Yadier Molina

I've viewed Field of Dreams just once in my life. That was, and is, enough. I never liked it. Plagued by an overabundance of sappiness, the 1989 film starring Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta and James Earl Jones glosses over Major League Baseball’s abject racism. All the players who come to life from the friggin’ cornfield are white because black men couldn’t play.

I guess all the great Negro League players were busy the day they had the casting call in heaven.

Liotta plays “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. Jackson, banned from the Hall of Fame for his alleged role in the fixing of the 1919 World Series, is portrayed batting righthanded. He was lefthanded.

Jones, whose lengthy oration on baseball during the movie makes me gag, was better in Bingo Long’s Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings.

So, I could care less that the 2020 version of the “Field of Dreams” game in Iowa featuring the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox has been cancelled.

I do care why it was scratched from the calendar.

An outbreak of COVID-19 among St. Louis Cardinals players and coaches led to the cancellation of last weekend’s series at Milwaukee and then a restructured four-game series in Detroit. The Cardinals would have been the home team in two of those games.

On Tuesday, we learned that future Cardinal Hall of Famer and fan icon Yadier Molina tested positive.

“Good morning, I am saddened to have tested positive for COVID-19, even after following the prevention recommendations,” Molina, a nine-time All-Star, wrote.

“I’ll do everything in my power to get back ASAP for Cardinals fans, St. Louis City and my teammates. As I recover, I request that you respect my and my family’s privacy during my absence from the team. Blessings!!”

That’s a sock in the gut.

Paul DeJongEdmundo SosaRangel RaveloJunior Fernandez and Kodi Whitley also tested positive. The Cardinals could not release their names without permission. The seventh positive player must not have waived that right.

The day after the Cardinals Friday game was cancelled, Commissioner Robert Manfred said players were at fault for the Redbirds debacle and also last week’s outbreak with the Miami Marlins.

He obviously knew something we didn’t.

Then, rumors of a Cardinal casino visit in Minneapolis visit and a golf outing began popping up. Former Major Leaguer Jerry Hairston had the information posted on his Twitter account. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman relayed the same.

John Mozeliak, Cardinals president of baseball operations, said there is no confirmation the stories are true. But he did temper his disbelief.

“I have no factual reason to believe that is true, and I have not seen any proof of that,” Mozeliak told Jeff Passan of ESPN.

“If they were at a casino, though, that would be disappointing.”

With two teams missing a week’s worth of games, and the outlook of completing the season looking cloudier each day, “disappointing” is what the 2020 season has become.

We will likely learn who the seventh player is when lineups are posted on Friday afternoon for an evening home game against the Chicago Cubs.

Meanwhile, the players and others that tested positive returned to St. Louis via automobile. The others have been quarantined in a Milwaukee hotel. 

“The Cardinal Way,” couldn’t stave off the Corona virus. The alleged casino visit could prove, like the pandemic, that we are all human after all – even the sometimes holier-than-thou Cardinals. 

Weird week for Porter Jr. 

What a week it was for Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr.

It started last Wednesday when Porter announced to the world during an interview that the international pandemic was a sinister plot to reduce the world’s population.

Seriously, I’m not kidding.

“Personally I think the coronavirus is being used obviously for a bigger agenda,” the second-year forward said. “It’s being used for population control in terms of being able to control the masses of people. The whole world is being controlled.

“You’re required to wear masks. And who knows what will happen when this vaccine comes out. You might have to have the vaccine in order to travel. Like that would be crazy.”

If that weren’t enough, Porter doubled down on his delirious rant.

“I’ve never had any shots or anything like that,” he said.

“It could get crazy. But it’s definitely behind everything that’s going on right now and all you could do is sit back and watch what’s going on. Don’t get too emotionally involved. But yeah, it is a serious thing. It is a real thing. But yes, it is being overblown.”

Huh?

Well, we learned Porter should stick to basketball and leave science, logic and a myriad of other things to more clear-thinking people.

Alas, things weren’t going so hot for Porter Jr., basketball wise, either.

His effort in practices and in a 125-105 loss to Miami found him a place in head coach Michael Malone’s doghouse.

After that lackluster 11-point, five foul effort, which earned him a pathetic statistical minus-15, Malone told reporters his rookie was benched in the third quarter because his effort was “definitely testing my patience.”

Porter texted his coach several times over the next few days, pleading with Malone to not give up on him.

“I said, ‘Michael, I’m not going anywhere,’” Malone texted back. “I’m gonna stay with you.”

Porter, who missed all of last season recovering from back surgery and ailments that limited his single season at Missouri to three appearances, said he told his coach, “I knew I could bring a lot more.”

“I didn’t bring the energy and I didn’t bring the effort and enthusiasm the last game. And that can never be the case.”

On Monday, Porter Jr. responded with a career-high 37 points and 12 rebounds in a 121-113 overtime victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Starters Jamal MurrayGary Harris and Will Barton missed the game because of respective injuries. When they return, Porter Jr.’s playing time will likely go down. But he gave Malone something positive to think about after a very trying week on and off the basketball court. 

Rock on!

I guess it is good news that Duane “The Rock” Johnson and his business partners Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, founder and managing partner of RedBird Capital Partners, have purchased the bankrupt XFL for $14 million. I consider myself lucky when I have $1,400 in the bank, but the sale amount is quite low.

They are equal partners and, according to court documents, submitted the lone qualified bid.

A bankruptcy judge was set to review the situation on Thursday and by the time you read this, Garcia could be the first woman to own an equal or majority ownership stake in a major professional sports league in the United States.

The St. Louis Battlehawks were the talk of the XFL when it was forced to shut down because of the pandemic. A crowd of more than 30,000 was expected for the next home game. It never happened.

Then came the jolt that Vince McMahon, the XFL”s owner, declared the league bankrupt. Estimated assets around $10 million. Estimated liabilities up to $50 million. 

Battlehawks coach Jonathan Hayes is owed more than $700,000. I’m sure he wants his money more than another shot at coaching in the XFL. Other creditors will speak against the sale, reportedly, because the purchase price doesn’t add up to their getting what is owed them

After two failures with McMahon, maybe three times will be a charm for Johnson.

“With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football,” he said in a release.

He added that he “will always take care of the fans.”

Johnson played linebacker for the Miami Hurricanes during the 1990-93 seasons before joining the World Wrestling Federation and becoming its biggest star. He has now become one of Hollywood’s biggest box office attractions and he is among the industry’s highest-paid actors.

He’s got the star attraction and he owns part of the XFL. The how, when and where of the new deal are questions Johnson has not answered.

St. Louis will most likely have a team. But until we here that from Johnson and other important details, I can’t get too excited.

The Reid Roundup

With Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson sidelined after testing positive for COVID, he appointed African American assistant head coach Deuce Staley to fill in for him on the field until he returns... After learning of the Cardinals COVID outbreak while in Milwaukee, Brewers All-Star outfielder Lorenzo Cain opted out of the remainder of the season... Many Pac-12 athletes have informed administrators that they might boycott their respective seasons if more effort is not put into player safety during the pandemic and support of social issues. They also want a promise that no existing sports are eliminated... The Big 12 announced that it will have a 10-game football season with nine conference games and one non-conference... The SEC has not announced its number of games, leaving Missouri to wonder how it will all work out... The Las Vegas Raiders are the first NFL team to announce that no fans will be allowed at any home game... Thursday (August 6) is the last day for NFL players to opt out of the 2020 season. As of Wednesday, 48 players had decided to not play this year... Tiger Woods (remember him?) returns to gold this weekend at the PGA Championship near San Francisco. Woods has participated in two tournaments since February and is a 20-1 long shot to win the tournament. 

Alvin A. Reid was honored as the 2017 “Best Sports Columnist – Weeklies” in the Missouri Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest and is a New York Times contributor. He is a panelist on the Nine Network program, Donnybrook, a weekly contributor to “The Charlie Tuna Show” on KFNS and appears monthly on “The Dave Glover Show” on 97.1 Talk.” His Twitter handle is @aareid1.

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