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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Bridges: New Year’s resolutions for those in the sporting world

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Now that we’ve turned the page into 2022, I thought I’d be kind enough to offer some suggestions to those in this market and beyond on how they might improve things in the ever-evolving sports world.

To the good people at the Indiana Pacers, your owner is wrong, as it’s clearly time to rebuild (not retool) the team. You didn’t agree to pay Rick Carlisle over $7 million annually to continue the floundering, so let him make all the basketball decisions and you’ll reap the benefits his knowledge and experience can bring you in the transition.

This season is shot, so take a good, hard look at the young players you’ve called up from the G League and find out who can play at the NBA level.

Put all the players under contract for next year on notice that their ZIP code may very well be changing and field a team free of malcontents that will compete hard each night and who will leave everything on the floor.

COVID-19 and injuries are no longer excuses for the mediocrity, so utilize the balance of this campaign to start the overhauling process.

For all those on West 56th Street, you also can use some shaking up. As the Colts prepare to sneak into the playoffs this week, it’s time this offseason to seriously evaluate the performance of general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich.

Those extensions you inked them to last August run through 2026, but they also contain buyouts, so perhaps reminding them that finishing in the middle of the pack isn’t acceptable, despite the injuries and impact of COVID-19. Go out and get a legitimate No. 1 receiver and then determine if Carson Wentz is truly your quarterback after next season. Don’t rush to extend Jonathan Taylor to a lucrative contract extension until he puts up another big season. Lastly, continue the quest for a left tackle who can answer the bell every Sunday.

Finally, to the people at the greatest racing facility in the world, please stay the course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as you showcase the crown jewel of the NTT IndyCar Series every May.
Roger Penske doesn’t need me to tell him anything, but I’ll do it anyway. Continue to be a great steward for the improvement of environmental health in this community with your drive-thru facilities offering vaccinations and testing, as it’s not just about race fans, but yet everyone who takes advantage of the available resources you are providing through partnerships with health care professionals.

Don’t take your foot off the gas as you prepare for the safest possible Indianapolis 500 that will hopefully be green-lighted for another capacity crowd.

Make it a priority to set the standard for fan safety and provide the respite the racing community is starving for.

You can do it, and everyone is watching you, so in typical Penske fashion, do a first-class job of protecting those who are anxious to reembrace the greatness that is 16th and Georgetown for all the races you will present this season.

To all you who read my offerings regularly, I wish you a prosperous new year as well.

Keep emailing me and telling me what I’m wrong about as your patronage to this newspaper gives you that right and then some. My skin is pretty thick so have at it, as I truly enjoy those who question my knowledge and sanity.

Finally, to those who tolerate me at the Indianapolis Recorder, I hope you’ll give me yet another year. I’m just a sports hack, but you folks report the facts. On my best day I’m simply a writer, but you good people are journalists, so continue to keep that sacred obligation close to the vest, as I’m out here searching for something less significant.

Don’t compromise when it’s a difficult story to report, and continue to hold people accountable every day with what you write. We’re accustomed to that and counting on you to do it.

Danny Bridges, who is glad to be alive in 2022 and wishes everyone peace and prosperity this year, can be reached at 317-370-8447 or at bridgeshd@aol.com.

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