Giving the Raiders Credit for Doing the Bare Minimum

...Because that's how low the bar is right now

Most days, I’d rather douse myself in dry brush and light myself on fire than give even a side-eye to something the Raiders organization did right. 

But sitting here at the end-times Internet cafe with a weak signal and a dying battery coming up empty on my search for “what to do now that nothing means anything and never really did but especially at this point when it’s basically over, and we’re all just going through the motions at best” I figure it’s time to give a little credit where it’s due. 

When the Vegas Raiders kick off their NFL season at home in just under a month—breaking the seal of the new-to-spectators’ $1.9 billion tax-payer-funded tinted glass menagerie that resembles a giant stalled-out bachelorette party bus blocking traffic on the south end of Tropicana avenue—the team will require that EVERY FAN will have to show proof that they’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine

Anyone who has not yet gotten their awkwardly folded shot ID card (or has uploaded their status on a mobile app) can still get in—if they get a poke on site. 

It shows you how far we’ve sunk as a society when a policy like this which is the very least folks can do for one another before they put on black (and silver, I guess) faceprint and take thirteen White Claw Black Cherry to the dome in a parking lot before yelling in each other’s faces is actually the exception.

...As in, the only one in the league thus far.

The team’s vaccine rules will be in effect for the team’s first regular-season home game, a Monday Night Football matchup with the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 13.

The Raiders are also seemingly going in the opposite (i.e., good) direction as Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced Monday that large-scale venues could hold mask-free events. 

Not great, Steve. 

And while lifting restrictions, Sisolak let some praise for the Raiders’ policy leak out of the other side of his mouth. “This is cutting edge,” he said. “There’s no other venues in the country that are doing this.*” 

*Narrator: “This is not cutting-edge and fucking EVERYONE should be doing this.”

For its part, the NFL refuses to take a hard line or even praise the Raiders much for doing the bare minimum right thing. So far, the league says teams are free to make and enforce their own policies on vaccines.

The Raiders say their new rule makes them “the first team in the National Football League to announce a vaccine/no mask policy.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the announcement last Friday from the New Orleans Saints that the Superdome, its home stadium, will be open to spectators at total capacity for fans that either show proof of vaccination or the negative results of a coronavirus test taken within 72 hours before kickoff, that’s plenty of time to throw a negative, gas up on hurricanes and contempt in the French Quarter, and catch some Delta along with a handful of Sauza tequila beads, before setting foot in the Superdome to start shedding the virus indoors. 

Dodgers vs. Pirates

It’s a little bit wild to me that the Dodgers are 74-46, have just acquired Trea Turner and Billy McKinney over the last four weeks and now literally have so many ALL-Stars that one or two is benched nightly and have won nine of their last ten games...

And they’re still four games back in the NL West.

Part of (all of) this is attributable to the San Francisco Giants playing a better stretch of baseball since the All-Star break than basically any team in Major League history. There are thoughts about when to peak, and late July to September ain’t it, but I’ll leave it there for now. 

With 42 games left in the regular season, the Dodgers surely know they need to make the most of home games against teams like Tuesday night’s foe Pittsburgh (42-78.) 

Even when they have a slow start or a second-tier former All-Stars on the hill—as they did Tuesday night behind starter David Price who allowed two runs on three hits over 4 2/3 innings—the team finds a way to rally and get the wins they should.

And in the end, the Dodgers’ brand of consistency puts them on the scary side of formidable as the regular season winds down. Should they make the playoffs (they will), all the hot streaks of division rivals in late-summer will be forgotten, and other, even elite, teams will surely shudder when they see the fate that awaits them in blue. 

Take the Los Angeles Dodgers -130 vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates +110 at 7:10 p.m. PST at Dodger Stadium