The Saturday Sitdown

Before anyone starts hyperventilating about the California bill that allows college athletes to control marketing their own image and likeness, understand a few things.

First, it does not require schools to pay college athletes.  It simply prevents the NCAA from punishing kids if they have the ability to make money on the side. Second, it does not take effect for a couple of years. And at the end of the day – if it does go into effect – super stars like Zion Williamson, Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence may make significant money during their college years, but few others will have the ability and national name recognition to cash in. If Honest Al’s Used Cars in Tuscaloosa wants to pay the Tide’s long snapper $150 to sign autographs on Sunday afternoon, where is the real harm in that? Every college kid in America – except the scholarship athlete – has the ability to work and make money. This California legislation will only push the NCAA in allowing athletes to do the same.

Random thought: all stairways are Stairways to Heaven – if you are clumsy enough.

There is always more to the story when a coach gets fired or his contract is not renewed. Personality conflicts between the general manager or owner, issues with family, and a host of other factors that the public knows nothing about, may all play a role in dismissing a coach or manager. That said, it appears the Cubs decided to get rid of Joe Maddon simply because the team did not make the playoffs this season. If that is the case (an again we don’t know the whole story), it doesn’t make a lot of sense.  BM (before Maddon), the Cubs had not won a World Series since 1906. In five years BM, the Cubs had five consecutive losing seasons and finished a combined 128 games under .500.  In the five years WM (With Maddon), the Cubs won a World Series, went to the post-season four times, never had a losing season and were a combined 132 games over .500. This may be the worst case of “What Have You Done for Me Lately” in the history of pro sports.

Whoever said, “Out of Sight, Out of Mind,” never had a spider disappear in their bedroom.

Bucs Coach Bruce Arians came to Tampa Bay with a reputation of being ‘The Quarterback Whisperer,” and that moniker might just be justified. Prior to the arrival of Arians, QB Jameis Winston was an erratic quarterback, who made way too many mistakes (career passer rating in mid 80s, 59 picks, 86 touchdowns in 56 games). In his last three games, Winston has had a quarterback rating of over 100 in all three games, has thrown for eight touchdowns and just two interceptions and was a missed chip shot field goal away from being 3-0.

Standing at the sixth hole, a 212-yard par 3 at Huntington Hills in Lakeland last Sunday, I confidently looked at my son Ryan and said, “Looks like a simple 3-hybrid and a one-putt for me.” I proceeded to hit a wicked duck hook on my first shot that traveled about 100 yards before disappearing into the deep woods on the left, which prompted my son to say, “Yeah, I can’t wait to see that putt.”

The Tour Championship just ended in a month ago, but the PGA Tour has already started its 2019-20 season.  Sebastian Munoz, Joaquin Niemann and Cameron Champ sitting 1-2-3 on the money list with each over $1.2 million in official earnings already.   Guess golf’s “Silly Season” has gotten pretty serious.

Just an opinion, but baseball was never meant to be a one-and-done game. There is a reason why amateur tournaments play double elimination formats and the World Series is a best of seven and not a one-game, winner-take-all event. To begin with, a lower percentage of baseball teams make the post-season (10 of 30) than any other professional sport (18 of 32 make the NBA Playoffs) and then you have to watch two of those teams get eliminated in a one game playoff? Even if the team with the best record hosts all three games, I would love to see that Wildcard Round expand to a best-of-three format. Does Oakland even feel like they made the playoffs after that 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Wednesday? Give the fans of those teams at least the feeling that they are in the playoffs.

Y’all have a good week.