OBSERVATIONS: Does anybody care about MLB’s lockout?

By Hal McCoy

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, wondering how long it will be before baseball owners and the MLBPA bury the game, because it is already on life support with the fans.

—Settle in, folks, this one is going to be a long winter’s nap, a snooze that might last through the spring, too.

Baseball players can work on their golf game and their fishing strokes. Front office personnel can sharpen pencils, shuffle papers and check their bobbleheads inventory.

The owners locked out the players when the collective bargaining agreement expired last week and those locks figure to be in place for a long period. Since the lockout, there has been no negotiating and none is scheduled.

It is likely the locks will remain when spring training time arrives and could even affect the start of the 2022 season.

Why? Because both sides are stubborn and both sides want victory. There are too many issues on the table (gathering dust right now) and the sides are far apart from resolving them all.

This is not what baseball needs. The game already is fading in popularity. And the goofy new rules commissioner Rob Manfred installed doesn’t help.

It is noticeable that news outlets aren’t talking much about it. It is almost a who cares attitude. Out of sight, out of mind.

Twenty years from now, former fans who once loved the game might look back and say, “That 2021-22 lockout. . .that’s what finally killed the game. It was a billion-dollar industry, but both sides buried the game because of their greed.”

And the fans? From both sides, they are saying, “The fans? The fans be damned.”

—There are 42 college football bowl games this season. Any team that goes .500 or better is bowl eligible.

I can’t wait for the Tax Act Myrtle Beach Bowl, pitting Old Dominion (6-6) against Tulsa (6-6). Ol’ Dom started the season 1-and-6 and had to win its last five to qualify. Tulsa was 3-and-6 and won its last three to squeak its way in.

This one will be taxing on all of us who have nothing better to do than watch it. There probably be more people on the Myrtle Beach ferris wheel than in the stands.

I’d still like to see a Toilet 
Bowl in Flushing, N.Y., pitting college football’s two worst teams. This year it would be Arizona (1-11) against Florida International (1-11). The trophy is a cardboard toilet paper roll with dead dandelions tucked in it.

—It appears some athletes need to carry GPS on their persons.

Did you see Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins line up under his left guard to take a snap? His center should have handed the ball to the left guard.

And how about pro golfers Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson? In the final round of the Hero World Challenge in The Bahamas, they both hit off the wrong tee box.

Coming off the eighth green, instead of hitting off the ninth tee, they mistakenly hit off the 17th. It cost them a two-stroke penalty. Stenson finished 19th and Spieth last in the 20-man field.

My best personal golf story is the day I drove the par-4 ninth hole on the Community Inside course. Did I eagle it? No. Did I birdie it? No. I three-putted for a par.

—QUOTE: From former PGA touring pro Raymond Floyd: “The only reason they call it golf is because all the other four-letter words were used.” (And I used them all that day on the Community course.)

—Does anybody care about the Davis Cup these days? That’s tennis. Russia beat Croatia in the Davis Cup finals. Who knew they even played tennis in Croatia?

The U.S.? Do we still play tennis? The top U.S. player is ranked 33rd in the world. His name is Taylor Fritz and I wouldn’t know him from Fritz the Cat.

—QUOTE: From one of my former tennis partner, to an opponent who kept throwing his racquet against the fence after he hit bad shots: “Y’know, you’d be better off laying your racquet down on the ground and throwing yourself into the fence.” (I was cured of racquet-tossing when in a Quail Run club tournament final I missed an easy volley and tried to fling my racquet into the net. It sailed over the net and hit my opponent, Steve Hull, in the left knee cap. He responded by making sure I finished second.)

—While most of us wholeheartedly agree that it is obscene for guys who throw a baseball or hit a baseball to be paid $35 million a day, chew on this one.

Actor George Clooney revealed that he turned down a $35 million foreign airline offer to make a commercial that would have taken one day to shoot.

Where do I sign up? I’d do it for $3.5 million and undergo extensive plastic surgery to resemble Clooney.

—QUOTE: From Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, talking about Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver before Game One of the 1973 Oakland-New York Mets World Series: “He’s so good blind people come to see him pitch.” (Then Reggie Jax looked vision impaired in the game when Seaver struck him out three times.)

—Did you hear about the NBA game where Memphis defeated Oklahoma City, 157-79? The 73 points were the biggest margin of victory in NBA history. The Memphis bench scored 93 points and the Grizzlies did it without injured Ja Morant, their best player.

There are reports that the entire O-City roster might be sent to the ‘G’ League and Purdue with 7-foot-4 Zach Edey will take its place in the NBA.

Can you imagine being 7-foot-4? Edey is nearly two feet taller than Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. Altuve can’t dunk, but Edey can’t bunt. . .but who can bunt?

—As a life-long Cleveland Browns fan, I hated to think it, let alone write it, but after what the Cincinnati Bengals did to the Pittsburgh Steelers I was going to write begrudgingly, “The Bengals are not good, they are very good.”

Then the Los Angeles Chargers (41-22) happened.

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