We’ll start this section with some musings from Major League Baseball, including a look at the Los Angeles Dodgers’ signing of right fielder Mookie Betts to a 12-year, $365 million contract extension. Betts is now positioned in the No. 2 slot of the highest paid players in MLB starting with the 2021 season. The Angels Mike Trout leads the way with a $426.5 million, 12-year deal, which includes a $65 million signing bonus. If you are a fan of the concept of net present value, the Trout signing is for you. Including Trout and Betts there are now 13 players earning at least $30 million annually. With some MLB Owners lamenting the economics of the game, there always seems to be money for superstar players. It appears Baseball is headed to a financial system with a few elite players making big salaries, a small middle class in terms of length or size of contract, with the balance of the players on lesser contracts until they have proven themselves… The Top MLB annual salaries (in descending order) now belong to Trout; Betts; Gerrit Cole at $36 million; Max Scherzer at 35.92 million; with Stephen Strasburg, Zack Grenke and Nolan Arenado all tied at $35 million…If you’re keeping score, the worst balls-strikes Umpire in the Major Leagues is still CB Bucknor, who had the plate for Saturday’s Cubs vs. Brewers game, and  had players from both teams shaking their heads at his calls… Major League Baseball promptly issued a directive to the Cubs after the ongoing verbal exchanges between the Cubs and Brewers in Saturday’s game. The exchanges between teams were heard in the press box because no fans were present. MLB’s answer to this perceived problem was to crank up the volume on the fake crowd noise played in Wrigley Field… Just before the first pitch of the 2020 season, MLB and the Players Association agreed to extend the Playoffs to include 16 teams this year, up from 10 the past couple of seasons. The reason, the Owners increased the amount of money the Players would receive for the Playoffs from $25 million to $50 million. Groundbreaking sports television executive Don Ohlmeyer, who once famously said, “The answer to all your questions is money,” was right again…  According to an Associated Press story by Steve Megargee, Brewers play-by-play legend Bob Uecker is back in the broadcast booth at the age of 86. This marks his 50th season broadcasting and his 65th year in Major League Baseball. According to Megargee, only Vin Scully’s 66 years of broadcasting with the Dodgers, 61 years by Jaime Jarrin also with the Dodgers, and 51 years from Denny Matthews of the Kansas City Royals have broadcasted Major League Baseball longer than Uecker… The article Major League Baseball didn’t want to see in print appeared in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune written by Angie Leventis Lourgos. The lengthy and well-researched article called into question the COVID-19 testing required by MLB, which will total 275,000 saliva testes taken between resumption of spring training and the conclusion of the World Series in October. In addition, athletes and staff will have monthly serology tests, which will reflect if the person has experienced a prior COVID-19 infection. Dr. Neel Gandhi, infectious disease expert and associate professor of epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health said, “With the massive testing challenges we are facing as a nation, it seems hard to justify committing any capacity for something optional, like sports.” The counter-point to that argument is MLB created their own laboratory to process the samples, and saliva testing kits are readily available nation-wide… While writing that last note Monday morning, word quickly spread of 11 players and two coaches of the Miami Marlins testing positive for COVID-19. Until last weekend, only 0.05 percent of MLB COVID tests were positive… On to the National Basketball Association, where we find the working definition of Man Without a Clue, who in this case is LA Clippers guard Lou Williams. Granted permission to leave the NBA bubble in Orlando to attend a family funeral, Sweet Lou Williams then ventured out to a strip club in Atlanta. As the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Williams is an important cog in the Clippers lineup. Due to his side trip, Williams, which he said was to get his favorite lemon pepper chicken wings, will result in a 10-day quarantine, causing him to miss regular season games when the NBA resumes play. Let’s summarize Clipper Head Coach Doc Rivers’ reaction to Williams culinary adventure as being really not pleased… Conversely New Orleans Pelican’s superstar in the making, rookie phenom power forward Zion Williamson, left the NBA bubble for a family matter, tested negative for COVID-19 each day he was away, and will be able to play when the Pelicans resume their regular season after a four-day quarantine. Since having Williamson available for the televised regular season games was the primary reason there are 22 teams in the NBA bubble, rather than the more medically sensible total of 16, that seems to be a smart approach by Williamson.

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