Monday High 5: MLB Gambles on October

Matthew JohnsonJune 8, 2020
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Team sports in the U.S. continue the slow trek to getting back to work to resume suspended seasons while an individual sport is ready to claim the spotlight and have the stage all to itself. Here are our 5 big takeaways from the weekend in sports.

No. 1 MLB’s latest proposal is gambling on playing in October 
Baseball’s owners issued their latest proposal to players to get a 76-game season started and it was met with mixed reaction. The latest plan includes expanded postseason play which would bring in more revenue and incentivize owners to pay players more of their pro-rated salary. If the postseason were to be cancelled because of a coronavirus second wave, players would see far less salary. Meanwhile, the current timeline for return is most likely July 10th at the earliest, missing the July 4th target date that so many of us had hoped for. Owners don’t want to play games in November, so the longer this drags out, the shorter the regular season will be, if there’s one at all.

No. 2 Coyotes make history off the ice and take smaller steps on it
The Arizona Coyotes on Monday announced the hire of Xavier A. Gutierrez as the first Latino president and CEO of an NHL franchise. Gutierrez comes from a career in business and finance, and was Managing Director at Clearlake Capital Group before joining the Coyotes. Meanwhile, players will begin small-group voluntary workouts later this week, as they plan to jump directly into the post-season when NHL action resumes later this summer. We still don’t know the dates or host cities for the playoffs, but getting back to practice is a sign that a return to North American team sports is inching ever so closer.

No. 3 Football will look different, for better or worse
NFL coaches were finally allowed to return to their team facilities for the first time since coronavirus shutdowns. While no timetable has been set for players to return to team facilities, training camps typically open in late July, which means a lot less practice than they’re used to. Typical off-season work includes rookie camps, mini-camps and voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) in May and June. All of that practice time went away because of COVID-19, so we could see some very sloppy football in the fall as rookies and players with new organizations get acclimated to each other.

No. 4 Our last weekend without golf
The PGA Tour resumes play later this week at the Charles Schwab Classic in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s the first pro golf tournament in  three  months, and barring any future shutdowns, it means we will have golf every weekend until late November. That could be the best Father’s Day gift for many of us.

No. 5 Torkelson should be a lock
ASU slugger Spencer Torkelson is expected to hear his name called first overall this week in the MLB June Amateur Draft. He’s been compared to some of the game’s great power hitters including Paul Goldschmidt, Pete Alonso and Eloy Jimenez, due to his smooth right-handed stroke and keen batting eye.  Torkelson was even described by some as “the little league Babe Ruth” when he was a kid. The Detroit Tigers hold the top overall pick and appear to have an easy decision.

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