Flood Watch: Harping on friends’ hot takes

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Hot take: the sun is cold. Think I’m wrong? Then riddle me this: why is space so cold? The real source of heat for earth is actually its own core. If the sun isn’t cold, and the earth isn’t heated by its core, then why does it get colder the closer you go towards the sun, and warmer the closer you go towards the core? I mean, just look at the evidence. Mount Everest, the highest place on earth and closest to space – where the sun is – is freezing. Snow everywhere. Death Valley, the lowest of all the national parks in the U.S. is also the hottest. Coincidence? I think not!

Friends are good for many things, and of those things is bouncing ideas off someone else. Welp, my friends and I did just that. Here are some hot takes from some of my chums as well as my thoughts on said hot takes. Trust me, these takes are saucy.

Dan “with the hats” Ahrens: People don’t hate Grayson Allen, they’re envious of him.

Grade: C+

My thoughts: This is an awesome hot take. None of the other hot takes included here are as in-depth at Dan-o’s. Dan claims that Grayson Allen’s life, filled with a full ride at an elite academic university, the opportunity to go pro in a sport that he is passionate about and belonging to a privileged social class, is a life that anyone would take. I think that, for a small population of people, that’s exactly true. However, I think for a much larger population, that is false.

While Allen’s life is undoubtedly awesome on the surface, we can’t selectively choose which parts of his life we want to include in our hypothetical “Freaky Friday” life swap. Allen has been known to make dirty moves on the basketball court, including numerous accounts of intentionally tripping other players, intentionally stomping on a player’s foot, throwing an elbow into a player’s face, and getting into a skirmish with another team. Sure, a small portion of those accounts might have been accidental, but when it’s clear that the intention is there so often, you lose out on getting the benefit of the doubt. Oh yeah, I also forget to mention – he played for Duke. The dirty plays and playing for Duke result in a large number of people not liking him, which is why this hot take that is in-depth, unique, and very true for some, only gets a C+.

Cavin/Calvin/Kevin/Cameron/Cory/Kellogg’s/Cabbage Compton: Gary Sanchez is not a good catcher.

Grade: D

My thoughts: Well Cav, I thought you made a pretty convincing argument to me that Gary Sanchez isn’t good, but the stats have unconvinced me. I know you already acknowledged that he’s a good hitter, but let’s cover those stats quick. In the 2017 regular season, he led all catchers in home runs (33), RBIs (90), runs (79) as well as slugging percentage (.531, out of catchers with over 82 games played). He also was second in batting average (.278) and OBP (.345) of catchers averaging 3.1 plate appearances per game. Who was first in those two categories? Buster Posey, who had 21 less home runs and 23 fewer RBIs less than Sanchez. That’s pretty good stuff.

But I know, your main gripe is with his defense. He did tie for the most passed balls in all the land last year, and he was even benched for it for a short time. But other than that, he’s pretty solid defensively. He has the fourth-best Catcher ERA (CERA), sixth-best caught stealing percentage (CS%) and number of runners caught stealing (CS), and fourth best number of catcher pick-offs. Also, only two catchers are above Sanchez in multiple stat lines when including CS, CS%, and CERA.

All this is without mentioning that he has the highest wins above replacement (WAR) of any catcher, which many consider to be one of the best stats for comparing players in all-around performance. In fact, he has the 40th best WAR of any MLB player, and he and Buster Posey are the only catchers in the top 65. So, overall, this hot take gets a D grade. Sure, the guy needs to learn how to keep pitches in front of him, but even with that downfall, those levels of production put him closer to being the best catcher than being no good at all.

Blake-iss Da-make-iss Dittenber: Justin Verlander should have won the 2016 Cy Young Award over Rick Porcello

Grade: A-

My thoughts: Ohhhhhh, yeah. You said it, buddy. The 2016 race for the Cy Young Award was tight, to say the least. Tigers’ JV, former Tiger Rick Porcello, and Cleveland Indians’ Corey Kluber battled it out to the end, and, wrongly, Rick Porcello came out on top. Don’t get me wrong, Rick Porcello had a good year – a 3.15 ERA over 223 innings, 189 strikeouts and 22 wins. However, JV had a year more deserving of the Cy Young.

In all pitching stat categories for the AL, Verlander led seven stat lines, including Walks+Hits/IP (WHIP), strikeouts and adjusted pitching wins. Perhaps the most significant stat line that he led in, however, was WAR for pitchers. Verlander had an outstanding 7.2 WAR, while second-place Kluber’s WAR finished at 5.8. Porcello’s WAR? 4.8, well over two entire points below JV’s. Also, notice in the first paragraph when I mentioned Porcello’s 189 Srikeouts? Verlander had led the AL with 254 – that’s 65 more than Porcello.

How many stat lines did Porcello lead compared to JV’s seven? Two. Yup, two. One was strikeouts/walk ratio, which he barely won by a tiny margin of 0.006, while the other was wins. Now, I know I don’t speak for anyone but myself, but I would assume that nearly anyone who has played or watched baseball would know that a team winning or losing is not by any means solely on the shoulders of the starting pitcher. It’s a real shame that Verlander very well may have lost the 2016 Cy Young because of all the times he pitched a great game, and the Tigers’ stacked lineup couldn’t come through. In fact, the voting committee agrees. Verlander had the largest share of first-place votes with 14 compared to Procello’s 8, but because of second-place votes, Verlander came up 5 points shy of Porcello’s 137.

The only reason this hot take gets an A- instead of an A is because there was quite a loud uproar in Detroit and elsewhere in the baseball community about this very subject. So, because of so many people saying the same thing, this take loses some of its heat. But don’t let it go unsaid – this is a take I’ll stand by until the day I die.

Ryan “Lego” LeGrow: Tim Tebow will get called up during the 2nd half and will homer in his first MLB game.

Grade: B+

My thoughts: Tim Tebow. Ah, the days of watching the Florida Gators alumnus win the Heisman Trophy, creating his signature dance/celebration/position along the way (Tebowing). Good times. Nowadays, we’re watching the former NFL player on the baseball diamond, and he’s doing a lot better than most people thought he was going to do. So well, in fact, that Tebow recently received a promotion to the minor leagues as he now plays for the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies. Are we seeing devolution of a horse? Get it? Broncos? Ponies? Ha.

Anyway, while many of us are happy for the optimist’s new opportunity, some of us are questioning why it happened. Tebow showcased a very unimpressive 1-18 batting record in this season’s spring training period. That leads us to believe that the move was for attendance boosts. History shows us that games in which Tebow plays receive quite the spark in fans’ rear-ends filling seats – some 2,500 more per game, actually. If the move proves to do the same in the next level up with the Rumble Ponies, there’s nothing saying the same wouldn’t happen for the New York Mets in the Big Leagues.

Ryan, my friend, you’ve put me in a predicament here. Sure, it’s somewhat safe to make predictions about whether or not he’ll be moved up to the MLB. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he does, and the second half seems like the most appropriate time for that to happen as it’s after the All-Star events but too long before the playoffs, and an attendance boost would be nice. But how on earth am I supposed to say if the man is going to hit a home run? So, I’m taking statistics on my side, and I’m going to say he doesn’t. But hey, when Tim Tebow is involved, you never know what kind of divine intervention may take place. Overall, I like the hot take. It’s fresh, it’s not something a lot of people are talking about and calling Tebow’s shot for him on his first day on the job is quite the twist. B+.

Josh “Bigwater” Flood: Phil Mickelson is the best golfer in history besides Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.

Grade: D-

My thoughts: Oh no. No, no, no, no, no. Nuh-uh. Not on my watch. Phil is a great golfer, don’t get me wrong, He’s definitely in my top 10 of greatest golfers ever, but not third. I know, I know, he’s had to deal with Tiger Woods, the G.O.A.T., for most of his career. But there’s just too much he hasn’t accomplished.

Phil Mickelson has won five majors, which is undoubtedly great. But what’s not great is the fact that he’s T-14 in most majors won, and there are five other guys who’ve also won five majors, meaning there’s 18 other guys who have won as many or more majors as Phil. Not necessarily exclusive. He’s ninth in career wins on the PGA Tour, with 43. Just to put it in perspective, there are five guys with more than 50 wins not named Tiger or Jack, and one of those five has over 80 wins, nearly twice as many as Phil. Four people besides Jack and Tiger have won all four majors in their career, and Phil has yet to win a U.S. Open to complete his Career Grand Slam. In fact, Bobby Jones is famous for winning the only-ever actual Grand Slam.

Other golfers have done incredible things that Phil hasn’t even come close to, which puts them ahead of him in my book. For example, Byron Nelson’s 1945 season. In one season, Lord Byron won an outrageous 18 times. That’s nutty. Oh, I forgot to mention, that same season, he won 11. Tournaments. In. A. Row. Yeah, read it again if you have to. Ben Hogan in 1953 entered only six tournaments all season due to regaining his health after a near fatal car accident. That turned out to be no biggie, as he won five out of those six, and three of those were majors.

Yes, some of the lack of records set by Phil are because he had to directly compete against the world’s greatest golfer to ever live. But these other guys had to compete, too. Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead all played against each other. Sam Snead also had to play against Cary Middlecoff, a 40-time PGA winner, and he managed 82 wins himself. Jack, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player all played against each other in the 60’s, and Jack also competed with Lee Trevino in the 70’s.

The matter of fact is Phil is great. But he’s not the third greatest. He’s not even top-five. He’s a high top-10, and I imagine some golf junkies would have him outside the top-10. I’m giving this hot take a D-, and, to be honest, the only reason I’m not giving it a failing grade is because it takes some guts to give a take this hot.

So there you have it. Agree, or don’t agree. If you don’t, give me a shout out as to why. Thanks to all my friends for the hot takes. Hey, I know I gave some low grades, but that happens when there’s controversy. And if there’s no controversy, then is it really a hot take?

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