Discover more from Pointless Exercise
Hey, you can pay to see the Cubs again!
The index looks at safety protocols, Thagic Johnson, streaming delays and Alex Smith's leg
It’s time again for the only index that really matters, oh that’s so sad. The Pointless Index!
Fans can go back to Wrigley and…the other place
The worst kept secret in the state the last few days was that the city of Chicago was going to allow fans to attend games in time for Opening Day at both Wrigley Field and Tony LaRussa’s crash pad. Attendance is capped at 20% of capacity for the Cubs (8,274) and if the Sox can find 8,000 fans they can all come to their games.
Both teams posted detailed explanations of their safety precautions.
Here are the Cubs’. Among the highlights:
Masks are required at all times unless eating or booing Jake Marisnick.
No paper tickets. You must download them to your phone or have them printed on an Obvious Shirt, because apparently those are still a thing.
Social distancing must be maintained in all communal spaces and no one is allowed to sit within 60 feet of the left field foul pole in the bleachers. Hey, I’m just reporting what it says, Al.
If you are not feeling well or have had COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days of the game you have tickets for you should not attend. Similarly, if you are feeling pretty good you probably should just skip all the Trevor Williams starts to stay that way.
Wrigley will go through a “thorough cleaning process.” For the first time since Warren G. Harding was president. The worst part of it though is that they put this guy in charge of the cleaning:
What a disaster. In just a few minutes Todd proved he can’t successfully use a hose, a broom or a squeegee. When was the last time you saw somebody that wet coming out of a Wrigley Field restroom? Wait, don’t answer that.
Some poor bastard has to measure out six foot spaces in front of the world famous urinal troughs and try to get decals to stick to that floor. I shudder to think about it.
And then, the Cubs touted the installation of “reverse ATMs.” What? They’re not going to let you pay with cash (which is asinine considering we now know that Covid isn’t transmitted by surfaces and besides all the cocaine residue on US currency would surely kill it anyway.) Regardless, the reverse ATM is apparently just their fancy way of saying you’ll put cash in and get a card like for the CTA or Dave and Buster’s and you’ll have to spend off of that. They’re called Crane Bucks.
The cash value of a Crane Buck is 1/1,000th of a cent.
That actually seems high.
And then, incredibly there’s this:
What’s that sign say?
You owe me one gum ball machine.
The Press Box Podcast
Look, I know the only podcast you’ll ever need is the Pointless Exercise podcast, but here’s a dirty little secret about The Ringer’s podcasts. Most of the ones without Bill Simmons on them are pretty good. Well, unless “House” is on it, or Chris Ryan, SINCE HE DOES NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO MODULATE THE VOLUME OF HIS OWN VOICE, or Jonathan Tjarks. Have you ever heard that guy? He talks like he’s doing an impression of the guy from Death Cab For Cutie singing.
I don’t mind the Ryen Russillo Podcast, but you know it’s time to hit pause and delete when the Ben Affleck clip from Boiler Room plays. Russillo is going to give life advice to dopes who actually write in for it. Russillo? The guy who can’t spell Ryan right? The guy who wandered naked (unless having your pants around your ankles counts as being somewhat clothed) into the wrong condo in Wyoming? I’ll listen to his NFL and NBA takes, but if I wanted terrible life advice, I’d just take my own.
Their best podcast is The Press Box with Bryan Curtis and David Shoemaker. But then, I’m a sucker for people intelligently talking about the media. Curtis is an excellent writer and interviewer and Shoemaker is passable at guessing that episode’s “strained punned headline.”
I just have one complaint. Last week we found out that Curtis thought the word stymie was pronounced stimmy. What?
I nearly drove off the road when I heard it, and the most incredible thing about that was that I was on a treadmill. Anyway, I highly recommend The Press Box if you ever decide you need to start listening to a second podcast. (Which, you really don’t need to.)
Illinois’ NCAA Tournament seed
Barring something crazy like losing in the opener of the Big Ten Tournament to Rutgers by 80 points, the Illini are going to be a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005. They won the Big Ten title with a school record 16 conference wins…wait, what? Michigan? You mean the team that spent a month licking doornobs and missing games because of Covid? They only won 14 conference games. Sixteen is more. By two! Oh, whatever.
Anyway, despite the fact the tournament selection committee says it doesn’t set up matchups when they do the draw, there’s zero chance they don’t set up a second or third round Illinois-Loyola matchup. And, with Brad Underwood’s old team (well, he coached there a year before he ditched them for beautiful Champaign) Oklahoma State and player of the year Cade Cunningham possibly off double not-so-secret probation and maybe eligible for the tournament, they would almost certainly be set up to play them, too.
And how ridiculous is it that a week out from the tournament Oklahoma State still doesn’t know if they’re eligible to play in the tournament or not? Just a reminder that the NCAA is a completely unnecessary organization. At some point the OSU team is going to get on a plane for Indiana and hope that when they get off they actually get to play games when they land.
Bulls hanging onto Thagic Johnson?
Reports were buzzing around the Interwebs yesterday that the Bulls now suddenly entertaining us all with a moderate case of competence, might not be selling off either of their surprisingly useful veterans, Garrett Temple and Thaddeus Young.
The Bulls picked Temple up at a bus station a couple of days before the season started and I’m sure they could just circle back around there and see if there’s somebody similar if they traded him. But Young would actually be pretty hard to replace. He’s averaging about 12 points, six rebounds and four assists and shooting better than 65% from two. While those numbers don’t scream irreplaceable, especially on a team that made it to the All-Star Break under .500, the Bulls have made tangible progress this season under a real coach, Billy Donovan, and Young is unquestionably a huge part of it.
The question for Arturas Karnisovas is whether the potential return for Young is worth more than the long term benefits to the young players on the team of making the playoffs with him. Young is signed through next season, when he’ll be 33, and his contract is for $14 million but only $6 million is guaranteed. The guy they really want to trade is Otto Porter Jr. who has an expiring contract and when healthy would also help a contender. But Otto’s never actually healthy. He hasn’t played since Groundhog Day. Apparently he saw his shadow and it meant six more weeks of him wearing an ice bag on his lower back and riding a stationary bike on the sidelines.
For the Bulls, being in position to not just automatically ship off their veterans is progress. We’ll see if the Cubs end up in that same place.
Ugh, this asshole again?
And here I thought The Garbage Family That Owns The Cubs™ would be the ones with the lock on a spot in Going Down every week:
But here’s the annual winner of Len Kasper’s Most Fascinating Individual Award back for another shot.
Is anything more Trevor Bauer than having to draw attention to himself during a routine Cacti League tune up? His lame “I just wanted to make myself uncomfortable” is just another cry for attention. We all know what Trevor’s all about. He’s all about making other people uncomfortable by just being an unrelenting dick to them.
Alex Smith’s leg
I have nothing against former Washington Footballer quarterback guy Alex Smith. Well, other than the Niners should have drafted Aaron Rodgers first overall in 2005 instead of him so that the Packers would have had to be the ones trying to win games with Jimmy Claussen and Todd Collins and the like all these years.
But it’s frighteningly apparent that if (let’s face it—when) the Bears strike out and can’t complete a deal for a real quarterback, that their fallback is going to be to go with Smith who played and won a lot of games for the pre-Mahomes Chiefs that The Visor was pretending to offensive coordinate.
My problem with Smith isn’t that he’s not that good (because, he’s not, but that’s kind of beside the point) it’s that he shouldn’t be playing football.
He broke his leg rather floppingly against the Texans in 2018.
His leg got infected after the surgery to repair it and for a while it looked like he might have to have it amputated. So much muscle and skin died that they had to graft it from other parts of him to rebuild a leg that he could walk on, much less try to play football with. And yet, after missing all of 2019 he played last season.
He missed the season finale and the Redskins’ ill-fated playoff appearance (they had the same shot against Tampa that the Bears had against New Orleans—none) with a calf strain. But as one doctor said, “It’s not really a calf strain because he doesn’t have a calf anymore.” Eww.
Once you see his leg you’ll never be able to watch him play without thinking that the very next hit is going to snap it into nine pieces, and that’s why I don’t want him on the Bears. I just don’t want to see it happen. Nobody can ever doubt how hard he is willing to work or how tough he is. He didn’t need to prove it, but he did, beyond any doubt. Can’t that be enough?
Anyway, here you go, you won’t be able to unsee this:
Holy shit. That’s almost bad enough to make you think the Bears should just bring Mitch back.
Well, on second thought, don’t they say that when a broken bone heals it’s actually stronger than it was before?
MLB.com alerts and streamed baseball games
One issue about watching games on a web stream that you don’t always think about is how the extra delay is going to impact your enjoyment of the game.
It’s one thing to have to remember not to just recklessly refresh Twitter and get something spoiled. (Brad Biggs is the fucking worst during Bears games. NFL games are on like a ten second delay and he loves to pre-load score Tweets to try to give things away to those of us who want to snark our way through.)
I have alerts set up from MLB.com to tell me when the Cubs game starts, when either team scores and the final score. During the spring it’s not a big deal to see your phone light up and without looking at the alert look at the TV screen and think, “Huh, Joc Pederson must hit a homer here.” And then a few seconds later Joc hits one. Simple harmless fun, eh?
Yeah, well it’s not so fun when your phone lights up with Javy Baez batting with the bases loaded and you think, “Ooh, Javy must get a hit here.” So you grab your phone, like I did on Friday, and you see that Javy drove in a run by being hit by a pitch.
Then you look at the screen and all you can think is, “I hope it doesn’t hit him in the head or the hand—but he’s got a helmet on, so I really hope it doesn’t hit him in the hand.” And then Cal Quantrill throws a pitch and it doesn’t hit Javy. And you realize that the Marquee steam is so far behind that it’s going to be on the next pitch, and so you get to dread it again, and sure enough Javy takes it right off the arm. And it looks like it might be his hand and goddamn it MLB, can’t you wait a few seconds before you freak us all out!?!?
Anyway, as we all know by now, it hit Javy in the forearm and he was back working out like normal on Saturday.
That doesn’t mean my shorts didn’t need a “thorough cleaning” that Todd Ricketts could smear around with a squeegee anyway.