Category Archives: Uncategorized

Igniting MLB’s Cold War: The Coming Battles on Labor

By Griffin Olah

November 12, 2019

Griffin is a second-year undergraduate BGSU student from North Ridgeville, Ohio. He is a sport management major and a spanish minor. His primary sports interests are baseball and football, both collegiate and professional, but he is also interested in basketball, MMA, boxing and hockey.

Last winter, the hot stove sat cold. Top of the line free agents like Craig Kimbrel, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, and Dallas Keuchel waited and waited as minor signings and under-the-radar trades filled the feeds of baseball news. It stayed like that until March, when Machado and Harper both signed an excess of $300 million and a surprise Mike Trout extension broke the bank at $430 million. In a span of a few weeks, the hot stove heated back up to its former glory, then fell cold once again, leaving talented players like Keuchel and Kimbrel unemployed into the regular season.

Naturally, talk turned towards owner collusion and tanking. And that led to the biggest problem facing Major League Baseball in the coming years: Labor Strike.

The current CBA for the MLB is set to expire in 2021, and negotiations have been nearly nonexistent so far. Not since 1994 have players sat out of regular season baseball action, and the threat is imminent. After the last offseason, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) is closely watching the market for this coming offseason. After small changes done by owners -such as a luxury tax, a cap on international free-agent spending and the proposal to cut down the number of minor league teams- they now have a plethora of excuses to answer why they don’t want to give away massive free-agent payouts. The MLBPA, however, is ready for a fight.

That fight might have already started. On November 5th, Atlanta Braves GM Alex Anthopolous, on a conference call, divulged that he was already in contact with 27 other teams and knows what their free agent goals and trade targets are (Nightengale, 2019). As soon as this went public, sirens went off at the MLBPA offices. Here, a current GM is possibly admitting to collusion on the part of owners. The next day, MLBPA Chief Tony Clark announced the MLBPA would be investigating Anthopolous’s statement. (Nightengale, 2019). Following Clark’s announcement, Anthopolous “walked back his words, saying he misspoke, didn’t discuss free agents or the free-agent market, and that he apologized for the confusion” (Passan, 2019, para. 12). 

Like any situation regarding the complicated labor structure of an industry, this is just the start of an incredibly complex issue. The media, however, seems to be in agreement: the owners are greedy and just looking to keep their own money. Some point to the fact that the Tampa Bay Rays, with the league’s lowest payroll, made the playoffs, or that St. Louis Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt said that owning a team in baseball isn’t as profitable as many people think while his team, that he bought in 1995 for $150 million, is now valued at $2.1 billion (Stephen, 2019). These proponents of players’ rights believe that the owners make enough money to share it with the players they employ and have no right to suppress the market as they have the past two offseasons. It’s understandable that not every team is in a market like Los Angeles or New York or Boston where money comes rolling in from TV deals, sponsorships, and other sources, but teams like the Cardinals have the money. They can afford to bump the luxury tax line and flirt with crossing it. This makes the fact that Red Sox owner John Henry wants his team to slash payroll even more egregious (Shaikin, 2019). If a team that historically pays out the top salaries in the league wants to cut payroll to save money, maybe something is amiss among the owners.

In a complex issue, however, there are two sides, and one is not recognized. What about the owners and the teams’ perspective? Do all the players agree with Tony Clark coming after the people that write their checks? Sure, there will always be a vocal section of dissenters for any topic, but do they represent the ideas of all the players? The media only focuses on what’s wrong with the owners and why they need to change. Instead, how can the system be fixed? Yes, the trend of increasing revenue and decreasing salaries is concerning to anyone on the players’ side, but in the age of superstar mega-contracts like Harper, Machado, and Trout, can teams afford to pay anyone else? Owners are not the only ones in the wrong in this situation, and that needs to be recognized by the media and the MLBPA in order to create a CBA that can help everyone in the game, not just the owners or the players.

References

Nightengale, B. (2019, November 6). MLBPA launches investigation into Braves GM Alex Anthopolous after free agency comments. USA Today. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/columnist/bob-nightengale/2019/11/06/mlb-alex-anthopoulos-free-agents-mlbpa/2513159001/

Passan, J. (2019, November 7). Union chief’s rebuke of GM heats up baseball’s cold war over free agency. ESPN. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28025583/union-chief-rebuke-gm-heats-baseball-cold-war-free-agency

Shaikin, B. (2019, October 19). MLB’s next collective bargaining agreement could reward younger players sooner. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2019-10-19/mlbs-next-collective-bargaining-agreement-reward-younger-players-sooner

Stephen, E. (2019, November 7). Tony Clark’s statement on collusion was a necessary stand against MLB. SBNation. Retrieved from https://www.sbnation.com/mlb/2019/11/7/20953616/tony-clark-mlbpa-statement-collusion-mlb-labor-war

Cleveland Indians’ Carlos Carrasco wins prestigious Roberto Clemente Award

By Pershelle Rohrer

November 3, 2019

Pershelle Rohrer is a first-year BGSU student from Logan, Utah. She is a Sport Management major with a minor in Journalism. Her primary sports interests are football, basketball, and baseball, both at the professional and collegiate levels.

Cleveland Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco was selected as the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award on Friday, October 26. The award is given annually to the player who “best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field” (“VOTE: Balloting underway,” 2019, para. 1). Carrasco was presented with the award before game 3 of the World Series in Washington, D.C. He is the third Indians player to win the award, joining Jim Thome (2002) and Andre Thornton (1979).

Carrasco was diagnosed with leukemia in late June and missed over three months of the season while receiving treatments. However, that did not stop him from making positive contributions to the community, both in the United States and around the world. He provided box lunches to the homeless in Tampa, Florida during the offseason, awarded scholarships to single mothers, traveled to Africa to distribute clothing and school supplies, and donated toys and money to his native country of Venezuela (Axisa, 2019). He also visited cancer patients in hospitals, even as he was undergoing his own treatments, and “received the 2018 MedWish Humanitarian Award,” along with his wife, Karry, in November 2018 (Noga, 2019, para. 8). His contributions to the community led to his fifth-straight nomination from the Indians and his ultimate selection for the Clemente award.

Each team nominated one player for the award in September, and they were recognized on Roberto Clemente Day on September 18 (“VOTE: Balloting underway,” 2019). The selection process occurred through a panel that included MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred; media members from MLB Network, FOX Sports, ESPN, TBS, and MLB.com; and Vera Clemente, Roberto Clemente’s widow. A fan vote took place through September 29 and counted as one vote cast alongside the panel.

Carrasco’s selection is viewed highly by the media. Media members select the winner of the Clemente Award and saw his contributions as meeting the criteria for representing Clemente and his own philanthropy. Roberto Clemente was a 15-time All-Star who was killed in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while delivering supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Originally called the “Commissioner’s Award,” the accolade was created in 1971 and renamed in Clemente’s honor in 1973 (Justice, 2019). 

Carrasco began his career with the Philadelphia Phillies. When he was a player there, Sal Artiaga, Philadelphia’s director of Latin American operations, told Carrasco, “You could be Clemente” (Brown, 2019, para. 11). Carrasco’s selflessness followed him to Cleveland when he was traded there in 2009, and he continued his involvement in the community through hospital visits, autograph signings, helping veterans, and giving to the underprivileged. Tim Brown (2019), who writes for Yahoo Sports, shows the impact of Carrasco through the headline of one article: “In a world with many problems, it also has selfless people like Carlos Carrasco.”

One of Carrasco’s sayings regarding his cancer diagnosis is “I may have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have me” (Carrasco, 2019, para. 47). He wants people to see that they can rise above their circumstances and defeat any problems they may be facing. 

Carrasco returned to the mound on September 3 and pitched as a reliever for the remainder of the 2019 season. His goal is to be ready for spring training in early 2020.

References

Axisa, M. (2019, October 25). Indians’ Carlos Carrasco wins 2019 Roberto Clemente Award. CBSSports.com. Retrieved from https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/indians-carlos-carrasco-wins-2019-roberto-clemente-award/

Brown, T. (2019, October 25). In a world with many problems, it also has selfless people like Carlos Carrasco. Yahoo Sports. Retrieved from https://sports.yahoo.com/in-a-world-with-many-problems-it-also-has-selfless-people-like-carlos-carrasco-185646178.html

Carrasco, C. (2019, September 27). I may have cancer, but cancer doesn’t have me. The Players’ Tribune. Retrieved from https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/carlos-carrasco-cleveland-indians

Indians’ Carlos Carrasco honored with Roberto Clemente Award. (2019, October 25). ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/27927326/indians-carlos-carrasco-honored-roberto-clemente-award

Justice, C. (2019, September 12). Indians pitcher Carlos Carrasco nominated for Roberto Clemente Award. news5Cleveland.com. Retrieved from https://www.news5cleveland.com/sports/baseball/indians/indians-pitcher-carlos-carrasco-nominated-for-roberto-clemente-award

Noga, J. (2019, September 12). Carlos Carrasco earns fifth straight Cleveland Indians nomination for MLB’s Roberto Clemente Award. Cleveland.com. Retrieved from https://www.cleveland.com/tribe/2019/09/carlos-carrasco-earns-fifth-straight-cleveland-indians-nomination-for-mlbs-roberto-clemente-award.html

VOTE: Balloting underway for Clemente Award. (2019, September 12). MLB.com. Retrieved from https://www.mlb.com/news/2019-clemente-award-vote-nominees-announced

Kelechi Osemele and a Power Struggle in the NFL

By Griffin Olah

October 29, 2019

Griffin is a second-year undergraduate BGSU student from North Ridgeville, Ohio. He is a Sport Management major and a Spanish minor. His primary sports interests are baseball and football, both collegiate and professional, but he is also interested in basketball, MMA, boxing and hockey.

Kelechi Osemele is an eight-year NFL veteran offensive lineman. He has suited up for the Baltimore Ravens, Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets with great success, making two Pro Bowl teams. This season, he experienced something a lot of NFL players go through: an injury. In training camp, Osemele suffered a labrum injury, but continued playing. He then reinjured the same labrum in a September 22 matchup against the New England Patriots. Still, Osmele continued to play. On October 2, however, he was diagnosed with a torn labrum after his injury against the Patriots. Here is where the story of Kelechi Osemele diverts from the path of normalcy in the NFL.

On October 2, Osemele decided he wasn’t healthy enough to practice. He was nursing a torn labrum, an injury to the shoulder that made moving 300 pound lineman incredibly difficult and painful. He sat out that week, and on Saturday October 5, the Jets fined their offensive lineman. Osemele continued to sit out of practice as he considered options for his shoulder. The Jets felt Osemele “could’ve played through” his injury and had surgery in the offseason if it was necessary (Cimini, 2019, para. 11). Osemele went to see other doctors and get other opinions, with two separate doctors recommending surgery. On October 25th, Osemele underwent surgery on his torn labrum and a cyst that developed near the injury without the team’s permission. Throughout Osemele’s absence, the Jets fined him for conduct detrimental to the team, taking away each week’s game check, the maximum amount possible under the current CBA. With his contract, this amounted to a $579,000 fine each week, simply for missing practice and doing what he believed was the best option for his body (Cimini, 2019). Finally, on October 26, the Jets released Osemele outright.

The media as a whole has sided with Osemele on the issue. Many news outlets point to the lack of comment from the Jets, who “have yet to comment since the dispute came to light” (Cimini, 2019, para. 7). Having a team embroiled in a conflict with a player surrounding his body is a bad look, and not releasing a comment on the situation can make the team look even worse. Others have taken the opportunity to bash the archaic rules of the NFL about player safety and player power. They talk about how “players have little reason to trust teams,” even after the NFLPA got players the right to a second opinion (Powell, 2019, para.17). For years, the NFL only allowed contracted players to speak to team doctors, and in the instance of Kelechi Osemele, that only led to more injury and a greater problem. 

In this instance, the media is on the right side of the battle. Kelechi Osemele is a football player, but he is also a person and deserves control over his own body. If he doesn’t think he is healthy enough to play and has unaffiliated doctors recommending he go under the knife, he has the right to that surgery to better his own life. This is a point that the media rightly does not dispute as they champion for player rights and fair treatment. The problem, however, lies in the lack of exposure. This is not a headline story, though it should be. A player is taking on the NFL over injury treatment in the league, and possibly taking legal action. Sure, it isn’t a concussion or other brain injury that draws the attention of the masses, but it deserves the same, if not more attention. The NFL is treating its players poorly, and the media needs to make that known. Articles can be written from many perspectives and attack various levels of the league, but without constant exposure and the knowledge of the public, the story of Kelechi Osemele’s fight will go unheard and the NFL can continue with its detrimental ways.

References

Cimini, R. (2019, October 26). Jets cut Kelechi Osemele amid injury dispute, surgery. ESPN. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27934491/jets-cut-kelechi-osemele-amid-injury-dispute-surgery

Powell, M. (2019, October 28). A player with shoulder pain, and a league happy to turn its back. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/26/sports/football/jets-osemele-injury.html

Mismanagement and Curses in Dodgers’ Playoff Woes

By Griffin Olah

October 16, 2019

Griffin is a second-year undergraduate BGSU student from North Ridgeville, Ohio. He is a Sport Management major with a Spanish minor. His primary sports interests are baseball and football, both collegiate and professional, but he is also interested in basketball, MMA, boxing and hockey.

The Los Angeles Dodgers are the gold standard for success in the National League in recent years. They’ve been to the World Series in 2017 and 2018, and followed that up with a franchise record 106 wins in 2019. After losing two straight World Series, the Dodgers revamped their roster this past offseason, bringing in outfielder A.J. Pollock, righty reliever Joe Kelly and lefty reliever Adam Kolarek. Walker Buehler turned into a bona-fide ace and star shortstop Corey Seager was back healthy. They were heavy favorites, as usual, going into the postseason, led by the same cast of characters that always got them there: Dave Roberts and Clayton Kershaw.

The NLDS against the Washington Nationals was a roller coaster ride leading to a winner-take-all Game 5 in Los Angeles. Walker Buehler toed the rubber for the Dodgers, and red-hot ace Stephen Strasburg faced him. The Dodgers jumped out to an early 3-1 lead, and Buehler’s gem ended when Roberts lifted him in the 7th with 2 outs. Coming in from the bullpen was none other than three-time Cy Young winner and generational pitcher Clayton Kershaw. 

Kershaw got Adam Eaton out quickly to end the 7th, and then came out for the 8th. The first Nationals’ batter, Anthony Rendon, golfed a down and away pitch over the left field fence. 3-2 Dodgers. Lefty-killer Adam Kolarek sat in the bullpen as Kershaw stared down young phenom Juan Soto. Kolarek had great success against Soto throughout the series, not allowing Soto to reach base. Kershaw stayed on, however, and Soto took him deep to center field. Tie game. 

The entire dynamic of the game changed, and instead of cruising to a win, Kershaw let up two runs and now the Dodgers were fighting for their lives. Kershaw got out of the inning, and Roberts called on Joe Kelly to pitch the 9th. He sat down the Nationals in order, going 1-2-3. The game moved to extra innings, and Joe Kelly came out in the 10th. Joe Kelly. Not Kenley Jansen, one of the league’s premier relievers. Not Kenta Maeda, starter turned playoff reliever who has been lights out all postseason. Joe Kelly, who gave up nine runs in 12 ⅓ innings of multi-inning outings (Baer, 2019). Kelly loaded the bases, and then Howie Kendrick launched a moonshot through the night sky at Chavez Ravine and through the Dodgers’ hearts. A grand slam, game over.

The media looked at this collapse and talked mismanagement immediately. Blame was laid on the shoulders of Dave Roberts for his bullpen mismanagement. Critics pointed to Roberts’ “lack of confidence in the rest of his bullpen” (Baer, 2019, para. 6) as the main reason for the loss. Roberts had one of the best overall bullpens in the league, yet stuck with a starter carrying postseason demons and a reliever who struggled in multi-inning appearances all year. Others looked to the man who let the game get tied in the first place: Clayton Kershaw. It seems every season someone “write[s] about [his postseason] failure” (Baumann, 2019, para. 11). Kershaw is one of the best pitchers in MLB history, and has had his share of success in the postseason. Sure, he hasn’t won a World Series, but he is still one of the best we have ever seen. 

Many in the media want to push the narrative that Clayton Kershaw cannot pitch in the postseason, and this latest collapse is a major piece of evidence to support that point. Where is the talk of his dominant performances, though? Where is the talk surrounding his reign of dominance over the last decade, with only injuries and a few bad starts holding him back? Justin Verlander got shelled by the Rays in the ALDS, but he is still heralded as a great postseason pitcher. Both had bad outings, but only Kershaw’s is considered a problem across his entire career. Kershaw may have had some bad postseason outings, but he is not the reason that the Dodgers’ season came to an untimely close. That is Dave Roberts’ problem.

Dave Roberts severely mismanaged the end of the game, and that’s the main problem. The media likes to focus on a pivotal point in the game that swung the outcome one way or the other, and Kershaw’s meltdown fits the bill. The real issue, though, is Kershaw staying on to face Soto, or Kelly’s second inning of work. There was a capable bullpen, a fact many articles ignore, and Roberts left the game in the hands of two relievers that struggled mightily in the game. Will this mishap cost Roberts his job? No, and it shouldn’t but media members looking for a scapegoat point at both Roberts and Kershaw as the problem, and think they should be removed from the team.

References

Baer, B. (2019, October 10). Dodgers’ NLDS Game 5 loss is on Dave Roberts. NBC Sports. Retrieved from https://mlb.nbcsports.com/2019/10/10/dodgers-nlds-game-5-loss-is-on-dave-roberts/.

Baumann, M. (2019, October 10). NLDS Game 5: The Clayton Kershaw playoff narrative will never go away. The Ringer. Retrieved from https://www.theringer.com/2019/10/10/20907661/nlds-game-5-nationals-dodgers-clayton-kershaw-playoff-choke.

Low Expectations for Browns yet again- Playoff Chances Diminished or Rising

By Cole Kegley

October 13, 2019

Cole Kegley is a junior undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University, majoring in Sport Management and minoring in General Business. The Bucyrus, Ohio alumnus focuses on basketball and football, with an emphasis on collegiate and professional levels. 

Browns’ fans were left in worry and bewilderment when their franchise relocated, becoming the Baltimore Ravens in 1996. To the surprise of no one, joy filled Cleveland when their beloved Brownies were back in the city beginning in the 1999-2000 season, following a 3-year deactivation period. The dawg pound was alive and thriving. Though, to what degree? 

Since their return to the NFL 20 years ago, the Browns have been nothing short of a disappointment. Similarly, an exponential number of quarterbacks have taken the reigns since their homecoming in 1999- thirty to be exact (Kenyon, 2018). To make matters worse, only one Quarterback has played a full 16-game season in the past 20 years for Cleveland, Tim Couch.

Browns’ fans have struggled through the past twenty years, witnessing numerous roster changes, head coaches fired mid-year, draft pick busts, players leaving in the off-season, and many other that took a toll on the organization. However, the culture and stigma surrounding the Cleveland Browns has begun to change in the past two years. The media, players, and fans alike are beginning to gain a sense of respect for this new-look team. 

Draft picks including Denzel Ward, Nick Chubb, Baker Mayfield, and Myles Garrett are just part of the reason why the Browns are turning heads. Another reason: trades and off-season acquisitions including the likes of Pro Bowlers Jarvis Landry, Olivier Vernon, and future Hall of Famer Odell Beckham Jr. make the Cleveland Browns an exciting team to watch. However, many media members refuse to accept Cleveland’s recent changes and their view as merely the “Mistake by the Lake” remains prominent. 

Colin Cowherd is one of the more popular faces of sport media, and more specifically as of late, Baker Mayfield; he has gone so far as to say, “I will be shocked if Baker does not finish top 2 in the MVP (voting)” He was also quoted saying, “of course Baker has a shot, because Baker has a better story. This is what MVP’s have become” (Cowherd, 2019). 

Clearly, Cowherd thinks highly of Baker and his story since taking an 0-16 team to 7-8-1 while only starting 13 games and throwing the most passing touchdowns by a quarterback in NFL history. However, he does not want to commit to the Browns becoming a winning and respectable team. 

Fast forward to week 4 of the NFL season, and the 1-2 Cleveland Browns (with their only win coming against a Jets team missing their starting QB) were looking at the 2-1 Baltimore Ravens with a sense of urgency. Consequently, A mere 14% of NFL teams starting 1-3 have made the playoffs since 1990 (Clayton, 2016). 

ESPN broadcasters such as Max Kellerman and Dan Orlovsky voiced how the Browns were desperately striving to replicate the Sean McVay-Rams phenomenon but failing. This comparison could not be more irritating as the Browns’ head coach is 11 years older than Sean McVay, and the reasoning for McVay’s fame is his relative success at such a young age- 33 years old (Kellerman & Orlovsky, 2019). 

False analogies sway viewers to believe un-factual information which is simply not comparable. Similarly, these broadcasters along with others have prematurely written off Freddie Kitchens and the Browns following only a handful of games. 

So, what should NFL consumers believe? The star-stacked Browns with a 2nd year quarterback and 1st year head coach started off slowly, dropping their first game by a margin of 30. Since then, they are 2-1 and are now sitting atop the AFC North, which they have not won since their return to the NFL (Lukas, 2019). 

All things considered, the Cleveland Browns deserve to be respected by the media. Sports broadcasters across American seem eager to see the Browns lose, leaving them to reaffirm their doubts of the Browns being the same old team to viewers. In spite of this fact, the Browns have struggled to begin the season. Though to their defense, 2 of their losses have come at the hands of the 4-0 San Francisco 49ers, and the Los Angeles Rams, 2018 NFC Champions. 

Lastly, multiple defenders including star-studded talent such as Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams, and Morgan Burnett have missed multiple games. All in all, playoffs are still intact for the Browns and hopes for success are still on the table, so do not be too quick to write off this team, as they are loaded with talent on offense and defense. 

References

Clayton, J. (2016, October 4). Ranking 1-3 NFL teams most likely to bounce back. ESPN.com. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/insider/story/_/id/17708074/ranking-1-3-nfl-teams-most-likely-turn-2016-playoffs.

Cowherd, C. [The Herd with Colin Cowherd]. (2019, July 26). Baker Mayfield’s MVP odds are due to his story, Colin says to pay Dak before Zeke | NFL | THE HERD [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogHKc0zgmu4 

Kellerman, M. & Orlovsky, D. [ESPN]. (2019, September 24). Is Freddie Kitchens failing as the Browns head coach? | Get Up [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdkWLJhUXxU

Kenyon, D. (2018, May 10). Cleveland Browns Quarterbacks: Revisiting every starting QB since Tim Couch. Bleacher Report. Retrieved from https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2773955-cleveland-browns-quarterbacks-revisiting-every-starting-qb-since-tim-couch.

Lukas, M. (2019, October 1). Cleveland Browns, AFC North 1st place, say it aloud! Dawg Pound Daily. Retrieved from https://dawgpounddaily.com/2019/10/01/cleveland-browns-afc-north-1st-place-say-it-aloud/.

 

 

 

Risky move from Shurmur?

By Alex Sabo

October 11, 2019

Alex Sabo is a senior in Sport Management with a minor in marketing at Bowling Green State University. Alex is from St. Charles, IL and is interested in Pro sports, but follows football, basketball, baseball, and college football.

The second overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft, Saquon Barkley is now in his second season as a running back for the New York Giants. Coming off a hot start from his rookie season with 1,307 rushing yards (“2018 NFL Player,” 2018), Barkley and the Giants could find themselves in trouble for 8 weeks. If this is the case, the Giants will be without their star running back until week 12 with 75% of the regular season complete. The team is currently standing at 1-2 with a near win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 3. From the looks of things, it does not appear to be a positive start for the team and having their main playmaker injured will not help the team win games.

Struggling to find players to get the job done, they are trying to get their Super Bowl quarterback Eli Manning on track as his performances rapidly slipped, having seen their star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. switch teams, and the squad is left yearning  for a way to win games. While the defense had already given up 95 points by week 3, the total points scored on offense was only 63 points by week 4. Eager to try and fix that ratio and put some points on the board, the team needs a key element to their offense which seems like their only hope. Saquon Barkley, the second year running back, was an eye opener in his rookie season, given that not many rookies gain over 1,000 yards in their rookie season.  Unfortunately, Barkley came down with a high ankle injury week 3 against the Buccaneers and was fortunate that his team won by a hair to keep their fans’ hopes alive for week 4.

The issue with week four is the Giants will be missing Barkley as they battle the Redskins. We occasionally see elite athletes come right out of college and have a breakout rookie season, but that is not always the case. Given that the Giants need a playmaker desperately, they are in dire need of their running back. As a result, Giants coach Pat Shurmur  told ESPN writer Jordan Ranaan (2019),  “Rehab him and get him ready to go, see how that plays out” (para. 6). As desperate as the coach and the team is to have their only hope back, it is looking like a dangerous move, not for the team, but for Barkley. The 22 year old back is being rushed into the game by his coach and will not be put on injury reserve (IR). The reason the team won’t put him on IR is because this would bench him up to 8 weeks. Of course, the team can’t be without their running back!

No team wants to be without an integral part of their offense, and for a team which seems to be going downhill since week 3, the Giants are going to do all they can to win games. As explosive as Barkley is, “The second-year back won Offensive Rookie of the Year last season and was off to a strong start this year. He topped 100 yards rushing each of the first two weeks” (Ranaan, 2019, para. 10). Gaining just over 200 yards on 37 carries by week 3, he was entering what appeared to be an explosive season.

The question for Barkley is whether rushing him back into play if he is not fully healed could be a foolish move. Given that the team seems to be declining, could Coach Shurmur potentially be ruining things for his running back who is showing numbers and putting New York on the map for the running game? This highlights a risky move because Barkley’s numbers may never be the same if he gets injured again.

References

Raanan, J. (2019, September). Giants won’t place RB Barkley (ankle) on IR. ESPN. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/27706974/giants-place-rb-barkley-ankle-ir

2018 NFL Player Rushing Stats. (2018). ESPN. Retrieved from https://www.espn.com/nfl/stats/player/_/stat/rushing/season/2018/seasontype/2/table/rushing/sort/rushingYards/dir/desc

 

 

The Return of Gordon Hayward?

By: Max Lewton

October 7, 2019

Max Lewton is a third-year undergraduate student from Cleveland, Ohio. He is currently studying Sport Management with a minor in Journalism at Bowling Green State University. His primary interests are basketball and football at both pro and collegiate levels, as well as baseball.

The 2017 NBA season opener between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics is one that we all remember vividly. Gordon Hayward went up to throw down an alley-oop dunk and came down hard on his left ankle, leaving a roar of gasps from the crowd. The gruesome injury occurred only minutes into the first quarter of Hayward’s Celtic debut and left the whole NBA in shock. Everyone saw how the injury affected Hayward last season. He seemed a step slower than everyone on the floor and just did not seem to have the same leaping ability as before. It was apparent that he was still suffering from the side-effects of the injury the year before. The former all-star is now coming into the 2019 season fully healthy and ready to show that he can still play at a high level.

Of course, Hayward will not be exactly the same kind of player that he used to be. An injury of that magnitude will surely effect his athleticism and speed. However, let’s not forget that prior to his injury he was averaging almost 22 points per game on 47% shooting from the field and almost 40% from behind the arc in 2017 (“Gordon Hayward Stats,” 2019). Gordon Hayward does not have to be a big bodied forward who takes it to the rack as long as he has good shooting percentages. In an article that appeared on Boston.com, Hayward comment on his improved shooting stroke  saying, “I feel like I’m shooting the ball really well, I’m still trying to figure out some of the timing and rhythm on pull-up and dribble jumpers. But I do feel a lot better shooting the ball—even better than I did before the injury” (DeCosta-Kilpa, 2018, para. 14). Hayward can transform himself into a threat from behind the arc, which if he can earn the defender’s respect from out there, he can start taking more people to the basket.

With the emergence of Jayson Tatum at small forward, Hayward will either be the sixth man off the bench or start as an undersized power forward. It really comes down to him finding his true role with the Celtics. Head coach Brad Stevens runs a great offensive system in Boston, and he will be able to find a good role for him. Honestly the level of Gordon Hayward’s play next year could be the deciding factor on whether Boston will actually compete. If he can play like he did with the Utah Jazz, then that is adding another all-star caliber player to Boston’s young and talented lineup. That could make them a legitimate threat to win the East and maybe even contend for an NBA title.

Hayward has the skill set and experience to bounce back and become a respectable player in the NBA once again. It has been two years now since the injury and even though he looked very slow on the floor last year, he will have at least some of the athleticism he once had back. With Boston having a few new faces in the starting lineup this year, Hayward will not only have to prove himself to the rest of the NBA, but to his teammates as well. Boston is a young team full of potential, if he can be that veteran leader to backup Kemba Walker then the team will flourish. Many NBA fans and others have already abandoned Hayward’s comeback, but I believe that he has still got a lot left in the tank.

References

DeCosta-Klipa, N. (2018, October 15). ‘I won’t be the same player’: How Gordon Hayward expects to be different post-injury. Boston.com. Retrieved from https://www.boston.com/sports/boston-celtics/2018/10/15/gordon-hayward-injury-return.

Gordon Hayward Stats. (2019.). Basketball Reference. Retrieved from https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/h/haywago01.html.