The Week In Sports: Golden State Marches On, Trevor Story Slugs On

Originally published on April 9, 2016 12:08 pm
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Politics, schmolitics (ph) time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: And the story is Trevor Story. The Colorado Rockies rookie hit his sixth home run in his first four games, though the Rocks lost to the San Diego Padres 13 to 6. And in basketball, Steph Curry and the Warriors could make history as the NBA regular-season wraps up or maybe not. Howard Bryant of espn.com and ESPN The Magazine joins us - morning, Howard.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott, how are you?

SIMON: Fine, thanks. Trevor Story, 23-year-old rookie, he played in the minors for the Modesto Nuts and the Albuquerque Isotopes - two of my favorite clubs. Like "The Natural," he comes almost out of nowhere. This is a real baseball story, isn't it?

BRYANT: It's a great baseball story. It reminds you of the great Wally Pip, as you well know, the man who lost his job to Lou Gehrig. It's incredible because Trevor Story shouldn't even be playing. The only reason he's here right now is because the multimillion-dollar shortstop for the Rockies, Jose Reyes, is serving a suspension for a domestic violence incident. So had he been playing, we wouldn't even know who Trevor Story is and then he comes out and hits home runs in four straight games, and it's never happened before. It's amazing when you see this. This is what baseball's all about. It's one of the - one of my favorite things about the game in that these players come from nowhere and they do things and the game's been around since 18 - you know, since the 1860s, 1871. And that's never happened. It's incredible how this sport works.

SIMON: Controversy already in baseball about some of the new rules. Jose Batista of the Toronto Blue Jays slid into second base. It looked like it won the ball game for the Blue Jays. It wound up losing it for them.

BRYANT: And happened again yesterday with the Houston Astros. This is the new baseball. We saw it with Buster Posey with the slide rules now where you can't barrel into a catcher if he doesn't have the, you know, the ball, you know, protecting home plate. Now you saw it last year in the playoffs with the Chase Utley rule when he took out Ruben Tejada and he broke his leg. Baseball does not want that type of machismo in the game, that type of brutality in the game, even though it's been there since the 1800s.

And of course you had the manager of the Blue Jays, John Gibbons, offer the unfortunate quote that said a lot about the baseball culture - maybe we'll just wear dresses to the next game. So there's a culture shift going on right now, a big cultural battle about what this sport is and what it's going to be. You cannot have - the owners do not want to have guys making $10-15-20 million a year watching from the stands because they're all hurt.

SIMON: Yeah. The Golden State Warriors - a great team - clinched a spot in the playoffs, I think, the second week of the season or didn't they open with undefeated...

BRYANT: They had 24 straight.

SIMON: They're just three wins away from breaking the Chicago Bulls record of 72 wins in a season, but to do that they'd have to win these last three games of the season. So do they choose between going for that record or resting to stay healthy for the playoffs?

BRYANT: Well, the coach, Steve Kerr, was on the 1995-'96 Bulls that won 72 games and ended up winning the championship. And I think that Kerr knows that if he believed his team was really tired and exhausted, then the playoffs, winning the championship, is by far the more important thing. But I think that they're going to go for the record. How many chances - how may times do you have a chance to do what they're doing right now? I think you go for it. You get this record and then you go out and you win the championship as well. They've been the best team. You don't shy from it. It's go time, and I cannot wait for the playoffs to start.

SIMON: Me too - Cleveland rocks. Howard Bryant of espn.com and ESPN The Magazine, thanks so much.

BRYANT: We'll see you, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.