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Gary’s Blog: Play Ball?

Back in the day, I remember watching University of Hawaii basketball games on K5. This was a very long time ago, before I started going to every game in person. And I remember Artie Wilson telling Jim Leahey, “It’s crunch time, Jim,” usually at the end of a close game. And that’s where we are with MLB, and all that’s involved with the greed and stubbornness preventing the sport from starting soon.

Now, by the time you read this, the situation might be resolved. I won’t believe it until there’s an agreement signed by both the owners and players, but earlier today Rob Manfred, baseball’s commissioner, apparently invoked his authority to force the season to start with a 60-game season. This has been embarrassing for both the players and the owners. I know both sides are losing money this year, just like almost everyone in this country. The back and forth and talk of agreements that never came to be make it look bad for everyone, and I think the sport may suffer as a result. First, a 60-game season really isn’t a season, is it?  It’s about 35 percent of the regular season. What’s more, they haven’t gotten around the concerns and protocols that are needed due to COVID-19. Like, where are the games going to be played? As of today, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California aren’t states where any sporting event should be played. Throw in Toronto and their issues, and that’s 10 teams that wouldn’t be playing at home ’s ’s ?anytime soon. As we know, things can change every day, so let’s see what the future holds.

While we are getting a clearer picture of baseball coming back, we’re also getting more information about other sports as well. It’s not official as I write this, but by the time you read this, I expect the UH football game against Fordham, scheduled for September 12th, will be cancelled. Fordham is in the Bronx, New York, and a member of the Patriot League. The league announced Monday, that they won’t have any of their teams flying for any road games this year. I don’t quite understand why the league would dictate a game that’s not a league game, as opposed to the school itself, but it’s not surprising hearing this. Hawaii Athletic Director David Matlin hinted at this last week, saying that home schedules might be shortened, and that teams east of the Mississippi River might not be coming here this year. I’m not sure if those games could be made up. That’d be really tough on such short notice, plus I don’t think schools have any openings to add another game. That could affect volleyball as well. Texas A&M is scheduled to play here in late August. I guess we just hope that there’s a season in all sports, even if teams won’t play a full schedule. I’m also wondering about late November, when  North Carolina is scheduled to play UH in men’s basketball on November 20th. I hope at that point that fans will be allowed to attend. What a shame it’d be if the Tar Heels are here before a half full or empty Stan Sheriff Center.

When Kobe Bryant won his first NBA championship with the Lakers, he bought both parents the same championship  rings that he got. What a great gesture, right? I read yesterday that his Dad is auctioning off his ring, hoping to get $300,000 or more. If that’s not sad enough, his Mom sold her ring a few years ago and got $240,000 for it. It’s too bad both parents felt they had to or just wanted the money so bad that they’d sell such a gift. But what I don’t get is, why would a fan or a collector pay so much for a ring that belonged to a relative of a player? It’s not the same thing, not at all. It’s not Kobe’s ring, it’s a ring that he bought for his parents. I don’t get it. I assume LeBron’s Mom got a ring after one of his championship years, or maybe Steph Curry’s parents did, too. Why would anyone spend that much money for basically a replica ring that wasn’t from a player on that team? Something to think about.

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