The proposal of MLB to confiscate all 30 teams and their auxiliary personnel in Arizona by starting the season there at a time in May sounds absurd.
But if the game is played in an empty baseball stadium, it will be easy to hear the Houston Astros blow from the trash. They won’t just get away with it this time.
If MLB, the MLB Players Association, the federal government, the Arizona government, and medical experts all agree that this is a worthy proposal, then go ahead. It is not someone else’s business. America needs an injection of normality. Don’t do it because of optics. Too many in our country are confused being decided because of optics. (For example, every MLB player’s optics is being tested for covid-19 while the general public is waiting.)
But if I’m a player, I’m not crazy about Arizona’s plans.
As New York Met said, “It’s a desert. The goods don’t live there. It dies there.”
The players will spend months away from their families. This is a pro sport, not “Brother.” Will commissioner Rob Manfred arrange for the husband and wife to visit?
Players make lots of money. But what about those who already have a lot of money? Gerrit Cole’s wife is waiting for the birth of their first child in June. Cole recently signed a nine-year contract with the New York Yankees which is valued at $ 324 million. But Cole already made $ 34 million. Coles can last a while. Cole will not be in Arizona next May.
The union may approve the proposal. But many players can opt out.
USA Today reports the owner will ask players to accept salary deductions, perhaps as high as 40%. This is consistent with the assumption that lost revenue from tickets, concessions, and parking will burden the owner between 35-40% of total revenue.
If MLB plays a short schedule, the players must receive a small portion of their salary. But if they do the work agreed upon in their contract, they must get the payment agreed in their contract. Owners and players are not partners.
Taking a little, a more reasonable reduction can be considered. But 40% is not a discount. That is amputation.
The plan is to walk on a rope. Do you quarantine players separately for at least two weeks before starting? What happens if the player is positive? Is the plan a mess? Are you returning to square one? Can you unwittingly expose all 19th MLB?
MLB is reportedly considering a number of changes if the store is established in Arizona:
• Balls and strikes are called electronically, so the referee will not be close to the catcher and the batter. But if everyone has been quarantined and tested, is there a need for that? If there is, is the catch still close to the dough? (Electronic bumps must be used, period. It’s been long overdue. Why not get all calls right?)
• There are no mound visits. Forget the pandemic. Do whatever makes the game shorter. (Maybe, instead of setting their batting gloves for 45 seconds between each toss, the batter can delay playing by using a hand sanitizer.)
• List of names expanded. Bob Nightengale from USA Today said that the team could save as many as 50 players. Offensive and defensive coordinators must be employed.
• Players will sit 6 feet in the stands instead of in the break room. Once again, if everyone has been quarantined and tested, why is that necessary? I’m sure it’s for optics.
• Multiple leaders who will often be included. Games that are part of the doubleheader will be seven rounds. That should not be too trying, considering the team will be three in each position and have 20 staff toss.
But the Arizona summer afternoon match might be difficult. The average height in July is 106 degrees. Not every game can be played on the roofed Chase Field at Diamondbacks, or at night.
If the game starts at 7 pm in Arizona, it starts at 10 pm. in the Eastern time zone. That won’t be good for Pirates TV ratings on AT&T SportsNet.
Elements of a sacred baseball notebook might be tilted. What if a no-hitter was thrown into a seven-inn game? Is that really a hitter? Anarchy will rule. (After all, maybe.) Then, how often do pitchers throw seven innings lately?
I want to see the MLB work plan. I also want to see resumes of NHL playing in North Dakota, and the NBA in Las Vegas.
But I guess nothing happened above.
That baseball number has the most concrete plan to continue: A sport where the Pittsburgh team really stinks.
Mark Madden Column | Pirate / MLB | Sports
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