Thursday Thoughts: Jon Rahm, the Buffalo Sabres, and their easy choices

It’s Thursday, so that means it’s another edition of Thursday Thoughts. Before we get to it this week a quick clarification; it’s the podcast that’s going bi-weekly, not this column. I was asked about that and I thought last week’s post was clear, but we’ll clarify just in case.

I was also asked what I was going to put in place of the “Worcester Hockey Alumni Highlights” section as fewer and fewer goals are scored as teams are eliminated from the playoffs. Truth be told I was just going to take that section out until next October, but if people have ideas of something to replace it I’ll be happy to listen. One thing it won’t be are highlights for former Worcester Bravehearts in action because their in-game Twitter account @WooBallGameCall has got that covered pretty well.

Be that as it may, one thing that’s a head-scratcher to me is why the Buffalo Sabres haven’t removed the “interim” tag from Don Granato and given him their head coaching job. The former Worcester IceCats head coach showed in his 28 games at the helm of the Sabres that he’s more than up to the task, going 9-16-3 with a team that was pathetically bad before he started and significantly more competitive after he took over. The players bought into what he wanted to do and showed signs of life in the second half of the season.

I get the idea that they want to go with a bigger name as head coach to give the impression they’re turning a corner and maybe take some pressure off whomever they take with the draft’s first pick. That might make some sense if they planned on keeping Jack Eichel, but they’re certainly giving the impression he’s going to be traded. Sam Reinhart all but came out and said he wanted out of Buffalo, and if he gets his wish, all but guarantees the Sabres won’t be a playoff contender next season, especially if they shed additional salary on top of those two.

So what’s the harm in giving Granato a shot? What’s the absolute worst thing that happens? They lose? Heck, they’re already going to do that. Plus a big named coach will cost a heck of a lot more than Granato would, and could possibly alienate those younger players they’re going to attempt to build off of. There’s almost no upside to hiring a bag name right now seeing as there’s no light at the end of the tunnel for Buffalo, and once you hire that big name and still lose you’ll never find another high-quality big name to take over to try and fix things.

So they should give Granato the chance because he can’t make it any worse than how it was before he became “interim”.

Boston Teams This Week
Thursday
Houston @ RED SOX, 7pm
Friday
Toronto @ RED SOX, 7pm
Saturday
CANNONS vs Whipsnakes, 12pm
Toronto @ RED SOX, 4pm
Sunday
Toronto @ RED SOX, 1pm
Monday
Toronto @ RED SOX, 7pm
Tuesday
RED SOX @ Atlanta, 7:15pm
Wednesday
RED SOX @ Atlanta, 7:15pm

Worcester Hockey Alumni Highlights
Friday Lane Scheidl goal two goals

Saturday Brodie Reid goal two goals

Saturday Lane Scheidl goal

Tuesday Spencer Asuchak goal

The $1.675 million dollar decision
Life is about choices. Sometimes those choices work out badly, sometimes those choices work out great. The best thing to do to help you make those choices is to become as educated as you can on the thing you’re deciding and to make the best decision you can based on the facts of the issue. If you use even the tiniest bit of emotion instead of facts, you tilt the balance toward the “bad” side, many times irreparably.

Now I get that some people are refusing to get the COVID vaccine. I think their fears are completely unfounded and totally contrary to the science, but we’ve been given a choice to vaccinate or not, and some chose the “not”. Now of course almost all of those people also wish to ignore the guidance for unvaccinated people and don’t continue to be socially distant and/or wear masks, choosing to instead pretend they’re vaccinated so they can appear to not have to follow the guidelines. Because there’s absolutely no harm in doing that, right?

Well, ask pro golfer Jon Rahm about the $1.675 million dollars he essentially threw away about harm.

Rahm was running away with The Memorial Tournament, leading by six shots with 18 holes left to play. Short of playing a Tin Cup round Rahm was all by certain to win the title, the cash, the crystal trophy, and the three-year tour exemption the tourney winner receives. He also would have automatically earned a spot in the next four majors were he not already exempt. Instead, he left Muirfield Village Golf Club with nothing but a positive COVID test because he chose to not vaccinate himself.

Now luckily for Rahm, he’s so far asymptomatic and it doesn’t appear he will suffer any long-term negative effects, but what of those around him? How many of those people did he infect? Rahm can be seen in numerous interviews and photos not wearing a mask nor being socially distant despite being told earlier in the week that he was in proximity to someone who tested positive for COVID. He then had to adhere to contact-tracing protocols, which, according to a PGA tour statement, meant that starting on May 31 he was subject to daily testing and restricted access to indoor facilities.

“We have strongly encouraged our players, our caddies, our staff, and anyone involved with our competition to be vaccinated, and we have presented educational materials and resources to educate them on that, completely understanding that it is an individual choice,” said Andy Levinson, the PGA Tour’s senior vice president of tournament administration. “We just want to make sure that people have the proper facts, the unadulterated facts related to that. We have also been out quite a bit at Tour events having one-on-one conversations with people who have questions about the vaccine and are hesitant. And our advisor has been out every week for the last nine or ten weeks or so doing just that, having one-on-one conversations and that’s I think been extremely helpful. So we have strongly encouraged but not mandated.”

While Rahm has never said he wasn’t vaccinated, if he had the vaccine he wouldn’t have been subject to contact tracing unless he developed symptoms. According to the PGA Tour statement, Rahm was asymptomatic. That means a vaccinated and asymptomatic Rahm would have never been tested. But he was subject to contract tracing, and he was tested daily. That flat out means he was not vaccinated.

And that fact isn’t worth $1.675 million dollars.

Stuff you may have missed from 210Sports this week
WooSox Rewind: Pitching failures lead to 2-4 week for the Worcester Red Sox (210)
WooBall Weekly: Bravehearts go 4-3 in first full week of FCBL season (210)
Some former Worcester pro players finish near the top of their leagues’ statistics (210)

Not so big finish
Got something you loved (or hated) about the post? Or for an idea for a future column? Head on over to the 210Sports Facebook page and leave a comment. You could comment on this post too, but fair warning, the spam filter catches lots of stuff it shouldn’t and it might be weeks before I see your comment. While you’re there, give the page a like if you could.

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