Monday High 5: MLB Teams Need to Have Their Backups Ready

Matthew JohnsonJune 29, 2020
Share This

Barring any major setbacks due to COVID-19, we’re one month away from the NBA resuming its season, NFL training camps opening, a reformatted Stanley Cup Playoffs dropping the puck and MLB baseball games returning to our TV every night (with or without fans). The end of July will be one giant orgy of sports returning to play, which has us excited to contemplate the hot takes that will soon be upon us. Meanwhile, here are five big takeaways from this past weekend in sports as we dream of better days. 

  1. D-Backs’ youth better be ready to play

Diamondbacks starting pitcher Mike Leake announced he will not participate in the shortened 2020 MLB season when it starts in late July. Leake is the first pro baseball player to make this decision and likely won’t be the last. While the D-Backs had an abundance of starting pitching going into this season, it’s always a blow to lose a guy like Leake who’s capable of eating up a lot of innings. The big takeaway here for the Diamondbacks and every other team is to expect this will happen. Combined with the threat of losing a player to the virus for a couple weeks, teams need to have their minor leaguers prepared for an early call-up. 

Related: D-backs announce 60-man roster to resume spring training.

  1. NBA will return with day games

Suns fans are accustomed to watching their team play afternoon games during the summer, but that was for the Las Vegas Summer League. When the NBA season resumes on July 31, the Suns will tip off three times at 1 p.m., another game at 1:30 p.m. and one at 11 a.m.. Only two of their eight games are evening start times and their final game against Dallas is still to be determined. The big takeaway here: The Suns may have a shot at post-season play, but they’re still not worthy of prime-time national TV viewing. 10 straight years of missing the playoffs will do that. 

  1. Kyler Murray gets us hyped

The Arizona Cardinals second year quarterback posted a video to social media showing him working out with several teammates in the off-season. While the NFL Players Association has asked players to not do this, it does serve as reminder of the numerous weapons the Cardinals will have on offense this year. A similar video from newly-installed Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady received a lot of media scrutiny for a perceived lack of social distancing, but it remains to be seen if Murray will get the same attention. Big takeaway: Cardinals fans should embrace Murray if he’s emulating the guy who’s a six-time Super Bowl champion.  

  1. Coyotes realize their past popularity

A fun little under-the-radar story came out this weekend from the Coyotes, in which they readily admit their fans prefer the old Kachina jersey look. The original Coyotes jersey (worn until 2003) has been by far the top seller in the team store, and the franchise gets reminded of its popularity often on social media. One of the team’s star young players, defenseman Jakob Chychrun, called it the “best of all time.” The Yotes will wear the Kachina jerseys for each of their remaining games where they’re designated the home team, when the playoffs begin in late July. Big takeaway here: Although the franchise still backs the Coyote head logo, perhaps it should consider making a permanent change back to the Kachina look, a move players and fans would widely support.  

  1. Brooks Koepka was right

A few weeks ago, top-ranked PGA Tour player and multiple major winner Brooks Koepka lamented wearing a microphone during his round. He insisted that television microphones on the golf course do a fine job picking up audio from players and urged the announcers to be quiet long enough to hear it. Over the weekend at the Traveler’s Championship, microphones picked up one of the loudest farts you’ll ever hear on a golf course, courtesy of Ian Poulter. In the clip below, you’ll hear it along with Poulter saying he wished it had been more silent. Big takeaway: if you want more access to athletes in their element, this is what you’re going to get (not that we’re complaining).


For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.