Some quick hits from the last 3-4 days …
Big time disappointment yesterday that my man Jason Kipnis didn’t make the American League All-Star team. He was clearly deserving. Kipnis is hitting .275 and is on pace to hit 23 HR’s, drive in 97 RBI’s, score 97 runs, and steal 42 bases (he’s been caught stealing once). The players selected Ian Kinsler as the backup at 2B to Robby Cano. At the end of the day, AL manager Ron Washington went with his own guy Elvis Andrus as a third shortstop instead of taking Kipper as the third second baseman. Andrus has less HR’s and RBI’s, but is hitting .307 and plays elite defense.
Chris Perez and Asdrubal Cabrera made the team for the Tribe, and both are having fantastic seasons. Vinnie Pestano was the other one that merited consideration.
The Cavs draft. It was very controversial, as the team surprised fans by taking Syracuse shooting guard Dion Waiters with the #4 overall selection, then traded their last three picks to move up and grab North Carolina big man Tyler Zeller.
In Waiters they get a guy that can clearly score, but is a little undersized, has somewhat of a checkered past, and who didn’t really play any defense in college. He also played with the ball a lot at the Cuse, and here, he’ll have to play off the ball. How well he does that and how well he is able to defend 6’6-6’7 shooting guards will determine how good of a NBA player he’ll be. Zeller is a safe pick, albeit with limited upside. The Cavs needed a true center though, and had good luck with the last big man they drafted with a Z last name.
I am fired up for the Olympics this year. More so than usual for whatever reason. Long time Dish readers know that I adopt one American female athlete to fawn over every two years when the Olympics roll around. In 2006, it was Sasha Cohen. In 2008, it was Natalie Coughlin. In 2010, it was Lindsey Vonn. This year, it’s down to track stars Lolo Jones and Allyson Felix.
Tough month for ESPN. After losing one of my favorites, Michelle Beadle, to NBC a few weeks ago … Erin Andrews announced yesterday that she’ll be leaving The Four Letter to take a job with FOX, who is ramping up their college football coverage this season. In addition to being their main sideline reporter for college football, Andrews will also be heavily involved in their NFL pregame show and their MLB Playoffs coverage.
Had a solo dad day with the kids on Saturday. We hit up the Italian/American festival in Berea. The food there … my lord. It wasn’t a huge fair, and one of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that the smaller the fair, the shadier the carnies and the games are. Here’s a blow by blow of my conversation with the guy running the pop the balloon with a dart game:
Me: “What do I need to do to win this Super Mario stuffed animal?”
Carnie: “Pop a balloon with a large prize ticket behind it.”
Me: “Let me guess, there’s not many of those on the board.”
Carnie: “You’re a smart guy.”
Me: “What is the small prize?”
Carnie: “This fish.” (holds up a three inch stuffed fish that actually smells like a real fish)
Me: “How many smalls to trade up to a medium? How many mediums to trade up to a large?”
Carnie: “Twelve smalls equal a medium. Five mediums equal a large.”
Me: “That’s un-American.”
Carnie: “It’s actually VERY American.”
Me: “Touche. Alright, listen up (me now whispering) … how much do I have to give you to buy the Mario doll and then let you pretend my son won it by popping balloons?”
After that we went to Dave and Busters. Going to Dave and Busters is like one of those way too late nights at a bar in your early twenties. You wake up the next morning in a haze with nothing but credit card and ATM receipts in your pocket. Those swipe cards there make it WAY too easy to just burn through money, which is clearly their goal. My kids had never been there before … they’re used to the pedestrian “Fun n Stuff” by us in Macedonia. Their eyes about popped out of their heads when they saw what was going on at D&B. My credit card is still warm to the touch today.
And at Dave and Busters, they don’t have a prize desk like at Chuck E Cheese – they have a walk in prize ROOM. I made the mistake of letting the kids check it out before we played any games. WAY too much money later, here’s a shot of who was riding shotgun back home in my car:
I spent so much money winning this Hello Kitty for my daughter, after she fell asleep; I just beat on it for about 45 minutes to unleash some of my frustration.
Quote of the Day …
“Having a two-year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.” ~ Jerry Seinfeld
Insane Fact of the Day …
A duck’s quack doesn’t echo, and no one knows why.
Got a goofy trading week ahead of us with the Fourth of July holiday cutting it right in half.
Today and tomorrow should be light trading days. The Europe situation got some positive momentum Friday when Eurozone officials surprised investors with the announcement of a plan to recapitalize European banks and to help reduce borrowing costs for Spain and Italy. Essentially, Germany agreed to an increased level of aid in return for the eventual creation of a single supervisor for all banks in the EU. Details of the plan have not yet been worked out. That momentum was halted over the weekend though when we got news that a European manufacturing index fell again in June, and then an accompanying survey of EU business leaders that showed jobs were cut at the fastest rate in two-and-a-half years last month.
We do get some domestic economic data today and tomorrow. Construction spending data and the ISM manufacturing index are released at 10 AM EST today. Tomorrow we get data on factory orders for June.
Thursday and Friday are the key days this week though. We get a battery of jobs data. On Thursday we get first time unemployment claims as well as the ADP private employment data for June. Then, on Friday, the national June jobs report. Economists are projecting that the economy added just 100,000 jobs in June and that the national unemployment rate will remain at 8.2%.
While most of the attention was on Europe last week, the housing data we got was VERY encouraging. May New Home Sales rose 8% from April to the highest level since April 2010, which was the tail end of the first time homebuyer tax credit. May Pending Home Sales rose 6% from April, also to the highest level since April 2010. Record low mortgage rates and high affordability levels are having big time impact on the housing market.
~ Eurozone Factories Hit Hard in June, Job Cuts Rise
~ The Week Ahead: Closed for the Fourth and then Employment Data Galore
~ Retailers See Fourth of July Spending Fizzle
~ Congress Hears Different Views on Appraisal Regulation
~ No Big Stimulus for China Even if Slowdown Worsens
~ US Small Business Lending Jumps in May
~ ‘Soft Patch’ on Jobs with Election on the Horizon