Column: Summertime news?

Sometimes, the sports world slows down over the summer months, giving Sports Editor Mike Smith, not pictured, some time to put his feet up. This summer has been different.  Photo courtesy of Metrocreativeconnection.com

Sometimes, the sports world slows down over the summer months, giving Sports Editor Mike Smith, not pictured, some time to put his feet up. This summer has been different.
Photo courtesy of Metrocreativeconnection.com

They say the dog days of summer are generally a dead time for sports. Generally, I’d have to agree.

With MLB just around its midseason point—and plenty of games still to be played—playoff races don’t really start to heat up until August. With the NBA, NFL and NHL on hiatus, it means there’s generally little to talk about.

And that’s problematic for me, both professionally and otherwise.

The lazy days of summer often prompts local sports pundits, like radio host Mike Francesa, to step away for weeks at a time for some much-needed vacation; one can only imagine at this time, most years, Francesa is enjoying his yearly pilgrimage to the most prominent Diet Coke bottling facilities in North America.

But this year, something feels different.

It’s hard to say why, but there seems to be no shortage of truly compelling stories in the sports world, both at the national and local levels.

Of course, the fact that it’s Derek Jeter’s final season—something I wrote about last week—means baseball is at the forefront of the sports conscious right now. But beyond that, the season is an oddly compelling one in New York despite the fact that neither the Mets nor the Yankees look to be world-beaters this year.

The Mets, who have seemingly been on the precipice of turning the corner for the last half decade, have been a maddening, frustrating, but sometimes enjoyable team to watch this year; a team capable of putting together a winning streak and threatening to win back the fan base before playing back to form and dashing the hopes of the fans. The Yankees on the other hand, riddled with injuries, have benefited from playing in the “competitive”—perhaps “ugly” is a better term‑AL East, where the loss of four of the five starting pitchers on the Opening Day roster hasn’t yet knocked them out of the playoff hunt.

As a result, both teams could be players as the trade deadline looms. The Yanks brought over Chase Headley from San Diego and assure us they’re not done acquiring talent for the postseason push, while Met fans wonder if there’s a team out there—maybe the Yankees—who might be willing to eat Bartolo Colon’s contract and possibly go over MLB’s luxury tax on postgame spreads, in exchange for some prospects.

The Jets and Giants opened up camp, both teams with major question marks at the big positions; Geno or Vick? Can Eli bounce back? Do the Giants have any running backs currently on the roster?

Not to be outdone, the NBA has been a fun follow this summer as well. From LeBron’s choice to return to Cleveland‑Decision 2: The Re-Decisioning‑to Carmelo’s drama with the Knicks; heck, even the Las Vegas summer league has been exciting, giving fans the chance to see
up-and-comers like Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins face-off on the court.

Even the world of sports in the Hometown area is more abuzz than usual, from a monumental coaching change in the Harrison football program, to local athletes in crew, softball and basketball competing—and succeeding—at the national level.

As far as summers go, this certainly hasn’t been your run-of-the-mill dead period. The sports fan in me loves the different stories and narratives developing on a daily basis–after all, it beats binge-watching bad TV series on Netflix.

And the sports writer in me loves it as well. At least I’ve got something to write about. I have to earn my paycheck somehow.

 

Follow Mike on Twitter, 

@LiveMike_Sports

 
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About Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been with Hometown Media Group since 2007, serving as the company’s Sports Editor. Mike has been commended for his work by the New York Press Association, winning awards in 2008 for “Best Sports Feature” and again in 2009 as part of a team that put together “The Game,” a breakdown of the Harrison-Rye football rivalry, which won for “Best Special Section.” His weekly column, “Live Mike,” offers his unique insights into a broad range of topics in the sports world. He resides in Eastchester, N.Y. and spends most of his free time serving as the player-manager for a competitive men’s baseball team in New York City. Reach Mike at 914-653-1000 x22 or sports@hometwn.com; follow him on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.