Happy Memorial Day! I hope everyone continues to be well. This is week eleven of my self-imposed quarantine. I began “shelter-in-place” on Friday, March 13th. Since then I have ventured out thrice. Once to visit the local market, and twice to pick up prescriptions. On all three occasions, I drove past the Carpenter Complex, stopping twice to talk to the security guard while maintaining proper social distancing.
I have grown less concerned about the impending announcement that baseball will begin, and more concerned with the resulting, expected spike in COVID-19 related deaths as all try to return to business as usual. I hope that the rumors I’ve heard are true (and Jim Salisbury also reported last week), and baseball restarts Spring Training 2 in the home cities of each team. I would hate to see the Phillies, Blue Jays, and Yankees return to the the Clearwater area for their short spring training.
I’m not too surprised that public sentiment seems to be mounting against the players. After all, that’s why the owners have been negotiating through the media. Both sides have looked/will look bad arguing over money when so many are struggling during the pandemic. But, I have to side with the players.
Yes, players are well compensated for playing a game. But, their lack of control over the early years and the back end of their individual careers leaves them maybe one shot at an equitable contract. It’s not right for baseball fans to expect the players to give back what they have earned while suffering through their lean contract years. The players are the reason fans go to the games. Without the players, there would be no games.
Players don’t have the ability to recoup lost wages. Owners can, have, and will make up any losses they incur this year. Players, fans, advertisers, employees among others will make up for the owners’ perceived losses.
Other observations and guesses –
The minor league season won’t be cancelled until after MLB and the MLBPA are close to or have reached an agreement. (Bad news after good news)
Baseball purist. A baseball fan who is too young to realize all the changes that have been made to baseball since it’s “invention” (as well as in the past 100 years). Also, a baseball fan who doesn’t like the designated hitter or any other change that might expand the game’s appeal to other (read younger) fans.
Side bar on the DH. Almost all the young pitchers I have spoken to at the Complex are in favor of the designated hitter. When I was young and playing pony league ball for Crispin Gardens Boys Club (in NE Philly) up through high school, the all-around best player on the team was always the pitcher. Nowadays, pitchers might not have batted since little league. Certainly, if they weren’t also a position player, they haven’t batted since before high school.
Minor league double headers are 7-innings each when scheduled as part of a make up. The first game is only nine innings if it has already started and is being restarted at the point it was stopped. It has to be nine innings since it started as a 9-inning game. But a rain out that is re-scheduled will cause both the regularly scheduled game and the make up game to be seven innings.
I’m sure that the players on the extended roster will be in the team’s home city. I don’t expect the extra guys to be in Clearwater. Since there will be some fluidity between the active roster and the extra players, it makes more sense for the Phillies to have them available in Philadelphia. I wouldn’t be surprised if at least some of them accompanied the team on road trips.
Side bar on social distancing at the ball park. The only guys in the dugout should be the ten players active in the game (9 batters and a pitcher), a manager, and a coach. The manager and the coach can be the base coaches. The coach should be the hitting coach. The rest of the bench players can watch from the club house. The trainer can be stationed close to the dugout, in the tunnel, to enter the field if needed. Players can act as their own bat boys just like any amateur baseball/softball players. Umpires can carry extra balls to be used as needed. Four umpires should be able to carry more than a couple dozen balls. The bullpens can be reduced to one coach (the pitching coach?), 2 catchers, and a few pitchers as needed. Until strategies change, you don’t need your closer and set up man there during the first few innings. (Okay, this is tongue in cheek)
An expanded roster is not likely to create situational hitters. If an opposing manager brings in a same-handed pitcher to face a batter (say, a LHP to face Bryce Harper), the manager’s response isn’t going to be to pinch hit for the batter (Harper in this case). And, since it is likely that the batter is going to have some bats behind him (say a Realmuto or a Hoskins in Harper’s case), he is unlikely to have a better righty-lefty matchup on the bench.
When the discussion turned to expansion, my first thought was Charlotte. I can see Las Vegas, but am concerned that they may have difficulty with 81 home dates, mostly at night, with all the other entertainment options available. As for Montreal, they already had a failed franchise. What’s going to be different this time?
Regarding expansion, MLBTR is running a series where they are speculating who teams will protect. They haven’t gotten to the Phillies yet. So, which 15 players would you protect from the 40-man roster as it stands today? Think about it. I’ll run a column tomorrow with the rules for your opinions.
This is the Phuture Phillies Open Discussion for Phillies and other baseball topics.
- May 26, 2020 – Owners present latest proposal to players
- June 10-11, 2020 – Amateur Draft
- June 14, 2020 – Beginning of signing non-drafted players
- July 2, 2020 – January 15, 2021 – Start of the international signing period
- 5/15/2020 – OF Felix Reyes assigned to DSL White
- 5/15/2020 – RHP Edgar Zuniga assigned to DSL White
- 5/15/2020 – SS Erick Barria assigned to DSL White
- 5/15/2020 – DSL Red released LHP Jose Palacio released (2/18/20)
- 5/15/2020 – DSL White released INF Victor Alfonso (2/17/20)
- 5/15/2020 – DSL White released RHP Norman Anciani (2/18/20)
- 5/15/2020 – DSL White released RHP Fausto Pediet (2/18/20)
- 5/15/2020 – DSL White released RHP Luis Vegas (2/18/20)
- 5/07/2020 – RHP Jason Lott assigned to GCL Phillies East