“Popping Off During Pandemic”
The sports world is trying to get up and running regardless of what is going on around them in society.
Some thoughts on sports storylines as we await the start.
PADRES ROSTER…The 30-man taxi squad list entails a mixture of AAA-players and some hot prospects. The intangible part of including high draft picks and hot prospects like MacKenzie Gore, Ryan Weathers and Luis Campusano, is that they will be at Petco Park as Spring Training 2.0 start, and then likely head to the Peoria Sports Complex to continue working out and doing intrasquad games under the watchful eye of the staff.
PADRES DRAFT PICKS…Like every other club, how to start overseeing the training of 1st round pick OF-Robert Hassell and 2nd round choice Owen Caissie, remains to be seen. MLB was considering allowing the formation of a young Arizona Fall League team to be headquartered at teams spring training sights, but has not signed off on that because of the resurge of positive cases nationwide.
MLB PROTOCOLS…The 101-page health manual for the restart is detailed and cumbersome, but it appears baseball has tried to cover every aspect of player’s returns and their responsibility in terms of off-field interaction with people once they leave the stadium. Players self-isolation away from the field will be as critical as the testing they get when they report July 1st.
CHARGERS QUARTERBACKS…The potential return of QB-Colin Kaepernick to an NFL team seems to be out there on the horizon, and even if Coach Anthony Lynn said last week the team might take a look at him, I doubt it. The Bolts had three years to setup a workout for Kaepernick, knowing full well they were moving on from Philip Rivers, and never did. Now they have publicly voted that Tyrod Taylor is there starter, and they have the huge investment in Justin Herbert, the number 1-pick from Oregon. No room at the Inn for Kaep, though he has to be viewed as a valued addition in places like New England, Baltimore, Arizona, Jacksonville, who need an insurance policy QB-who could play.
CHARGERS TRADE RUMOR…Not sure what to make of the rumor of a Bolts-Vikings trade, CB-Desmond King for OT-Riley Reiff. Left tackles are hard to come by, so why would Minnesota move Reiff, unless it is a salary dump, because he can still play. The Chargers have the space to take on a 13M-cap figure left tackle. The Vikings would probably need a draft pick plus King to make this deal go. King had the special 2018-season, but really fell in a subpar 2019 season.
AZTECS…The landscape of college football seems very unstable right now, just two weeks before SDSU is supposed to reopen campus to its football players as the second summer term is about to begin. AD-John David Wicker is aware of the 37-positive tests in two weeks time at Clemson, the 32-at Texas Tech, and the fact Boise-Houston-Kansas State shutdown their facilities within a week of opening of them because of a flurry of tests. Uneasy time.
LAKERS-CLIPPERS…Basketball in a bubble is about to start. The Clippers report to the Orlando Bubble on July 8th, the Lakers on July 9th. The two teams are scheduled to play each other in the opening day of the ‘seeding season’ on JUly 30th, the first of the 8-games each team plays to determine the final playoff slots before the play-in games begin.
NBA OPT OUTS…Busy week ahead to find out how many more players decide they won’t go to Orlando to take part in the re-start of the season. Lakers G-Avery Bradley (8PPG) won’t be there because of family concerns. The Lakers should be able to replace his quality of work if they do sign longtime NBA G-JR Smith to replace him.
NHL…Some weekend following the Friday NHL-Draft Lottery. In a strange sports season, in a bizarre rule change, the worst teams did not get the top draft picks in the lottery, and all missed out on the chance to get the top Canadian players, high scoring LW-Alexis Lafreniere. That’s because the NHL this year, had not only the non-playoff teams in the lottery, but somehow devised a formula that any of the 8-teams that lose first round playoff series could be eligible. And when the lottery was done Friday, the “Placecard” was held open with the number 1-pick, when a playoff team wound up potentially with the 1st pick. It means a second lottery is coming with the 8-teams that get knocked out of the opening round of the playoffs. Nutsy way to do business. Really unfair to the lowly teams like the Red Wings and Ottawa, who should be getting access to a generational player like Lafreniere.
KINGS-DUCKS…It worked out well for the teams out here. The LA Kings, in the throes of a massive rebuild, went from the 7th worst record in the league, to getting the 2nd pick in the draft, and getting access to a plum of a player. Then the Ducks wound up landing the 6th pick in the opening round and a chance to get a goal-scorer likely with that choice.
LEFTY IS RIGHT ON…Fabulous couple of days for 50-year old Phil Mickelson, going 64-63 and actually having the lead at the Traveller’s Championships in Connecticut before fading. There are still some good rounds of golf left in the bag, though Mickelson has not won in awhile.
GOOD OLE BOYS…A week removed from the incidents at Talladega involving driver Bubba Wallace, kudos to Jimmie Johnson for triggering the most historic day in history. At a drivers meeting on Sunday, after the ‘noose incident’ became public, Johnson stood up and said the 40-man field needed to show support for the black driver. He came up with the idea of the drivers walking behind Wallace’s car to the front of Pit Row. Then instantly, every pit crew member of every team, more than 200-lined up behind the drivers as they all walked to show support. A special moment triggered by the driver from El Cajon.