Friends – there were actual, real sports being played over the past week. It’s really happening. The past week marked the return of pro baseball, the culmination of the Premier League, the NWSL Championship, MLS in full stride for its MLS is Back Tournament, NBA “preseason” games, the start of the WNBA season and probably something else really cool we didn’t even know about. So, naturally, this week’s edition of the ramblings doesn’t mention a single actual result of one of those competitions. That’s how you debate.
The Dog Ate My Homework
Who had “one week before the first game” as the date when an NBA player would break quarantine and go to a strip club? Lou Williams, the greatest sixth man in NBA history, was on an approved leave from the bubble and naturally went straight to Magic City, a gentleman’s club in Atlanta. There are a few things about this story that we love:
- A rapper named Jack Harlow…wait a minute. A rapper named Jack Harlow? We admit that we don’t keep up with rap artists, but Jack Harlow is a State Farm agent, right?
- Regardless, Jack Harlow posted a picture with Lou Williams at Magic City, but then took it down and stated that it was from a couple years ago. One problem – Williams was wearing an NBA-issued face mask.
- Williams, to his credit, admitted being there but said he just stopped by for dinner. Per a tweet: “Ask any of my teammates what’s my favorite restaurant in Atlanta is. Ain’t nobody partying. Chill out lol. #Maskon #inandout.”
- Just to reiterate…Williams, in a defense of himself, tweeted “#inandout” about going to a strip club and believes that helps his case for not having to quarantine.
- We totally believe that it is his favorite restaurant, as we saw on Twitter that there is a menu item named for Williams.
- To sum up, the guy who took the photo from the strip club said it was from two years ago despite obvious evidence that it wasn’t from two years and the guy in trouble for being at the strip club said he just went there for dinner. In other news, Work Hangover was nominated for a Pulitzer.
- Seriously, Jack Harlow?
In other news, the NBA is scheduled to resume its season on Thursday. The NBA…it’s faaannnnn-tastic.
On Thursday, Major League Baseball returned with the World Series champion Nationals playing host to the Yankees. Despite COVID and heated labor negotiations that alienated the average fans, people were so eager to just feel normal and watch some baseball that hey flocked to their televisions. The season opener recorded the highest ratings for a regular season game since 2011. It was a great pitcher’s duel between Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer when, naturally, a storm came through and they cancelled the game after 6 innings. Thanks 2020.
Opening weekend has provided some highlights – Dr. Fauci avoiding home plate like it was an injection of bleach with his first pitch, Anthony Rizzo dishing out hand sanitizer to runners that reach first base against the Cubs and the Tigers actually winning a game.
One interesting development for the viewer at home has been the varying ways TV networks are handling the absence of fans. Fox put virtual fans when showing wide shots of the stadium, but the fans would magically disappear when they cut to live action. We were very confused by this entire process while watching a game yesterday. The only thing more unsettling is the presence of cardboard cutouts of fans in the seats. We realize that the people sitting behind home plate at Dodger Stadium are artificially enhanced with no soul, but to blatantly mock them with cardboard cutouts seems a little harsh.
At Citi Field, instead of pictures of fans, they are using cardboard cutouts of dogs, one of which took a home run ball to the snout. (No actual animals were harmed in the process of the home run.) We don’t know if the Wilpon Family believes that as long as you put out some food their fans will be fiercely loyal to them or that their fans are lazy bums who sitting around licking themselves and pooping in the yard. Either way, it’s probably better that they are trying to sell the team.
NFL’s Real MVP
We follow sports more closely than the average person but like to believe we are fairly self-aware about our sports fandom weaknesses. One of those weaknesses is an inability to name a single starting right guard in the NFL. We apologize for this glaring hole in our resume and realize that we have violated your trust as a reader that we are experts in all things. However, if you will allow for some grace, we’d like to present our favorite right guard in the NFL: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.
This week, Laurent announced that he would be skipping the NFL season in order to work with COVID patients in long-term care facilities in Montreal. At first, we saw the headline thought, “Wow, good for him.” But then we also read this story. My man is a freaking doctor!
We see no way this could fail
There are a few different approaches that seem to be happening when it comes to trying to bring college sports back. You could be like the Ivy League and just say, “No sports till 2021” and hope that there has been progress in the fight against COVID. You could be like the Big Ten and say we’re just going to play games against conference opponents and put in safety protocols that all schools in the conference must follow. Or, you could be the Big 12, and have Texas say 50,000 fans can come to games and Oklahoma moved its season opener a week earlier than previously scheduled. Look…we are not experts (they all work at those pesky Ivy League schools), but we are pretty sure that starting games sooner isn’t the answer.
Just this past week, two Big Ten schools put their entire football team in quarantine due to less than ten players and/or staff testing positive. Perhaps this is just being extra cautious since they have the time to do so, but what’s going to happen when we are in the middle of the season, with thousands of students back on campus, and a Big Ten team gets 5 positive tests back? Are they going to quarantine the whole team for two weeks then?
Washington Football Team
You may have heard that the NFL franchise based out of
Washington, DC Landover, MD/Ashburn, VA existed for approximately 90 years with a nickname that was racist. You may also have heard that the current owner of this franchise is one of the worst owners in all of professional sports, and apparently, also a terrible human. And lastly, you may have heard that we have been fans of this franchise for as long as we can remember. We’re so proud.
All of which is prelude to the latest announcement that the team will now be called the Washington Football Team. To quote an old SNL skit, who are the ad wizards who came up with that one? Everyone has their jokes – even Mrs. Hangover was mocking it – and frankly, it is impossible to reasonably defend this organization. They also said it was impossible to start a blog about sports the very day that all sports were shut down, so here we go:
- It’s a temporary fix, which was necessary after sending out press releases saying you are changing your racist nickname on letterhead which states the racist nickname.
- All over the world, professional sports franchises use similar naming conventions, such as your Premier League Champions Liverpool Football Club. Really only in the United States are the nicknames a thing.
- Actually taking your time to come up with a new brand after nearly a century of using a racist nickname and logos might be the prudent decision. Just because it doesn’t fit the Twitter-sphere’s incessant need for immediate gratification only to be able to make snarky jokes about other people’s work doesn’t mean you made a bad decision.
- According to Adam Schefter, the team will keep the same color scheme and wear these uniforms. We may be biased, but these may be the best uniforms in the entire NFL, aside from the Chargers powder blue uniforms. This is the closest the NFL will ever get to the beautiful, traditional uniforms that are so beloved in college football like Penn State and Alabama.
Listen, we know we’re biased in this conversation, as our first memories of being a fan are cheering for the Washington Football Team. That said, despite our culture’s incessant urge to criticize everything, we really don’t think this turned out too bad, which is the most complimentary thing we’ve said about this organization in approximately 20 years. While the words to the fight song might have to change, we know the Burgundy & Gold will still be fighting for Old DC.
All in the Name
The same week the Washington Football Team was being roundly criticized for not coming up with a clever nickname, two other professional sports franchises announced their nicknames.
The Seattle NHL franchise announced its nickname would be the Kraken. The Seattle Kraken. The name is absolutely unique and fits in the nautical theme of other Seattle franchises (Mariners, Seahawks, Sounders, Oklahoma City Thunder). There were all sorts of fancy logos and videos explaining the details of the logo, all of which were expected from a franchise in the city known for iconic brands like Microsoft and Starbucks. When most people are aware of your nickname from a Pirates of the Caribbean movie or a brand of rum, you know you’ve found a winner.
Meanwhile, the Charlotte MLS franchise released its name will be Charlotte FC, as in Charlotte Football Club. There were all sorts of fancy logos and videos explaining the details of the logo, all of which were expected from a franchise in the city known for iconic brands like Bojangles.
While these two franchises appear to have taken opposite approaches, they did have one thing in common. The announcements were criticized throughout the social media world, where everyone else is an expert and has a better idea. It’s really a wonderful place.
The good news for us here at Work Hangover, aside from the Pulitzer nomination, is that our name and brand is so strong that no one on Twitter knows who we are. Just the way we like it.