Reunited- “…and it feels so good!” Do any of the five of you who profess to reading words in this space once every two weeks remember the song “Reunited” and the melodic accompanying refrain? Wife Debra doesn’t because she’s too young. Dog, Tug, doesn’t because he wasn’t even born yet. Chances are that neighbor Walt and a couple of my old high school bros may feign familiarity.
Artists Peaches and Herb recorded the plum back in the day and it plays well at this particular time as former Utah Jazz all-star forward Gordon Hayward just inked a four-year, $128 million deal to reunite with his former college coach Brad Stevens and bring instant offense to the Boston Celtics who are in dire need of point production. As this year’s free agency began it was one of the worst-kept secrets that Hayward would be heading to Boston as Celtics general manager Danny Ainge traded down during the draft to save additional room below the salary cap in order to snag Hayward from the clutches of other suitors.
Shrewd move by Ainge as the Celts desperately were in need of another shining star to complement Isaiah Thomas who turned in all-world performances during the past regular and post seasons. Hayward’s 21.7 points per game and ability to be sent to the free throw line shall levitate Steven’s squad to possibly even greater heights and perhaps vault them over the top of the GM-less Cleveland Cavaliers who have held a death grip on the Eastern Conference for the last three years.
You cannot discount the impact that the relationship between Stevens and Hayward will bring to the Celtics. Those two led unheralded Butler University to back-to-back national championship title games a few years back. That was a feat of brilliance, even though the Bulldogs failed to cash in on a ring either time.
Yep, Peaches and Herb swished a three back in their day with “Reunited.” The Boston faithful are certainly banking on this newest reunion to push their team over the top. My, if this re-connection bears fruit, in the theater of the mind one can just imagine Peaches and Herb smoothing their ballad out at the championship parade in downtown Beantown as spectators gorge on peaches and enjoy their herb.
Reversals Of Fortunes- Baseball is such a fickle game! Just weeks ago fans were going gaga over sensational Milwaukee Brewer outfielder Eric Thames due to the fact that he was setting Major League Baseball on fire with his prodigious home runs and .350-plus batting average after coming back to the states from plying his trade overseas. And the Colorado Rockies were the talk of the league as they bolted out of the gate and appeared to be shoo-ins for National League post-season play.
Well, hold your horses! Even though the surprising Brewers are atop the NL Central division, Mr. Thames’ batting average has regressed some 100-percentage points and his home run production has been severely tempered. The bet here is that opposing pitchers were not familiar with his batting habits and had little or no footage of his swings to analyze since he had been playing in another country. Now that they have seen him during numerous at-bats they have figured him out and are besting his best.
Similarly, the Rockies’ free-fall has been precipitated by familiarity as well, albeit in reverse fashion of the aforementioned. New Colorado skipper Bud Black had little starting pitching to work with when he took the reins. He was forced to restock and a lot of those starters were unknowns to the rest of the league. Once the hitters started getting some swings in against the newbies they started pummeling pitches and the Rockies began their descent in the standings.
Now, if you think about what has just been said here, the instances and premises presented go against each other. A hitter (Thames) dominated his opposing pitchers at the start of the season and regressed. A team of starters (Rockies) dominated their opposing hitters at the start of the season and regressed. The common denominator: familiarity. Baseball is such a fickle game!
-By Michael Elliott