HEY, WILLIE!


April Fool’s Day has come and gone, hasn’t it? But I picked up the paper and saw the headline, then got responsible and checked other sources.


Holy cow, if they’re saying it’s true, then it must be true.


“Jameis Winston is a Saint!”


Buddy, he sure kept it hidden all those years.


RANDY


HEY, RANDY!


A few years from now, there will be areas of focus that will need serious revisiting because the story either began or ended during this particular time in history while we were heavily distracted.


Gronk did what? J.Crew went bankrupt? Kenny Rogers died?


The item on the table now will someday (soon, maybe) invite an obvious question: “How did New Orleans end up with Jameis Winston?” It’s quite a deal, literally and figuratively.


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Not long ago, the Tampa Bay Bucs were deciding whether to sink mega-millions into a future with Jameis as QB, or to cut him loose, and frankly it seemed like a tough call.


But then Tom Brady came a-callin’ and just like that, Jameis was on the market and accepted an offer to be Drew Brees’ backup. And his contract (about $1 million per) is little more than tip money for an NFL team. This isn’t Babe Ruth to the Yankees for a bag of magic beans (or something like that), but it has nothing but potential upside for the Saints.


Yes, there’s nothing but upside with the older, married and more mature Jameis. Four years ago, Jameis near Bourbon Street might’ve been as safe as pointing Paul Bunyan toward Yosemite.


HEY, WILLIE!


NASCAR says it’s resuming racing in mid-May with no fans. Isn’t that normal for them? Maybe they can paint more sections to look like there are more people. If it’s not windy, add some blow-up dolls.


YC IN VEGAS


HEY, Y!


Everyone’s a comedian.


Let’s repeat, many sports-entertainment operations have been struggling with gaining and retaining in-person fans, and two big reasons top most of the lists: 1. There are many other options for our time and money, compared to a generation ago; and 2. Modern TV production values have made it just too easy and satisfying to stay home or watch from the pub. Remember pubs?


But unlike the other sports-entertainment products, where home-crowd emotion can play a huge role, the inclusion of live fans does nothing to affect an auto racing event. That’s not to dismiss the big enjoyment fans get from attending a race, often in big enough numbers to support segments of local economies.


The traditional sports without fans, however, will bring weird sensory experiences for TV viewers. And yes, you heard me, Kenny Rogers is gone.


HEY, WILLIE!


Where is ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” when you need it?


They couldn’t find some live sports from “around the globe.” What, no polo, squash, badminton, beach volleyball, bowling, darts, croquet, cricket or billiards being played anywhere with or without fans behind plexiglass?


Jim McKay and Chris Schenkel must be turning in their graves.


MIKE Z


HEY, MIKE!


You’re forgetting the occasional cliff diving from Mexico. My Lord, the mental scars that left on a kid who assumed — or at least hoped — Jim McKay would order the cameras turned off if some poor diver face-planted onto a jagged edge of La Quebrada.


Reach Ken Willis at ken.willis@news-jrnl.com