Some things I follow in the sports world today

Major League Baseball

The 2022 Major League Baseball (MLB) season is fast approaching. Halfway through the season (81 games played), the contending teams have mostly separated themselves from the pretenders and tankers. The teams expected to compete (New York Yankees and Mets, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers) are all in first place in their respective divisions. The Yankees (58-23) live up to their Bronx Bombers nickname thanks to an explosive offense led by Aaron Judge who has already smashed 29 home runs in the final year of his contract. The San Francisco Giants are wide rumored to be one of the top suitors for the Northern California native if he decides not to re-sign with the Yankees in free agency. Speaking of the Giants, they are struggling to put together another strong season after last year's 107-win campaign where everything seemed to be going right. The loss of Buster Posey retiring has proved a major blow as his successor, Joey Bart, the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2018, struggled so much that the team sent him back to the minors. The Giants are 40-39 and are in third place behind the San Diego Padres and Dodgers. Still, they're not as bad as their Bay Area rivals, the Oakland Athletics, who trail the major-leaguers with an abysmal 28-56 record. Their performance is expected considering the team held a fire sale before the season trading star players like Matt Olson and Matt Chapman. Unfortunately, things won't change for A's fans until the team gets a new one stadium and hopefully a new owner willing to invest in players to keep them for more than a couple of years.


Both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) are in the offseason and just crowned new champions last month. The Golden State Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight seasons by defeating the Boston Celtics. The Colorado Avalanche won their third Stanley Cup in franchise history, upsetting the Tampa Bay Lightning who were looking for a three-peat. NHL free agency has just begun with the draft scheduled for this week, while NBA negotiations have been ongoing for a few weeks. Although the Warriors managed to rewrite the starting center Kevon Looneythey couldn't keep their other free agents and lost Damien Lee to the Phoenix Suns, Gary Payton II to Portland, and Otto Porter Jr to Toronto. They signed Donte DiVincenzo, are expected to extend an extension to rising star Jordan Poole, and will likely consider making additional signings or simply giving other young players roster spots.

College sports

Like everything else in sports and society, money seems to rule college athletics. While colleges have many athletic teams, their marketing and financial resources have largely focused on men's teams, particularly football and men's basketball. Although last month marked the 50th anniversary of Title IX, we clearly have one long way to go before there is equality between men's and women's sports.

Meanwhile, two of the biggest issues facing college sports right now are the impact that Name Image and Likeness (NIL) has on college recruiting and conference realignment. With college student-athletes now able to benefit from playing sports, the recruiting algorithm has changed. Schools like USC, located in a prime area and with a long history of football success and a deep fan base, can attract top recruits by offering sponsorship deals or other attractive ventures. For example, Caleb Williamsthe top quarterback in the 2022 transfer portal, received multiple NIL deals after deciding to follow head coach Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma to USC.

Conference madness

Speaking of USC, their latest announcement set the internet and the PAC-12 conference on fire. In the latest sign of where power lies in college sports conferences, USC and UCLA decided to leave the PAC-12 for the Big-10 in 2024. This landscape-changing move comes on the heels of Oklahoma and Texas announced last year that they would move to the SEC in 2025. In addition to the Big-10 and SEC being seen as the top two conferences, they generate the most revenue and have best tv deals. By adding USC and UCLA, the Big-10 will gain even more revenue thanks to the lucrative LA market. However, I wonder what USC players will think when they have to fly across the country to play Maryland, or when they have to play football in frigid Wisconsin in October/November. Also, as someone who grew up going to Cal football games, this realignment could mean the end of the PAC-12 and a nail in the coffin for Cal Athletics if the conference collapses and they can't get into the Big-10 or any other conference. Fortunately, the conference still has legs as the Big 10 has expressed no interest to add more teams. I hope the conference stays together, maybe with a few new teams, because the realignment just ruins long-standing rivalries and related activities that fans look forward to every year.

And you can look forward to more men's and women's American football coming soon.

#follow #sports #world #today

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