A Collection of Notes and Quotes from This Past Week
BOSTON – Dallas Mavericks team owner Marc Cuban stepped up once again and said the right thing at the right time. While doing an interview with CNBC, Cuban was mindful that how companies in any and every industry deal with the overall situation stemming from the corona virus can define a company’s brand for the long haul. In some cases, there’s been corporate sentiment to seek to return to normalcy more quickly than what public health officials seem comfortable with and believe to be prudent for the greater good. … “How companies respond to that very question is going to define their brand for decades. If you rushed in and somebody got sick, you were that company. If you didn’t take care of your employees or stakeholders and put them first, you were that company,” he added. … A quick reminder that Cuban stood tall during his interviews, backed the NBA and brought some clarity on the very night the NBA shut down operations and this global pandemic became “real” for sports fans and onlookers in the USA.
Here Now, The Notes: The NBA will be reducing salaries by 20% for 100 of its top-earning league office executives, working in the USA and at regional offices around the world, according to reports. … Scary (but, thankfully, okay): ESPN broadcaster Doris Burke tested positive for COVID-19. … Burke shared the information Friday on “The Woj Pod” with ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Burke said it took eight days for her test results to come back and she began feeling symptoms associated with the coronavirus on March 12, when the NBA suspended the regular season. … Burke was on the air that night in Dallas when news broke of Rudy Gobert‘s positive test, which triggered a suspension of that evening’s final game in Sacramento against the Pelicans. Burke openly questioned on the air whether the NBA should allow that game to go on as scheduled. … Burke told Wojnarowski she had a headache and extreme fatigue. When she returned home she decided to have a test at a Philadelphia-area hospital on March 17, but waited more than a week for the results. … Speaking of the Utah Jazz … “The Utah Department of Health has determined that all Jazz players and staff, regardless of prior testing status, no longer pose a risk of infection to others,” the team said in a statement. … The NBA suspended play after Utah center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11. His teammate, fellow All-Star Donovan Mitchell, also tested positive for the coronavirus. … The players and staff members went through isolation and quarantine, as required, the team said. They will practice social distancing and limit their time outside their homes to “essential activities” only. … USA Basketball is weighing alternative roster options in the event of a potential conflict between the delayed Tokyo Olympics and the NBA season. … If the postponed Games are moved from a July 2020 start to March or April of 2021, NBA players would not be eligible to participate. The NBA regular season typically ends in mid-April, when the playoffs begin. … There is no set timetable for the Olympics after the International Olympic Committee announced this week the games would start as scheduled on July 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic. … USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo, who is committed to the organization through 2021 along with head coach Gregg Popovich, said there is no action to be taken until a date for the Olympics is known. … “We will follow the leader. We have to wait to see how everything is laid out and we’ll make the adjustment,” Colangelo said. “Our players are NBA players first, let’s face that.” … If the Olympics move back a calendar year to July 2021, many NBA players would be available. If the events are held in March or April, the availability of players – such as G-League stars – would be on a case-by-case scenario. … NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said the 2020-21 NBA schedule still could be adjusted radically depending on how the current season, on hiatus since March 12, wraps up. Silver said teams have been asked to confirm availability of their home arenas through August. If the current season ends in August, next season might not begin until much later, instead of the typical October tipoff. … That said, it’s NOT ALL that easy. … “Changing the window for the NBA is easier said than done. There’s a lot of logistics and contracts to deal with,” Colangelo said. “Same for the Olympics. You have to assume it will be around the same dates.”
CDC Gaming reported on the state of MGM Resorts, noting: MGM Resorts International said it has a “strong liquidity position” to “weather this downturn and ultimately rebound” from the shutdown of entire U.S. operations due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Las Vegas-based MGM, one of the nation’s largest casino operators, closed its nearly two dozen gaming and non-gaming properties – including 13 on the Las Vegas Strip – in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. MGM employs more than 70,000 in the U.S.A. including its Springfield, Mass location. … Professional basketball leagues in Russia and Japan canceled the remainder of their seasons. … The Japanese B League announced it will not resume play. The VTB League, with teams from Russia, Poland, Belarus, Estonia and Kazakhstan, will not resume, either and the South Korean KBL also has been canceled, and the Chinese (CBA) league is postponed with the likelihood of being canceled. … “We’ve prioritized the mental and physical health of our players, coaches and club officials,” league chairman Masaaki Okawa said in a video news conference, per the Japan Times. “The spread of this coronavirus has been beyond our imagination and we’ve emphasized that we cannot afford to expose our players and others who are associated with our league to the danger.”
Diamond Dust-Ups: MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred made one thing very clear in his empty ballpark as a backdrop interview this week. “The one thing I know for sure is baseball will be back,” Manfred said. “Whenever it’s safe to play, we’ll be back. Our fans will be back. Our players will be back. And we will be part of the recovery, the healing in this country, from this particular pandemic. … New York Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard had successful Tommy John surgery on Thursday, noted several NYC reports. … The Mets announced earlier this week that the surgery would take place in Florida. Syndergaard felt discomfort in his throwing elbow earlier this month during spring training, and an MRI exam revealed that he had torn the ulnar collateral ligament. … Syndergaard is expected to be sidelined anywhere from 12 to 14 months and will return to the mound sometime in 2021. … The 27-year-old Syndergaard was 10-8 with a career-worst 4.28 ERA in 32 starts last season. He pitched a career-high 197 2/3 innings and struck out 202. … Syndergaard was an All-Star in 2016 when he went 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA and 218 strikeouts in 183 2/3 innings. … Overall, he is 47-30 with a 3.31 ERA in 119 career appearances (118 starts) since reaching the majors with the Mets in 2015. … In Boston there was no official word on whether pitch Chris Sale underwent Tommy John surgery or not. The club had previously announced Sale would opt for the surgery, but with the uncertainty of a “go or no go” for elective surgery such as typical TJ, there was no timetable for Sale. … It is expected he’d be out of action for the same 12-to-14 months as Syndergaard, as Baseball looks to 2020-21 without two of its best starting pitchers.
Major League Baseball plans to delay its annual draft at least one month to July. … ESPN reported the draft is likely to be shortened with bonuses deferred due to uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus. … MLB and the Players Association are engaged in talks that would reduce the draft to between five and 10 rounds, ESPN reported. Signing bonuses with a small upfront payment and larger amounts due in July 2021 and July 2022, are planned for the deferral of bonuses. … The No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft was Oregon State catcher Adley Rutchsman, who signed for $8.1 million, a record baseball bonus. … All 2020 undrafted players would have a maximum signing bonus of $10,000, according to the report. … The 2019 draft was held last June 3-5 and had 40 total rounds.
Jimmy Wynn, a power-hitting, strong-throwing outfielder who ranks as one of the Houston Astros’ all-time greats, died Thursday at age 78. … The Astros announced the death of Wynn, who served as a community outreach executive for the club. Wynn was nicknamed the “Toy Cannon,” a reference to his impressive arm and bat in relation to his 5-foot-9 stature.
The team statement read, “Today, we lost a very big part of the Astros family with the passing of Jimmy Wynn. His contributions to our organization both on and off the field are too numerous to mention. As an All-Star player in the 1960s and ’70s, Jimmy’s success on the field helped build our franchise from its beginnings. After his retirement, his tireless work in the community impacted thousands of young people in Houston. … “Although he is no longer with us, his legacy will live on at Minute Maid Park, at the Astros Youth Academy and beyond. We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife Marie, daughter, Kimberly, son, James Jr., to the other members of his family and to his many fans and admirers.” … Born in Cincinnati on March 12, 1942, Wynn played with the Colt .45s/Astros from 1963-73, making the National League All-Star team in 1967.
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