MLB's big day
The MLB draft is today. I love the draft you know this.
But as teams fill five rounds of a draft with the names they hope will be central figures of their teams and this game for years to come, the immediate future of the MLB and the aftershocks of these decisions could have a far greater impact than any player picked.
The back-and-forth and frequently contentious negotiations between owners and the players union have now been volleyed back to the MLBPA with an offer of a 76-game season with approximately 75 percent of the prorated pay for the players.
One of the best ways to describe this was originally offered by Jeff Passan over the weekend on ESPN radio. He said accurately that the owners have been completely content to privatize the profits but now want to socialize the losses since there will be no ticket revenue this year.
How is that fair?
Now check the hard numbers: The average MLB franchise value in 2010 was $491 million; heading into 2020 it was $1.852 billion. So over the last decade, the value of teams have increased more than 370 percent in the last decade; salaries for the players over the last decade have increased roughly 44 percent.
So know this:
If there is no baseball in 2020, there will be plenty of blame to parse out, especially when it's millionaires fighting billionaires in a time when a vast majority of America knows they are a pink slip from poverty.
But I firmly believe if there's no baseball in 2020, it's the owners fault.
A super and sad question
Yes, it's true that today is Tuesday so we will play some True or False in a moment.
This morning during the daily research, the names trending on Twitter included Robin Williams, Princess Di, Heath Ledger and Phil Hartman.
The link was a social media group question of "Which celebrity death hit you hardest?"
I love that question, and have two answers. As a kid, it was Elvis, and I can remember hearing my mom cry in the other room on the day Elvis kicked the bucket with his blue suede shoes on Aug. 16, 1977. (Yes, I remember it clearly, but I remember the exact date because it was the day the Mrs. 5-at-10 was born.)
As an adult, I'm not sure there is one. But the overall choice for me is a clear choice.
Len Bias. I was 15 going on 16, and he was by far my favorite basketball player. (I am prepared to stand, argue, fight and die on the hill that Bias was better than MJ in college.)
Now add to it how I learned of Bias' overdose in the hours following the Celtics — my favorite NBA team at the time — making him the No. 2 pick in the 1985 draft.
We were at Woodward Academy at a high school team basketball camp. That morning, Hugh Durham, then the coach at the University of Georgia, delivered the traditional 'Camp Keynote' address.
He talked about decisions. He talked about ramifications of those decisions. He started to get detailed about making smart decisioned for your team, your family and yourself.
He made the example of what if the person you think has everything in the world going for them makes one bad decisions that costs them everything.
With a gym full of teenage basketball junkies, he started to give specific examples. "Like Magic or Bird," Durham said. "Or even Michael Air Jordan."
Then he said the name that made my ears perk.
"Or even a young guy like Lenny Bias," the former Georgia coach said.
So he spun the tale of Bias' highlights. He arrived at Maryland as a physical freak but was raw and erratic. He developed. He worked. He went from seven points in 22 minutes a game as a freshman to 15-plus in almost 35 minutes per game as a sophomore.
But getting in the game was not enough. He improved to be ACC player of the year as a junior and a consensus All-American as a senior.
Durham detailed the highlights of the previous few days. Picked No. 2 overall by the Celtics. Going to get to play along the best front court in the NBA — and possibly in league history — as a rookie. Just signed a five-year endorsement deal with Reebok for $1.6 million.
"You have it all and the future is limitless, right?" Durham asked the gym, reeling me in even more.
"Well, one decision can end it all."
(Long pause — it may have been five seconds; it felt like five minutes — in a gym that had a thousand people in it but not a single sound.)
"Len Bias died this morning," Durham said, "after a drug overdose."
Tears streamed down my cheek, and as I looked around, I realized there was not a dry eye in the place.
(Side note: At the time that felt like all the money in the world. Now, 34 years later, Bias would have gotten a Zion-like, nine-figure contract with Nike. In some ways, if Bias had lived and lived up to the potential I believed he would have reached, he would have been the Air Bias that Reebok needed to fight MJ and Nike. Also, if Bias had lived, the Pistons do not win a title. The Celtics core, especially Bird and McHale aged in dog years, and Bias at least would have slowed the aging process. At most, he would have been a taller more physical MJ. How good was Bias? Beyond his physical gifts — which were very Jordan-esque in terms of running, leaping and defensive — he was a much better shooter entering the league than MJ was, and it's not close.)
Tuesday in the kitchen, and standing the heat
We went to a lot of our traditional favorites over the weekend.
Did some grilling — hamburgers and dogs on Saturday; steaks and the fixins on Sunday — as the Greeson clan stayed close to home.
We did dabble with a new one: Cheeseburger egg rolls. It needs work — my egg roll folding needs work — and I will share my recipes and experiences next week when I feel more comfortable with the process and the final product.
But while we are here, you know the phrase, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Well, apparently that doesn't apply to Mr. Dabo Swinney, the Clemson coach, who in a time of racial unrest unseen in this country in half a century handled questions about one of his assistants using the N-word toward a black player.
Hey, Swinney's tactics have rubbed me wrong for a while now. And that's fine. And I'm sure he's not losing sleep over it and considering his résumé, he not only has the Clemson job for as long as he wants, he's no worse than the No. 2 college football coach currently blowing a whistle.
And in truth, Swinney's words about the tight ends coach Danny Pearman dropping the most toxic word in the English language to a black Clemson player make a lot of sense.
Here's what Swinney said:
"I would fire a coach immediately if he called a player an N-word. No questions asked. That did not happen. Absolutely did not happen. It has not happened. Coach Pearman was correcting D.J. (Greenlee), and another player was talking to D.J., or D.J. was yelling at the player, and D.J. said something he probably shouldn't have said. He said, 'I blocked the wrong f---ing N-word,' and Coach Pearman thought he was saying it to him, and he's mad, and he reacted, and in correcting him, he repeated the phrase.
""And [Pearman] said, 'We don't say we blocked the wrong f---ing N-word.' And he repeated it. He shouldn't have done that. There's no excuse for even saying that. But there is a big difference. He did not call someone an N-word."
It's far from the only detail Swinney addressed about race relations and his reactions.
And hey, it's a time of unrest and difficult questions and decisions.
My biggest problem with Swinney's comments on Monday have little to do with his comments.
He recorded a video statement and posted it on the team's website.
In this day and age of teleconferences and Zoom and everything else, Swinney took the gutless way out and avoided questions, and know this: Every question about any of those incidents — Pearman, the Football Matters sweatshirt, the sit-in disagree from 2016 and his recent statements that football coaches do not have that big a role in calming uneasy racial relations — will be met with a "I've already spoke about that," canned answer.
This and that
— Hey I love the draft, so you think I'd be all over the ESPN redraft the NFL feature right? Well, it's so nonsensical that I am having a hard time working through it. First, the first what 12-15 picked would be QBs. And Drew Lock ahead of Matt Ryan Say what?!?!?!
— Whether it was designed as click bait or not, it certainly was chicken liver to this catfish. How's this for a headline on Yahoo this morning? "Tucker Carlson Stuns Twitter Users With 'Most Racist' Thing He's Ever Said.' The statement in question from the Fox News host: "This may be a lot of things, this moment we're living through, but it is definitely not about Black lives. And remember that when they come for you and at this rate, they will."
— Speaking of cable news craziness, here's the lawyer for the Minnesota police officer accused of killing on CNN with Chris Cuomo saying that it's "questionable" that his client's knee was on George Floyd's neck. So there's that.
— You know the rules. Here's No. 4 on TFP college football expert David Paschall's list of most memorable SEC games he covered in the 1990s.
True or false. Who's in.
True or false, you instantly knew the answer to "Which celebrity death impacted you the most" question on social media? (Feel free to share the answer if so.)
True or false, Fox and CNN should take 'news' off their masthead.
True or false, you want to know more about the Cheeseburger Egg Roll.
True or false, and we feel like we ask this every week, there will be a 2020 MLB season.
Answer some, leave some.
As for today, June 9, let's review.
Some likable celebrities celebrate birthdays today. Johnny Depp. Natalie Portman. Michael J. Fox.
What other than Back to the Future makes Fox's Rushmore?