For all baseball fans who have watched the Dodgers/Braves NLCS and Game 1 of this year’s World Series, I need your help. Please explain to me why the folks who run the Boston Red Sox thought it was a good idea to trade Mookie Betts. I am not criticizing the return the Red Sox got for Betts; I wonder why it was even an idea worth considering.
The other smidgen of baseball news today is that the Mets have a new owner. Steve Cohen’s bid – reportedly $2.42B – to buy the NY Mets has been approved by the MLB owners according to a report at CBSSports.com. Cohen made his fortune as a hedge-fund manager; but in doing so, gained some notoriety. His firm pleaded guilty to insider trading and settled a civil action against it to the tune of $1.8B; as part of that settlement in the case, Cohen was barred from managing the money of other people for a period of two years. All of that is water under the bridge but it did present the possibility that the MLB owners might not approve of him as “one of their club members”. If the reports are correct, Cohen has just cleared that bar and will take ownership of the team.
Moving along … According to this report in Forbes, the Ivy League may cancel its entire basketball season. Back in March of this year, it was the Ivy League that was the first collegiate conference to cancel its conference tournament and that led to the cancellation of all college basketball including March Madness. The issue now is the NCAA’s view of when to restart the college basketball season as opposed to Ivy League rules on when to start winter sports.
The Ivy League canceled its fall sports – and has not moved to reinstate them; in so doing, it also set January 1st as the date for winter sports to begin – pending proper public health conditions. The NCAA has decreed that college basketball will commence play on November 25th and some teams have already begun practicing in an organized way. According to the report in Forbes, Harvard is in the lead with regard to canceling its basketball season; three of its basketball players have entered the NCAA’s transfer portal.
If Harvard is the only team to cancel its season, the Ivy League should be able to survive with the remaining seven teams. If a few other teams follow suit, it would be difficult for the Ivy League to cobble together a schedule that made any sense. Stand by for more news on this front…
Another development at the intersection of college athletics and the pandemic is reported by the Washington Post this morning. Not surprisingly, it is a rather clear example of the tail wagging the dog. According to the Post report, Michigan health officials have issued an emergency “stay-at-home order” for the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. The basis for this order is the recognition of hundreds of new COVID-19 cases in the county where contact tracing has revealed that students on campus are “ignoring coronavirus restrictions”. The emergency order now restricts students on campus to their residence unless they are out and about to get food, go to class, go to the doctor, go out to vote or to work at an essential job. You get the idea here… That is sound public health policy implementation, you say. Good for the health officials and the school administration for clamping down here…
Here is the rub:
- School athletics are exempt from the order; athletes – like the Michigan football team – can be out and about as they practice for their upcoming game against Michigan State.
- Fundamentally, that exemption is a de facto designation of Michigan football as an “essential job”.
- Football practice violates plenty of rules set in place for students on campus. It does so by necessity; you cannot have football practice in “small groups”, and you cannot have football practice with mandatory masks and social distancing. That is obvious.
- What is equally obvious is that football occupies an exalted status in the community and in the university structure.
I have suggested in the past that college athletics need to be separated from colleges and universities in an administrative sense because the goals and objectives of Athletic Departments do not mesh cleanly with the goals and objectives of a university. [Along with that suggestion, I would make Athletic Departments taxable entities requiring full accounting reports and I would deny tax deductions for alumni contributions to Athletic Departments.] Now we have one example where the goals and objectives of the Athletic Department – which already differs from the goals and objectives of the university – are also in conflict with the goals and objectives of the public health folks in Washtenaw County.
On Broadway, Rule Number One is that “The show must go on.” It appears that directive extends to the NFL Super Bowl Halftime Show. Pepsi is the sponsor/producer of that extravaganza and Pepsi announced recently that there will be a halftime show with or without fans in the stands.
- How can this be?
- How can these folks hope to put on a show without a horde of mouthbreathers jumping and flailing around like people with fire ants in their pants around the stage?
- How can the mouthbreathers possibly enjoy the performance wearing masks and socially distancing?
- But the show must go on…
Finally, here is an entry from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:
“Galileo: Astronomer and physicist often called the father of modern science. Although he was condemned and imprisoned by the Roman authority for his forward-thinking view of the structure of the universe, he did wind up many years later as part of a song lyric in Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, so hopefully that makes up for it.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………