In recent years, Blackbird Presents has been putting together all-star tribute concerts to honor some of the most renowned names in music. Today, they’ve announced another installment in their series, titled Sing Me Back Home: The Music Of Merle Haggard, bringing dozens of artists together for the cause.The organizers revealed their initial lineup today, with Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, John Mellencamp, Dierks Bentley, Loretta Lnn, The Avett Brothers, Hank Williams Jr., Alison Krauss, Ronnie Dunn, Warren Haynes, Jamey Johnson, Kacey Musgraves, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Lucinda Williams, Ben Haggard, John Anderson, Connie Smith, Bobby Bare and more all performing for the event. It’s scheduled to take place on April 6th, 2017, at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN.Merle Haggard was a lifelong musician who gained famed for his hit country-western song “Okie From Muskogee” in 1969. With well-known songs like “Sing Me Back Home” and “Mama Tried” in the Grateful Dead repertoire, Haggard’s legacy is rich among the vast world of music lovers. He passed away on April 6th, 2016, on his 79th birthday, and the tribute concert will take place on the exact day of his 80th birthday.For all the information about this show, head to the official website here.
Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone As of 3 p.m. Tuesday, 26 NFL players had decided to opt out of the coming season, including Patriots’ linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung – two of six New England players opting out – as well as Ravens wide receiver/returner De’Anthony Thomas, Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay Tardif, Bills defensive tackle Star Lotulelei and Bears defensive tackle Eddie Goldman. Players currently have until early next week to opt out, and you can be certain there will be more.And then there’s this from the land of make-believe: Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said Tuesday the school plans to limit attendance to 20 percent of capacity at its home football games. This assumes that there will be a college football season this fall.Right. Never assume, especially outside the [email protected]@Jim_Alexander on Twitter We have all wanted so desperately for this to work.It’s an experiment, really, a one-of-its-kind venture played out over several different stages in several different ways. The risks hit home with a resounding thud Monday, when baseball games in two cities had to be canceled and an outbreak of the coronavirus among the Miami Marlins brought into stark relief just how risky it is to conduct sports in a pandemic on anything even close to an “as usual” basis.When MLB announced Tuesday that the Marlins’ season was suspended through Sunday, and other teams’ schedules were revamped to deal with the real-time health crisis, it was a reminder of just how much of a high wire act this is.And if those in charge in other sports – especially the NFL, and especially college football – haven’t been paying close attention and reconsidering their own futures, isn’t that a form of malpractice? But if people did things right and an outbreak took place anyway, and if that continues to happen, at what point do you shut the whole thing down?“This could put it in danger,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday morning on ABC’s Good Morning America. “I don’t believe they need to stop, but we just need to follow this and see what happens with other teams on a day by day basis.”Unsaid in that last sentence but presumably implied: The word “yet.”It is one thing to try to create a hermetically-sealed environment to keep the virus out or at least contained, as the NWSL, MLS, NBA, WNBA and NHL have attempted or are attempting. As described by our Laker beat writer, Kyle Goon, who is in the NBA bubble in Orlando, the restrictions are severe and so are the consequences – four to 10 days in quarantine – but the upshot is a reasonable amount of confidence that the conditions are safe.Baseball eschewed the bubble concept and it probably wasn’t doable anyway. With the number of games involved and the number of fields necessary, no way could you bring an entire league or division to one campus or even one city.“The NBA and the NHL have an advantage: smaller numbers of players, shorter period of time,” commissioner Rob Manfred said in a Monday interview on the MLB Network. “I understand why they did what they did. I’m just not sure it was workable for us.”But trying to play even a shortened season with protocols in a quasi-normal environment, with buses, planes and hotels nearly half the time and the honor system governing behavior away from the field, is incredibly risky. It requires perfect buy-in from every player because the chain reaction from just one screwup could imperil a season. And we’ve already seen in one weekend of play that players aren’t even observing the in-stadium bans on spitting, high-fiving and leaning on the dugout railings without using a towel, all part of what is supposed to be an ironclad protocol.MLB issued a statement Tuesday that of more than 6,400 tests conducted since Friday, no new positives had come from any club besides the Marlins. That’s nice but deceptive given the lag between exposure and infection. Let’s see what happens after another week of buses, planes, hotels, etc. Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Meanwhile, NFL people are indeed paying attention to baseball’s issues, but they have their own, too. Consider this sobering development: Eric Sugarman is the Minnesota Vikings’ head trainer, vice president of sports medicine and director of the team’s virus prevention plan, and he has tested positive for coronavirus.“We know how they do things there, and we’re all under the same protocol,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said Monday. “We know they’re very strict there.“Reality hits hard on this. You can’t let your guard down at any point, any time.”Related Articles Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros The house of cards started to lean Sunday, when the Marlins played anyway in Philadelphia after four players tested positive for the coronavirus. By Tuesday that number was up to 15 players and two coaches, the Washington Nationals players had voted not to travel to Miami for their weekend series – a mass opt-out, in a sense – and MLB made it a moot point by benching the Marlins for the week, putting the Phillies on ice until Friday, and scheduling a two-game series in Baltimore Wednesday and Thursday between the Yankees (who were supposed to play the Phillies) and the Orioles (who were supposed to play the Marlins), with further rescheduling on the fly to come.Basically, five days into a season that was supposed to cram 60 games into 66 days, the schedule is already a mess in the NL East.Five days.And yes, as Angels manager Joe Maddon noted Monday before his team’s game in Oakland, it is best to reserve judgment until we know if this was just horrible luck or personal irresponsibility on the part of one or more players on those teams.“If it was more extemporaneous, and everything was followed and this popped in there, it would be more problematic,” he said. “However, if it’s more readily explainable by retracing, then you start – not jumping to conclusions but creating some adjustments.” Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error