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WILL THERE EVER BE AN MLB OPENING DAY?

 

Last updated 3/31/2020 at Noon



KAZ’S KORNER

The 2020 Major League baseball season’s opening day has come and gone.

It officially was supposed to start last Thursday in San Diego, but the coronavirus pandemic squelched that festive event.

And since President Donald J. Trump extended his deadline for the voluntary virus shutdown until April 30, it’s a sure bet the season won’t start much before June 1 at the earliest.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred still has an optimistic outlook and said last weekend that at some point in May baseball will be gearing up.

But his comments came before the President’s declaration on Sunday.

One of the main problems confronting a shortened season will be to alter the schedules of most teams so it will be fair as far as playing an equal number of games against division foes and playing an equal number of home and away games.

This week’s edition of USA Today Sports Weekly points out the situation in the American League East Division where the New York Yankees are the perennial favorites.

But their biggest challenger in the last couple of seasons has been the Tampa Bay Rays, “If the season begins June 1, it wipes out two scheduled series at Tampa Bay (seven games) and leaves three Rays-Yankees series at New York—a huge disadvantage to the Rays.

“If the season begins on June 15, the New York Mets’ schedule has them playing nine more road games than home games, including three separate West Coast trips.

“One solution: Switch sites.

“For example, by taking one of the Yanks’ home series versus the Rays and switching it to Tampa Bay, they’d evenly play six home and road games apiece,” the article suggests.

The article admits that doesn’t resolve all of the problems regarding intra-division play, and not every team is going to play the same number of home and road games.

“But it would be extremely difficult to redraw the MLB schedule at this point.

So, the balancing would have to come via a more inclusive post-season tourney,” the article concludes.

The key to all these prognostications has to do with the Almighty Dollar—that bottom line.

Every game that is not played results in an average loss of a million dollars per game.

And money does highlight this equation of lost games.

Last Thursday the players union agreed to a deal with MLB that would preserve service time in the event the season is canceled because of the coronavirus.

Players will not challenge the loss of their salaries if no games are played.

Management will advance $170 million in salary payments over the first 60 days of the original schedule, and the money does not have to be returned if the season is canceled according to the Associated Press in its Saturday editions.

Players’ salaries are estimated to total around $4 billion.

The players also agreed to consider playing past the usual end of the post-season in late October and early November, even if it involves using neutral sites and domed stadiums.

They would consider a large increase to get in as many games as possible, to play without fans and to revise the post-season format.

Some of these scenarios will be discussed and hopefully decided by April 10.

In the event of a shortened season, 2020 salaries would be prorated depending on how much of the season is played.

Or, if one is to believe ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit who on Monday’s First Take show said he doesn’t believe there will be either a major league baseball season or an NFL season in 2020.

KWICKIES…Now that Tom Brady is gone from New England and is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, I wonder what Head Coach Bill Belichick will dangle in front of top NFL players to lure them to become Patriots? Shortstop Carlos Correa has become the Astros’ spokesman defending his team about the 2017 spying scandal.

“I’m OK with what people have to say about what happened in 2017.

But when people start saying lies or they don’t know the facts, that’s when I get rubbed the wrong way,” Correa told the Houston Chronicle for Sunday’s edition.

“I felt like there were a lot of things said out there that were not true and no one was doing anything about it.” Texas Longhorns’ starting quarterback Sam Ehlinger launched a coronavirus fund-raising campaign and as of last weekend has raised nearly $33,000 from 425 donating patrons.

“Proud of a great leader both on and off the field for stepping up to help Texans in need,” Texas coach Tom Herman said in a tweet.

And speaking of the Texas Longhorns, Athletic Director Chris Del Conte has decided to bring back head basketball coach Shaka Smart for a sixth season.

However, it was a financial decision—if the Longhorns let Smart go because of his subpar season in 2020, they would have to pay Smart $10.5 million because of his guaranteed contract that runs another three years.

So, it looks to me that Smart was pretty smart!! The cancellation of the NCAA March Madness cost the city of Houston $10.7 million for hosting the South Region Tournament.

JUST BETWEEN US…A D1 Analytics of 2020 top 50 senior pitchers in Division I colleges and universities by lookaside.fbsbx.com ranks our grandson Logan Smith of Army West Point No. 8 overall with a durability score of 88.1(based on innings pitched and number of batters faced) which ranked fourth in the nation.

But today, Logan is back home in Lufkin completing his senior year online.

 

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