The NBA season began on 22 October 2019; that was 120 days ago. Now, the NBA season gets serious; teams have played about 54 of their 82 regular season games (close to two-thirds of them) merely to set up the “drama” generated by the final stage of the season to determine which half of the league will make the playoffs. And people are wondering why the NBA’s TV ratings are sagging…
Here is a fact that creates a “facepalm situation”; it comes from minor league baseball where the Nashville Sounds will begin their 23rd season in the Pacific Coast League along with rivals in Memphis, Iowa, Oklahoma City, Wichita, Omaha, San Antonio – – you get the idea. Do they even teach geography and/or map reading in school anymore? Some of those places have not been anywhere near the Pacific coast since the breakup of Gondwanaland.
Deion Sanders told Dan Patrick in an interview that he thinks the Pro Football Hall of Fame has diluted itself with inductees that do not belong there. Without using the phrase specifically, he alluded to the idea that the Hall of Fame may be morphing into the “Hall of Very Good Players”. Here is part of what he said to Dan Patrick:
“What is a Hall of Famer now? Is it a guy who played for a long time? It’s so skewed now. Once upon a time, a Hall of Famer was a player who changed the darn game, who made you want to reach in your pocket and pay admission to see a guy play. That’s not a Hall of Famer anymore. Every Tom, Dick and Harry, they’re a Hall of Famer. They let everybody in this thing. It’s not exclusive anymore, and I don’t like it.”
I have to agree with Deion there – although I must say that the Pro Football Hall of Fame is not nearly as diluted as is the Basketball Hall of Fame but that is another story. Perhaps part of the problem lies in the fact that the Pro Football Hall of Fame demands the induction of between 4 and 8 people each year. [This year’s centennial class is a one-time exception.] If voters were to apply the “Deion Sanders Standard”, there could easily be years where finding four players would be impossible.
I realize I am about to use a word that is loaded with negative connotation, but the Pro Football Hall of Fame exists under a quota system for selecting its new members. That Selection Committee – as qualified and as well-intentioned as it may be – must come up with a minimum of 4 inductees every year and every time they are forced to “stretch” to find someone who did not “make you want to reach in your pocket and pay admission to see him play”, they lower the bar a little bit. Then, by comparison, more players of lesser stature seem qualified…
About a month ago, Bob Molinaro had this item in his weekly column in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot about voting for Halls of Fame:
“Quick hit: I don’t know why voters for the baseball and pro football halls of fame find this so difficult to understand, but any former athlete who falls under the category of a ‘borderline’ candidate simply doesn’t belong. No self-respecting hall of fame should enshrine borderline.”
I do not understand why there is the arbitrary 5-year waiting period before a Selection Committee – no matter the sport – can consider a candidate. Maybe that waiting period is part of the issue here? Let me explain. Peyton Manning retired at the end of the 2015 season; his first year of eligibility will be in the next cycle of voting. At that time, someone will ask:
- Isn’t he a shoo-in for induction this year?
My answer would be:
- Of course, he is – – and he should have been a shoo-in for induction for the last several years too.
I assert that Peyton Manning meets the “Deion Sanders Standard” and that some – not all – of the Hall of Fame inductees between the time of Manning’s retirement and now do not meet that standard. So, why did he have to wait?
And please, do not get me started on the dilution of statistical standards for middle infielders in MLB…
In terms of “roster moves”, two bottom-feeding teams made the news regarding players with name recognition. The Skins parted company with CB Josh Norman. The former first team All-Pro signed on with the Skins 4 years ago as a free agent; he got a 5-year deal worth $75M and never played anywhere near an All-Pro standard in Washington. Some have suggested that his skills did not match the type of defense the Skins were playing during his time there; if correct, that says an awful lot about the processes by which the team built their rosters in the past. It would not take a Hall of Fame caliber GM and coach to figure out that paying $75M to a player who does not fit into your defense makes little to no sense. Whatever… Josh Norman is now 32 years old and will be looking to sign on elsewhere. His résumé will intrigue some team somewhere – – former All-Pro who may have been misused …
Meanwhile, according to reports, the Bengals are willing to work with Andy Dalton and his agent to engineer a trade for the veteran QB. Dalton was taken by the Bengals in the second round of the 2011 Draft and he will be 33 years old in the middle of next season. He has been selected to the Pro Bowl 3 times and his record as a starter in Cincy is 70-61-2. Dalton’s contract has him taking up just under $18M for 2020 on the salary cap whereupon he will be a free agent. Those are not ideal financial conditions to peddle in trade negotiations, but Dalton looks more viable to me as a potential starting QB than several of the free agents out there. That might be an interesting situation to follow.
Finally, an item from Dwight Parry in the Seattle Times:
“Siba the Standard Poodle bested Bourbon the Whippet to take Best in Show honors at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.
“So much for our sheepdog schnauzer parlay.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………