EVERY-THING SPORTS

Here's your all-encompassing glossary for the offseason and free agency

What's he trying to say? Composite image by Jack Brame

Good morning class! My name is Mr. Every and I'll be your teacher for today's class known as "Sports Terminology", or what some may refer to by its nickname "B.S. 101."

We're going through some interesting times right now. Every sports season has been upended to some degree because of COVID. The Astros are coming off a cheating scandal, making the ALCS, and almost making a World Series despite losing Gerrit Cole to free agency and Justin Verlander to injury. The Rockets are in all sorts of disarray! Nobody on the team seems to be happy and they all have requested trades. The Texans are Texan-ing their way into deeper irrelevancy in the most Texans way possible. Not to mention ALL THREE FRANCHISES have gotten rid of their head coach and general manager in one form or another!

Throughout this time, you'll hear a lot of words, phrases, terms and things that may be hard to decipher. Here's a glossary or some terms and phrases to help you figure out what's going on:

"(insert player name) isn't going anywhere": This phrase has multiple meanings. One is more literal and means said player is not, in fact, going anywhere and the organization wants him to stay. The more common meaning is that this is a holding statement until we find the best offer. We want the fans and media to calm down until we find the best offer.

"I didn't request a trade": This either means I didn't request a trade, or I requested one just not publicly.

"I plan to test free agency": I'm looking to secure the biggest bag I can! This could also mean I'm looking to win a ring. Rarely does this mean I'm looking for the best mashup of winning and making money.

"I'm opting out of my contract": Typically reserved for the NBA, this means a player is either A) re-signing a bigger, long term deal with his existing team or B) he's overvaluing himself and about to meet a sad reality.

"We're still committed to building a winner": We're looking to maximize our profit margins, even if that means we won't win. This is organization speak for we're about to start losing, but will be more profitable.

"I'm not happy with my current contract/role": Here's a doozy. Some players say this when they're actually outplayed their contract and/or are ready for a more prime time role. Totally get it in either instance. Then, there are the times in which you wish you could slap the taste out of the mouth that said this because they're completely delusional.

"I'm going to do what's best for me and my family":Again, I'm going to secure the biggest bag out there! On the rare occasion a player is taking his family's best interest into consideration, he's probably made his money and/or won rings, so he's looking to stabilize his family's home-base.

"I want to play for a contender": Guys who say this know what winning a ring would mean to their legacy. Even if their ring is discredited some by forming/joining a super team, they want to feel the validation of being a champion. This is coming from guys much earlier in their careers now, as opposed to older vets ring chasing.

There are other terms, words, and phrases you may hear. Those may or may not be on the test, but you're responsible for them as well. Now class, I want you to study these and prepare yourselves for the test next week. DO NOT! I repeat: DO NOT call one of the ESPN 97.5 shows sounding like an idiot after reading this! Conduct yourselves with some decency and intelligence dammit! I will immediately give you an F without grading your test! See y'all next week!

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The NASCAR Cup Series heads for Michigan International Speedway for the FireKeepers 400. MIS is one of the fastest racetracks in the country, as cars are capable of reaching speeds of 201-205 miles per hour. Hopefully, we will see a safe race considering the speeds we see here. We will more than likely see a race that is vastly different from what we saw last here when the drivers utilized the draft to pass around this track. This year, the cars are less aero-dependent and will be much more spread out. The drivers will need to continue to manage their tires as they have been doing all year.

Last weekend at Indy, Tyler Reddick captured his second victory of 2022 in dramatic fashion. The race came down to numerous restarts where drivers would drive way too deep into the first corner and run into each other each time. This was the central theme of the race, as restarts pretty much decided everything. We saw drivers like AJ Allmendinger, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney get swept up in wrecks in turn one. On the final restart, Ross Chastain decided he didn’t want to be a part of these shenanigans and took the access road that skipped turn one. This moved catapulted him to the lead with Tyler Reddick as the two battled for the lead in a two-lap shootout. When the dust settled, Reddick came away victorious and Ross Chastain was black flagged for shortcutting.

The finish of this race sparked a serious debate among drivers and fans alike about ditching the Indianapolis road course and returning to the oval in 2023. Personally, this doesn’t make any sense to me. While yes, turn one is difficult to maneuver, it’s mainly because drivers all decide to send it as deep as they can, not because of the racetrack configuration. It’s also a bit disingenuous as for years, drivers and fans have been saying they don’t want to see the oval and that the track is designed for IndyCar. If I had to choose, I would say NASCAR just stop going to Indy and go to the short track down the road at Lucas Oil Raceway Park. We have seen so many great races there, and I think the Cup Series would be perfect for that track. Regardless, it will be interesting to see how NASCAR responds to this and what they decide to do for next season.

Kurt Busch will be out for the third consecutive week as he continues to recover from a concussion. This has been tough to hear about, and now there are legitimate concerns that he will not return to racing. There is a good chance however that 23XII could be saving him for the playoffs which are coming up.

For now, Ty Gibbs will continue to fill in for Busch. In his two starts the young phenom has performed extremely well, finishing 16th at Pocono and 17th at Indy. It’s clear that this young man can drive these cars, the only problem is finding a place for him to run next season.

The driver that I have winning this weekend is Martin Truex Jr. By any other standard, the season that Truex is having has been great. Constantly up front, leading laps and just overall contending. Unfortunately for him, 2022 hasn’t been just any average season. With 14 winners and Truex not being one of them, he is on the playoff bubble even though he is fourth in points. While his playoff future maybe uncertain right now, there are some good racetracks he is going to where can easily get that first win, and Michigan is one of them. Over the last four races here, he currently has the highest average finish, the highest percentage of laps led, but no victories. I see that changing this week. Toyota and Gibbs have been fast this season as Truex’s teammates have all punched their tickets to the playoffs. Look for Truex to be next in line.

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