What up world? This is EJ and I’m blogging from the freezer better known as New York City. I think the high today is 15 degrees. That ain’t right. Nah, your boy should be somewhere with his feet up and in a place where the temperature never gets below 75 degrees. That’s where I should be. Not here. So, hopefully this polar vortex will find it’s way out of here over the next couple of weeks and we can start warming back up the place. This week I’ll talk about Masahiro Tanaka joining the Yankees, Juan Mata to Manchester United, and the NBA All-Star starter selections.Let’s get it.
Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka has joined the New York Yankees for 7 years and a $155 million dollar contract. Tanaka, who can opt out of his deal after 4 years, joins a rotation that boasts CC Sabathia, fellow Japanese pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, and Ivan Nova. Tanaka is the latest addition to the Yankee spending spree that saw Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann join their ranks this off-season. Of course the organization hopes that their additions can offset the loss that was 2nd baseman Robinson Cano. Since I blogged about Tanaka at length a few weeks ago (The Blog About Nothing 12/27 Edition), I’ll skip on the lengthy recap here.
All I will say is that Tanaka chose the right organization. The Yankees are a known commodity in Japan. The Yankees have had Hideki Irabu (famously called a fat pussy toad by George Steinbrenner), the failed Kei Igawa signing and the Godzilla big payoff of outfielder of Hideki Matsui. The Japanese fan base knows the Yankees, and every Tanaka outing will be tracked over there. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the Yanks offered him the most money. When the Yankees want someone they will go out and get him, and they got their man. So, how do I think he will do? Japanese pitchers tend to have an excellent first season in the Major Leagues. He won’t be 24-0 like he was last year in Japan, but I can see Tanaka winning at least 15 games this season. I can definitely see him being an impact addition in the short term for the New York Yankees.
Another impact addition making World news is the signing of Juan Mata to Manchester United. If you read last week’s blog (The Blog About Nothing 1/17 Edition), you’ll know that I am a die hard Manchester United fan as well as a big soccer fan. Mata comes to the Red Devils, from Chelsea. Chelsea, the London club, saw him as surplus to requirements and he was sold for 35 million pounds (the sale price might be higher when everything is finalized). Mata, a Spaniard, is a midfield player who is best used in the middle of the pitch just behind the forward (or striker). Mata would be most effective in a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-1-2 formation. However, the problem is that Mata’s best position, central behind the striker, is one that Wayne Rooney is currently playing in. Rooney, is United and England’s best player. This signing could alienate him, and it could push him out of the club. The 28 year old prefers playing in a forward role, but arguably he is a better utilized as an attack midfielder playing behind a more complete striker. If you keep Rooney in his team preferred role, Mata would get pushed out wide in a role he sort of rebelled against at Chelsea. While Mata is a creative player that could excel out wide, this signing may create problems.
However, I think it’s a problem worth having. No matter the sport you can never have too much talent. Yes, it’s a bitch to make it all work, but the more talent on a roster, the better. Adding Mata should give manager David Moyes selection headaches, but I’d argue that it is a headache worth having. Manchester United is currently having an off season. They’re currently 7th out of the 20 Barclays Premier League clubs and they’ve dropped games to their rivals all season long. Moyes, in his 1st year at the helm, has struggled to implement his vision so in adding Mata he should be one step closer to having a team in his image. So welcome Juan Mata, and Glory Glory Man United!
Finally, the NBA All-Star starters were announced last night on TNT. Starting for the East is point guard Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat shooting guard Dwayne Wade, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, and rounding out the starting lineup is the Heat’s LeBron James. For the West it will be Minnesota Timberwolves big man Kevin Love, Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin, Golden State Warrior shooting guard Stephen Curry, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, and 16 time All-Star Kobe Bryant. Now, Kobe has already come out and said that he won’t play in the game which is a smart decision since he’s only played 6 games all season. The selection of Kobe is part of the reason why I hate the voting process of the All-Star game.
The All-Star game is a popularity contest, but I really believe that the voting process needs to be altered. Voting Kobe Bryant a starter to the game is just insane. The man has played only 6 games this season. Six! How is he worthy to be named an All-Star for THIS season? He isn’t. Taking the fan vote to Twitter where fans can tweet #NBABallot was just asinine as far as I’m concerned. Twitter can be a useful vehicle, but too often it’s used by trolls, and by people who have no intelligence and/or objectivity. I love social media as a vehicle of expression, but often I come across tweets that make me wonder if that person was dropped on their head as a child. Often I sit there and scratch my head and say “You can’t be this stupid. You can’t be.” Kobe being voted a starter perplexes me. So does naming Kyrie Irving as a starter. I like Kyrie, and he plays a wonderful game but what has his team done under his leadership? Nothing. Neither has Carmelo Anthony’s or Kevin Love’s. The fact that 40% of the All-Star starters play for losing teams just doesn’t feel right to me.
That’s it. I’m done. Hope you enjoyed the blog, and I thank you for the support. Thanks for visiting www.7poundbag.com and I’ll see you next week. Peace.
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