TOP OF THE TOWN – So much has happened in the past week that it’s impossible not to wonder what the heck is going on. Close to home, a wonderful man and really good baseball and football coach, Virgil Taylor, died, on Sept. 2. He retired as a North Kitsap social studies teacher in 2000 after 36 years, but kept on coaching in football until in 2014 when his health issues forced him to stop. Lute Olson, the fabulous basketball coach at Arizona, died on Aug. 27, John Thompson, the first black coach to win the NCAA basketball championship (Georgetown) died one day before Virg on Sept. 1, and Tom Terrific, Tom Seaver, certainly in the conversation as the greatest pitcher of all time, died on Aug. 31. And last, but not least, Chad Boseman died Aug. 28. The Black Panther star was just 43 years old. I have been fortunate to be having been around all of the above except Boseman. Not that I was friends were them – Virg and I had a good  relationship – but I crossed paths with them while writing about basketball and baseball for the Kitsap Sun (Bremerton Sun, The Sun). Thompson always seemed a bit rude to me and he always carried a towel on his shoulder during basketball games that sometimes he would throw at people. But he was truly a good guy who did a lot for black players. Olson also seemed a bit aloof, but he was a great college coach that if you were sitting on the opposing college basketball bench you probably hated him because his teams won and won and won. Seaver I accidently ran into during a quick run up from the lower press row at the Kingdome to grab a hot dog before the next half inning started between the Mariners and Yankees. While grabbing a hot dog, Seaver, who did color commentary on Yankee radio broadcasts, also showed up for a hot dog. Without asking, Seaver began telling me how difficult it was for him to transition from a player to the broadcast booth. To give you a little inside information, players are cuddled. They almost have to do nothing to get ready for a road trip. Their bags, including golf clubs if that is what they plan to do on off-hours on a trip, are taken care of. All they have to do is get on the bus to the airport and another bus to the hotel and walk to their room where their baggage is already there. Their comfort is the first consideration of a major league baseball player by supporting staff. The only thing players have to do on trips is maybe lift a finger. And players get paid per diem. At one time it was $105 a day for a trip. All of it has to be in cash before the players leave. The traveling secretary comes around with cash in envelopes and gives each player their pre-diem. Considering that some of the players make millions of dollars a season, it was kind of stupid to also pay them a pre-diem of that much. So the new collective bargaining agreement reduced that to $30 a day. Which still seems stupid to me. Anyway, Seaver told me as we added mustard to our hot dogs that his biggest problem in the transition was carrying his own bags to and from the airport. He wasn’t complaining or being snooty, he just had never had it any other way and now he was asked to take care of his own luggage. I might add, he was very grateful for his life and his career and even though we were together at the back of the press box for just a few minutes, I found him a very thoughtful and humble  guy. None of the guys I mentioned above were bad guys. They were all good ones. It’s tough to lose good guys. We need all we can get in these tumultuous times. … The Mariners and Seahawks have been busy trading and signing players and hundreds of high school players marched today to the capital in Olympia to express their desire to have a fall football season. I’m beginning to change my mind on playing football in the midst of a pandemic. I’m not quite there yet, but I can change my mind if they convince me it would be safe. I’m just not sure if it is. North Carolina State postponed its Sept. 12 season opener with Virginia Tech because 22 players tested positive for the virus. Texas Tech has 21 positive and 19 positives on the campus of the University of Alabama forced the Major of Tuscaloosa to shut down bars for14 days. Excuse me for thinking that is funny. We are talking about Alabama football players and the Major shuts down the bars. I guess players are drinking something stronger than orange juice. As for our state high school players, I get that they want to play. For some, college football scholarships hinge on them being able to showcase their talents this fall. I’d be ticked if I had a chance for a scholarship, but would have to show it on the field, and then being told I can’t be on the field. … Then there is LeBron James blasting broadcaster Jay Williams for saying James was Scottie Pippen to Dwayne Wade when they were both with Miami. Really? LeBron takes a back seat to no one. But if it generates twitter time I guess Williams has done what he gets paid to do. Which brings me to say that you can’t compare athletes in different eras and get who is the very best of all time. I will argue Wilt Chamberlain was the best in my book. He could do everything but bring the ball up the court, which big men were not asked to do when he played. But I can’t compare him to Michael Jordan or LeBron because they all have played in different times with different rules and better training methods. … One final thought: Seems to me the NBA Bubble and NHL Bubble are working well against the virus. Baseball is skating by, but I still don’t know about football. We’ll see, I guess. That’s it for today.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a great day.

You are love.