The Marlin Chronicle sports editors Nicholas Mundy and Austin Edmonds debate today’s pressing issues in professional sports.
MLB Season Solutions
With many possible solutions for how to start the Major League Baseball season, the question still remains on when. I believe the scenario where all teams gather in Arizona should be the final option. The realigning of divisions does not feel attractive enough for fans. There was talk of just going back to everyone’s respective spring training facilities, but that still does not have the feel for a great way to start the season
One of the most compelling ways of starting the season is three ultimate divisions with 10 teams in each. This all depends on how quickly Major League Baseball gets the all clear from health officials. There is little to no point in starting the season if there isn’t an all clear by July. Is there a real champion if each team can only get in 60 games? Unless MLB can start the season by mid-June I don’t see any way there is a true champion.
Recently, some states in the U.S. are beginning to open back up to the public with this in mind. The waiting game seems to be not only the safest option, but the smartest one.
The health of everyone should be top priority. There needs to be no risks when it comes to the health and safety of MLB players, employees, and fans.
There have been numerous rumors regarding the potential start of the 2020 MLB season beginning with playing all games in one or just a few locations. MLB has discussed realigning the divisions. Finally, the worst scenario would be flat out canceling the season due to COVID-19.
If all games were to be played in one state than the MLB must look to Arizona. I say Arizona because of the number of professional facilities in Arizona. Of course, Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is an option for games, as well as the 10 different facilities used for Spring Training. Arizona currently sits at just over 5,000 COVID-19 cases. When comparing that number to a state like Florida which offers both MLB and Spring Training stadiums as well, it is significantly lower. Florida currently sits at just under 28 thousand cases.
Division realignments make little sense to me if all teams are going to be required to play in one state. I am not a fan of this idea and I strongly urge the MLB to avoid realigning any divisions from their current form even if temporary.
Obviously, I am not one for completely canceling the upcoming MLB season. I am, however, all for suspending play until we have more control of the current ongoing global situation.
NBA Season Solution
The NBA was the first major sport to close its doors back on March 11. Unfortunately, it came in wake of a member of the Utah Jazz contracting COVID-19.
Recent news indicates that some NBA teams are going to be allowed to get back to practicing. The league is pushing to allow players to begin practicing near the beginning of May. The regular season has just under 25% remaining. The hope around the league is to finish the regular season to completion. The NBA commissioner hopes this is a possible solution, but mentioned this would probably push the beginning of next season to December. Starting the regular season in December rather than late October would make this a continuing cycle of finishing late and starting late.
There shouldn’t be such an urge to finish the season with 82 games. Give every team a week of practicing and a week of games then you can jump right into the playoffs.
Just as with the MLB, there is no need to rush this process and risk more lives. There needs to be direct communication with health officials. The season should only begin when they give the all-clear for players to return. If that means no fans that should be fine. The public will just be content with sports on television at this point.
The NBA suspended its season indefinitely on March 11, after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Currently, a middle-of-June return is the best-case scenario for the return of the NBA season.
Obviously, I can’t predict how the world will look at that time, but it’s hard for me to imagine the NBA resuming play given the nature of the sport.
As a fan, of course I would love the NBA to come back. I don’t think it will until there is a way to keep those involved safe.
NFL Draft Winners/Losers
The first ever virtual NFL draft was held from Thursday, April 23 through Saturday, April 25. The draft was held over a webcast where respective coaches, general managers and other team officials met separately in their own homes and drafted from there. The NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, was at his home announcing all the draft selections. For a very difficult time in people’s lives where sports are really missed, the NFL draft was much needed relief for sports fans across the country. The entire draft went off with little to no technical difficulties. ABC, NFL network, and ESPN all did an amazing job of broadcasting the NFL draft with no major problems occuring.
The NFL draft was originally scheduled to be located on the Las Vegas strip where the Raiders now call home.
This draft class had a flourish of talented wide receivers. There were 36 wide receivers taken in total. This was tied with the most ever in a draft since 2003. 13 receivers were taken in the first two rounds which was the most ever in draft history.
There were so many winners in this draft, and just a few losers. If the Dolphins did not make it as a winner here, there would be a major disappointment since they held 14 picks in this year’s draft. They landed their franchise quarterback with the fifth pick with Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa. They then went on to land some protection for their quarterback with the eighteenth pick offensive tackle Austin Jackson. With the thirtieth pick they landed a cornerback out of Auburn. The Miami Dolphins were the biggest winner of this draft mostly due to having three first-rounders.
Another big winner of the draft was the Arizona Cardinals. Hybrid linebacker and safety Isaiah Simmons from Clemson fell to the Cards with the eighth pick. The Cardinals finally got a playmaker on the defensive side of the ball. He can play multiple positions. Instead of going for a position of need, which would have been the offensive line to protect their last year’s number one overall pick quarterback Kyler Murray, they went with the best overall player remaining on the board. Simmons is probably the best talented defensive player in recent drafts.
The first loser of the draft was the Carolina Panthers for all of the opposite reasons the Cardinals were a winner. The Panthers had the pick right before the Cardinals, and they selected defensive tackle Derrick Brown from Auburn. Although Brown seems to be a force on the defensive line, the Panthers needed someone in the secondary that could really help out in both the run and passing game.
The Green Bay Packers left everyone watching the draft scratching their heads with their first round pick, quarterback Jordan Love. Instead of looking for any sort of help for their talented quarterback, the Packers got someone that will look to replace him in the next coming of years. His days in Green Bay are numbered.
The 2020 NFL draft is complete and it was one for the history books. LSU led the pack with 14 student athletes drafted into the NFL. Following LSU, both Ohio State and the University of Michigan had 10 student athletes drafted into the NFL. The 2020 NFL draft was also the most watched draft of all time with 55 thousand viewers.
A very solid draft pool led to many potential franchise altering selections made in this year’s draft. One scout noted that this year’s class was so rich in talent that there were about 20 players selected on day two of the draft who could have gone in round one. On what is considered a normal draft there are normally 7-10 players that could go in round one but fall to round two.
The top draft class from the 2020 NFL draft is the Baltimore Ravens. The best word to describe the Ravens draft class is value. The team stayed put at pick number 28 in the first round when many people expected them to trade up higher into the first round and they selected the top inside linebacker of this year’s draft in LSU’s Patrick Queen. Instant comparisons to Baltimore Ravens great Ray Lewis began to pour in as the two are nearly identical in measurables. In round two the Ravens selected running back J.K. Dobbins out of Ohio State, who was NFL Mel Kipper’s best available player at the time of selection. The team also snagged great value in players like Devin Duvernay, Malik Harrison, and James Proche.
The Seattle Seahawks reached on nearly every pick in this year’s draft. This shouldn’t be a surprise to many as Seattle has become known the last few years for drafting players earlier than many believe they could have, therefore not getting the value many felt they could have. Many people expected the Seahawks to target pass rush help due to the fact the star outside linebacker Jadaveon Clowney remains a free agent. Instead the Seahawks went with inside linebacker Jordyn Brooks. Although Brooks has the size many NFL teams covet and good production in all four years of college, he was a projected second round pick, and Seattle has bigger needs than inside linebacker at the moment. The Seahawks could have spent this pick on the offensive line or added help to its receiving corps. Seattle passed on players offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson and wide receiver Tee Higgins and only time will tell if they made the correct choice.