I thought I’d give you all a little challenge for the weekend and I hope you will consider it. Now, if you are averse to going outside at all because of the spread of COVID-19, the last thing I want you to do is remove yourself from your comfort zone. However, if you are feeling a little stir crazy and you have the necessary armaments to venture into public, stop by a local restaurant, food truck, or brewery and spend some of your spare change.
I’m not sure how it is in other cities, but here in Milwaukee where those types of establishments are the lifeblood of the city, each one that is open for carry-outs has set up donation jars or a profit-sharing model of some sort to aid their workers. For those who depend on tips for the bulk of their weekly income, this is one of the more wonderful efforts I’ve seen. Yesterday we had food trucks lined up and down the main street in my neighborhood and, in addition to finally being able to sample some of my favorite local tastes, those diners and bars were selling things like t-shirts and baseball hats, with all of the proceeds going to their furloughed employees.
Over the past month, the #GrilledCheeseNation truck has had the honor of providing 4,000 meals to first responders & local families in need. Thank you to all of the amazing staff & volunteers at food banks, community centers, hospitals, shelters & school districts for helping! pic.twitter.com/c7WaiP0i6p
— Miyoko's (@MiyokosCreamery) May 3, 2020
Some establishments are donating proceeds or meals to food banks, shelters, and front line workers at local hospitals. It’s nice to see people step up to help those in need. Weekly unemployment rates continue to escalate and service industry workers have been hit harder than many others. It’s even worse for undocumented workers who may be ineligible for unemployment benefits and stimulus checks. That means your next order of sliders, cheese curds, and fried pickles might provide a meal to someone who is currently food insecure.
If you can’t or won’t leave the house, there are plenty of ways to contribute online. You can always donate non-perishables to food banks in your neighborhood, and many charities will schedule a doorstep pick up at your residence. Reducing clutter is a great way to beat the isolation blues, so why not make it an effort to help those in need while you’re at it?
Cubs News & Notes
- Willson Contreras thinks Jon Lester has a lot more left in the tank. I believe Lester will be back with the Cubs in 2021, probably on a one- or two-year contract laden with incentives.
- The debate continues as to whether or not Lester deserves induction into the Hall of Fame once he hangs ’em up.
- Minor league outfielder Brennen Davis is good at baseball. Since he was drafted, the young star has been my personal pick as the top prospect in the system.
- Former Cubs outfielder Matt Szczur has turned to artwork to stay busy during the pandemic.
- Now in the final year of his contract, José Quintana hopes to achieve a measure of consistency once the regular season starts.
- Believe it or not, the first year player draft is only a month away. Kyle Glaser of Baseball America breaks down the state of the Cubs’ farm system, and explores team needs, as draft day approaches (non-subscriber content).
- Javier Báez and Twins pitcher José Berríos are helping to feed families in Puerto Rico.
- Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker would like to see baseball and all professional sports return, as long as games are played in empty stadiums.
- Cubs radio broadcaster Pat Hughes is a genuinely cool guy.
Find Your Inner Hero
A craft brewery, a restaurant, and a charitable foundation had teamed up to provide meals to feed the hungry in Asheville, North Carolina. Then an anonymous donor gave them $200,000 so that they could do even more.
Apropos of Nothing
It’s so nice not to have my phone lighting up my back pocket with notifications and alerts. I highly recommend taking a social media break, even if it just for 24 hours.
Also, Nisei Lounge in Chicago is offering carry-outs of its Internet Dad Oxford Comma variety pack of beers, which just seems so cool. I may have to get one of those.
Odds & Sods
Every even-numbered year we hold Fieri-Fest in Milwaukee, which is basically a day-long pub crawl where all the participants dress like Guy Fieri. It’s a great time and one of my favorite Milwaukee events. Every time we run it, lawyers from the TV chef’s team try unsuccessfully to stop us, so I always thought this guy was kind of a killjoy. Color me a changed man. I will go all out this year to honor Fieri, sans the alcohol, of course.
Guy Fieri's Raised Over $20 Mil for Out-of-Work Restaurant Staffers https://t.co/xPk4snP0Dq
— Daniel Lopez (@4danlopez) May 8, 2020
MLB News & Notes
You’ll need a subscription to The Athletic to access this, but, Evan Drellich reports that some league owners would like to float the idea of revenue sharing with the players as part of the plan to restart the 2020 season. My feeling on this is that the players union is unlikely to allow the league to set any kind of precedent, even on an emergency basis and for one season, that changes salary structure or allows pay manipulation. Of course, we are in uncharted territory with the coronavirus pandemic.
Should baseball make it’s ready-to-go proposal mandatory for all players?
In yesterday’s Rundown column I raised a similar question.
A makeshift season could diminish the prestige of winning the World Series. I’d bet the Dodgers wouldn’t care.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom doesn’t see packed sports stadiums as part of baseball’s near-term future.
Michael Jordan’s desire to play professional baseball — along with his failure to do so successfully — is a big part of his legend.
I believe baseball will have a plan to restart its season in place by the time I return to this column on Monday morning, though I don’t know if I will agree with any proposal that puts any individual at risk. I want baseball to return as much as anybody, and I want people to be able to go back to work. I just want it done safely.
One more thing, if I may. Happy Mother’s day to all the moms out there. I genuinely hope you get to spend some time with your families.
A reassuring voice is often the loudest in a sea of turmoil.
Some tranquility for your timeline. Just close your eyes and listen to Pat Hughes describe the scene at Wrigley Field on a beautiful day in Chicago. pic.twitter.com/tYThG5S4y6
— Corey Freedman (@CFCubsRelated) May 8, 2020
They Said It
- “[Restarting the season] is going to make a lot of people nervous because you have this huge unknown and when you have unknowns you have people who get scared. I think that’s ultimately what it comes down to is each person’s individual decision. I think you’re going to see most of the guys want to do it, but there are going to be people and I think that’s going to have to be a dialogue and a discussion that it’s going to have to go with each team.” – Ryan Dempster
- “We have some terrific sports fans all across the state of Illinois that want to see [MLB] up and running and so there’s a desire to have it work. I think they’ve got to come up with a set of plans… I think they’re incentivized, by the way, the leagues are, to do the right thing. Partly they’re incentivized because they have players that are worth millions of dollars to them that are going to be on the field. So you know, I think they want to protect their, for lack of better term, assets and their people.” – J.B. Pritzker
Friday Walk Up Song
Easy to Be Hard by Three Dog Night – A great cover of a song from the musical ‘Hair’ and I love the car crash sequence at the beginning. Show some love to somebody who really needs it this weekend. We all need a friend.