The Ides of March are upon us. Julius Caesar departed this world on this date 2063 years ago. Seems like only yesterday…
Speaking of yesterday, I mentioned the competitive imbalance in MLB and there were some comments offered by readers on that topic. In addition, I got an email from a reader who chose to give me his idea in that channel; the idea there is sufficiently innovative that I want to present it here so everyone can see it:
“My idea for mixing things up is to align the divisions by pay roll. So, if for example the five highest salaried rosters in 2018 were the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs and Angels, that’s your top division for 2019. Playoffs would involve divisions 1, 3 and 5 in one half, 2, 4 and 6 in the other. And no division would get more than two teams into the playoffs. Adjust the schedules accordingly, with some deference to rivalries like Dodgers/Giants, Cardinals/Cubs.
“While it’s likely one of the top salaried teams would make it to the world series, that’s no different from the way things are now. And it’s arguably better. The way things are now Dodgers v. Sox or Yankees a definite possibility, almost every year. And the wild card single game elimination would be wide open. Consider that in 2018 the Phillies were for sure in the bottom tier. Tampa Bay may have been there too. But in a single elimination game either one would have had a real shot with Aaron Nola or Blake Snell pitching.
“And if baseball really wanted to go off the deep end, there could be an automatic move between divisions like in soccer. Finish first in division 2, move up to division 1. Finish last in division 1, drop down to division 2. But while in any one year there may be a few teams who recognize going in they have no shot at the postseason, at least there won’t be a dozen like the past few years.”
Any baseball purist who finished reading those 3 paragraphs probably needs the paddles of a defibrillator across his chest about now. I think these ideas have merit and could be an interesting way to introduce novelty to the MLB regular season.
Over in the world of college football, recall that Kansas fired head coach David Beatty in mid-season last year but allowed him to finish the season on the sidelines coaching the team. His contract called for him to receive a $3M buyout unless his firing was “for cause”. At the time the AD said that the reason for the firing was lack of success on the field, so Beatty expected his $3M. That is where the story gets dicey; Beatty just filed a lawsuit against Kansas seeking his $3M payment.
- Kansas officials say that in the process of exit interviews with assistant coaches and staff, they learned about some potential NCAA violations committed by the team on Beatty’s watch and they did some investigating and then contacted the NCAA. Kansas says they have put the $3M in escrow awaiting the outcome of the investigation and any NCAA action. [Aside: If payment is pending an NCAA decision, that could mean the money will still be in escrow when David Beatty’s great-granddaughter starts collecting social Security.]
- Beatty’s suit claims that Kansas is merely looking for any way possible to avoid making the payment. Thu suit says that Kansas is looking for “something” to hang around his neck – – such as “a dead hooker in [his] closet”.
- This one might get interesting…
And speaking of hookers, I read a report about a week ago – – and did not record where I found it so I cannot cite it here – – that Robert Kraft’s arrest for solicitation of prostitution should not have any effect on his eligibility for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The argument there was that the bylaws that direct the Hall of Fame voters thinking and consideration specifically say that the voters should ignore any off-the-field stuff – either positive or negative. [Since I have never been part of the nomination/election processes here, I take that statement to be factual; I have no experience to confirm it or deny it.]
Here is my problem with that argument:
- Robert Kraft would enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a “contributor”. He would join a list of folks who owned teams or were NFL Commissioners or were successful GMs. A few of these folks also played the game (Dan Reeves and Jim Finks come to mind) but most of them never strapped on a helmet for an NFL game.
- Ergo, the only reason Robert Kraft MIGHT be considered for the Hall of Fame is because of his “off-the-field activities/deeds”. Hmmm…
[For the record, while I think the allegations against Kraft are super-sleazy, I do not think they should condemn him to eternal damnation even if proven to be true. When I think of other team owners who have been elected to the Hall of Fame, I would have to say that Kraft’s teams’ accomplishments are commensurate with the standard those other owners represent.]
Brad Rock had this comment about Robert Kraft’s arrest in the Deseret News a couple of weeks ago. It captures well my general sense of the gravity of the matter:
“Patriots owner Robert Kraft pleaded not guilty to charges of soliciting a prostitute.
“But he did plead guilty to wearing a colored shirt with a white collar 30 years after they went out of style.”
Finally, let me close with another observation by Brad Rock right around the NBA trade deadline:
“In a four-day span, former Portland teammates Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin were part of four organizations: Portland, Cleveland, Houston and Indiana.
“But the worst news is they’re expected to be waived.
“On the bright side, they’re now part of one more organization: the Delta Diamond Medallion club.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………