Well, we have officially made it through the summer doldrums and are now on the cusp of football season which kicks off this Thursday and in earnest next Saturday. It was a tough summer on my childhood and one that reminded me that as the older I get, the faster the years go by. From the Hall of Fame inductions of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Bobby Cox, three mainstays of the great Atlanta Braves teams of the 90’s and early 2000’s, to the deaths of Pete Van Wieren, the color commentator on those Braves broadcasts on TBS, and Robin Williams who was at the peak of his career during my childhood.
But nothing hit me harder this summer than the death of one of the greatest baseball players (and human beings) of all time. Gwynn was mainstay on my TV when I first started watching baseball, showing up on WGN or TBS when the Padres came to Chicago or Atlanta or when the Cubs and Braves went out west.
A two sport star at San Diego State, Gwynn was drafted by the hometown Padres in the third round of the 1981 MLB draft (he was also drafted in the 10th round of the NBA draft by the then San Diego Clippers on the same day) and played all 20 season of his career for the same team, a rarity in the free agent era.
He was one of the greatest hitters of all time, batting .338 for his career, and led the league in average eight times including .394 in the strike shortened 1994 season that denied him a chance at being the first player to hit .400 since Ted Williams in 1941.
The accolades speak for themselves. He was a fifteen time All-Star, won seven Silver Sluggers, five Gold Gloves and was inducted in the Baseball Hall of Fame with 97.6% of the vote on his first ballot in 2007. Gwynn was a pioneer of video analysis, often breaking down tapes of his swing frame by frame to see if he started his swing too early or too late by a fraction of a second.
But beyond the hits and awards, Gwynn was simply a great person with a great laugh and infectious smile who cared deeply about the game of baseball and all of those who loved it. So before we turn the page from baseball to football season, let’s all take a moment to say one last farewell to Mr. Padre.
On to the News…
Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins Make Team USA’s Final Roster
Two of the BBN’s favorite big men are heading to Spain to represent the Red, White, and Blue in the FIBA World Cup of Basketball. The final roster was announced early this morning after Team USA’s final tuneup against Puerto Rico last night in New York. Yes, Mason Plumlee still made the team but fortunately, not at the expense of Boogie.
Damien Harris Impressed in Season Opener
The top running back in the country literally hit the ground running in the first week of the season last night with 123 yards and two long touchdown runs in a weather shortened game. After the game he answered several UK related questions with Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader.
Cal’s Fantasy Camp Rolls On.
Coach Cal’s Fantasy completed day two without too much fuss. The biggest news of the day came when KSR’s Dean Bowling confirmed that the Harrison Twins do in fact wear contacts.
"You got your contacts in? Nope. I know right away when you don't have them in."- Robic to Andrew Harrison
— Dean Bowling (@DeanBowlingKSR) August 23, 2014
I knew it!!!! RT @DeanBowlingKSR: John Robic just mentioned that it's his job in games to make sure the Harrisons put in their contacts.
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) August 23, 2014
On the serious side, Cal tweeted out that the Fantasy Experience once again raised over a million dollars for charity that will distributed to twenty different organizations.
Kevin Love is a Cleveland Cavalier
After negotiations that seemed to last all summer, Kevin Love is officially in Cleveland after a three team trade. The deal was held up by the 30 day waiting period following the Cavs signing of top pick Andrew Wiggins. Both Wiggins and 2013 top pick Anthony Bennett are going to Minnesota. The Timberwolves will get Thaddeus Young and a $6.3 million trade exception from Philadelphia while the 76ers will get Alexey Shved, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and a 2015 first-round pick from Minnesota.
T-minus one week to football.