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Opening Day Newsbeat

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Today in Baseball History: Opening Day canceled due to the first-ever players strike

Moving forward somewhat:

To understand what led to the 1972 strike — the first ever players strike in baseball history — you have to go back a few years.

From the advent of baseball until the 1960s there were multiple efforts to organize players in an effort to get a better deal from the owners, including players even forming their own league one time. Nothing ever really came of those efforts, however, and the status quo held: the owners controlled basically everything, whatever the players got was given to them by the owners pursuant to the owners’ whim, and players were expected to simply be thankful to have jobs playing baseball. The only matter that players and owners talked about back in the day that we would currently recognize as one pertaining to actual labor relations were player pensions. A pension plan existed. It was not a very good one, but owners would, on occasion, go through the motions of negotiating with players over it, but it wasn’t really a negotiation.

By 1966, however, the players’ concerns about the pension being underfunded began to grow and, finally, after years of players themselves being skeptical and even fearful of the implications having a strong union, they decided to hire a full time executive director of their union with an eye toward having the union actually behave like a real labor union. Their first choice for the job was the then-existing players union’s part time legal advisor, a man named Judge Robert Cannon. Cannon actually had a pretty big conflict of interest in that he always wanted to be Baseball Commissioner and openly lobbied owners for the job while putatively serving the players’ interests. They even offered Cannon the job but he asked for too much money so they revoked the offer and went with a former chief lieutenant in the United Steelworkers union. His name was Marvin Miller.

The story of a strike, with a coda that ties into other news of the day.

 

QLE Posted: April 07, 2020 at 12:58 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: history, opening day, strike

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Today in Baseball History: Umpire John McSherry dies after collapsing on the field

Opening Day in Cincinnati is special. Everything basically shuts down. A big parade is held and a party atmosphere pervades the city. The Reds have not gotten the honor of hosting the absolute first game of each year’s baseball schedule for some time, but the first Reds game each year — always at home, always a day game — is a special experience.

Opening Day 1996, however, was a tragic one, as home plate umpire John McSherry, working his 26th season as a major league umpire, collapsed and died during the first inning of the Reds game against the Montreal Expos.

McSherry was in good spirits before the game, jokingly telling Reds catcher, Eddie Taubensee, “Eddie, you can call the first two innings.”  A few moments later, however, there were some signs — recognized only in hindsight — that something was off. Expos coach Jim Tracy said that when he brought out his team’s lineup card, McSherry slurred some of his words. Reds starter Pete Schourek was surprised when his first pitch of the game — a fastball delivered to leadoff hitter Mark Grudzielanek that was right down the middle — was hesitantly called a ball, as if perhaps McSherry didn’t really see the pitch.

Things proceeded normally for a few moments. Grudzielanek flied out to right. Expos second baseman Mike Lansing struck out swinging. Then Rondell White came to bat. With the count 1-1, McSherry stepped away from the plate, raised his right hand, and waved it toward second base. Taubensee later recalled that McSherry said “hold on, timeout for a second.” Taubensee thought that maybe McSherry had pulled a muscle in his leg or hurt his back. He walked back toward the gate in the stands that led to tunnel leading to the umpire’s room. That’s when he collapsed.

 

QLE Posted: April 02, 2020 at 01:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: history, john mcsherry, opening day, umpires

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Get Your Opening Day Results Here

And now, the baseball reports from Zargon-5:

In a stunning turn of events, the Major League Baseball season opened on schedule after all on Thursday. As you would expect, The Hardball Times was on top of the action at every game. Here are the summaries:

HOUSTON — Home fans cheered the Astros and booed each time one of their players was hit by an Angels pitcher in a 3-1 Los Angeles victory. All the Angels’ runs came on home runs off the bat of Mike Trout, rewarding those who took him as the No. 1 pick in their fantasy drafts.

In the home opener for the team that has been excoriated and penalized for stealing signs with electronic help, the Astros looked helpless at the plate and stumbled over empty Gatorade bottles and other debris between at-bats. The umpires removed trash cans from the dugout before the game.

The Astros scored their only run when the last of four consecutive plunkings forced it in.

 

QLE Posted: March 28, 2020 at 12:55 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fiction, opening day

Friday, March 27, 2020

Jason Epstein: On Opening Day, Baseball Fans Pull Up A Chair And Wait

I asked Dan Szymborski, the creator of the ZiPS player projection system and a senior writer for Fangraphs, what we should expect from fans when baseball finally resumes. It increasingly appears we’ll get something approximating a 81-game regular season as the 2020 best-case scenario. Who knows if and when fans will be permitted to cheer on their favorite teams in person?

Nonetheless, he’s upbeat: “[P]eople will likely be eager for anything that resembles a return to normalcy. The damage to the economy plus lingering COVID-19 worries will probably dampen attendance from what it could be, but television interest and general interest will likely be high.”

Szymborski may be right. But that’s then. What about now? Vin Scully, arguably the greatest play-by-play man of all time, enjoyed greeting his television and radio audiences with an inviting, “Pull up a chair and spend part of your Saturday (or whatever the day was) with us.”

Today, we fans — hardcore and casual alike — will pull up a chair. But there will be no Max Scherzer. There will be no Jacob deGrom. Instead, we’ll sit dejected in our bathrobes and nightgowns, waiting for a season that may never come.

Happy Opening Day.

The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 27, 2020 at 01:15 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: attendance, coronavirus, opening day, szymborski

What we’re missing: MLB stars share their best opening day memories

It would have been opening day Thursday. Should have been.

The day hope springs eternal — even, and especially, for the Mets. The day we get a glimpse of stars in new colors, or future stars reaching new levels. The day every team’s ace takes the mound.

Instead, we are waiting. Baseball, like nearly everything else on the planet, is on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s not clear when it will be back, but for now we have to do without this rite of spring.

The game, though, is nothing if not nostalgic. So on what would have, should have been the dawn of a new season, we asked people around the game — from superstars to role players — about their favorite opening day memories. To hold you over until we can start creating them again.

Stories of Opening Days past, by those who have participated in them.

 

QLE Posted: March 27, 2020 at 01:35 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: opening day, stars

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Opening day memories: From Seaver to Scully, Ted to the Ted

No game today.

On what was supposed to be opening day all around the majors, ballparks will be shut Thursday because of the coronavirus pandemic.

So while we wait and hope for baseball this year, some present and past sports writers for The Associated Press reflect on their favorite opening day memories, on and off the field

Remembrance of Opening Days Past ended up being the best-seller that Proust always secretly had been hoping for.

 

QLE Posted: March 26, 2020 at 01:00 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: opening day

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Cueto gets Opening Day nod for Giants

SURPRISE, Ariz.—Johnny Cueto’s admirable career performance overshadowed his more recent spring efforts, in the mind of Giants manager Gabe Kapler, who selected the right-hander to start the March 26 season opener against the Dodgers at Los Angeles.

This will be Cueto’s first Opening Day start with the Giants. He started four consecutive openers for Cincinnati from 2012-15, compiling a record of 1­-1 with a 0.64 ERA in those games. He’s 7-9 with a 3.53 ERA in 20 lifetime starts against Los Angeles, including 4-5, 2.36 in 10 starts at Dodger Stadium.

Cueto was outstanding in 2016, his first season with the Giants, finishing 18-5 with a 2.79 ERA in 32 starts. Since then, injuries have plagued him, including blisters, a sprained left ankle and elbow issues that led to Tommy John surgery on Aug. 2, 2018. These ailments and the surgery limited him to 13 appearances with the Giants from 2018-19.

Cueto owns a 12.79 ERA in three Cactus League outings this spring. Kapler cared about none of that.

 

QLE Posted: March 12, 2020 at 12:57 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: johnny cueto, opening day

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Dodgers’ Kershaw to start opening day for 9th time

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Clayton Kershaw will start the Los Angeles Dodgers’ opener against the visiting San Francisco Giants on March 26.

Manager Dave Roberts announced the decision on Monday.

Kershaw will extend his franchise record for opening day starts to nine. His streak of consecutive opening day starts was stopped last year when he began the season on the injured list with left shoulder inflammation and was replaced by Hyun-Jin Ryu.

This won’t turn out to be an Opening Day us Giants fans would have wanted, will it?

 

QLE Posted: March 10, 2020 at 01:17 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, opening day

Monday, March 09, 2020

Angels tab Heaney for first Opening Day start

PHOENIX—As the longest tenured member of the Angels’ rotation, left-hander Andrew Heaney will be rewarded with his first career Opening Day start, manager Joe Maddon announced on Sunday. The Angels open against the Astros at Minute Maid Park on March 26.

Heaney, 28, has been with the Angels since 2015, but he has never had the honor of starting the regular-season opener, as he hasn’t been healthy to start a regular season since ‘16. Heaney only made one start that season before undergoing Tommy John surgery.

“I’ve worked really hard to put myself in that position and it’s pretty cool,” Heaney said. “As a starting pitcher, your goal is to not only make the team, but to take the ball Opening Day.”

Heaney was a candidate to be the club’s Opening Day starter in 2019, but he opened the season on the injured list with left elbow irritation, and he didn’t make his first start until May 26. Heaney made 18 starts in ‘19, posting a 4.91 ERA with 118 strikeouts, 30 walks and 20 homers allowed in 95 1/3 innings, while also missing time with left shoulder irritation. So for Heaney, it means a lot to be healthy this season.

 

 

QLE Posted: March 09, 2020 at 12:32 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew heaney, opening day

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

Judge, Stanton likely to miss Opening Day

Well, it looks like this is becoming an annual tradition among the Yankees:

TAMPA, Fla.—The Yankees will be without two of their most prominent sluggers to begin the season. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are both considered unlikely to appear in the Yankees’ Opening Day lineup, general manager Brian Cashman said on Tuesday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Judge is continuing to undergo a battery of tests to determine the cause of the discomfort in his right pectoral muscle, and though Cashman said that Judge has been responding well to treatment over the last 48 hours, there has been no diagnosis or set date for him to resume on-field activities. The Yankees are scheduled to open the regular season on March 26 at Baltimore.

“I don’t see him ready by Opening Day because of the time frame,” Cashman said. “It’s 3 1/2 weeks, and just then the healing and then having to have a Spring Training.”

Stanton is recovering from a Grade 1 right calf strain sustained while performing defensive drills on Feb. 25. Cashman said that he believes Stanton will be ready to play sometime in April, setting the recovery time at four to six weeks from the date of injury.

 

QLE Posted: March 04, 2020 at 12:42 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron judge, giancarlo stanton, injuries, opening day, yankees

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Phillies’ Andrew McCutchen still recovering from knee injury and won’t be ready for Opening Day

Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen will be forced to open the 2020 regular season on the Injured List, manager Joe Girardi announced on Friday. The team is hopeful that McCutchen will be able to return at some point during the month of April, Matt Gelb of The Athletic reports.

McCutchen is still recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his left knee, which he suffered in early June of last year, and he’s not going to fully recovered in time for the start of the season. At the time of his injury, McCutchen in his first season in Philly was enjoying solid production, as he put up a line of .256/.378/.457 (115 OPS+) with 10 home runs and 43 walks in 59 games. That’s in addition to seeing time in left and center. For his career, the 33-year-old former NL MVP owns an OPS+ of 134 and a WAR of 43.6 across parts of 11 major league seasons, most of them with the cross-state Pirates. The injury was an uncharacteristic one for McCutchen, who played in at least 153 games in eight of his first nine full seasons in the majors.

We can expect Phillies fans to take this with quiet dignity, right?

 

QLE Posted: February 29, 2020 at 12:40 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, knee, opening day

Friday, February 28, 2020

Astros, ‘Field of Dreams’ game highlight 2020 MLB schedule

CHICAGO (AP) — The Washington Nationals defend their first championship. The Houston Astros take on, well, the world. Major league baseball comes to Iowa — and returns to London.

Here are a handful of dates to mark on the calendar:

THURSDAY, MARCH 26

St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds: Nick Castellanos brings his “Every day is opening day” mantra to Cincinnati, where opening day is pretty much a city-wide holiday. The quirky outfielder signed a $64 million, four-year contract with Cincinnati in January, a key part of an active offseason for the refurbished Reds. The Cardinals, led by Jack Flaherty and Paul Goldschmidt, are going for their second straight NL Central title.

So, see anything you want to attend?

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:05 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: field of dreams, hall of fame, london, opening day, schedule

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Juan Soto advocates for Gerardo Parra to throw out first pitch Opening Day

When Gerardo Parra signed with the Yomiuri Giants of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league, one player among those most disappointed he wouldn’t be returning to the Nationals was leftfielder Juan Soto.

At 21 years old, Soto and his jubilant personality attached to Parra’s fun-loving antics like a magnet. The star outfielder embraced the dugout dance parties and “Baby Shark” hit celebrations. But heading into 2020, Soto has been forced to come to terms with playing without Parra in D.C.

“We’re gonna miss him on the Nationals,” Soto told NBC Sports Washington’s Matt Doolin on the Nationals Talk podcast. “I was talking to him at his house…we’re gonna work on the golf…he told me he wants me to get that and help me do that and I’m gonna work on that.”

 

 

QLE Posted: February 06, 2020 at 01:23 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: first pitch, gerardo parra, juan soto, opening day

 

 

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