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Verducci Newsbeat

Thursday, April 02, 2020

MLB Can’t Afford to Come Back Too Soon

The efforts of Nippon Pro Baseball to resume playing are underscoring concerns of Major League Baseball officials about the difficulty of a potential return in the wake of the pandemic.

Teams in Japan began playing practice games in empty ballparks on March 20 with an Opening Day target of April 24. Within a week, three Hanshin Tigers players tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the team to order players and staff to self-quarantine.

After the announcement, NPB secretary general Atsushi Ihara told reporters regarding the proposed April 24 Opening Day, “We do not plan to reconsider the date because of this.” But last night Sports Nippon in Japan reported that officials are now considering a later start.

The sequence of events in Japan reminded MLB officials of the challenges associated with any potential return to the field. While MLB is considering many proposals of what a 2020 season might look like—all are speculation with no start date in sight—MLB has little to no appetite for playing games in empty stadiums or for a postseason that extends into December, according to a league source.

 

QLE Posted: April 02, 2020 at 01:42 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, verducci

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

This Season Promised to Be Mike Trout’s Greatest. Now It May Never Come

Every baseball season at its start is a blue Tiffany box tied with white satin ribbon in the palm of your hand. Something special will be revealed, guaranteed. The mysteries are in only the particulars and magnitude of its bejeweled splendor.

We could have made one easy guess about this season. It promised to be the greatest season of the greatest player of this generation, Mike Trout.

Instead, the coronavirus pandemic has stolen the probability of such a gift—the gift of one full season of peak Trout. It is one of a million small consequences that today mean nothing against the global threat to human life. But within the baseball community it is a consequence that will have aesthetic and historical import.

Trout turns 29 on Aug. 7. The Angels’ center fielder is coming off a season in which he set career highs for home runs (45) and slugging (.645), even though he missed the final three weeks of the season with a foot injury that had been bothering him for at least the month prior. He has missed an average of 33 games per year over the past three seasons. He likely will miss many more than that this year, making it four straight years in the prime of his career that Trout will not play more than 140 games. If we see Major League Baseball again this summer, we should be surprised and grateful.

 

 

QLE Posted: April 01, 2020 at 01:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mike trout, verducci

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Hoping for a Better Baseball Future

Remember when the whole world was angry at the Houston Astros for stealing signs? They wanted them to give back their World Series title, their championship rings, their postseason money.

One day in spring training, I watched the Astros play in a half-empty ballpark against the Marlins on what was senior day, sponsored by a local hospital. Even then, the fans were all over José Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer: profanity, snark, outrage. It seemed to me this was a mini dress rehearsal for what the Astros would face in the regular season.

That gantlet was scheduled to begin on Thursday. First in Oakland against the A’s and whistleblower Mike Fiers. Then in Anaheim against the Angels, where thousands of angry Dodgers fans had bought tickets. By June 3, the sideshow would have gone through Texas, Boston and New York, each place trying to outdo the last in terms of public outrage–or just trying to do something that goes viral.

And then, the pandemic happened.

 

QLE Posted: March 24, 2020 at 12:47 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, dirty rotten cheaters, verducci

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Baseball’s Fight to Reclaim Its Soul

The enormous fallout from the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal has pushed baseball into a moment of crisis. The root cause of the scandal is embedded in the nine-page report by commissioner Rob Manfred: technocrats gaining power in how the game is played.

Amid all the outrage and the reviews of press conferences and interviews as if they were performance art, union chief Tony Clark issued the most important words in a statement last week that should have received more attention:

“How the parties handle the next several weeks will significantly affect what our game looks like for the next several decades. The opportunity is now to forge a new path forward.”

Manfred has vowed to reduce the live video available in and around clubhouses. It’s a start toward winning back trust. “That’s a joint obligation,” Manfred said. “It’s something we have to do and something the players have to us help us do.”

*It suddenly dawns on QLE that he’s heard this argument before- and that he’s figured out who Larvell Blanks’ biggest fan really is…..*

 

QLE Posted: March 01, 2020 at 12:45 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: soul, technocracy, the sky is falling, verducci

 

 

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