Assorted crumpets with our Sunday Morning Coffee:
What’s going on here? Only slightly more than half this country is vaccinated. Nevada, which presently is the summer weekend tourism leader, has a vac rate of only 47%. Louisiana is at 36%. I’m afraid to hear what the numbers are in Mississippi and Alabama. As NFL training camps open, nine teams have over 90% of their players vaccinated but two teams, Indianapolis and Washington, are still under 50%. The NFL announced on Thursday if on game day teams can’t field a full roster because of COVID, and the game can’t be rescheduled, the contest will be forfeited. I wish they would have omitted that ‘rescheduled’ provision. The SEC told their member schools the same thing except no second chances; if you don’t have enough players on game day, then it’s a forfeit. CBS News reports 74% of Americans not vaccinated don’t plan to get one. States can offer monetary promotions, vac lotteries, and raffles, but those who wanted it were the ones who rushed to health centers to get a vaccine when they became eligible. The rest really don’t care. You can’t legislate common sense.
And common sense is obviously something with which Washington State head football coach Nick Rolovich wasn’t blessed. Rolovich didn’t attend last week’s Pac-12 media day in Los Angeles because he’s not vaccinated and has no plans to get one. That’s great leadership. So far, two NFL assistant coaches have left their positions, refusing to comply with the league mandate that all on-field staff be vaccinated. There will be more to follow. I really don’t get it.
In the same vein, what are the chances the Olympic Games actually finish?
If you want to move the vaccination needle in Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and other ‘deep red’ states, the best way to do it would be to have Mr. Trump knock off all the other bullshit and appear through a series of RNC-sponsored PSA’s, urging the populace to get vaccinated for not only their own good but for the health, welfare, safety and economy of the country as well. It won’t happen for a thousand different political reasons, but it would be effective as all heck if it did.
There’s a high stakes chess/poker game going on in Oakland right now, using Las Vegas as its pawn. The Oakland A’s are threatening to do what the Raiders and Warriors did and leave town unless they get a new stadium built, in part, using public funds. A’s brass has made more exploratory trips over the past couple of months to the Strip than Gaga. Oakland, who lost the Raiders to Las Vegas and the Warriors across the bay to San Francisco, has proposed a $12 billion mixed-use project on the harbor which includes a $1 billion stadium for their baseball team. That isn’t good enough for the A’s. Instead, they came back here this week for the fourth time to look at potential sites for a ballpark. Currently the appetite in Vegas to take on another municipally funded stadium isn’t real high. The payback schedule on the Raiders stadium has fallen short due to the tourism tax money lost because of the pandemic. When it’s all said and done, I’d be shocked if the city of Oakland didn’t go all-in and make sure the A’s stay put. The price may be higher than they’d like but they would be foolish to let them get away.
Yes, Medjet is the sponsor of Sunday Morning Coffee but by no means is this a gratuitous plug. As we try to normalize once again, and travel is in our plans, Medjet just announced they are now including worldwide COVID protection in their medical assistance membership at no additional cost. Go to medjet.com and check it out. In my 20 years in that business, I’ve seen enough to know just when you think something won’t happen to you away from home, all of a sudden the unthinkable occurs. Take trips, not chances.
And speaking of traveling, here’s one you wouldn’t have come up with. What was the fifth busiest airport in the world, not the country, but the world, in June? How about Charlotte’s Douglas International Airport. Domestic travel was crazy, and Charlotte is now American Airlines’ East coast hub. That combination had CLT hopping.
I’m not making this up. In an attempt to stop the spread of COVID, South Korean health officials have mandated that treadmills in health clubs must be partitioned and cannot go in excess of 3.7 mph. The way they figure the slower speed will limit the amount of sweat passed from one gym member to another. Genius.
Last weekend, in some parts of Nevada and around the country, it looked like 1973 again. There was a gas shortage and pumps were closed. The culprit this time wasn’t the Middle East nor an Iranian revolution. There was plenty of gas, just not enough drivers to deliver it. Across the country the trucking industry is short about 50,000 drivers creating havoc getting all sorts of products delivered.
I don’t think I like this. Bryce Young will assume the role of Alabama’s quarterback when the Tide opens their season against Miami on September 4. According to his coach Nick Saban, before he even takes his first snap, Young will have almost a million dollars in sponsorship from the NCAA’s newly approved NIL- Name, Image, Licensing program for student-athletes. If NIL becomes wide spread in collegiate athletics then jealously, pettiness and a caste system will emerge dividing the haves and the have-nots in locker rooms and fields across every NCAA sport. What sounds good as an idea to help student-athletes, may not translate into team harmony.
When Oklahoma and Texas leave the Big 12 and move to the SEC that will be a game changer for college football. The SEC is far and away the toughest and best conference in the sport today; adding these two powerhouses relegates every other conference to second rate, at best. This will also force a change in the present football playoff format from four teams to probably 12. If they don’t expand playoff eligibility, too many good teams will be left at home by the time the SEC gets done beating up on each other. The conference switch may not happen for four years but when it does, the fallout will be sensational.
Is there a nicer guy in sports than Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani? Though disappointing in the All-Star Home Run Derby he still walked away with a check for $150,000. Reports said he donated the entire amount to over a dozen Angels support staff including clubhouse personnel, trainers and members of the media relations department. How can you not pull for him?
Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s widow, turned 99 on Monday. Bob Dole, fighting stage IV lung cancer, celebrated his 98th on Thursday.
Wasn’t sure what to make of the Cleveland Indians name change to the Guardians or why. I went to my source for all things Indians, travel blogger Joe Brancatelli of JoeSentMe.com. JoeBranc has lived a miserable life as an Indians fan but told me he liked the new name as there’s historical significance with the city of Cleveland. That’s good enough for me.
Over 8,000 Las Vegans jammed the Las Vegas Ballpark, home of the AAA Las Vegas Aviators, on Saturday night to watch an intra-city softball battle between the NFL Raiders and the NHL Golden Knights. Coach Marcus Allen’s Raiders won 25-16, just barely covering the 8.5 run spread. The real winners were local charities as the event raised over $175,000. This time it was nice to see the house win.
Free-throw shooting, which we mentioned a couple of weeks ago was a lost art, returned during the NBA Finals. Milwaukee doesn’t win Game Six and the championship if they didn’t make 25 of 29 foul shots. In fact, Phoenix was almost as good shooting 16-19. Ultimately though, the nine extra successful tries is what produced a seven-point win and the first trophy in Milwaukee since 1971.
I haven’t watched much NBA this season, but I did watch the Finals because I loved Phoenix. When they raced out to a two games to none lead, I was king of the sportsbook. It didn’t matter that they then fell behind three games to two; I still loved them and wagered even more with nice odds. In turn, I discovered two things: a Greek fella named Giannis is a pretty good basketball player and any team that has Frank Kaminsky on the floor in the last five minutes of a championship game probably isn’t going to win.
How would you like to be sitting with this live four-team parlay that was posted for sale on propswap.com? The first three legs— Tampa Bay to win the Super Bowl and Stanley Cup and Milwaukee to win the NBA Championship— are already in the barn. The $50 wager, made on January 11, 2021, will return $135,325 if the White Sox win the World Series. The owner is looking for a buyer to take their chances on the ChiSox. Probably $25-$30K will get you the ticket.
I cringe every time, which is almost all the time, I hear a sports broadcaster interview the winner of a game, match or tournament and lead with the question “What does this mean to you.” It’s just lazy.
This painful hometown reminder to me from Tampa’s Mike Labanowski: a one-year-old baby born in Tampa has seen as many championships as a 50-year-old Mets, Jets, Knicks and Rangers fan combined. Ouch!
With the baseball season more than half finished and heading into the stretch, these interesting probabilities from BaseballReference.com: The Dodgers and Astros are favorites to be in the World Series with the Dodgers having a 22% chance to win and Houston at 15%. Percentages favor division winners in the NL to be the Dodgers, Brewers and the Phillies. Wild card teams will be the Giants and the Padres. In the AL the numbers say Houston, the White Sox and Tampa Bay will win their respective divisions and Boston and Toronto get wild-card slots. Both the Mets and Yankees are forecast to have less than a 1% chance to win the World Series. The number that matters to me most is the Reds are predicted to finish at 84-78, which is no good as I need under 82 wins to cash.
Went last week to walk through the newest Strip casino, Resorts World. Very impressive. Spacious and comfortable. Plenty of restaurants from an upscale food court to multiple breweries to top of the line dining. Three Hilton hotel brands make up the lodging portion of the property. I was glad to see the replica Stardust Hotel marquee commemorating that one of my favorite Vegas properties of all-time once sat on that site. A thumbs-up visit.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment on the SMC website, on Facebook and in personal notes about last week’s Sunday Morning Coffee (https://royberger.com/sunday-morning-coffee-july-18-2021-still-kids-at-heart/). There is no denying the grip baseball had on us and the relationship with our dads growing up in the 50s and 60s.
And finally, looking for a free trip to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA? Who isn’t? This week’s lucky winner is Brooks Kriske, formerly of the New York Yankees. Kriske, a right-handed pitcher, tied a major league record on Thursday night against the Red Sox throwing four wild pitches in one inning. He got back to his locker to find a one way ticket to join the minor league Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. Congrats, Brooks.