1) MLB owners locked out the players on Dec. 1, escalating a huffy labor dispute that shows no signs of cooling down. Evan Drellich of the Athletic reports that Major League Baseball and the Players Association “are unlikely to talk core economics until January.” One smaller meeting was planned “to discuss areas outside of core economics.”

Great. MLB and its players already have defaulted on the opportunity to market the sport and build interest by having a normal offseason, percolating with uninterrupted trades, free-agent signings, rules changes, and an endless flow of rumors. Instead the sport has slipped into silence and darkness.

And the sparring factions plan to waste the entire month of December instead of gathering for serious negotiations in a sincere effort to produce a new collective bargaining agreement. The business of baseball is a necessity, and negotiations won’t be peaceful or easy. But it’s irresponsible to take a month off instead of making every day count.

According to Drellich the negotiations are dormant because the two sides can’t agree on who should make the next proposal. The players think the next move should be made by the owners. The owners think the players should go first. It’s childish.

Let me say this: I’m not surprised by this quiet period, with the talks restarting in January. And I understand that the closer we get to the scheduled opening of spring training camps, both sides will start feeling the pressure to make a deal. And that’s usually how it plays out. But just because I understand this, I don’t have to like it. It just seems silly to let so many days go by without making an attempt to begin the process of settling the areas of disagreement.

Then again, a regular-season baseball game takes more than three hours to complete. So I guess it makes sense for MLB and the players to go at this at a slow, boring, and frustrating pace. Baseball doesn’t have a fast pace. Baseball doesn’t have much common sense, either. So here we are.

2) Here’s my primary concern about the Blues, and I admit that it’s kind of abstract. But the boys are outperforming their expected level based on the metrics. And I know you hate the metrics, and I won’t quarrel with you on that. But as much as I appreciate the Blues’ overall 16-8-5 record and their 6-1-3 ledger over the last 10 games, I wonder if it will hold up. The Blues rank 23rd in the league in Corsi For percentage, and are 24th in expected goals-for percentage. At five on five they are a little better in both categories (19th) but are still below average. OK, I’ll shut up now.

3) So why are the Blues winning despite the injuries and the Covid and the rotisserie roster that keeps turning and turning and turning? Well, the impact of the Springfield Express is a huge factor. But the goaltending continues to make a difference. The Blues rank 7th overall in save percentage, and are sixth overall in high-danger save pct. Their goaltenders are mitigating the ominous metrics.

4) It’s great that Mizzou basketball coach Cuonzo Martin helped MU football coach Eli Drinkwitz with recruiting efforts in St. Louis and East St. Louis. Now maybe Drinkwitz can recruit some good basketball players for Mizzou.

5) Mizzou is ranked No. 153 nationally at KenPom, situated between Cleveland State and Stephen F. Austin. According to the KenPom projections, the forecast has Mizzou losing the next 20 games in a row before defeating Georgia on March 5 in the last regular-season SEC game. Good grief.

6) The Covid outbreak is starting to mess with the NHL season, with no signs of slowing down, even with the league imposing tighter protocols that didn’t go far enough. At this point NHL players would be nuts to proceed with plans to play in the winter Olympics in China.

7) When the NHL Covid count began to rise, I feared that the league had put the on-ice officials in charge of testing.

8) In an offseason look at Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong by Katie Woo at the Athletic, Pauly had this to say about his hitting struggles in 2021:

“I was trying to do things different every day. I really didn’t have any momentum. I wasn’t working on my own fundamentals every day, I wasn’t even sure what my own fundamentals were. I was just overanalyzing everything … I was just overthinking literally everything that was going on in the game, versus taking in the information and being instinctual.” And later in the piece DeJong added: “Overall, it’s all about me getting out of my own way.”

9) I don’t have to say that I like Paul DeJong, because that has nothing to do with his performance as a player. But I really do like Paul DeJong and I’m hopeful of a turnaround. If DeJong believes he’s identified the core issue with his hitting, then that’s the first step. But I have to say this: DeJong has aired similar theories and themes in the past. But his offense continues to decline. Using park-and-league adjusted runs created, DeJong was 23 percent above league average offensively as a rookie in 2017, and that rate has decreased each year – dropping to a career-low 14 percent below league average in 2021.

10) I also want to say this: you should subscribe to the Athletic.

11) One of my favorite things about “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is watching the character Susie Green – played wonderfully by Susie Essman – snap into her humorous rages while wearing a ridiculous, garish but highly effective wardrobe. Standouts include different styles of eccentric hats (beret, fedora, newsboy, top hat), sequined cargo pants, a rhinestone-studded shoulder throw, a leopard-print mock turtleneck garnished with little cherubs – and last but not least, gold hoops with a gold-chain headband. Plus a variety of extremely loud shirts.

As costume designer Leslie Schilling told Vanity Fair: “It almost makes it a little funnier whenever she’s wearing (something) very sparkly, but she’s calling someone a (censored) or like, you know, a fat (censored) or something because she herself looks so ridiculous while she’s saying all of it. It’s like a part of her personality that’s like a security blanket because she’s like, ‘No one’s going to mess with me if this is how I look and I can mess with everyone else.’ ”

12) Steph Curry is unique, and not just because he broke the NBA’s all-time record for career 3-pointers made. That was inevitable. And yes, as a small guard who can handle and shoot like no other player in league history he changed the game of basketball. Before Curry entered the league, NBA teams were averaging 18 three-point attempts per game. This season, they’re averaging 36 three-point attempts per game. He’s made the game more accessible for kids, high school players, college players and other dreamers who can become terrific players even if they’re undersized. Fans can relate to him; you don’t have to be 6-11 or a brawny, muscular player to excel in this game.

What makes Curry extra special is his popularity. He isn’t polarizing or controversial. He competes with joy. He’s very entertaining. He’s one of the all-time greats at any position. He’s won multiple MVP awards, and led Golden State to three NBA titles. And every step of the way he’s happy to be Steph Curry, happy to handle up top and use his quickness to defeat an opponent on a drive or by making it rain with those majestic, long-range shots. But fans of the home teams chant for him, and give him standing ovations, when Golden State comes to town. He’s the most popular player in any arena he walks into. He’s the most popular person in any room he enters. There is no hate … only good feelings and positive vibes. How many athletes can do this? How many are like him? It’s remarkable. We live in a terribly divided nation and argue with each other about everything – it’s so nasty out there – but we love Steph Curry.

13) Update on Mizzou football’s national recruiting rankings for the first signing period:

  • ESPN, 10th
  •, 10th
  • 247Sports Composite: 12th
  • On3: 13th
  • Rivals: 18th.

Well done, Coach Drink.

Thanks for reading …


Bernie invites you to listen to his opinionated sports-talk show on 590-AM The Fan, KFNS. It airs Monday through Thursday from 3-6 p.m. and Friday from 4-6 p.m. You can listen by streaming online or by downloading the “Bernie Show” podcast at — the 590 app works great and is available in your preferred app store.

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