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Here's how the Astros can avoid the sting from MLB's draft punishment

The MLB Draft begins Wednesday and this year it will have a very different look than previous years. There will only be five rounds of the draft, and the Astros have four picks available to them. The Astros won't have their 1st and 2nd round selections because of the punishment they face from MLB, but they do have a compensatory pick at number 72 overall that they received for losing Gerrit Cole in free agency. No. 72 will be their first selection, and they will also have one pick in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th rounds. What's encouraging about this draft for the Astros is who will be making the selections.

The Astros have their new GM in James Click, and he'll clearly have a huge role. But what might surprise some Astros fans is that the two men that ran the 2019 draft when Jeff Luhnow was in charge, are still with the team and working with Click. Charles Cook and Kris Gross. Gross leads the Astros amateur scouting, and Cook was promoted to director of player evaluation last fall by Jeff Luhnow. The Astros definitely have a tough task ahead of them without their 1st and 2nd round picks, but at least they have experienced talent evaluators in the building that learned directly from Jeff Luhnow. Say what you want about Jeff Luhnow, but his resume is elite when it comes to team building and analytics.

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We need to mask up. Image via: SEC Network/Screenshot

Texas A&M is taking this coronavirus crisis very seriously.

How seriously? The school recently announced the following changes:

  • Attendance at football games will be held to 25 percent of Kyle Field's 102,733 capacity.
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be located throughout the stadium.
  • Drinking fountains will be turned off.
  • Concession stands will only provide "grab-and-go" items and have plexiglass barriers between customers and workers.
  • Customers will have to pay with credit cards (no cash transactions).
  • Social distancing will be enforced everywhere (including restrooms).
  • Elevators will have reduced capacity.
  • Fans in suites must stay in those suites (no suite-hopping).
  • Yell leaders must keep off the field.
  • The famed Parsons Mounted Calvary cannon won't be fired after A&M scores (they taped the cannon's sound earlier and will play that).
The college hired extra security personnel to enforce these safety rules. Security would have the authority to eject protocol violators from the stadium.

A&M isn't missing a trick, good for them. It's critically important to enact these extraordinary rules, especially with coronavirus cases rising lately in Texas and 20 other states, according to Johns Hopkins University. Young adults are driving the increase in cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Texas A&M recently reported about a 10-percent positivity rate.

I know that wearing a face mask can be unpleasant and I'm like you, I keep forgetting to bring a mask as I approach a store and have to shame walk back to my car to retrieve one. I haven't been to an athletic event, but I'm certain that sitting for several hours wearing a mask can't be fun. But if we're ever going to kick coronavirus and return to the "old normal," we need to mask up.

Saturday night I watched the A&M vs. Vanderbilt game on TV. Every time the camera panned students in the stands … no social distancing and few masks. I don't know how other Southeastern Conference teams are enforcing coronavirus safety protocols. A&M was the only game I watched Saturday. From what I saw on TV, there was little enforcement.
You know, enacting a rule is one thing …

What would Ken do?

Last week, I had one of those "What Would You Do?" moments. I was in a supermarket, and a guy passed me with his mask down around his neck, like the Lone Ranger's kerchief, not over his mouth and nose.

Don't know about you, but this infuriates me. I don't care about your reason – "It's not a law! I think masks don't work! I am not a sheep! I don't like breathing my own carbon dioxide! I heard a doctor say it's unhealthy! – just wear the damn mask. Or shop online. Or send a friend to do your shopping.

Now I had two options during my supermarket visit: ignore him or confront him. I chose option three, I squealed on him to a supermarket employee. I come from a long line of cowards. The employee did tell the man to either pull up his mask or leave. The man didn't put up an argument and pulled up his mask. I'm thinking I may be related to the guy.

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