The Couch Slouch

Olympics, MLB try to get creative in rescheduling

Getty Images

Have you ever tried to reschedule an Olympic Games? Sure, many of us have postponed weddings – and there are at least two I should've canceled altogether – but those are much smaller affairs to manage. The Olympics? That's got to be the biggest event in the world, even larger than a "Duck Dynasty" Easter egg hunt.

Meanwhile…

Have you ever tried to push a Major League Baseball season back into autumn and winter? It's a scheduling and logistical nightmare – too many games to fit into too tight of a calendar – pitchers and fans won't like the weather and, of course, Houston Astros video equipment might freeze over.

So IOC and MLB officials, used to waking up around noon before strolling to the bank with those oversized checks usually reserved for Publishers Clearing House winners, now are scrambling to get their money trains back on track.

I guess the IOC had the less difficult task: It simply plopped the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo into the exact same time frame in 2021.

Ah, if it were only that easy.

So many factors – housing, venues, food services, security, vendors, et al. Do you know how many sporks have to be reordered for the Olympic Village commissary? Those babies just disappear; sporks are always the first item to walk out of the supply closet.

Heck, rebooking flights – airline change fees alone will kill you – is a financial strain.

It's a massive jigsaw puzzle, and every piece must fit. There are 25 or 30 sports, plus golf; you can't just say, "We're all good schedule-wise except for swimming – swimming doesn't work that week, so, okeydokey, we'll drop swimming."

NBC, naturally, will still be there to televise the 2021 version of the 2020 Summer Olympics, but that still leaves a 7,777-hour gaping crater in its schedule this July 24 to Aug. 9.

Sadly, NBC only has three viewable properties: The Olympics, "The Voice" and "America's Got Talent." And, sure, America's got talent, but I don't know if my beloved, beleaguered homeland has enough talent to fill all the network's needs.

(Column Intermission: With everyone corona safer-at-home at the moment, my immediate family is rather tired of hearing my dulcet tones ranting day and night; our pit mix Daisy is the only one who never leaves the room when I'm talking. So I have started the Couch Slouch podcast – for real, folks – available on your favorite podcasting app. Seeking two-legged listeners.)

As for MLB, it is contemplating a lot of less-than-optimal options.

There is still a glimmer of hope for a June 1 or July 1 start, with the possibility of playing initially at empty stadiums – so, for the Miami Marlins, it would be your typical Opening Day.

MLB might use spring training parks in Florida and Arizona, quarantining the teams in those areas and operating with no crowds until the pandemic allows otherwise.

In any compacted scenario, every day is precious, which means…doubleheaders are back, baby! I assume they will still be separate admission because, even though baseball fans will have no money, the 1 percent still needs to make up for lost yachting-and-penthouse revenue.

Speaking of which, super agent Scott Boras – FYI: "super agent" here is a euphemism for "uber-wealthy" – floated a proposal, and since he negotiated ONE BILLION DOLLARS worth of player contracts this offseason, he has considerable financial interest in this.

Boras wants a summer start, and when the temperatures drop in the fall, he points to 11 stadiums that are either domes or warm-weather sites in which postseason games could be played. He envisions a neutral-site World Series, with Game 6 being played on Christmas.

Christmas? The NBA's holiest day? Wow. Maybe they should play Game 7 in Bethlehem.

Various models have 162-game, 144-game or 100-game seasons. Or – here's a thought – they could just skip to the postseason directly; have Joe Lunardi seed the teams 1 to 30, then engage in autumnal March Madness. Call it September Insanity!

My solution? Play the entire season on Strat-O-Matic Baseball: No weather worries and the Astros can't steal signs.

Ask The Slouch

Q. President Trump spoke Saturday with executives from the NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, WNBA, PGA, LPGA, WWE, NASCAR and others, but the PBA was not included. What gives? (Larry Snider; Seattle)

A. Underground bowling is flourishing. The White House has its own alley – POTUS should try it some time.

Q. Are you going to follow the government's policy and award all the people who write you the $1.25, or just me? (Bruce Kanter; Laurel, Md.)

A. The government's check should cover you.

Q. The Santa Anita Derby has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. If the horse wears a mask, why should this be a problem? (Mitchell Shapiro; Rockville, Md.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Under the new NFLPA agreement, does gambling revenue include all receipts at what will surely be the Oakland-L.A.-Oakland-Las Vegas Raiders Wedding Chapel? (Victoria Dailey; Alexandria, Va.)

A. Pay the lady, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!


Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

The Astros will look to bounce back after a tough week. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images.

After a 6-3 record to start the season, the Houston Astros had a tumultuous week to say the least. They were swept by the Tigers, lost 2 of 3 games to the Seattle Mariners and placed five players on the COVID injured list.

The Tigers' new manager AJ Hinch returned to Minute Maid Park for the first time since the Astros let him go after the cheating scandal in early 2020.

The Tigers swept the Astros and outscored them 20-8 over their three matchups.

Before the 3rd game of the series, the Astros found out they would be without five players on their active roster. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado and Robel Garcia were all placed on the COVID-19 injury reserved list.

"It's hard on the team but you have to carry on. The show must go on," manager Dusty Baker said. "And it went on today with some younger players we have here."

Garrett Stubbs, Taylor Jones and Abraham Toro were called up as well as Alex De Goti and Ronnie Dawson who made their major league debuts last week.

The Tigers were able to score runs early on Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and Jake Odorizzi (who made his Astros debut) and none of these starters lasted more than five innings in the outings.

Yuli Gurriel was the one Astros bright spot against the Tigers as he had 7 hits and drove in 2 runs. He is still continuing to hit the ball consistently as he finished the series with a .429 batting average.

After a 1-5 home stand the Astros looked to bounce back on the road against the division leading Seattle Mariners (you read that correctly).

Friday night proved to be the Astros' best offensive performance since their home opener on April 8th against the A's.

They scored five runs on Yusei Kikuchi through 7 innings behind good hitting from Aledmys Diaz, Chas McCormick and De Goti who drove in two runs on his first major league hit.

The Astros had a 5-2 lead at this point, but Seattle was able to score 4 unanswered to win the game.

Bryan Abreu, Blake Taylor and Ryne Stanek were credited with those four runs.

Ryan Pressly tried to clean up the bottom of the 9th inning after Stanek put the first two batters on base. His effort was unsuccessfully as Ty France hit a game-ending single that scored J.P. Crawford from second to secure a Mariners victory.

Saturday was the best game of the week for the Astros as they finally broke their six-game losing streak.

After failing to pitch more than five innings on Monday against the Tigers, Zack Greinke threw eight shutout innings with 91 pitches.

He struck out six batters and gave up only 4 hits.

"That's what aces do," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "Guys like (Greinke) ... they stop the bleeding and we're about bled out."

Greinke finished the game with 2,705 career strikeouts. He is now third amongst active players in strikeouts behind Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

Ryan Pressly got some redemption too as he threw a perfect 9th inning giving him his first save of the year.

The Astros won this game 1-0 as Taylor Jones drove in the game's only run with an RBI single.

Sunday's game ended the Astros week with a whimper, as the Mariners bested Houston 7-2.

Jake Odorizzi got off to a good start, but he gave up three hits and was pulled after Mitch Haniger's fifth-inning triple made it a 3-2 lead over the Astros.

Odorizzi is now (0-2) with a 10.57 ERA after two starts with the Astros.

Houston's offensive woes continued Sunday, as Aledmys Díaz had their only hit, an RBI double in the second inning that fell in when outfielder José Marmolejos lost the ball in the sun.

"It's tough to take when you only got one hit and the one hit we got was lost in the sun," Baker said.

UP NEXT: The Astros (7-8) will finish their road trip with a two game series against the Rockies who have the worst record in the league (4-12) before starting an eight-game homestead.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome