THE PALLILOG

Rockets are set to pick up where they left off

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

While Major League Baseball and its players jerk around with regard to coming to terms that yield a 2020 season, the NBA path back to the hardwood is firmed up. An on or about July 31 resumption with a postseason running as late as October 12 has risks and all kinds of logistics to navigate, but we're almost certainly getting there.

When we last saw the Rockets, they were at 40-24 in the sixth seed slot in the Western Conference. They can move up (or down) as one of the 22 of the 30 NBA teams that will gather in Orlando for a partial schedule conclusion to the regular season before it's on to the playoffs. The basic outline for the schedule is teams will pick up where they left off when the season was shut down and play the next eight games on the schedule as of March 12, minus games against the eight teams not heading to Florida. That should make the Rockets' first game back against the Lakers. Their other opponents would be the Trail Blazers, Kings, Mavericks, Bucks, Pacers, 76ers, and Raptors.

James Harden has evidently dropped somewhere from 10 to 20 pounds and is said to be fitter than he's ever been. Russell Westbrook is always in peak physical condition. Could make for a fun couple of months. Or the Rockets could get bounced in the first round.

MLB

As for baseball, the two parties seem as close together on a deal as Muggsy Bogues and George Muresan are close on the all-time NBA height chart. The owners offered an 82 game season with huge additional player pay cuts. The players responded with a 114 game season and no additional cuts. Both proposals were wastes of time. The owners' latest proposal is no further pay cuts, but for only a 50 game schedule. Rome is burning and we have dueling Neros fiddling away.

NFL

I am a white man who cannot possibly on the same level as a black man (or woman) feel or comprehend the struggle, pain, and anger that comes with facing endemic racism both overt and covert. If you are white like New Orleans Saints' quarterback and icon Drew Brees, you can't either. In the ongoing aftermath of the murder of George Floyd, Brees struck another nerve Wednesday with his remarks iterating his position about what he considers "disrespecting the flag." Outrage response was swift including from several of Brees's teammates. His comments were not evil. Brees can feel how he wants about the flag/anthem, as can any person. Brees's remarks were insensitive and as he put it "missed the mark" and "lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy." His Thursday apology was comprehensive and reads fully genuine, and was accepted by every teammate who commented. If lasting positives are to emerge from this sorry episode in American history, millions of white Americans are going to have to deal with (maybe embrace is a better word) uncomfortable conversations. I fear the unfortunate reality through this is that most of those who most need to change and for starters really listen, are least likely to have any interest in doing so.

Citing the flag as a symbol of unity is a nice notion. Realities supersede symbols and notions. Those who pour out disgust at anything short of complete oath and fealty to the flag and national anthem would be well served to remember or learn that the Star-Spangled Banner was written in 1814. The "land of the free" didn't mean a damn thing to the slaves of that time. The Star-Spangled banner officially became our national anthem in 1931. 33 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


Lenny Dykstra in the news again

Lenny Dykstra was one heck of a baseball player for several years. His 1993 season with the Phillies is one of the greatest ever put up by a leadoff hitter. As tremendous as he was on the field for significant stretches, off the field Dykstra has been as big a slimeball of a human being. He's done time in federal prison for money laundering and fraud, and has a long list of character stains on his record. Dykstra sued former Mets teammate Ron Darling for defamation and libel over information about Dykstra included in Darling's autobiography. Dykstra's suit was dismissed last Friday by a judge who said Dykstra's "reputation for unsportsmanlike conduct and bigotry is already so tarnished that it cannot be further injured." Beautiful.


Buzzer Beaters:

1. There sure have been a lot of NASCAR races lately. At least gas is cheap these days. 2. Probably not as interesting as the Lance Armstrong doc, but I'm in for the Bruce Lee 30 for 30 Sunday night. 3. Greatest sports Bruces happen to all be football: Bronze-Isaac Silver-Matthews Gold-Smith

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