Odds & Ends-Volume 145

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We begin Odds & Ends this week with the NBA’s decision to move the All-Star Game away from Charlotte. The announcement came on Thursday after the league expressed it’s objection to North Carolina’s House Bill 2,which limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the state that went into law back in March.ASG17

“Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change,” the league said in a statement. “We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view.”

This isn’t the first time a major sporting event has been pulled due to a controversial political decision. In 1990,the NFL moved Super Bowl XXVII from Tempe,Ariz. to Pasadena,Calif. because Arizona’s then-refusal to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It later did and received Super Bowl XXX,which was played in 1996.

The game was slated to bring $100 million into the Charlotte economy and the league has said it is willing to leave the door open for possibly hosting the 2019 All-Star Game. The replacement city will be named in the coming weeks. Candidates include New Orleans,Chicago, and New York/Brooklyn.

While many may not support,agree with,or understand the decision, it is the league’s right to move the game if they feel that a section of their fans isn’t going to feel comfortable attending their event. I understand and support their decision to do this. I don’t,however,support the idea of leaving the door open for them to host in 2019, especially if nothing changes as far as that particular law is concerned,maybe the league thinks that North Carolina will have a change of heart in due time,but what if they don’t? Do you give them the game anyway? If you do,then why take it away in the first place?

Also,why not consider a city who either hasn’t hosted it ever or a city who has not hosted in a while? Portland,Oklahoma City,Memphis,and Sacramento have never hosted and while I appreciate Chicago being mentioned as a possible host (they last hosted in 1988), I think a city who has yet to host should be considered.

G1CThat brings me to the possibility of Sacramento one day hosting the NBA All-Star Game. For years and years I have wanted the league to bring its marquee exhibition to this city and the argument has long been that the city does not have the appropriate amount of hotel rooms to accomodate the game. The league requires a minimum of 5,500 rooms and the city currently has only 3,500.

However,with the Golden 1 Center opening in three months and more hotels and other attractions opening up, I absolutely can’t see the game why the game wouldn’t be coming to Sacramento anytime soon.

Many are wondering if the city should get the chance to host this year and they’re just not ready yet. The area around the arena has yet to take shape and the hotel space is still insufficient. I think if the Charlotte deal falls through again for 2019,then yes,Sacramento should get a chance,but if not then,then 2020 should be all theirs.

While I don’t necessarily care for the NBA All-Star Game because it’s just a game where no defense gets played and all they do is have a four period dunk contest, I do understand the economic impact the game can have on a city for an entire weekend. Yes,traffic would be a mess and it would be a great big zoo,but ask Charlotte city officials if they wish they were still hosting the game this year. I do think Sacramento will get the game in the near future and it would be foolish for the league to not give the city a chance to do so.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has expressed his interest in limiting the use of relief pitchers after a fan suggested that rule while Manfred was a guest on ESPN’s Mike and Mike in the Morning radio show.RobManfred

 

“I am in favor of something like that,” Manfred said. “We’ve spent a ton of time on this issue in the last few months. You know the problem with relief pitchers is that they’re so good. I’ve got nothing against relief pitchers, but they do two things to the game: The pitching changes themselves slow the game down, and our relief pitchers have become so dominant at the back end that they actually rob action out of the end of the game, the last few innings of the game. So relief pitchers is a topic that is under active consideration. We’re talking about that a lot internally.”

The time of games has gone is since 2005. Last season’s average game time was 3 hours compared to 2 hours and 49 minutes in 2005.

Some managers aren’t necessarily in favor of a proposal like this,particularly Red Sox manager John Farrell.

“In the moment [as a manager], I’m not worried about the pace of the game. ,” Farrell said, “As a person who works in the game, sure, we’re always looking for ways to make it more attractive to fans, to grow our fan base, to attract young fans. We are all aware of that challenge. We’re all open to ways to grow that. But in the seventh inning in a bases-loaded situation, I’m not thinking about pace of games.”

I agree with Farrell here. Managers are doing what they can to win a ballgame and by the way,fans like me aren’t concerned with the time of a game when it comes to me attending one. I live two hours plus away from AT&T Park and the longer I’m there,the better. It made the long drive to the yard worth it. I honestly don’t care about the pace of the game,but I know that others do,but I just don’t think limiting your relief staff doesn’t help matters. Maybe if there was no such thing as a pitch count for starting pitching,we wouldn’t see so many relievers. You know?

Chris Sale cut up his team's throwback uniforms prior to Saturday's game against the Tigers
Chris Sale cut up his team’s throwback uniforms prior to Saturday’s game against the Tigers

Chris Sale channeled his inner Edward Scissorhands over the weekend when,following a giant hissy fit with White Sox management over the throwback uniforms the team was slated to wear,he decided to cut up the team’s uniforms so that nobody could wear them. He was then sent home as a result and was suspended five days for the incident.

According to multiple reports, Sale was in an uproar over the team’s plan to wear their throwback uniforms from 1976 because usually the starting pitcher,which he was slated to be on Saturday,picks what uniforms the team will wear that day. Sale thought the uniforms were uncomfortable and that the team was putting “PR and jersey sales” ahead of winning. During batting practice he took scissors to many of the uniforms so that nobody could wear them.

The team instead wore their 1983 red,white,and blue throwbacks which they’ve worn in the past and still gave out 1976 replica jerseys to fans.
Sale has been linked to trade rumors and the White Sox are apparently asking for a bunch of prospects in return. Sale is 14-3 this season with a 3.18 ERA this season and started the All-Star Game for the American League earlier this month. Sale has also had run-ins with team management and that the relationship is “strained.”

I honestly think Sale is a fool for doing that to his team. It showed not only his immaturity and lack of compromise about the situation, but also a huge disrespect for the uniform of the team he plays for,regardless of its comfort or style. I get that those uniforms in particular may not look the best or even feel right,but this game is played for the fans and part of that is wearing uniforms that may or may not be common. I think Sale will definitely be dealt and soon because I’m pretty sure the White Sox want to rid themselves of a big headache and rebuild for the future,hopefully with players who have some respect for the team giving them an opportunity and their questionable fashion history. Also,why not suspend him for five games? He’s a starting pitcher and doesn’t play every day. He’s basically spending his normal rest schedule at home. Give me a break!

Le’ Veon Bell is facing a four game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and it wasn’t for failing a drug test but rather failing to show up for not just one,but several. The development comes following a rumor from Pittsburgh sports radio host Mark Madden that he had heard about Bell.

Nov 3, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell (26) runs the ball against New England Patriots strong safety Steve Gregory (28) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

 

Bell dismissed the rumor when asked for comment last month.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Bell said at the time. “I am fine. I haven’t missed any drug tests, failed any drug tests. I can’t keep talking about the drug test. I probably already said too much about it so I really can’t keep talking about it. People are going to say what they want to say on the internet. It is people who really have nothing to do. I don’t get upset or let it bother me.”

Bell has had history with being suspended for drugs. Last season he was initially suspended four games for his arrest on suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession. His former teammate, LaGarrette Blount,was arrested along with him. That suspension was later reduced to two games.

Here’s my question: Why wasn’t he suspended after missing the first one if the rumor is true? If he is a repeat offender and missed not one,but several, they should have dropped the hammer the first time.

That’s my cue to drop the hammer on another edition of Odds & Ends!

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