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Frankly Frankel: July 5, 2014

05 Jul

Jason Kidd is up to his same-old dirty tricks, the US plays not to lose and gets eliminated from the World Cup, the Yankees are somehow still in the AL East race, and 75-years ago Lou Gehrig gave the greatest speech in sports history. This is Frankly Frankel on this July 5, 2014.

  • I have to start with the pathetic Jason Kidd. Last Saturday it was reported by Tim Bontemps of the New York Post that Kidd asked Nets ownership if he could along with being the teams coach, also take over as President of Basketball Operations. The Nets smartly said no and Kidd received permission from the team to talk with the Milwaukee Bucks where his close friend and business partner Marc Lasry just took over as owner.
  • When the story broke, I was actually working at SNY. The phone rang at the assignment desk so I answered it and Tim Bontemps (the man who broke the story) was on the other line. That was quite a thrill.
  • On Tuesday, Kidd was officially named as the new head coach of the Bucks replacing Larry Drew who was not kept in the loop as to what was going on. I’m sure Drew understood…not!
  • Kidd’s stay as coach of the Nets lasted just one year, and just like he did in 2007, bailed on the team when he faked a migraine in an effort to force the team to trade him.
  • I am truly floored about how arrogant and self-centered Kidd is. Less than one year after retiring from the NBA, he feels he earned the right to have as much power over an NBA team as the “Zen Master” Phil Jackson, and Stan Van Gundy? Please. I honestly don’t know why the Nets even hired him in the first place given his criminal, and back-stabbing reputation.
  • As for him in Milwaukee, I wish him the best of luck because he’ll certainly need it. Yes they just drafted Jabari Parker, but that franchise is years away from becoming somewhat competitive. I believe that Kidd is arrogant enough to believe that because he is the coach, big-time free agents will want to come to Milwaukee to play for him. Seriously.
  • If you didn’t get a chance to catch Kidd’s introductory press conference in Milwaukee, please do so now. His press conference was much worse than anything I’ve seen from Bill Belichick. Kidd side-stepped every single question, and all he said about why he left the Nets was, “It’s business”.
  • I wonder how a Bucks fan feels about this hire and whether they believe Kidd is in for the long haul. I know I certainly wouldn’t.
  • As for the Nets, Billy King wasted no time hiring a new coach, Lionel Hollins. I think Hollins fits the bill for what the Nets need at this time. He’s reliable, trustworthy, isn’t going to bail on the team, and he has a winning reputation. He led the small market Memphis Grizzlies to its best season in franchise history and took them to their only conference final appearance. Considering how the NBA is so star and big-market driven makes the fact that Hollins was able to take the Grizzlies as far as he did even more remarkable.
  • While bringing in other names like Jeff Van Gundy or Mark Jackson would have been exciting, the stability Hollins brings can’t be overlooked.
  • Carmelo Anthony just completed his country tour where he visited with the Bulls, Lakers, Mavericks, and Rockets. The two most realistic landing spots for ‘Melo are Chicago and New York. Reports surfaced that he was recruiting Pao Gasol to Madison Square Garden. If Phil Jackson could bring both ‘Melo and Gasol in, the Knicks would have to be considered one of the top teams in the East.
  • I think what happens with LeBron James is him, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh all sign on for a year or two with the Heat in an attempt to resurrect their dominant team.
  • The United States was eliminated from the World Cup on Thursday afternoon at the hands of Belgium. The US played not to lose, Belgium controlled almost the entirety of the play, and yet, the Americans had the game won. Chris Wondolowski couldn’t have had a better chance in the 92nd minute. Jermaine Jones set him up brilliantly for a wide-open shot right in front of the net, but the ball sailed well over the bar. All Wondowlowski had to do was merely touch the ball and the US is moving on to face Argentina today.Clint
  • Wondolowski’s chance was the golden opportunity the US had been dreaming about, but the game wasn’t over yet. Belgium took the lead minutes into the extra-time, and added another in the 105th minute. It took a 2-0 deficit in order for the Americans to have any sense of urgency, and for me, that was unacceptable.
  • Julian Green came on and on his first World Cup touch in the 107th minute, cut Belgium’s lead to 2-1. By the way, where was Green this entire tournament? Considering the lack of offense after Jozy Altidore went down, inserting Green into the lineup much sooner could have made a huge difference.
  • The US kept its foot on the gas pedal after Green’s goal and Clint Dempsey too was stopped on a point-blank shot and Belgium ended up winning the game 2-1. There’s no excuse for Dempsey not scoring there.
  • Following the loss, Landon Donovan gave his thoughts about the United States’ World Cup run and as critical as he was, I agreed with almost everything he said. He talked about how the US went from opening up, passing, and attacking prior to the World Cup, and then completely backed off during the games that counted.
  • Donovan added how Dempsey and Michael Bradley were playing out of position, which I believe they clearly were (the Altidore injury altered that, but that’s beside the point). Dempsey was playing all alone up top, something’s he’s not used to doing. Only until it was complete desperation mode did Jurgen Klinsmann put Julian Green up front along with Dempsey and then the chances and results came.
  • If the US had manged to defeat Belgium, Tim Howard would have a statue in every city around the country after his mind-blowing 16-save performance. He stood on his head and single handedly kept the Americans in the game. If it weren’t for Howard, Belgium blows us out, and if Wondolowski scored in the 92nd minute, he would be looked at as a god.
  • I would love for Howard to give it one more shot in the 2018 World Cup.
  • A lot’s been made about what the future holds for soccer in this country. I think what the World Cup does is it gets you familiar with the games biggest stars so when you’re flipping through the channels you will want to see what players like Ronaldo, Messi, and Neymar do on a regular basis. This is more realistic now than ever before because you can get any game through the internet or TV.
  • In order for soccer to take that major next step in this country, I think one of the sports biggest stars has to be an American, someone from the US that can be spoken in the same breath as a Messi. We love stars in this country, and in order for soccer to become legitimately mainstream, we need our own star to fall in love with. As good as Clint Dempsey is, he’s light years away from being considered one of the world’s best.
  • This is the 5th straight Frankly Frankel where the Yankees are coming in on a winning streak, only to go immediately back to losing once the “publish” button is hit. Just like it’s been recently, the Yankees have won 2-straight over the Twins following a season high 5-game losing streak. Their last win came last Friday.
  • It’s almost like the Yankees know I’m coming out with a column on Saturday, and the team knows they better step it up, just until Friday, or they will be destroyed. I with they would play with that sense of urgency all the time.
  • So the Yankees have won 2-straight, and to that I say “Big Deal!”. How about putting together an extended run one time this season and take charge in the worst division in baseball in 2014.
  • If the Yankees are going to go on a run, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Alfonso Soriano have to get going. It’s July now. Beltran has always shown glimpses, but never seems to be able to go on a hot streak. Brian McCann will have one good game out of every 10, and Alfonso Soriano might as well be released at this point. He hit .194 in June after hitting .220 in May, and is hitting .143 in July. Soriano hasn’t homered since May 17th, his outfield defense is well below average, and for a player that was baseball’s best in the 2nd half of 2013, he is the most disappointing player in 2014 and it isn’t close.
  • While Vidal Nuno has magically done a somewhat respectable job his last 2 outings, time is running out quickly on Chase Whitley’s spot in the Yankees rotation. He’s pitched a combined 10.1 innings his last 3 starts, which is flat-out abysmal. Brian Cashman has to find someone else to take Whitley’s spot and quickly now that CC Sabathia’s season is likely over.
  • Losing Sabathia is a tremendous blow to the Yankees. The team was counting on him to return to his ace status which would have been huge. Now, he’s done..
  • Yesterday was the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s famous speech. For my money, it’s the greatest speech in sports history, followed closely by Jim Valvano’s ESPY’s speech in 1993.
  • It only hit me once I saw the letters Gehrig exchanged with his doctor how truly sad his fall was. He thought he would get better when the reality was he had no chance. Gehrig sacrificed everything to win, and there was no such thing as “taking a day” with him. I look at Jacoby Ellsbury who “needed a day” earlier this week, and think about Gehrig who refused not to play until he was diagnosed with the most debilitating disease I’ve ever seen and his play suffered to the point where he was hurting the team.
  • There were some late night fireworks in Oakland last night when Billy Beane brought in both Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Cubs. If this doesn’t say the A’s aren’t going for it all, nothing will.
  • Be sure to tune in next Saturday for another edition of “Frankly Frankel” and make sure to follow me on Twitter @lucasfrankel.
 
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Posted by on 07/05/2014 in Frankly Frankel

 

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