Team USA: The team on the field

USA

If you haven’t been the biggest fan of the World Baseball Classic in past years, I can’t really blame you.  Team USA was 10-10 coming in to this years Classic.  That doesn’t really scream, “come watch and get excited about our team”.  A lot of people are saying that even this year Team USA doesn’t have nearly the team that they should and I can’t really argue.  The fact that Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Clayton Kershaw and Chris Sale are not on the roster will always make for a valid argument in that department.  But the reason I am even sitting here writing this article, is because I want to talk about the team that IS on the field.

This year Team USA is on their way to the Championship Round.  The fact that they have made it there, without even the best athletes from their respective country, says a lot about the team on the field.  As I tuned in (beer in hand) to the first game of pool play, it was Team USA vs Colombia.  I whole heartedly expected to watch a lack luster performance with guys on the field that seemed to not even be trying.  More like a game down in Peoria at the beginning of Spring Training.  Sorry, but the memories of Team USA on the field not even trying were just burned into my memory from the last World Baseball Classic. But man was I wrong with that assumption.

What I saw on the field were guys that had passion and wanted to show that they belonged wearing those beautiful red white and blue colors.  They wanted to show the world that this year, Team USA was here to play.  The Colombia game was supposed to be an easy W for Team USA but Colombia starting pitcher Jose Quintana (Chicago White Sox) threw an absolute gem.  The turning point for me and what absolutely made me believe that this team was here to play happened in the bottom of the sixth inning, and it wasn’t a 400 foot bomb either.  Arenado stepped to the dish with a runner on third and two outs.  He had a decent at bat but ended up striking out swinging.  On the swing the ball got passed the catcher and to my surprise, Arenado took off like a rocket to first base.  I couldn’t believe my eyes, the Major League leading RBI man from last season just took off full speed out of the box on a third strike. (Nothing like a Bryce Harper strikeout where he just walks immediately to the dugout.)  Even more shocking was that Arenado slid headfirst into first base, jumped up and was absolutely ecstatic to be called safe.  For his efforts the runner from third scored and that tied the game at 2-2.

I was ABSOLUTELY all in after seeing that.  Team USA must have felt the same because the passion that followed the rest of the game was unreal.  It almost felt like playoff baseball (which as a Mariners fan I don’t have much experience with).  Team USA walked off in extra innings with a W and that is how the Classic started for Ole’ Glory.  Sitting on my couch, I could not wait for the next game.  It was only March but these games mattered.  You could tell the guys on the field felt the same way.  From Christian Yelich to Adam Jones to Brandon Crawford, these guys were all in.  I couldn’t help but sit back and just beam with sweet, sweet American pride.  Just knowing that these guys were going to give 110% and represent Team USA had me searching for my American flag tank top and a Budweiser.

Win or lose in the Championship round, this team earned my respect.  I just want people to start talking about the team that is on the field, and not the team the could be.
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The Eddie Lacy Project

As a Seattle Seahawks fan, when my iPhone buzzed and I saw the notification that we had signed Eddie Lacy I just shook my head.  Not out of disgust or excitement, but with a “what in the world did we just do?” I almost had to get on Twitter just to make sure the ESPN app wasn’t malfunctioning.  But before I could even fire up the Twitter app, I had about 5 text messages from friends asking me what I thought so I guess it had to be true.  The Seattle Seahawks had signed Cheeseburger Eddie.

All these scenarios were running through my head, from how does he help this team, to how business for Dick’s Restaurants is going to go through the roof.  So I decided to pour a beer and start digging into the specifics of this deal. After looking into the details, it all started to make a lot more sense.

They signed Lacy to a 1 year deal worth $5.55 million with $3 million of that guaranteed.  As you say that out loud, for a running back that ran for 1,178 yards with 11 TD’s, set the Packers all-time rookie rushing record and went to the Pro Bowl his rookie season, it doesn’t sound that bad.  It sounds even better after digging deeper into this deal I found that there is a $385,000 incentive for him to make weight.  If the Seahawks organization has shown anything in the past, it is that players really do enjoy playing for the organization so his motivation could be extremely high.  I am by no means saying this guy will be any type of second coming of “BeastMode”, but for the price the Hawks got him for you can literally say he is a poor mans Marshawn Lynch.  The Packers let this guy go for a one year “prove to us you want to play” contract.  Either they know something the Hawks do not and decided to let him go, or Lacy just wants to play for a more player friendly coach.  Either way, I am going to enjoy sitting back, drinking a beer and watching big boy run.

In my opinion the upside to this deal far outweighs the downside.  If he shows up and cannot fit into pads, oh well.  If he shows up lean and mean and wants to prove to his ole’ pal Aaron Rodgers that he wasn’t a waste of a second round draft pick, this deal is going to end up a huge bargain for the Hawks.

And that is exactly how the Seattle Seahawks franchise likes to roll.

Sources:  www.espn.com, http://www.nfl.com, http://www.foxsports.com, http://www.seahawkswire.usatoday.com