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Saturday Sports: Breaking Down MLB Trades And The Latest From The Olympics

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And now it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: Katie Ledecky - golden again at the 800-meter freestyle. Caeleb Dressel wins another gold and makes a world record. But Simone Biles opts out of the vault and uneven bars finals. And Major League Baseball Augusta (ph) trades, deals and fan heartbreak. Howard Bryant of Meadowlark Media joins us. Howard, thanks so much for being with us.

HOWARD BRYANT: Good morning, Scott. Are you - have you been staying up all night with - I think it's the 14-hour time difference from Tokyo?

SIMON: No, but I bet you have, my friend.

BRYANT: (Laughter).

SIMON: But we were going to start with Major League Baseball, OK? Big moves - Red Sox, Giants, Mets, Dodgers, Padres, Nationals. What teams do you think did the best?

BRYANT: Well, the winners are clearly trying to win. And I think that the - starting this season, the National League West was going to be the place to watch. The - it was going to be the Padres, and it was going to be the Dodgers. And all of a sudden, these San Francisco Giants - they're one of the best teams in baseball, and they've spoiled the party for one of them - great team, lot of great moves. To get Kris Bryant, National League - former National League MVP from the Cubs, is a huge move for them. They're clearly trying to win. They're not going to play the Cinderella this year. I think the Dodgers, obviously, with all of Trevor Bauer's problems, knowing - clearly, getting Max Scherzer was a sign that he's not coming back. And I think, obviously, the Padres are going to do everything they can to hang in there. You've got a three-team race there. The Mets are trying to win as well. And the Red Sox, who had a terrible year during the pandemic last year, also, they get another one of your Cubs, Kyle Schwarber. And they're trying to hang in there with the Tampa Bay Rays, who are an outstanding team trying to defend their National League - I mean their American League pennant.

SIMON: Have - you have nicely averred Cubs magic is suddenly sweetening the entire major leagues. I've written a poem, OK?

BRYANT: (Laughter).

SIMON: Or I've redone one from Franklin P. Adams. Ready?

BRYANT: Sure.

SIMON: These are the saddest of possible words. Bryant, Baez and Rizzo were traded, trio of bear cubs fleeter than birds. Why couldn't the Cubs be dissuaded?

BRYANT: (Laughter).

SIMON: Yeah. Get a grip, Howard, yeah.

BRYANT: I'm getting emotional right now, Scott.

SIMON: Thank you. OK.

BRYANT: I'm just getting emotional, that's all.

SIMON: Craig Kimbrel, their big reliever, was also traded. And Rizzo began with a homer for the Yankees last night, which...

BRYANT: Yes, yeah. This is the hard part. You go back, and you look at the magic of 2016, when the Cubs came and winning the first - you know, their first World Series in more than a century. And I think that that core - it's not just the fact that the Cubs broke up the core. They demolished it. They - it wasn't one by one. It was, OK, 2016 is just a memory now. And it's really, really difficult because as much as people talk about the winning, it's not the winning. It's the winning and the association with these individual players. And for Cubs Nation, this was a tough goodbye. But it is the business, and the team hadn't really been performing. But people are going to remember what they did in 2016. I'll never forget that.

SIMON: The Olympics - Simone Biles has withdrawn now from a number of events, has been on everyone's mind. Maybe a big breakthrough has been made for the importance of mental health. And, of course, Suni Lee has rocketed to a gold medal victory.

BRYANT: And wonderful for her, a high - you know, from high school to a gold medal. These are the reasons why we watch the Olympics, these stories. While we're focusing on all the major four sports - you concentrate on, you know, on the Celtics and the Lakers and football and everything else, but look at these stories. And it's just such a wonderful story for Suni Lee. And then also, Simone Biles - I'm not exactly sure I understand any of the controversy that goes on. We talk about all these athletes, and we talk about them as if we own them. But if there's one thing that you cannot say when you're watching these world-class athletes, especially Simone Biles, is I could've done that. No, you couldn't have.

SIMON: Yeah.

BRYANT: She clearly knows her body and knows her mind better than everybody else. And if she is not in a position to compete and she came and said so, then she's doing absolutely the right thing by not competing. And by the way...

SIMON: Yeah.

BRYANT: ...Hasn't she done enough already?

SIMON: Yeah, well said. Howard Bryant of Meadowlark Media, thanks so much for being with us, my friend. Talk to you soon.

BRYANT: Oh, my pleasure. Thank you, Scott.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.