FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2017, file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick greets fans after an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Santa Clara, Calif. It was his last game in the NFL.. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)

MLB optimism really?

The worm turned Wednesday, and it turned quickly and toward the light.

The MLB Network reported that the owners have presented a plan to play 60 games in 70 days with full prorated pay. The plan would include an expanded postseason, which is way, Way, WAY more TV money for the owners.

That pitch checks important boxes for each side.

Will it be enough? Hard to know, because the players want more games which means more money for their side.

But it feels like the first olive branch in a process with the smoothness and courtesy of a nasty alimony mediation.

Under this plan MLB would start in earnest July 19.

Yes, we all are fair and likely inclined to wonder, "What in blue blazes took this long when we all could see this middle of the road meeting place a month ago?" But right now, the hope of baseball is greater than my need to be cynical and bitter.

I do believe that the "Tell us when and where" campaign that the players started to call commissioner Rob Manfred's bluff from Monday was very effective.

And where it goes from here. The proposed 60 games, fully prorated, is much closer to the $1.5 billion owners want to spend than the $2.2 billion the players want to make. Also, if the status of a possible grievance filed by the players is a deal-breaker, well, it's hard for me to see anything other than this deal being broken. 

It just would kind of title the perspective of blame back toward the players inn the court of public opinion.

But forget the negativity right now. We have numbers and a possible start date and the thought of details like the universal DH and the wrinkles and rule changes that a shortened season could mean.

As for on the field, the math of a 60-game season will equate to a lot of new things and angles.

Edge to teams with exceedingly deep pitching staffs, especially bullpens considering the limited prep time.

Edge to fans of teams with stacked minor league systems, because with the growly likelihood that there will be no minor league baseball and whispers that the MLB time will be a huge talking point in the next CBA, I think you could see a lot of rookies playing huge roles rather than wasting a complete season.

Edge to drama. Each game is almost a three-game series in a normal year, so the value is clear. Now know that if 2019 was a 60-game season with expanded playoffs, here are the teams that would have qualified: L.A., Milwaukee, Chicago, Atlanta, Philly, San Diego, St. Louis and Colorado in the NL; Houston, Minnesota, New York, Tampa Bay, Texas, Boston, Cleveland and Oakland in the AL. The team missing? Of course it's eventual World Series winner Washington.



Kaepernick chatter

Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said Wednesday afternoon that Colin Kaepernick was definitely on their summer workout roster.


By this morning, the rush to be the talking head that advanced the story to the place of appropriate outrage in these socially charged times, I saw at least three ESPN personalities barking, "That's an insult to Keep workout roster? He should be signed and playing right now."

By the end of Press Row later today, there will be someone bemoaning that Kaep should be starting in Atlanta over Matt Ryan or if he was still in San Fran, the 49ers would have won the Super Bowl.

(Which then will lead to some pro-Kaepernick national media pitch man saying that it was a good thing that Kaepernick did not help the 49ers win the Lombardi because that could have led to thousands of more Corona cases and who knows how many more deaths in San Francisco. That's right, people, Kaepernick is saving people from the Corona now.)

I am not anti-Kaepernick. Not at all. I think his choice for protesting was brilliant in terms of reach, power and impact. Brilliant.

I think Kaepernick's convictions were true, because the man was willing to give up his career for his cause.

I think Kaepernick's message was and is live-changingly important even if the messenger is flawed, and history will reflect amazingly well on Kaepernick. Think about it this way: Kaep will be slotted among the great civil rights leaders without the amazing talent of a Jackie Robinson, Ali, Louis, Owens or any of the all-time social change agents in sports history. Plus, with a seven-figure deal with Nike, the real life struggles of giving up your career are not applicable.

There is a duplicitousness though in the Kaep narrative that is being spun around him. Not by Keep mind you, but about Kaep.

He should be immediately signed? Really. Come on.

Kaepernick has not taken a snap in four years, and in that last season, while he had a niece TD-to-Int ratio (16-to4), he completed less than 60 percent of his throws and was 1-10 as a starter. 

A tryout is too much to ask? Kaepernick was forced from the league because of stuff off the field, but I pray no sports league or team gets to a place in which we are going to force guys into the league because of stuff off the field too.

And the irony can't be lost on the moment right now, and the swing factor is very interesting of the change around us.

The Chargers make a ton of sense to sign Kaepernick because a) name a Chargers player; b) the Chargers have the fewest fans in the NFL so the backlash would be minimal; c) Kaep's Chargers jersey becomes the best-selling sports merchandise anywhere; d) the Chargers made the impact of a shift breeze in the L.A. market and this would change that instantly.

The best way I know to succinctly describe the change about Colin Kaepernick and his protest in this day and time:

The NFL turned its back on him because of business decisions. Now the NFL is welcoming him back as a business decision.

So there's that. 



Who's next?

We wondered Wednesday in this space about the next target for the empowered voices of college athletes, current and former.

We expanded on that in today's A2 column.

Well, we got the answer as some of the biggest names in South Carolina football history are pushing to rename the wellness center on campus.

So, I give the over/under of next Tuesday as the deadline in which South Carolina will announce the school will rename the Sen. Strom Thurmond Wellness Center.

Here's a Tweet from former Gamecocks All-American Marcus Lattimore: "To celebrate well known segragationist (sic) Strom Thurmond's legacy by keeping his name on our Wellness Center sends a contradicting message to our black students @UofSC. We can no longer be held back by those whose ideals represent division. We must continue to fight for equality."

Considering Thurmond's history — he was a renowned supporter of segregation and again the Civil Rights Act in 1964 — I understand the movement and the angst. Heck, more over, I support it.

But now we know who was next, which leaves the question who's next?



This and that

— OK, in the race to get back in every industry, it appears The Bold and The Beautiful — a long-running CBS soap opera — will return to shooting. There are some interesting Corona-related distancing rules, including using blow-up sex dolls in the romantic scenes. Hubba hubba.

— You know the rules. Here's TFP college football expert David Paschall with the next entry of the most memorable SEC games he covered in the 2000s.

— Drive-By Truckers are apologizing for its name. So there's that.

— The hatred between police and society right now is so staggeringly stark, I have to wonder if there will be a huge dip in the numbers of cadets in the academies. Who right now would want to be a police officer, honestly? Read the comments about this video that went viral in Georgia about a female cop showing a teary experience waiting for an Egg McMuffin. Wow, it got "McMuffin" and "Officer Karen" trending on Twitter for much of Wednesday.

— Side question: It doesn't offend me, but is the term "Karen" as a designation for white privileged women derogatory? Is it offensive, because I'm sure it's not meant as a term of endearment? I know for sure it's stereotypical, but again, what do I know I'm a white guy.

— The college football recruiting rankings for the 2021 class have been reshuffled. Here you go.

— Golf is back this weekend. Good times. Well, not necessarily for Jordan Spieth, who was 3 over through three holes Thursday morning. 

— Now Mike Gundy is being accused of using the 'N-word' during a game against Colorado when he was a player in 1989. 



Today's questions

Have you submitted a mailbag question? Why not?

True or false on a Thursday

True or false, Mike Gundy will be coaching Oklahoma State this season.

Been a heavy week, no. How about a dad joke? Why do ducks have feathers?

To cover up their butt quacks. Thank you.

Dear buckets we're in a broken place, no? Check out the headlines at friends.

On this day 51 years ago, "The Wild Bunch" was released. On this day in 1991, Ron's favorite song "Everything I Do I Do It for You" was released by Ron's favorite artist Bryan Adams.

Paul McCartney is 78 today.

On this day in 2006, Phil Mickelson hit his drive on the 72nd hole of the U.S. Open at Winged Foot into a trash can and made double bogey on the 18th hole to lose the Open by a shot to Geoff Ogliviy.

We could do golf chokes Rushmore, but again, it's been such a negative week, let's go positive.

Who else along with Philly Mick is on the Rushmore of active athletes will be an absolutely star as a TV sports analyst/personality? Go and remember the mailbag.