SCREAMIN’ FROM THE CHEAP SEATS – DECEMBER 20
By Leo Haggerty

DAYS OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT

In the second installment of the three-part series, I take a look at what’s going on now when it comes to the sports landscape.  Look for the third segment. DAYS OF CHRISTMAS FUTURE, coming up around New Years Day.  Enjoy.

NFL

Rescheduling of two contests from Sunday to Tuesday due to Covid outbreaks.  Do you think the Denver Broncos are wondering why they had to play with a rookie wide out as a quarterback while other teams had games moved back to allow more time for players, especially QBs, to come back after positive tests? Do you think the Seahawks and the Eagles are questioning the NFL who came out at the beginning of the year pontificating that games would not be postponed but would be a forfeit? Makes you go hummmm, right?

The number of coaches choosing to bypass field goals to go for fourth downs especially when they haven’t scored a point in the contest.  Hardest points to score are the first ones.

MLB

Well, Major League Baseball has decided to lock out their players again. With the lottery money that owners are talking about throwing around for free agents this season, with Astros SS Carlos Correa leading the pack, it almost looks like this was done to protect the owners from themselves. I believe Commissioner Rob Manfred is using this negotiating tactic to push the pause button and try to talk some financial prudence to the owners.  Good luck with that.

The Mets are hoping to resurrect some Christmas past glory with the hiring of Buck Showalter.  After the front office disasters and player missteps with their fans, New York is hoping to catch “magic in a bottle” with the hiring of Showalter who will be managing his fifth team in The Big Leagues.  Good luck with that as well.

NHL

The National Hockey League is being forced to postpone regular season play until after Christmas weekend due to massive Covid outbreak with many of its organizations.  After tomorrow, the NHL will shut down from December 22th to December 26th.  Team facilities can reopen Monday, December 27th at 2 PM local time but there’s a catch.  Players can only return to their teams after a negative Covid test.  The League is hoping this will stem the tide of Covid.  Again, good luck with that.

So far, the surprise team has to be Minnesota.  After 30 games, the Wild lead the Central Division with a 19-9-2 log.  That computes to 40 points tying the Las Vegas Golden Knights for the best record in the Western Conference.

NBA

The surprise team in the National Basketball Association has to be Chicago.  The Bulls lead the Central Division with a 19-10 mark and seem to have bought into what Coach Billy Donovan has been selling.

No surprise are Phoenix and Golden State.  The Suns are 24-5 with the Warriors right on their heels at 25-6 in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference.  The Arizona group is proving that last year’s run to the Championship Finals was no fluke and the California contingent is showing that last year’s falloff was an outlier.

NCAA

No, the sky is not falling but the University of Connecticut’s women’s program is but not far.  For the first time since the 2004-05 season, Coach Gino Auriemma’s #7 ranked Huskies have fallen out of the Top 10. This week Connecticut clocked in at #11 after a Sunday loss to Louisville.  That ends the UConn Top 10 streak at 313 consecutive weeks.

Undefeated Baylor leads the NCAA Men’s rankings.  The Bears haven’t missed a beat since capturing the Division I championship last year and are 9-0 so far in 2021-22.  The season is young but look for the Waco crew to be one of the Final Four participants and try to repeat as March Madness champs.