Welcome to the last day of The Gulp. It’s a term I just coined now, so don’t go expecting to find hashtags on social media or anything. I’ve been trying to figure out what this two-day absence of sportitude can be called and that’s the word or phrase I came upon: The Gulp. You see, it happens every year. The second week of July every year is the MLB All-Star Game festivities, which went off with nary a hitch, starting with the Home Run Derby Monday, followed by the televised celebrity softball game later than night, and then the actual game on Tuesday. After those exhibitions are two days of nothing. Yes, this is when ESPN schedules the ESPYs, but aside from scattered speeches given by great men and women, there isn’t much to do these two days. So I’m calling it The Gulp. Why am I calling it that? Because everyone has had that big gulp right before they do something big, like jump from the high dive or get on the big roller coaster or get on an airplane. That the Plunge, and it is next, and that’s where the real fun begins.
Starting tomorrow, baseball games are back every day until November. Those might not be Indians games, obviously, but baseball will be happening every day for the next three months. On top of the actual action, the trade deadline is imminent, which brings its own level of enjoyment. Will the Tribe be sellers? Buyers? A little bit of both? I’ve made my points that selling is best for this year despite a depleted cupboard of assets, that sentiment might have changed a bit and with it the feelings toward this year. Trevor Bauer could find himself pitching elsewhere in August through October due to his arbitration clock winding down and despite his uptick in production, the Indians might be motivated to see what packages of young player(s) could be acquired for the mercurial hurler. Brad Hand seems even less likely to be on the move, as the team’s tide has turned, which could cause a buying of sorts. Hitters like Nicholas Castellanos and David Peralta would make sense for the Tribe to inquire about. What will the next two weeks bring to Cleveland? I’m not sure but I’m waiting out the upcoming series with Minnesota to find out. Cleveland could find itself eight and a half games back on Monday or breathing down the Twins neck, even more than they already are, sitting only two and a half.
Baseball isn’t the only sport about to break open though. The Plunge brings about the start of NFL training camps soon, and training camps beget preseason games, and preseason games beget actual real-life football. We are only a few weeks away from seeing the rejuvenated Browns team take the field and1 deliver on all the promise that has been heaped upon them this offseason. Soon Odell Beckham Jr will be in the orange and brown for realsies, catching bullets one-handed. Close we are2 to Nick Chubb truck-sticking a would-be tackler, Myles Garrett spinning a left tackle into the dirt on his way to a sack, Denzel Ward snatching a pass out of the air and celebrating the interception, David Njoku chiefslamming a football into the endzone after a touchdown. Yes, football is right around the corner.
The Plunge also drops in basketball as well. The Cavaliers have a better chance of being the worst team in the league rather than making the playoffs, but enjoyable they should be. Collin Sexton’s growth remains a point of interest, as well as his meshing with rookie lottery pick Darius Garland. The upcoming season brings about more questions to be answered. Can the two point guards coexist? Will Cedi Osman continue his ascension to being a poor man’s Gordan Hayward? How will Kevin Love fair this year, and will he stay with the franchise through the whole season? What will all of The Expirings3 bring back to Cleveland? Will JR Smith continue to be a Cav into perpetuity or be traded for something possibly probably not useful?
As annoying as The Gulp is, without it, we might not appreciate The Plunge as much. Two days of preparation for months of enjoyment seems like a happy trade-off after the fact, but in the moment it’s difficult. Knowing that we have exciting things happening in Cleveland sports is pleasure enough.
Rant of the Week
Just make NBA tampering legal. It’s so dumb that after The Finals we have to wait almost a month to get a day wherein four minutes after the veil is lifted we get full contract details that would take hours if not days to finalize. I get that the NBA likes to have all the attention forever, and they milk the rumor mill so much over that month of waiting getting press and airtime on all the major networks over where might Superstar A go to next, but it just seems so dumb.