I have yet to write about baseball. So I figured the best way to start it off would be to talk about the Oakland Athletics new up and coming star Daniel Mengden. The 23 year old right handed pitcher from Houston, Texas got his first major league win in the Battle of the Bay against the San Francisco Giants. He was magnificent, pitching 7 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits, three walks, and five strikeouts. In a tough year for the Athletics so far, Mengden is something to look forward to as he is only the third starting pitcher for them this year that has reached the 8th inning. As great as he was in his first major league win, he has been just as great in his previous starts, he just finally got the run support he needed. In four starts this year, he has 26 strikeouts and has only allowed 8 runs which has led him to a 2.81 ERA.
The kid from Houston was supposed to be the hometown hero. He was born and raised in Houston, played high school ball there (where he also played catcher), went to Texas A&M, and was drafted by the Houston Astros in the fourth round in 2014. On the day he signed his contract, he talked about how he grew up a fan of the Astros, and how excited he was to start his career for the team he loved. But all that changed at the 2015 trade deadline when the Astros traded him and another prospect to the Athletics for All-Star starting pitcher Scott Kazmir. Since that time, Mengden has been dominating in the minors, forcing his way into major league. In the postgame interview after his first win, he said "Starting off, I was hoping to make Triple-A by half the year, then hopefully make September callups. That was the original game plan. That would be a good year for me. . . I progressed a little quicker than I expected, and I'm here now."
When you hear that quote, you understand how humble this kid has to be. Not worrying about whats going on around him, but just continuing to try to improve every single day has helped him reach his dream job faster than even he could have imagined. Luckily for him, Billy Beane took a sweet deal when trading for this kid, and now he has a chance to prove himself on the biggest stage he's ever played on. He rocks the mustache to help raise money for kids who have lost their parents to cancer. You can help support that cause at this website, and you can also help support Mengden by growing out a super sweet 'stache.
I'm sorry that I've been slacking on #MusicMondays But I have something for you guys to listen to again. I was introduced to this collective about 5 or 6 months ago by my girlfriend, who is always sharing some great alternative style music that I am not accustomed to listening to. Ever since she told me to watch their video for "The Less I Know the Better" I have not been able to stop listening to their most recent album.
Tame Impala - Currents
Released July 17, 2015
As a pretty big fan of the Beatles, I have always gravitated towards psychedelic sounds because of the way they hit you. Most music you can hear, but sometimes you can feel the music through sonic waves that are often times indescribable. Think of the last time you were at the beach and you were looking out at the water. You can see and hear the waves crashing, but that moment when it crashes into you and you feel it completely overpower your body . . . thats what this album feels like.
Tame Impala is an Australian music collective that is centered around musician Kevin Parker, who has been creating music since around 2008. Currents is their third studio album which was preceded by Innerspeaker (2010) and Lonerism (2012). They have won multiple awards from shows all around the world for the work on all of their albums, finding the most success with their last two. They are considered an alternative rock group, but if you listen to them you'll understand they're much more than that. This album has sounds and lyrics that just can't be put into a box.
There has been five singles that have come this album alone . . . so far. The first one was "Let it Happen" which also happens to be the first song on the album. In an interview with New Musical Express, Kevin puts the meaning of the song into his own words "It's about chaos - the whirlwinds of life that have always seemed too intense for you." He encourages the listener to simply "let it happen" instead of trying to block out whatever it is. The second single that was released was "Cause I'm a Man," about which he has stated that he recorded 1,057 partial vocal takes for. The video symbolizes him defending himself for simply being a man, as in a human who makes mistakes and has succumbed to the pressures of society. The final single that was released was "The Less I Know the Better," a song that could be more easily considered funk than rock. The song talks about a man who is in love with a woman who is already in a relationship with someone else, but we can see that deep down the feeling is mutual between them with the lyrics "She said 'Its not Now or Never, wait ten years we'll be together.' I said 'Better late than never, just don't make me wait forever...'"
Although this album was made halfway around the world, on the largest island on Earth, anyone can relate to at least a couple songs on here. And even if you can't relate to the lyrics, you can still feel the music. So heres a link to the entire album on a YouTube playlist, but you can also listen on iTunes, Spotify, or Soundcloud. So sit back and imagine you're at the beach, and let the musical sounds hit you like an ice cold wave from Australia.
So you might have read one of my previous blogs that was about me graduating in Arizona and had the video that I recorded of the trip. But even cooler than that, Starbucks picked me as someone they wanted to follow and record on my road trip for my graduation. I got to meet an amazing film crew who has been there for me in more ways than one, and I thank them for this great opportunity. I'm super excited to share this video with you guys because it not only represents my journey, but it represents all of the people who have been here for me through the years. I love everyone who is reading this, and please feel free to share this with everyone.
So the basketball season just ended, but hey guess what?! New season begins on Thursday! There are a lot of good young players ready to make their break into the NBA, and it begins with the draft. A mock draft is basically a guessing game for who we think will go where, and being a huge fan of college basketball I like to see where these guys will land. So this is just a quick list of who I think will go where in the first round.
1. Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons Position: SF Age 19 Height: 6'10" Weight: 240 School: LSU Fun Fact: Won silver medal for Australia in FIBA Under-17 World Championship
2. Los Angeles Lakers: Brandon Ingram Position: SF Age: 18 Height: 6'9" Weight: 195 School: Duke Fun Fact: Jerry Stackhouse became his AAU basketball coach/mentor when he was 12 years old
3. Boston Celtics: Dragan Bender Position: C Age: 18 Height: 7'1" Weight: 225 Country: Croatia Fun Fact: He said he models his game after former NBA player from Croatia, Toni Kukoc
4. Phoenix Suns: Jamal Murray Position: SG Age: 19 Height: 6'4" Weight: 207 School: Kentucky Fun Fact: He regularly has practiced meditation since 12 years old
5. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kris Dunn Position: PG Age: 22 Height: 6'3" Weight: 181 School: Providence Fun Fact: Earned his college degree by the end of his junior year
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Jaylen Brown Position: SG Age: 19 Height: 6'7" Weight: 220 School: Cal Fun Fact: Won Georgia high school state championship and hit game-winning free throws in final seconds
7. Denver Nuggets: Jakob Poeltl Position: PF Age: 20 Height: 7'0" Weight: 247 School: Utah Fun Fact: Both his parents played for Austrian national volleyball teams
8. Sacramento Kings: Buddy Hield Position: SG Age: 22 Height: 6'3" Weight: 212 School: Oklahoma Fun Fact: Received his nickname from his mother after Bud Bundy from Married... With Children
9. Toronto Raptors: Marquese Chriss Position: PF Age: 18 Height: 6'9" Weight: 233 School: Washington Fun Fact: Didn't start playing basketball until 2011
10. Milwaukee Bucks: Skal Labissiere Position: PF Age: 20 Height: 7'0" Weight: 216 School: Kentucky Fun Fact: Moved to USA after Haiti earthquake destroyed his home in 2010
11. Orlando Magic: Henry Ellenson Position: PF Age: 19 Height: 6'10" Weight: 242 School: Marquette Fun Fact: Was Wisconsin "Mr. Basketball 2015"
12. Utah Jazz: Wade Baldwin IV Position: SG Age: 20 Height: 6'4" Weight: 202 School: Vanderbilt Fun Fact: His father, Wade Baldwin III, worked for the CIA
13. Phoenix Suns: Domantas Sobanis Position: PF Age: 20 Height: 6'10" Weight: 240 School: Gonzaga Fun Fact: Wears #11 like his father Arvydas Sobanis who played for the Portland Trail Blazers
14. Chicago Bulls: Denzel Valentine Position: SG Age: 22 Height: 6'5" Weight: 220 School: Michigan State Fun Fact: Averaged a triple-double as a starter in high school
15. Denver Nuggets: Furkan Korkmaz Position: SG Age: 18 Height: 6'8" Weight: 170 Country: Turkey Fun Fact: Began playing professional basketball at 15 in Istanbul
16. Boston Celtics: Deyonta Davis Position: PF Age: 18 Height: 6'11" Weight: 237 School: Michigan State Fun Fact: Was Michigan "Mr. Basketball 2015"
17. Memphis Grizzlies: Timothy Lawawu Position: SG Age: 21 Height: 6'6" Weight: 220 Country: France Fun Fact: Has played for two professional leagues in France since 2012
18. Detroit Pistons: Ante Zizic Position: C Age: 19 Height: 6'11" Weight: 251 Country: Croatia Fun Fact: Was the rebounding leader in his professional league last season
19. Denver Nuggets: Malachi Richardson Position: SG Age: 20 Height: 6'6" Weight: 200 School: Syracuse Fun Fact: Shot 41.5% from 3-point range in ACC play
20. Indiana Pacers: Brice Johnson Position: PF Age: 21 Height: 6'11" Weight: 209 School: North Carolina Fun Fact: Was unanimously selected to All-America team
21. Atlanta Hawks: Dejounte Murray Position: PG Age: 19 Height: 6'5" Weight: 170 School: Washington Fun Fact: Signed with Lebron James' agency, agent Rich Paul
22. Charlotte Hornets: Thon Maker Position: C Age: 19 Height: 7'1" Weight: 216 Country: Sudan Fun Fact: Was born in Sudan, but family escaped and moved to Australia as refugees
23. Boston Celtics: Taurean Prince Position: SF Age: 20 Height: 6'8" Weight: 220 School: Baylor Fun Fact: His 2016 ended when he tried the "Spider Dunk" against Yale and received a technical foul
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Tyler Ulis Position: PG Age: 20 Height: 5'9" Weight: 149 School: Kentucky Fun Fact: Is lightest and second-shortest player ever to participate in NBA Draft Combine
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Malik Beasley Position: SG Age: 19 Height: 6'5" Weight: 190 School: Florida State Fun Fact: Was three-time ACC Rookie of the Week
26. Philadelphia 76ers: Ron Baker Position: SG Age: 23 Height: 6'4" Weight: 220 School: Wichita State Fun Fact: Was All-State in Kansas in 2011
27. Toronto Raptors: Ivica Zubac Position: C Age: 19 Height: 7'1" Weight: 265 Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina Fun Fact: Has played for three teams professionally
28. Phoenix Suns: Chieck Diallo Position: C Age: 19 Height: 6'9" Weight: 219 School: Kansas Fun Fact: Was MVP of McDonald's All-American game in 2015
29. San Antonio Spurs: Juan Hernangomez Position: PF Age: 20 Height: 6'9" Weight: 230 Country: Spain Fun Fact: His brother Willy was drafted by the New York Knicks in 2015
30. Golden State Warriors: Diamond Stone Position: C Age: 19 Height: 6'10" Weight: 255 School: Maryland Fun Fact: I'll leave this link to a story here that a friend (Derek) told me about
The 2015-16 season has come to an end, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are the new NBA Champions!
So I may have not got a lot of things right throughout these playoffs, but I did get the champion right. I don't know if that means anything to any of you, but hey I feel pretty good about myself. Watching the final seconds tick until it finally hit 0 was such a bittersweet moment. Having joy for the Cavs and everything they accomplished, but also knowing that this is the last NBA game we will have until October hit me at the same time. But what a way to end the season.
First of all, congratulations to the Warriors and all of the records they broke this season. Being the first team to go 73-9, breaking the record for most 3's made in a season, Steph Curry breaking his own 3 point record, Steph becoming the first ever unanimous MVP in the history of the game, I'm sure theres other stuff I'm missing but I know they did a lot of great stuff. Being the reigning NBA world champions means that night in and night out you are going to get every teams best effort when you play them. And the Warriors accepted that challenge every night. They were great for basketball because they had the entire world talking about them, and every night they played was must watch television. This team will continue to be a force in the league and their greatness is going to end because of this loss. They may even come back next season and go 74-8 if they are able to keep their core together. But time will tell for these guys, and if you are a fan of the Warriors don't listen to the hate, because there are a lot of bitter people out there who are probably pissed that their team didn't draft Draymond Green.
What an amazing series by both of these teams. These Finals really represented the competitiveness that the league has to offer. The Warriors took a commanding 3-1 series lead and it looked, and felt like the Warriors were going to hang up another banner in Oakland. But Lebron James and Kyrie Irving had plans with destiny, and they wanted to make history. No team had ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals, and going against one of the greatest teams of all time, it didn't look like that was going to change. But there always has to be an anomaly at some point in everything that has ever happened in the history of Earth, and basketball is just a game so anything is possible. Lebron and Kyrie put the team on their back and were a force that seemed virtually unstoppable in those last 3 games. Game 5 they each had 41 points, Game 6 Lebron dropped 41 points again along with Kyrie making unbelievable plays on both ends of the court, and Game 7 Lebron got a triple-double and Kyrie hit one of the most clutch shots in NBA Finals history with a fadeaway 3 pointer over the MVP in the final minute to give his team the lead for good.
These guys did more than just win for their team. They did more than just win for their organization and their fans. They won for the entire city of Cleveland, who hasn't had a major sports champion since 1964. When Lebron decided to come back, he said his goal was to bring a championship to the city of Cleveland, and he absolutely delivered. He led both teams in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, on his way to his third ring and Finals MVP. It was dramatic, it was influential, and it was true. A kid from Akron, Ohio, who went from apartment to apartment, living with his mom and sometimes his football coach, gave something back to Northeast Ohio that may have been lost over the years: Hope. The dude has done nothing but challenged himself to be great over the years, accepting the pressure that the fans and media put on him in order to achieve greatness. Not only on the court, but in life as well. To knock down so many walls simply using his talent as a basketball player to put his family in a better position in life is truly admirable, and he earned everything he has through faith in himself and dedication to something bigger than basketball. So congratulations to the the city of Cleveland, you are Champions in every sense of the word.
In case you missed one of the greatest games ever played, here's pretty much the whole thing in 12 minutes
In the NFL Draft, they call the last person drafted "Mr. Irrelevant." But what about the guys who don't get drafted? Are they even more irrelevant? Are they stuck in some kind of Irrelevant Purgatory and live there for the rest of their lives? Are they abducted by some irrelevant alien life forc- Nevermind. Allen Hurns, an undrafted wide receiver from the University of Miami, signed a 4-year, $40 million deal today with the team that took a chance on him 2 years ago, the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Planning on growing on his continuous success he's had over the last two seasons, this deal was earned not given. He was voted on by the players as the 89th best player in the league. He sent out a tweet this after noon that simply said "No Handouts." And it got me to thinking about all the times people go "undrafted" everyday. I know that I have personally felt doubted repeatedly by people who have come around me in school, work, and life. Those doubts have done nothing but make me work harder to try to prove to myself that belief in myself is all that I need, and all that anyone really ever needs. If you don't believe in yourself, then how can you expect other people to believe in you.
Allen Hurns has to have had immense confidence in himself to continue to pursue his dream after sitting through the draft, while every team passed on him multiple times. Over and over and over and over, every team continued to pass on him. But he never doubted himself, and he worked his ass off to prove to the world, but also to himself, that he belongs in the league. He got to where he is because that's where he envisioned himself to be. Being fresh out of college, it's been tough for me to find a place that is willing to take a chance on me, but I can't give up on myself. Life is going to continue to hand you challenges that may get in the way of your dreams, but when you finally reach that dream it will be that much sweeter because you'll remember all the hard times you had to push through to get there. Nobody has ever gotten "Life" perfect. Everybody has gone through failures or have been doubted. But if you keep your mind on that dream, you might find your dream that feels likes $40 million to you.
Here's some of his coworkers saying nice things about The 88
So this is it! The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers are headed for an epic rematch that is going to be must watch television. One team will come away with the trophy and the glory, while the other team will have their faces replaced with millions of Crying Jordan faces. It's the greatest player in the world going against the greatest team in the world, should be fun.
The Cleveland Cavaliers ended the postseason with a 12-2 record, regardless of the level of competition that is still pretty amazing. They are playing their best basketball of the season at the perfect time. But even their highest level of play still may not be enough to beat the Warriors. Last year when these two teams met, Kevin Love was already ruled out due to an injury, and then in an overtime battle in Game 1 Kyrie Irving injured his knee and was ruled out for the rest of the postseason as well. Lebron James took it upon himself to carry his team in the series, only to fall short 4-2. But in the loss, Lebron led both teams in all major statistical categories, averaging 35.8 points per game, 13.5 rebounds, and 8.8 assists. Those numbers are better than video game numbers, they are a little bit unbelievable every time I look at them honestly. But a loss is a loss, and the Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the better team plain and simple. So looking at this season, we see a much improved team with the addition of veterans who are hungry for the title. They also have a new coach in Ty Lue who has done his job, which is to give motivational speeches and pretty much let Lebron run all basketball operations. The Cavs are healthy this time and they have shot the lights out from the three-point line, even breaking a couple records on their way here. Channing Frye, who was a middle of the season acquisition, has had some clutch moments and has been a huge spark off of the bench. Richard Jefferson can still dunk the basketball, which is something I thought I wouldn't be saying in the year 2016. Iman Shumpert, Timofey Mozgov, and Matthew Dellavadova are going to have to match up against one of the best benches I've ever seen. The key for the Cavs is having Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving maintain their high level of play that they've shown in these playoffs. If they can continue to handle the load on offense, they should be able to give the Warriors a tough series which is something we would all love to see. Lebron will still be Lebron and he'll probably have some insane numbers, and he'll also have a couple moment where we're all like "OH GET UP YOU BIG CRY BABY!" But that is Lebron, and that is why we love to watch him.
The Golden State Warriors just got out of one of the greatest series the league has seen in a long time. They got down 3-1 in a series against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the media wrote them off as if being down 3-1 in a series meant that the series was over. Don't listen to those media guys, they usually don't know what they're talking about. Anyways, the Warriors did the "improbable" and came back from that "insurmountable" series deficit and shot the lights out like only they can on their way to a tough and beautiful series victory. I don't really consider you a real basketball fan if you have anything negative to say about that series. This series was really a microcosm of what the Warriors have been the last two seasons. They have somehow been written off time and time again as if they aren't one of the greatest teams to ever set foot on the court, and that doubt only makes them stronger, and just when you think they can't do anymore amazing things THEY DO more amazing things. So heading into this Finals the Warriors are the favorites, but I'm sure after the Cavs win 2 games the media will think its over and the Warriors are finished. Like I said, don't listen to those guys. Klay Thompson has played like a man destined for greatness, he has not been afraid of any moment and he has let that thing fly. Steph Curry didn't play the way we're used to seeing him play, but when everything is on the line we will see him perform like the unanimous MVP. I believe (please correct me if I'm wrong) Draymond Green is one technical foul away from being suspended for a game, and I don't think anyone wants to see a Finals game without him. The passion these guys bring to the court every night is inspirational, and it makes me want to be better at whatever I do. Sure, you may not have Klay's magnificent shooting form, but you might be the best at whatever it is that you do. And just like "Steph gonna Steph," remember that "You gonna You" like only YOU can.
So this matchup has had me going back and forth. Since the Cavs lost the Finals last year, I've been picking them to win the title this year. So because I am a man of my word, I can't really go back now right? It truly is a matchup of basketball titans in this one, and no matter the outcome, I think we all need to enjoy this series for what it will be. There's only a maximum of 7 games left, so soak it in because after this its baseball (yay). Ok, so my brain (which is usually smarter than my heart) is telling me to pick the Warriors in 7 games. But I got too much heart and belief, I can't help it, it's just a part of my DNA. So I'm picking the Cavs to avenge their Finals loss from last year, and they're going to do it in front of their fans in Cleveland finally.
Cleveland Cavaliers in 6 games.
Just a man trying to make the most of his time on this planet.