Thursday, March 19, 2020

Coronavirus Odds and Ends

By Kevin Beane

I can't really express how much I hope that this is the only edition of this particular feature I'll ever need to do.

* The NFL is taking a lot of heat for going full steam ahead with free agency despite the coronavirus, but I think this is exactly what the NFL should be doing. There are two reasons for this.

1) NFL free agency can be done entirely remotely. There is nothing inherent in the free agency process that puts people at risk of infection. Per the eSign Act of 2000, digital signature are 100% okay — players can even sign their contracts remotely!

2) Inasmuch as this can be done safely, why on God's green earth would we not embrace and welcome a little bit of normalcy during this time? No sports are playing. Everything's cancelled. We all have to stay inside except for necessary tasks. This is uncharted territory for just about everyone alive right now. Regular ol' NFL free agency talk can and does bring us some joy when it's most needed. Is enjoying anything right now allowed? Should we all just sit in the corner and wring our hands over the solemnity of it all?

So yes, please proceed with free agency. Any safe distractions are good.

* Yes, I'm jonesing for the sports I love but I am coping with my other hobbies, like poker and board games.

I've written plenty in this space about obscurer sports like curling and candlepin bowling, and about obscure leagues of more popular sports.

In that way, it's like I've been preparing for this. For example, there is so much curling on YouTube that I have absolutely no idea how it came out, because curling isn't really covered in the U.S. media.

But you miss football, basketball, baseball? YouTube has you covered there, too. Just search for "high school football" set the filter to long videos only, and there are scores of games you don't know how they turned out. Small college football as well. Overseas leagues in basketball. Independent leagues in baseball. There are still plenty of sports out there for you, and if you don't know how it turned out, it might as well be live.

Another thing I have done and you can do as well is search for the sport of your choice and also put in a year (my go-to is 1985, when I was 9). In this way, I have found a powerful nostalgia itch-scratcher in old broadcasts of any given sport. I just watched a White Sox game where Bobby Bonilla played outfield for them. I bet you weren't even aware Bobby Bo even played for Chicago. He did, for 75 games in 1986.

* One potential light at the end of the tunnel (for me at least; many will disagree) is the glut of sport that will be waiting for us when it's safe to play again. I love to gorge on sport smorgasbords. The French Open, for example, has been moved to October. We might be playing regular season football, baseball, hockey, and even basketball then, too, at that time, depending on how postponements and reschedules shake out. For me, that's awesome.

* Stay safe. Take this seriously — it's not a hoax or overblown. Wash your hands, avoid crowds, and here's to hoping we all make it to the other side of this.

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