The Morning Column: August 17, 2021
Just vax, baby! The Raiders become the first NFL team to implement a vaccine/no-mask policy. Look for Los Angeles and other cities to follow suit this season.
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1. 🏴☠️ Raiders implement NFL’s first vaccine/no mask policy
The Las Vegas Raiders will hold a press conference Tuesday to formally announce that anyone attending a Raiders home game this season at Allegiant Stadium will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccinated fans, however, will not have to wear a mask inside the stadium. The Raiders are the first NFL team to implement such a “vaccine/no mask” policy but they likely will not be the last.
On Monday, Nevada governor Steve Sisolak announced large venues that seat over 4,000 or more such as Allegiant Stadium and T-Mobile Arena can opt out of the state’s indoor mask mandate by requiring attendees to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
“Health and safety has always been our number one priority,” said Raiders owner Mark Davis in a statement. “After consultation with Governor Sisolak and other community leaders, this policy ensures that we will be able to operate at full capacity without masks for fully vaccinated fans for the entire season.”
Whether you agree with the decision or not, it makes sense on multiple levels and will likely be a policy adopted my many other teams and venues moving forward. Most large venues around the country are understaffed right now and it is simply impossible to try and enforce, for example, 65,000 fans to wear a mask at a football game. SoFi Stadium had a hard-enough time policing fans from fighting; let alone covering their noses and mouths. Teams want stadiums to be at full capacity, fans want to feel safe when they go to games at full capacity and stadium employees have more to worry about than serving as mask monitors when the stadium is at full capacity. There is no solution that will be universally loved but this is as close as it will get for now.
2. 🏈 SoFi Stadium working to improve each week
When I posted food pictures from a recent food tour at SoFi Stadium, I never expected the reaction it would draw. The over 2,000 responses ranged from nasty to hilarious.
It’s important to note that last Saturday was SoFi Stadium’s first game and this Saturday will be its second game. They are still figuring things out and finding out what works and doesn’t work. They’re not going to change up the menu and pricing overnight but they can (and I trust they will) work towards improving it. In the meantime, they have included local restaurants such as Orleans and York Deli, which has a great Hot Link Po’boy and is located on the third floor of the SoFi Stadium.
My bigger issue is with the cost of parking and food at the stadium. I know it’s Los Angeles and this is the NFL but I would love everyone in the city to be able to afford to go to a game and experience SoFi Stadium in person at some point.
3. ⚾️ Dodgers favored to win World Series, not division
The Dodgers have been the favorites to win the World Series since last season ended and that has not changed. But for the first time the World Series favorites are not favored to win their division.
The San Francisco Giants are now favored to win the National League West at most Las Vegas sportsbooks. The Dodgers failed to gain ground on the Giants in the NL West for nearly a month and currently sit four games back. The Giants are anywhere from -125 to -135 to win the division at Vegas sportsbooks. The Dodgers, however, are still the favorite to win the World Series at +350, with the Astros and White Sox behind them at +650, followed by the Giants at +750 and Brewers and Rays at +850.
4. 🧃 Lakers replace Gatorade with BioSteel
The Lakers are leaving longtime drink sponsor Gatorade and have signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with BioSteel to serve as “The Official Sports Drink of the Los Angeles Lakers.” The sponsorship, according to the release, “includes BioSteel Sports Drink on the Lakers team bench and integration of the BioSteel brand into the team bench set ups, locker room displays and in-arena signage” at Staples Center.
Michael Cammalleri, who was the 49th overall draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings in 2001, is the co-CEO and co-founder of BioSteel. He was with the Kings from 2001 and 2008 and returned for the 2017-18 season, which was his last year in the NHL.
"Fans worldwide know the Lakers as one of the most entertaining and storied franchises in all of sports, and we're excited they've chosen BioSteel as their team's official sports drink," Cammalleri said in a statement. “Spending the first part of my NHL career in LA, I take great pride in seeing this come full circle. We look forward to providing the Lakers with Clean. Healthy. Hydration.”
5. 💵 Odds and Ends Powered by Bovada
Here are some odds on Bovada if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:
6. 📆 Aug. 17, 1992: Kevin Gross no-hits the Giants
On this date 29 years ago, Kevin Gross threw a no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants on his wife Tamara’s 27th birthday. He went into the fifth inning with a no-hitter in his previous start but he would not be denied of the first no-hitter of the 1992 MLB season on this night as the Dodgers won, 2-0, and avoided the first four-game sweep at home to the Giants in 69 years.
7. 🎂 Happy Birthday Thierry Henry
Happy Birthday to Thierry Henry. The legendary Arsenal forward is turning 44 years old today. I became an Arsenal fan watching Henry and Dennis Bergkamp 20 years ago and would make an annual pilgrimage to catch them play at Highbury. They haven’t been the same since Henry left in 2007 for Barcelona and later New York Red Bull.
8. 🎟 Ticket Time Powered by StubHub
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game today:
🏀 Atlanta Dream at Los Angeles Sparks – $6
⚾️ Pittsburgh Pirates at Los Angeles Dodgers – $19
🏀 Washington Mystics at Las Vegas Aces – $29
9. 📺 On The Air
⚾️ 4 p.m. – Los Angeles Angels at Detroit Tiger – Bally Sports West
⚾️ 7 p.m. – Pittsburgh Pirates at Los Angeles Dodgers – SportsNet LA
🏀 7 p.m. – Washington Mystics at Las Vegas Aces – CBS Sports Network
🏀 7:30 p.m. – Atlanta Dream at Los Angeles Sparks – NBA TV
⚽️ 7:30 p.m. – Colorado Rapids at Los Angeles Galaxy – Spectrum SportsNet
10. 📻 The Arash Markazi Show
On yesterday’s show, we talked about the Rams and Chargers playing in front of fans at SoFi Stadium for the first time and what the atmosphere was like.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., following The Rich Eisen Show. The Mightier 1090 has the second strongest radio signal in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies.” You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
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That’s it for today. Talk to you all tomorrow!