We're going to move quickly this morning. The weather on the coast is iffy, and we need to get to the sand with the kids before the afternoon rains come a'calling.
You know the drill.
And here's a vacation photo from the Mrs. 5-at-10, who does some amazing things with a camera in her hands.
Xander Schauffele. The American golfer grabbed the Olympic event by the throat and never let up. And when you go into a dream-making final round with a birdie-birdie start, well, good on you. Side question: True or false on a Monday — true or false you'd rather have a gold medal in golf than a PGA Championship. Yes, the latter is a major, but the former is way more scarce.
US Soccer, men's division. Man, feel the pride and the patriotism. But the men's team swept Mexico in something called the CONCACAF Cup, and my soccer friends on Twitter seemed super stoked about it, so "U-S-A! U-S-A!"
The Dodgers in particular and L.A. in general. Dear Lord, I grew up a Dodgers fan, but this is an embarrassment of riches. The Dodgers made a monster mistake with the Trevor Bauer signing and watched early in the season as shortstop Corey Seager got hurt. So what did they do at the deadline? They only added the best starting pitcher who was available in Max Scherzer and the best shortstop on the market in Trae Turner. And that's not even getting into what the Lakers did.
NBA free agency fans. What kind of super team lurks around the corner with Chris Paul and Kawhi Leonard declining their options and heading toward free agency? And while we're here, the Toronto Raptors gave the world of medium-to-small-market clubs a clinic on dealing with an A-list player who will not sign. They acquired Kawhi on the cheap from San Antonio. Rode a motivated Kawhi to a title — and the last title to truly have no asterisk — and dealt him for a haul to the Clippers, who had him for two years and moved Heaven and Earth to get Paul George as a running mate, and now poof.
Everything about this moment when these two runners fell, ending their Olympic medal dreams, but the two got up, hugged and jogged to the finish line together. Man, it's a little dusty in here. Then there was the two high jumpers who split the gold after tying.
US Soccer, women's division. If you're gonna strut around like GOATs, when the lights come on you better play like GOATs. The US women's team, amid all its stances and protests and statements and the like, must have forgotten to get ready for the bullseye on their backs. The USWNT lost — again — this time in the semifinal to Canada and will be forced to play in the bronze medal match in these Olympics.
Boston Red Sox. Forget the three-game sweep the contending Tampa Bay Rays just dropped on the BoSox, this weekend was about more than that. The AL East is a killer division, with four teams at least six games over .500. Boston is among them at 63-44 and trails the Rays by 1.5 games. The Sox are right there. But the rest of the division addressed major needs. The Rays got the middle of the order bat they needed in Nelson Cruz. The Yankees added Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo. The Blue Jays added the second-best starting pitcher on the market in Jose Berrios and bolstered their bullpen. The Sox? They added a DH/LF in Kyle Schwarber for a roster that is flush with DH (JD Martinez) and LF (Alex Verdugo) in hopes that Schwarber can learn first base in the next 45 minutes.
Washington sports fans. Buckets, it's a good thing Darrel Green, Wes Unseld and Walter Johnson are no longer active, or they would have been dealt, too. The Nationals had a fire sale, which made sense. But a Wizards team that improved greatly down the stretch dealt Russell Westbrook for two basketballs, three pairs of Nikes and a signed LeBron James sweatband. Side question, and I believe this is fair: Considering that a) Russell Westbrook's stats are going to make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer — he's an MVP with multiple seasons averaging a triple-double, and b) he's now been traded by three teams for varying versions of the poo-poo platter — the Lakers sent Montreal Harrell, KCP, Kyle Kuzma and the 22 pick to Washington for him, how bad a teammate and locker room dude is Russ?
NBC. The ratings are historically bad. Like, NBA dips times two or three. How bad? Forget comparable to the 2016 Games, try this one on for size: Thursday night — the night of the women's gymnastics all-around with the US winning surprise gold and all those storylines — had the highest rating of these Games at 10.8, which means 10.8 percent of all TVs in use were watching the Games. Remember, that's arguably the most significant night of the Games with the women's all-around, and that was down only 5% from the comparable night of the — wait for it — most recent Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The comps with the Rio Games were down 43% in ratings (18.9-10.8) and 41% in viewers (19.5 million to 33.0 million). It would not shock me if stories start to circulate that NBC is looking to give bonus ads to loyal sponsors to make up for the dreadful numbers.
Evander Kane. The NHL player is embroiled in a gambling controversy that has become a looming side story to a nasty split with his ex-wife that has played out for all to see on social media.
Bonus pick: The city of Buffalo. Yep, the city-funded stadium song-and-dance has hit upstate New York, and the Bills and Sabers are looking for $1.5 billion — yes with a 'B' — in city- and state-funded coin for new digs and upgrades. That or they will start looking.
OK, watching the Yankees do Yankees things and the deals that happened in L.A., and then you see the Braves, who are riding an all-time, record-setting teeter-totter. (Side question: Do you say teeter-totter or see-saw? Discuss.)
Seriously, the Braves' 8-9 stretch without back-to-back wins or losses is the longest run of its kind in MLB history, at least that's what Dave O'Brien offered on Twitter after Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Brewers.
Yes, they made some moves. I really like the reliever from Pittsburgh. Yes, Adam Duvall is a fine player. (Side note: The Braves' addition of four outfielders screams, to me, about the long-term confidence they have in Pache and maybe even Waters. Side question on the side note: Has there ever been a bigger addition by subtraction than the Braves adding and dealing/releasing Pablo Sandoval and Ender Inciarte? Side question on the side question on the side note: Who's going to wear the Panda head for post-homer hugs now? I nominate AJ Minter. That way he'll be good for at least something.)
But as fan bases in and around cities look for reasons to believe, is Atlanta mired in the greatest treadmill existence in team sports?
The Braves have a title, and were almost always a contender — yes, there were some lean years — for the last three decades, but one title with all that talent is underachieving.
The Hawks won their first conference finals game earlier this year and, as Mader noted on Friday, had to be considered among the winners of last week's NBA draft considering where they picked and who they got. But in an ever-improving NBA East, would you peg the Hawks anything better than fourth in the East as of right now?
(And Mader's praise for the Hawks' GM is valid and warranted. But if there's anything to be taken away from these Olympics, it's Luka Doni is the best player in shorts. On the planet. And he's 22. If/when dude gets to a 38-plus-percent shooter from distance — he slashed 47.9/35.0/73.0 last year — he's going to be a triple-double machine.)
And that's not even getting to the Falcons, who will have to lead the league in passing and passing TDs to get to 8-9 this season, even with freakish athletes Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts on the perimeter.
Seriously, if you are a die-hard Atlanta sports fan and you had to place a sizable amount of money on which of those three would win a title in the next decade, who ya got?
This and that
— The IOC has agreed to review its stance on transgender athletes. That's better than what we have now, especially when the New Zealand transgender weightlifter cruises to gold later this week. Simply put, I do not believe there is a way to chemically balance the competition between athletes born males or females. And if it was anything close to fair, why is it that the only transgender athletes we hear competing at the championship levels are those who go from male to female in their identification process?
— You know the rules. Here's Paschall's TFP home page because his SEC series simply has too many to link over the weekend as well as some UT roster movement.
— You know the rules. Here's Hargis in remembrance of John Mullinax, the longtime McMinn County football coaching legend.
— The rules for Weeds normally center on his expertise on college hoops, which is understandable. But his Sunday stance on the simple connection between getting vaccinated and whether or not college football stadiums will be full are impossible to ignore. Especially now, as numbers across the South shoot north.
— Of course Chuck Todd doesn't think there's liberal bias in the media. Chuck Todd is the face of liberal bias in the media, and he's so liberal he doesn't see the bias. And while we're on the subject, NBC proper should have enough folks on the payroll that if you are uber-liberal MSNBC, then you forfeit your card to be on subtly liberal (other than Todd) NBC.
— And if the reports prove accurate that Donald Trump is dropping awful insults on the Capitol police who testified, then for shame. You can't be a "Back the Blue" booster — especially as a PR tool to slander Kaepernick — only when it fits your narrative, Donnie. Buckets, what a waste.
Multiple choice Monday will feature two:
Which of the following ways would be the best way to decide an Olympic stalemate like the one in the high jump in these Games?
— Agree to share Gold;
— Thumb wrestling;
(If you have another suggestion, fire away.)
And staying there, which is your primary starting move in Rock-paper-scissors?
— Rock, of course;
— Paper, because everyone goes with Rock;
— Scissors, and I'm still undefeated?
As for today, Aug. 2, let's review.
Did you know that the formal signing of the Declaration of Independence happened on this day in 1776? Hmmmm.
Wow, the first U.S. Census was conducted on this day in 1790, and the population was 3,939,214, which included more than 697,000 slaves.
On this day 25 years ago, the US men's basketball team won Olympic gold in Atlanta. I was there. With my father.
On this day in 1999, "The Sixth Sense" premiered.
Rushmore of movies with shocking endings that would not have fared as well in today's Twitter-spoiling society.