Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Sports this 'n' that

With the Stanley Cup finals underway (Dallas & Tampa Bay are knotted up at 1 game apiece), NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has indicated that the 2020-1 season won't start until either December or January, which leaves less off-season time than normal, of course, due to the pandemic, but you have to believe that the league's media partners (NBC-Universal in the US, TSN in Canada) are hoping the series ends at the end of this month.

It would be in their best interest if it did. As it is, the finals have been shoved aside in terms of viewer interest with the NFL having started their season, and baseball will start their playoffs next week. While television ratings for football & basketball are down from a year ago due to fan apathy over players using the forum to protest racial injustice and inequality, you don't hear much about it on the ice, which might actually be a good thing.

Week 2 of the NFL season is in the books, and the injury reports coming out of Sunday's games looked like some teams all of a sudden turned into M*A*S*H units. Consider some of the major players sidelined after Sunday:

Nick Bosa (San Francisco): Out for the year with a torn ACL.
Saquon Barkley (Giants): Out for the year with a torn ACL.
Bruce Irvin (Seattle): Out for the year with a torn ACL.
Sterling Shepard (Giants): Ankle injury. Status for week 3 unknown.
Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco): Ankle injury.
Christian McCaffrey (Carolina): High ankle sprain.
Solomon Thomas (San Francisco): Out for the year.

I read that someone complained about "sticky turf" at one stadium. Ya might want to check some of the player equipment (i.e. cleats) for possible defects, too.

The league is also fining certain coaches, including Seattle's Pete Carroll and San Francisco's Kyle Shanahan, for not wearing masks throughout the games, although there's supposedly a provision that allows for them to lower the masks, as the refs do when announcing penalties, to call plays. Stay tuned.
WWE introduced two new ideas during the summer on Monday Night Raw. Two months later, one of those ideas has been irretrievably ruined by uncreative stupidity.

I am referring to the activist group known as Retribution. Created as a parody of the protests going on across the country, the group of masked wrestlers, both male & female, set about disrupting both Raw & Smackdown at first, and, then, last month, it was announced that the group would be exclusive to Raw.


Monday's broadcast presented the five core members with new masks and "new contracts", if only because internet fans knew who the core five were under the ski masks the group initially wore. The two women are Mia Yim & Mercedes Martinez. The men are Dominik Dijakovic (formerly Donovan Dijak to northeast indie fans), Shane Thorne, and Dio Maddin, the latter of whom was a commentator for a hot minute a few months ago.

They had a solution to one early mystery, that being how Retribution could easily enter the building every week, right in the palm of their collective hands, but didn't use it. No, instead, with over 30 untrained-in-wrestling-psychology Hollywood rejects at his disposal, Vince McMahon decided to think in terms of long term marketing---to toy stores. The new masks are meant to represent prospective action figures to be made by Mattel and sold in time for Christmas, in this writer's opinion. 

What happened, it seems, is that McMahon saw how the group didn't get over with viewers, at least in his opinion, and decided to make premature changes. He gave the men new ring names, such as Slapjack (Thorne), T-Bar (Dijakovic), & Mace (Maddin). The women have not been assigned new code names yet, but at this rate, Retribution will be a distant memory by the holidays because of McMahon's impulsive meddling.

And they wonder why ratings are down....

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