manner, but it was still present in pop culture.  maxresdefault-4

The trend of songs becoming popular through frequent uses in other medias can be traced back to the ringtone era of rap.  Ringtone rap was prominent around the time when cellphones were becoming more widespread and people began customizing their ringtones.  The music industry, as well as up and coming artists saw this growing trend and realized that they could easily capitalize on it.  Since a ringtone was only played for a max of 30 seconds, music artists only really needed to make a catchy hook with a nice beat that people could use as a fun, catchy ringtone.  People would hear their friend’s catchy ringtone and want to use it themselves, then their friends would hear it and want to use it and so on and so forth.soulja-boy  When Kiss Me Thru The Phone came out, practically every teenager rushed to make that their ringtone.  It was such a fly song at the time, yet many look back on it as being wack as hell.  But these rappers didn’t care.  They just wanted to make something catchy.  Many of these songs saw millions of plays and their creators in turn, saw millions of dollars and that’s all most of them cared about.  Many rappers achieved their popularity through these means, but for many of them, it was short-lived.  Rappers like Soulja Boy, D4L, and Jibbs saw there moments of fame, with their hits Kiss Me Thru The Phone, Laffy Taffy, and Chain Hang Low, respectively, only to be left in obscurity once the ringtone age was over.  You may still see their names pop up every once in a while, but other than that, their music is nothing but a memory.  Ringtone rap died down like any other music trend, but with the launch of Vine in 2012, viral songs saw light in a new medium. 

Vine was introduced to be a fun, unique social media platform where people could create 7-second clips of whatever they wanted.  Many used Vine for comedic videos, to show off their musical talents, or sports highlights.  Like anything in pop culture and especially the meme era, Vine would follow certain trends.  Viners would recycle jokes, styles, and even music.  It became a trend to use certain songs in your videos, especially if you wanted to gain popularity on the site.  Many of the songs used were dance songs that’s sole intention was to do a certain dance to it.870x489_silento-clip  Examples being Watch Me by Silentó, Hit the Quan by iLoveMephis, and countless others.  The dances to many of these songs were quite simple, yet of course white people couldn’t figure them out, but they would still try nonetheless.  These songs were just novelties made for viners to use in their videos, so the rappers could make millions.  Of course none of this would be possible without the help of streaming sites like Soundcloud and Spotify to house the songs for people to listen to in their free time (Not sure why).  However what was different about the Vine era from the ringtone era was the fact that there was a large number of songs that were not intended to be viral hits.  Examples of such songs being Hot Nigga by Bobby Schmurda, Hotline Bling by Drake, and Ultimate by Denzel Curry.  What’s interesting about these songs is that they were not originally intended to become viral like their ringtone era predecessors.  For the most part, these were simply songs that were released by the rappers, picked up by certain viners, and then beaten to death by the entire site.  Although one could argue that these songs were intended to blow up due to the internet, Bobby Schmurda did have talent, in my opinion, before he got put in jail.  Drake is Drake, so he didn’t need Vine plays to gain popularity.  And Denzel Curry is impossible to group with the other Vine rappers, because he’s as far from being a Vine rapper as possible.  Denzel Curry is one of the best up and coming rappers in the game, who saw one of his songs see viral play.  Just because one of his songs blew up in that manner does not mean he should be written off as a one-hit wonder.  Denzel Curry has all the talent in the world and I have nothing but respect for him.

denzel-curry

Like every trend, however, it has to die and Vine saw it’s demise in January when it was shut down by Twitter, putting an end to the Vine era of rap. Viral rap, however, simply moved platforms, shifting from Vine to Instagram and Twitter, bringing us to the present day.  The songs that are popping on those sites being Mask Off, Magnolia, and perhaps some others that I have yet to notice, are slightly unique from their predecessors.  Both Mask Off and Magnolia were written and released within their artist’s album.  They weren’t released as singles like the countless other viral rap songs.  This shows that they were not intended to become viral hits.  They’re just catchy songs that lived out their purpose of catching on and gaining popularity.  It’s fun to see an artist that you love have a song catch on and be a success, but it got me thinking; is it always a good thing?

Looking at the history of viral rap songs, the majority of the rappers became one-hit wonders. In most cases it’s because the artist cashed out and just never made music again, but in some cases, it is because that one viral hit is all the rapper is ever known for, which is what I worry for Denzel Curry and Playboi Carti.  Denzel Curry has all the talent in the world, but I fear that his music will just always be associated with middle schoolers flipping water bottles and dabbing.  Playboi Carti, meanwhile, looks to be being picked up by the white kid crowd that dances to songs that don’t fit their style (hilarious, right???) as well as the revitalization of the Milly Rock.  I guess what my worries boil down to most is the lack of appreciation for these rappers and the delegitimization of their music.  I enjoy Ultimate by Denzel Curry and Mask Off by Future,future-portrait-a-billboard-2016-kn-b-1548 but now I have a hard time listening to them because it just feels…weird.  I can’t separate the song from the viral videos and neither can most people.  The average person who does not really listen to a lot of rap music hears these songs and automatically associate them with the viral trend.  I play Ultimate and my friends will just start dabbing and flipping water bottles.  I play Bad and Boujee and all the white girls in the room start acting hood.  

Now I understand that there will always be popular music, I mean that’s exactly why it’s called “pop” music.  There will always be those songs that you just can’t avoid because they’re played on every radio station out there.  That’s just how it goes.  And there’s always a reason that it is so popular.  It’s not like the songs that I have talked about have no appeal that I can see.  I completely recognize what exactly makes these songs popular, it is merely the attitude about the music that comes afterwards that bothers me about these meme songs.  Whether it be the trend becoming annoying and being beaten to death or the devaluing of the song and the artist. Now I’m completely okay with it if that is the only song the rapper has to his or her’s name, but when an artist like Future, drake-views-from-the-6-cover-story-interviewDrake, or even Migos have their entire discography devalued simply because of one viral song that they had, that’s where I get annoyed.  The majority of people only know a couple songs by these artists (Maybe not Drake) and write off the rest of them.  They don’t bother diving deeper into the rapper’s music because they only view them as a novelty.

People just disrespect the music.  I may be just whining about people not appreciating the music I like, but I’m sure many people agree with me when I say that I don’t like it when people disrespect the artists I love.  I’ve listened to Denzel Curry, Future, and Migos long before they saw their viral successes.  That sounds pretentious, but it’s just me wishing people would respect the music more.  Dive deeper into an artist’s discography every once in a while.  Don’t just hear an artist’s most popular song and associate them with that until you die.  

“Listen deeper than the music before you put it in a box”-Tyler The Creator.