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Monday, July 14, 2014

Return of the Hat

After a much needed intermission from publishing daily material, the Daily Hat Trick is back in the game, baby! Sometimes, in order to produce a blog you would want to read, a step needs to be taken back in order to take steps forward. After taking some time to recharge my batteries and reexamining my approach to the Daily Hat Trick, it’s time to get back on the horse.
Today, we’re going to fill in some gaps. I’ll be offering my point of view on some goings on in the sports world since the Hat Trick was last posted in late May. It is remarkable how much has taken place in a short period of time.
The Heat are denied a three-peat and the San Antonio Spurs are avenged after coming so close, but so far away in the 2013 NBA Finals. Only one of the four games won by the Spurs in this series was close. It was clear by the middle of Game 4, a one-sides Spurs win at Miami, that a three peat was not only “not in the cards”, but not even within reach of the Heat.
The Heat looked like a tired, aging team running out of end-of-the-year gas in its fourth consecutive NBA Finals. The Spurs looked like a team determined and with a plan to finish unfinished business after being seconds away from winning a title last season only to have Ray Allen rip it away in the final seconds of the 4th quarter of Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals.
Fifth time is a charm. 1
The NBA offseason is often filled with theater and surprised during free agency signings. This year was even more suspense filled. The “Big Three” of the Heatles – LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade – all opted out of the final year of their contracts. This ramped up speculation of where they would be playing basketball in the 2014-2015 season. The first domino that would have to drop before anyone made any major moves was the King sized domino – LeBron James.
James stunned the sporting world for the second time in four seasons. After stabbing the city of Cleveland and Cavaliers fans in the heart on ESPN in July of 2010 with his announcement that he was “taking his talents to South Beach”, James released an essay to Sports Illustrated announcing his return to the Cavaliers next season. The method by which James made his announcement, in a well thought out piece of writing as opposed to a one hour TV special or press conference, played out with the public much better than 2010’s “The Decision” on ESPN, which raised money of a charitable cause but was a public relations disaster.
The power balance shifted immediately in the Eastern Conference, with the Cavs shooting to the top of the oddsmakers’ list of teams favored to win the 2015 NBA Finals. Carmelo Anthony soon announced he would stay in New York, Chris Bosh announced he would stay in Miami, and Pau Gasol went to the Chicago Bulls, and Luol Deng signed with the Miami Heat. Smaller dominoes have been falling ever since Friday’s announcement.
The United States advanced to the “knockout round” of 16 for the second time in the modern era of the Cup. The U.S. survived the “group of death”, including 2006 and 2010 nemesis Ghana, eventual World Cup champion Germany, and Uruguay. Television ratings for the Cup, in spite of the U.S. playing games in the afternoon in the middle of the week, soared. In this this blogger’s opinion, America is in the midst of a soccer revolution in our sporting landscape.
Also remarkable during the 2014 World Cup was the complete dismantling of front-runner Brazil by Germany, 7-1, in the semi-final match. I cannot recall a more shocking and unexplainable debacle in any major sporting even in my lifetime. People with little to no interest in the Cup may cite some of our one-sided Super Bowls; it isn’t even close. World Cup games yielding more than three total goals between both teams in the knockout stage of the World Cup are uncommon. Germany surged to a 5-0 lead by the middle of the first half.
The Germans would not have a letdown. They faced an equally formidable Argentina team in yesterday’s World Cup Final. It would take Extra Time to decide the contest, but Germany was able to pierce the Argentinian armor in the 113th minute. The Germans controlled possession of the ball and dominated the game defensively; the Argentina squad could not muster a single shot on goal.

At the start of the season, the Hat Trick released its MLB preview. There will be much more discussion about the season and where it is going in the coming days. Two things stand out: all of the divisions are in competitive races and a flurry of new stars are being born or are growing in MLB.
Unlike Elvis, The Hat Trick is back in the building. Buckle your seatbelt and get ready. It’s going to be a wild ride!

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