Magic-Bird Borders on Perfection

Magic-Bird Borders on Perfection

Caught the Bird-Magic documentary on HBO the other day. All I can say is: Terrific, absolutely terrific.Watching it I was reminded just how fast time goes by. Hard to believe that Michigan State-Indiana State was more than 30 years ago. Scary to think that Bird and Magic were in their NBA primes 25 years ago.I wasnt a Celtics fan growing up, but I became one after I started watching Bird. I had never seen anyone play like him, and likely wont ever again. Ditto for Johnson, but he was on another coast.I studied Bird. I just kept track of Magic.The Bird-Magic documentary took me back decades, and made it seem like it all happened yesterday. Watching Bird-Magic reminded me of just how once-in-a-lifetime that rivalry was Bird and MagicCeltics and Lakers.The best thing about Bird-Magic was that it not only brought back memories of the players themselves and the games they played in, but I was also reminded of where I was during those times. And what I was doing.I remember where I was - Doug Kubinaks basement - when the Celtics beat the Lakers in Game 7 in the 1984 Finals. I remember the time I drove 15 hours - from Reading, PA to Pontiac, Mich. - to watch Game 6 between the Celtics and Pistons in the 1988 Eastern Conference finals.And because Bird and Magic were so inextricably linked, I remember where I was -- an office building in downtown Oakland - when I heard Johnson had contracted the HIV virus.Everything came together, not just that we were dealing with two great players and two great teams. But there was so much more to it. There was the race issue. There was the fact that one guy was doing it on one coast and the other on another.There was the wonderful commitment both guys had to passing and teamwork, which came at the perfect time to a league in trouble. There was Bird, who was quiet and kept to himself. And there was Magic, who was upbeat and outgoing.There was blue-collar Boston against Hollywood Los Angeles. There were the seeds of the rivalry, planted while both were in college.Watching the Bird-Magic documentary made me realize theres nothing like that today - in any sport. It was a rivalry so fierce, and so clearly between the two best players and teams, that you paid attention even if basketball wasnt your cup of tea.Lets face it, theres never again going to be anything like Bird-Magic. Never. Thats what makes the Bird-Magic documentary so good: It takes you back to a time when basketball was as close to perfect as it can ever get.-- Matt SteinmetzWhat's your take? Email Matt and let him know. He may use it in his weekly Mailbag.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from A's loss despite five home runs

BOX SCORE

Hit five home runs, and a team has to like its chances of winning.

The A’s simply couldn’t keep up with the Houston Astros’ bats, however, in an 11-8 loss Wednesday night that snapped Oakland’s four-game winning streak. Khris Davis went deep twice, and Ryon Healy, Jed Lowrie and Matt Olson all went deep as the A’s set their season high for home runs.

But Houston racked up 17 hits against Jesse Hahn (3-6) and four relievers and evened this three-game series at a game apiece. It was the second time Hahn has gotten knocked around by Houston inside of a week.

The A’s took an early lead, 5-4, in the third on the second of Davis’ two homers, part of a four-run rally for Oakland. But the Astros answered right back with five runs in the bottom half, and the A’s never recovered from that momentum swing.

Hahn’s struggles continue: Hahn was trying to rebound after the Astros hung nine earned runs on him last Thursday at the Coliseum. Things didn’t improve Wednesday at Minute Maid Park, as the right-hander lasted just two-plus innings and allowed six runs on nine hits. Is this a case of one team simply having Hahn’s number or do the A’s make a move and try someone else in the rotation? It bears watching.

Krush Davis x 2: It was apparent early this would be a slugfest, with Khris Davis homering twice within the first three innings as the A’s tried to keep pace. He led off the second with a shot to left field, then came back with a three-run blast to left in the third that put Oakland up 5-4. The homers were his team-leading 20th and 21st.

Reddick-ulous night: Josh Reddick filled up the stat sheet against his old team in every way imaginable. He went 3-for-4 with three RBI and two runs, and twice caught the A’s by surprise by stealing third base. For good measure, he turned in an excellent running catch in right field to rob Yonder Alonso.

Strange offensive night: What to make of this night offensively for the A’s? They hit a season-high five homers but also struck out a whopping 17 times. No matter … you can’t hang this one on the offense, because …

The pitching staff just couldn’t hold things down: Josh Smith was called upon to hold down the fort after Hahn departed in the third, but Smith was tagged for three runs on four hits. Daniel Coulombe and John Axford also got touched for runs. Rookie Michael Brady did turn in 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

Cubs outfielder vows he didn't give Trump the middle finger at White House

WASHINGTON – Albert Almora Jr. didn’t use Wednesday’s Oval Office photo op as a subtle form of political protest, but it did sort of look like the Cubs outfielder gave President Donald Trump the middle finger, at least from that angle in an image that went viral on Twitter.    

“There was two fingers! Look closely, there was two fingers!” a veteran player yelled across the room as reporters gathered around Almora’s locker inside the visiting clubhouse at Nationals Park. 

“Guys were giving me a hard time about it,” Almora said, “but I pointed out the second finger. We’re all good.”

In another White House visit that didn’t look nearly as unofficial or informal as the Cubs said it would be, one snapshot became Almora with part of his left hand in his pocket. Almora stood near Kris Bryant – who held a 45 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel – and Trump at his desk with the World Series trophy.

“Obviously, it’s unfortunate,” Almora said with a laugh. “I’m getting ready to take a picture and I’m posing there. But you guys know that I would never do that to the president of the United States. 

“I respect everybody. It is what it is. We laugh about it now, but there’s definitely two fingers out there.”

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