Common sense took a significant victory at the Supreme Court on Monday, and now we await to see if the same can be said in Missouri and Kansas.
Judging by the political news in both states over the years ... maybe?
If you've driven through a pothole, or read about the funding crisis in Kansas public schools, or weighed the charm of so many neighborhoods on the east side of State Line Road against the cost of private schools then you know both states are some combination of mismanaged and underfunded.
This, then, is like an inheritance from a rich uncle you never knew: the Supreme Court essentially legalizing sports gambling for all 50 states.
There is no way to know how much money this could provide states. The American Gaming Association says more than $150 billion is illegally bet each year. That's just a guess, but the amount wagered would figure to at least marginally increase with legalization. That's a lot of potential tax revenue.
More than enough to cover the funding gap in Kansas schools; more than enough to support schools and police and other public services in Missouri.
Of course, this being the real world, it won't be that easy. Kansas and Missouri are already behind on taking advantage of the decision, with some politicians in each state holding onto antiquated notions of what gambling actually is* and what legalizing would mean.
* It's a hobby that millions of Americans enjoy, and one that's long been popular in England, which seems to be getting along just fine.
The chutzpah from these leagues to think anyone will take them seriously on this stuff, that anyone will see it as anything other than the beginning of a negotiation that ends with them getting their cut is pretty impressive.
Leagues are already floating the idea of charging "an integrity fee" for legalized gambling, which is ridiculous on several levels, including but not limited to:
- Why haven't they made this request before, when sports bets were always legal in Nevada?
- Casinos and the government already work closely to combat potential point shaving, which is absolutely counter to each side's interests. Anyone with common sense understands legalized gambling means greater security for leagues, because it would bring the money into the light.
- Even for professional sports leagues, the shift from opposing gambling on supposed moral grounds to demanding a cut on the profits is brazen hypocrisy. A league's argument that gambling is shady cannot be taken seriously when their next argument is they should be able to operate like the mob.
This is one of those moments when entities need to decide whether they want to be on the wrong side of history. The culture — and now the law — are clearly moving toward coast-to-coast legalization.
States like Kansas and Missouri can pretend it's still 1950, and move at a glacial pace, worrying about bogeymen that don't exist.
Or they can join the rest of us, see what's happening, and position themselves to both provide what many citizens want and establish ways to make themselves better in the process.
According to official websites, lotteries contributed more than $75.2 million to public education in Kansas and $297.8 million to public education in Missouri in the fiscal year 2017. Sports gambling would likely beat those numbers, and the best part is it wouldn't be what economics refer to as displaced spending.
This is money already being wagered, illegally, so if the combination of convenience and increased enforcement can be effective then schools and public services in our region and beyond should improve.
These are all steps that should've been taken long ago. Failure to act sensibly until now has harmed us in ways we'll never be able to accurately measure. But we have an opening now, finally, a way to inject our schools and other essential public services with much-needed revenue.
That Kansas and Missouri appear to be slow to see this should not be a surprise.
But a failure to act quickly would be an inexcusable mistake, one that would tangibly set the region back for years.
This week, the eating recommendation is the burnt end sandwich at Danny Edwards, which I believe is the most underrated spot in the city. The reading recommendation is Robin Sloan playing Fortnite and figuring out the universe.
Can you give me reasons to go out to the K for summer Royals games?— A.J. Hildreth (@AjHildreth) May 14, 2018
Oh, brother, I could give you a hundred reasons. Kelvin Herrera in the ninth, Mike Moustakas with two on, Sal Perez in a crouch with a runner on first, Jorge Soler sitting fastball, Alex Gordon chasing back to the wall, Alcides Escobar in the hole, Jorge Bonifacio when he comes back, Danny Duffy when he relaxes and trusts his stuff, Jakob Junis staring down a jam, and coming soon, Josh Staumont's fastball, Raul Mondesi's speed-power combination, Richard Lovelady throwing 95 from the left side, and on and on we could go.
That's the baseball, but there's more. How many places are better to spend a summer night than the ballpark? You can eat like a king and convince yourself it's guilt-free, you can walk the outfield, watch that miracle of technology video board, wait for fireworks, laugh at the goofy between-innings stuff, have a conversation with a friend, throw your peanut shells on the ground, and scream at the top of your lungs.
Tickets should be cheap, too.
Look, most of you know me well enough to know I'll never tell you how to spend your money. It's not up to fans to support teams. It's up to teams to make sure they're worthy of the support, and if watching a bad team isn't the way you want to spend your time or money, anyone who judges you or tries to make you feel bad about that is a dolt.
But there are always reasons to go to the ballpark.
Are the Royals a dumpster fire with an endless supply of oil to keep burning or are they a forest fire that looks bad now but will soon have a plentiful growth of new life that looks better than before?— Josh Simon (@simonsaysjoshd) May 14, 2018
Well, what's your definition of soon?
I'm not going to lie to you. The immediate future does not look good. We can talk about Bonifacio and Staumont and Lovelady and Nick Pratto and Khalil Lee and as bad as the big-league team is, I'm guessing we'll do a lot of that this summer and beyond.
Some of them may turn into productive big-leaguers, too. Maybe there's a star in that group, who knows, maybe there's two.
But the Royals will be judged against the other 29, and most of those other 29 have more talent in their farm system than the Royals have in theirs. Keep that in mind.
The Royals are a wicked combination right now. They are bad and they are boring and they are pretty old, too. They have a big-league team currently on pace for 111 losses, and a minor-league system that ranks in the bottom quarter.
Their star catcher used to be the face of fun in baseball, but now he's the face of the fun police. Their ace has a 6.51 ERA. The best players on the team will be shopped in July.
The farm system was bad when Moore took over, but Zack Greinke, Alex Gordon, and Billy Butler were each more highly regarded than anyone in the Royals' minor leagues at the moment.
The Royals did not manage even a winning record until the seventh full season with Dayton Moore in charge, and I would make the case that the Royals have not even begun their true rebuild yet. At best, we are a month and a half into year one.
This is going to take awhile, is what I'm saying. If you're asking whether it will take, I would say Moore and his assistants — it's pretty remarkable how little turnover the front office has had — have earned the benefit of the doubt.
I believe that human nature can work against them, that complacency or overconfidence can make accomplishing something major more difficult the second time. I believe that's true generally in life, not just in building baseball teams.
I also think I know a lot of these men fairly well, and don't see a lick of complacency in any of them.
So, I don't know, you don't know, nobody knows but here's my guess: the Royals win again, but when they do we will look back at this moment in time and see that they hadn't even begun clearing out the woods yet.
Where’s the best spot in town for a sportsbook?— Brian (@BrianMcGannon) May 14, 2018
Power & Light.
Power & Light!
POWER & LIGHT!
Sorry. I'll stop screaming. This makes way too much sense, though.
The Power & Light District is a drain on the city, financially. It also happens to be across the street from Sprint Center, in the middle of a growing downtown, so allowing folks to, say, put $100 on Iowa State +4 and then watch the game in person would be a fun (for the person) and lucrative (for the city) experience.
I assume there would be a thousand obstacles for something like that. The existing casinos might claim some right to block new casinos, the city would have to allow gambling in the heart of its downtown, and even if it were all allowed the shops already in business would be first to market with sports gambling.
Plus, I think we all know Westport business owners would see this as another slap in the face.
But, you asked the question, and that's my answer.
So, which sport will you start betting on the most?— Tyler Watterson (@thebiggszone) May 14, 2018
I'm actually not much of a bettor. Maybe that's surprising, with how strongly I feel that it should be legalized. I guess I see it similarly to how I see marijuana. I don't smoke, either, but find it ridiculous that others are kept from doing it because of these legal gymnastics that our society has come up with to explain why a tasteless and 190-proof alcohol is allowed but a blunt isn't.
It's just so dumb. Let the people bet. I can already take a short drive from my house and lose as much money as I can stomach. What's the difference? But I digress.
Perhaps the dumbest part of all this is that legalization likely won't change the betting habits of most people. It's so easy to do now. You can sit at Kauffman Stadium tonight, use your phone to place a bet on or against the Royals* and then watch your investment for the next three hours.
*They opened at -125 tonight, with Anthony Banda against Ian Kennedy.
So, allowing a sports book at Power & Light* would not make gambling more convenient. Just less illegal, which is a weird thing to even mention, because those laws are essentially not enforced at the moment anyway.
* Or wherever else, but seriously, it would kill at Power & Light.
But, to answer your question, if I was going to be I'd probably do it more like long-term stocks. Bet the futures. Find an undervalued team, put $100 (or whatever) on them to win the championship, and follow it that way.
To be clear: I really don't think I'd do this, because I'm the type of person who can win $100 and waste it as free money before I remember how I got it, and who can lose $100 and treat myself like Danny Duffy after a bad outing because I could've put that money in my kids' 529s.
How will the sports leagues screw up this Supreme Court decision?— Devon Belew (@DMBelew) May 14, 2018
This is a good question.
First, they're going to screw it up by continuing to clutch pearls at something that already exists, using arguments that have already been proven worthless.
But once they bow to intellectual progress, they're going to want to own the process by taking a disproportionate cut, or by making it unnecessarily inconvenient, or some other transparent act of greed that they'll try to justify with scare tactics.
I'm already annoyed about this.
The man knows how to please. This is right up there with Eric Berry signing his $60 million rookie contract and saying that one of the first things he would buy was his dream car — a Camaro.
It's hard to know how these things will age, but it's hard to imagine some high school kids won't go jorts-and-a-sleeveless-T-Bones jersey for Halloween. If you wear a T-Bones jersey to Arrowhead this fall, you'll get at least six high-fives from others in on the joke.
It's brilliant, really. Kansas City has never had a quarterback like this. We talked about this on the Border Patrol* but Alex Smith might go to the NASCAR race. Heck, Smith probably did go, at some point, but if he did he wore a golf shirt and had perfect manners.
* of COURSE we talked about this on the Border Patrol.
Mahomes dressed like it was the county fair, comfortable enough to do it, and confident enough to pull it off.
I make it a rule not to judge another man by what he wears, because holy crap do I hope nobody judges me by my clothes, but if you're a starting quarterback and you're rocking jorts and representing the local independent league baseball team, then I'm going to assume you're a badass.
I thought they were set after trading for Kendall Fuller, because that guy can play. I'm sold on him. You watch his tape, you see physical talent, ball skills, anticipation, preparation, confidence, tackling, coverage, all of it. He's really, really good, you guys.
But, then they traded Marcus Peters.
I, um, disagreed with that trade.
At best, the position is the same as it was last year, but last year, the position was a significant weakness.
The problem, and you're insinuating it here, is depth.
I like Steven Nelson. I thought he took a raw deal from a lot of Chiefs fans last year, because he competes, and makes more plays than you realize without watching film. But I don't know that he's a No. 2 cornerback on a playoff team, and the list of factors that have to go right for David Amerson to be effective — health, scheme, confidence, etc. — are too long to count on.
The defense should be better in 2018, and that's said even as I still believe they should've fired Bob Sutton.
The safeties will be better, mostly because of Eric Berry, but from the little that can be known at the moment I think Armani Watts could be a nice player for them, too. The linebackers will be better, because of a full season of Reggie Ragland, the addition of Anthony Hitchens, and the (maybe?) health of Dee Ford. If Tanoh Kpassagnon can be strong off his redshirt season, even better.
The defensive line has had a lot of turnover, and Bennie Logan will be missed more than a lot of people believe, but maybe that position group can be a wash.
The corners, though. It's hard to see how they've improved there, and that's either the most important or second most important group on that side of the ball.
All of this and we're still thinking, mostly, best case scenarios. Is it possible Eric Berry isn't quite as good, or even that he is hurt again? Justin Houston has been injured for chunks of three of the last five seasons. All teams have injuries, and the Chiefs don't have a lot of depth to account for that.
So, no. I'm not convinced they're set there.
I haven't heard anyone say this directly, but I've wondered if this isn't the plan. Pedro is really smart, and is a beautiful combination of a modern and traditional baseball man — bilingual, willing to work long hours but also enough of a big thinker to see the game from 30,000 feet.
I've been told by more than once by more than one person that Pedro can be anything he wants in baseball. He's good enough with mechanics and nuance to be a coach, enough of a people person and leader to be a manager, astute enough in personnel to be a general manager.
I don't know how much fans know about him. If it's not much, that's the fault of reporters like me.
Pedro isn't being prepped for the job. I wouldn't put it like that. But he's already worked different jobs on the coaching staff, and has respect throughout the clubhouse and organization.
So, depending on the needs and the timing, the Royals could do a whole lot worse.
Since you’re a HOF voter: Which ex-Royal (predominantly known as a KC player) can you make the strongest case for? Quiz? Willie? AO? White?— Andrew Logue (@AndrewMLogue) May 15, 2018
Willie Wilson on a triple was one of baseball's great joys in the 1980s, and I'm swayed by the way a lot of the old timers talk about Amos Otis.
But for me, this comes down to Frank White and Dan Quisenberry, and it's interesting how similar their cases are. Both are fringe Hall of Fame candidates or, if we're honest, both are on the outside of the fringe for the Hall.
The best case for each is a comparison to someone in the Hall of Fame with strikingly similar statistics.
For White, it's Bill Mazeroski:
Seasons: 18 for White, 17 for Mazeroski.
Games: 2,324 for White, 2,163 for Mazeroski.
Hits: 2,006 for White, 2,016 for Mazeroski.
Home runs: 160 for White, 138 for Mazeroski.
Slash line: .255/.293/.383 for White, .260/.299/.367 for Mazeroski.
Gold Gloves: eight each.
All-Star games: five for White, seven for Mazeroski.
WAR: 26.9 each.
JAWS: 34.8 for White, 36.5 for Mazeroski.
Really, their careers are strikingly similar, other than Mazeroski hitting one of the most famous home runs in baseball history.
For Quisenberry, the comparison is with Bruce Sutter.
Innings: 1,043 1/3 for Quisenberry, 1,042 for Sutter.
Saves: 244 for Quisenberry, 300 for Sutter.
Save percentage: 80 for Quisenberry, 75 for Sutter.
ERA: 2.76 for Quisenberry, 2.83 for Sutter.
ERA+: 146 for Quisenberry, 136 for Sutter.
WAR: 25.4 for Quisenberry, 24.6 for Sutter.
JAWS: 24.2 for Quisenberry, 24.6 for Sutter.
I'm cheating a little here. Sutter had 861 strikeouts, and Quisenberry 379. Sutter also won the Cy Young Award in 1979. Quiz didn't win one, but did finish second twice, and probably should've won in 1983.
The case for Sutter is essentially about timing, marketing, and those strikeouts. But, if we're trying to judge the more effective pitcher, they're essentially the same. The strange thing isn't necessarily that Sutter is in and Quiz isn't — you have to draw a line somewhere — as much as Sutter flying in and Quiz basically never being considered.
The White-Mazeroski comparison is similar, but I'd make two arguments here. First, there's probably a better case to be made that Mazeroski should not be in the Hall than the case that White should be in.
Also, when people say, "Mazeroski and White are the same player except one hit a famous postseason home run," well, I'm sorry, I know this is going against the Kansas City guy, but that home run should absolutely matter. It's an indelible part of baseball history. Just one moment, sure, you can say that but it's a moment that remains one of the most famous in baseball 57 years later.
That's what sports are about, those moments, so shouldn't they be considered with awards?
what is your opinion on the team's plan for Cuthbert. He's been sitting against RH starters. Do they see him as a platoon guy?— Seth Heronemus (@sethheronemus) May 14, 2018
This is the type of thing that we talk about when the team is bad.
Cheslor Cuthbert is, by all accounts, a wonderful guy. Happy, hard working, a good ballplayer and teammate. He is also a fringe big-leaguer. A bench player on a good team.
He's had 830 plate appearances across parts of four big-league seasons, and he's hitting .253/.304/.380. That's an adjusted OPS of 83 or 82, depending on where you look, which puts him in line with Juan Uribe, Yolmer Sanchez, Jace Peterson, Wilmer Difo and others over the same time.
The original plan was for him to play everyday this year, finally, to get 500 plate appearances and see what's what. That was a fine plan, but once Mike Moustakas' market craters and he's available for $6.5 million guaranteed you change Cuthbert's plan.
Right now, there's not room for him to play regularly, even assuming the back spasms that took him out of the game last night don't linger.
There could be some potential there, as a hitter, but he's not a good enough defender or athlete to demand a longer look.
Why don’t the Royals use the formula from the 70s? Move fences back, put in artificial turf, draft fast outfielders and fly ball pitchers.— Steven Wood (@swood40) May 14, 2018
Are we sure this isn't what they're doing? It's basically how they won two pennants and a World Series.
They didn't push the fences back, obviously, but the fences are exactly where they were in 1985. Astroturf isn't coming back anywhere, but the Royals' front office has long tried to custom build their roster to fit on of baseball's biggest stadiums.
They're not close enough to the big leagues to get super excited about yet, but the lower levels of the minors are stocked with outfielders, particularly Khalil Lee, a potential five-tool guy with long strides and a strong arm to shrink the outfield. Hasn't worked, but that's what they saw in Bubba Starling, too.
The specific trends of baseball are largely unpredictable from year to year, but they're moving in the Royals' direction. More teams are emphasizing athleticism, and devaluing power.
It's an interesting dynamic, because it could work against the organization, making the traits they value most worth more in the eyes and (mostly) larger bank accounts of their competitors. But the ballpark here does put more of a shine on those traits than most, so at least in theory the Royals should be able to get more value from the traits most valued.
Tom and I aren't going to see eye to eye on this, and I'm not afraid to be this guy: run-flat tires are a scam.
They're way too expensive, and not nearly effective enough. You're not protected against sidewall damage, and you basically have to drop everything you're doing and go straight to the shop because you have, at most, 50 miles.
I'll go one step further. I'm not sure that's even more convenient than a traditional spare tire. I'm not claiming to be Old Man Parker here but I change a tire in a half hour or so. That's not a big deal, and you feel like you actually accomplished something.
A couple years ago, I drove to Minneapolis to cover the Royals. Got a flat somewhere in Iowa. Changed it, and still made first pitch. If I was on run-flats, I'd have been stuck 50 miles down the road.
I'll tell you modern conveniences taken for granted. Pay at the pump. ATMs. GPS. Podcasts. Netflix. DVR. Central air. Basically anything involving a cellphone, or Wi-Fi.
Take your run-flats back to the 1980s where they belong, sir.
Just lie to me and tell me that when I have two kids in a few months it will be the same as having one— Cody Tapp (@codybtapp) May 14, 2018
One of the grandest disconnects in life is the difference between how hard you think being a parent is the first time, and how easy you realize it was when you only had one kid.
There are a lot of factors here, perhaps most notably the difference in age. If you can spread them out enough that you only have one in diapers, that's a plus. If you can spread them out enough that the older one helps with the younger one, well, that sounds amazing.
Ours are 25 months apart, and both boys, so you can imagine I'm not going to tell you having two is anything but chaos.
Our situation was worse than most, probably, because my wife is home with them and I work from home most days with nothing but a glass door between my office and the room they spend the most time in.
It was, in hindsight, a pretty dumb way to go about it.
But fun! It is fun. You've heard me say before that there is no joy without pain, and I think it's true that you can't fully appreciate your kids laughing and playing together unless you've seen them punch each other and steal toys from each other and push each other for no good reason other than they think they're slick and can get away with it.
My only advice here: get a babysitter at least once every two weeks, and separate when you can, one of you taking the older kid and the other staying with the younger. Calm the chaos, as much as you can.
This week, I'm particularly grateful for a growing confidence with stuff around the house. My father-in-law gets most of the credit here, allowing me to basically be his sous chef in building a playhouse for the kids, but we have a very old house so I feel like anything I can learn to do saves us money and maybe even time. I'm far from adept. But I'm getting further from inept.