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      Free Agents of Destruction

      July 2, 2012

      By Lou Doggs

      From the column 'Wide World of Balls'

      We understand, you spent all weekend celebrating Canada Day. I did too. Wasn’t it so weird they burned that Uncle Sam effigy pinata? And what was their prime minister doing joining Megadeth onstage? Couldn’t they just do fireworks? Oh, in case you missed any sports stuff while doing that, VICE has everything important that happened in every sport last week covered. Read and feel less stupid.

      NBA

      - Free agency is underway! Hooray! Free agency is when owners, punch drunk on the possibility of a week of good publicity, hold GMs at gunpoint and force them to offer middling players contracts. It’s great! Houston started some hashtag campaigns to impress their recruits—isn’t that adorable?

      - The Raptors (that’s Toronto’s NBA team; you haven’t heard of them because they’re both Canadian and terrible) are trying to sign Steve Nash, the old/cool Canadian point guard. They’re getting Wayne Gretzky to plead that he do for basketball in Canada what Wayne did for hockey in LA. I think that means the Raptors are in for two good seasons and then about 15 years of mediocrity or worse.

      - The NBA Draft was this past Thursday. Yay! This guy with a uni-brow was selected first overall, and only one European dude was selected in the first round. A Canadian was picked before him. Is that right?

      Hockey

      - The NHL is also having its free-agent period? Awkward. The signing period is actually shorter than baseball’s or hockey’s. It’s cool. They don’t make very much money. Actually, they do, but it feels like they don’t and it sounds adorable when guys make a million for a year’s work. Except for Sidney Crosby. He gets paid well enough to buy all the ice he wants—or whatever hockey people like.

      - Free agency (in both sports) brings a proliferation of strange insider Twitters, which are something like this parody account, except more real, funny, and sad. There’s something to be said for just ignoring all this stuff and then getting surprised at who is playing where when you turn on the games.

      Baseball

      - The All-Star rosters were chosen. Hurray! The game is next week in Kansas City. I remember reading once that the only place players give a shit about visiting is Kansas City because of the barbeque. And now only the popular players are going! Burnnnn. The list of popular guys is here.

      - The Dodgers went like six games without scoring a run. (Runs are good, you can’t win without them.) Their two best players are hurt, and Sunday’s starting lineup had hit 15 home runs on the season. (That’s real bad. I’ve hit five, and I don’t even play baseball.) But they won on Sunday! Yay.

      - International amateur signing period opens July 2 (which is today, OMG). Teams can now sign 16-year-olds, some of whom were born in 1996, to play for their teams, presumably no sooner than 2020, presumably under robot management. This year is the first where there’s a hard limit on signing bonuses—$2.9 million per team—so it’ll be interesting to see what happens. Maybe they can get around it and pay the kid in gum or cookies or Game Gear games or something. Don’t expect to see these kinds of deals happen with international players.

      Soccer

      - (Soccer) War is over if you want it. OK, Euro is over, it’s wrapped up. Spain won in convincing fashion. The same team basically won the World Cup in 2010 and Euro in 2008; they may be one of the greatest teams of all time. Hooray golden ages!

      - News came out before Euro that Mario Ballotelli, who played for Italy’s losing side and is awesome, is Jewish. (He’s of Ghanian descent, born in Italy and adopted by Italian folks, so it’s sort of news, I guess.) It’s pretty cool, but not as cool as his life logo/slogan, “Why Always Me,” which is worthy of a neck tattoo. (That wouldn’t be the worst motto for the Jewish people, either.)

      College Sports

      - CNN reported that Penn State covered up Jerry Sandusky’s transgressions. Joe Paterno was likely involved, which makes his November firing seem even more defensible in retrospect. David Jones, who was a Nittany Lions beat reporter for 21 seasons, has the definitive take on the matter here. If you only click on one of my links, click on that one. OK, click on this one. But Jones’s story is a close second.

      Previously - Dickey on Fire

      @samreiss_

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      Topics: sports, baseball, soccer, jerry sandusky, penn state, perverts, NBA, basketball

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