The NBA should go to a permanent Black Friday start

What was widely expected was made close to official on Friday (May 21) that the NBA is looking for the 2021-’22 season to return to a more normal starting point in mid-October and the finals concluding in late June. Some of this is widely believed to be because of what happened last year when TV ratings for the NBA playoffs plummeted sharply being outside of their normal seasons, as the NHL also suffered last year with their playoffs delayed to August and September. While some of that may have to do with the international calendar, especially concerning in normal years the Olympics or the FIBA World Championship’s (basketball’s equal to the World Cup) that between them in a four-year span have one or the other take place every other year, to me, it would be a big mistake for the NBA to go back to its “traditional” start point:

Literally DAYS before the COVID-19 Pandemic hit in 2020 (it was on March 11, 2020 when Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz testing positive that led to the rapid shutdown of ALL sports after that), management of the Atlanta Hawks proposed the NBA on a permanent basis start their season on Christmas Day, which for many is considered “the real opening day” for the NBA as it is as many before then are entrenched with the NFL, long-considered in the US to be the 800-pound gorilla of sports. Moving back the NBA season to start then would get more of it away from the NFL, but while FIBA could make adjustments to their basketball championships that take place every four years to accommodate that, the Olympics would be a roadblock to that unless for example:

The NBA and International Olympic Committee (IOC) agreed to have the IOC change its charter and move Basketball from the Summer to the Winter Olympics (with in such years the NBA season beginning on December 4 to accommodate a three-week Olympic break)

OR

The IOC agreed to push back future Summer Olympic Games entirely to September/early October to accommodate the NBA Finals going to likely as late as the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.

It likely would be unrealistic to expect the IOC to move the Summer Games back to accommodate the NBA because it would affect a lot of other events, plus, even having it in September/early October would knock some countries out from having the Summer Olympics due to logistical challenges that would have to be overcomed (i.e.: In many cases delaying the start of the school year to accommodate the Olympics) or weather becoming much cooler by the end of September. It also would put the Summer Olympics in the early portion of the NFL season, hurting Olympic TV ratings in the US if that happened. With that in mind, I propose as a compromise moving back the start of the NBA season on a permanent bases to the day after Thanksgiving, known in the US as “Black Friday” (named such because that is traditionally the day many department stores go into the black for the year in the US), a day many people get off in US (and if not directly, use a vacation/personal day for to make that a four-day weekend).

In a lot of ways, “Black Friday” would be a perfect launch point for the NBA. While it would be opposite some “rivalry games” in college football and a number of early-season tournaments in college basketball, “Black Friday” could be a perfect ways to showcase the NBA on a day many have off with wall-to-wall games airing simultaneously nationally as in this scenario, ALL 30 teams would play on opening day with EVERY game that day nationally televised between:

ABC: Quadrupleheader with games at 1:00, 3:30, 8:00 and 11:30 PM Eastern Time

ESPN: Quintupleheader with games at Noon, 2:30, 5:00, 7:30 and 10:00 PM Eastern Time

TNT: Sextupleheader with games at 11:00 AM (which would fulfill the part of the NBA’s contract with Turner Sports that they get the first game of the season to start), 1:30 PM, 4:00, 6:30, 9:00 and 11:30 PM Eastern Time.

The NBA could do a similar setup on Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day (holidays many have off), with on those days, quintupleheaders on NBA TV (11:30 AM, 2:00, 4:30, 7:00 and 9:30 PM ET), ESPN (12:30, 3:00, 5:30, 8:00 and 10:30 PM ET with the 8:00 PM game possibly also airing on ABC) and TNT (1:00, 3:30, 6:00, 8:30 and 11:00 PM ET).

The All-Star game in this scenario would be where it probably should be permanently moved to anyway, the Sunday of the week before Selection Sunday for the NCAA Torunament and the all-Star break in that scenario possibly extending through selection Sunday, when many conference tournaments in college basketball are taking place and many people’s minds are on college basketball anyway. In that scenario, the NBA returns from the all-Star Break the day after selection Sunday with everybody playing that Monday.

The regular season with a Black Friday start would be designed to end on the Sunday before Memorial Day (except when Memorial Day falls on May 31, then the last day is Sunday, May 23 in those years), again with all 30 teams playing that day. The play-in tournament (if it is retained following this year) would be after that, done as it was this year with the 7-8 and 9-10 matchups on Tuesday and Wednesday and the second elimination games that Thursday and Friday, with the playoffs for everyone else starting the weekend after the regular season ends. It would be set up in non-Olympic years so the conference Finals would end the Sunday before Major League Baseball’s all-Star game at the latest and the Finals would start the Thursday after the MLB all-Star game (also the night following the ESPY awards), with the Finals in most years ending no later than the beginning of August, just as the NFL pre-season is starting. Obviously, in Olympic years, some adjustments might have to be made, but it might mean having the Summer games a week or two later than they normally are or the NBA moving up the playoffs a bit if needed to accommodate such.

That to me would work and allow the NBA to get more of its regular season away from the NFL.

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How the NHL should realign with eight divisions in 2021-’22 (as long as the Canadian Pandemic restrictions are lifted by then)

            With the pandemic continuing to have ripple effects that led to seasons unlike any seen in the NBA and NHL (including the NHL having to re-do divisions for the 2021 season to accommodate the fact the seven Canadian teams had to all be in one division due to quarantine restrictions of people traveling into Canada that have also forced the Toronto Blue Jays to for the second straight year play most or all of their season in either Dunedin, FL or Buffalo and did force the Toronto Raptors to relocate to Tampa for the 2020-’21 NBA season), we are approaching a 2021-’22 season that is expected to see things to return to much closer to normal for the NBA and NHL, and in the case of the NHL, welcoming in a new team in the Seattle Kraken that will bring the NHL to 32 teams. 

            As that is the case and having an even number of teams, the NHL in my opinion ought to consider with 16 teams in each conference going to four-team divisions with four such in each conference, or eight divisions in total.  In doing so, both to have a greater emphasis on conference play and to cut down on travel that could remain an issue at least during the first part of next season because of lingering effects of the pandemic, I would do it in the following manner for an 82 game season:

            Play all teams in your division six times

            Play all teams in the other three divisions of your conference four times

            Play all teams in the other conference once only, set up to where teams on an alternating basis play all teams in two divisions at home and the other two divisions on the road, with that done in reverse the following season.

            In this format, the four division winners in each conference would make it along with the next four best records regardless of division.  Seeding would be done NBA-style, with being a division winner over a wild card for seeding only coming into play if the teams have both the same number of points and number of wins.  In this format, if the top two or more teams in a conference happen to be in the same division, they would be up to the top four seeds for the conference playoffs if it just happened the top four teams in a conference ALL happened to reside in the same division. 

           While some traditionalists would be upset because the Blackhawks would only play their “original six” cohorts once each (being in the western conference while the other five are all in the east), this overall would make for a much more efficient scheduling as a whole.  As I would have the divisions in a normal (non-pandemic) situation (Note: The Turnpike division is named such because all four teams in that division are essentially within travel mainly on the New Jersey Turnpike, which travels essentially from just outside New York to just outside of Philadelphia):

           Eastern Conference

           Turnpike Division:
            New York Rangers
            New York Islanders
            New Jersey
            Philadelphia

            North Atlantic Division:
            Boston
            Montreal
            Buffalo
            Toronto

            South Atlantic Division:
            Washington
            Carolina
            Tampa Bay
            (Miami) Florida Panthers

            North Central Division:
            Pittsburgh
            Columbus
            Detroit
            Ottawa

            Western Conference

            Central Division:
            Nashville
            Dallas
            St. Louis
            Chicago

            Northwest Division:
            Seattle
            Edmonton
            Calgary
            Vancouver

            Pacific Division:
            Los Angeles
            Anaheim
            Arizona
            San Jose

            Mountain Division:
            Minnesota
            Colorado
            Winnipeg
            Vegas Golden Knights            

          This to me would be the way to do it with a greater emphasis on conference play.

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NCAA should look at a “Super Sized” (96-team) Tournament for 2022 and ’23!

            As almost anyone knows, COVID-19 has played massive havoc on all of life.  While sports have played on during this following lengthy pauses in the spring of 2020 while figuring out how to do it in a pandemic, one of the first victims of the pandemic was the 2020 NCAA Tournament.  Besides denying the chance for schools who in some cases had their best-ever shot to play for a title, it also proved costly for the NCAA as it showed how important that tournament is for the NCAA and its members, losing $400 Million.  With that in mind, there is a way the NCAA can make back some of the revenue lost from not having a tournament in 2020 when things should be much closer to normal, while at the same time, somewhat writing wrongs to schools that were screwed out of NCAA Tournament berths in 2020 through no fault of anyone.

            For 2022 and ’23, both the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Tournaments as I would do it would for those years only expand from 64 for the women and 68 for the men to 96 schools for both.  It would be done where the top 24 conference champions and top 24 at-large teams are placed in the third round of tournaments that in a normal year would be the first round.  In this, these would mostly be seeds 1-12 though many of the lesser conference champions would be seeded as low as 15 with 16 seeding slots total (including all four 16 seeds) open.  The next eight at-large schools and lowest eight conference champions (including those conference champions that would normally play in the “first four” would be slotted in the second round, which essentially would be an expanded version of the “first four” for the men with the four 16 seeds determined from this, while the other 16 slots would be open. Before what would be the first round, with 32 schools that would include what normally would be the slots the final four at-large schools would have playing in the “First Four” in the case of the men (the women do not have a “First Four” as their field is 64 schools).

            in this case for 2022 only include guaranteed berths for schools that would have been in the 2020 NCAA Tournament and did not qualify for the 2021 Tournament (plus VCU, which did qualify for the 2021 Tournament but was unable to play due to a COVID positive) and would not otherwise be in the 2022 Tournament.  This would include the selection committee going back and reviewing 2020 to determine who would have been in that field to determine the schools who would get a guaranteed berth in 2022 to make up for 2020 (in the case of auto-bids, those who had already won their conference tourneys before the pandemic hit would be guaranteed a 2022 berth if they didn’t make the 2021 field, otherwise, it would be the regular season champion or if such had been eliminated before everything was canceled, then the highest remaining seed would get the guaranteed berth). There would be a provision for the bottom auto-berths (usually the lowest of the one-bid leagues) where if a team with a guaranteed berth and the auto-berth in 2022 are different, the selection committee would reserve the right to have them play in the first round to then advance to what in a normal year would be the First Four, and for each such instance for the men, what in a normal year would have been the final at-large schools in the field that would be in the First Four would not have to play in the first round of this expanded tournament (a similar setup would be in the place for the women though as noted above the women do not have the “First Four” the way the men do). Some of the guaranteed berths likely would be dropped because a school with a guaranteed berth either would have made the field as an at-large or getting the automatic berth for winning their conference tournament, meaning other than the “First Four,” such would not start play until in most cases the third round (second-round for the lower-level at-large and auto bids). 

            As for logistics, since the first two rounds would each consist of 32 schools (the third round would be 64), the first two rounds can potentially be scheduled like the second round.  For the additional rounds, sites that would have hosted tournament games in 2020 would get preference to host the additional rounds in 2022 and ’23, with Dayton, which normally hosts the first four getting games in the first two rounds in both years.  Logistically, not too many adjustments would have to be made to the NCAA schedule to accommodate the additional two rounds, as I would do it for 2022 for the men (this would be done with the first two rounds being Wednesday-Friday or Thursday-Saturday and the third and fourth rounds being Sunday-Tuesday or Monday-Wednesday):

First/Second Rounds:

March 16-18: Dayton, Cleveland, Spokane, St. Louis

March 17-19: Omaha, Sacramento, Cleveland, Greensboro

Third/Fourth Rounds:

March: 20-22: Buffalo, Indianapolis, Fort Worth, Portland

March 21-23: Greenvile (SC), Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, San Diego

Regionals (Sat-Mon or Sun-Tues):

March 26-28: Chicago, Philadelphia

March 27-29: San Francisco, San Antonio

Final Four would still be April 2-4 in New Orleans as scheduled.

            This to me is the best way for the NCAA to give make ups to schools who clearly were screwed out of NCAA berths in 2020 while at the same, having additional rounds to make up lost revenue from the canceled 2020 tournament.

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A crazy four-way NFL trade to really shake up the 2021 draft

I will admit this trade is almost certainly to NOT happen, but I wanted it on the record because this is the kind of crazy trade I could see done before the draft:

As most know, DeShaun Watson wants out of Houston and is attempting to force a trade.  While many Jets fans want to see Watson wind up in New York, Miami is looking like the more logical landing spot because the Dolphins can give the Texans Tua Tagliviola, who they took in 2020 with the 5th pick in that draft while also giving the Texans back the third pick they originally got from them when the Texans traded for Larimie Tunsil (plus probably the 18th pick of the 1st round the Dolphins have and most likely a 2022 first rounder plus possibly additional picks).  Tua (as he is called by most because his last name is a bit hard to pronounce) would give them a ready-made quarterback who already has had an attempt at making the playoffs which failed only because it was a year where all three wild cards had 11 years and the Dolphins had 10, which normally is good enough to make the playoffs.

That led me to think, what if the Texans actually wanted Trevor Lawrence, whom the Jaguars are almost certain barring anything crazy to take with the first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft if they can’t have Watson return?  That thought gave me the crazy idea of a blockbuster trade you rarely see in the NFL: A four-way trade that could really shake things up.

With that in mind, this is one potential four-way trade that would allow the Jets to get rid of Sam Darnold (whom they took with the 3rd pick in 2018) and actually get a player whom is on a rookie deal for three more years in Tua while the Jags, either with Darnold or presumably the next best quarterback in the 2020 draft have a quarter they can build around while the Texans get Trevor Lawrence.  This is the scenario:

  • Deshaun Watson to the Dolphins.
  • Tua to the Jets, who also get Pick #36 (fourth pick of Round 2) from the Dolphins and Pick #65 (first pick of Round 3) from the Jaguars.
  • Jaguars get Pick #2 and Sam Darnold from the Jets AND Pick #3 from the Texans via the Dolphins plus at least one additional pick (in 2021 or ’22) from the Dolphins and Texans.
  • Texans get Picks #1 & #25 from the Jags and Pick #18 from the Dolphins plus pick #23 from the Seahawks via the Jets.  Texans also likely get at least one third rounder (in 2021 or ’22) from each of the others. 

This allows the Texans to take Trevor Lawrence with the first pick PLUS have three more first-rounders later in the draft, while the Jets have Tua while only giving up their first-round picks in 2021 (and one third) and the Dolphins have their man and the Jags have at least one pick they can trade down to a team desperate to take a quarterback with say the third pick since in this scenario, the Jags would have both the second and third picks in the first round.

While again, this likely won’t happen, it is something to wonder given Deshaun Watson’s trade demands.

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Time for the NFL to go to a Draft Lottery?

In light of the fallout what happened with the final game of the 2020-’21 NFL regular season between the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field where many, including many Eagles fans and former players slamming the Eagles left and right for their decision in the fourth quarter to replace Jalen Hurts with Nick Sudfeld in an attempt to lose and move up three spots in the 2021 NFL Draft from ninth to sixth, perhaps it’s time the NFL did something the NBA did many years ago.

During the 1983-’84 season, the Houston Rockets, three seasons removed from making the NBA Finals with a losing record set up their team with such a bad lineup that the lost to where they in a coin flip won the #1 pick in the 1984 NBA Draft that became Hakeem Olajuwon, who would help the Rockets to two NBA titles in 1994 and ’95. That taking led to the NBA going to a draft lottery the next year (1985) where the Knicks got the first pick that became Patrick Ewing. The NBA has over the years made changes to the lottery to make it more difficult for the better teams that miss the playoffs to get the #1 pick (especially after in 1993 the Orlando Magic even after a 41-41 record and ONE ping-pong ball got the #1 pick for the second year in a row) and made further changes to reduce the effects of tampering, including making it where the three worst teams have a 15% chance of landing the #1 pick and no team can drop lower than four spots from their original picks.

It’s time for the NFL to do something similar in creating a Draft Lottery. That has in the NBA become a program all of its own in recent years and for the NFL, it could be made into a major event, perhaps during Super Bowl week in prime time rotating between the NFL’s broadcast partners. That would likely be a one-hour program with little actual content that likely would be ratings gold and the broadcast partners would clamor to carry.

This could be done where (all before any trades made are factored in) the 16 teams who missed the playoffs all qualify for the lottery, with the four worst teams each having a 12.5% chance of having the #1 pick in the draft, with the remaining picks done solely by record to where the best team has say a 0.5% chance of moving up while no team can drop more than four spots in the draft. This would not eliminate tanking, but prevent situations like this year where fans of the New York Jets get upset because their team won two games and they “miss out” on Trevor Lawrence for example.

Going to a draft lottery might very well be the best thing for the NFL at this point.

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Time for the NFL to have all games (in a conference) at the same time the final week of the regular season!

This was written shortly after the final game of the 2020 NFL regular season on Sunday, January 3, 2021 between the Washington Football Team (formerly Washington Redskins) and Philadelphia Eagles that took place at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The game aired on NBC as the final Sunday Night game of the season as it was the only game guaranteed to have meaning regardless of the outcome of the Sunday afternoon games. This has for years been an awkward dance for the NFL that led to in 2017 having no game at all on NBC that Sunday night and this game in the eyes of Cris Collinsworth, calling the game with Al Michaels blasting the Eagles for in his mind their tanking by replacing Jalen Hurts with Nate Sudfeld at quarterback in the fourth quarter of a game the Eagles had to win to put the New York Giants, who earlier that Sunday beat the Dallas Cowboys into the playoffs as NFC East champions (https://twitter.com/gifdsports/status/1345949063301263360).

With that in mind, it’s time the NFL join much of the rest of the sports world literally worldwide with in this case scheduling ALL games in a conference at the same time, with as should be done here, all games divided up between ALL of the NFL’s broadcast partners (including separate games on ABC and ESPN) and for the bottom-level games putting those on cable outlets (FS1 for FOX and CBS Sports Network for CBS) and for any games on cable, those also airing on digital subchannels of the network affiliates whose network produce such games (in the case of ESPN, using LivWell, ABC’s DT-2 channel or LAFF, ABC’s DT-3 channel, for FS1 and NFL Network (whose games are produced by FOX) using MOVIES, FOX’s DT-2 channel and BUZZR, FOX’s DT-4 Channel and for CBSSN using DECADES, CBS’s DT-2 channel).

If we had the 3:30/7:30 schedule the final week (or 3:00/8:20 if CBS had to air 60 Minutes), here’s how it likely would be (games are listed in the likely choice order the networks would have, announcer parings are in parentheses):

AFC games at 3:30 PM ET:
NBC: Steelers-Browns (Mike Tirico and Tony Dungy)
CBS: Dolphins-Bills (Ian Eagle and Charles Davis)
FOX: Titans-Texans (Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis)
ABC: Ravens-Bengals (Sean McDonough and Todd Blackledge)
ESPN/LivWell or LAFF: Jaguars-Colts (Bob Wischusen and Dan Orlovsky)
NFLN/MOVIES or BUZZR: Jets-Patriots (Adam Amin and Mark Schlereth)
FS1/MOVIES or BUZZR: Raiders-Broncos (Joe Davis and Robert Smith)
CBSSN/DECADES: Chargers-Chiefs (Spero Dedes and Adam Archuleta)

NFC games at 7:30 PM ET:
NBC: Packers-Bears (Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth)
FOX: Cardinals-Rams (Joe Buck and Troy Aikman)
CBS: Cowboys-Giants (Jim Nantz and Boomer Esiason)
ABC: Saints-Panthers (Steve Levy, Brian Griese and Louis Riddick)
ESPN/LivWell or LAFF: Seahawks-49ers (Dave Pasch and Mike Golic, Sr.)
NFLN/MOVIES or BUZZR: Football Team-Eagles (Kenny Albert and Johnathan Vilma)
CBSSN/DECADES: Falcons-Buccaneers (Greg Gumbel and Trent Dilfer)
FS1/MOVIES or BUZZR: Vikings-Lions (Joe Davis and Robert Smith)

NOTE: Normally, Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit, ABC’s top college football announce team would have in this scenario gotten the 3:30 PM Eastern Time ABC game but because Herbstreit tested positive for COVID and could not be at the game site the way the NFL seems to want it they would not be on at all.  Tony Romo, who normally works with Jim Nantz was also out the final week this season due to COVID protocols.

All games could also be available to be streamed free of charge via the NFL and network websites to accommodate those who don’t have options in some cases to see the game(s) they want to see.

Doing it this way would prevent a repeat of what happened on Sunday night as ALL of the games would be airing at the same time from one conference. If DirecTV, which has Sunday Ticket has to be compensated for losing the last week, that can be done and it would be worth it in this case to avoid a repeat of what happened this season.

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The Presidential Election and why the 2020 Breeders’ Cup needs to be postponed to AT LEAST Thanksgiving (Third updated version)

With what has come out, it’s now the THIRD TIME I’m saying that the Breeders’ Cup, the championship event in Horse Racing scheduled for November 6-7 at Keeneland needs to be postponed until at least Thanksgiving weekend if not the following week, even if it has to be moved elsewhere as a result:

Two years ago, I wrote that the 2020 Breeders’ Cup should have been awarded to Del Mar with the BC pushed back to Thanksgiving Weekend.  When I originally suggested this two years ago, it’s because of what I saw where I am in 2016 (which was a swing state then and again now): Many people so exhausted by the intensity of the 2016 election that things did not return to normal until two weeks later at Thanksgiving (the election was on its latest possible date in 2016).  Even with an additional week this time (because of an earlier Election and later Thanksgiving date), this election in 2018 was always looked at as being WAY more intense given how even the 2018 midterms (which set all kinds of records for voting in such) were as close as the maximum intensity you could realistically have had for those, and it was already looking then that Thanksgiving would be when things went back to normal.  That, however, DID NOT factor in the level of rhetoric we have seen JUST SINCE THE MIDTERMS, with many predicting a violent post-election aftermath EVEN BEFORE we had George Floyd kick off the summer we had that has in some cases continued into the fall.  THAT is why I would have long ago pushed this BC back to Thanksgiving weekend and moved it to Del Mar (Keeneland is already hosting the 2022 BC because of no fans this time) to allow for tracks around the country to have been able to schedule an additional round of preps at the end of October/beginning of November. 

That said, people in racing for the most part have their heads in the sand and refuse to understand WHY I said it.  This had ZERO to do with such allowing as things would have worked out for the New York Racing Association to either run a rescheduled Wood Memorial on October 24 (three weeks after the rescheduled Preakness) at the traditional Belmont Stakes distance of 1 1/2 Miles or actually have scheduled The Belmont Stakes for October 24 instead of the bastardized version that was run on June 20.  Running a 1 1/2 Mile Belmont Stakes on June 20 would likely have resulted in Tiz The Law facing a vastly inferior field to where potentially $200-500 MILLION was bet on Tiz to win, causing the biggest MINUS pool in the history of the sport and leading NYRA liable for $10-15 Million or more in such a pool OR NYRA having to run The Belmont as a non-betting race.

From the get-go, moving the Breeders’ Cup, especially as things were already intensifying before COVID-19 hit on the political front was solely about avoiding a disaster for Keeneland and Breeders’ Cup, Ltd. as when this BC was awarded to Keeneland, people refused to understand the intensity of this election that was being forecast even when this Breeders’ Cup was awarded to Keeneland and scheduled for November 6-7.  That has only intensified many times over just since then.  It was AFTER THAT you had George Floyd and everything that has happened since.  Then, on September 17, you had a British journalist predicting what MANY have for months about things getting very ugly no matter who wins this election (Raw Story article).  Even before that, two weeks earlier on September 3 there was a Washington Post article that suggested the same thing. There have since been other articles, including these in The Guardian on September 24 and more recently in VOX on October 9 that have also suggested Trump supporters be “agressive.”  That also is fueling widespread speculation that if Trump loses, he will “encourage” his supporters to go all-out in looking to cause violence in a last-ditch effort to force states to overturn their election results and declare Trump the winner.  Such could include going to events like The Breeders’ Cup that Friday and Saturday afternoon as well as a much-anticipated college football game with Notre Dame hosting Clemson that Saturday night in the hopes of getting those events canceled with threats of further violence to force a reversal of ELECTION RESULTS to favor Trump. Given what came out on October 8 of an attempt to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, including possibly “putting her on trial” and killing her, these threats have to be taken seriously.

Many of his supporters would be looking to cause violence without Trump’s “encouragement” anyway for another reason: Many are White Supremacists who fear whites becoming a minority in the US if Biden wins this election.  Trump would likely be “encouraging” such because if he loses, he is facing being CRIMINALLY INDICTED by New York State for FRAUD in the Trump Organization.  Because those are state charges, neither Trump nor ANY future President could ever Pardon Trump or anyone else for such crimes.  Eric Trump already has had to testify in a Civil Fraud case brought on by New York State Attorney General Letitia James (linked Politico article is from August 10) and that along with other evidence could lead to New York County (Manhattan) District Attorney Cyrus Vance CRIMINALLY INDICTING Trump for FRAUD (linked CNBC article from September 21), even possibly doing so PRIOR to Election Day.  There also on October 9 was a New York Times article showing how Trump was broke when he got a $21 Million windfall that was part of a much bigger investigation into Trump’s taxes that first came out September 27, showing he is likely over $400 Million in debt and why he is also desperate to remain in The White House.

No matter who wins this election, the losing side and their supporters are going to very likely claim fraud and especially if Biden does win after ALL votes are counted (as many have already predicted a “red mirage” where Trump leads on Election Night but once all votes are counted, Biden wins), I suspect Trump supporters will be looking to have all-out violence because they will not accept the result.  THAT is why this Breeders’ Cup needs to be postponed to Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 26-28, when it can be held over three days) OR the following week (Dec. 4-5) at the very least, again, EVEN IF it has to be moved from Keeneland elsewhere.

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What REALLY cost Hillary Clinton the 2016 Election (and no, it was not the infamous letter from James Comey)

The polls are showing things in 2020 that were NOT the case in 2016:

Joe Biden is now leading Donald Trump by more than DOUBLE any poll where Hillary Clinton was leading Trump four years ago. In spite of this fact, those who are Trump supporters continue to think EVERY SINGLE ONE of these polls that have been done are wrong, people are lying and there is a “silent majority” of voters who will show up in huge numbers on election day. A big part of that comes from what happened in 2016, where many believe Hillary Clinton lost because of a letter that in reality now-former FBI Director James Comey noted unflattering e-mails from Hillary among other things, with many not realizing Comey feared he would be impeached if it were found out later on there was an investigation taking place. However, as things did wind up working out for reasons noted here, Comey was NOT the factor everyone thought he was.

What Trump supporters fail to take into account when they think Trump will easily win because of their “silent majority” is that:

  1. The polls actually were accurate in 2016. Hillary did win the popular vote by 2.7 Million or so votes. The problem was, she won California by 4.26 Million votes and that her entire margin of victory in the popular vote was because of California left her vulnerable to what happened in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania (Trump won the rest of the country by 1.39 Million votes).
  2. Hillary did not campaign at all in Wisconsin or Michigan, two states Biden has already been too quite a bit this time while outside of Philly barely campaigned in Pennsylvania. That likely contributed to Trump winning Wisconsin and Michigan by a combined 30,000 or so votes. Hillary had to win ONE of those two states (Wisconsin or Michigan) plus…..
  3. Pennsylvania. Hillary had to win Pennsylvania as well as EITHER Wisconsin or Michigan to win the election (even winning WI and MI Hillary still had to win PA) and because Pennsylvania didn’t have anything close to the kind of mail-in/absentee/early voting in 2016 there is in place for 2020, it left Hillary vulnerable to a situation completely outside of Hillary’s control, and that was NOT the infamous Comey letter.

It was a strike by SEPTA workers in Philadelphia that occurred ONE WEEK before the 2016 election where MANY people in the Philadelphia area suddenly saw their commutes BALLOON to 3-4 HOURS each way AND/OR having to work an 80+ hour week during that strike that ended early the day before Election Day in 2016. Many such people wound up exhausted because of that and it also caused, especially in the suburbs events the weekend before the 2016 election to be postponed (in some cases all the way to the following spring) or canceled due to people who were supposed to work such being called into their actual jobs as a direct result of that strike. That led to MANY, especially in Bucks County (the county actually most affected by that strike where Hillary lost 30,000 votes compared to Obama in 2012) changing their votes from Hillary to Trump to get back at SEPTA workers for striking and at Obama for not issuing an Executive Order to end that strike. THAT is what cost Hillary Pennsylvania and once that happened, even WITHOUT the James Comey letter and EVEN IF Hillary had properly campaigned in Wisconsin and Michigan, Hillary was NEVER winning the election because of that strike.

  1. Elderly voters. There was a warning sign four months before the 2016 election in England where voters in a stunning upset voted FOR the Brexit that had England leaving the European Union. Over there, the vote had been expected to be for “no Brexit,” however, polls failed to account for many elderly voters, most of whom were white males that openly admitted they voted FOR the Brexit because they had seen them, their children and grandchildren be left behind by the global economy and wanted a return to the “good times” of the 1950’s and ’60s when they THRIVED in many cases. In many cases, that group did so as a “last gift” for their children and grandchildren as just since that vote in June 2016, many such who voted for the Brexit have passed away. It was many of the same type of elderly, white, male voter that voted for Trump for the exact same reason, as well as their children and grandchildren as many such families thrived in a much more racist time when they had advantages other did not solely due to race. This group also was not accounted for in 2016 when many more seniors did vote for Trump that in 2020 are showing to be voting for Biden. Also, like with the Brexit, many older Trump voters have since passed away and there was never a guarantee others would in 2020 vote for Trump, even in this time and place.

THIS is what cost Hillary in 2016, NOT Comey.

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Why the 2020 Breeders’ Cup needs to be postponed to at least Thanksgiving Weekend (SECOND UPDATED VERSION)

NOTE: The original version post was originally written before The New York Racing Association announced The Belmont Stakes would be run on June 20 at 1 1/8 Miles. This is a new version of that post, updated considerably to reflect on things outside racing that have happened since the original post was done and updated as well. To view a slightly updated version of the original post, click here. There is a further update to this post at the bottom of this.

Back when I wrote this in May, it was just after The Stronach Group announced the Preakness would be at Pimlico on October 3. While there were reasons for that I wrote into a subsequent post on why The New York Racing Association was forced to run The Belmont Stakes as it did (which also played into why The Preakness was Oct. 3), as things worked out like with the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness in 2020 would be run without fans in attendance due to the Pandemic. NYRA was left with October 24 as the only other realistic option for The Belmont Stakes that I subsequently wrote should have a rescheduled running of The Wood Memorial, conducted for 2020 ONLY at the Belmont Stakes’ traditional 1 1/2 Mile distance to throw a bone to those disgusted. While that would still have that only two weeks before the Breeders’ Cup, there were other reasons I felt The Breeders’ Cup needed to be postponed:

Two years ago, I wrote that the 2020 Breeders’ Cup should have been awarded to Del Mar with the BC pushed back to Thanksgiving Weekend. That had to do specifically with the 2020 Presidential Election, which even at that time was already looking to be the most intense election in US history. The Breeders’ Cup being a few days after that looked like it would be safe from dealing with the bulk of the immediate aftermath of that election on November 6-7 though in 2016, it took for many two full weeks (or until Thanksgiving) to fully recover from the intensity of that election and Donald Trump winning the Presidency. Then the COVID-19 Pandemic came in and has literally changed for many how they will cast their ballots for President in 2020 that adds an entire new layer to the election.

With vote-by-mail expected to be much more widely used for the 2020 election by many states, in some cases exclusively where it has not been before, it could result in delays in getting vote tallies in order. That in turn could delay the result of the Presidential Election being known until at least the current weekend of The Breeders’ Cup, something neither Keeneland nor Breeders’ Cup, Ltd. signed up for when the BC was scheduled as it was for 2020. If that does happen, it could be a disaster for BC Ltd. and Keeneland for things they would have ZERO control over, especially the emotions of those who supported the candidate that LOSES the 2020 Presidential Election. There are many who think things could get VERY UGLY in the streets in the immediate period after the election results are known regardless of who wins, and a Washington Post article on September 3 (which may or may not be behind a paywall) now suggesting this is very likely to happen. This is something BC Ltd. never had to consider even being possible before the Pandemic fully hit in March.

With that in mind, it is now likely in the best interests of EVERYONE in the sport if the Breeders’ Cup is moved back to EITHER Thanksgiving Weekend (with the BC over three days from November 26-28 in a very similar manner to what I suggested two years ago or if not then to the weekend of December 4-5. Obviously, that is NOT an ideal weather situation for Keeneland that is not designed for winter weather (it usually races in early-to-mid spring and early-to-mid-fall), but it is now likely the lesser evil for Keeneland as Lexington could be dealing with fallout from the election during the Breeders’ Cup no one could have realistically anticipated when it was awarded to Keeneland. Having it a 3-4 weeks later after everyone has had time to absorb the election result probably works better.

Such a move would have one major side benefit, allowing The New York Racing Association and the sport to run as noted a rescheduled running of The Wood Memorial at what normally would be the 1 1/2 Mile distance of The Belmont Stakes on Saturday, October 24, which would have this “substitute Belmont Stakes” three weeks after the Preakness as it normally would be. This would even possibly allow for one final prep before the Breeders’ Cup for horses racing in such a rescheduled Wood Memorial on November 14 if the Breeders’ Cup were December 4-5. It also in the case of Tiz The Law allow for the possibility with the Breeders’ Cup delayed of running in such a rescheduled running of the Wood Memorial at 1 1/2 Miles that would legitimize the Triple Crown should he win the Derby and Preakness and remove any asterisks from winning the Triple Crown this year due to the Belmont Stakes having to be shortened (as otherwise, NYRA was facing a situation where Tiz The Law would have likely faced 3-4 vastly inferior horses in a 1 1/2 Mile Belmont Stakes to where potentially $200-500 MILLION was bet on Tiz to win, causing the biggest MINUS pool in the history of the sport and leading NYRA liable for $10-15 Million or more in such a pool OR NYRA having to run The Belmont as a non-betting race).

For all involved in the sport, this is what I would now be looking at doing in light of a slew of things that have nothing to do with Horse Racing or sports at all for that matter but nonetheless something Breeders’ Cup, Ltd. should have considered looking at LONG before the Preakness date was announced back in May. In light of what has since happened, Breeders’ Cup, Ltd. needs to take a serious look at getting the Breeders’ Cup moved back to either Thanksgiving weekend or the weekend after as with the political climate being what it is, even before the rioting and protests many had already been predicting the immediate period after the election results are known would be very ugly no matter who won. This reinforces that view.

UPDATE on September 17, 2020: A British journalist is now predicting what MANY have for months about things getting very ugly no matter who wins this election (Raw Story article).

No matter who wins this election, the losing side and their supporters are going to very likely claim fraud and especially if Biden does win after ALL votes are counted (as many have already predicted a “red mirage” where Trump leads on Election Night but once all votes are counted, Biden wins), I suspect Trump supporters will be looking to all-out violence because they will not accept the result in a long-shot attempt to overturn the result to Trump’s favor, especially with the very possibility Trump will be CRIMINALLY INDICTED FOR FRAUD in the Trump Organization by New York State BEFORE Election day and many potentially facing PRISON if Biden wins.

It’s WHAT I have been talking about when I have said the Breeders Cup, scheduled for November 6-7 at Keeneland needs to be postponed to Thanksgiving or later. By pushing the event back 3-4 weeks, it would be much more likely things will have calmed down to where the more casual sports fan will be back watching sports and not watching news and/or being fearful of their safety and so forth no matter who wins. I had said TWO YEARS AGO the 2020 Breeders’ Cup should have been awarded to Del Mar and held on Thanksgiving weekend because even at that time, it already was looking like this election was going to be the most intense in US History with many feeling Democracy was at stake in this election. That was clearly BEFORE COVID and all the rhetoric back-and-forth that has only escalated further in the last few months that I think many in Horse Racing refuse to understand is going on because it is an inconvenient truth that does not jive with what THEY want to see.

If the Breeders’ Cup remains where it is scheduled to, it will likely be a disaster for Keeneland and BC Ltd. as only the die-hards will be watching as almost everyone else will be severely distracted to where ALL of sports feels the ripple effect of such, NOT JUST the Breeders’ Cup.

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NFL Pandemic Realignment and how that may be needed for 2020

                When the NFL made their plans for the 2020 season, they thought by now the US would be past the worst of the worst Pandemic to hit worldwide since the Spanish Flu of 1918-’20.  Instead, and especially with the problems Major League Baseball is currently experiencing with the Miami Marlins (19 players and two other personnel testing positive for COVID-19), Philadelphia Phillies (two of their personnel testing positive) and St. Louis Cardinals (two players testing positive) to where (as of when this was written) there was the threat of the plug being pulled on the MLB season, there were suggestions the NFL should do some emergency realignments and schedule changes to cut down on travel and the threat of the virus.

                With that in mind, this is my proposal on doing that.  The NFL may want to show they are above this, but given what is happening in Major League Baseball to where there is a real threat of college football (no matter what plans there are for playing this fall at the time of this writing currently in place) seeing its season possibly delayed until spring (already being done in much of FCS, the level below major college football), the NFL may have no choice but to do a fast realignment to reduce travel and make it where all games are within a relative regional “bubble.”  This could be done two ways:

                One where the regular season is reduced for this season from 16 games to 14 and instead of the traditional four divisions of four teams per conference, there are no conference and four divisions of eight teams each, the other where there are the traditional eight divisions of four (four divisions per conference) where 16 games are played where everyone in their division plays their other division rivals four times each and the similar geographical division in the other conference once. 

                In a no-conference format, here’s how the four divisions of eight would likely look in such a one year-only Pandemic realignment:

East
Patriots
Giants
Jets
Bills
Eagles
Ravens
Washington FC
Panthers

North
Steelers
Browns
Bengals
Colts
Bears
Vikings
Packers
Lions

South
Falcons
Jaguars
Dolphins
Buccaneers
Titans
Saints
Cowboys
Texans

West
Chiefs
Broncos
Seahawks
49ers
Raiders
Rams
Chargers
Cardinals

                If we had eight divisions and two conferences of four, here’s how it likely looks for a one-year Pandemic realignment (with “bubble” cities if such were necessary noted):

AFC East (East Rutherford)
Patriots
Giants
Jets
Bills

AFC North (Indianapolis)
Steelers
Browns
Bengals
Colts

AFC South (Atlanta)
Falcons
Jaguars
Dolphins
Buccaneers

AFC West (Santa Clara)
Chiefs
Broncos
Seahawks
49ers

NFC East (Philadelphia)
Eagles
Ravens
Washington FC
Panthers

NFC North (Chicago)
Bears
Vikings
Packers
Lions

NFC South (New Orleans)
Titans
Saints
Cowboys
Texans

NFC West (Las Vegas)
Raiders
Rams
Chargers
Cardinals

                While this would put the kabosh on some rivalry games for one year, the main purpose of this is to cut down on travel as much as possible.  This was as close as possible to keeping things regional though obviously for one year in some cases it would have teams switching conferences, including a few cases where original AFL teams would be playing in the NFC if realignment were done that way.

                This also would allow for “bubbles” if it got to that point with the NFL, especially if you had eight such where two such “bubbles” are near each other for short travel for interconference games.  In an eight-city “bubble” format, these would likely be the most likely areas given attempting to keep such to groups of four while allowing for short travel as necessary:

AFC East: East Rutherford, NJ (Met Life Stadium)
NFC East: Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field)

AFC North: Indianapolis (Lucas Oil Stadium)
NFC North: Chicago (Soldier Field)

AFC South: Atlanta (Mercedes-Benz Stadium)
NFC South: New Orleans (Superdome)

AFC West: Santa Clara, CA (Levi’s Stadium)
NFC West: Las Vegas (Allegiant Stadium)

                As much as possible, it would be done where a team that has to go a the opposite conference division bubble for “road” interconference games would play those games in such bubble on back-to-back weeks in a 16-game format that might require 18 weeks to allow for “bye weeks” before and after a team has to travel to and from one bubble to and from the other to allow for testing and so forth.

                These may be the two ways the NFL could go in order an NFL season work.

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