Five topics from columnist Ben Frederickson that St. Louis sports fans should be discussing:
1. Elway all-in on Lock, and it shows
I will not forget the day I saw John Elway lock eyes on his future franchise quarterback.
Sharing a Memorial Stadium press box with the legendary quarterback turned Broncos president of football operations back in November 2018, it was clear that Elway was studying Mizzou's QB.
Elway’s eyes never left Drew Lock. He observed how Lock played, sure. But he also watched Lock before and after every play. He watched Lock during timeouts. He watched how Lock interacted with teammates on the sideline while the Tigers put a thumping on Arkansas.
That memory came rushing back when the Broncos stopped Lock’s draft nosedive by selecting him 42nd overall in 2019. It came rushing back when Lock finally broke through last season, winning four of his five starts for Denver. It came rushing back during a quick review of the Broncos offseason to this point.
“I'm excited about him,” Elway told reporters at the NFL combine. “We've got to continue to get better around him and give him an opportunity to be successful."
The unstoppable NFL offseason is pretty much the last American sports wheel left spinning. It keeps churning out good news for Lock. Elway is making it clear once again. He’s all in on Drew.
Check out Denver’s recent transactions:
• The Broncos cut quarterback Joe Flacco, the former Super Bowl MVP they traded for in 2019 and insisted was the first option over Lock. The herniated disk Flacco sustained halfway through last season opened the door for Lock.
• The Broncos signed free-agent quarterback Jeff Driskel. Not to compete with Lock. To back up Lock.
• The Broncos signed offensive guard/center Graham Glasgow, who was believed to be one of the better free-agent linemen available. They should also benefit from the return of now-healthy tackle Ja’Wuan James.
• The Broncos signed running back Melvin Gordon to split reps with Phillip Lindsay.
• The Broncos signed tight end Nick Vannett.
• The Broncos have 10 draft picks, including five in the first three rounds, and seem to be slotting a receiver and another offensive lineman at or near the top of their wish list.
Elway isn’t just big on Lock.
He's making the kind of moves that could help the former Tiger win big.
2. Time to postpone the London series
I don’t know why Major League Baseball is waiting to postpone the Cardinals’ series against the Cubs in London.
The London Series, scheduled for June 13-14, is still on, at least officially. Why?
MLB has canceled the Mexico series between the Padres and the Diamondbacks in Mexico City (April 18-19) along with the Puerto Rico Series between the Mets and the Marlins (April 28-30). Right now, we don’t know if baseball will be taking place in America in mid-June, and we are still supposed to be looking forward to an international series?
Is MLB following what is happening with the 2020 Olympics? The International Olympic Committee is under mounting pressure from its own athletes to postpone the Tokyo Games. The Tokyo Games are not supposed to start until late July. The United Kingdom has more confirmed coronavirus cases than Japan, and the United States has more than both.
Wait too long, and people in London will start speaking out about this. Wait too long, and members of the Cubs and Cardinals will start speaking out about this. Not every player is as high on these international series as some think, and that was before a global health crisis.
The solution is simple. Kick the series to 2021, announce the games will be played at Busch Stadium as the Cardinals are the designated home team, and stop this silly waiting game.
Oh, and give those who purchased tickets a full refund.
3. Happy Trails, Tray Jackson
Missouri men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin is going to catch some heat about the transfer of freshman Tray Jackson.
That’s now two transfers out of the three freshmen Martin signed in the 2019 class who have decided to pursue greener pastures. Something to calculate into the Jackson transfer reaction: This will be his third transfer since he was a high school freshman. He changed high schools twice before departing Mizzou after a single season. Is anyone else sensing a trend?
Martin needs to score big on the graduate transfer market this offseason. The Tigers have shown interest in Bowling Green’s Justin Turner. Of course, so have a ton of other programs. Turner averaged 18.8 points and 4.6 rebounds as a first-team All-MAC member last season.
4. One thing to keep from the shutdown? Start times
If you catch my weekly appearances on The McGraw Show, you know how much it pains me to admit when McGraw Milhaven makes a good point.
But, I have to give credit where it’s due.
One of McGraw’s favorite rants is about baseball games’ start times creeping later, later and later into our evenings.
McGraw says it's unfair to young fans who don't get to stay up to watch the end of the games. I think it's more about him falling asleep in his recliner before the ninth. Whatever the reason, he's right.
Fox Sports Midwest is currently playing replays of the best Cardinals games of 2019.
They all seem to be starting at 6 p.m.
Wouldn’t it be nice if that was the case during the regular season?
5. Good on Joe Buck
St. Louis-based broadcaster Joe Buck is a good sport who, like many of us, is missing sports.
So, Buck wants your help. He is asking for his Twitter followers to send him videos of their random, quarantined activities for some play-by-play practice. Winners are being asked to make a donation to a charity of their choice.
This is fun. We need some fun.