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ESPN’S IDEA WILL MAKE DOUBLEDAY ROLL OVER IN HIS GRAVE

 

Last updated 4/14/2020 at Noon



As the normal major league baseball season would be in its third week, fans continue to get antsy about the prospects of the 2020 campaign being expunged from the record books.

Although the eternal optimists—President Trump included—still have hopes things will start getting back to normal sometimes in May. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said last month he was hopeful the sport could be “gearing back up” in May. This was especially true with the 2020 baseball season after the ESPN report last week that suggested MLB and its Players Association are “increasingly focused” on a plan to play all regular-season games without fans in Phoenix.

ESPN’s idea gathered support from “high-ranking federal public health officials” after MLB discussed conducting all games from one central location, but admitted it has “not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan” to return from the coronavirus- induced shutdown, according to an article appearing last week in the Houston Chronicle.

The Phoenix area would be a good choice because several teams have their spring training sites there and the weather is fair and warm enough to extend the season into the late fall months if MLB chooses to follow that plan.

This location contains Chase Field (the Diamondbacks’ home park) and 10 spring training stadiums.

And according to ESPN, “other nearby fields” were in consideration.

“While we continue to interact regularly with governmental and public health officials, we have not sought or received approval of any plan from federal, state and local officials, or the Players Association,” the league said last week, according to the article.

“The health and safety of our employees, players, and the public at large are paramount, and we are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus.” One of the most asked questions about this plan is “what if a player or coach tests positive for COVID-10?” This happened recently in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League which rescheduled its opening day for April 24 only to have three players test positive for the virus last week.

The April 24 target date has since been pushed back, according to the Chronicle’s article.

ESPN reported “officials do not believe that a positive test would necessarily be cause to quarantine the entire team or shut down the season.” Expanded rosters could allow teams to compensate if a player falls ill.

I just can’t see this working out.

The batter does not stand more than six feet from the catcher.

The umpire stands less than a foot behind the catcher.

Pitchers have the tendency to lick their fingers before touching the baseball and delivering the pitch.

If the batter reaches first base, the lack of social distancing continues.

Baseball players certainly don’t sit six feet away from their teammates in the dugout.

When a coach or manager visits the mound, he certainly doesn’t give his words of wisdom to his pitcher from six feet away without keeping the opposition from hearing his plan on how to pitch to the upcoming batter.

Among the changes proposed by ESPN’s plan include no mound visits from the catcher or the pitching coach, players and team personnel abandoning their dugout to sit six feet apart in the empty stands and an electronic strike zone that allows umpires to distance themselves from catchers.

“Security would be needed for a league full of recognizable players in a place the entire world will know they temporarily reside,” the article continued.

And when that important bottom line is factored in, more than 30 per cent of the league’s total revenue is derived from gate receipts.

If games in Phoenix are played, putting more of them on television could recoup some of that lost money, but nothing near what a regular 162-game season would offer.

“While we have discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option, we have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan,” according to the commissioner’s office.

And while the major league baseball gurus are studying which options maybe viable, the game’s inventor, Abner Doubleday, is probably rolling over in his grave about the way they are trying to mess up his game.

KWICKIES…Unlike the senior cadets at West Point, the Air Force Academy will have it graduation Saturday after keeping the seniors quarantined in their dormitory rooms at the facility during spring break and completing their required courses to graduate.

Unfortunately, according to our grandson Logan Smith, most West Point cadets went home and are completing their course requirements on line and will graduate in May as originally planned.

And speaking of our grandson Logan, he received an e-mail from MLB Draft Operations last weekend stating it has instituted temporary scouting rules that allow all Clubs to conduct remote scouting activities, including contacting players, families and advisors via electronic communications (e.g.

phone, text, email, video).

Effective Saturday, all players will be able to upload data and video that took place before March 27, 2020 to the Prospect Link to be distributed by the Commissioner’s Office to all MLB Clubs who have invited them to the system.

Oklahoma State head football coach Mike Gundy apologized Saturday for his comments earlier in the week about the COVID-19 pandemic, which he referred to as the “Chinese virus.” Former Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton, who has been a super flake throughout most of his major league career, has been indicted on a felony charge of injury to a child after his 14-year-old daughter accused him of beating her after she made a comment that upset him.

The 38-year-old Hamilton is free on $30,000 bail.

It wasn’t a big surprise to me that Orange’s Earl Thomas was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team as a free safety which was named last week.

Since joining the NFL in 2010, Earl has 30 interceptions, 11 forced fumbles and 497 total tackles.

JUST BETWEEN US…I was saddened to read in Monday’s paper about the death of four-time All-Star Chicago Cubs second baseman Glenn Beckert. We played together in the Arizona Winter League where he was working to switch from a shortstop to a second baseman.

It was a good move for the Cubbies because regular second baseman Ken Hubbs was killed while piloting his airplane in February 1964.

I played against Hubbs in the 1954 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

where we beat

Colton, Calif. 7-5 to win the world championship. Beckert teamed with shortstop Don Kessinger to form one of the best double-play combinations in baseball.

 

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