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Backs against the wall

MLB owners have voted to implement a 60-game season. The players association has until 5 p.m. today to get back with answers to if players can be at spring training sites by July 1 and if they agree to work through the Corona testing protocol.

But the word implement makes me wonder a slew of things about all of this wasted energy about the possibility of baseball.

> "Why did all this bickering need to happen if all they had to do was vote to implement a plan? Seriously? That was an option from the beginning?"

> "Will the players say, 'Up yours' considering they have consistently voiced a desire for more games, and in turn more money? It seems the players are content with this but who knows in this back-and-forth, right?"

> "Will this in any way alter the public sentiment that it's been the owners more than the players standing in the way of baseball in these crazy days? Or will it reinforcement potentially?"

Ultimately those answers may never be fully formed, and may not matter either.
 

What is downright head-scratching is that after all of these song-and-dance numbers and finger-pointing tests and the like, baseball is coming back on the agreement reached in March between the two sides.

 

Which means one of two things, and while it's a true or false Tuesday and not a which way Wednesday, we still are interested int your thoughts to this which-way wondering:

Which happened:

> Leadership from each side completely booted the ball — like Buckner in Game 6 in '86 level of boot (Sorry Spy), or

> The owners played this like a finely tuned Guarneri, dragging their collective feet and being willing for Rob Manfred to take the public pressure and vitriol so that the calendar dictates that they can play no more than 60-or-so games, which comes in just a smidge north of that the owners were looking to pay in salaries all along.

Maybe there is some of both in this entire debacle. And I will be interested to see if this has a lasting effect on fan interest when (if) baseball returns in late July

But it's hard to believe in orchestrated coincidences in matters like this, right?  

 

Dangerous game

No, there are not many games happening right now. But the one being played downtown right now deserves our full attention.

A very real and dangerous threat to how we live right here in Chattanooga could hinge on a court decision today.

Speaking of important Tuesday afternoon decisions, according to this story, a hearing this afternoon will determine the legality of an 8-1 Chattanooga City Council vote of the amended budget that transferred almost $2 million from Chattanooga Police to social programs.

To be fair, I value and will fight to defend the process that Courtenay Cholovich, who filed the challenge last week, has used to generate today's hearing.

That's the way citizens can check on and call local government to the carpet. It's an important part of the American process and our democracy.I just pray that her motion does not lead to a defending decision which will become a defunding disaster.

In this day and age of police department defunding, that huge sum is viewed as inadequate. And while I have my fingers crossed and pray often that Chas' faith in the council to not defund our city police department, the incredibly stupid overreaction of defunding police departments is more than dangerous.

It could be economic suicide for a city in general and a downtown in particular that is already balancing a Corona-caused cash catastrophe.

Defunding the police? It's the modern, social justice warrior version of throwing the baby out with the bath water, no? Nevermind being ultimately destructive to the very folks who have been brain-washed into believing this a solution that would have prevented George Floyd's death.
 

Because, as Charles Barkley has consistently said, defunding the police departments around the country would hurt black communities way more than white communities.


Said Barkley, to ESPN's GetUp last week: ""We need to weed out the bad cops — you know I hear these guys getting on television these politicians talking about 'defunding the police department.' First of all, that would have a negative effect on the black communities — who the black people gonna call, Ghostbusters? Because they're not gonna defund the police in the good white neighborhoods, so we need police reform."

He's not wrong. I don't live in Chattanooga, so maybe my voice does not count, but unless I am going to work, I will no longer go downtown without police officers.
And for Chattanooga specifically, a large part of our downtown economy is built on tourism, especially drivable tourists. Now ask yourself how many folks are going to hop in a car in Canton, Georgia or Alabaster, Alabama or Paducah, Kentucky for a long weekend and look around for a destination and will say, "Hey, what's that super cool little town with the trails and the stuff?" "You mean Chattanooga, Dear?" "Heck no. They only have parking attendants and money invested in social programs to discourage criminals rather than full-funded police to protect citizens."

"OK, how 'bout Ashville."

Think of where all of this started, with the video death of man at the knee of a murderer who happened to wear a badge. That led to great conversations with protests filled with more diversity than any other time in our history.
 

No one supports police brutality — good police especially. We heard the cries and learned — maybe for some for the first time in practical matters — of the fear and the frustrations. America was ready to help, and more importantly ready to listen. For maybe the first time ever.


Well, that consensus, without leadership and direction, has devolved into a wide-reaching collection of goals that include the scary as (Bleep) decision to try to abolish city police departments to taking down statues of Teddy Roosevelt — is Rushmore a soon-to-be canceled term, friends? — to now this potentially downright deadly notion from New York City activist Shaun King.
 

Yes, that's King pitching to his more than 1 million Twitter followers that the depiction of white Jesus is "a gross form of white supremacy. Created as tools of oppression. Racist propaganda. They should all come down." His Tweet has almost 4,000 likes in less than a day.

 

From a unified fight for equality to coming after my church? Scary days indeed.


 

NASCAR

The story of the noose being found in Bubba Wallace's garage area has cast a shadow over the entire efforts at Talladega this weekend.

And NASCAR's response, big picture and finite, has been nothing short of pitch perfect.From vowing to find and punish the perpetrator to the images of the entire NASCAR teams following Wallace's car down pit row. It was a powerful image of support as every participated in pushing Bubba's car to the front of the line.Seriously powerful.

Wallace finished 14th Monday in the rescheduled race at Talladega.

But he continues to be first in so many other ways as NASCAR continues to embrace a change that was decades coming. While that change is never easy — and it is filled with missteps along the path, NASCAR's efforts must be praised.

 

From the corporate offices to the bottom line of the finances, because this will alienate some long-time fans, to each driving team to Bubba crying at the support as the greatest living driver ever (and his career owner) Richard Petty patting him on the back, NASCAR handled a terrible act with a series of acts of grace.  


This and that

— Side note: Yes, we realize that we now have gone two weeks without a Tuesday in the kitchen. That's on us. To be fair, with increased time at ballparks — we have started baseball and softball with the lil 5-at-10ers — limited times at the Food City and some family hurdles that have been beyond our control, we have been very basic and fallen back to some of the familiar favorites that we have already shared with you knuckleheads. When we get back into the lab, we'll have something from the new album.

— Dr. Harry Edwards, a brilliant activist, offered a couple of interesting ideas on First Take on ESPN on Monday. The first was the suggestion about Roger Goodell and the league hiring Colin Kaepernick as the leader of the league's new efforts to find ways to be more socially just. The other from Dr. Edwards was that Colin Kaepernick should be a finalist for the Nobel Peace Prize.  

— Bill Simmons , the CEO of The Ringer who got his start as the original online sports voice of Boston fans in particular and sports fans in general, has stepped in it. In an email about hiring practices and diversity, especially in regard to The Ringer's podcasts, Simmons said "It's not open mic night." Ouch-standing, especially when it's pointed out that Simmons frequently uses his school-aged son and has given his 15-year-old daughter a regular podcast on his nine-figure operation.  

— Jimmy Kimmel has been a drum-banging leader of the band of social media warriors who have practiced in the dangerous arts of cancel culture. Well, as we discussed last week, the cancel culture will eventually turn on everyone at some point and now they are coming after Kimmel for inexplicable skits in which he's in blackface and potentially crossing the line in terms of comments to Megan Fox. #CancelKimmel was trending on Twitter and it's not pretty. (Side note: One of Simmons' big breaks was becoming a staff writer in the early days of the late-night Kimmel Show.)

— Speaking of the New York Times, well, apparently Chattanooga now ranks No. 2 on a list of places "that could flare up next" in regard to growth rate for COVID-19 deaths.    

— Novak Djokovic has tested positive for Corona. So there's that.

— You know the rules, when TFP college football poet David Paschall writes about college football, we read and link Paschall's prose on college football. Here's the second installment on the most memorable games Paschall covered in the 2010s, and it's a tough one for Alejandro and Jules and few other Johnny UGA Fans around these parts.

— You know the rules, when TFP sports editor and prep sports guru Stephen Hargis writes about prep sports, we read and link Hargis' hankerings on prep sports. Here are the girls Best of Preps Athlete of the Year nominations. The virtual banquet will be online Thursday at timesfreepress.com.

— This is bad news for the 5-at-10 clan. Jeopardy! is out of new episodes, and since we have been watching them pretty regularly, they may have to go back to 2008 for ones we have not watched. Our solution last night was to put four game shows in a hat, pull one out and that's what we watched. Last night's winner was a thrilling game of the rebooted "Press Your Luck" with Elizabeth Banks.

 

Today's questions

We can start with this: Press Your Luck, the game show, friend or foe.

True or false, anyone, it's Tuesday after all.

True or false, you will be watching when baseball returns.

True or false, defunding the police department will affect your visiting habits to Chattanooga (this is for locals and non-locals, and feel free to expound if you would be so inclined).

True or false, the NFL should hire Colin Kaepernick, like Dr. Edwards suggested.

True or false, Colin Kaepernick should win the Nobel Peace Prize, like Dr. Edwards suggested

As for today, June 23, "Batman" with Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson debuted in 1989. Enjoyed that one.

On this day in 2003, Barry Bonds stole second base against the Dodgers and became the first MLB player to hit 500 homers and steal 500 bases.

We asked about currently working actress on Monday in honor of Meryl Streep. Well one of the regulars nominated Frances McDormand, who turns 63 today.

McDormand's career catalog may be the single best collection of movies for any actress today. Seriously. Try this exercise in frustration. Pick the Rushmore of best movies McDormand has been in.Go.

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