Kaylee Bryson raced her way in, and finished 18th, on the lead lap, in a field that included NASCAR Cup winner and two-time defending Chili Bowl champion Kyle Larson. And now, Tanner Thorson can tell everyone that he beat NASCAR’s best – and there seems to be a good chance that he’s a colorful storyteller, so that’s cool.
Thorson, in fact, already has talked about beating Larson, saying before last year’s Chili Bowl, “I was one of the handful of guys who beat Larson when he ran midget this year and [NASCAR driver and Saturday’s runner-up Christopher] Bell, too. I know I can, and I’m planning on it. We just have to be prepared for anything.”
It was a year later than he planned, but still a fantastic comeback from a fiery California highway crash in 2019, driving back from a race in Las Vegas, that left Thorson hospitalized.
Not a bad night to have learned about the Chili Bowl.
Oh, there’s the money
There’s something kind of unsettling, even in non-lockout times, about Major League Baseball’s international signing period, when prospects from other countries get signing bonuses rising into the millions. Good for them getting paid, for sure, but it’s also a reminder of how broken the system is when bonuses are splashed around like that and minor leaguers don’t get a living wage when they’re actually playing.
These kids aren’t subject to the draft, and in fact wouldn’t even be eligible for it if they were Americans because they’re mostly 16 and 17 years old. They’re also a long way from being part of the MLBPA, whose members aren’t getting paid anything now because of the lockout. That puts just a bit sharper focus on baseball teams being the businesses that they are, and that they’re in a standoff with their union employees but will continue to operate the same way, exactly as they see fit, when not subject to collective bargaining.
If they were, perhaps they’d rebalance their efforts from being so heavy on money to recruit talent to spending on the development of that talent. Because it’s not just a reminder that baseball is a business, but that baseball’s business model is short-sighted, focusing on immediate gain of either talent or profit over building for the long term.