A Potpourri Today…

I turned to Google yesterday just out of curiosity; I knew that Jason Whitlock and FOX Sports had parted company; but until yesterday, I did not know what Whitlock was doing with his life and his communication skills.  Google let me quickly learn that he signed on with Outkick.com which is the re-branded name for what started as Outkickthecoverage.com; that is the platform where you can find Clay Travis’ writings also.

I can take or leave Travis’ essays; I like Whitlock’s writings a lot.  Let me be clear; I like Whitlock’s writing not because I agree with him; in fact, I probably disagree with him at least half the time.  What I like is that I always come away from one of his essays thinking about what he said.  Sometimes I come away thinking about how I would frame a counter-argument were I in a discussion with him; other times I come away wishing that I had been able to make his point before reading what he wrote.  Rarely do I come away from a Jason Whitlock piece – written or verbal – and think, “Meh!”

I first discovered Whitlock as a columnist for the Kansas City Star and enjoyed his time at ESPN particularly when he was a fill-in host on Pardon the Interruption; he fit very well with either Kornheiser or Wilbon on that program.  He bounced from ESPN to FOX Sports and back to ESPN and back to FOX again.  In his latest FOX Sports incarnation, he was a co-host on Speak for Yourself first with Colin Cowherd and then with Marcellus Wiley.  For me, the original pairing with Cowherd was excellent; the later partnership with Wiley was good – – but not as good.

Here is a link where you can find his essays at Outkick.com.  Please do not go there expecting to find a compendium of “Dr. Feelgood pieces”; you may well find that you fundamentally disagree with him 40% of the time, but I believe he will make you think about his point of view and your point of view in juxtaposition.

Welcome back, Jason Whitlock…

Last week, the Jacksonville Jaguars announced that they hoped to be able to play home games in front of fans this year albeit with TIAA Bank Stadium limited to 25% capacity.  That announcement is noteworthy because it represents unbridled optimism on three levels:

  1. It assumes that there will be and NFL season in 2020.  For the record, I really want that to be the case; but my pragmatist streak says that that not much more than an even-money bet at the moment.
  2. It assumes that the State of Florida and the City of Jacksonville will permit outdoor gatherings of a sufficient size to make those home games comply with local ordinances.  The COVID-19 “numbers” in Florida are horrible currently; yes, there is time to get things under control prior to any scheduled Jags’ home game.  However, whatever “phase” Florida and Floridians find themselves in today, it is not a good “phase” AND they have not yet shown that they know how to move toward a safe “phase” reliably.
  3. It assumes that 16,750 people – – 25% of TIAA Bank Field’s seating capacity – – will want to come out and see the 2020 version of the Jaguars.

Dwight Perry had this MLS item in the Seattle Times recently:

“Two teams — FC Dallas and Nashville SC — had to pull out of the MLS is Back Tournament after too many players tested positive for coronavirus.

“On second thought, just call it the Well, Most of MLS is Back Tournament.”

Things got worse for MLS after that jab from Professor Perry; Toronto FC and DC United had a game postponed twice because a Toronto player had an inconclusive test and a DC player had a positive test for COVID-19.  The teams finally played yesterday, and the result was a draw.

All did not go well with the return of the National Women’s Soccer League either.  The NWSL planned to be the first US sports league back in business with a 25-game tournament that was to begin on June 25th. The Orlando team had to withdraw from the tournament even before it had a chance to begin when 6 players and 4 staff members of the team tested positive for COVID-19.

Compare those happenstances with the English Premier League which has returned to the pitch playing out its season with no fans in the stands.  Last week, the EPL reported that it had tested almost 2000 players, employees and staff members and found ZERO positive results.  I am no epidemiologist, but it would seem to me that soccer games and soccer practices ought to be similar on either side of the Atlantic Ocean; so, there needs to be something else at work here to explain the different “soccer experiences” with COVID-19.

My untutored conclusion is found in the stats related to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • The total number of cases reported in the UK from the beginning of March is 290,000 cases.
  • Since July 1st, the number of new cases identified each day has ranged from about 350 to 820 per day.
  • The total number of cases reported in the US from the beginning of March is 3,430,000 cases.
  • Since July 1st, the number of new cases identified each day has ranged from about 43,000 to 66,800 per day.
  • The population in the US is about 5 times greater than the population in the UK.  It does not take a PhD in mathematics to see that the COVID-19 virus has spread a whole lot more in the US than it has in the UK.  “Community spread” is much greater here in the US; Americans should take no pride in that data.

Finally, here is one more item from Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times:

“The Fuji-Q Highland amusement park in Japan, saying that droplets from screaming on roller coasters could spread the coronavirus, is urging riders to ‘Please scream inside your heart.’

“If you think that’s extreme, wait’ll they try to ban booing in Philadelphia.”

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



2 thoughts on “A Potpourri Today…”

  1. Jack,

    Agree on Jason Whitlock. Have been following him for a long time…and right now he is really throwing some punches…even for him.

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