Our mailbag is a day late this week. My bad for that. Yesterday was extremely busy, and I didn’t want to leave anyone’s questions out.
So heck, let’s start off the new month right and fire away at some of the questions we got this week.
We’re overflowing with topics this week, and there’s some interesting conversation to be had. Do you want to join the conversation? Ask me a question at email@example.com.
Q: What do you make of the new NIL laws that will allow student-athletes to be paid for marketing their likeness?
A: It’s a necessary evil. Look, this is America. If someone is capable of making enough money with their name or their identity or their brand, then why shouldn’t they be able to profit off that? It’s borderline embarrassing that it took us this long to get here given the literal BILLIONS of dollars that schools and the NCAA have made off these young men and women. But I also have concerns about entrapment. Will student-athletes know that they have to pay taxes on this income they earn? Will someone be around to coach them and to tell them that? Will student-athletes know to read the fine print on these contracts they’re being asked to sign? Will the deals end up being too good to be true? Will young ladies who opt to do OnlyFans modeling be more susceptible to stalkers and other creeps because of this new world they can choose to be exposed to? All I hear is “money, money, money,” and that’s great. But there are always ripple effects, and I worry that in the pursuit of the “money, money, money,” some very, very important details are falling through the cracks, and it could cause serious, serious issues.
Q: Jay Johnson it is. What do you think?
A: When it was announced, I wasn’t overly thrilled. But now, I’m all-in. Listening to Jay Johnson’s introductory press conference was eye-opening for me. I literally felt the passion and energy coming off of him. And now, seeing that 14 players from Arizona’s program have opted to enter the transfer portal, I feel even more convinced that LSU has gotten the right guy. When the coach is the only person standing between 14 players and the exit door out of a program, then you know you’ve got one hell of a coach. By comparison, do you know how many LSU players entered the portal when they heard Paul Mainieri was leaving? None. Zero. It’s telling of the impact Johnson was making at Arizona, and it’s telling of how it was time for a change in Baton Rouge.
Q: What do you think the Pelicans need with the 10th pick in the draft?
A: If you’re going to continue this Point Zion lineup, then you have to get shooting and players who can space the floor. For that, I really like Corey Kispert from Gonzaga, though he may be limited defensively because of his lack of lateral mobility. If you’re going to take the ball out of Zion’s hands and make him a post player, then I like guards like Davion Mitchell or maybe even Moses Moody. But all of those players are small pieces. None of them are the puzzle. The Pelicans have to make some big-time culture changes before any of these small semantics matter in the big picture.
Q: Give us a breakout player you think will shine in the upcoming prep football season?
A: Ean Rodrigue at Thibodaux is going to have a big year if he stays healthy. He was a backup under Luke Alleman last season who saw some time under center when Alleman was knocked out due to COVID contact tracing. I liked his poise, athleticism, moxie and toughness. I think he’s going to step in right away and be more than capable of playing the position at a high level. Is he going to be the same type of player as Alleman? Not at all. He’s more of a runner. But those legs will be a weapon, and he will be sneaky good in the passing game — plenty good enough to be one of the better quarterbacks in our area.
Q: Are you Team Brooks or Team DeChambeau?
A: I prefer Brooks Koepka, but truthfully, I just want to see the rivalry continue. It’s good for golf when there is friction. Hell, it’s good for all of sports when there is friction. That is one of the biggest reasons why I am not a fan of LeBron James — because he is a phony. He has this endless desire to be liked by every, single other player in the NBA and is constantly tweeting and retweeting to wish other players luck in games or whatever else. It’s garbage. Take me back to the good old days when there were 8-10 alphas, and all of those alphas didn’t like one another because they felt threatened by the other. That’s why I love this Koepka and DeChambeau feud so much — it’s taking me back to a time when professional sports were far more competitive.
Q: Thank you for the arrest logs each day. Do you think we have a drug problem on the bayou?
A: Thank you for the question. I am going to go off on a little bit of a rant here — not at your question, but about society as a whole. To answer the question first, I do think there is a growing drug problem on the bayou. I’ve been home from college for now 11 years. In the first 7-8 years of those 11, I couldn’t think of anyone that I knew who had addiction problems. Now, I know several people. That’s a problem. It’s a multi-faceted issue, and it’s not anyone’s fault. It cannot be solved overnight. It will take years of effort to shift the culture and the mindset. It’s the police’s jobs to arrest those breaking the law, but truthfully, so many of these offenders don’t need to be locked in a concrete cage. They need help — professional help. But because many of the suspects’ distrust “the system,” they often refuse it and start the cycle over again of using, abusing and then getting arrested and re-arrested. This is a personal issue for me because several of my friends and even some members of my family have struggled at times. If you’re using, please, I beg you — get help. If you’re struggling with that help, please keep fighting. Know that it can be done. Know that others have done it before. Keep fighting, know that you’re not alone, and know that people are praying for you every day — myself included in that number.
Q: If you faced Jacob deGrom 100 times, how many times would you strikeout?
A: 100. That’s the easiest question of the week. Dude has an ERA of 0.70 against the best players in the world. If he faced me, a 34-year-old made of Doritos, sunflower seeds and lard, yeah, I’d have absolutely no chance.
Q: If you could have endorsed any brand in college, what would it have been?
A: Oh gosh. And this question is coming from someone who I actually went to college with, so I can’t lie and make up something to make myself look more innocent than I actually was. McDonald’s is the first choice that comes to mind. I would buy 10 McDoubles for $1 each at the beginning of the week and would eat them periodically as I got hungry and didn’t feel like using groceries. But the actual answer would probably be Circle K. I lived about 50 feet from one, and I would go there every, single day to buy a soft drink, ice, sunflower seeds — whatever else.
Q: How soon can LSU get back to the College World Series?
A: Next season. You made it to the Super Regionals this past season and were brutally young. You have a new coach and the lion’s share of your roster back. There’s no excuses for next year to be a struggle. LSU should (and likely will) be a team that’s in the Top 10 for most of the 2022 College Baseball season.
Q: Any word on Nicholls’ search for a baseball coach?
A: The chatter has cooled. There are whispers that Andy Cannizaro turned them down. I would think those whispers are true, because if they weren’t, I think he would have already been announced and hired by now. Outside of him, I’m not sure what happens. I had heard Smoke Laval’s name mentioned, but that was very, very early in the process. I’m genuinely curious to see who they end up hiring.
Q: What is the first sporting event you remember watching as a kid, and what’s the first you remember attending in person?
A: Oh man, what a question. The first game I remember watching was the end of Super Bowl XXV when Bills kicker Scott Norwood missed a 47-yard field goal as time expired to clinch the Giants’ victory. I was 3 and a half, and I only remember bits and pieces and all of the noise in the room as the kick sailed wide right. The first game that I vividly remember watching was the Sid Bream slide game — Game 7 of the NLCS on October 14, 1992. I was 5. I remember the entire 9th inning. I remember Terry Pendleton leading it off with a double, then Sid Justice getting on via error. I remember Brian Hunter popping out with the bases loaded off Doug Drabek, which gave Atlanta 2 outs down 1 run. I remember thinking there was absolutely no way Francisco Cabrera, a guy who hit .242 on the season, would get the game-winning hit. I remember the final call word for word from Skip Caray: “Swung, line drive left field. Here comes Bream. Here’s the throw to the plate. He is … SAFE! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win!” Yes, I have goosebumps typing it. 🙂