Top Ten Greatest Male Players in Challenge History - No. 4 - C.T. Tamburello
Honorable Mentions - Abram, Dan S., Jamie, Mike M., Theo V., Turbo, Wes No. 10 - Alton Williams (Real World: Las Vegas) No. 9 - Mark Long (Road Rules: USA - The First Adventure) No. 8 - Darrell Taylor (Road Rules: Campus Crawl) No. 7 - Derrick Kosinski (Road Rules: X-Treme) No. 6 - Kenny Santucci (Fresh Meat) No. 5 - Evan Starkman (Fresh Meat) No. 4 - C.T. Tamburello (Real World: Paris)
C.T. carrying the Johnny Bananas backpack is the greatest highlight ever recorded in Challenge history.
Before the backpack moment, we hadn’t seen C.T. in three years. He was rumored to be forever banned after almost killing Adam King on the Duel II. On Cutthroat, when T.J. announced the heavy hitters twist and C.T. came walking out the dark, challenge fans all around the world were not prepared for what they were about to witness. C.T. was finally let out of his cage and Johnny Bananas became absolute prey.
If there were ever to be a logo for the Challenge, a visual image of the C.T.-Bananas backpack moment would be it. Picture this: Replace the Jerry West silhouette in the red and blue NBA logo with a white silhouette of C.T. mid power-walk and Bananas in the back of him imitating a backpack. Then, replace “NBA” with “MTV”. Now, you got your MTV Challenge logo. C.T. being at the front and center of a hypothetical challenge sports logo makes perfect sense considering C.T.’s athletic performances changed the landscape of the Challenge from a regular game show to the series becoming known as America’s Fifth Sport.
C.T. is the Peyton Manning of the Challenge.
Peyton Manning is the greatest regular-season quarterback in the history of the NFL. C.T. is the greatest regular-season competitor in the history of the Challenge.
Peyton Manning only has two Superbowls (and won his second one in his final season in the NFL, while being a shell of his former self). C.T. has three championships (and won his final one while being in his worst physical shape ever).
Both, Peyton Manning and C.T.’s regular-season career numbers lead you to believe that they should have had twice as much championships than what they currently have. However, their own blunders (C.T.’s boneheaded mistakes and gassing out right before the finish line on the Exes 2 final = Peyton’s choking) throughout their careers hold them back from reaching extreme success in the post-season.
To continue this comparison, Johnny Bananas is Tom Brady (6 championships). C.T. is the more natural athlete and talented challenger between him and Bananas, but Bananas has had the better legacy (Peyton’s the more talented QB between him and Brady, but Brady accomplished a greater legacy).
C.T. has seven of the greatest regular season competitive performances that didn’t result in championships.
The Inferno: In C.T.’s rookie debut, the higher end competition consisted of Abram, Darrell, Mike Mizanin, Shane and Timmy. C.T. won 4 life shields. C.T. led all the males in life shields and actually won more life shields than the higher end competition as one whole collective (Darrell, Mike Mizanin, and Timmy each won one life shield, totaling up to 3). C.T. was the best performer of the season as a rookie. He made the final challenge, but his Real World team lost to Road Rules in a close race.
Inferno II: C.T. was the life shield king. He racked up 6 life shields this season in one of the most competitive male casts to ever be assembled in Challenge history. C.T. led the season in life shields again, Landon came in 2nd with four, Mike in 3rd with three, and Derrick came in 4th with two. C.T. made the final, but he and the final remaining Bad Asses got blown out the water in a triathlon.
The Duel: C.T. won three missions and landed in the top 2 seven times. In C.T.’s third season, he was the second best competitor behind Evan, who won six missions (but half of them were due to having the superior partner in Jodi in comparison to C.T. having Diem). Despite being a top 2 performer, C.T. got disqualified against Brad in the final male duel and didn’t make it into the post-season.
Gauntlet III: C.T. was co-captain of one of the most dominant regular season teams ever, the G3 Veterans. C.T. was either the best or second best athlete on the team (along with Evan, the other team captain). C.T.’s performance in Piñata Pit (which I delve into later) proved what a freak of nature of a competitor C.T. was.
Rivals: C.T. managed to win two missions and landed in the top three overall six times with an average partner (Adam). Rivals C.T. was the scariest. The whole season was based around J.E.K. and friends trying to take him out, because he was such a force to be reckoned with. C.T. lost right before the final because of Adam’s performance in the T-Bone elimination.
Exes: C.T. and Diem won two out of eight missions, only second to Bananas and Camila’s three. C.T. and Diem made the final, but got second place. C.T. and Diem had the lead the whole final, but C.T. collapsed moments before the finish line.
Dirty Thirty: C.T. was competing in his 11th season and still putting up the best scoring numbers in one of the toughest male casts ever assembled. C.T. won 6 missions. That’s the most out of all males on Dirty Thirty (Not a single other player won 5, Hunter won 4, Nelson and Leroy won 3, and the rest have 2 or less). C.T. made the final on D30, but got third place because his gas tank can’t keep up with the other two finalists.
C.T.’s ATG Physical Strength, Aggression, and Athleticism is the most lethal combination in Challenge history.
If the Challenge were to ever have a Madden-esque video game, C.T.’s player rating regarding his athleticism and strength would look something like: STR: 99. SPE: 99. AGI: 99. A prime C.T. was a cheat code. The Bananas Backpack moment attests to this. Below are some other missions and eliminations where C.T.’s strength and athleticism proved to us he was of a different breed.
In Piñata Pit (G3), players from both teams had to jump in a mud pit, retrieve a ball, and return it to the starting line. The mission was played in rounds. Each round, there were fewer balls than there were players. Players were getting eliminated round-by-round. The game of Piñata Pit came down to the two best players on each team, Veteran C.T. and Rookie Derek McCray. You’re probably reading this wondering who Derek McCray is. I don’t blame you. Let me give you some background information on him. The moment Derek M. first stepped into the Challenge, he was immediately viewed as a competition threat, even with no performance log to back for it. Derek M. came into the Gauntlet 3 with instant respect, based off the fact that he had been recruited by more than 200 colleges for his football talent. Considering Piñata Pit contained all the aspects of a game of football: running, tackling, stripping a ball away from an opponent, and taking it to the end zone, the average betting man would’ve bet on Derek to score and win it for the Rookies. Challenge fans, however, knew to bet differently. When the final round went underway, Derek reached the ball first, but C.T. was inches behind Derek as he gained possession of the ball. C.T. then proceeded to slam him to the ground effortlessly and Derek literally yelped as he was getting manhandled. C.T, with what looks like half an effort, popped the ball out of Derek’s arms and took it back to the end zone to win it for the Veterans. In Piñata Pit, C.T. basically took the manhood out of a Division 1 athlete.
In the T-Bone elimination (Rivals), C.T.’s “Choo! Choo!” train almost killed Johnny and Tyler. It’s the biggest near death experience in Challenge history. I have a theory: We haven’t seen C.T. in a physical combat elimination ever since for good reason. I’m positive that’s a calculated decision by the Challenge Gods, not one that’s left up to chance.
C.T. faced off against Leroy in Wrecking Wall (FA), an elimination where both players had to punch through a 30-foot dry wall to make holes to climb up until they were able to reach the bell at the top. First player to ring the bell won. Leroy is an elimination beast; he’s won 8 career eliminations because of his physical strength and athleticism alone. He was no match for C.T. though. Anyone who watched the Duel 2, knows C.T.’s punching power is nothing to be played with. His punching power knocked out a whole wall on that season.
In the Flying Leap mission (Duel), players, one at a time, had to jump back and forth from one end of a platform to another that was suspended from a crane 20 feet above water. Numerous flags were hanging from poles located on both sides of the platform. Players had to grab as many flags as possible within a three-minute time limit; Whoever collected the most flags won. C.T. won Flying Leap with flying colors. He was the only male to not land on his body when jumping or not use any running momentum to assist his jumping sequences. C.T. instead showed us his athletic prowess, by setting his feet, loading his hips, exploding and jumping across, landing on his feet every time. Everyone on the sidelines watched in awe. C.T. made it look like a walk in the park.
C.T.’s All-Time Great Intelligence.
C.T. is the perfect two-way player. He not only has the brawn, but he has the brain as well. His long history of solving puzzles makes him an ATG intelligent male player. Below are some of C.T.’s greatest moments in which he had to put his brain to work.
C.T. eliminated Evan in Ascender (Duel), an elimination game in which players had to climb up a rope, pull a handle at the top of the rope, to release a basket containing puzzle pieces. The players then had to climb back down the rope to assemble a tiling puzzle similar to a tangram. C.T versus Evan was the second last male elimination on the original Duel. Up to that point, Evan was the clear #1 best competitor of the season and C.T. was the second. The two best players were going mano a mano. Evan got raddled under the stage lights (got caught trying to cheat), and the brain of the cold blooded killer, C.T. solved the tangram with ease.
In the Rivals 2 final, C.T. completed the puzzle checkpoint in a flash that Johnny/Frank fell behind in. Upon seeing the puzzle, C.T. straightaway figured it out because the puzzle was one that he played when he was hungover at a breakfast country club.
In the Final Redemption Challenge on D30, players had to read a code that provided a combination to a lock that contained puzzle pieces. The first two players to retrieve and complete their puzzle would return to the game, while the rest were eliminated. C.T.’s competition in this challenge was Dario, Jordan, Leroy, and Bananas. C.T. was the first male to successfully figure out the code and complete his puzzle, and re-entered the game as a result.
C.T. eliminated Darrell in Knot So Fast (Invasion). It was the last champions elimination of the season. The grandest stage of them all was set and the two all-time great champions had to rely on their strategical intelligence to win this one. Darrell put up a good fighting effort in trying to undo C.T.’s knot, but it looked like a physically impossible task. It actually was. According to Darrell on Challenge Mania, C.T.’s knots were so tight that production had to cut them off with machetes after the elimination was over. C.T. broke the Knot So Fast elimination. That’s how intelligent C.T.’s strategy was. The elimination win versus Darrell gave C.T. a spot in the finals, where he faced off against underdogs Cory and Nelson, who were fifteen years younger and in the athletic prime of their lives. In the final challenge, C.T. still managed to acquire his second season win and proved to the rest of the Challenge world that the underdogs were no match for the champion of champions.
C.T. has the All-Time Greatest Eating Abilities.
Eating is such an important trait to have in the challenge. It’s often identified as the most difficult portion of the final challenge each season. Players hate it. We’ve actually seen players quit in the final before because they couldn’t stomach eating disgusting things. We’ve seen C.T. devour all types of disgusting things without looking fazed in the slightest, that makes you question whether or not he has taste buds.
Remember the pickled fish soup in the Rivals 2 final? C.T. drank his like he was chugging a beer, while everyone around him was vomiting all over the place. Wes couldn’t bother to even taste his drink, so C.T. chugged it down for him.
In the Exes 2 final, C.T. ate the deer head and sheep blood as if it was everyday dinner. When he finished his plate, C.T. decided to go for seconds and helped Diem finish up her plate as well.
C.T.’s eating abilities are inhumane. Not only is C.T. known for downing disgusting foods in final challenges as if it were nothing, but he’s also known for winning regular season competitions where you had to eat a ridiculous amount of food (Toss Your Cookies v. Shane, eating the entire birthday cake on Race to the Altar in Exes).
C.T.’s first championship and third championships (Rivals II and WOTWII) were social-political clinics.
C.T. played his first eight seasons without winning the big one. It wasn’t until Rivals II, his ninth season, where he finally got his first challenge gold medal. As usual, C.T. crushed it on the field, but off the field, in the Challenge house, he played one of the best political-social games I had ever seen. On Rivals II, the opposite sex had control over the votes on male elimination days. C.T. was wooing all the girls, and they thought they were going to be apart of the next love big story on the Challenge. C.T. was never voted in because at least one player within four of the female teams had a fling with C.T. or were falling heads over heel for him on Rivals 2 (Anastasia, Cooke, Diem, and Nany).
On War of the Worlds II, C.T. was a member of the U.K. Team. He was apart of Cara’s Cult/The Royal Family. The physical shape C.T. was in this season was his worst ever, so him not ever being considered for elimination by his own team is mind blogging. C.T.’s social game was on a whole another level this season. My favorite C.T. moment on WOTWII is when he turncoats on Cara’s Cult right before the final and saves Tori from elimination to strengthen U.K.’s team for the final. C.T.’s political-social finesse on WOTWII rightfully earned him his third championship.
C.T.’s social-political skill, in general, deserves more recognition. Every time I hear people talk about C.T.’s eliteness, people only bring up the competition juggernaut and not the social-political mightiness he’s established over the course of his sixteen season career.
C.T. has only done three less seasons than Johnny Bananas, but he’s been in 11 less eliminations. Other than the first Rivals, I don’t recall there being a time where he wasn’t at the top of social structures. He has a whole catalogue of seasons where he was either pulling strings from the top or aligning with the biggest playmakers that were ones doing the pulling (i.e: Inferno 2 – CT was in a four person alliance with Derrick/Brad/Darrell where there duties were to not nominate each other in the inferno selections; The Duel – CT/Evan/Derrick/Brad each were paired with the best athletic girls and controlled the chain selections; Exes 2 – in an alliance with Mark/Robin, Johnny/Camila, and DunbaPaula that ran the game till the very end).
C.T. made history twice on Invasion and War of the Worlds II.
C.T. won his second championship 22 seasons after his rookie season. He debuted on the original Inferno, which took place in 2004, and won Invasion of the Champions in 2017. That’s a span of 13 years. C.T.’s Invasion win broke the previous record of the longest span between a rookie debut and championship win, that was held by Johnny Bananas. J.B. won his sixth championship 16 seasons after his rookie season. He debuted on the original Duel, which aired in 2006, and won Rivals 3 in 2016 (a 10 year span).
C.T.’s new breaking record was broken again by none other than C.T, just a few seasons later. C.T. won War of the Worlds 2, which took place 27 seasons after the Inferno, and 15 years later.
C.T.’s Overall Assessment.
If you read up until this point, I’m guessing a lot of you probably refuse to agree with my opinion of C.T. being the fourth greatest male challenger ever. Here’s my argument: C.T. is the greatest Challenge talent ever, but he doesn’t have the greatest legacy. Like mentioned earlier, he’s the Peyton Manning of the Challenge and I don’t consider Peyton Manning the #1 G.O.A.T. of Football (Jerry Rice, Jim Brown, and Tom Brady fit that bill better). In my eyes, Bananas, Jordan, and Landon are those three guys. The combination of their talent, winning percentage, and accomplishments fair just slightly better than C.T’s.
C.T. has just three championships in a sixteen season career. The rest of my top three have won just as much in a lot lesser time (Jordan, Landon) or doubled his wins in the same type of lengthy career (Bananas). C.T.’s temper and poor decision making tossed three years of his absolute prime down the drain (Inferno III, Gauntlet III, Duel II) and his inability to perform in the clutch tossed another year (Exes). That’s five seasons where the ultimate competitor, C.T., missed out on championships.
On the Inferno III, C.T. is cast on the Bad Asses; He was the best player on the cast, but he gets sent home the first night in South Africa because he punches Davis. C.T. would’ve been a lock for the final this season, he threw another potential championship out the window.
In the Gauntlet 3 final challenge, Big Easy cost C.T. and all the other final remaining veterans a championship win. You’re probably confused as to how this is C.T.’s fault, but he actually had a major hand in letting Big Easy ride to the final. If you go back to the first gauntlet deliberation where Johnny got sent in against Evan, Johnny plead to the rest of the Veteran males that Big Easy should have to go in, because he was going to lose them a final. C.T., who was the leader of the team, didn’t buy into Johnny’s plea; He had personal dislike towards Johnny and his reason for not throwing Big Easy in was because he loved partying with him. What’s the logic in that? C.T., the whole season was preaching about “trimming the fat” (getting rid of the girls on their team) and never worrying about Easy once was a horrific example of how to play a winning game. Prime C.T. was always finding a way to be the author of his own demise.
On the Duel 2, C.T. went into cannibalism mode. C.T. would’ve legitimately smashed Adam’s head and ate Adam’s head if it wasn’t for like thirty cast and production crew members successfully capturing him (and then tranquilizing him and putting him in his cage). There’s no guaranteeing C.T. would’ve won the D2, since the top crop of males this season was stacked. But this is an absolute peak C.T. we’re talking about, who’s in contention for the best men’s competitor all-time, so a championship victory is never out of the question.
In the Exes final, C.T./Diem lead the whole way until the final run up the mountain. Right before the finish line, C.T.’s tank ran out of gas (mirroring Peyton’s ability to choke in the playoffs) and he delayed winning his first championship for even longer.
C.T.’s competitive abilities (ATG physical strength, aggression, athleticism, intelligence, and eating) and his championship success in his career’s second half are sufficient enough to get him into the Challenge Mount Rushmore, but the four seasons he tossed down the drain in the first half of his career are a little too detrimental to have him in the top trinity. I think about it like this: Would I consider drafting Prime C.T. (Inferno - Free Agents) as my first pick when constructing a team in an-all time draft? Nope. He, was easily #1 in terms of competitive talent, but he was a complete hothead with bad decision making and only won one championship in ten seasons. Would I consider drafting Dadbod C.T. (Invasion - Total Madness) number one? Not at all. He’s won two championships in six seasons, with a phenomenal social-political game, but his competitive abilities are half of what they were before. Every version of C.T. comes with a small albatross that keeps him from having top three legacy.
My Introduction to a Professional Sports Betting Syndicate
This is part 1 of a 3 part story I recently shared within The Betting Network community. The Betting Network or TBN is a group of sports bettors that all share information with a common goal of winning more bets. I also do weekly lessons, a mentorship program, game previews and just pass along any and all information I’ve gathered over the past 15 plus years, the main goal is to help members improve their overall sports betting IQ and help them avoid the brutal trial and error I had to go through before becoming successful in the sports betting industry. I decided to share this story because of the feedback I received within The Betting Network, hope you guys enjoy it and also gain something from it.
Before I get into the good stuff I have to explain what my job entailed at the time. The company I use to work for scraped sports betting information and data off the internet. A lot of pro bettors use “data scrapes” and what it does is it searches the internet 24/7 every second of the day for anything that has the keywords you programmed into the software. Think about how much time and effort this saves. You input “LeBron James Injury” and the second anything related to that is posted anywhere online it will be sent to you and even compiled in an organized fashion. You could put Steph Curry 3pt attempts and it will gather all that info and compile it. Data scrapes are really the only way a person could compile stats and information on entire leagues, it would take the entire season alone if you attempted to input it yourself without a scraper. One of the most important data scrapers is for injuries and the company I worked for had it set up where it would be constantly searching the internet for injury related news and it would “ping” our computers already formatted so it could be sent out to members and social media. For example, this is what a “ping” would look like - CLE-F [LeBron James] - Calf- Questionable or GSW-G [Steph Curry] - wrist - Doubtful. Our job was to edit any errors and basically just click a button that was linked to send it out on all platforms, members text services, on twitter, everywhere we wanted. Our company's injury scrape was so good that live odds services like Don Best would simply have a scrape on our Twitter account. Pro bettors would just have notifications set for our tweets because we were breaking injury information 10 to 20 seconds before ESPN sometimes. By the way, 10 to 20 seconds is an eternity in the sports betting world. If you couldn’t tell already I’m no computer wiz, but what I believe separated our scrape from many others was how the information was formatted when we got it and how it was streamlined with all the platforms it needed to be sent out to after we got it. In other words, injury news breaks, we get the ping, hit one button and it’s sent. Other people may receive the injury information and have to type out the format and then send it out one by one to twitter or on their website. But like I said I have no fucking clue how it all works all I know is we were considered one of the best for NBA, NFL. If you want to learn more about how to actually set up a scraper I provided a good intro to scraping link here: ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️ http://crowdsourcesyndicate.info/MommyWowMyFirstScraper.html The MIT Sloan conference is one of the biggest sports analytics conferences in the world. Myself and a few co-workers were sent to the Sloan conference to represent our company. It’s a big 2 day event and everybody from the sports world is there, anyone from sports book operators to NBA head coaches and players. Link below for this years speakers at Sloan ↙️↙️↙️ http://www.sloansportsconference.com/2020-conference/2020-speakers/ Anyone that’s heavily involved in the sports betting industry is usually there because it’s a great way to network with everyone all in one place. My company had a booth there and we would just answer questions, hand out promotional fliers and point out all the famous people we saw. This is where it gets good. While sitting at the booth a guy approaches me and asks: “What do you do”? Me: I’m a data analyst Guy: ok, but what do you do? I explained to him my job responsibilities adding in a bunch of stuff to make it sound more important because the truth was I sat at a computer for 8hrs a day waiting for pings and answering phone calls where 90% of the callers had the wrong number. He pretended to be interested in the job details and before I could get into what he did or why he was there the convo ended with him asking if I’ll be attending day 2 of the conference. I said yes and he told me he would also be back tomorrow for day 2 and that after the conference tomorrow him and a bunch of guys were going to meet for drinks at the Westin hotel across the street from the conference, “drinks on me” he said while walking away. The next day after the conference I went across the street to the Westin and they have a restaurant. I see “George” who I met the day before and invited me, he’s sitting at one end of a table that has 2 big tables pushed together making one big table. He waves me over and I sit next to him, there’s about 7 other people there. He tells me to order anything I want, drinks, food whatever and made a point to tell me and everyone there that he’s covering the bill. The Westin is really nice and expensive, not a place I would be going to eat and drink on my own considering I think I was making $16 an hour at this time. I couldn’t help but wonder why he invited me and only me when I had 2 other co-workers. After a couple hours and 4 vodka tonics I found out. “George” was a professional bettor and was (still is) the head of a nationwide sports betting syndicate. He knew exactly what the company I work for dos and even knew my boss. Once we got into talking about what he does he wasted no time telling me what he wanted to do. He wanted me to notify him and his team about injuries before sending it out to the public, 15 seconds after to be exact. He knew that a majority of sports books used the live odds screen Don Best and that Don Best used our company for breaking injury news and if he was able to get the injury news before Don Best he would be able to beat the line on all the books that copied lines from them. For example: Your bookie isn’t sitting in front of the computer moving the lines when an injury happens, it’s done automatically. Most local books set up what’s called an auto-mover and this copies the feed from another sports book. Some local books may copy the feed from say pinnacle or 5dimes or any book they feel has strong accurate lines. They can’t set up a direct feed to pinnacle or 5Dimes because established books such as those can detect software. So what they do is set the auto-mover up onto a live odds service like Don Best. Once the line moves on don best all the books that are copying lines will then move their lines. George had software of his own that allowed him to bet games on thousands of accounts with a few clicks of a button. He explained to me how this would all work - I get the ping - CLE-F [LeBron James] - Rest - Out, I would copy and paste that onto the telegram messenger app and press send, he said sing happy birthday and when finished then I could post it to the world like I normally would. With his automated bet software he could pick off all the books that didn’t move the line yet based on Lebron being OUT. Of course not every single book was reliant on Don Best to move lines, many of the bigger well known offshore books had their own data scrapes and injury software, but more than enough books did rely on Don Best, who relied on my company. So the potential for this was through the roof. I had some serious thinking to do, as much as I wanted to say yes on the spot my instincts held me back. I told him I had to weigh the pros and cons. After all I basically would be tanking my job duties and going from a committed employee to what seemed like a sneaky spy. It does our company and it’s members no good if I’m sending out information late or at the same time as every other company. Also, without getting too detailed regarding the financial arrangement I felt I needed to counter his offer. The biggest upside for me besides the money was my strong desire to get involved with a real sports betting syndicate but the negotiations quickly let me know that there is a dark side to the industry and I had one foot in. To Be Continued.... PS I’ll likely share part 2 and 3 in the coming days.
My letter to Rob Manfred, comment your name and username if you want me to add you to the list
(RT on twitter) https://twitter.com/friedscurve/status/1272964722929930245?s=21 Dear Commissioner Manfred, We are the fans. Baseball has been a part of our life for as long as we can remember. We follow our teams every summer, whether they’re World Series contenders or deep into a rebuild. Our childhood bedrooms were adorned with fat heads, pennants, bobble heads, signed balls, baseball cards and other tributes to the game we love. We hoped this year to watch another 162 games of baseball. For many of us, this could have been THE YEAR! When our team goes all the way and hoists the commissioners trophy in October. Of course the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything, and we all have to adapt to the new normal, but as other sports have found ways to return, baseball has not. The back and forth between the league and the players has been fruitless, and you, Commissioner Manfred recently said that a season is not certain to happen. If it was just a matter of safety, If the problem was simply that the amount of people necessary to operate the league was too large to ensure the health of the players, coaches and other league employees, that would be understandable. However it’s clear that the delay in returning to action isn’t about safety but about saving money. We are well aware that a season of 80 games or more while paying players prorated salaries would be a financial pain for owners around the league, and we understand that as commissioner, you are expected to answer to the owners. However we hope that you understand, and that the owners understand, that if baseball opted for a shorter season — such as the 50 game schedule that has been reported on — or opts for no season at all. The cost will be far worse. To start with the first complaints that would arise with such a short season: Did the dodgers really trade a top prospect for 50 games of Mookie Betts? Will the Indians be forced to let Francisco Lindor walk for nothing? Or will there be a trade deadline, and when would that be? Will there be a minor league season as well? If not what happens when injuries arise? Will top prospects have their development stunted? Will the minor leaguers get paid? These issues arise in a 50 game schedule because 50 games is roughly 25% of a season. That would be akin to a four game NFL season. Baseball is beautiful because while on any given night, any team can win, the long regular season allows the teams worthy of a shot at the World Series to rise up and take it. After 50 games last season, the Washington Nationals would have missed the playoffs. The long season is what calls for fans to watch night after night, a test of loyalty found nowhere else in sports. But we do it because we love the game. The entire season would have an asterisk next to it forever, any accolades given to players would seem fake, the World Series winner would be questioned. This doesn’t even take into account the players (especially pitchers) who have said that 25% of their salary is not worth the risk of injury, which would only be increased by the lack of a proper spring training before the start of this season. If stars like Max Scherzer don’t play, can we really say the best team won? But even worse would be no season at all. While it’s been widely reported that a handful of owners feel its in their best interest that no baseball be played this year, we hope they haven’t forgotten the 1994 strike. Regardless of whether the players or owners are more to blame for that work stoppage, the brand of Major League Baseball was deeply hurt by it. Imagine what would have happened if the Expos were able to capture their first title? Would there still be a team in Montreal today? Think of the countless fans that left the game for good that summer, angry that they had two months of baseball taken from them. The league was damaged, and it took years before many fans returned. It will be worse this time. Nationals fans are missing Juan Soto, Victor Robles and that great pitching staff. Dodgers fans want to see Mookie play in Los Angeles. South Siders want to see Luis Robert join the ranks of their young stars. Braves fans cant wait to see what Ronald Acuña Jr does next. Fans can’t be taken for granted, and it sure feels like we have been. While many of us will surely return, many of us will move on. There will be basketball watch soon, and the NFL seems on track to start this fall. We will quickly tune out the mess that is baseball when other sports return, maybe we’ll come back in 2021, hopefully we’ll get excited for opening day next April, and move past the fiasco that has costed us a year of our favorite teams. But it’s hard to commit to being there for baseball, when baseball isn’t there for us. The worst part is, it’s not as if the players are being unreasonable. They are simply asking to be paid in proportion to what their team agreed to pay them. They have offered a whole host of concessions such as expanded playoffs, playing well into the winter, and even offering to maximize the number of games played by scheduling regular double headers and almost no off days. Is saving a season, numerous fans and the MLBs reputation (not to mention the upcoming CBA negotiations that will surely get ugly if this season isn’t sorted out) while also being able to add playoff games not worth a one year hit to your bottom line? And you can find creative solutions to recoup some cash: Rent the empty stands as additional ad space or even allow for teams to put a corporate sponsor on their jerseys like the NBA (it would be ugly, but if it mean we play baseball, we don’t care.) You could use partnerships with sport betting services to pad your wallets as well. Heck, if you wanted to get crazy you could announce plans to add two new franchises in the coming years, and use the buy in fees to make up more losses this year, while most league expenses for the new clubs wouldn’t kick in until a few years down the line, when the league is back on stable financial footing. The point is, you have many options other than playing a far too short season, or not playing at all. Commissioner Manfred, we’re sure you want baseball back as much as we do. we’re sure you care about each and every fan. We’re sure you are weighing a lot of options and making a lot of tough choices. But we don’t want you to tell us that, we want you, we need you, to show us that. Because that’s what it’s going to take to save baseball in 2020 and beyond. Sincerely, ...
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