Last week, I wrote about not being all that concerned with Trevor Bauer's rocky four-start debut in Major League Baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks' prized right-hander was touched up for a 1-2 record and a 6.43 ERA during his first taste of the bigs.
Interestingly enough, one commenter asked if I could write an article pinpointing how Kendall Marshall's rocky start in the Vegas Summer League is also not a big deal.
Actually, I am a little more concerned about that.
The Phoenix Suns' first round draft pick out of North Carolina struggled in his initial Summer League games, shooting just 20% (5-for-25) in his first three contests. The southpaw also missed his first eight three-point attempts and had a 16-to-10 turnover-to-assist ratio.
The big difference between the two youngsters' struggles? Bauer has shown he can dominate against lesser competition, going 11-1 in the minor leagues this season and 12-3 since signing his contract last summer. So to see him struggle in a 16.1 inning stretch against the best his sport has to offer isn't that alarming to me.
And while Marshall did improve in his fourth and final Vegas Summer League game with 15 points and 10 assists in a win against Memphis on Saturday, the truth is the rookie struggled against a lot of guys who are nothing more than camp bodies.
One of the knocks on Marshall coming into the draft is that he wasn't a strong outside shooter, and he didn't do much to dispel those rumors in Las Vegas.
Could it have been nerves? Sure, but I find it hard to believe that a guy who starred for one of the premier college hoops programs in the country could be rattled by going against a lot of players who will be earning paychecks outside of basketball come October.
Certainly it's not time for panic, but if I had to pick between the two, I'm more concerned about Marshall's future than Bauer's.
Years ago, I made a promise to myself that if advertising ever popped up on the uniforms of any team in the four major league team sports, I'd be done as a fan.
Accurate? Not entirely.
But the NBA seems to be the first league that will implement the use of advertisements on jerseys, as commissioner David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver discussed last week.
The ads themselves will be 2½ inches-by-2½ inches and are expected to generate over $100 million in revenue league- wide.
I'm not going to sit here and pretend that our lives are not greatly affected by advertising. They are. Whether it's traditional television, radio or print ads, dynamic internet ads or billboards, average citizens are exposed to over 5,000 ads per day.
So come 2013, fans will spill into an NBA arena with a corporate name attached to it, be exposed to hundreds of ads on video boards and arena banners and sit through sponsored timeout and halftime activities. And now, even while the game is going on, the historically sacred, uncluttered space on NBA uniforms will be adorned with another ad impression.
To me, this just opens the door for more ad-based revenue to take over the sport. Don't believe me? Just wait for the 2014 NBA Finals presented by Vizio featuring the AT&T Spurs against the American Airlines Heat of Miami sponsored by Coca-Cola.
I won't give up watching basketball because of it. Instead maybe it'll force me to change my way of watching. Anybody want to sponsor my fanhood?
And finally, was there a better free agent signing anywhere in baseball than Jason Kubel in the offseason following 2011?
Yahoo! Sports had Kubel listed as the 24th-best free agent in the game last November. That wasn't surprising, as Kubel was injured for a good portion of the 2011 season for a wretched Minnesota Twins team. Kubel hit just 12 homers and drove in 53 runs for the Twins last year, and the Diamondbacks, seemingly set in the outfield with Gerardo Parra, Justin Upton and Chris Young, gave the life-long American Leaguer a two-year, $15 million deal.
What a bargain.
Kubel is leading the National League in RBI with 71, and is on pace to drive in 121 runs -- which would be the second-most in team history.
Considering that Kubel is out-producing Angels' first baseman Albert Pujols and Tigers' slugger Prince Fielder and cost $453 million less than the values of their combined ridiculous contracts, I'll say it again.
What a bargain!
Kubel, along with first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, second baseman Aaron Hill and rookie left-hander Wade Miley, is one of four reasons that the Diamondbacks are still inexplicably within six games of division-leading San Francisco heading into Monday's action.