Hither, Thither And Yon…

When you consider that Game 1 of the World Series had two starting pitchers whose names are frequently mentioned in the same sentence with “Cy Young Award”, things did not go according to Hoyle.  If you make the mistake of extrapolating from a single data point – – never a good idea – – you would have to say that this will be a World Series dominated by offense.  Last night’s game produced 12 runs and 19 hits; it could be an omen of fireworks coming in future games.

Last week, news broke that the NBA and the G-League – – it used to be the D-League until Gatorade ponied up money to sponsor it and get the name changed – – were going to offer elite high school prospects a contract for $125K for a year if they did not want to go to college for a year while they awaited their NBA draft eligibility.  This action is part of the NBA’s broader movement to try to eliminate the one-and-done aspect of college basketball.  Naturally, it generated plenty of over-reaction.

Almost immediately, there were commentaries to the effect that one-and-done is dead and college basketball just took a serious if not mortal blow.  I think neither of those dire states will come to pass.  Even if the top dozen high school basketball players choose not to play college basketball in a year – remember, the G-League is their THIRD option to avoid college basketball – – there will still be plenty of players to fill the collegiate rosters and to continue to make March Madness a dominant sports event.  If any sports entity was dealt a serious blow by this announcement, it would be LaVar Ball’s Junior Basketball Association.  The JBA had a niche to itself; now it has the G-League – – and the NBA as the G-League’s patron – – as close competitors.

  • [Aside:  I do not think “all the good players” will skip college basketball.  In addition to the money offered by the G-League, top players also seek exposure so that they can enhance their brands.  The fact is that the G-League has little to no national following and college basketball has a large national following.  We shall see…]

Moreover, even if the top dozen or so high school players skip college basketball, who is to say that the best of the freshmen who do go and play college basketball will not declare for the NBA draft after a single season at the collegiate level.  When that happens, one-and-done will still be alive and well…

However, the most interesting reaction to the announcement that the G-League will be offering 1-year $125K contracts came from a bunch of WNBA players.  They are upset that the top salary in the WNBA right now is $115K and the G- League is about to pay high school seniors more than the top salary for any WNBA player.  Several players were enraged and suggested there would be some sort of confrontation with the WNBA over this financial slight.

On one hand, I can understand the WNBA players’ anger here.  In addition, I can understand why many people will take up this as a cause under the banner of “equal pay for equal work”.  On balance, I hope the WNBA women prevail in this situation and get a salary scale that is higher than the current one.

HOW-EVAH … [/Stephen A. Smith]

  • Please recall that only a few months ago, a bunch of WNBA players pulled a no-show for a scheduled game.  A bad set of connections led to a 24-hour trip to the game site such that the team arrived only 5 hours before tip-off.  The players met and decided not to show up; they called their union and their union supported that decision.  Let me be kind and say that is hardly professional behavior and the union leaders need to be reminded of that over and over.
  • Teams in the G-League do not travel first class and often have less-than perfect connections as they go from venue to venue.  I cannot recall an instance where a G-League team was in town for a game but decided that it was too tired to play and pulled a no-show.

The WNBA players and their union did damage to the cause that the WNBA players are now fighting for.  It cannot be undone; it is not something that should be a permanent albatross around the necks of WNBA players.  At the same time, it should not be forgotten or forgiven either.  WNBA players are professional basketball players; one of the hallmarks of being a “professional” in any field is that there are times when one acts in ways that are expected of people in that field even if at the time those acts might not be in one’s personal interest or in one’s convenience space.  For a professional basketball player – of any gender – showing up for a scheduled game when you are already in the city where the game is to be played is one of those fundamental tenets of professionalism.

On the subject of pro basketball, I happened to tune in to see a small part of the Houston Rockets/LA Clippers game a few days ago.  I guess I watched about a quarter of the game and then lost interest and flipped the channel.  What was the problem?  I did not count, but I would not be surprised if you told me that the Rockets took more 3-point shots than they did 2-point shots plus free throws in that span.

  • Obviously, that is a successful strategy for the team.
  • Just as obviously, that is not much fun to watch.

Public Service Announcement:  The latest news related to the Tiger Woods/Phil Mickelson challenge match that will be on pay-per-view is that the only way you will be able to see it is on pay-per-view.  The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that no tickets will be available for the event; the only folks on the course with Woods and Mickelson will be those who are there to provide the TV coverage, sponsors and guests of the sponsors.  So, just in case you were thinking of heading out to Las Vegas over Thanksgiving weekend and trying to score tix to the event at Shadow Creek Golf Club, stay home.

Finally, here is a comment from humor-writer, Brad Dickson, about the huge Mega-Millions Jackpot out there…

“The odds of winning Tuesday night’s lotto drawing are 88 quadrillion to one. About the same as Rutgers winning the Big Ten conference next season.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………



2 thoughts on “Hither, Thither And Yon…”

  1. So, here is your choice. For you want $125,000 or do you want to sit around in a bunch of Duke classes you don’t care about and listen to Coach K yell at you.

    1. david:

      The Duke season has not started yet and Zion Williamson already has as much TV exposure as any 10 players in the G-League will get among them between now and February.

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