Oh yeah the corona

There are a lot of heavy issues around us, even in sports conversations.  

Then we remember the Corona has not gone away, and in fact, appears to be making an Ali-like comeback, especially in sports conversations.

The headlines nationally — and a couple of you guys noted about football Monday in terms of the doomsday predictions from ESPN baseball insider Buster Olney, who said he thinks there's only a five percent chance baseball starts and 0 percent chance a champ is crowned — are bleak.

The Ivy League is pondering a seven-game conference schedule, either in the fall or even next spring. MLB players from Ryan Zimmerson to Ian Desmond to a slew of others are opting out before Wednesday's reporting day to the second round of spring training.

Desmond's letter, in particular, about the societal issues in baseball was amazingly interesting, but it will not resonate as much in this time of societal protests and unrest because of the wide array of groups being judged and feeling bigotry, according to Desmond.

Heck, the ESPN headline had 'Desmond opting out of playing in 20202, citing high risk amid pandemic.' And that's true. Desmond posted this among other things: "Think about it: Right now in baseball we've got a labor war. We've got rampant individualism on the field. In the clubhouses we've got racist, sexist, homophobic jokes or flat-out problems. We've got cheating. We've got a minority issue from the top down." If you have not read Desmond's social media post, I highly suggest it.  

Of course it also has reached the course too, and the PGA Tour will have the chance to be the first sports organization to walk to the line of "how many cases is too many cases" and when or if they pull the plug.

Because two more PGA players tested positive for Corona, including former Baylor School star Harris English. Here's more on Harris from TFP all-around ace David Paschall.

Those concerns are circling locally too, and while I could wax poetically on the issues facing the TSSAA and the real threats to high school football — made even more tangible after Gov. Lee extended the Tennessee state of emergency to Aug. 29 — here are the details from the best high school sports reporter anywhere, TFP sports editor Stephen Hargis.

So there's that.


Names on the back of NBA jerseys

OK, we have a monster "This and that" and even a large "Today's Question" so, let's find a couple of talking points and move quickly, shall we? I think we shall.

We mentioned this briefly in Monday's conversation, but I believe the talking points of the NBA reviewing whether to allow players to put any name on the back of their jerseys are important.

First, I understand the sentiment and I believe it would start with earnestness and compassion.

I also believe it opens a pandora's box of opportunity for controversy and contempt that could never be put back in the tube if ever released. From the truly controversial to the very basic business conflicts of this sponsor or that one, this would need an NCAA rulebook of acceptable guidelines, no?

In a lot of ways, it's part of the same main objection to last Friday's unannounced, unapproved street painting. If it's fine for that cause to take to public streets with assistance of public workers and vehicles, what cause is or is not worthy of it and who gets to decide if protocols are ignored?



In the kitchen (and mid-week mailbox)

We have a delicious side we tried this weekend that fit perfectly with one of our pasta dishes that we shared previously. (We did this along with our chicken tetrazzini, which we shared in a previous Tuesday cooking segment.)

We tried zucchini ribbons and they were aces.

Take a couple of normal sized zucchinis, trim the ends and cut them half, long ways.

Now, cut each down the middle from the open-faced end of the zucchini. Cut them into ribbons, about an 1/8-to-an-1/16 inch strips.

In a large skillet, heat 1.5-2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 garlic cloves, 2 dried red chiles (I cut the chiles up to spread the flavor, and 2 thyme sprigs. When the thyme sprigs start to crackle add the zucchini ribbons, turning each to make sure it gets coated with the mixture.

Cook each side for 2-to-3 minutes.

Salt and pepper to taste.


As for the mailbag, well we ran short of time, but Chas, I saw your question late Monday this morning. I will respond today. Deal? Deal.This and that (or as we like to call it these days, "America is struggling examples ad infinitum)



This and that

— Good-bye and good riddance. The mayor of some small burg in Alabama known as Carbon Hill resigned in the hours after a social media post became common knowledge. Mark Chambers quit his gig as the mayor of the town of 2,000 which is about an hour north of Tuscaloosa after posting this, according to "I got several Alabama pictures for sale Nick Sabin (sic) and the Tide is done in my opinion I'll post them tomorrow". When one person commented, "I think you may be right they haven't looked as good the last couple of years," Chambers replied, "I'm not getting rid of them because of how they have performed. Their sorry a— political views is why their (sic) getting out of my house." In response to another comment, Chambers wrote, "When you put Black lives before all lives they can kiss my a—." (Side note: The sics, Chas, were's and I cut and pasted that from them.) Tone deaf for the times and almost assuredly biased, Chambers does not deserve to be in public office. I'm sure his ratio was through the roof after that post went viral last Saturday.

— But, as we said Monday on Press Row, anyone who does not at least realize that for college coaches at major football and basketball programs have a multitude of reasons to position among the front of the pack in the race to stand for equality are choosing not to see the whole photo. Heck, I know Nick Saban is a democrat — heck as great as he is at his job, even in Alabama he could be a far-left liberal who sacrifices puppies and kneels during the anthem (gasp) — but he's a college football wizard too. And the recruiting edge of being out front in the sensitivity toward Black Lives Matter is undeniable.  

— Not sure how the natural forces will align, because this feels like a Ghostbusters "Don't cross the streams" moment in the social justice warrior galaxy of all-time names who in a lot of ways have made a career in this controversial arena.. In one corner is El Presidente, Dave Portnoy, the founder of the crass and purposefully offensive and former unapologetic Barstool Sports, which has developed a monster business and following by offending everyone it can. In the other corner is social justice warrior Hall of Famer and the unofficial Queen of the Cancel Culture Jemele Hill. Hill called out Portnoy for an old video calling Colin Kaepernick a Muslin. Portnoy claims the video was doctored to fit her agenda. Hill tried to cancel Portnoy, which is a) her go to play and b) how Portnoy has become a millionaire countless times over. Now Hill is being called to the carpet for past indiscretions on LGBT sensitivity and defending Joe Biden, which has turned the cancel culture on one of its leaders. Pass the popcorn.

— In the conversations that kind of went away, it looks like they are still circling around Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa program. Here's another former player saying his time in Ames was a "living nightmare."

— No matter the depths our internal divide may reach, we know this universal rule right friends? (And no the Paschall on college football and Hargis on prep sports fall into the No. 2 subsets.) The universal rule is Hitler is never funny. In Ohio, an internal joke, according to the manager of a Little Caesar's, led to several employees being let go for wait for it arranging pepperonis in the shape of a swastika on a pizza. Here's more from The New York Post.  

— Insert your "So he prefers zone" joke here I suppose, but former Alabama star defensive back Christion Jones was released by the Edmonton Eskimos for Tweeting over the weekend: ""man ain't suppose to be with a man. A women ain't suppose to be with another woman." Then doubling down to the blowback with "won't be changing how I feel anytime soon." He apologized Sunday.

— Because there used to be a time when sports made me smile and laugh and feel things I enjoyed, here's the video of Ian Poulter squeezing cheese right after a PGA competition tees off last weekend in the Travelers. Regardless of which box you check or which side of the political divide you choose, if we all can't agree on this, well, what do we have left?

— Here's Johnny Football throwing out the football version of the old poker axiom that "If you don't know who the sucker at the table is, then you are most likely the sucker. "Manziel reveals that his football career is almost assuredly over. You think so doctor.

— Because 2020 clearly is the worst year ever and enacting so many plots and premises that feel inspired by hour movies, can you guess what's coming to Cape Cod in time for the Fourth of July. Bleeping Jaws. You suck 2020.

— Many congrats to TFP cohort Clay Bennett for winning a national award for his editorial cartoons. Clay and I agree about as often as we see each other in the office during the Corona, but there is no denying his talent, his wit and his acumen. He is elite. Dude has a Pulitizer. He also has a comment section that is polar opposite to what we have been able to craft  around these parts. (Side note: The first comment under the story about Clay's latest award made me laugh. "crate" posted: "How fun. Liberals praising liberals for being liberal." Side question about the side note: Chas, and others, were you listening to Press Row late last week when a caller said he was done with ESPN national and local because of liberal-leaning we are — David and I included?)

— Here is TFP ace sports columnist Mark Wiedmer offering his views on something we have debated around these parts before — and on A2 even — about the realization of and the exponential growth in power college athletes are experiencing in these Corona times.


Today's questions

True or false Tuesday. Let's do this.

True or false, you would watch a reality TV show following Johnny Manziel around in day-to-day life.

True or false, Kirk Ferentz will be coaching the Hawkeyes this fall.

True or false, high school football will move to the spring.

True or false, if you were a MLB player making the minimum you choose to play. Conversely, if you were a MLB player who has made $50 million you would choose to play.

As for today, the last day of sixth month of the longest year of my life, Mike Tyson is 54 today.

Last week we did baseball players derailed by injury and personal demons.

Who's on the Rushmore of athletes who would have been on the shortlists of the all-time greats in their endeavor if not for injury and demons? Tyson is a bona fide frontrunner.