This week, the Hot Takedown crew examines the issues underlying the contentious salary negotiations between MLB owners and players, which could prevent the league from starting its season by the Fourth of July. The owners had proposed a 50/50 revenue split that was a nonstarter for several reasons. While a “salary cap”-style system isn’t awful for the players in theory, starting that system the year revenue is guaranteed to be down would leave a justifiably sour taste in players’ mouths, especially given that the owners have been less than transparent about the extent of the losses they’re projected to take. We hope the history of distrust between the owners and the players won’t keep us from seeing baseball this summer, but we’re afraid that it might.
On to happier tidings: Tom Brady ripped his pants and was briefly relatable. We look at “The Match: Champions for Charity,” which lived up to its grandiose name, pairing Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning against Phil Mickelson and the adorably flustered Brady in a charity golf match on Sunday. We talk about why the format worked so well and what golf has going for it at the moment, including a more Republican fanbase that might be more receptive to its return. We don’t think that the partisan divide around the coronavirus contributes more to a successful return to sports than the environmental and structural factors leagues are dealing with (outside vs. indoor; team vs. individual; contact vs. not). But it may make a difference as to which sports will thrive once they return.
Finally, Neil takes us down one last “Last Dance” Rabbit Hole and creates a new lens through which to view the Michael Jordan/LeBron James GOAT debate. It turns out that if you were to simulate LeBron on Jordan’s teams and Jordan on Lebron’s teams 100 times, Jordan’s stats go down and LeBron’s go up — but both of them win fewer rings. This is, in part, because we live in the universe where both Jordan and LeBron have gone to more championships than is statistically likely. In MJ’s case, 99 percent of the time he falls short in the simulation of what he actually achieved. Perhaps that’s also a definition of greatness.
What we’re looking at this week: