Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

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AP

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

I hadn’t considered the notion of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles bombing quite so badly Thursday night, so I hadn’t considered the notion advanced by Pro Football Talk Friday morning that Jacksonville might be a great place for Colin Kaepernick.

That’s because I long ago stopped considering the idea that Kaepernick’s exile from football was, or is, about football. It isn’t. He is the example for future player/miscreants, and trotting his name out every time a quarterback in the new NFL vomits up a practice game on national television is simply perpetuating a lie.

Until someone gets so desperate that it isn’t any more.

That’s the problem with being so definitive about Kaepernick’s perpetual ban. It only takes one owner with a willingness to stick a middle finger up to the objections and say, “I own a football team, not some branch of the USO” to end this national spitfest once and for all. And yes, I say owner because this is an owner’s decision, solely and completely. In the hypothetical of Kaepernick the Jaguar, it will be made not by Doug Marrone, who is merely a coach, or by Tom Coughlin, who is only the general manager, but Shahid Khad, one of the brightest and quietly more powerful owners in the league.

But the odds still scream No Kaep For You, because it would mean that exhibition games matter for judgmental purposes (which they don’t), that Bortles is somehow worse than half the quarterbacks in the NFL (he is part of an amorphous blob of non-producers whose numbers are growing as the differences between college and pro football offenses expand), and that owners easily break away from the herd once the herd has decided on something (Khan is not a rebel in the Jerry Jones mold by any means).

In other words, I remain unconvinced that there is a place for Colin Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL. And he’s probably better off.

Lynch reminds media how much control he exerts over any interaction

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Lynch reminds media how much control he exerts over any interaction

Marshawn Lynch gave America five minutes and thirty-three seconds of his time, did not amplify on his posture during the pregame of Friday night’s game in Arizona, and dropped a “Peace, out.”

Now how much Marshawn Lynch can you get?

He talked, thereby satisfying people. He didn’t not talk about the National Anthem, the country, current events or anything remotely close to any of it, this disappointing those same people. He crossed the myth about elephants and mice with the popular Oedipal reference to make a new Marshawn Moment, which ranks up there with the tennis shoe hanging from the telephone wire retirement announcement.

And yeah, that is so much Marshawn Lynch, too.

Lynch, ultimately, interacts with the amalgamated media rabble (my ID number is #287,449/A) by reminding it how much control he exerts over any such interaction, and by giving it only his presence rather than his attention. He is phenomenally predictable that way, and it is to our shame that we keep thinking he will break the pattern out of some misplaced sense of obligation.

He is, in his own way, a recluse in full view. He insists on being the master of his surroundings in a business with many assumed masters – coaches, front office people, fans, marketers, media, even the oft-repeated myths of the game like one’s responsibilities to the greater amorphous whole. I even suspect he has the power of invisibility, like Doctor Fate, Martian Manhunter or The Watcher.

In which case he should gain about 7,500 yards and score 130 touchdowns and be able to sit whenever he wants for more reasons than his own. After all, America tends to bend its willingness to accept eccentricities like his when he is helping their team entertain them successfully.

After all, we know what our true cultural priorities are.

Bochy, Melvin need to start giving us something out-of-the-box-y

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AP

Bochy, Melvin need to start giving us something out-of-the-box-y

These are difficult, which is to say battleship-gray dull, days for the Oaklandcisco Giletics. They go out, they lose three of every five times they play, they disappear again. It’s like watching Nerf whack-a-mole.
 
Which is why, in these final 40 games, both Bob Melvin and Bruce Bochy need to start giving us something out-of-the-box-y we can linger on, at least for a bit. The transition from the end of the Warriors season (and the subsequent fetishizing of everything they do) to the start of football training camp has been too easy, and baseball’s window to captivate the easily distracted has pretty much been closed.
 
And this is why we enjoyed Cincinnati second baseman Scooter Gennett, pitching in a lost-cause game Tuesday night (the Reds have given up double digits 20 times this year, so that’s not a big enough thing), referred to his speed gun rating in the mid-90s, which was corrected by reporters to the more accurate “68.”
 
Gennett’s response? “Yeah, I don’t believe that. I think the radar gun might be broken or something. That, Statcast, off-the-bat speed, all that’s fake news.”
 
Perfect, and perfectly timely, too.
 
Then there is manager Terry Collins of the injury ravaged New York Mets, who is so bereft of players that he had to play catcher Travis d’Arnaud at third base but also needed to find a way to avoid having the ball hit to him. So he had d’Arnaud switch with second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera every time a right-handed hitter came up for the Yankees. So you get a box score that looks like this.
 
This is also the game in which Aaron Judge hit a 457-foot home run AND set a record for consecutive games with a strikeout, with 33. His season has fallen into a chasm since the All-Star Break, thus making him the latest “face of baseball” to find out that this “face of baseball” thing isn’t such an easy gig after all.
 
Besides, the new face of baseball is Scooter Gennett, whom the Giants or A’s should absolutely pay Giancarlo Stanton money to get in 2018. I mean, this is a guy who gave a fake name to the cops because his mom brought him to a stationhouse once to scare him into wearing his seatbelt -- when he was still watching Muppet Babies.
 
If that’s not the true face of baseball, there is none at all. Billy, Bobby, make this happen, or resign.