Jeff Harvey

Apparently, I need a clarification as to the whole Colin Kaepernrick/Nike “Betsy Ross Flag” shoe situation. Chris Slater, a friend of mine currently working for the Charleston Gazette, said Nike withdrew the shoe because of Neo-Nazi organizations using the flag as a symbol. If that is indeed the case, I can see Nike doing it. However, it was Kaepernick himself who said it was a symbol of slavery.

I haven’t talked about baseball in this column since I did the season previews, so I’m going to do so this week. I’ll start with the only story the media seems to talk about: The number of home runs being hit this year.

I think it’s just a phase baseball is going through. This current era combines aspects of the 1960s with low batting averages plus a lot of strikeouts and the 19330s with a high number of homers. You can also throw in the high number of relievers being used which is a result of Tony LaRussa’s tactics from the 1980s and 1990s. Where it will stop no one knows, but it could evolve into a reprise of the balanced baseball of the 1970s.

I do know this much. Media moaning and griping about it does nothing more than aggravate people who hear it. If Michael Wilbon knew how much he sounded like Ty Cobb in moaning about the home runs, he’d stop in a minute.

Besides the home runs, the success of the Minnesota Twins is the big story .Manager Rocco Baldelli, who many of you may recall from his days with the Princeton Rays, has developed a pitching staff which is decent and a line-up that is solid. It probably helps that he is younger than his predecessor and didn’t have the expectations for his team that Paul Molitor had.

The other big on-field story is the competitiveness of the N.L. Central, with all five teams being within 4.5 games of first place,. Credit the Reds and Pirates for outplaying expectations and it could result in the Central getting three teams into the playoffs. Of course, it could also happen that the Cubs go on a long winning streak and make the competition for the division title a moot point.

The Los Angeles Angels, with a star-crossed history of tragic deaths and injuries to players, suffered another untimely loss when pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room of unknown causes at the age of 27. My sympathies to his friends, teammates and family.

Another bit of baseball news was the report that Hall of Famer Bob Gibson has pancreatic cancer. In this case, pray for a miracle because that is a scary cancer to deal with

Finally, another big NBA trade occurred as the Oklahoma City Thunder traded Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul. The former is reunited with former teammate James Harden and the latter probably won’t last the season with the Thunder before he is traded.

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