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New York Yankees' Aaron Judge follows through on an eighth-inning, two-run home run against the Boston Red Sox in a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, at Yankee Stadium in New York. Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki is at right. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

CAPE SAND BLAS, Fla. — OK, friends, we've headed South, to the land of clear water and (fingers crossed) somewhat socially distanced sands.

Good times. So, when we're out of the 423, two things are assured to happen. First, we will continue the 5-at-10, because hey, once the streak is broken — every weekday since the last Monday in October of 2010, rain, snow, sickness, funeral, you name it — it will be broken forever. That counts vacation too. (Side question: True or false on a Monday, it's completely inappropriate for a grown man to say 'Vacay' in reference to a vacation. IN fact, make that a true or Absolutely True. There is no long er a false option.)

The second thing is we will write shorter and move faster — especially Tuesday, because we are taking the family fishing bright and early.

Deal? Deal.

 

Weekend winners

Louis Riddick in particular and Monday Night Football viewers in general. With the breaking news that Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Riddick form the three-person announcing team, well, that's a noticeable improvement in my opinion. Plus, given this chance and his connections to the field and more importantly the front offices, I believe Riddick has a Tony Romo level ceiling. I hope with Riddick's knowledge and his defensive acumen — he was a standout safety who had his highlights calling on-field signals and coverage audibles in Cleveland when the head coach was some dude named Belichick and the DC was some dude named Saban — I hope they encourage a Romo-like approach to pre-play prediction and diagnosis from the defensive side.  

The Braves. Hey, a sweep is a sweep, friends. But to blow past the Mets with a monster rally Friday, and relatively easy wins Saturday and Sunday makes it especially nice.

Justin Thomas first and Bones Mackay, too. OK, Thomas' win in Memphis was the headliner, but Bones — Phil Mickelson's long-time caddie who was an emergency fill-in for Thomas this week, was a big-winner too. Not only in terms of the coin — if he got 10 percent of the $1.82 million winner's share, he's got that going for him, which is nice — but the street cred of grabbing a bag and helping that player win will only help Bones in his future TV endeavors or if he wants to get back on the circuit. In truth, is Bones right behind Stevie Williams as the most recognizable caddie of all time? Fluff, maybe? As for Thomas, well, the money was awesome, but so too is the rise back to No. 1 in the world golf rankings.Aaron Judge. New York's other team is scorching.

The Yankees are 7-1 after rolling Boston and Judge is on pace for a historic roll through the shortened season. In eight games, he has six homers and 14 RBIs. Prorated over 60, that's 45 homers and 105 RBIs in 60 games. Of course with the Corona spreading in St. Louis and the baseball leadership doing what baseball leadership has consistently done under Rob Manfred, maybe we should prorate Judge's numbers of 30 games, huh. (And yes, 22.5 homers and 52.5 RBIs would be MVP-level numbers over 30 games.)  

 

Weekend losers

Baseball. Now multiple sources are confirming that multiple new cases among Cardinals players. Welp, in this day and age and time, I'll just leave it this way: Enjoy every baseball game you watch, friends, because who knows when it will be the last one for the foreseeable future. And gang, when Scott Boras is offering the voice of leadership and reason — playoff bubble, Spanish-speaking liaisons to help non-English-speaking players, etc. — well, oh my. 

Good people in Minneapolis. Roughly a month after defunding the police department and encouraging a holistic approach — with calls from multiple council members to disband the police department — gun activity and street crime is everywhere in Minneapolis. According to this report — which is amazingly slanted if you ask me, and maybe part of that is because of the police department's tight-lipped response — the Minneapolis Police are down more than 10 percent — and estimates having them down a third in staff because of officers leaving and approved matters to defund the budget of the force. The results are somewhat predictable — police stops are down and citizen reports of gunfire are up more than 150 percent. In fact according to this report there were more than 100 armed robberies and 20 carjackings in one precinct of Minneapolis in July alone. The solution? Suggestions from the 'defund the police' city leadership is a Robbery prevention tips checklist that includes: 'Do not walk alone;' 'Be prepared to give up your cell phone and purse/wallet;' 'Do as they say;' and 'Carry only items you need.' As for that last one, well, it appears more and more to me that if I lived there, a gun would certainly be an item I need. And while we are here, it seems like the city leadership of Minneapolis has already followed the "Do as they say advice" and that's why their constituents are facing this crime wave.

The entire unemployment debate and the complete failure and gridlock of our Washington leadership. Forget partisanship for a second, because this is about the country and the national way of life we as responsible adults are trying to leave for our kids and grandkids, and this is ridiculous friends. For all of them. No leadership from either side. No vision. No planning. And again, that's from either side, because as the benefits lapsed Friday with a GOP-backed extension of the overly hefty $600 a week in extra unemployment benefits, Nancy Pelosi and crew had a hissy fit about it. Shame on her and her party for that continued socialist money grab and public-pleasing-at-election-time pandering. Hey, if some of you guys and gals — and that includes me — are going to call out the failings and shortcoming of Trump, well, Nancy Pelosi is far from the reincarnate of Mr. (or Mrs.) Smith heading to Washington, either. That's complete and totally self-serving dishonesty from her and her House party mates in my opinion.

The NCAA. With the looming NCAA Board of Governors meeting later this week and the Power Five schools saying if need be they would handle their own fall sports championships. As Dennis Dod says here, the NCAA and the Power Five are now adversaries, and the total breaking away I've been talking about throughout the changing landscape of these changing times in college sports looks more likely, and all-but-certain if the NCAA BoG votes to end fall sports on Tuesday. And that statement makes you wonder a) who is actually in control when the Power Five is forcing the NCAA into corners, and b) how much longer that scenario exists since if the Power Five is running this thing anyway, why share the revenues with the NCAA and the other athletic departments when the only thing the Power Five truly gets from the NCAA — especially if the Power Five start handling the non-revenue sports' championships — is March Madness.

 

Speaking of college athletics

All the Power Five conferences this side of the Big 12 are voting on and announcing their college football scheduling plans.

They are going to try to have football for a slew of reasons for a slew of folks, including the players.

Because before we get too far down the rabbit hole, the conversation can't be universally one-sided about the exploitation of college football players when a lot of us — myself included — bemoaned the unfortunate and truly sad results of college and high school seniors not getting the on-field conclusion their predecessors earned and enjoyed.

Same goes for college football players, too. In fact, if you polled high school and college football players on whether they wanted to try to play or bag it right now, I'd put the over/under north of 80 percent total, with high school players being higher and high school seniors being closer to 96 percent.So yes, in that manner, the players are being thought of in a lot of ways.

But there is the exploitation angles that the schools — and the towns and boosters of said schools — clearly need the revenue generated from those all-important fall Saturdays.And with that need comes power, in fact, it's a historic realization of power from the players side that is completely undeniable.

Whether it's Marvin Wilson at FSU calling out his head coach and getting an apology, RBs in Stillwater and Starkville pointing out a head coach's T-shirt faux pas or a state's racist flag, Texas players forming a mini-union and demanding better 'work' conditions, or just about anything else, college football players have a more powerful voice that ever before.

Now a group of players in the Pac-12 have continued to push the envelope, releasing a list of demands with threats of boycotts.

Among the demands listed on a letter published on The Players' Tribune signed by the "Players of the Pac-12" — which included social media posts of support from future NFL very high first-round pick Penei Sewell of Oregon — and using the hashtag #WeAreUnited started with a mission statement of "Because NCAA sports exploit college athletes physically, economically and academically, and also disproportionately harm Black college athletes, #WeAreUnited."

Well, college football also creates unmatched opportunities and gives chances to higher education to a large number of athletes from all walks of life who would not otherwise have it. To acknowledge one without the other is disingenuous to be frank.    

And speaking of disingenuous, well, I believe it's more than fair to look at the "National College Players Association" — a de facto union led by some cat named Ramogi Huma with a filled-Neyland Stadium-level of skepticism.

Especially when the details about the concerns and the demands is this outstretching.

For example, the players are understandably concerned about their protection and the steps being taken during a pandemic to ensure that safety. Makes all the sense in the world, and if you are against that notion or don't understand those feelings of uncertainty in a pandemic of this stretch, well, I got nothing for you.

But to extrapolate those COVID concerns into demands of social justice — including 2 percent of revenue from Pac-12 sports to be used for black causes — makes me ask if the players are now exploiting the pandemic for social causes, and who is if Huma and the NCPA could be exploiting "college athletes physically, economically and academically" in the pandemic for their own advancement.

Either way, the growing voice of college athletes will only become louder gang. Believe that.

 

This and that

— Very well done story here on the different sides of the area high schools with Indian references in the names of their school mascots from TFP all-around ace Ben Benton. Seems there is some angst about the issue in general from academics in Knoxville and national spokesmen for Indians, but close to universal support from area school leaders and even the head of a Cherokee tribe on the N.C.-Tennessee border.

— Side note here friends. I am not caught up on Yellowstone. Repeat, we are not up to date on Yellowstone, so please for the love of John Dutton and Rip no spoilers. Deal? Deal.

— Doug Pederson, head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, has the Corona. Side question for you football fans out there: Would you want your best player or your head coach to miss 14 days with the Corona? Puts a real spin on whether you have the right guy atop the organization, no?

— Following along today at timesfreepress.com as TFP sports editor and high school sports guru Stephen Hargis takes his annual tour of the first day of football practice. In a time when we are starved for normalcy, friends, this feels as normal as anything we could want around our parts.

— Hey, more details to come tomorrow, but if I offered a PGA Championship golf contest, who's in? I vote yay, what say you, the populace? And yes, Speaker Pelosi wants the prizes to be much increased and bashed me for not offering nearly enough free stuff.

— OK, maybe I wasn't as short and quick as normal. So it goes. Play nice friends. I'll be back after lunch.

 

Today's questions

 

Weekend winners and losers. Discuss.

Multiple choice Monday goes this way today to honor Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr., on this his 43rd birthday.

If your team was down 4 with 60 seconds left with one timeout and a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, which QB would you want?

— Tom Brady

— Peyton Manning

— John Elway

— Other (and specify the other for favor)

As for other happenings on this day, Aug. 3, well on this day win 1492, Chis Columbus set sail on the ocean blue. The NBA was formed on this day in 1949 as the BBA and the NBL merged.

Side note: TV numbers were huge for last Thursday's NBA return on TNT.)

Martin Sheen is 80 today. Rushmore of Martin Sheen movies.

Go, and what say ye about olde golfing contest this week?

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