Saturday Sports: Stanley Cup, NBA Playoffs, Minnesota Twins
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
Time for sports.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
SIMON: You got to suffer if you want to sing the blues. And the St. Louis Blues sure have. But after all these years, they're in the Stanley Cup Finals. Also, who'll face the fearless Golden State Warriors? And what about the Twins? Howard Bryant of ESPN joins us. Morning, Howard.
HOWARD BRYANT, BYLINE: Good morning, Scott.
SIMON: The Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues begin Monday. This is kind of Cinderella versus Godzilla.
BRYANT: (Laughter) In a way, they weren't that far apart in terms of the regular season - only really a game. But in terms of history, absolutely. The St. Louis Blues have not been to the Stanley Cup since 1970, when they lost to the Boston Bruins - and the famous shot of Bobby Orr leaping through the air, giving the Bruins their first Stanley Cup since 1929, I think. It was just an amazing moment if you're a Bostonian.
However, this is a - going to be a fun matchup. I really sort of enjoy what the Blues have done. And they - they're so tough. They were down two games to one against San Jose. And then they just went on a tear. The Bruins are the hottest team in hockey. They've won seven straight. So you have this great clash.
And the Blues are just so tough. And they're tough on the road. They play better on the road than they do at home. And I'm really looking forward to seeing what this matchup brings, especially the two lines - Tarasenko and Schwartz and this - these guys are playing really, really good hockey. I didn't think they were going to take out the Sharks the way they did.
And on the other hand, of course, the Bruins - that Boston City just keeps winning championships in their top line in there - whether it's Bergeron or Pastrnak or Marchand. And then, of course, they've got the hottest goalie in the world, as well, with Tuukka Rask. So it's going to be a great matchup.
SIMON: OK. NBA Eastern Conference Final - Game Six tonight between the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks.
SIMON: My bleat of fear the deer may have...
BRYANT: You're the jinx, Scott Simon.
SIMON: I - exactly.
BRYANT: You've ruined it for everybody.
SIMON: So I have a cheer for Toronto, OK? I want - the producer of our show is from Toronto. So I want to give him a good one. Ready for this? Abhor the dinosaur.
SIMON: What do you think?
BRYANT: I think that's terrible, Scott. I do.
BRYANT: I think we the north is so much more appropriate and fun. And, you know, when they made this deal last year - because trading DeMar DeRozan was not a popular move, considering that he felt lied to. He had committed to the organization. And then the organization then traded him to to San Antonio for Kawhi Leonard, who just happens to be one of the top three players in the game. It wasn't a great move considering that you want to show loyalty.
And - but here's the deal, Kawhi Leonard is that good. He's been carrying this team. He's been fantastic. He's - between he and Kevin Durant - between Durant, Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James, they're as good as it gets in the game. And when you watch Kawhi play basketball, he has carried this team to a place that they've never been. They've never been this close to the NBA Finals before.
And Milwaukee, meanwhile, they've got to win a basketball game. They've been the best team in basketball all season long record-wise. They won 60 games. And now they're facing it.
Now they're facing the adversity of having to go to Toronto on the road and winning a game to bring it back for a Game Seven. And at some point in the playoffs, you find out who you are. And the Milwaukee Bucks are going to find out when they get to Toronto.
SIMON: Let's just note on our way out in just a few seconds, the Minnesota Twins have already hit 100 home runs this season. What are they eating for breakfast?
BRYANT: Spinach, like Popeye.
BRYANT: It's incredible. I think they've got the best record in baseball. You've got guys you've never heard of - Rosario, Kepler - just hitting the ball out of the ballpark. And we'll see if they're built for 162. But right now, it's the story in baseball. It's a lot of fun.
SIMON: Howard Bryant, thanks so much.
BRYANT: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.