UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave wondering why, just a few weeks ago, I was wishing the cold weather would go away. What is is it they say: “Be careful what you wish for.” Or, to be grammatically correct: “Be careful for what you wish.”
—The ramifications of the Big Ten doing away with all non-conference football games has a huge impact in more ways than one.
Consider the Mid-American Conference schools that were paid a king’s ransom to show up at The Horseshow to take a drubbing.
For example, Miami of Ohio was paid $1.3 million to play Ohio State and take a 76-5 beating last season.
Miami actually led in that game, 5-0, and Miami athletic director David Sayler said he took a picture of the scoreboard at that point, knowing it was only a matter of time.
In 2016, Miami was paid $1 million to visit Iowa City to take a 45-21 beating.
There are a few exceptions. Very few. In 2007 Appalachian State was paid $400,000 to visit The Big House in Ann Arbor and the Mountaineers shocked the football world with a monumental 34-32 upset of the fifth-ranked Michigan Wolverines.
Who is out this year? Bowling Green was going to make $1.2 million to play the Buckeyes and the University of Buffalo was supposed to be paid $1.8 million to visit Ohio State.
As Sayler said, “Those games pretty much pay for our entire football program for a year.”
And on the other side of the ledger, The Big Five conference teams are losing those easy victories to pad their records for the polls.
—QUOTE: From Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore after his team’s upset of Michigan: “We’re sort of shocked but not really shocked. That may be one of the great victories in college football, maybe the greatest.” (He was so shocked he didn’t know if he was shocked or not.)
—The Ivy League said no fall sports and now the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) says no fall sports. Central State is a member of the SIAC, so there will be no football this fall for the Marauders.
To CSU’s credit, the administration said all athletic scholarships will be honored.
Hold your breath on this stuff because there is more to come. Las Vegas is laying odds that it is only 8 to 5 that the Pacific-12 Conference will play football this season.
Because of the staggering cases of COVID-19 in the Los Angeles area, neither Southern Cal nor UCLA are working out.
—QUOTE: From Hall of Fame UCLA basketball coach John Wooden: “It’s not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.” (It is hoped that this year they will even be able to start games and it is becoming more and more hopeless.)
—Major League umpire Joe West has his chest protector in hot water after saying he doesn’t believe the numbers being distributed on the COVID-19 virus.
Even before Cowboy Joe opened his mouth to do something other than sing country tunes, MLB made West an offer. Because he is in the vulnerable segment of the population to contract the virus, MLB offered to pay him full salary and give him service time credit for the season if he would opt out for 2020.
West said no, he wants to umpire. Just another of his many bad decision over the years.
QUOTE: From umpire Joe West on baseball’s biggest complainer: “It has to be Adrian Beltre. Every pitch you call that’s a strike, he says, ‘Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!’ I had a game with him and the pitch was right down the middle. He tells me, ‘That ball is outside.’ I told him, ‘You may be a great ballplayer, but you’re the worst umpire in the league. You stink.’”
—Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell is happy that the designated hitter rule is being implemented in the National League for the 60-game season. He has a glut of outfielders and one can DH every day, but not the same guy. It will be revolving.
But outfielder Nick Castellanos said the main reason he signed with the Reds was to avoid the American League because he doesn’t want to DH.
Hmmm. As Artie Johnson used to constantly say on the Rowan & Martin TV show, “Very interesting.”
The guess here is that Jesse Winker is assigned the DH role the majority of time, but let’s see how often Bell writes DH after Castellanos’ name.
—QUOTE: Another from umpire Joe West, one with which I agree: “The worst rule in baseball is the DH. It’s horrible. It was supposed to be an experiment to help increase attendance in the American League, and now it’s ruining the game.” (Can we hear a big ol’ amen?)
—Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell named Sonny Gray to start opening day against the Detroit Tigers (This opening day does not deserve a capital O and a capital D). Why not Luis Castillo?
Well, Gray was the Reds’ best pitcher last season, so it makes sense. Opening Day starter is always a big deal. . .normally.
These, though, are abnormal days. There will be no Findlay Market Parade to celebrate Opening Day and there will be no fans, always a full house in Great American Ball Park, a southwestern Ohio holiday.
Now? Just another game, if it even is played.
Was there significance in MLB releasing the 2021 schedule before the 2020 season begins? Smells like MLB has doubts about 2020 being played.
QUOTE: Seen on a t-shirt: “Keep Calm. It’s Almost Baseball Season.” (A better shirt: “Hold Your Breath. It’s Almost Baseball Season.)
—The New Jersey and Colorado gaming commissions have instructed casinos to no longer take bets on Ukrainian table tennis matches.
Say what? Who in their right mind would wager on table tennis? Well, because of the lack of sports, hundreds of thousands of dollars are bet daily on Ukrainian table tennis.
But rumors are rampant that the games are fixed. That would be easy, wouldn’t it? A missed serve here, a missed slam there, a trip over the table.
When they tell me professional corn hole matches are fixed, I’m done.
Is a corn hole tournament a cornament and is a great player a corn star?