Friday, May 5, 2017

5 Things on a Friday: 200 Years to Find a New Planet

Happy Friday, folks!  Let’s get it on.
1. Twitter Signs a Deal to Stream Regular-Season W.N.B.A. Games (NY Times)

[D]eals with internet and social media companies are a way for smaller leagues like the W.N.B.A. to add revenue and experiment with new ways to show their games. In 2016, the W.N.B.A. streamed the ring ceremony for the Minnesota Lynx on Facebook.
“If folks can’t be physically in a market inside an arena, then we look for them to use tools like Twitter to enjoy the games,” Borders said. “Folks have their choice of when they want to see games and how they want to see games. This is a real nod to the future, on recognizing that some of our fans are consuming sports in very different ways.”
Paging the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and Major League Lacrosse…
Bisnowaty, who is 6 feet 6 inches and 304 pounds, was a four-year starter at Pittsburgh and played all 13 games at left tackle as a senior. The Giants have been dissatisfied with Ereck Flowers, the left tackle they picked in the first round in 2015, and are considering moving him to the right side. They also added D. J. Fluker, a 2013 first-rounder who can play guard or tackle, as a free agent last month.
The Giants are not sure of Bisnowaty’s readiness or whether he can prove himself at the demanding left tackle position. Reese, though, did not want to come away from this draft without an offensive lineman.
I hadn’t realized that the Giants signed Fluker.  That’s an interesting development.
Flowers is a good run-blocker but has been much weaker in pass protection.  I therefore find myself wondering if he could be a guard.  But, eh…  what do I know?
Roger Staubach did a tour in Vietnam after winning the 1963 Heisman Trophy at the Naval Academy, and he didn’t enter the NFL until he was a 27-year-old rookie. But that uncompromising service policy weakened in more recent years, after the Navy negotiated ways to allow Napoleon McCallum to play for the Los Angeles Raiders while stationed at a naval base in California, and David Robinson to enter the NBA while in the civil engineering corps. Since then, inconsistency has followed on uncertainty.
“We’ve gone back and forth on this for 10 years or more,” Ruzicka said. “It’s not fair to athletes. The process is flawed, and it’s not equitable across the services.”
The current policy allows each service branch to decide whether an athlete-applicant gets an opt-out [after two years], and the results have been uneven. Jalen Robinette, Air Force’s career leading receiver, spent this year focusing on his prospects in the NFL draft rather than active duty, only to learn at the last minute he was ineligible thanks to the policy reversal. Navy running back Eric Kettani (class of 2009) was granted a release after two years to play for the Patriots. Navy pitcher Mitch Harris was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008, only to serve a full four years and eight months in 30 countries. And of course Navy grad Billy Hurley III did five years as surface warfare officer driving destroyers before he made it to the PGA Tour, and played in this year’s Masters.
There’s a lot that I don’t agree with in the Post’s editorial, but the author is correct that the current policy has been both inconsistent and inconsistently applied.  Whatever the policy, folks deserve to get what they signed up for.  It’s hard to tell exactly what happened this particular time, but it appears that the Air Force specifically got last second cold-feet about allowing its players to enter the draft, and that the DoD then had little choice but to follow through with a—hopefully newly consistent—policy across all services and academies.  I don’t personally mind the change, per se, and I tend to agree with the sentiment that service academy athletes should serve first, but changing the policy DURING THE DRAFT was clearly wrong.  Whatever the policy is going to be, it needs to be spelled out clearly and consistently in advance.
For what it’s worth, I expect Army LB Andrew King will land on his feet, though as an Infantry Officer.  Honestly, I doubt this hurts him long-term.  He may well have a better future in the Army, all things considered.  Lots and lots and lots of West Pointers have found great success without pro sports, and I have a hard time believing that a guy like King, a battalion commander at the Academy and an obviously smart dude to boot, has football as his very best attribute.  I cerainly hope that's not the case at any rate.  Yeah, maybe pro football offers the quickest short-term payday, but I’d personally like to believe that there are more and better ways to serve than just “on the fields of friendly strife.”
4. Trailers: The Dark Tower & the Defenders

That trailer makes a lot more sense than I thought the first book in this series did.

The renowned English theoretical physicist made the claims as part of a new documentary – Expedition New Earth – that’s set to air on BBC Two over the summer. As part of his predictions, Hawking said the effects of climate change, overdue asteroid strikes, epidemics, and population growth has put the planet in an “increasingly precarious” position.
I personally think we have about 200 years, and I think climate change will be the primary reason why quality of life starts declining precipitously in about 2100, but hey… what’s a hundred years between friends?  Also, I think we’re very rapidly approaching global peak population.  In many ways, that’s a grim change, but perhaps our natural resource situation will start looking a little better when we have a more sustainable population overall.

* * *
Looks like tonight's Cinco de Mayo game with the Bridgeport Bluefish is gonna get rained out.  If the forecast holds, though, we might have decent--if cloudy--skies for tomorrow's contest between Army Men's Lacrosse and Notre Dame.  

The Black Knights need to win tomorrow to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament and keep their season alive.  A loss will put an unfortunate cap on an otherwise successful season.  Army won ten games in a row, and that's excellent, but they faded late, dropping both the Navy game and the Patriot League Championship game against Loyola.  This puts Army Lax into something like the same category as this year's Navy Football team, who also had a very good season but lost to Army and lost their bowl game.  

It's tough, but as an Army sports team, you need to either beat Navy or win the Patriot League Championship, or else you're looking at something of a down season.

That's all I've got.  Enjoy the weekend!

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