January Sports Highlights!
Photo by Lucas Andrade from Pexels
Could Cleveland be Landing Spot for Ben Simmons?
The Philadelphia 76ers continue to look for the best deal for All-Star Ben Simmons, and their efforts will increase as the clock ticks towards the trade deadline in February. One team to keep a close eye on for the player who finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting last season is the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Collin Sexton has come up as a player mentioned in a trade for Simmons, but he’s injured. Evan Mobley and Darius Garland would be of value, but if the Cavaliers are serious about acquiring Simmons, they should consider a multiple-team trade. Stay tuned!
Prominent First Timer’s on Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot
The time of year has come for the Baseball Writers’ Association of American voters for the newest class for the Hall of Fame. There’s always a wonderful mixture of players from various eras, all-time legends, All-Stars, and those solid players that never really have a chance. The 2022 ballot is very similar, and voters have until December 31 to vote. There will be an announcement on January 25, with the induction ceremony in Cooperstown, NY, on July 24, 2022. There are a couple of shoo-ins on the ballot for the first time in Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz. Other big names with a shot at some point but likely falling well short this year are Mark Teixeira, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard.
NFL Playoff Picture
With two weeks left in the NFL regular season, the playoff picture is becoming more focused as teams clinch spots. In the AFC, the Chiefs won their sixth straight AFC West title.
No other team has clinched a spot with seeds two through nine bunched together. In the NFC, Dallas and Tampa Bay have secured spots with division wins, while the Rams and Cardinals are secured playoff spots. The Eagles are in the driver’s seat for the number seven seed after a win and a Vikings’ loss. An impressive 24 teams are still mathematically alive for a playoff spot and chance at Super Bowl LVI.
After COVID Lockdown, NHL Resumes Season
COVID-19 hit the sports world in 2020, shortening seasons. As the omicron variant of COVID-19 hit in December, the NHL had to suspend play, postponing a slew of games. This situation prompted the league to extend its traditional holiday breakthrough on December 27. The league has resumed play as of December 28, with four games set to face off. In addition to returning to the ice, the NHL Players Association updated its COVID-19 protocols, including daily testing on coaches and players and pre-game testing on a case-to-case basis. These protocols will be in effect at least through January 7.
When Could Tiger Woods Return?
Tiger Woods made an improbable appearance at the 2021 PNC Championship and looked amazingly good, considering what happened in February. Although he admits there is a long way to go until ready for competition among PGA Tour professionals, Woods showed glimpses of his past dominance, particularly in the short game. The question is, when will he tee it up in a PGA Tour event? The Masters (April 7) is a concern, considering the difficulty of walking the course, particularly for the first event back. The PGA Championship on May 19 is in play. The U.S. Open on June 16 would be an event Woods could play, but unlikely to be the first one back. The best bet is that Woods will make every effort to return by the Open Championship in St. Andrews on July 14.