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Courtside: MLB’s bizarre plan to save its season might just save America’s pastime

first_imgBaseball fans, rejoice: The finish line — or, more appropriately, the starting line — is in sight. MLB has made concerted efforts in recent years to grow the game to a broader demographic, and frankly, those efforts haven’t gone far enough — a baseball aficionado like myself can acknowledge that much. Knocking a few seconds off the average game by automatically issuing intentional walks instead of requiring four half-assed lobs wide of home plate can only go so far in attracting a younger audience that seems increasingly drawn to the flash and flair of the NBA and NFL.  Bad news: It’s probably not happening. As of last week or so, the NBA has been preparing scenarios to fully shut down the remainder of the 2019-20 season.  If baseball returns in May — far earlier than anyone originally expected — those who have been turned off from baseball because of its perception as slow and boring will come crawling back to their television sets for America’s national pastime even if simply because it’s the only option.  Despite all the league’s shortcomings when it comes to spreading the game, it might get bailed out by the unlikeliest of catalysts: the coronavirus pandemic.  The problem for MLB isn’t that the games are too long, it’s that the league thinks that’s the problem. Meanwhile, it has failed to take the essential step that its American major-sport counterparts have long since figured out by now: marketing its own players. It’s why, according to YouGov, 91% of Americans have heard of LeBron James, 88% have heard of Tom Brady and only 43% have heard of Mike Trout. The league seems more preoccupied with the Sharpie colors on players’ cleats than the fact that maybe, just maybe, fans are drawn to personality more than tradition.  On Monday, ESPN Major League Baseball insider Jeff Passan reported that MLB is considering a plan to locate all 30 teams at Arizona hotels and use various Spring Training facilities and the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field in Phoenix to hold games possibly as early as May. I realize this is an ideal situation for absolutely no one. I just want baseball back, and in my eyes, everything else is gravy — but I realize I’m far outnumbered by my equivalents in the basketball sphere. For the basketball diehards, especially those in Los Angeles, it’ll be a tough pill to swallow. But come May, if there’s anything, anything happening in the sports world, even those who (incorrectly) claim baseball is boring will come to their collective senses and compromise. MLB will likely do everything it can to make baseball happen this year not just because it wants Bryce Harper’s 2020 MVP campaign to materialize, but also because it wants the pastime to become the present-time and future-time as well.  It’s exactly what MLB needs. If the league can find a way to grasp the moment and run with it, the impact will last well beyond the scope of the current crisis. Based on Passan’s report, the early signs indicate that MLB is realizing this opportunity. The league is considering regularly equipping players with microphones during games to provide an enhanced broadcast experience for viewers similar to the in-game interviews broadcast crews often held with players during Spring Training. Exposing an expected high number of fans to the concept that baseball players are actually living, breathing human beings with personalities rather than robots who stand around trying not to fall asleep all game should do wonders for the game’s appeal. For every MLB fan who can’t wait to see Houston Astros take 95 to the ribs once baseball returns, there are 10 NBA fans dying for a chance to see LeBron take on Giannis Antetokounmpo in the NBA Finals or Zion Williamson cap off his rookie season with a New Orleans Pelicans playoff chase. In general, it’s becoming increasingly evident that fans would push everything else aside just for a chance to see the 2019-20 NBA season played out until one team reigns supreme. Nathan Ackerman is a sophomore writing about sports and sociopolitics. He is also an associate managing editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Courtside,” typically runs every Friday. The concept that MLB can actually capitalize on the fact that U.S. society has shut down due to a virus that has taken thousands of lives in the last few weeks is incredibly bittersweet — and far more bitter than sweet. Though the road has been depressingly unfortunate and tragic, the destination is one that MLB can use as an opportunity to provide desperate fans with the entertainment we’ve so sorely been lacking ever since college sports were called off March 12. To say it would be a stray from the norm would be quite the understatement. The league could use electronic strike zones and seven-inning doubleheaders, ban fans from attending and mandate that players sit in the stands six feet apart rather than in the dugout during games.  It’s a golden opportunity, and Major League Baseball should be chomping at the bit. Nevermind how indisputably bizarre the plan is — should it go into action, which is still far from a certainty as it currently stands, the league’s status as the sole operating sports league in the United States would put it in a prime position to largely alleviate one of its most pressing concerns of the past decade.last_img read more

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Security guard hacked to death by drunken

first_imgA 13 year abusive marriage ended tragically Wednesday evening after a member of a Community Policing Group hacked his wife to death while injuring her cousin at Mahaica, East Coast Demerara.Candacy Pitt, 31, also called “Cindy” of Chelsea Park, Mahaica, ECD, was chopped several times to the body by her husband, Althone Pitt, 41, who subsequently surrendered to ranks at the Mahaica Police Station with theCandacy Pitt and her husband Althone Pitt in happier timesInjured: Brenda Thomasmurder weapon in his possession.Pitt died on the spot while her cousin, Brenda Thomas, 54, who was also chopped twice by the attacker was admitted to the Georgetown Public Hospital.According to information, Pitt and Thomas are attached to the Home Safe Security Firm and were at the time stationed at Bygeval Secondary School.The suspect turned up at his wife’s place of employment (school) and requested to meet her at about 21:45h on Wednesday. He was reportedly under the influence of alcohol.Thomas however, based on previous threats, refused to give him access and it was then he carried out the gruesome attack. He first dealt two blows to Thomas and then proceeded to chop his wife who was in the guard hut.His wife reportedly ran out in an attempt to escape but due to her injuries she collapsed a short distance away. The man went after her and continued to chop the woman until she died.After committing the act, he turned up at the Mahaica Police Station where he confessed to the murder and handed over the weapon.At the home of the dead woman, her mother, Yvonne Andrews was inconsolable while flanked by family.She recalled that her son-in-law was consuming alcohol in the village all day Wednesday and was heard telling people he did not want his wife to work as a guard.The woman started to work with Home Safe Security Firm six weeks ago.“He nah wuk… he ah drink the rum… she get a lil wuk, she want money to maintain she self”. The mother recalled that on the faithfull night, her daughter was visiting.Soon after, there was a power failure and she heard the suspect calling for his wife but she instructed her not to answer. After sometime, and he did not get a response, he left.After meh know he gone, meh call she cousin who does wuk with she to come collect she but the cousin de done left to go to the school”. Nevertheless, Pitt’s father, who had just arrived home, accompanied her to the school where she met Thomas.Upon her husband’s return home, Andrews noted that he was confronted by the suspect who claimed that he was going to his brother’s place. At that time, the aggrieved mother saw the cutlass in his hands but did not know his intentions.“Meh daughter and she cousin went in the guard house and bin ah put up cardboard because de rain de falling… He chop Brenda fuss – one on she belly, one on she back and one on she finger. Then Brenda run way and then he attack Cindy… He chop she then he turnover she and finish she off, dah ah wah meh hear”.In tears the woman stated that she received a call from Thomas’ daughter informing her that her daughter was dead. She immediately ran to the school where she saw her daughter’s bloodied body lying in a pool of water and mud.As she attempted to lift her daughter, she realised that her head was almost severed and her body bore several wounds. She noted that her daughter did not deserve such a horrific death.As she continued, the devastated mother told Guyana Times that the man would normally threaten her daughter but she always passed it off as a joke and never reported it.At the home of Thomas, her son Joel told Guyana Times he was asleep when he heard his mother calling for help. In a panic, he rushed out to check on his mother but the front door would not open, forcing him to jump from the veranda. As he looked as his mother, she was bleeding from her abdomen and immediately summoned a taxi and took her to the Mahaicony Hospital but she was subsequently transferred.On their way to the hospital she told him what had transpired. In shock, he noted that he was not surprised at the man’s action, claiming that he had previously threatened his mother.He was relieved to disclose that his mother is in a stable condition.Meanwhile, at the scene, several of the woman’s colleagues expressed sadness upon hearing the devastating news. The now dead woman was described as an easy-going person with a lot of potential.One woman, Millicent Craig, told Guyana Times that the man would frequently visit the woman’s workplace with a cutlass and would carry out threats. The now dead woman was urged to make an official complaint to the police but she never did.Pitt leaves to mourn her parents and two siblings.Her murderer, her husband of 13 years, is expected to be charged shortly. (Bhisham Mohamed)last_img read more

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