Author: Shaun P Kernahan
I gave out two winning lineups, let’s see if we can do more of the same!
NBA evening Slate Tiers
|Bet||Odds||Shaun’s Pick||Torsten’s Pick|
|Winner||Chiefs -117, Bucs -105||Bucs||Bucs|
|Over/Under||O56 -113, U56 -108||Under||Over|
|Total Players to attempt a pass||Over 2.5 +165, Under 2.5 -215||Over||Over|
|Total Players with a reception||Over 15.5 +13.5, Under 15.5 -167||Under||Over|
|Jersey number of first TD scorer||Over 24.5 -121, Under 24.5 -103||Over||Over|
|Opening kickoff a touchback||Yes -305, No +230||Yes||Yes|
|O or D lineman to score TD||Yes +800, No -2000||Yes||No|
|A Safety to be scored||Yes +800, No -1667||No||No|
|Successful 2-pt conversion||Yes +230, No -305||Yes||Yes|
|First play from scrimmage||Pass -124, Run +100||Run||Pass|
|Rnd.||Pick||Team||Player||Pos.||School / Country|
|1||1||Minnesota Timberwolves||LaMelo Ball||G||Australia|
|1||2||Golden State Warriors||James Wiseman||C||Memphis|
|1||3||Charlotte Hornets||Anthony Edwards||G||Georgia|
|1||4||Chicago Bulls||Obi Toppin||F||Dayton|
|1||5||Cleveland Cavaliers||Deni Avdija||F||Israel|
|1||6||Atlanta Hawks||Isaac Okoro||F||Auburn|
|1||7||Detroit Pistons||Tyrese Haliburton||G||Iowa State|
|1||8||New York Knicks||Killian Hayes||G||France|
|1||9||Washington Wizards||Onyeka Okongwu||C||USC|
|1||10||Phoenix Suns||Cole Anthony||G||North Carolina|
|1||11||San Antonio Spurs||Saddiq Bey||F||Villanova|
|1||12||Sacramento Kings||Precious Achiuwa||F||Memphis|
|1||13||New Orleans Pelicans||Devin Vassel||G||Florida State|
|1||14||Boston Celtics||Tyrese Maxey||G||Kentucky|
|1||15||Orlando Magic||Patrick Wiliams||F||Florida State|
|1||16||Houston Rockets||Kira Lewis||G||Alabama|
|1||17||Minnesota Timberwolves||RJ Hampton||G||New Zealand|
|1||18||Dallas Mavericks||Aaron Nesmith||F||Vanderbilt|
|1||19||Brooklyn Nets||Tyler Bey||F||Colorado|
|1||20||Miami Heat||Aleksej Pokusevski||F||Greece|
|1||21||Philadelphia 76ers||Josh Green||G||Arizona|
|1||22||Denver Nuggets||Leandro Bolmaro||G||Argentina|
|1||23||Utah Jazz||Tyrell Terry||G||Stanford|
|1||24||Milwaukee Bucks||Tre Jones||G||Duke|
|1||25||Oklahoma City Thunder||Theo Maledon||G||France|
|1||26||Boston Celtics||Nico Mannion||G||Arizona|
|1||27||New York Knicks||Malachi Flynn||G||San Diego State|
|1||28||Los Angeles Lakers||Paul Reed||F||DePaul|
|1||29||Toronto Raptors||Vernon Carey||C||Duke|
|1||30||Boston Celtics||Cassius Winston||G||Michigan State|
Baseball starts tonight and the playoff setup is still TBD. I have decided to put the seed number next to the division winners, then Wild Card spot 1-5 next to the potential Wild Card teams so you can see who makes it with standard 2 Wild Card scenarios, and who makes it based on the proposed 5 Wild Card scenario. With teams being separated by region in terms of schedule, it is worth noting I would consider the East to be the toughest, followed by the West, then the Central the easiest. In a traditional year, I would project the Pittsburgh Pirates to have the worst record in baseball, but the Central will allow them to win too many games to get the first pick in next year’s draft, so I project that to go to the Baltimore Orioles.
1) Tampa Bay Rays (3 seed in playoffs)
2) New York Yankees (1st Wild Card)
3) Boston Red Sox (4th Wild Card)
4) Toronto Blue Jays
5) Baltimore Orioles
1) Cleveland Indians (1 seed in playoffs)
2) Minnesota Twins (2nd Wild Card)
3) Chicago White Sox (5th Wild Card)
4) Kansas City Royals
5) Detroit Tigers
1) Houston Astros (2 seed in playoffs)
2) Los Angeles Angels (3rd Wild Card)
3) Oakland Athletics
4) Seattle Mariners
5) Texas Rangers
1) Atlanta Braves (2 seed in playoffs)
2) Washington Nationals (1st Wild Card)
3) Philadelphia Phillies (2nd Wild Card)
4) New York Mets (5th Wild Card)
5) Miami Marlins
1) Cincinnati Reds (3 seed in playoffs)
2) Milwaukee Brewers (4th Wild Card)
3) Chicago Cubs
4) St. Louis Cardinals
5) Pittsburgh Pirates
1) Los Angeles Dodgers (1 seed in playoffs)
2) Arizona Diamondbacks (3rd Wild Card)
3) San Diego Padres
4) Colorado Rockies
5) San Francisco Giants
World Series: Tampa Bay Rays over Los Angeles Dodgers
So I dug up an oldie but I thought maybe goodie over the weekend. It had probably been well over 20 years since I had last seen it, but while digging through some internet databases of sports movies throughout history, this one popped up. I had a vague recollection of liking it, but I had to watch it again to make sure that two decades of moderate to heavy drinking didn’t cloud my memory.
The Movie: Diggstown
The Sport: Boxing
The Oversimplified Plot: Washed up boxer takes on a town’s toughest ten dudes back to back as part of a con.
Key Cast Members: James Woods, Lou Gossett Jr. Oliver Platt, Bruce Dern
The Good: First off, the cast is great. Gossett kind of gets whatever the recollective equivalent is of typecast. Show of hands, who thinks of anything other than Iron Eagle when his name comes up? Exactly. When it comes to Woods, people tend to get justifiably distracted by the fact that he is sexual predator of children, but he’s had some solid roles, and apparently “career scumbag grifter” falls right into his wheelhouse. Who’da thunk? Dern and Platt’s careers speak for themselves.
In terms of the action, the boxing is decent – way better than all of the Rocky movies to be honest, at the risk of being accused of blasphemy. A few of the bit part guys brought in were former professional boxers Rockey Pepeli and Tex Cobb. Fun fact. Relatively unknown at the time, Jim Caviezel played one of Gossett’s opponents.
The Bad: As decent as the boxing is, fight movies follow a tried and true, and ultimately frustrating script, of the good guy taking a savage beating only to miraculously recover and triumph at the end. One of the things that actually made the first Rocky so great is that he lost to Apollo Creed, a major deviation from Cinderella stories throughout time. Diggstown is no different. In about half of the fights Gossett’s “Honey” Ray Palmer has in the movie, he’s on the verge of getting brutally knocked out before pulling a rabbit out of his hat and getting the win. We know it’s going to happen. For the movie to even exist it HAS to happen. But still.
The script also leaves a ton to be desired. It’s not awful, but for a movie in which comedy is evidently supposed to be a not insignificant part of the appeal, it really falls flat. There’s one hilarious scene where Woods tries to motivate Gossett by telling him all the things his opponent does that are better than him, and follows it up with “but you’re black.” Rereading that sentence now, maybe it wasn’t that hilarous after all.
Should You Watch It: Eh. One may understand why 41-year-old me doesn’t get the same enjoyment out of a movie that 18-year-old me got, but I’m embarrassingly no more mature now than I was then. Today, I’d gladly recommend a few other sports movies that will provide a greater enjoyment return on your time investment. But on the flip side, I won’t judge you too harshly if you tell me you watched it and enjoyed it.
This is the point in the article where I Google the movie and see if I missed anything worth talking about. Apparently, Diggstown only grossed $4 million plus at the box office – about 25% of what it cost to make the movie. So take that for what it’s worth. I was also reminded in my Googling that I neglected to mention Heather Graham was in the movie. And, uh, yeah, she’s quite hot… but I feel like if you really wanted the Heather Graham hotness experience you’d watch Boogie Nights or something – not for a small role in a mediocre boxing semi-comedy.
Have you seen it? Let us know what you think about it @thestainsports on Twitter.
Oh, quarantine life. Is there anything better to do when isolating yourself from society as a deadly pandemic ravages the planet than indulging in obscure sports movies? Honestly, probably. But we’re not really the “better” type. Besides, who doesn’t like a sports movie? Actually, probably a lot of people… but nobody reading any of the content we produce, that’s for damn sure. So here we go.
The Movie: Goon
The Sport: Ice Hockey
The Oversimplified Plot: A likeable dive bar bouncer beats up a hockey player at a game and gets a minor league contract out of it. Because of course that would happen.
Key Cast Members: Seann William Scott, Liev Schreiber
Rating (?/10): 6.5
The Good: Scott is criminally underrated as an actor, and while “likeable, somewhat dimwitted hockey tough guy” isn’t exactly a role that will stretch his method abilities, he nails it as Doug “The Thug” Glatt. You do kind of find yourself pulling for him, much in the way you pulled for Adam Sandler’s Happy Gilmore to beat Shooter McGavin. It’s meant to be a mostly irreverent comedy and succeeds at that, but there is just about enough suspense in the right moments to make you wonder about the outcome.
Irreverent though it may be, it stuck mostly to the notion that it is a hockey movie, and succeeds. Ross Rhea, the enforcer played by Schreiber, seems to be modeled after a real hockey goon – possibly Rob Ray of the similar sounding name, or Gino Odjick. There’s also a scene where Rhea clubs an opposing player upside the head with his stick, ala Marty McSorley, resulting in a suspension and demotion to the minors. (editor’s note: It’s prevailingly unlikely that McSorley was an influence beyond that incident, as he was actually a fairly talented player in his day who also happened to be good at beating face. Guys like Odjick and Ray were simply brawlers.)
Also, while Scott and Schreiber are the only real well-known names in the cast, some of the more minor parts were executed brilliantly. Richard Clarkin is downright perfect as washed up veteran Gord Ogilvey. Jonathan Cherry’s portrayal of goalie Marco Belchior is over the top, but captures the essence of goalies’ legendary quirkiness. Goon even features a bit part by legendary NHL pugilist Georges Laraque, including an homage to one of his real fights where he very politely asked his opponent if he wanted to square up, and then wished the opponent sincere good luck before they traded blows.
Lastly, it’s loosely (very VERY loosely) based on a true-ish story of Doug Smith, who played hockey on his fighting merits alone in the 1980s. And who doesn’t like a true-ish story?
The Bad: It’s one thing for a movie’s villain to be a hateable character. Everyone hated Alan Rickman in Die Hard, right? That’s because the late, great Rickman was freaking awesome at his craft. Jay Paruchel plays Scott’s best pal in the movie and is easily the worst part of it. His character is so damn annoying that he nearly made me turn off an otherwise thoroughly entertaining movie on multiple occasions. I have no idea if it was just a horribly conceptualized character, or Paruchel just taking it upon himself to be as brutally annoying as possible. Either way, edit him out if anyone ever remasters this.
In most sports movies, the actual sports action is fraught with unrealism. Not always to the point of Rocky IV, where Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren trade heavyweight haymakers for a dozen rounds when in reality any ONE such punch from a heavyweight landing ends the fight, but Goon is no different. Some of the action is good. Some of it, surely intentionally for comedic effect, is nonetheless farcical. I know it’s a comedy but would prefer the sports part of it stay somewhat true to form.
Lastly, some of the language is overly crass. And listen, I have a difficult time going a dozen words without dropping an f-bomb in conversation sometimes so I’m far from a prude. But there’s a juncture you reach beyond the comedic value of shock effect where you may ask yourself, “ok, was that string of homophobic slurs really necessary or could the movie have survived without it?”
Should you watch it?: I mean, sure. You got anything better to do right now? Joking aside, with reasonably set expectations, Goon is well worth 90 minutes of your time. It’s on Netflix so it’s easily accessible. Unless of course you hate fun.
Watch it and let us know what you think @thestainsports on Twitter.
And now he’s released, per multiple online reports, including theScore.
He, of course, is Brendan Leipsic. If you’ve been under a rock the last few days, a private Instagram chat of Leipsic and his friends, including fellow fringe NHLer Jack Rodewald, was leaked publicly. In this chat, as you might imagine there would be when a bunch of testosterone-fueled, intellectually underdeveloped 20-somethings are involved, were a bunch of appalling comments about women, sex, and drug use among other things. You can google them if you please but we’re not in a hurry to link to stuff like that.
As evolved as we like to think we are as a species, degrading rhetoric, especially about women and especially by men is still rampant in the workplace, in social circles, online, etc. For Christ’s sake, they even make a freaking documentary about incels. The man elected to the presidency famously bragged about grabbing women by their private parts with impunity. His presumptive opponent is himself the subject of assault allegations, albeit ones with dubious merit. Yeah, it’s 2020 and here we are.
Before you think that I’m trying to virtue signal or paint myself as some kind of social justice warrior for the aggrieved, or use this situation to make a political statement, hear me out. I’m a couple months shy of 42 now, so long removed from my teens and 20s. But in my youth, I made jokes and comments that would be considered patently offensive by most people, attempting to be clever and edgy to get a rise out of my friends, succeeding only in sounding like an asshole. It’s pretty embarrassing, and one day, Brendan Leipsic will probably look back on this with embarrassment too.
But here’s what really pisses me off. While we are seeing plenty of justified commentary about what a jerk Leipsic is on social media, we’re also seeing pathetic lamentations of losing the assumption of privacy. Let me say that again. A professional athlete makes repeated abhorrent comments about women in a chat with his friends, and people are upset that those comments didn’t stay private.
Welcome to my Ted Talk. You have no privacy. When you go online, your activity is tracked. When you talk, people are listening. It’s not conspiratorial. Pull out your phone right now, make a comment about sleeper sofas, and then open your Facebook app to see what ads are on your feed. Your conversations are not private, and they are not safe. Your social security number is not safe. Your credit card information is not safe. There is a multi-billion dollar industry in identity protection because NOTHING YOU DO IS DAMN PRIVATE. I personally buy an annual membership to an identity protection company. I’d tell you which one but they don’t advertise with us so you will just have to guess.
Your phone is password protected. Your computer has a log in. Every website you visit makes you log in. If you work for a large company, they likely have a policy of making you lock your work station when you leave for breaks, or at the end of the shift. They may have keystroke monitoring software. They may actually be tracking your online activity as you “work.” Why? Because nothing is private.
When you’re driving, the police can just scan your license plate. If you’re out to eat, and someone was so inclined, they could take your drinking glass and harvest your DNA from it. If you’re having a conversation at the restaurant, someone could hear you if they wanted to. And not just the person sitting at the next table. Anyone with a few bucks to purchase a particular kind of microphone can.
The Internet is forever. Things don’t go away and things don’t get forgotten. Just ask Josh Hader. Screenshots are a thing. Ask anyone with a smart phone and 99.9% of people know how.
When you travel out of the country, what happens? That’s right, they stamp your damn passport.
When you pull out your aforementioned cellphone to call or text somebody, what happens? That’s right, your location is mapped by a cell tower.
You ever walk by a storefront and see a promotion come up on their digital advertising board that oddly lists some kind of special for exactly your demographic? It’s not that odd. They have a camera with technology in it that immediately determines your gender and approximate age.
Nothing. Is. Private.
So if your first reaction to the news of Leipsic and his friends’ commentary in their “private” Instagram chat was, “whatever happened to the presumption of privacy?” I have some news for you. What you are really saying is, “what has the world come to when legally adult men can’t engage in horrifyingly degrading rhetoric with impunity?” Is that really how you want to be interpreted? I didn’t think so. Now go delete that tweet. Hopefully for you, nobody screenshotted it.
This has been my Ted Talk.
Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 8 Overall – Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson – Could easily argue Simmons is the second-best defensive player in the draft behind Chase Young. Simmons is a guy who played basically every position but DT in college and can line up at any of those again in pro ball. He would be my favorite to be the defensive rookie of the year, and immediately improves the Cardinals defense.
Least Favorite Pick: None – Josh Jones from Houston was their only other selection in the first two days, and he could have been a first rounder but instead slips to the third round. The Cardinals draft was fantastic, and this is just another example of it.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 7, Pick 222 Overall – Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State – Likely fell based upon his performance at the combine, otherwise he would have been an early day three selection. He is short, but has plenty of size despite the lack of height that allows him to run between the tackles, and has solid hands making him a three-down back. Doubtful he will ever be a workhorse back, but he can be a valuable part of a quality backfield.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Jake Benzinger, OT, Wake Forest – The guy I really wanted the Cardinals to take a shot on was Khalil Tate, who ultimately signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, but instead I have to settle for an offensive lineman who is a practice squad guy at best. Benzinger is a long 6’7” but weights in under 300 lbs. He needs to add some strength and improve his strength if he wants to ever suit up. That said, he is the guy in the UDFA class I “like” most with the Cardinals.
Los Angeles Rams
Favorite Pick: Round 2, Pick 57 – Van Jefferson, WR, Florida – Son of long time NFL receiver Shawn Jefferson, Van wowed scouts at the Senior Bowl with his route running, intelligence, and drive to learn more about being an NFL receiver. Based purely on what he did on the field, this is just an average selection, but I personally love the fit as he can be an elite third receiver.
Least Favorite Pick: Round 3, Pick 84 Overall – Terrell Lewis, Edge, Alabama – A long injury history leaves plenty of questions as to the future availability of Lewis, but he was productive on an elite Alabama defense. If he remains healthy, he should add productivity off the edge for the Rams, but he was much more of a round four selection for me, so it was a bit of a reach here.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 4, Pick 136 Overall – Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue – The Rams approached the draft from a best player perspective rather than a need perspective, and this is an example of it. Hopkins will see very little playing time his rookie season with Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett ahead of him, but Everett is a free agent following the season, and Hopkins gives them a ready-made replacement.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Trishton Jackson, WR, Syracuse – Torsten did a deep dive into the Rams draft but did not dive into their UDFA class at all. He was excited Bryce Perkins signed with the team, but the guy I am highest on is Jackson. He gets separation better than his 4.50 40-yard dash would suggest, and he does struggle to make contested grabs, but he is very raw and has plenty of improvement in his game. He is most likely a practice squad guy who can get the call up if there are injuries to receivers on the team.
San Francisco 49ers
Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 14 – Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina – I had Kinlaw as a top ten selection, so slipping down to the 49ers (even after trading back) is an absolute steal for the team. The 49ers traded DeForest Buckner for this selection and get a player who can be just as good as Buckner, cost less, and added selections with the trade. Overall, as good a selection as any in the draft.
Least Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 25 – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State – Tee Higgins, Michael Pittman Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr., Van Jefferson, and Denzel Mims all went later than Aiyuk and are receivers I liked more. That said, this was as deep a receiver group as any draft has ever had, so this is a quality selection to me in most seasons and he will have success in the bay, there were just others I liked more.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 5, Pick 153 Overall – Colton McKivitz, OT, West Virginia – Not a fantastic lineman, but he is a guy who can play both tackles and both guard spots, so the versatility brings a ton of value with this pick. The 49ers added Trent Williams via trade during the draft, and now add a backup lineman that can help out across the line, just strengthens a team that had a lead late in the Super Bowl.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Salvon Ahmed, RB, Washington – The 49ers rode the running game to the Super Bowl a season ago behind the likes of Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida. Breida is gone but Tevin Coleman is healthy, despite that, depth at RB is always a position to keep an eye on for this club. Ahmed is a guy that will bring the most value as a pass catcher, something the 49ers could certainly use.
Favorite Pick: Round 3, Pick 69 Overall – Damien Lewis, G, LSU – Other than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, there may not be a team in the NFL that has had more trouble across the offensive line than the Seahawks. He is a bruising run blocker and stands his ground well in pass protection. He has a real shot to start at left guard right from the start. He will never be a Pro Bowler but he should be a long time starter for the Seahawks.
Least Favorite Pick: Round 1, Pick 27 Overall – Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech – A guy I did not have in my three-round mock, he goes in the first round. Granted, I would not have faulted a team if they took him on day two, but this was far too early for me. The linebacker group this season was not the best this season, but it Brooks does fit the Seahawks defense well. Basically, I don’t dislike the fit, just don’t like the cost.
Day Three Sleeper: Round 4, Pick 144 Overall – DeeJay Dallas, RB, Miami – Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, and Travis Homer was the RB depth chart before the draft, not exactly a backfield that scares you. Dallas isn’t a back that will scare you either, but he is a quality receiver and pass blocker, making him a guy Russell Wilson could come to rely on rather early on.
Undrafted Free Agent to Watch: Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State – Quick, go look up the Seahawks QB depth chart. Spoiler alert, Gordon is the only one listed behind Russell Wilson. Even had he landed with another team, he likely would have been an UDFA to watch he might be the best QB that went undrafted (toss up for me between him and Steven Montez). Mike Leach QBs are always tough to project at the next level, and Gordon was not the decisive passer as his predecessor Gardner Minshew, but he isn’t afraid of a challenge so he will be a very interesting watch in the preseason.