We have lots of “Talks” around here now. ProFootball, Hardball, ProBasketball, ProHockey and CollegeFootball. That’s not enough, though, so we’ve added one more: Rugby Sevens Talk.
Rugby Sevens is a variant on rugby that involves (duh) seven guys instead of the usual 15. And there are far fewer Hakas. Well, maybe not. I have no idea really, which is why I bookmarked my buddy Buzz McClain’s new blog about it, which only a few posts in is already proving educational, so no worries if you’re not all that well-versed.
Why should you check it out? One obvious reason — which I won’t lie about — is corporate synergy. NBC is going to broadcast the debut USA Sevens Collegiate
Championship Invitational next month and the blog is a good way to educate people about the sport and to hype it up a bit.
But I’d be into it even if there weren’t business reasons for it because (a) the sport seems weird and cool and I like weird and cool; and (b) the championship is going to take place right here in Columbus, Ohio, so I’ll probably go down and see it in person.
So give Buzz and Rugby Sevens Talk a look-in. If you don’t like it, hey, fine, rugby sevens has been around for 127 years so it will probably manage to go on without you. But maybe, just maybe, you’ll find something new and fun and cool and weird and, really, who doesn’t need more of that in their lives?
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.