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Cavaliers did their part, now it’s the Cubs’ turn

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The Cubs have the best record in baseball.AP/Associated Press

We stream everything nowadays — movies, music, television shows, podcasts. What you listen to on Spotify, rush home to watch in your Netflix queue, or view on your Apple TV is a matter of individual taste. What's binge-worthy for one person is cringe-worthy for another. The same is true with sports opinions.

I'm streaming my sports consciousness, broadcasting a few thoughts that were taking up bandwith in my brain:

  Now that LeBron James and the Cavaliers have finally provided sports salvation to the city of Cleveland, bringing home the city’s first major professional title since 1964, the sports misery spotlight is squarely on Theo Epstein in the North Side of Chicago.

As the inimitable Charlie Pierce wrote, the Cubs ending their biblical World Series drought is the Last Great American Sports Story. It would be remarkable if both Cleveland's tale of woe and the futility of the Cubs, who haven't won a World Series since 1908, came to an end in the same year.


Epstein and his lieutenants in Chicago have assembled a deep team that's capable of ending the Cubs' curse. Entering Tuesday, the Cubs had the best record in the majors (47-21) and led the league in run differential by plus-170. No other team is over 100. The Cubs lead the league in ERA and are second to the Red Sox in runs scored.

  Former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington deserves credit for cultivating and preserving the team’s farm system, which has yielded Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and a contending team.

But it's hard to overlook disasters like the Rusney Castillo signing, the John Lackey trade that brought back Allen Craig's salary, and the signing of Pablo Sandoval. That's approximately $195 million in sunken cost. Those cash-for-clunkers cost him his job.

  Castillo’s signing has turned into the worst-case scenario with the Sox booting him from the 40-man roster this week. He is the baseball version of Darko Milicic, a guy who made millions off workouts and industry foreign fever.

Castillo was an impulse buy. The Sox were disappointed that they were outbid for Cuban slugger Jose Abreu, the 2014 American League Rookie of the Year. They were going to talk themselves into the next hyped free agent from Cuba. The Cuban Mystery Man looks like, in the words of former Denver Nuggets coach Dan Issel, "El Busto."

  If I were the Celtics, I would not trade the third pick in the draft for Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel. That’s no knock on the Everett native. Noel would provide the Celtics some rim protection and rebounding. There is always a place in the NBA for players with those skills. But offensively Noel will never be confused with Hakeem Olajuwon.

This is the type of move a team makes if it's one or two complementary pieces away. Their first-round playoff exit against the Atlanta Hawks showed us that there's some serious mileage between the Celtics and Banner No. 18 with the current roster.


Noel is a DeAndre Jordan/Tristan Thompson type. The Celtics would be better off taking their chances with the third pick and hoping they strike gold with Kris Dunn, Jaylen Brown, Jamal Murray, or Dragan Bender.

  Why do we even play regular seasons in professional sports if we’re just going to discard everything that happens in them? The idea that the Warriors, coming off an NBA title in 2015, won an NBA-record 73 games, returned to the Finals, and fell one win shy of a repeat can have their season labeled a complete failure is maddening.

Was Golden State's season disappointing? Absolutely. Is it an abject failure? No.

There's something wrong with sports culture when the Philadelphia 76ers' 10-win season is labeled a success because they got the No. 1 pick and the Warriors winning 88 of their 106 games is useless because they fell a few points short of back-to-back titles.

  I can’t get excited about the NHL expanding to Las Vegas. It has nothing to do with gambling or a surfeit of professional sports teams. I simply don’t think Vegas can support a team that plays an 82-game season, stretching from October to April.

Kudos to the 14,000 people who have signed up for season tickets to the Las Vegas Whatevers, but once the novelty wears off, what happens?

It seems the NHL has learned nothing from having two teams fail in Atlanta. Similar to Atlanta, Vegas is an itinerant city where people arrive with their own sports allegiances and an inherent indifference to the local products.

There are too many other activities beckoning in Vegas to watch a fledgling hockey team. Sure, there will be hockey tourists who venture to Vegas to see their teams play, but is any regular tourist going to skip Cirque du Soleil, Celine Dion, or the casinos to watch hockey? The NFL in Vegas would work because you only have to fill a stadium eight times a year.


  One of the aspects of watching sports that is so rewarding is a story of redemption. Golfer Dustin Johnson’s story of redemption got overshadowed a bit on Sunday, by LeBron James’s. In 2015, Johnson had a mortifying three-putt on the final hole of the US Open that cost him even a shot at a playoff.

This year, he won the US Open at Oakmont Country Club with a final-round 69 (really a 68), despite a silly US Golf Association decision to dock him a stroke after his ball moved on the fifth hole of the final round.

A rules official initially told Johnson there would be no penalty stroke.

  If you haven’t, you must watch the equal-parts spellbinding and depressing five-part ESPN documentary on O.J. Simpson, “O.J.: Made in America.” It’s a keen look at Simpson’s rise and fall and how the myth he crafted for himself mirrors the mythology of America as a benevolent land of justice and equality for all.

The documentary is a distressing, exasperating, and occasionally infuriating look at the societal ills in this country — celebrity idolatry, indifference toward domestic violence, and institutionalized racism and inequality — that contributed to Simpson's polarizing acquittal in the 1994 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

Christopher L. Gasper is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @cgasper.