Today was supposed to be MLB’s Opening Day; there is a good reason why that will not happen today, but that does not mean that I can’t be sad about its absence. There are all sorts of reports out there speculating on when the season will start. One says that the owners and the union want to start in June which means that teams would have to reassemble for some sort of Spring Training by late May. Because players will earn a pro-rated portion of their salary for 2020, the players and the owners both want to get in as many games as they can. One idea floated out there is to have double-headers on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Several of the projections call for the regular season to end in mid-October. That makes me a bit uncomfortable because the MLB playoffs and World Series as currently configured take a month or so to complete. There are too many cities with MLB franchises whose weather as you approach Thanksgiving does not blend with baseball.
Scott Boras took off his super-agent hat and put together an idea for a 2020 MLB season that would run either 144 games or 162 games with this wrinkle:
- Game 6 of the World Series – if there need be a Game 6 – would take place on Christmas Day.
The Boras Plan would have all the playoff games take place in warm weather stadiums in southern California or in domed stadiums. There are seven of them at the moment and the Rangers are about to get one, so the Boras Plan has eleven venues available for hosting games even in mid-December.
I will be surprised if the Boras Plan is adopted but I like the fact that he is thinking about the idea of moving playoff games to recognize the reality of weather conditions on the games. I don’t know if way back in the deep history of MLB if a playoff game has ever taken place in a park that was not the home field for either team. I was pretty sure that even the San Francisco earthquake that interrupted the 1989 World Series did not result in a change of venue; a Google search confirmed that recollection. Nonetheless, the Boras Plan has elements within it that ought to be considered inside and outside the confines of his specific proposal.
Notwithstanding the suspension of Spring Training and the absence of regular season games, there are injuries to MLB players still in the news.
- The Yankees must have scoffed at the injury gods and are being punished for that slight. Two starting pitchers were on track to miss most or all of the 2020 season; Gary Sanchez was hurt early in Spring Training; Aaron Judge had a stress fracture of his rib AND suffered a punctured lung (Ouch!) and Giancarlo Stanton had a calf injury that is reportedly still bothering him. Imagine if the team were actually playing baseball every day…
- The Red Sox will play 2020 without Chris Sale. He needs Tommy John surgery. In addition, Dustin Pedroia has a knee injury.
- The Mets will play 2020 without Noah Syndergaard. He also needs Tommy John surgery.
- The Astros will have to do without Justin Verlander for at least part of the 2020 season.
- The Nats have Max Scherzer “on the shelf” for now with an unspecified injury to his side.
Those are just some of the contending teams and their recognizable players who are injured. And theses injuries happened without the stress and strain of a full MLB schedule…
Another sport that is in limbo due to the coronavirus is golf. I am sure that the golf mavens are working diligently to figure out how they can salvage as much of their season as possible. But in the world of sports journalism related to golf, that sort of reporting is blasé. Here is the headline at CBSSports.com today related to professional golf:
- “Tiger Woods is facing another lost season”
As if on cue, the golf story of the day must focus on Tiger Woods. Come on, now; every golfer on the PGA Tour is “facing another lost season”. Every PGA golfer has to adjust his preparation for what is an uncertain season due to events beyond his control or anyone’s control. Tiger Woods is hardly alone in this dislocated period of time.
One of these days, the PGA will announce when and where it will begin to stage its events. If today’s headline is any guide, here is what to expect from the golf coverage once we know the revised schedule:
- A report that Tiger Woods used the golf hiatus to study mindfulness to control his reaction to a missed putt.
- Another report on Tiger Woods’ new breakfast choice – organic granola.
- Tiger Woods changed his pedicurist and now is more comfortable walking the course.
Please, stop this…
New Orleans Saints coach, Sean Payton, tested positive for coronavirus and went into self-quarantine. The latest news there is that Payton has been retested and the latest test is negative.
Finally, Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times offered this perspective on the seriousness of the coronavirus:
“Three sure signs the coronavirus is serious stuff:
The U.S. scuttled March Madness.
Canada canceled hockey.
Ireland closed its bars the day before St. Patrick’s Day.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………