Letters: The wide world of sports has never seen anything like this
Boy, what I’d give right now to be incensed and furious that the Houston Astros stole a World Series.
With the level-headed but difficult decision to cancel or postpone various sporting events, the saying “take one for the team” has now been elevated to “take one for humanity.”
Players of nearly a dozen NBA teams (including the Lakers) have been tested for COVID-19, even though virtually all are asymptomatic. Meanwhile, Americans with symptoms have died awaiting this very test. Commissioner Adam Silver won’t say how the league or its teams got what limited test kits there are. How does he explain this to families of the dead? To healthcare professionals who treat the infected but still await testing? That the lives of pampered, well-compensated players are worth more? That league lucre buys anything? Silver should assess himself and the league a gross misconduct foul.
As the Olympics scheduled for Tokyo in July draw near, some athletes push to compete; others would rather wait.
To overcome California’s extreme shortage of COVID-19 testing kits, maybe Governor Newsom can borrow from the Lakers.
If the NCAA tournament can be canceled, if the Kentucky Derby can be postponed, if the Masters can be postponed, the Olympics must be postponed or canceled. If the IOC refuses to do the correct thing, the USOC must say no.
Well done, Bill Plaschke. Your piece on the importance of sports during crisis was spot on. Now what do we do? May I cast one vote? Please play on at the Masters as planned, sans crowds. It’s the one sporting event where everyone can keep their safe “social distance” from each other. We really, truly need something to normalize our lives as sports fans, and most importantly, something to cheer for. Golf is meant for HDTV, and the ratings would be through the roof.
Bill Plaschke’s full-page sports column sounded like his temporary epitaph and that of the sports world. May I suggest some changes in sports when the games begin again. First, outlaw travel ball for all high school athletes and ban athletic scholarships to private high schools. Second, allow high school basketball players to go pro. Third, lower the number of games the NFL plays to 12 to preserve their players’ brains. Fourth, all pro sports for both male and female athletes should make the same salaries. Finally, a couple of months off to fight the coronavirus might be just what is needed for the sports world to reexamine its core values and improve itself.
Major League Soccer’s team practice moratorium was extended through March 27 because of the coronavirus; other soccer leagues also made announcements.
More often than not my letters voice displeasure with USC football under Clay Helton — who’s admittedly an easy target — however, the empathetic and decisive leadership demonstrated by the new athletic administration in prioritizing the best interests of its student-athletes in the face of unprecedented fear, adversity and national uncertainty is comforting and makes me feel prideful that competence, vision, passion and functional excellence finally have been restored to Heritage Hall (at least until the season begins anew against Alabama).
I applaud those few professional athletes who have stepped up with six-figure donations to offset the financial hit being taken by concessionaires and arena and field employees whose livelihoods have been stripped in the wake of the overblown panic of the COV-19 virus. I also find it shameful that it has been but a scant few of our eight-figure-salaried “heroes” who have made the selfless gesture. Folks, we have lost our way.
While the sports world is on hold during this difficult time, perhaps younger readers can get a taste of Jim Murray-style sports feature writing in the interim. Chris Erskine’s “Hay-now fever” is one such example. It is beautifully written with apt metaphors abounding. Instead of worrying about who will come out of the Dodger bullpen or if LeBron can stay healthy throughout the playoffs, human interest stories can return to the spotlight.
I don’t relieve my stress by watching horse racing on TV. It’s by watching the horses coming down the stretch at idyllic Santa Anita.
This no-fans strategy should satisfy no one. Social distancing? You can do that by taking a seat far from the crowd, but you can still feel the excitement as that same crowd roars for their favorites coming down the stretch.
TV programming ideas to help sports-starved weekend couch potatoes (like me) get through this: Golf Channel: Reruns of past major championships. Likely I won’t remember who the winner was until the final few holes. Lakers Channel: Reruns of past L.A. championship victories. Rotate through all 11, it never gets old. Dodgers Channel: Take credit for going into isolation long before anyone ever heard of the coronavirus.
So even though there are no sports on TV to watch, here are some movies we can watch that reflect the status of this predicament.
“Up In the Air”: About the start of the MLB season.
“Gone With the Wind”: About the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournament.
“12 Angry Men”: About the NBA teams not playing for the championship.
“Psycho”: How we feel when there are no sports to watch.
“The Big Chill”: The status of the NHL season.
Here’s an idea: Replay games on Channel 5 and 9 from yesteryear featuring not only great games and times in Los Angeles sports history, but maybe just for the sake of listening to two of the greatest storytellers of all time, Vin Scully and the late, great Chick Hearn.
No Tom for L.A.
The Chargers just dodged a Tom Brady bullet. The Chargers need to focus on drafting a young talented quarterback. Build an offensive line to protect him and put a winning team on the field. Is Tom Brady the greatest quarterback of all time? I don’t think so. Brady never played when the likes of Deacon Jones, Lawrence Taylor, Ray Nitschke, Joe Greene and Dick Butkus were out to hit and destroy the quarterback. I’m not sure Brady could have survived those hits. There is a reason why Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick didn’t go all out to re-sign Brady. Superstars fail to see what the players and coaches know: Their light doesn’t shine as bright anymore.
Former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Friday a signing that had been widely reported since Tuesday.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick went on at great length about what Tom Brady meant to the New England Patriots, professional football, and what his legacy will be. I can sum it up in one word: cheater.
The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be brief and become the property of The Times. They may be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and telephone number. Pseudonyms will not be used.
Mail: Sports Viewpoint
Los Angeles Times
2300 E. Imperial Hwy.
El Segundo, CA 90245
Get our high school sports newsletter
Prep Rally is devoted to the SoCal high school sports experience, bringing you scores, stories and a behind-the-scenes look at what makes prep sports so popular.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.