This Week’s Recap: MLB Playoffs, NFL Controversy, President’s Cup Golf Competition, and College Basketball

Nobody asked me but:

It’s MLB post-season baseball time, and it looks like the playoffs are going to be wild and unpredictable. There will be hundreds of predictions, but as we’ve said before, they mean little. They may be well thought-out, but other than interesting reading, they are irrelevant.
Can anyone safely say the Cubs will successfully defend their title, or that they won’t, because they never really played to their 2016 level?
Can you give the nod to the Indians because they won 100 games and had the season’s longest winning streak of 22-games?  Not really. The Tribe would host the winner of the wild-card game between the Yankees and the Twins.  Wait a minute? As of this writing, the Red Sox had yet to clinch the AL East, the Yankees were in a position to catch them and maybe beat the Sox in a one-game playoff.  By now, you, the readers know what transpired.  In any event, anyone can win a best-of-seven series, much less a best-of-five so whether Cleveland plays Minnesota, New York or Boston it’ll come down to the usual factors: breaks, pitching, pitching and more pitching.
I say it will be wild because any team can get hot. The Twins who lost 103 games last season can turn it on, and so can the Diamondbacks who dropped 93 a year ago.
So let the game begin, and enjoy the ride.

I wasn’t going to get involved in the NFL’s anthem situation and I won’t now.
The issues here are bigger than life and everyone is entitled to his opinion.
Too many factors: protests, honoring the flag, the President, money, and television ratings.  Let’s just say, regardless of your stance, it has been an unpleasant, unfortunate and at times ugly controversy.
I see a trend that it’s ending soon and I hope it does.  It’s not been good for the country. I say “Let ‘em play ball!”

I don’t know how much interest there has been for the President Cup golf competition. The President’s Cup fills the two year-gap between the playing of the Ryder Cup, which to me, is one of the most dramatic events in all sports.
Why can’t we have the patience to let the anticipation build for the Ryder Cup which is played every other year?  Why do we need an off-shoot of a majestic golf confrontation that perhaps dilutes the big one.
It’s really no different than they way the Olympics are conducted.
It used to be the ultimate sporting event held every four years.
The summer and winter games were held the same year.
Now, the Olympics go on every two years. The summer and winter games are held separately two years apart.
I liked it better when talk of the upcoming Olympics wasn’t a constant thing.
It’s kind of like those TV shows that were once novel and in demand like those Survivor shows and those millionaire giveaways when heart-stopping music was heard when contestants had to decide to either call a friend, use a lifeline or ask the audience.
The networks had a ratings-grabber and a captive, anticipating audience.
Then they decided to ruin a good thing by putting the shows on several times a week  thus killing supply and demand.
That’s kind of what they’ve done in golf and with the Olympics.

Last week was a bad week for college basketball.
The sport, which may have the most thrilling event of all each year with the Final Four, just can’t seem to avoid scandal.
When I was growing up, the point-shaving scandals came about and almost  ruined the sport.
Schools had to vacate NCAA tournament successes, and players were banned because they took payments to fix games.
I say almost, because nothing will destroy college basketball. A huge billion-dollar industry.
This time, an FBI investigation uncovered a scandal involving coaches operating in concert with sneaker companies to pay families of players to attend schools, wear their shoes, and agree to wear them when they turned pro after their college career, however long that would be.
It all comes down to money, of course.
Winning basketball programs bring in millions to the colleges who are successful.
To win consistently at that level, you need to recruit the best high school players.
To recruit the best players unfortunately some schools have resorted to cheating.
It’s a vicious cycle.
So now, the question arises once again. Should we pay college athletes?
Colleges are making fortunes off the skills of these teen-agers.
I happen to endorse the idea that the great head coach Mike Krzyzewski suggested, that instead of stellar athletes attending colleges for one-year, they should jump right from high school to the NBA.  That’s what Lebron James did.
Not every prospect is in James’s class, but if you eye a pro career, don’t waste your time or the school’s, by playing for one season where attending classes is not likely to happen.
As for the great hoop prospect getting paid, I am all for it.  Times have changed.
I know there are negatives. How much is the limit? If there is one, won’t teams cheat to pay more than a limit?
Maybe there shouldn’t be a limit. So, the rich get richer. So what. It’s the way it is today anyway. Remember, the school with the best prospects don’t always win.
How many national championships has John Calipari won at Kentucky?  Just one.
Maybe there will be contracts whereby a prospect has to remain at the school for at least two years. Who knows?
If we can get the sheer ugliness of what was revealed last week in college basketball eliminated somehow, we will have accomplished plenty.


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