Strange days call for strange scenarios, stories and other words that start with “s.” In the times of pandemic a lot of people find themselves playing the “what if” game. What if we took a different path? What if we never go back to the ways things were? What if Mark writes an entire blog of what if questions?
We’ve entered a new era as a nation and will have to fight and scratch our way to victory just like we have so many times before. We’ve overcome disease and dictatorships; we will overcome this one too. Yet, that serious blog is probably for someone else to write, as you know I like to keep it a bit lighter in my small corner of cyberspace. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t ponder some of the big “what if” questions ourselves.
… the NFL plays in front of empty stadiums?
The NFL seems hell bent on playing football and are kicking around scenarios such as playing in front of empty stadiums. Obviously, not having 70,000 fans (or 7,000 if you’re a San Diego Chargers’ fan) drinking and cheering all over one another is a smart move but these games will still have hundreds of people in close quarters. The closest of which will be the actual players tackling and blocking one another. How does one account for that?
The Denver Broncos’ Von Miller and the L.A. Rams’ Brian Miller have already tested positive for the virus and we know that some folks are carrying the virus but are asymptomatic, so someone smarter than I will have to explain to me how you keep everyone safe.
But, what if they can play to empty stadiums? My buddy Neal and I quickly came up with some great ideas the other night (on the phone, chill out). Someone please send these to Roger Goodell. First, you make the stadiums look like Thunderdome from the “Mad Max” films. If you can’t pull that off any post-apocalypse scenario will do. Abandoned cars, random fires, maybe a few zombies wondering in the seats — you get the picture. Then, at half time, we’ll have a player from each team fight a lion. Being the nice guys we are, we would allow the teams to pick someone from their practice squad for this part of the game. I think it’s a pretty solid plan.
… the Saints stopped losing dramatically in the playoffs?
The greatest what if in the NFL, I assume, over the past three years. I would never call the Saints unlucky but their last three playoff exits are “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” material. The miracle in Minnesota in 2017, the Play That Shall Not Be Named in 2018 and the fizzle and pop of last year’s wildcard playoff loss to the Vikings
again. The first two are just the legendary, kick you in the pants type of awfulness. There wasn’t any magic in the last one; it was just a bad performance by the offense.
It all gets more “what if” in knowing that each of these teams lost the next game (and none were really close) and the Saints would have been favored in two of those contests. Last year, they would have been underdogs on the road versus San Francisco but that would have been a Revenge Bowl so loved their chances. It would have been perfect. They were so close to the record books.
… the Tulane Green Wave (15-2) kept playing baseball?
In a sports kind of way, this was a soul crushing way to end the season for the #20 Tulane Green Wave, who were easily playing their best ball under Coach Jewett. The team ripped through the early competition and had cracked some Top 25 polls. The season ended one day before the Green Wave were to host #16 Long Beach State in the club’s biggest series in years. If they won the series the club probably would have been ranked in the teens with all of the bigger schools. Their season is truly the biggest “what if.”
You have to feel bad for Coach Jewett as well. The coach hasn’t had any sustained success in his first three years with the club and this team came out smoking hot. In a preseason press conference, Jewett said that a lot of Green Wave fans acted like the club went to Omaha all the time. It was a bit of a defiant statement and I honestly thought it would come back to haunt him but that wasn’t the case. The offense overcame the losses of players moving on and the brand spanking new starting pitching staff was a sight to behold. The pitching staff of Braden Olthoff, Jack Aldrich, Donovan Benoit and Luke Jennetta is type of staff that gets a club to Omaha, y’all.
… if Prince didn’t die?
I said I was going to keep it light and here I am talking about death. What gives, Mark? Well, I’m a firm believer in time heals all wounds and, these days, I only look back on Prince’s life with joy. Unbelievably, tomorrow will be the fourth anniversary of his death.
I’m sure you’ve seen local musicians putting on shows using Zoom or Facetime. Nationally, Questlove of The Roots has been playing DJ sets (and dropping gems of knowledge) and Teddy Riley and Babyface just had a DJ showdown. It’s great fun to watch and dance to but what if Prince were still alive?
Prince owned Paisley Park, a complex that housed a giant stage. The Kid could’ve had eight musicians play with him and they all could be socially-distanced! He also could just of went solo on the piano and dropped hit after hit. While he kept all of his charity work quiet during his life Prince absolutely laid out cash and time for many causes. So, it’s not crazy to think that he would have put on plenty of shows during this time of need. A big purple what if!
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: New Orleans breweries and distilleries making hand sanitizer
Playlist Recommendation: Prince – Piano & A Microphone 1983
Around the Way
A shout out to all of the parents of dogs and cats walking their furry friends around the neighborhood. Just know that, even though I’m keeping my distance, I want to pet each and every one of your pets. Keep social distancing, washing your hands and covering your face.
The stats don’t lie. We can do this!