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Natterings Quick Takes

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Posted: Friday, August 9, 2019 11:21 am

Proving perhaps that everybody has problems in their work, the contract awarded Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley last year amounted to a four-year deal for $57.5 million ($14.375 million average), with $21.9 million of that guaranteed. Make no mistake, that isn’t a problem for Gurley, but his contract created an artificially high compensation level for running backs such as Melvin Gordon of the (if you’ll pardon the reference) Los Angeles Chargers and Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys, both of whom are holding out for more money. To me, Gordon is at least one level below Gurley in productivity and importance to his team. Elliott is better than his Rams counterpart, or depending on Gurley’s long-term durability, well above him. Allegedly the Chargers have offered Gordon a deal averaging in the neighborhood of $10 million per year and seem to be firm in that offer. Gordon’s agent has already played the ‘trade my player’ card to add some sense of urgency to the negotiations. The Dallas offer is reportedly in the neighborhood of Gurley money, but owner Jerry Jones insists he won’t be setting a new NFL running back payment plateau with the Elliott contract. All of the previous 200 words will become moot if either the Chargers or Cowboys lose their opening few games in September and panic sets in. Jones caved in a similar situation with Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith in 1993… A commonsense series of proposals to improve Major League Baseball appeared in the Chicago Tribune Monday, authored by Dr. Cory Franklin. The three elements of his proposal were to: deaden the baseball, which would diminish but not eliminate home runs and promote more situational hitting; raise the pitching mound, which would restore the balance between offense and defense, which is now heavily tilted toward the offense; and expand the strike zone, which would likely result in more strikeouts, but would shorten the game because hitters would have to swing at more pitches and in turn, generate fewer bases on balls. I think trying out these three elements in the Minor Leagues over the course of an entire season, perhaps at the High A Ball level, would certainly be worth MLB’s time… Writing for theathletic.com in his ‘Media Circus’ column, Richard Deitsch provided a note that once again proves the popularity of the NFL. He said the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, played in August 2018 between the Chicago Bears and the Baltimore Ravens, had a viewership of 6.779 million, which was well below the average of viewership of the NFL for the 2018 season, across all of its media outlets (CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and NFL Network) of 15.76 million per game. The lower Hall of Fame viewership total in 2018 was still higher than 226 of the 244 NBA games on ESPN, ABC and TNT for the entire 2018-19 season. Later in the same article, Deitsch cast aspersions on Pac-12’s trial balloon of having a 9 a.m. (PST) kick-off for some football games, a concept designed to increase the value of their television package and gain more viewers on the East Coast. An additional point is players would have to wake up at 4 a.m. to go through their normal pre-game eating and stretching programs. Plus, student attendance at the games would likely be adversely impacted.

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