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KAZ’S KORNER

 

Last updated 3/17/2020 at Noon



IT’S HARD TO BE A SPORTSWRITER WITH NO SPORTS GOING ON Just about every event happening or shutting down is a direct result of the Coronavirus which appears to be popping up in just about every state.

Most sports have been either postponed or canceled just about the time high school, college and professional athletes have their bodies in tip-top shape for the period of their respective seasons that mean the most.

High school basketball is in the midst of their annual state playoffs while the spring sports are beginning to be played “for real” as the important district contests were supposed to begin last weekend.

In college sports the NCAA shocked most sports people when it announced last week that the annual March Madness has been scrubbed for the first time since 1939 just as each conference tournament was set to crown the winners who automatically get a berth in the 68-team NCAA Men’s Tournament.

The NCAA canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments last week because of the spread coronavirus, putting an abrupt end to the season less than a month before champions were to be crowned, according to the Associated Press on Friday.

Most of the NCAA baseball teams were set to begin conference games this weekend, with the winner also getting an automatic berth in the tournament at the end of the regular season.

This was especially of interest to me because my grandson, Logan Smith, was off to one of the best starts of any pitcher in the Patriot Conference, which was set to begin Saturday but was canceled for the remainder of the spring season.

Logan had a 1.61 earned run average and 2-1 record in his 28 innings of work for the Army Black Knights.

He was named the Patriot Conference Pitcher of the Week twice in his abbreviated four-week season.

Major League Baseball suspended its operations Thursday and canceled all remaining spring training games in Arizona and Florida.

Opening day, originally scheduled for March 26, will not occur before April 9.

At this writing, there were no major league players infected by the coronavirus, but a New York Yankee minor leaguer contracted it, according to ESPN’s First Take on Monday.

The NBA announced games will probably be postponed until July, the National Hockey League has paused its season and the Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show was declared over which hurt many high schoolers who were showing their prized animals.

Most of the sports news the last few days involves the National Football League whose players just passed the new Collective Bargaining Agreement by a vote of 1,019 to 959.

The new agreement, which will be in effect until 2030, expands playoffs from 12 teams to 14 teams (an additional wild card in each conference) with the top seed in each conference receiving a bye.

The league will expand the season to 17 games beginning in 2021.

The agreement also eliminates one preseason game and adds a preseason bye week when the schedule increases to 17 games, increases rosters from 53 to 55 players

with no suspensions for positive tests for marijuana.

The NFL draft will still go on next month but all draft events have been canceled in Las Vegas.

The XFL suspended its season indefinitely Thursday but hopes to have its playoffs at a later day and the UFC has no plans to cancel its matches, but has switched events in England to the USA. I could have done like some of the major television networks who replayed college basketball games of past years or like the PGA and show last year’s Player’s Championship and run one of my previous columns like many writer’s do, but there’s some sports news in this Korner.

The only prediction I can make about the coronavirus is that I look for the number of Christmas babies to increase dramatically this December!!! KWICKIES…Major League baseball players were given three options Friday—remain near their spring training facility, return to their hometown or return to the team’s home city.

The Houston Astros have a group that will remain at the West Palm Beach spring training site to work out while another group will return to Houston and prepare for the upcoming season at Minute Maid Park.

Monday at noon was the deadline for players to be designated as franchise players, which means they will receive the median salary of his position and cannot sign with another team until the 2020 season concludes.

The biggest headliner was Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Dak Prescott, who was unable to agree to a multi-year contract offered by owner Jerry Jones.

Another big-name player who will wear the franchise tag this season includes NFL rushing champion Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans.

The State of Louisiana is closing all on-land and boat casinos for a period of two weeks because of the coronavirus except Coushatta and estimates lost revenue of more than a million dollars a day.

JUST BETWEEN US…Just like in all previous disasters, Houston Texans’ three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt comes through when the chips are down.

Watt, and his new wife Chicago Red Stars forward Kealia Ohai, donated $350,000 to the Houston Food Bank which will give out more than one million meals.

Watt’s online fundraiser brought in over $41.6 million following Hurricane Harvey.

 

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