The Rundown: COVID-19 ‘Bigger Than Baseball,’ Time to Shut Down at Least Temporarily, Opening Day Deadline for Javy Extension Talks
“There are things bigger than baseball. This is something that we need to take very seriously.” – Kris Bryant
Bryant on thought of playing in front of no fans: pic.twitter.com/ABlU1M9vpA
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) March 11, 2020
The world is very different today than it was yesterday, and the magnitude of what is happening due to concerns over COVID-19 is minuscule in scope as to what we will wake up to tomorrow and next week. We will all be making huge adjustments and sacrifices over at least the next month to adjust to a world that is grinding to a halt.
When the NBA decided to suspend its season yesterday because Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the novel virus, it set a precedent for other sports to follow. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban echoed Bryant’s statement yesterday evening.
“This is crazy. This can’t be true,” Cuban said. “I mean, it’s not within the realm of possibility. It seemed more like out of a movie than reality. You know what, it’s really not about basketball or money. Literally, if this thing is just exploding to where all of a sudden players and owners have it, you think about your family. You really want to make sure you’re doing this the right way. Because now, it’s much more personal. You see what’s happening in other countries … stunning isn’t the right word. It’s crazy.”
Mark Cuban reacts to the NBA suspending the season indefinitely because of the coronavirus. pic.twitter.com/k0sttl50Eh
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 12, 2020
There’s a decent chance the NBA season will never resume, per Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.
“The people I’ve talked to tonight, they don’t have any idea how long this is going to last, and if I had to characterize it [in any way] there’s not a lot of optimism that this season is going to be able to be resumed,” Mannix said on NBC’s Boston Sports Tonight. “There’s more of a sense that — and they’re getting this from their own medical experts — that there’s a real possibility that this gets worse countrywide before it gets better.’
Expect Major League Baseball to follow suit. I understand that playing games in empty stadiums is still a possibility, but that leaves players and team personnel still at risk, and thus their families and the general population at large. The responsible thing for Rob Manfred to do is delay the start of the season until a containment plan is in place. Nobody knows how long that will take since global pandemics don’t afford the luxury of providing shelf lives.
The world is shutting down, and rightly so. This is not something to take lightly any longer. Baseball should halt the season, including spring training, right now. If they do not and just one player — or a family member or fan — gets sick and dies, and it is something Manfred and the owners could have prevented, that would be a travesty of monumental proportions. The NBA wasn’t able to stay a step ahead of COVID-19. Manfred should not make the same mistake.
Cubs News & Notes
- According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, executives from across Major League Baseball will participate in a Friday conference call to determine whether or how to proceed with the rest of spring training and the start of the regular season.
- The Cubs beat the Padres 3-2 yesterday as Alec Mills continued his magnificent spring. Craig Kimbrel had a nice bounceback outing, too, striking out two San Diego batters in an inning of work.
- Bryant has enjoyed batting leadoff so far. As part of his transition, the third baseman has sought feedback from Anthony Rizzo, Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, and Willson Contreras, who have each spent time atop the order.
- Schwarber is looking forward to a big season, too.
- The Cubs made five additional cuts yesterday, including relief pitchers Dakota Mekkes and James Norwood.
- David Ross indicated that he has narrowed his choice for Opening Day starter to Yu Darvish or Kyle Hendricks.
- Extension talks between the Cubs and Javier Báez continue to progress, but both sides have put a start-of-the-season deadline on those negotiations.The Cubs are a difficult team to project, but little doubt exists that this team is capable of making the playoffs come October.
- The pipeline from research and development to their players and coaches wasn’t working as well as they wanted. So, like other organizations, the Cubs have expanded their staff to include directors of pitching and hitting, a practice that is becoming more common in baseball.
Odds & Sods
Knicks owner James Nolan is no stranger to controversy but this is beyond special, even for him.
Several teams were willing to put the games on hiatus, but the rest wanted to move toward eliminating fans from arenas to continue playing games, sources tell ESPN. One team wanted to keep status quo until a governmental/public mandate dictated change: The New York Knicks.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 12, 2020
MLB Spring Training Notes
MLB’s next coronavirus decision could be drastic: “Take a month off, sit still, see where it’s at, move forward.”
Health experts say that moving games to other cities makes no sense. Seattle will not let the Mariners open at home and the state of California has imposed restrictions on public gatherings, limiting audiences to 250 people.
Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres has been struggling defensively all spring, but manager Aaron Boone will continue to let him get his reps in and work through it.
The Twins have named Jose Berrios as their Opening Day starter.
Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt has been slowed this spring by a sore elbow.
The Indians have shut down starter Carlos Carrasco due to an elbow injury.
Angels manager Joe Maddon believes that Shohei Ohtani should be a .300 hitter.
Sports Illustrated projects the Dodgers to win 107 games this season, then lose to the Yankees in the World Series.
There is speculation that as many as 150 million Americans may get the coronavirus, which could mean as many as 4.5 million deaths. Even if it errs to the high side, that’s a sobering estimate and there is no point in taking chances.
If baseball cancels the entire season, and we are obviously not there yet, what happens to player contracts, arbitration, and free agency?
You guys had so much fun yesterday I decided to play along, too.
1. Pearl Jam Ten
2. Dre The Chronic
3. U2 Achtung Baby
4. Nirvana MTV Unplugged
5. Lucinda Williams Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
6. R.E.M. Automatic for the People
7. Liz Phair Exile in Guyville
8. Alanis Morissette Jagged Little Pill
9. Snoop Dogg Doggystyle https://t.co/2WKf5TtyZj
— Michael Canter #DonateLife #SaveALife (@MEdwardCanter) March 11, 2020
They Said It
- “At some point, somebody [in baseball] will get coronavirus. If somebody [does], I think MLB will do the same thing as the NBA.” – Yu Darvish
- “Baseball’s in a different spot. just because we haven’t actually started our season yet, so MLB and everybody can really nail this. I don’t know what’s on the table — no fans, delay the season. I just think people’s safety is the utmost importance right now. Obviously, it would be nice to play games with the fans and full stadiums, and there’s a lot of other stuff to be taken into consideration. But people’s health is the most important thing to me.” – Kris Bryant
Thursday Walk Up Song
We Built This City by Starship
- What went wrong? It could be the worst song ever made. The video isn’t much better. I have a question, how does rock and roll build a city when real instruments aren’t the basis of the arrangement. Are those MIDI files? Poor Grace Slick. She’s so much better than this. Good God.
- How does it play today? This is the Godzilla vs. Gigan of music videos. If it is anything more than a guilty pleasure, you are truly a fan of bad music.