The business of sports
We have been doing this little weekday morning song and dance every day since late October 2010.
So technically the 5-at-10 is about nine months older than the start of the greatest contract decision in sports history.
Yes, it's July 1, which means it's Bobby Bonilla Day. On July 1, 2011, Bonilla went to his mailbox for a certified check for right at $1.2 million from the New York Mets.
Bonilla took a buyout from the Mets for his contract that had between $5-and-6 million on it for the 1999 season. Well, Mets ownership wanted to take that money and invest it in the then and there and agreed to an annual defer payment to Bonilla every July 1, starting in '11 and running through 2035. (Side note: If I am still doing the 5-at-10 when the Bonilla family gets that final check, well, come visit me at Alexian, will you?)
So the Mets turned a little less than the $6 million it owed Bonilla into roughly $25 million in payment. So there's that. And the only way this story gets more typically Mets is that the money it did not pay Bonilla was invested with some Wall Street go-getter named Bernie Madoff, and well, we know how that story ended.
And speaking of New York sports franchise also-rans finishing up disastrous contracts, Tuesday was the final installment of the Nets owed former all-star point guard Daron Williams.
Williams, who last played in the NBA in 2017, received the final check of his five-year, $98 million deal he signed in 2012, but the Nets bought him out and the terms extended until Tuesday.
What was the damage, well, the Nets have been paying Williams about $15,000 a day since his career ended in 2017.
Hey, anyone want to offer me a buyout? Let's talk.
Cancel culture questions for sane people
The month of June was filled with unrest that became protests that and sadly and too frequently became riots, which thankfully have seemed to be subsiding in most instances and cities.
The wide array of requests and targets for these protests are hardly surprising since the leadership is varied and far reaching as well.
In most instances, symbols — mainly and rightly from the Confederacy — have been targeted, so those steps have been understandable.
Any target that has connections to slavery will be evaluated, but the universal sweep na eventual erasure of that time scares me. And this is way beyond Stone Mountain or the disclaimer or historical narratives added to "Gone With the Wind."
This is far more serious than the silliness about Paw Patrol or the litany of celebrities falling all over themselves because of back stories of black face. (Side question: Did you see the story about the Golden Girls episode that was removed from syndication because of a blackface joke? No, Betty White and Rue Whatshername did not have blackface. They had a very I Love Lucy-esque scenario that had them meeting the black fiancé of one of the Golden Girls' kids and they were coming out of the spa with mud-treatments on their faces. It actually was pretty funny, back when we were allowed to have a sense of humor. Ah the good ol' days.)
My concern is two fold.
First, when time and scenarios change, viewing previous years and especially previous generations from decades if not centuries ago with the prism of modern enlightenment is a fool's errand.
And downright dangerous.
Washington had space. Jefferson did too, and by all reporting loved one of them more than his family. Are the days number for two of the greatest Americans because of those connections? Statues of or buildings named for Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson have been toppled.
This also takes us to the conversation of times or actions and which should be viewed with more weight.
Baseball has offered us a couple instances recently.
First there was the Vin Scully social media uprising earlier this week, where folks online looked back at Scully's view against Colin Kaepernick's protest — a view that a lot of the nation shared mind you — and wanted the greatest baseball announcer of all-time cancelled. This ignored the stories and reports of how gracious and supportive Scully was to Jackie Robinson as he broke the color barrier in baseball in the 1940s.
Which also leads us to the conversations raised by some former MLB MVPs who want to remove former commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis' name from the MVP trophy.
While some theories have been presented that the only reason Branch Rickey waited until 1947 to try to integrate baseball with Robinson was because Landis retired in 1945. A lot of folks think that's a myth, though, including this Time magazine story from a few years ago.Yes, Landis was the leader of baseball in a hate-filled, segregated time of the game. But is that his fault or the state of society in that day and age?
And there's a real conversation to be had if Barry Larkin and some of the other relatively modern-age stars would have had a game of baseball at all, if Landis had not saved the sport from going down a professional 'rasslin' path after the 1919 Black Sox scandal.
Should they play
It's the question of the day, the week, the month, the hour these days. Alas.
Today is July 1. For the first time since words like pandemic got a forever livable and pertinent definition, Corona became something other than a Cinco de Mayo beverage choice and socially distant was transformed from the euphemistic term moms of awkward teenage boys used about their sons' dating habits, we can say there are live major team sports scheduled for this month.
MLB players were supposed to declare. NBA players are scheduled to report. College football bigwigs remain as falsely optimistic as die-hard Trump 2020 poll workers. (Side question: Is there a bigger difference in two jobs with changing only one letter than "poll worker" and "pole worker" anywhere? Discuss.)Will sports happen? The conversations seem to flip almost daily, even every few hours depending on the subject and the sport
Here's TFP ace sports columnist Mark Wiedmer noting the seismic shift in the phrasing between "Would" and "should" in terms of returning to the field for our sports stars.
Here's the latest on the TSSAA, which is some serious high-level discussions about football moving forward, from TFP sports editor and prep sports guru Stephen Hargis.
It's kind of crazy, right?
Because on Memorial Day, the first holiday of summer, my thought was "When" sports return?
Heading into July 4th, it's clearly changed to "If" sports return.And it's completely fair to start to wonder should sports return.
This and that
— From TFP all-around sports superstar David Paschall, here's the word that we all expected that minor league baseball is done for 2020 and for 40 or so minor league franchises, that's a wrap in terms of major-league partnership forever. Let's hope the Lookouts are outside that line, right?
— While we mentioned how July 1 will be remembered in the Bonilla household for that $1-plus-million booty at the end of the stroll to the mailbox, June 30 will forever be remembered in the Wilcox home in North Georgia for several million reasons, too. Cole Wilcox, the former Heritage High and University of Georgia star pitcher signed with the Padres for $3.3 million, according to this excellent work from TFP North Georgia ace and all-around good dude Lindsey Young.
— OK, in the "1+1+1 = You guessed it" category, here's a story that could go into any number of files. The "Here's Your Sign" file. The Darwinism at work file. Or even in some ways the "My Way or the Highway" file. A Black Lives Matter protester was trying to get the attention of the governor of Iowa. So said protester stood in front of the governor's SUV in the middle of the road. After waiting to let said protestor move, the Iowa state troop driving the SUV bumped the protestor. From the news story, the protestor said: "The SUV that Gov. (Kim) Reynolds was driving in drove right up to me. I was standing right in front of the car and I just stood there. I was like, 'I'm going to stand here. Surely the driver of the governor is not going to hit me with her car. This is the governor, my governor, who's supposed to be representing me. I'm sure that her car is not going to intentionally hit me.' I was wrong." Yes, you were wrong — for standing in the middle of the street, doofus. Hey, "If you don't want to get wet, come in out of the rain" could be a file too right?
— Adam Silver says the NBA is looking at whether to tape delay games because of cussing, which will be even more noticeable in gyms without crowds in the bubble. Side question: Wonder how Vegas and the instant betting folks view this possible wrinkle?
— Richard Sherman thinks Cam Newton getting pennies on the dollar and an incentive-laden contract is "disgusting" and since everything has a racial connection these days, well, we can assume why. Well, OK, Richard. Thanks for that. One more question though: When Patrick Mahomes resets the record amount an NFL player is ever guaranteed, you thinK Richard will swing by social media congratulating the Chiefs in particular and the NFL in general for embracing a black quarterback with the richest deal ever? I'm not holding my breath.
— I could not have been more wrong about UNC luring Mack Brown from ESPN to return to the sideline. UNC overachieved last year and is KER-rushing it on the recruiting trail right now. Add to that Tony Grimes, the nation's No. 1 corner, and Brown's Heels have a top-three ranked recruiting class by almost every service.
Which way Wednesday
Which adult beverage kicked your keister in high school to the point that the very smell of said adult beverage makes you queasy? I'll start and take tequila for $200 Alex.
Which fictional sports movie coach (Herb Brooks and Herman Boone are real, friends) do you want giving America a 2020 halftime speech after the worst first half to any year since any of us have been alive?
A) Coach Tony D (Al Pacino) in Any Given Sunday, in the way he gave the "Life is about that inch" speech;
B) Terrence Mann (James Earl Jones) in Field of Dreams, in the way he gave the "People will come, Ray" speech;
C) Coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) from Friday Night Lights, in the "That's what character is" speech;
D) Coach Gary Gaines (Billy Bob\ Thornton) from Friday Night Lights the movie, in "Can you be perfect" speech;
E) Other (but you have to be specific and no links or the comment will not post)
Let's go.. Let's GOOOOOOOO.
Which major sport, offered in alphabetical order, has the best chance to play in 2020
A) College football
Wow, heavy stuff. So it goes in 2020 right.
Late add: Which all-time post player do you want on the block if you need one bucket to force overtime?
B) Hakeem the Dream
C) Kevin McHale
D) Healthy Bill Walton
As for July 1, let's review.
Happy birthday to Princess Di, who would have been 59 today, and Pam Anderson who is 53 today. Dan Aykroyd is 68 today.
Today is National Postal Workers Day, which leads us to two questions. First, is the phrase "Going postal" still a thing or was that deemed offensive? Or maybe just plain eliminated by time possibly?
Second, if we seek a Rushmore of TV/movie post people, does Kareem from Airplane count?
We'll add a Jabbar-related Which Way Wednesday question above, but let's do the Rushmore of TV/movie postmen. Go and remember the mailbag.