The Rundown: Pandemic Throws Wrench in Restart Plans, Darvish Expresses Concerns, Russell Gets KBO Deal, Caray Statue Draws Ire of Fans

“Beware of segregation, regionalism, individualism, discrimination, stereotyping, destructive criticism, false accusations, biased wrong assumptions, prejudice, senseless comparison, and unwanted competition because life is much more meaningful to live for where there is unity and harmony.” – Angelica Hopes

Yesterday was Father’s Day, and one of the things I remember most about my Dad is that he could make a point while confidently standing for his beliefs in one single sentence.

“You’re a smart person, and I’m positive you’ll come around.”

According to USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale, 40 MLB players and staff members tested positive for the coronavirus in the past week. The recent surge of positive tests has reportedly created a “sense of urgency” among league owners and players in negotiations to come to an agreement.

Of course, baseball Twitter lost its mind and descended into a shitshow of points and counterpoints that left me befuddled as to what now constitutes common sense and what doesn’t. The finger pointing was outrageous as legions of social media regulars started calling out civilians for not wearing masks as the underlying cause. Some of those 280-character scribes had more than a handful of followers, which probably qualifies each as a social media influencer.

One of my more favorite brand of tweets, used often in any argument, uses the “Stop following me if…” type of statement. You can place that period right after the third word. No need to elaborate.

Not very many people noted the shortsightedness of the players or the facilities where they trained, and few people seem to recognize that masks only reduce the possibility of being infected. Short of a vaccine, isolation offers the best chance of avoiding the contagion, and since nobody can truly agree as to when the virus first became active, there have likely been millions more exposed to the novel coronavirus than scientists know about. Who knows, we may have all been exposed.

Baseball has managed to continually hurt its image throughout the pandemic.

That segues nicely into my next point, which is that if you advocate procedures for reducing mass exposure you shouldn’t be championing for baseball to reboot its season. There can’t be a double standard where health and safety is concerned. If you’re straddling both sides of the fence, what are you really saying? And, social media bullying aside, when did so many ordinary people suddenly become expert microbiologists and immunologists?

I read one tweet yesterday where an individual believed that COVID-19 has ended professional baseball forever. That’s a constructive use of time and opinion.

I’d also like the media to stop reverse-engineering statistics by bending the commutative properties of math, but that’s a rant for another time and another forum. Yellow journalism feeds into our ever-shortening attention spans and the popularity of character-limited social media fuels the ensuing panic. As a society, we’ve turned tl;dr into an art form of sorts, feasting on words and phrases specifically placed to best trigger emotional responses, comprehension be damned. Thankfully, common sense and sound logic do exist if you’re willing to step off your soapbox and do a little digging.

My father preached making smart decisions, something I tried to instill in Sue’s daughters while they were growing up. I believe the league’s best option is to forego the 2020 baseball season and let the players and owners spend that time working on the next CBA. Sure that means we may never see Jon Lester pitch for the Cubs again, and it also means the team might be forced to break up its core before they play another game. Change, as every head coach or manager says after being jettisoned, is inevitable. Que sera sera.

Health and safety should come first and if there is no way to protect the players, their families, and anybody involved in staging 15 baseball games on a daily basis, then there is no way to protect the general public unless all of those individuals are completely isolated. That’s inarguable to me, though most of you will probably disagree, and that’s okay. I’m positive you’ll come around.

Cubs News & Notes

Find Your Inner Hero

Congratulations to Twins DH Nelson Cruz for winning the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award.

Odds & Sods

What do you think? Is the statue of Harry Caray that stands outside of Wrigley Field racially insensitive, and should it be torn down?

Apropos of Nothing

Is there a better metaphor for the current state of the baseball than that hilarious John Travolta Pulp Fiction GIF?

MLB News & Notes

It is the clash between Rob Manfred and Tony Clark — both of whom figure to stay in their current roles beyond next year — that has amplified concerns that the sport will soon suffer its first labor stoppage since 1994.

The MLBPA has delayed vote on the league’s latest proposal, despite some niceties from Manfred.

The players remain resolved against a 60-game restart plan.

Denard Span provided insight into what it’s like being a black man inside an MLB clubhouse.

Like the Cubs, the Red Sox are going to have some tough decisions to make this winter.

Prospect development has basically halted in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.

For minor leaguers, it must seem like baseball remains a lifetime away.

Out of Left Field

I remain stupefied by the support Phil Rogers continues to give Russell.

Sliding Into Home

I want to acknowledge my friend Scott who works at a local automotive dealership. I am in need of a car and have a miniscule no budget for such expensive necessities. Last week he took a 2004 BMW on a trade-in for $1,000 and the car looks and drives like new. Scott called me and asked if i’d be interested so I test drove it Saturday. He told me the dealership had to profit on any resale, so I feared that I would have to pay close to $4,000 if I wanted to take delivery. I was wrong, and his GM is allowing Scott to sell the car to me at a one dollar profit.

She needs brakes and new tires, which will cost about $1500 that I just do not have right now. But I will be mobile again July 1, once the seller picks up his new vehicle. Getting back and forth to Madison for treatments has been a painstaking endeavor and riding a bus during a pandemic is suboptimal, though it was my only choice. No more. Thank you, Scott, and even more thanks to those who have contributed to my GoFundMe campaign and made this purchase possible.

Extra Innings

I missed the MLB Network special on Ken Griffey, Jr. and based on this article I’m disappointed in myself now.

They Said It

  • “At each camp facility, more than a dozen people are switching and practicing from a distance, but corona infection is spreading. When the camp is restarted, three or four times as many people will gather, so I feel that the infection will spread soon after the season begins.” – Yu Darvish (via Google translation).
  • “There’s certain things that a dad drills into you as a kid that just sticks with you. And that [beating the Yankees] was one of them.” – Ken Griffey Jr.

Monday Walk Up Song

I Won’t Back Down by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Donald Trump unveiled a new campaign song, and the Petty family was less than thrilled.

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