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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

 

 

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