The Lists

This Week in Sports Talk: May 24, 2020

this week in sports talk May 24 2020

This Week in Sports Talk (TWIST) is our weekly roundup of top headlines and sports news, plus a preview of what’s up next. Heading into the week of May 24, 2020 here’s the top sports news, with a twist. Skim it, and you’ll be good to go all week.

This Week in Sports Talk: May 24, 2020

Happy Memorial Day weekend, dear reader! Even though the festivities will be more subdued this year, we hope you’re finding solace and even joy in some of the great traditions of the unofficial first weekend of summer. 

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short takes

We begin with some short takes (and things that might cause a double-take) in the world of sports this week:

who kneads sourdough when you’ve got game?

Chess is one of the Old School hobbies (like baking sourdough bread) that has seen a resurgence during the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home era.

And it turns out that reigning MVP of the MBA Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks is a chess enthusiast. After posting about his interest online, Grandmaster and chess G.O.A.T. Garry Kasparov offered the player his assistance online should Antetokounmpo want to up his game. Well played, dude.

this week in sports talk May 24 2020

Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images).

coronavirus scrambles the triple crown

In a first in the world of thoroughbred horse racing, the Belmont Stakes will be held on June 20th and serve as the first leg of the Triple Crown. It’s usually the final race. But thanks to coronavirus, it has jumped the line. The Kentucky Derby – usually the first race – will be run on September 5. And the Preakness – usually the middle leg – will close it all out on October 3.

The 2020 Triple Crown will begin at Belmont Stakes instead of the Kentucky Derby.

Eli’s embrace

Former Giants quarterback Eli Manning delivered a commencement speech to the graduating classes of 2020 this week as part of iHeartMedia’s campaign “Commencement Speeches for the Class of 2020.’’ His advice? Embrace the awkward.

Eli Manning delivers a brilliant commencement speech to the classes of 2020. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Specifically, “I don’t mind being in awkward situations or doing things I don’t necessarily want to do,’ Manning said. “Like becoming the Giants backup quarterback after winning two Super Bowls and walking away with the MVP. Embracing awkward is worth cultivating, because life, like this graduation, rarely goes as planned.’’ Really. Nice. Man.

those we’ve lost

This week, Jerry Sloan passed away. Sloan was an NBA Hall of Fame guard and an immensely successful coach of the Utah Jazz. He was 78. Also this week, Phyllis George – the former Miss America who became a female sportscasting pioneer on CBS’ “The NFL Today” – died at the age of 70.

swapping and spitting in MLB

You may have thought that swapping and selling baseball cards was a bygone relic of a simpler time. But this week, a Mike Trout rookie card sold for $900,000 at auction, making it the highest-priced baseball card in the modern era.

Mie Trout’s rookie baseball card set a new MLB record at a sale this week.

In other baseball news,  San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler says it will be a “tremendous challenge” for MLB players to stop spitting when baseball returns. COVID-19 precautions require players to refrain from high-fives, spitting, and other behaviors that might spread the virus. We find it hard to refrain from spitting in public, too – it’s just something that we all have to get used to as part of the new normal . . . 

this week in sports talk May 24, 2020

Now that we’re warmed up, here are the top 10 stories in sports news heading into the week of May 24, 2020.

1. TB-TB (Tom Brady – Tampa Bay)

We know what you’re thinking, so let’s cut to the chase: what’s going on in Tampa Bay this week?

Brady takes the field

Well, for starters, Tom Brady worked out with his new Tampa Bay Buccaneer  teammates – which was of course thrilling for local fans. Up north, though, New England Patriots fans fumed, as Brady had skipped the Organized Team Activities (OTA’s) in New England for the last 2 years. Regular readers will recall that the quarterback said that “issues with his wife” kept him home. What, suddenly now, all those wifely issues have disappeared? Hmmm . . .

the Bishop takes a shot

If any further proof is needed that Patriots Nation is in a funk, there’s this. Diocese of Providence Bishop Thomas Tobin took a swipe at Brady this week. “Bob Kraft is auctioning a Super Bowl ring for charity,” Tobin tweeted. “Very admirable indeed. But is it true that Tom Brady bid on it because he knows it’s the only way he’ll get another ring?” Dang. You know it’s bad when the clergy joins the trash talking. And who knew that priests are active on Twitter?

Another reason for the agita in Boston is that Patriots tickets are down 40% in price in the secondary markets, while Bucs tickets are up. Tampa Bay tickets are now more expensive than Pats tickets! It’s a brave new world.

Better get your jersey before they’re all gone

In related news, the top-selling jerseys in the NFL are predominately related to TB x TB. Seven of the top 10 bestsellers are jerseys for either Tom Brady or teammate Rob Gronkowski. Although we should note that the top two slots are held by Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins – one for his home jersey and one for the away-game jersey. 

Finally, as previously reported the Bucs will visit the New Orleans Saints in game one of the season. Head Saints coach Sean Payton is already trash-talking Brady. To which Brady responded: “we are just the underdog.” For the first time in 74 games, the quarterback is not on the team favored to win. Which will surely be highly motivating to him. You see why Bucs tickets are only going to increase in value? If we were you, we’d get them now.

2. Rule Changes in the NFL

Some new rules being proposed and implemented as the start of the season approaches. For example, since the onside kick has gotten so hard to succeed at, the league is proposing a different rule. Instead of kicking off, the change would allow a fourth-and-15 onside kick as an alternative. There will be two additional officials in the booth this season: one in technology and one who will communicate with officials on the field.

The Miami Dolphins are the N.F.L’s only team to employ an African-American general manager, Chris Grier, left, and and Afro-Latino head coach, Brian Flores, right.Credit…Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

There are also some enhancements to the NFL’s famous Rooney Rule, which requires that there be at least one diverse candidate on the slate for any Head Coach opening. Teams will now be required to interview at least two external minority candidates for head coach vacancies. And teams will now also be required to interview at least one minority candidate for coordinator vacancies.

3. The Match Re-Match

The Phil Mickelson-Tom Brady versus Tiger Woods- Peyton Manning charity golf match goes down today.

In good-natured ribbing ahead of the event, Brady wondered aloud if he should use his 6 Super Bowl rings as golf ball markers on the putting greens (Peyton has only 2 rings. Only 2). Peyton responded with a joke about how the match had to take place in Florida due to Brady’s outstanding arrest warrant for breaking and entering (referring to him walking into the wrong house during his early days in Tampa Bay).

Trash talk aside, the course is actually rated as fairly difficult: it’s the Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Florida. Woods and Manning are favored to win. (Interestingly, Mickelson beat Woods in the previous showdown.)  The match is expected to raise at least $10 million to support COVID-19 relief efforts, and the players will have an opportunity to raise that number with performance-based incentives.

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4. The J-E-T-S have a new backup quarterback

The New York Jets have signed former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco to back up Sam Darnold. Unlike the drama playing out in Green Bay around Aaron Rodgers, this step is not being perceived as a threat to Darnold. Rather, fans see it as a smart move to secure a good seasoned backup. Last year when Darnold was out with mononucleosis, the team had a weak Plan B.  

Joe Flacco

Jamal Adams is in a heated contract dispute with the Jets, and may be traded before the season starts. Even though fans love him and he’s a top 3 Safety in the league, the team has numerous holes to fill, and can use the money to bring on other needed talent.

5. Is Brown making a comeback?

Could he be back?  Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he’d love to see Antonio Brown (AB) in a Seahawks jersey this year.  AB still has some pending legal issues to clear up before he gets back on the field, though.

Former New England Patriots wide receiver Antonio Brown (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson).

6. The Last Dance is done

The 10-part Michael Jordan ESPN series The Last Dance completed its run this week.  Leaving in its wake a lot of hard feelings. Scottie Pippen and several other players were not happy with the way they were portrayed. Jordan himself came across as manipulative and controlling (and some would say just plain mean).

The airing of the documentary also heated up debate of who the NBA Greatest of All Time (GOAT) is: Michael Jordan (MJ) or LeBron James (LBJ). Our Sports Desk is in the MJ camp. And they’re not sure that LBJ even makes the #2 slot – how do you just forget about Bill Russell or Kareem for #2?  

Meanwhile, ESPN did a poll of NBA fans this week and MJ won decisively in every category versus LBJ. The head-to-head competition included who makes the best shoe for fashion; whose shoe is the best to play in; who comes through in the clutch; who they’d rather have a drink with; and who they would trust to pass them the ball.

The people have spoken. All hail His Airness.

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7. Going to Disney World!

The NBA season has been on hold since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but progress is being made toward a return to the hardwood. The league needs to create a “bubble” where teams can live and all games can be played. And CBS Sports reports that Disney World in Orlando has reportedly emerged as the clear front-runner. How cool is that? Las Vegas reportedly remains a possibility to serve as the single host site, as well.

The NBA is likely to resume its season at Disney World Orlando.

The NBA remains hopeful for games to tip off by mid-July. 

8. Pandemic wreaking havoc in MLB

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the 2020 MLB season to a halt – and it’s also impacting potential future earnings for some star players. For example, Mookie Betts was offered a $300 million contract to stay with the Boston Red Sox. He passed that up because he thought that he had a good chance at getting $400 million as a free agent after this season. Now, with the season delayed, free agency pay levels are likely to be way down. Our Sports Desk estimates that Betts could end up making only $200 million. A number of other players are in the same boat.

This week in sports March 24, 2020: the delayed 2020 season may cost Mookie Betts a lot of money. Photo Credit: USA Today Sports.

Meanwhile, the start of the 2020 MLB season is being held up in part because of a pay dispute between the owners and the Players Association. The players had already agreed to accepting prorated salaries back in March. But the owners have since asked the players to take an additional pay cut. And split revenue 50/50 in order to make up for the money lost by fans not being allowed at games. MLB says teams expect to lose an average of $640,000 per game in an 82-game regular season without fans.   

This week on Twitch, Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell said that players compromising their safety to return to the field for a further reduced salary was not worth the risk – and that if he is returning, he wants his money. So far, the players are losing in the court of public opinion – with so many Americans out of work, it’s viewed as “not a good look” for players to focus on dollars and cents right now.

8. Game on in the Balkans

World No. 1 men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic is bringing together some of the world’s top tennis talent next month. Eight stars will feature in the #AdriaTour, a series of matches from June 13-July 5 in Balkan region.

The week in sports May 24, 2020: Novak Djokovic has organized a tournament in the Balkans for June.

All pro tennis tours were suspended in early March and will not return before August. However, some players have returned to the practice courts. World No. 3 Dominic Thiem of Austria and Grigor Dimitrov, who is ranked 19, have confirmed their participation in the event.

Djokovic just turned 33, and said in an interview last week that he’s coming for Roger Federer.I believe I can win the most Slams and break the record for longest No. 1. Those are definitely my clear goals,” he said. For career Grand Slam wins, the current tally is Federer with 20; Rafeal Nadal with 19. And Djokovic with 17. While most experts agree that he’s probably right, lots of fans felt that it was churlish to say it out loud. Especially right now.

10. NHL

On Friday, NHL players agreed to move forward with a 24-team revised playoff format should the league return this season. The league paused its season on March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Tavares of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

There are still many key details to iron out before the season can resume, including where the games can take place and where teams can be housed. Locations mentioned as potential sites include Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Las Vegas. Seriously? Dudes, you should totally hold out for Disneyland. 

This Week in Sports News May 24, 2020

That’s it. You’re good to go with the top headlines and coming attractions heading into the week of May 24, 2020. Stay safe and healthy out there, dear reader. See you next week.

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For access to insider ideas and information on the world of luxury, sign up for our Dandelion Chandelier newsletter here. And see luxury in a new light.

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