Random Thoughts

(KMAland) -- It’s a Friday. Sometimes I have some Random Thoughts. Other times I don’t. Today is one of those days that I do…

-I attended the first Major League Baseball game in the history of the state of Nebraska last night. The Royals took down the Tigers 7-2 to win just their third series of the season.

I may be getting a little soft in my old age, but I find the complaints about this year’s Royals team to be a little bit of a waste of time. I don’t know what they really expected. The team is very young, they have major holes in their starting rotation and bullpen, and the general manager of the team (Dayton Moore) had major swing-and-misses in the draft for about a four-year period while they were playing pretty well at the MLB level.

And certainly this year’s team is much more fun than last year’s. Last year’s team was aimless. They were still thinking they could contend a little bit so they had useless veterans that weren’t any good. There are a still a couple on this year’s team, but they’re mostly in the pitching staff. The real fun comes in a lineup that includes Whit Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi, Alex Gordon, Jorge Soler, Kelvin Gutierrez, Ryan O’Hearn, Hunter Dozier and Nicky Lopez from time to time. Those are all interesting and intriguing players.

BuT rYaN o’HeArN hAs A bAd BaTtInG aVeRaGe.

First of all, I couldn’t care less about batting averages. Second of all, I couldn’t care less what Ryan O’Hearn is doing in less than half of a season. What are you going to do? Cut him? Send him down to Omaha? No, this is a last-place team on the road to nowhere, so you’re going to wait it out, and you’re going to evaluate him at the end of the season. There is absolutely no reason to make loud proclamations on some of these young guys. Just let them play, see what they’ve got and then you can decide if you want to see it again next year when that time comes.

-As my son Turner and I were watching the Tigers/Royals last night, I came to a realization that this wasn’t the first time we went to a Tigers/Royals game. Actually, four summers ago – when he was two(!) – we drove all the way to Detroit to watch the eventual world champions. The Royals lost that game on a walk-off extra-inning home run by Ian Kinsler, but we thought it would be neat to recreate the picture.

Whoops. He sat on the wrong side, and he didn’t wear that hat that he used to wear every single day during his time as a two-year-old. I, however, did wear the same Royal blue hat, which is something that I really don’t do a lot. Something told me to wear it last night. I’m glad I did.

-Nick Nurse – the Carroll native and the Kuemper Catholic alum – is an NBA champion. He took a little bit of a beating earlier this week when he took a timeout while the Raptors were in the midst of a pretty dominant run. That, of course, is because people are ridiculously reactionary and need to make every single game or decision a referendum on everything.

Fact is, it appeared either Kawhi Leonard or Kyle Lowry were gassed and may have opted for the timeout. When your star players are tired and want a timeout, you take it. There wasn’t anything strategically wrong about it. They simply came back out and lost the game. And then they won the next game to become NBA champions. So, react to that.

-Brandon Hurley of the Carroll Times Herald has been following Nurse and the Raptors over the last several weeks. As long as the NBA Playoffs are it might have actually been a full month. But he’s made trips to the Eastern Conference Finals in Milwaukee and to Toronto for the NBA Finals. He even had a feature story written about him on The Ringer. Pretty cool stuff.

I’ll be talking with Hurley later today on Upon Further Review. Tune in just after 11:30 to hear the interview. I’ll say this, I’m pretty excited about a Carroll native winning the NBA championship (or Golden State losing one), but I’m way more “hype” to dive into Hurley’s story than Nurse’s. That’s just the traveler in me.

-OK, so the real fun is about to begin when it comes to the NBA. Sure, that was a pretty decent six-game championship series, but I’m way more interested in what’s going to happen with Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson and so on and so forth.

The Lakers are heavy into the Davis trade talks, and you would have to think they have the leg up on the only other true contender – the Knicks. Yeah, yeah, the Celtics might still be an option, but it sounds like the fact that they are an untrustworthy and disloyal organization has really hurt them. Davis won’t re-sign with them – per his father and his agent – and according to reports that is impacting what they are willing to offer. So, the Lakers need to get this done right quick.

-I’ll predict Davis goes to the Lakers, and then LA nabs one of the lesser big-time free agents like Kemba Walker. I think Kemba would be a great fit alongside LeBron. Although, don’t count out Kyrie Irving to the Lakers if they are able to land AD. Other, more conservative predictions:

-Kawhi to the Clippers. He’s a really outstanding player, but he doesn’t care much for the spotlight. And nobody cares about the Clippers in LA.

-Irving to the Nets. There’s a strong and young nucleus there, but I do question if he would still be willing to go to the Nets without a second superstar. And it doesn’t seem like the Nets will be in the running to make that move since KD will be out next year.

-Durant to the Knicks. Even with the ruptured Achilles, the Knicks are a team that can afford – both literally and figuratively – to play a year without KD.

-Klay sticks with the Warriors. No way does Golden State let Klay get away, even with the torn ACL. At least with that injury you can expect him back at some point next year.

-Jimmy Butler stays with the Sixers only because I can’t think of anything else that makes sense for him right now.

-DeMarcus Cousins to the Nets or the Knicks. The Kyrie and KD running mate is…a guy that may never completely recover from the ugly Achilles injury from last year.

-There are some other really interesting pieces like Khris Middleton, Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic, Marc Gasol, Brook Lopez and potentially D’Angelo Russell, Al Horford and a number of others that are either unrestricted free agents or have opt-ins that they  may or may not choose to….opt…in. Gosh, the NBA offseason is so much more exciting than the season.

-The College World Series begins tomorrow. Your teams: Arkansas, Auburn, Florida State, Louisville, Michigan, Mississippi State, Texas Tech, Vanderbilt.

As always, natives choose a team to root for. Here are my own personal opinions of pros and cons for rooting for these teams:

-Arkansas – Pros: They should have been national champions last year, dropping a fly ball that would have won the game. Then they lost that game and the next, and Oregon State stole the title. They’ve responded to that adversity and returned to Omaha. Cons: Some might say that rooting for former Nebraska coach Dave Van Horn is a pro in the Hogs’ corner, but I’m still a little sad about it. Not so much bitter because I totally get it, but he left us with Mike Anderson, who stunk. I guess that maybe is bitterness coming out.

-Auburn – Pros: Tim Hudson played for the last team from Auburn to play in the CWS, and that dude is one cool cat. I named my second son after him more or less. Cons: The SEC is annoying.

-Florida State – Pros: Mike Martin is finishing out his unbelievable career that has spanned 40+ seasons and many, many NCAA Tournaments. However, he’s never won the ultimate – the CWS title. Who can’t root for that? Cons: It’s Florida State, guys. Not a fun team to root for in anything.

-Louisville – Pros: They’re just playing some really good baseball right now. Cons: Their entire athletic department is seemingly always in some sort of scandal. Also, Papa John is a racist and loves Louisville.

-Michigan – Pros: The Big Ten could definitely use some success in this CWS deal. Cons: They’re a Big Ten team, and I’m not a fan boy. And they’re a school full of elitists that aren’t worth rooting for.

-Mississippi State – Pros: They’re a rather harmless university that stole Chris Lemonis from Indiana, which is a good thing for other Big Ten schools. Cons: While harmless, they probably have a fan base that chants “SEC!” when Alabama wins national titles. You can’t respect that.

-Texas Tech – Pros: Well, they come from a regional conference – the Big 12 – and Tim Tadlock is a witch of a coach that you just have to respect. Cons: They’re not really a regional school, and there’s something about Lubbock that gives me the heebeejeebies.

-Vanderbilt – Pros: I can’t think of anything. Cons: They’re the favorite. You can’t root for the favorite.

Based on all of that, my rooting interests will probably lie with Florida State and Auburn. And my pick to win it all: Call me crazy, but I’m going with Texas Tech. It’s been a good year for those crazies.

-Have a great weekend.

Send any questions, comments and/or concerns to dmartin@kmaland.com.