It was yet another one of those weeks, where you finally look up from the news that’s obsessing everybody only to find that while you weren’t looking, monarch butterflies had moved to the verge of extinction. There doesn’t seem to be an end to this anytime soon — which is pretty much the motto of this website, so let’s get on with it:
- Japan was reported to have decided to cancel the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo because the pandemic won’t be over by July, then doubled down and declared that the games are definitely still on. All this is still subject to change, especially since the coronavirus itself is still subject to change, so expect the rumors and counterrumors to continue right up until the torch is lit, if a torch relay is something that can even be pulled off with social distancing.
- The NFL is planning to sell 14,500 tickets to next month’s Super Bowl in Tampa, plus allow in 7,500 vaccinated health care workers for free, because as we all know, once you’re vaccinated you no longer pose a contagion risk and so are the equivalent of an empty seat in terms of viral spread. Wait, what’s that? We don’t know that at all? Oh well, I’m sure it’s safe, surely the NFL would never do anything to put anyone at risk.
- Speaking of hygiene theater, the Arizona Coyotes are allowing up to 3,450 fans to attend their games, but say it’s fine because fans must be masked and socially distanced and are required to “download an app to answer a series of health survey questions” first, which pretty much comes down to “promise you don’t have the ‘rona first, okay?” The Coyotes have still only drawn an average of 2,329 fans for their first two home games, which is either a sign that Phoenix-area hockey fans still aren’t comfortable going to games at an indoor venue in the middle of a communicable disease spike, or that there are no Phoenix-area hockey fans, make your own joke.
- And speaking of Arizona and deadly diseases, officials of the spring-training Cactus League would like to see exhibition games put off past March so they have a better chance of actually being able to sell tickets, with Glendale city manager Kevin Phelps adding, “Without those fans staying in your hotel rooms and eating in your restaurants and shopping in your stores, spring training quickly becomes one of the worst business decisions you can make.” Actually, even with them, Kevin! Not that it matters, since spring training is going on full speed ahead on schedule after owners failed to get players to agree to be paid less for a shortened season.
- The Double-A Jackson Generals, who were booted out of the affiliated minor leagues last month despite somehow not showing up on USA Today’s master list, have now been evicted by the city of Jackson, Tennessee, though mayor Scott Conger says the team will be allowed to bid on using the stadium site along with anybody else who wants it. Team owner David Freeman has retorted that since the team is still technically a member of the Southern League, even without any players to play in it, it’s meeting the terms of its lease. This lawsuit is going to be by far the most interesting thing ever to involve the Jackson Generals, very much including the time when the team was for inexplicable reasons renamed the Diamond Jaxx.
- Here’s a Jacksonville Business Journal article asking “What do the Jaguars need to be financially viable in Jacksonville?” while noting that the city is now only the 43rd largest TV market in the U.S. Not mentioned in the article: that local TV revenue doesn’t matter at all in the NFL since all TV contracts are national and revenue is shared among all the teams, and Jaguars owner Shad Khan is still raking in almost $100 million a year in profits regardless. Surely it is mere coincidence that this article, which mostly quotes only Jags officials and longtime NFL consultant Marc Ganis, is appearing just as Khan is preparing to again ask Jacksonville for $200 million in development subsidies; to think otherwise would imply that news outlets are willing to serve as mouthpieces for billionaires’ subsidy demands, and what kind of world would that be to live in?
- NBA commissioner Adam Silver has clarified that the league isn’t necessarily going to expand right away despite a Covid-spawned cash crunch, because “in essence at the end of the day we’re selling equity in our league by virtue of expansion” and “ultimately, the main driver for expansion should be the ability to grow the pie, not necessarily to bring in, you know, to sell equity, to bring in cash now, you know, as opposed to generating the money later.” That’s all very reasonable, and simultaneously a way to say, Hey, Seattle, we’re not going to let you in our little club just to raise quick cash, you gotta make this worth our while, capisce?
- Hey, did you know that the current Busch Stadium, and also the Busch Stadium before that but not the one before that, was built on or at least near the site of a pen where African American slaves were imprisoned? (Also that the original Busch Stadium was named that because league rules prohibited naming a stadium after a beer like Budweiser, so instead St. Louis Cardinals owner Gussie Busch named it after himself then created Busch beer to get around the rule? But I digress, damn you, Wikipedia rabbit holes.) Two state representatives would like to see the Cardinals erect a plaque at the stadium noting this fact, which seems reasonable enough, especially since the pen apparently wasn’t torn down until 1963 — though according to St. Louis Public Radio, it was “well hidden even before it was demolished. It was located in a subbasement, so that the screaming, wailing, and corporal punishment would happen out of sight and hearing range of the people who lived nearby.”
- And finally, let’s all bask in Las Vegas tourism authority chair Steve Hill saying that the new Las Vegas Raiders stadium has been a hit for the city despite not being able to host fans because: “It’s been a great representation of Las Vegas. We’ve all seen games on television where you get that just great backdrop of Las Vegas, both during the day and at night. It’s a spectacular shot from the stadium and of the stadium.” Spending $750 million in public money on a football stadium was totally worth it because now TV viewers will finally know what Las Vegas looks like, stop looking at me like that and definitely don’t ask me why I said it was a good idea for the Raiders not to pay rent, okay?