Last night on a late night trip to Taco Bell, I tuned into one of the most recent episodes of the Ryen Russillo Podcast. His latest guest? PLL phenom & co-founder Paul Rabil. For many retired lacrosse players like myself, many of us have known the name for over 10 years since his heydays at Johns Hopkins. Unfortunately, too many people have only heard of him since Barstool decided to go all in on the PLL.
I think Barstool made a great investment and I’m not just saying that as a former player. The PLL is much different from the MLL and NLL. While the NLL will most likely continue to be a strong league, the PLL and MLL are competing against each other head-to-head. The sport simply is not big enough to have two leagues trying to get a piece of the pie. The MLL has been around for years, one year shy of two decades actually, and the PLL is the new kid on the block only being in existence for two years.
While the MLL has helped us watch some college stand outs continue to play at the next level, it simply never really took off. Even as the sport of lacrosse is sweeping into new areas and continues to thrive as a hotbed up along the northeast coast, the viewership and interest just simply never grew the same way the sport is.
The PLL, which launched just last season, was created with a completely different approach to growing the league, while also trying to grow the sport. Instead of scattering teams all across the east coast and telling franchises to survive on their own, the PLL decided instead to have set teams, but to travel to all across North America playing at different venues across the way.
Last year the PLL traveled to 10 different states scattered all across North America. That’s right, Rabil and the gang even took lacrosse up into Canada as well. I’m not sure if maybe a regular 2020 schedule would have made an emphasis to stop in more cities, but we just weren’t going to get a normal schedule with everything going on at the moment.
Regardless of what those answers even are, we did get one big question answered on the podcast (although Paul did mention something about an NBC sports article already being published, but that’s besides the point) – the PLL is returning in 2020. On July 25th, the PLL will kick off its season with a shortened 20 game schedule with a champion being crowned on August 9th.
I can’t even begin to describe how amazing this news is. Being just one of two lacrosse players in my group of friends growing up, I’m used to people constantly shitting on the sport. I don’t ever really understand the hate but I get it, it is your opinion. I just mention to turn on any college game you stumble across when you’re bored on a Saturday with nothing better to do. It’s fast paced, high scoring and a ton of violence, what’s not to love?
Since we haven’t had any live sports in months outside of a UFC card this past weekend, people are gonna be jonsing for some sports real soon. People who may never turn on lacrosse a day in their life, may be doing so because they just wanna get back to their barbaric roots and watch the human specimen compete against each other.
If that’s the case, then Paul Rabil is 100% the right choice to help grow the game and be the sports biggest ambassador. Do I hope the PLL is still touring 10 years from now? Absolutely not, I hope the sports has grown enough to show interested that can land teams in areas primed to develop lacrosse players and hopefully, fans. But I do hope the PLL is still around come 10 years from now.
Even if the MLB has returned before the first face off of the 2020 PLL schedule, I still think the PLL is setting themselves up nicely for a major comeup in 2020. the only question left is, what does the Basement gotta do to get some of us writers credentialed?