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A Few Odds & Ends

There is so much going on in the world right now, that a few things I've been collecting, and thinking about, are clogging my desk. Not enough for a whole column on any of them so here is a clean-up column.

No matter when sports, and especially hockey, comes back, the Blackhawks are not going to be a part of the playoff picture for more than a one and done, if they even qualify. Look for me, and hockey insider John Markiewicz, to eventually get a season wrap up together as we will discuss not only the players, but what happens to the front office too.

John will be back for next seasons hockey coverage, and, we are in discussions about his contributing to both golf and college football too. It should be a fun year. Speaking of contributors. White Sox insider, Tom Barnicle is wrapping up his busy tax season and will, once baseball starts up again, continue to report on them. He also will be contributing to our pro football coverage next fall.

Linda and I went grocery shopping yesterday and the stores are still not only empty of cleaning supplies, paper towels, and toilet paper, but we can add to the list of hoarded items pork and beans, candy, fruit and vegetables, and eggs. We never even made it to Sam's Club because the line, to just get in the store, was wrapped around the building. Shame on each of you that are hoarding. This is the kind of stuff that happens when you have no leadership.

Speaking of leadership, it is time for Bernie to say bye-bye. The people have spoken, and clearly they do not want Bernie to be the Democratic candidate for president. It's time for him to step aside and throw his support to Joe Biden,and let the Democratic party start to plan and prepare for the general election in November.

The Bears continue to lose out on every quarterback they go after. Yesterday, Teddy Bridgewater agreed to a contract with Carolina, Tom Brady signed with Tampa Bay, Philip Rivers with the Colts, and on and on. It is remarkable how top line quarterbacks are staying away in droves from the Bears. Apparently this regime is not the answer, and starting with Ryan Pace, the Bears need to clean house and get someone in that knows what the hell they are doing.

So, let's talk baseball.

It is increasingly clear that baseball is not going to start before June 1st. Players will need at least two weeks of spring training to retrain their endurance and arm strength. With that potential start date in mind, here is my suggestion for scheduling in 2020.

First, eliminate all interleague games. No matter how you slice this, playing these games is going to make things a competitive mess. Redo the schedule and toss those games away. While you are tossing things forget this years all-star game. Move it back a year and go on.

To make it fair for each team the schedule needs to look like this. 104 games from June 1 thru September 30. Each team plays eight home and eight away games against their division foes. They then each play two home and two away against the other teams in their league. This puts a premium on division games, while each team has the same basic strength of schedule against the rest of the league. This also gives them about seventeen days off and space to make up rain outs.

The expanded playoffs with four wild card teams would start October 1st. This would allow for more teams to be in the playoff hunt longer, and keep fans interest around for the whole season. The two winners in the first game of wild card playoffs would then play each other in a second game of wild card playoffs and then all would be reseeded so #1 plays #4 and #2 plays #3 in a best of five series. Those winners would then play each other in another best of five series with the winner going to the world series in a best of seven series.

When scheduling the season do not go crazy and schedule a trip where a team goes from Oakland to Seattle and then Tampa Bay. Plan trips regionally, or at least within reason, so that they aren't running all over the country. With a reduced schedule this should be no problem, but it is baseball and, well.

Finally, we are being overloaded with news about the coronavirus, and rightly so, but it can be overwhelming at times. Add on the stock market collapse, people losing their jobs because of businesses being shut down, stay at home mandates, and other everyday stuff, and we are at our wits end with no end in sight.

We need to all take a deep breath, organize our days and priorities, help each other as best we can, and avoid as much contact with others as you can each day. It is going to take all of us working together to get this under control but we are still a long way from that happening.

We should also expect to get another uptick once things seem under control as people start to mingle once again. This is going to be normal so don't be surprised and deflated when it happens. Wash your hands, stay at home, especially if you don't feel good, and try to be a responsible citizen.

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