Second Thoughts: Baseball at Fort Bragg is worth a salute

Happy 240th, America. It’s Fourth of July weekend — time for baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. And, unfortunately, bottle rockets at midnight (c’mon kids, give it a break).

A Braves-Marlins matchup normally would cause the masses to catch up on their quilting or basement cleaning, but tonight’s matchup on ESPN will be memorable. It will be played at Fort Bragg, N.C. — the first professional sports event to be contested at an active military base.

The stadium (12,500 capacity) was built especially for this game — a gift from Major League Baseball and its players’ association. It eventually will be converted into a softball facility for the troops. Great idea, and MLB and its players are to be commended.

RIP, Pat Summitt. The women’s basketball legend died last week at 64, another victim of Alzheimer’s. I lost an aunt to that disease. Just awful. I sat in on a Summitt press conference when she brought her Tennessee team to a regional at UD Arena in 2007. She commanded the room; she was smart, thoughtful, patient and respectful to all. You don’t see those qualities in a ton of college coaches.

Ohio State hired Joker Phillips as an offensive quality control coach. Joker was forced to resign as a Florida assistant coach a couple years ago because of recruiting violations. Quality control? Phillips’ most recent gig was as the Browns’ wide receivers coach. Cleveland really didn’t have any receivers, so maybe Urban Meyer felt sorry for Joker.

I can’t wait to hear UD color guy Bucky Bockhorn try to pronounce Kostas Antetokounmpo’s name. I needed a Bud Light after typing it. The Flyers’ newest basketball recruit comes highly recommended by all the talent services that assign stars to kids’ names. He’s pretty skinny, and I tend to think 6-foot-9 “small forwards” should grab rebounds. But his brother is in the NBA so Kostas should be able to provide quality minutes.

Trending up: Coastal Carolina, Billy Hurley III, Tony Stewart. One of the best stories of the summer was Coastal’s march to the College World Series title. The Chanticleers weren’t seeded high enough to host a regional, but they admirably carried the banner for mid-majors everywhere, winning five elimination games in the NCAA tournament. Sadly, Wednesday night’s rainout moved the series finale to Thursday afternoon, which means a lot of us were working when CCU took down Arizona.

Trending down: Rio beaches, Missy Franklin, Bob Hinton. As if the Summer Olympics didn’t have enough problems with the Zika scare, filthy water and lagging ticket sales, some body parts washed up last week on the sand that will host the beach volleyball competition. This is shaping up to be a gold-medal of a train wreck.

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