Optional Musical Accompaniment
We are now 78 days away from Vanderbilt football’s season opener at Hawaii (ironically, I previewed the Rainbow Warriors yesterday.) There is no 78 on the current roster; last year’s 78, Bryce Bailey, graduated after five years at Vanderbilt.
First, before I rant, the actual Vanderbilt news: Christian Little is in the transfer portal. I have to think Little’s concern is mainly his role on the team: he wants to start to showcase himself for the 2023 MLB Draft and that wasn’t a guarantee at Vanderbilt — whereas he’d be a guaranteed weekend starter at a number of non-trivial college baseball programs. I don’t really think there’s much more to it than that. It sucks, but sometimes when you recruit well guys will end up not liking their role on the team.
And on to the LIV Golf debacle. First, the PGA Tour promptly suspended 17 members as soon as LIV Golf’s inaugural event teed off. And as far as the actual “tournament” itself, I didn’t watch it, so I’ll let some people who did sum it up:
LIV reaction 45 minutes in:— No Laying Up (@NoLayingUp) June 9, 2022
-Honestly, much better production than expected.
-Yet 45 minutes in, when the golf doesn't matter, I feel no real need to watch. All of the interest was in the initial curiosity.
From all accounts, LIV Golf is the natural endpoint of the “Secure The Bag” culture that’s pervaded sports over the last couple of decades. It’s what happens when you remove everything that makes sports compelling or interesting. It’s 54 golfers whose checks have already cashed playing a course for, at least in theory, cash prizes, but why the hell does Dustin Johnson care about the prize for winning when he’s getting a guaranteed $150 million for this?
The actual product makes the term “competitor league” a stretch to describe this; there’s barely any competition here. In the comments the other day I compared it to those one-off made-for-TV events where a couple of pro golfers play with a couple of pro athletes in other sports, and this is that but with all the charisma of four drunk frat bros playing 18. When you have a product that clearly nobody is going to watch unless you’re just super attached to some specific golfer who plays there, you almost start to wonder whether the goal behind it is even more nefarious than “sportswashing.”
(I mean, hey, take a look at who owns 25% of the courses that will host an event this year.)
It’s weird that we can talk about both this and the transfer portal in the same post, because both cultures (and the “super team” culture of the NBA, and the “four basketball factory high schools in four years” culture of high school sports) are related. This is kind of what you get when this is the culture: a league where there’s nothing to play for because everybody’s already been paid.
Oh yeah, if you’re still paying attention to college baseball, here’s Friday’s Super Regional action:
- 11:00 AM: Texas at East Carolina (ESPN2)
- 2:00 PM: Oklahoma at Virginia Tech (ESPN2)
- 5:00 PM: Notre Dame at Tennessee (ESPN2)
- 7:30 PM: Louisville at Texas A&M (ESPNU)
Sports on TV
All times Central.
- 1:45 PM: UEFA Nations League: Austria v. France (FS1)
- 2:00 PM: PGA Tour: RBC Canadian Open, Second Round (Golf Channel)
- 7:10 PM: MLB: Rays at Twins (Apple TV+)
- 8:00 PM: NBA: Warriors at Celtics, Game 4 (ABC)
- 8:38 PM: MLB: Mets at Angels (Apple TV+)
- 9:00 PM: CONCACAF Nations League: United States v. Grenada (ESPN+)
- 9:15 PM: MLB: Dodgers at Giants (ESPN+)
MLB: Diamondbacks 5, Cubs 4 ... Rays 2, Cardinals 1 ... Dodgers 11, White Sox 9 ... Phillies 8, Brewers 3 ... Rockies 4, Giants 2 ... Marlins 7, Nationals 4 ... Guardians 8, A’s 4 ... Braves 3, Pirates 1 ... Yankees 10, Twins 7 ... Royals 7, Orioles 5 ... Angels 5, Red Sox 2.
NHL: Lightning 3, Rangers 1 (Lightning lead, 3-2.)