June 15th, 2020. If you asked me about 25 days ago I was starting to get optimistic again. Things seemed to be trending back to normal. I mean, Rob Manfred and Major League baseball were incompetent but what did you expect from baseball? The NBA had a plan to come back, and for us soccer fanatics here who love watching the sport from across the pond; we were getting basically every single league back. Literally all of them. Oh man, how things have turned here in the past few weeks. Look, sports is not everything I get it. But let’s be real here for a minute, my brother and I run SPORTS ON TAP. We didn’t get into the Pokemon on Tap business, the politics on tap business nor the technology on tap business, we got into the business of talking, writing, consuming and giving out sports content. So what happened this week?
Rob Manfred not confident there will be a MLB season. Is there anyone worse at his job? ? pic.twitter.com/lKvcgLWdNY
— Sports ON Tap (@thesportsontap) June 15, 2020
Let’s get to Major League Baseball first. Rob Manfred is incomptenent. Plain and simple. Imagine making $11,000,000 a year and absolutely sucking at your job. That would be nice right? That’s Rob Manfred. Look, it’s hard to call a man who went to Cornell dumb but shit, I am getting pretty close to doing that. Rob Manfred has been a PR disaster. I’d be absolutely surprised if we had a baseball season and I’d be even more surprised if there was no lock out after this CBA expires at the end of 2021. From his handling of the Astros, to this?! Baseball has gone from America’s Pastime to America’s Punchline. Who would have thought that fans would be clamoring for Bud Selig. Seriously, I am not quite sure how baseball continues to just shoot itself in the foot. (If you are just reading this I broke down exactly what is going on at the beginning of the Podcast). Locally, baseball would be a distraction from everything going on in this country and world, a huge opportunity missed. I like to think of sports and especially baseball as a hyper-localized sport. (in that most fans watch their local teams games all season and rarely watch other teams until playoff time). In a way it reminds of church, in general sports reminds of church or any sort of religious demonstration. Regardless of your color, race, occupation, political identity, when your team hits a home run, scores a touchdown or makes a three, you applaud, you high five, you hug, sometimes with a stranger. But that stranger shares a common belief as you. That’s why we love sports. The chants, EVERYTHING is almost like a congregation of fellow believers. And baseball was the symbol of American sports for so many years. And now, because of piss-poor management, America’s pastime is now America’s punchline.
Now to the NBA. I’ve been critical of Adam Silver in the past. I’ve called Adam Silver the most overrated commissioner in all of sports. However, compared to Rob Manfred, Adam Silver is an absolute gem. I’ve been critical of the NBA’s handling however of its restart plan. With sports resuming in Europe.. I thought July 31st was just too long to get started. But now that plan seems to be unraveling and not because of Coronavirus, not because of labor negotiations but because of multiple players led by Kyrie Irving claiming that playing basketball right now would be distracting to the Black Lives Matter movement. Ummm, Kyrie Irving isn’t even going to be playing?! So why is Kyrie Irving getting so involved here? Now look, I can see both sides of this argument and I have been a big believer that if the NBA finals was going on right now we’d not have seen such a mass of protests. Sports in general distract and people would probably be watching. Sports in many countries distract the population from politics, economics and other important issues. So yes, it might be a distraction, Kyrie could be right. However, as Ryan Hollins put it on my brother and I’s podcast. This is generational money we are talking about here. This isn’t pennies. Also being on National TV is a platform. So even though I can understand what Kyrie Irving and other players are saying at this moment. I also have to disagree because a platform like the NBA could amplify a message so effectively and a generational money can be used to implement change either to a community or to your family.
A coalition of NBA players including Kyrie Irving, Avery Bradley and more are pursuing further examination of the NBA's plan to restart the season in Orlando.
— ESPN (@espn) June 15, 2020
So to wrap this up. We might not have basketball either now. And to make matters just a tad bit worse today, Ezekiel Elliot and multiple Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans have tested positive for Coronavirus. I still believe we will have football but man talk about a rough stretch for us sports fans. If you told me when sports went on Hiatus that we’d be approaching July with sports I’d call you a pessimist. Well.. I guess I was just an optimist.