Nike Stuff Today …

Yesterday I pointed out two examples of cookie cutter coverage by the sports media in Spring Training stories and in coverage of golf through the prism of Tiger Woods.  There is another one to add today.  It has only been going on for a couple of weeks, but I think every aspect of the story has been covered – – except for the one that would resolve the issue.  I refer to the NBA All-Star Game.  Let me do a reset:

  • The All-Star Game was not in the NBA schedule at the beginning of the season; there was to be a short break but no game or festivities.
  • TV execs want the game; it draws ratings; they can sell ads.
  • Adam Silver announced there would be a game in Atlanta; the NBPA concurred.
  • The mayor of Atlanta asked people NOT come to her city to take part in the festivities and that public health restrictions on gatherings would be enforced.
  • The players have griped and said they do not want to be part of the game.
  • Adam Silver says, “The show must go on.”

Enough already…  Look, if the NBA stars think this is a bad idea, they have it in their power to make things right from their perspective.  Just do not show up for the game.  There is no need to talk about it; there is no need to issue statements; there is no need for any more debate.  To paraphrase Nancy Reagan:

  • Just stay home.

The league and the union have agreed to stage this game – – but as the players always love to remind folks during CBA negotiations, there is no game without the players.  So, here is their chance to stand up for what they think is the right thing to do.  It might  damage their “brand” with their fans if they pull a no-show, but anything that is worthwhile comes at a cost.

  • Memo to NBA All-Stars:  No need to paraphrase Nike here.  Just do it!

In the last NFL season, the NFC East was an embarrassment; in the upcoming MLB season, the NL East could be very interesting.

  • Atlanta is loaded with excellent young players; I enjoy watching Ronald Acuna as much as any other player in MLB now.  Their “greybeard” would be Freddie Freeman who is all of 31 years old.  The Braves won the division last year and certainly will be part of that chase again this year.
  • Miami shocked the world last year making the playoffs and then sweeping the Cubs in the wildcard round.  The Marlins’ pitching staff makes them a team to watch.
  • The New York Mets have a new owner who is spending money.  The Mets’ acquisition of Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco and James McCann should offset the fact that Noah Syndergaard will not be available until about July 4th.
  • Philly made a significant change in the front office hiring Dave Dombrowski who had been involved with pennant winning squads in the past.  Last year, the Phillies’ Achilles Heel was their bullpen; there have been changes made in the offseason; if the changes are for the better…
  • Washington under-achieved last year finishing tied for last in the division.  The Nats have an excellent starting rotation and two excellent young players in Juan Soto and Trea Turner.  The Nats are hardly going to be an “easy out” this year.

I mentioned the major acquisitions by the Mets and the new owner there.  While the three acquisitions I cited there are important ones, I believe that two other teams made even more significant roster additions in this offseason:

  1. St. Louis acquired Nolan Arenado from the Rockies PLUS they got the Rockies to pay part of Arenado’s salary in 2021 and 2022.  To get that sweet deal, the Cardinals gave up a young pitcher with a smattering of MLB experience (Austin Gomber) and gave up 4 other minor league prospects who have yet to progress beyond AA baseball.  A couple years ago, the Cardinals looked to the NL West and acquired Paul Goldschmidt to play first base; now they grab Arenado to play third base…
  2. San Diego acquired a lot of pitching in this offseason signing/acquiring Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove and Blake Snell.  Additionally, they signed the highly sought-after infielder from Korea, Ha-seong Kim.  It is not as if the Padres were bereft of talent before this winter; remember they still have Manny Machado and the newly signed Fernando Tatis Jr. (14-years and $350M).  And with all that, the Padres are a distant second choice according to oddsmakers to win the NL West.  As of this morning, the Dodgers are minus-200 to win the NL West while the Padres are +210.

Finally, since I referred to Nike and its ad slogan above, let me close with a statement from Phil Knight – the major domo at Nike:

“We wanted Nike to be the world’s best sports and fitness company. Once you say that, you have a focus. You don’t end up making wing tips or sponsoring the next Rolling Stones world tour.”

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