Happy Monday, friends and fans!
Major League Baseball is feeling some serious heat with Kyler Murray at the plate. No, not because the Heisman Trophy winner is possibly taking his talents to the more violent and once-perceived less player-friendly NFL, but because he could potentially choose football over America’s pastime with the sports world watching.
Professional baseball has haplessly watched its popularity with young people decline rapidly over the past two decades, and it needs a player like Murray to choose it more than he needs it to elevate his own personal brand.
There were rumors about Murray’s party demanding as much as $15 million from the A’s, but Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle was all over it. According to her, no such demands were officially put on the table as of Sunday night.
Source with knowledge of Kyler Murray talks says Murray has not made ANY monetary demands of the A’s. The meeting is exploring ways to ensure his baseball future but no dollar figure was presented by Murray or his reps.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) January 14, 2019
ESPN MLB Insider Jeff Passan had previously reported on Sunday evening that following a meeting in Dallas between Murray and the Oakland A’s, the MLB has begun to explore waiving a rule that prohibits recently drafted players from being granted major league contracts.
Major League Baseball would waive a rule that prevents teams from giving major league contracts to recently drafted players if Kyler Murray and the Oakland A’s can strike a deal that would have him choose baseball over football, league sources told ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 13, 2019
Passan went on to clarify what this would exactly entail if the MLB goes through with this bending-of-the-rule.
Still: The notion of a player who has never taken an at-bat in the minor leagues winding up with a big league deal shows how special a situation Kyler Murray’s is. It’s not just the Oakland A’s invested in him. It’s Major League Baseball, too. Murray in MLB would be a coup.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 13, 2019
Basically, Kyler Murray has a kind of leverage never before seen by a player in his position. An entire league is facing a potential disaster if it ends up losing the most talked about collegiate athlete over the last five months to the premier sport in America. The NFL doesn’t need K1. The MLB does.
With today being the final day to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft, it’s important to keep in mind that if Murray does declare, that decision does not close the door on his baseball career in either the short or long term future. There are plenty more logistical hurdles to maneuver, namely next month with A’s camp and the NFL Combine.
If Murray plays baseball, will he have a hall of fame kind of career? Maybe so, or maybe not. What’s really at stake here is value. We’re talking about an athlete who has the attention of sports fans everywhere. He’s entertaining, he’s exceptional, and he’s doing it on two fields. He will, without a doubt, move the needle wherever he goes. Because of this, the A’s (as well as Major League Baseball) know they need to swing for the fences.
The bottom line is that Murray is now in a position to do whatever makes him happy, but here’s one thing that hasn’t been considered:
What if Kyler Murray just wants to dance?
— Bunkie Perkins (@BunkiePerkins) January 14, 2019
Now on to this week’s Monday edition of Hot Links! Brian Odom is reportedly on board with Oklahoma, President Gallogly shares his thoughts and feelings about Riley’s raise, South Carolina has a recording studio in its shiny new football facility and more!
- The Oklahoma Sooners moved up three spots and are now No. 20 in the latest men’s basketball AP Top 25 poll. This team is not only exciting to watch, they play solid basketball on both ends of the court.
- Country music star Darius Rucker, a known fan of the Gamecocks, donated a legitimate recording studio to the brand new football facilities at South Carolina. I have to admit, these new digs look mighty nice, though I don’t know how much it’ll help them in the in-state arms race with Clemson.
- Speaking of Clemson, the Tigers plan to indulge in an extravagant fast-food smorgasbord when it makes its trip to the White House, as per customary for championship winning teams.
- James Harden has been doing practically everything for Houston this season, and lately, it’s been working. Could this kind of (over)production come back to haunt the Rockets as playoff time approaches?
- The Tennessee Vols men’s basketball team has been balling out this season, and this is one of the most aesthetically pleasing videos I’ve seen from any team this year. Awesome stuff.
- The internet is buzzing about this gymnastics floor routine by UCLA’s Katelyn Ohashi. In fact, the video has been watched nearly 20 million times. Of course, there was only one score appropriate for such a flawless performance.
- Check out this video of a Kmart supervisor delivering one final, heartbreaking announcement over the store’s intercom. Located in Kensington, Pennsylvania, this store and many others have slowly but surely closed up shop. I personally enjoyed the playful sign-off, but I can only imagine the feeling of loss. After 55 years, you have to realize many of the people working there built their lives around their job, and many of the memories they’ll forever drawn upon revolve both around and within those four walls.
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