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Bleacher Bum

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Fans celebrating the success of their favorite sports team on the stands of the professional stadium. Stadium is made in 3D.

I take a lot of shots at the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA), most of them having to do with its ridiculous policies regarding media coverage of the softball state tournament and the soccer state semifinals, so it's always good to praise the organization when the opportunity arises.

(In the soccer state semifinals, photographers are only allowed to be on the side of the field opposite the teams. Reason: so we don't distract the players.

Meanwhile, who is on the side with the players? School administrators, MPSSAA big shots, officials, etc. Teams that reach the state semis tend to get lots of media coverage during the season, so photographers and reporters are basically background by that point. 

Who's going to be the bigger distraction to the players?)

As I mentioned last week, spring high school sports have officially been cancelled, as well as the state basketball tournament which have been held in stasis in the semifinal round since the beginning of March.

The MPSSAA announced on Tuesday the 32 teams (16 boys, 16 girls) who were in the semifinals when the tournament was cancelled will still be honored.

Each player on these teams will receive team and individual awards for making it to the semifinals (essentially, all regional champs). The awards will congratulate each team and player as a 2020 state semifinalist and they will be recorded as such in the MPSSAA record book.

The state will also send each school a set of commemorative roster cards and one of the state tournament Spalding TF1000 Classic Official game balls.

This is nice. It was a bad, unprecedented situation all around. Basketball was the only winter sport not yet completed at the time of the pandemic shutdown, so it's great they're getting something to highlight a season during which they got to within two wins of a state title before they're chances were snatched away through no fault of their own.

In Baltimore County, this applies to the Parkville boys team, New Town boys and the Pikesville girls team.

The shutdown was particularly cruel to the Knights, who hadn't reached the state semis since 2008 and haven't reached the state championship game since 1974.

Parkville (17-3), seeded third in the Class 4A state final eight, defeated Winston Churchill in the quarterfinals 74-64 and was due to play at second-seeded Springbrook (17-3) in the semifinals.

The winner would have faced either top-seeded Richard Montgomery (17-3) or fifth-seeded Wise (14-5) in the championship game at College Park.

***

So, being a fan means sticking with your team even when their philosophy appears to be settling for being good, not great.

That's the obvious conclusion from the Green Bay Packers' draft picks: upper management is content to just be a contender each season, and won't go all-in for a Super Bowl run.

They just want to make the playoffs each season, and maybe catch lightning in a bottle every now and then like in 2010.

Apparently, the only Super Bowl the Packers will win with Aaron Rodgers is when they snuck into the playoffs as a sixth seed, won three road games and then upset the Steelers in the Super Bowl.

The Packers were last seen getting ground into the turf in the NFC championship game by a 49er's team that put up 37 points while only throwing six passes.

Some guy with 1,069 career yards in five seasons rushed for 220 yards and four touchdowns in the game.

Entering the draft, I thought the Packers needed: some strong linebackers who could stop the run; a good wide receiver to complement Davante Adams; a promising pass-catching tight end; a lineman to help protect Rodgers considering Bryan Bulaga's move to San Diego; and did I mention a stud wide receiver, preferably a first-round talent?

Instead, in the first round we Packer fans got … a quarterback. In the second round we got … a running back. You know, two positions of strength entering the 2020 season (should there be one).

The Packers did get a tight end with the third pick, and eventual added a linebacker and several offensive linemen.

But no wide receiver.

This is not a "look how it turned out when the Packers drafted Rodgers while Favre was the starter" situation. Brett was repeatedly flirting with retirement; Rodgers intends to play out the remainder of his four-year contract.

Rodgers was a projected first-overall pick who dropped to the Packers; Jordan Love threw 17 interceptions in the Mountain West Conference last year, and the Packers traded up to get him despite none of the teams in front of them needing a quarterback.

And if the Packers' plan is to follow the Ravens and 49er's and become a run-heavy team - couldn't they have at least honored their history and drafted a running back with the speed to run the sweep?

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