Phyllis George died last week. The arc of her life was unique. She was Miss America in 1970; she was a reporter and studio host for The NFL Today on CBS alongside Brent Musburger, Jimmy the Greek and Irv Cross; she was the First Lady of Kentucky; she was the anchor for CBS Morning News; she was an entrepreneur. Other than that, she led a quiet existence. Brad Dickson Tweeted this brief statement to let people under the age of 40 know about Phyllis George:
“Phyllis George – who was Erin Andrews before Erin Andrews was, only a lot better – has died.”
Rest in peace, Phyllis George.
I have no interest in participating in any discussion related to the Second Amendment and/or gun control – – but I suspect that a bunch of folks involved with the NFL would like to put some restrictions on players and guns. Here is what happened in the last 4 days:
- Quinton Dunbar (CB, Seahawks) and DeAndre Baker (CB, Giants) were arrested in Florida charged with armed robbery.
- Cody Latimer (WR, Skins) was arrested in Colorado on “assault and weapons charges”.
- Ed Oliver (DT, Bills) was arrested in Texas on charges of DWI and “gun violations”.
As is to be expected, the 4 teams associated with these players have issued statements that they are gathering information about the incidents that they have been in touch with the players and the players’ lawyers and that they are in “wait-and-see mode”. I suspect however, that at least a few folks associated with those 4 teams have uttered the phrase “WTF” when informed of these arrests.
The 2020 MLB Draft is going to be limited to 5 rounds – in the past it went on until all the teams passed in a round. Putting a limitation on the number of players selected makes sense when you also consider that MLB is in the process of finalizing an agreement with Minor League Baseball to reduce the number of minor league teams affiliated with each MLB team. Fewer minor league teams require fewer minor league players; that is not a difficult concept to grasp.
At the same time, teams need to recognize that some rather good players were selected in rounds well beyond Round 5 of previous Drafts. The one that leapt to mind was Mike Piazza; I thought he was taken in the 50th round; I was wrong; he was taken in the 62nd round of the 1988 Draft.
Here are three other players whose MLB careers earned them induction into the Hall of Fame but who did not make it into the top 5 rounds of the Draft in the year they were selected:
- Nolan Ryan – – taken in the 12th round in 1965
- Ryne Sandberg – – taken in the 20th round in 1978
- John Smoltz – – taken in the 22nd round in 1985.
I am sure there are myriad examples akin to these, but I am not in the mood to do the necessary searching to find some more this morning.
The MLB/Minor League Baseball negotiations have their foundations in economics; limiting the Draft is economically driven. I have come to expect such activities to relate to economics, accounting, finances and the like. What I do not like to see – and what I saw too much of in the recent off-season that extended into the time when baseball’s regular season should be underway – are baseball decisions that are rooted in economics.
It will take a lot of arm-waving and statistical legerdemain to convince me that the Mookie Betts trade to the Dodgers was based on anything other than economics/cost control by the Red Sox. Over the winter – and possibly still – there were reports related to:
- The Cubs considering trading Kris Bryant
- The Indians considering trading Francisco Lindor.
- The Rockies considering trading Nolan Arenado.
In previous years, MLB rosters held 750 players at one time. Let me be clear; the Top 5% of active MLB players would be 37.5 players. I assert that Mookie Betts, Kris Bryant, Francisco Lindor and Nolan Arenado are all in that Top 5%. Moreover, every one of those players in the Top 5% of MLB is under 30 years old this morning. The idea of trading any of them – except possibly one for another – makes no baseball sense.
I would have thought that the Red Sox would be the last team to trade a star player for economics reason given their history in 1919 when they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Supposedly, the Sox owner at the time used some of the money to finance a Broadway play that did not enjoy along run. The future of the Yankees with Bab Ruth on the team is known to every baseball fan.
Finally, let me close today with two observations from Bob Molinaro in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:
“Squeamish baseball fans will want to avert their eyes as owners and players resume a financial battle over the 2020 season that could test the boundaries of mutually assured destruction.”
“In closing: Let’s end on a brighter note. Did you see that Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez are no longer involved in the purchase of the Mets? Who says baseball isn’t producing uplifting stories?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………