Random Thoughts Today …

Congratulations to the Louisiana team that won the Little League World Series.  The final game was a shutout of a team from Curacao that had been an offensive force majeure during the tournament.  As the Little League World Series was getting underway, there was a typically snarky headline in The Onion regarding the event:

  • “Report: Little League Pitchers Could Avoid Overtaxing Their Arms By, You Know, Getting Somebody Out.” 

Last week, Baker Mayfield was quoted in a Vanity Fair piece saying that he was shocked that the NY Giants had picked Daniel Jones at #6 in the Draft last April.  He said that teams “overthink” this stuff and that teams just have to realize that what matters is that players win on the field.  Daniel Jones’ record at Duke was sub-.500.  Let me submit that his reasoning is flawed just a tad here when you realize that:

  1. John Elway lost more games than he won at Stanford.  Elway turned out to be a pretty good NFL QB.
  2. Patrick Mahomes lost more games than he won at Texas Tech.  I guess the Chiefs are deep into regret that they wasted a first-round pick on him.

Memo to Baker Mayfield:  Play QB and lead your team.  You can be an ESPN Draft Analyst and replace Mel Kiper, Jr. after you retire.

Back in May, Suffolk Downs ceased to host any more live horse racing; the track will shut down completely in October; the land will be developed as apartments in East Boston.  However, there is a nascent plan to build a new racetrack complex in Wareham in southeastern Massachusetts.  A developer there has floated the idea of a modern racetrack with plenty of accoutrements:

  • A “multi-faceted gaming and entertainment facility with multiple restaurants”.  The shorter version of that entity is “A Casino”.
  • A new baseball park for the Wareham Gatemen in the Cape Cod League
  • A new hotel
  • A sports field complex

The total cost for this development would be about $300M.  The inability of Suffolk Downs to survive demonstrates that the proposed new track is not the economic engine that would make this a profitable undertaking.  Clearly, this proposal hinges entirely on obtaining an approval for that casino facility at this locale.  If the casino there is given a green light, then live horse racing in the Boston area may come back to life.

As the college football season starts to roll, there is an interesting situation at the University of New Mexico.  Last year, as a way to save some money, the Athletic Department decided that it would stop having the team stay at a local hotel the night before home games.  That makes sense; New Mexico is not one of the nation’s “football factories” where the team and the Athletic Department are rolling in dough.  This year, they have decided to go back to the idea of housing the team in a hotel before home games – and the reasoning seems a tad “loose”.

Back in May a New Mexico baseball player was fatally shot outside a local club; soon after that, Coach Bob Davie used “player safety” as the argument to go back to housing the team in a hotel the night before home games.  According to a report in the Albuquerque Journal, Davie’s pitch included:

“Not that we can have all 110 kids at the hotel; we only take the travel team (up to 70 players).  But that is a dangerous, dangerous thing to be not keeping a college football team in a hotel the night before a game … We were being reckless; we were putting people in harm’s way.”

Never let it be said that I come down against the idea of “player safety”, but the logic here is a bit thin.

  • First, if safety is the paramount concern, why have only 70 players in that hotel.  Doesn’t it matter that the ones staying on campus are also “in harm’s way”?
  • Second, why are players in greater danger the night before a home football game staying in their dorms or apartments than they are on any other random night during football season?
  • Third, the baseball player who was killed was shot outside a night club.  Is Coach Davie worried that his team does not have the discipline to get some sleep the night before a game and stay away from night clubs?

It is of little import to me where the New Mexico football team lays itself down to sleep the night before a football game.  I don’t even care if they pitch tents out in the desert and commune with nature sprites the night before a football game.  However, I do mind being fed a “player safety malarkey cake” as the reason that the school must bear this expense.  Just call this what it is; this is a much more convenient situation for the coaching staff at New Mexico.  That is the reason that many – if not most – Division 1-A teams do exactly the same thing.

Finally, here is an observation from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times pertaining to college football:

“We needed a full-blown Princeton Review study to determine that Wisconsin is the top college for drinking beer?

“Five minutes in the Camp Randall stands at a Badgers football game could’ve told you that.”

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