The Rundown: Preposterous Schedule Suggestions, Rizzo Coping with Strange Times, Manfred Keeps Ruling on Red Sox Under Wraps

It’s not Opening Day and I know my fellow baseball fans are going to have a difficult time with that today. We’d all hoped to see Yu Darvish mow down Christian Yelich and the rest of the Brewers to kick of the David Ross era of Cubs baseball with a victory, but that’s on indefinite hold. Baseball will return, we just don’t know when. Some of the more preposterous suggestions regarding the resumption of baseball in 2020 include playing a full season with the World Series played at a neutral site around Christmas, or not playing a season at all.

A shortened season seems assured given the current situation, though some are opposed. Super agent Scott Boras has apparently spent a great deal of time researching what he feels is the most optimal scenario for starting the season in June. Boras believes baseball should play its 162-game schedule starting June 1, and a 144-game schedule if the 2020 season cannot commence until July 1. With either approach, the entirety of the playoffs would take place in December in the league’s eight domed stadiums (Milwaukee, Seattle, Toronto, Miami, Tampa Bay, Arizona, Texas, Houston) and three Southern California stadiums (LA Angels and Dodgers, San Diego).

Bear in mind, Boras expects the entire regular season to be played in each of the 30 teams’ home stadiums. He reasons that if fans can weather early spring conditions in late March, they can do the same with the final week of the season post-Thanksgiving. No matter how good the Cubs are this year, I can’t see a late season home tilt against the Pirates at the end of November drawing much of a crowd to Wrigley Field.

Imagine the lack of attendance in cities across America whose teams have been mathematically eliminated. More astoundingly, think about what an extended season would do to the schedule for next winter:

  • 2020 season ends December 26.
  • Free agents forced to file by December 31.
  • Owners and Winter Meetings likely held back-to-back sometime in early January.
  • Fan conventions kicking off the last week of January.
  • Spring training starting the second or third week of February.

That really shortens the free agency window quite a bit and would most certainly result in a number of bidding wars for players hitting the open market. You’ve probably deduced that this type of offset scheduling would therefore be very appealing to Boras. The cash register never sleeps with this guy, does it? If anybody can find a way to maximize profits in the wake of a COVID-19 economic downturn, it’s Mr. Boras.

As far as skipping the season entirely if delays continue, I think that would kill the morale of sports fans nationwide. There are enough bright minds in the sport to come up with some creative scheduling ideas for a compressed schedule (subscription to The Athletic required).

“It’s important just for the industry,” one NL executive told Ken Rosenthall. “You don’t want a situation where the NBA playoffs are going, even with no people (in the arenas), and you have the NFL and college football ramping up, and there’s no baseball. I think there’s a danger in not playing at all.”

That said, I’d bet every franchise has some type of umbrella insurance policy to protect its financial interests in the event of a catastrophe such as this. As a fan, I’d settle for any season that’s at least 54 games and includes a postseason. Anything less than that should bear the unfortunate consequence of a full annulment.

Cubs News & Notes

Odds & Sods

The coronavirus pandemic is officially now a disaster.

Apropos of Nothing

If you wear your favorite Cubs gear for Opening Day at Home today, take a selfie and post it in the comments section.

MLB News & Notes

Rob Manfred said he has made his decision on whether or not the Red Sox cheated in 2018, but he has been too busy dealing with the novel coronavirus to write his report.

The commissioner also said he expects that baseball will gearing back up sometime in May.

Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins has suggested that baseball play seven-inning doubleheaders to squeeze in as much of the schedule as possible once the season resumes.

It’s impossible to ignore the Opening Day that isn’t.

Baseball is closed indefinitely.

Manager Aaron Boone of the Yankees provided injury updates on outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire says that when baseball returns it’s going to be “like a party.” Tigers fans won’t have much to celebrate regardless.

Extra Innings

It is beyond embarrassing that Miller Park beat Wrigley Field in the second round of this poll. It’s a shitshow of epic proportions that the Brewers’ home stadium is in the final four. Miller Park is objectively worse than at least 20 of 30 MLB stadiums.

They Said It

  • “What we’re going through right now, really, I think, has smacked us in the face to tell us you should be open.  We’re being told to stay in our houses or RVs to avoid social contact and the spread of the virus. Did you ever think you would hear that coming down the pike? I mean, once you’ve heard that, doesn’t everything else become wide open?” – Joe Maddon
  • “It’s just such a strange time. The more all of us can stay connected to others, the better we all are. Whether you are a professional athlete or a fan, just trying to stay positive right now, it is so important to keep moving any way you can.” – Anthony Rizzo

Thursday Walk Up Song

What went wrong? Sting and his comrades had huge hits with the questionable subject matter of both songs. The first deals with a school girl crush that Sting, portraying a teacher twice the student’s age, is clearly not opposed to. The second, which reads like a professional’s guide to stalking, is more than just awkwardly creepy.

How does it play today? Both songs get plenty of airtime on classic rock formats today, but do you really want to get caught singing along to “wet bus stop, he’s waiting, his car is warm and dry” or “every move you make, every step you take, I’ll be watching you” in the #metoo era, or really, any era for that matter?

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