O'Donnell: All about restarts, retreads and Erin Andrews -- a midsummer buffet
OF RESTARTS, RETREADS AND ERIN ANDREWS, a midsummer buffet of thought that might even draw Charlie Weis away from the Turkey Alfredo:
MLB restart -- Lost in a scheduled emergence from the pandemic fog is an incontestable fact: The new-mill version of a once great game is simply tedious and more often than not, unwatchable ... and all the dated juice in Sammy Sosa's refrigerators can't change that.
NBA restart -- They have a phrase for pro basketball played in July and August and it's "summer league." ... Poor Adam Silver is facing yet another challenge that couldn't be anticipated but he's unfortunately proving that he's no David Stern.
NFL start -- Political scientists from Wellesley to Whittier to Eddie's Lounge in downtown Arlington Heights have long insisted that if The Big Grids aren't grunting by Halloween in an election year, an incumbent U.S. President can't be reelected. ... Still, the feeling persists, against all research and prudence, Roger Goodell and associates will have a TV product on the field by October.
NHL restart -- If you don't mind your August festooned with hockey pucks, the one major North American pro sport that most likely will carry out its mad-libbed "fill" jinks as plotted. ... It must be something about that coherent Canadian leadership heir.
Arlington Park -- "Bunker Bill" Carstanjen and Churchill Downs Inc. have done the "shareholder possible": Prepared the body for burial a year before the finish line. ... Now it's a "jockey shortage" that knowledgeable horse people are concerned about, one week before the travesty of a 2020 meet is scheduled to start.
The Bears -- They wouldn't dare forego a full season of the greatest local civic institution since Irv Kupcinet met Jack Brickhouse, would they? ... As "Papa Bear" George Halas might have advised: "(Blank) the flu. Let the (blank) (blankers) play!"
The Blackhawks -- Edmonton sunsets might give team management a chance to think through both the social and grammatical implications of "Blackhawks." ... The Native American was "Chief Black Hawk"; first owner Major Frederic McLaughlin's World War I outfit was "The Black Hawk Division." ... The current official spelling is offensive.
The Bulls -- Twenty-two years later, Jerry Reinsdorf's "Curse of the Breakup" remains the sports gift that just keeps on giving. ... West Madison Street's sad-sack baseline squeakers now lack the relevance to even get cheerleader seating at Florida's spike-ready "Goofy's Bubble."
The Cubs -- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is indicating she will green-light weekend night games at Wrigley Field. ... For $500 or so, it's a great "date night," although half that will still get a few bottles of Boone's Farm and a suite at a Sybaris.
The White Sox -- "Selling hope" is still the core mantra of a shrewd business enterprise safety-netted by both a publicly underwritten stadium deal and a tightened regional TV sports network. ... At most Vegas books, Luis Robert is the 4-1 favorite to be American League Rookie of the Year; now if he can only learn how to slide.
Erin Andrews -- ABC has announced Andrews and Tom Bergeron are done as co-hosts of "Dancing With the Stars" and will be replaced by Tyra Banks. ... The second most regrettable moment of The Fighting Illini's magical 2004-05 men's basketball season was when CBS coverage of the NCAA tournament kicked in and young Andrews' ESPN sideline reporting was lost in the switch.
Skip Bayless -- Still the poster child for the absolute worst in daytime national TV sports talkers. ... If Skip Overdue's $6 million alleged annual salary is ever publicly documented, the Fox executive responsible for signing off on it should be placed on an ice floe and shoved off into the Bering Sea.
Dr. Anthony Fauci -- A column lead in April for his play as a high school point guard in Manhattan, so. ... His standing as a modern American "Profile In Courage" has only grown in recent days as the tire tracks across his back are his reward for attempting to keep separate the evolving scientific from the politically polarizing. ... An amazing voice of reality and restraint.
Myles Garrett -- Eight months ago, he was Public Enemy No. 1 for smashing Pittsburgh QB Mason Rudolph upside the head with Rudolph's own helmet. ... Now the Cleveland Browns are set to reward their volatile DE with a five-year, $125 million contract. ... Ain't that America?
Jim Thorpe -- In a month of heightened sensitivity to Native American imaging, a group called "Bright Path Strong" has begun a petition drive to get the International Olympic Committee to restore Thorpe's gold medals from the 1912 Stockholm Games. ... There's no question Thorpe got a raw deal and an even rawer one with Burt Lancaster's wretched makeup in the 1951 biopic "Jim Thorpe -- All-American."
Tiger Woods -- Ol' "Sunday Red" returns to tournament play this weekend in The Memorial from Jack Nicklaus's Muirfield in suburban Columbus (Golf Channel, Thursday-Friday; GC and CBS, Saturday-Sunday). ... Reality: Tiger will never have a "Last Dance" because Michael Jordan didn't have to manufacture his story's villains; Woods' biggest enemy since his golden decade has been only himself.
And reader John Zielinski, strongly advocating against herd revision of historic symbolism, recalled a great G.K. Chesterton variant: "A man who is married to the times will soon be a widower."
• Jim O'Donnell's Sports & Media column appears Thursday and Sunday. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.