Logistics say that Major League Baseball games being played in Arizona will be difficult to save the 2020 season. In other words this is complicated towards gearing for a June 1 start.
Lets be realistic here. The Coronavirus Pandemic has not reached that Apex. That is a word we have all become accustomed to hearing and opinions vary as to what account is reliable. It’s a day-by-day basis and of course safety is the issue.
You hear the word safe. You hear about keeping distance and staying home as we play baseball and sports to provide that diversion. Major League Baseball , though, with a plan to have all 30 teams play ball in Arizona in reality is a delusion.
As of Tuesday, and after a reported proposal was made Monday, their goal was to find a way to salvage the 2020 season. MLB reportedly is looking at all options with contingency plans, if anything, the idea has fans and the baseball world talking.
They, like me and you, want the season to start. Again, with a national health crisis, and never at this magnitude, we leave decisions to the medical authorities. Until they say otherwise normal business will not proceed.
So with players and personnel, all home and in isolation, where do we go from here? Reportedly, the MLBPA and MLB are in talks. Don’t expect any agreement and anytime soon.
And a prevailing attitude here is this will go nowhere. It is just a buzz to keep fans interested. Major League Baseball, the owners, yes they are losing significant revenue. In the end, they will recover with their losses as owners have that security to do so.
If you ask this observer, after speaking to players and others involved in the game, the logistics are easy to understand and safety is the first issue as to why this proposal is absurd.
Players are getting paid for two months as per agreement. The contracts for the most part are secured, but they are getting hit in the pocket and not getting the full.
Locally, and with New York as the epicenter of this Coronavirus, don’t expect baseball in 2020. Regardless if the numbers go down, Citi Field and Yankee Stadium will remain dark. It is simple to understand that we are at risk even when this crisis abates and with no vaccine in site.
The Mets have scattered to their homes around the country. Their spring training and minor league complexes in Port St. Lucie Florida is closed. Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Dom Smith, Marcus Stroman, they are across the state in Tampa and finding a way to stay in baseball shape.
J.D. Davis, after a light workout Monday, packed the car with his wife and began their cross-country drive home to Elk Grove California. He, like other players, contacted by NYExtra.com had doubts about the MLB concept.
“It would be interesting, don’t know if it’s doable.” Davis said as he continued his journey across Texas.
There are concerns about placing 30 teams in hotels, limited number of venues that are minor league complexes, and summer weather extremes of heat in the desert.
“It’s such a big group to quarantine,” he said.
There is that possible risk of a player or two testing positive for the virtus. In that unlikely event it would be players, families, a member of the coaching staff, umpires, stadium staff, and all under quarantine. If so, the season is halted and it’s a question of why the risk?
“If the rosters expand, too many numbers, too many people,” Davis said. “All I can do is keep my body in shape and be ready if we get the call as if this was the offseason.”
And players would need another two to three weeks of spring training. You have to get them in place with many in Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
Though, Davis would not commit to saying yes or no to the MLB plan. He had yet to read any of the proposed formats. Some of the formats to save the season would include no fans, players keeping distance, no use of the dugouts, a robot umpire at home plate, and numerous double-headers of seven inning games.
None of this seems logical, And how would owners divide any revenue? Gate receipts and concessions are a major revenue source. Television networks would fulfil their billion dollar agreements with MLB, but the assumption is this would be at a lower scale.
“ Not logical, not making sense,” said White Sox pitcher Gio Gonzaelz when reached by phone at his home in the Miami area. “The world is out as a whole right now. It’s scary. It’s not fun. They don’t know how far this is going to go. We all love baseball and want to be realistic.”
He added there is also that concern about a quarantine. “What am I going to do with my kids, my family? I’m not a robot, I’m not a lab rat.”
Yes, the logistics of this are a concern. And with minor league systems also dark the need for a roster spot may not be possible in the event a player or two goes down with an injury.
In the end, MLB is looking to provide that diversion. It worked after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. But this is so much different. We are fighting a war that has no remedy at the moment.
As one high ranking scout, also sitting on the sidelines said, “logistically it’s trying to go to the moon in a volkswagon Too many obstacles.”
Comment: Ring786@aol.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
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Noah Syndergaard became the latest victim of a hard thrower that was added to the long list of Tommy John surgery. With baseball on hiatus, and with a season that is yet to be determined, this is the proper time for recovery.
Though the circumstances, for Syndergaard, for all of us, was not expected. If anything, this Coronavirus Pandemic that has caused a shutdown for baseball works to an advantage of the Mets.
It works, also, to the advantage of Chris Sale and the Boston Red Sox. Their ace left hander was shut down last week and will undergo ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery to his left elbow.
Another Tommy John surgery procedure, thnis time for Syndergaard and Sale. That adds to the growing list of 25 of the hardest throwing pitchers since 2018 In that group, 11, for Tommy John surgery.
“THE HUMAN ARM , ELBOW, ETC. WAS NOT MADE TO DO WHAT THEY DO.”
Yes, they were not made to throw with that consistent rate of 100. Not for a fastball, slider, curve, or any pitch. The arms, elbows, can only take so much.
The Mets did not expect this. Neither did the Red Sox. This has become an epidemic for pitchers, and for baseball the shutdown can give some time to think about ways to change the statistics.
The game, as insiders say, can’t have enough pitching at this rate. So, unless the habits change, just like we have adjusted with this Coronavirus Pandemic, there will be more of the Tommy John situations in the long run,
So the Mets are now in this adjustment, unexpected, and it’s more than assuring their roster is safe and healthy from the Coronavirus. They need another arm to fill the void. If and when this season begins, curtailed or not, there are options.
And like the Red Sox, without Sale for 12-18 months as a recovery period, pitching is that commodity. You never have enough and the Mets at one time had that viable option to replace a starter in the rotation that went down.
We saw that over the years with the Mets, once an organization that had the top pitching prospects in the game. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom. Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, and Syndergaard.
Oh, by the way, Syndergaard joins that list of former or Mets pitchers that are on that list of Tommy John surgery. Wheeler, now with the Phillies, and you wonder if the Mets should have granted him the contract.
But that was then. This is now. The Mets don’t have the organizational depth with pitching as they once built under previous GM’s Omar Minaya and Sandy Alderson, many that were traded for position players and deals that have not gone to their advantage.
The options for the Mets, we will get to that in a moment as to how they can fill the void with the absence of Noah Syndergaard, who was to follow deGrom in the rotation.
Opening Day, tomorrow, was for deGrom. Syndergaard was to follow Saturday at Citi Field. Many connected with baseball, including yours truly, were tabbing the Mets as a favorite to win the NL East with that duo in control.
They were headed to the postseason, perhaps a NL wild card, because Degrom and Syndergaard were that one-two in the rotation. You can’t get any better than that.
The numbers tell the story. And back-to-back Cy Young awards for Jacob deGrom, you don’t need a better example. Syndergaard, developed a slider with velocity, and it was all good until the unexpected developments of Tuesday.
Perhaps, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, duo of the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals, are just as good.
But that old adage of, “you never have enough pitching” pertains now for the Mets.
So where do the Mets go from here? Assume there is a resumption of baseball activities, to be determined if and when, there are options for the Mets to fill the void.
Matt Harvey? One insider said the Mets are not exploring a reunion with the Right-hander. “A Dark Knight” reunion in Flushing is not going to happen,” he said.
Harvey, without a team, brings that baggage and the insider said he observed a fastball that had no command last year with the Angels. Harvey, then, gave up four home runs in a May start against the Twins. The $11 million dollar investment, 10 starts, a 7.50 ERA.
Though no fault of the Mets in parting ways with Wheeler, now with the Phillies, that looms to now be a major void in their rotation. Then again, it’s the business of baseball.
And a rotation now of deGrom, followed by Marucs Stroman and Steven Matz does not look bad.
GM Brodie Van Wagenen, to his credit, went with depth this offseason with additions of Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello to one-year contracts..
Yes, there was that competition for two starting spots, Now, the three-way competition between Matz, Wacha, and Porcello is answered.
As the insider said, about Porcello, from watching him up close in Grapefruit League play, “The movement of his curveball and the fastball looked like he could be headed to a comeback year.”
So assume again, and this is speculation. that Porcello and Wacha have comeback years after allowing a combined 57 home runs in 200 innings with the Red Sox and Cardinals. The Mets were seeing the difference, down in Port St. Lucie, before baseball suspended operations.
There are very few and better options to replace Noah Syndergaard. The Mets don’t want Seth Lugo, projected to come out of the pen, to be that other starter unless they have limited options.
“I could see David Peterson get a shot at a spot,” the insider said about the Mets first round draft pick in 2017 who was slated to start at Triple-A Syracuse.
Walker Lockett, was not expected to make the 26-man roster. Corey Oswalt was not high on the depth chart. Erasmo Ramirez, the 29-year old right-hander and eight-year veteran, signed to a Minor League contract, could be in the mix.
“Saw him throw eight good innings in spring games and will tell you his command of his fastball and slider got some attention,” said the insider.
So much as their minor league pitching depth has gone from top to bottom, Van Wagenen, and the 20 other GM’s are never prepared to find a viable arm that goes down unexpectedly.
We have learned Tommy John surgery is successful The Mets will get through this with some options. Noah Sydergaard, from baseball standards, is young and strong to make a comeback.
The options are there for the Mets. But no surprise, they will miss the void of the guy they call “Thor.”
Comment: Ring786@aol.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
By Lenn Robbins
Let’s be honest. This 2020 MLB season, if it’s ever played, is going to come with an asterisk.
If a player gets off to a horrid start, (asterisk!) it’s because spring training was halted, throwing off his rhythm. If a player hits 25 home runs in, say, an 80-game season (asterisk!), fans will wonder if he could have kept up that pace.
Every accomplishment or failure will come with an asterisk: Yankees win the World Series – * season shortened.
It’s a can’t win season. Same with the NBA and NHL and all the other seasons that have been interrupted by this plague known as COVID-19. The season of the asterisk is the tertiary damage of the novel coronavirus.
Years from now, any athlete that misses this season won’t be differentiated from athletes that play.
So, although Mets pitcher Noah Syndegaard will not pitch in 2020 because he needs Tommy John to repair an acutely torn UCL with acute compression of the ulnar nerve, it’s the perfect season to miss. The season with the asterisk.
Don’t be mistaken. This is a sad turn for the Mets pitcher who has teased us with his Viking god-like physical stature and power pitching. It’s a sad turn for the Mets who still might be considered a playoff team but that road just got more daunting.
It’s not as if Syndegaard had a choice. The injury needs surgery and it needs it now. If all goes well, Syndegaard could be back on the mound by June of 2021.
Boston’s Chris Sale also will have Tommy John surgery. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Sale decided to have his surgery now to avoid missing significant time in 2021.
It doesn’t matter. Five, 10 years from now, the empty stat line for Syndegaard and Sale won’t warrant a second glance. This is the season of the asterisk.
Yes, this is difficult. We are home and staying safe. We are dealing with a Coronavirus pandemic and making that adjustment. This was supposed to be the first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
We were five days away from Opening Day of the 2020 baseball season. Instead, at Citi Field, a makeshift hospital and relief center is being planned
We are without sports. We are adjusting to viewing daily updates from the White House, your Governor, and Mayor. We are isolated and hoping this crisis will pass soon.
Saturday and Sunday, and next weekend, CBS Sports is televising memorable games from past NCAA tournaments. MLB Network, the regional networks, are also replaying memorable games.
The baseball fix in New York includes a Mets marathon on SNY. The Yankees showing their classic series on YES, and audio feeds of the Michael Kay sports talk show on ESPN Radio.
The NBA and NHL channels also do their part to keep us entertained.
How the WWE will stage WrestleMania, a reformatted two day event, and with no fans at their Orlando performance center in two weeks will be interesting and different.
WrestleMania, a highlight show on the wrestling calendar for the WWE and fans, was supposed to be held before 75,000 or more at Raymond James Stadium, Sunday April 5 in Tampa .
Instead, the evening before, with reportedly some taped matches, will highlight the mega event. No pyro, no fans, and matches scrapped. Pro wrestlers are making the adjustments and it will be similar to a rehearsal or audition they have experienced before gaining their stardom to the top.
We are in this together. And, said here again, sports are not the priority here as much as the world of fun and games would be a diversion from this crisis that confronts our world and nation.
So without sports, there are some options as we continue to isolate in our homes. This past week, in between some writing and dealing with the isolation, there were some good options to get your fix.
Sports books, the classic events and movies to pass the time are becoming a norm. Though there is nothing better than viewing a live event, and we could be without that for the next few months, .
Any hope for the start of the 2020 season is not anytime soon. The hope, as can be determined, MLB season openers are on hold at least to June.
And that is being optimistic, all depending of course on how long the Coronavirus Pandemic abates. Talking to numerous sports personnel over the past few days, and the overall opinion is MLB and other leagues will await the first move of the NBA when it comes to resuming their schedule.
Why the NBA? The National Basketball Association was the first to shut down and seem to be at the forefront of taking control. Other sports leagues will follow their path.
In addition, with the 2020 MLB season, players would need another two-week spring training period for conditioning and the schedule would need a major readjustment. That means doubleheaders that are rare on a schedule and a shortened season which are not the norm.
Again, that is speculation as we go day-by-day with this crisis and hope for the best.
Pitchers were at the point of throwing at speeds where they should be. The hitters, always behind the pitchers, they will need more time to catch up and that is usually the case during a normal spring training period..
Let’s say 81 games or fewer, instead of a regular 162-game slate and no All–Star game. Players would get paid when the season begins.
Now, as understood, the MLBPA and owners are working out details of the specifics as to their contracts and payment and pertaining to details about pay scales in cases such as a national state of emergency.
The other sports will deal with specifics, perhaps not as complicated for the NHL and Major League soccer. Boxing will resume with lucrative network deals and promotions at Top Rank, PBC, Matchroom, Golden Boy, and others.
They will saturate the market with events every weekend for the boxing fan as the non mainstream fighters train at home and await their next payday. Most, if not all of the boxing gyms have been closed due to the pandemic.
The Kentucky Derby, Masters Golf Tournament, major events on the spring calendar, have announced they are rescheduling their major events to a later time.
Still up in the air is how the USTA will handle the U.S. Open In Flushing Queens. That was scheduled for the later part of August.
In the meantime some books to suggest to get your fix:
- Staying Positive The Story of The Real Paul Banke (Boxing)
- Once There Were Giants. The Golden Age of Heavyweight Boxing (Jerry Izenberg)
- Inside Pitch. My Life As a Major League Closer (Skip Lockwood)
More to come in the coming days as we go through the pile with some of the best books and classic sports to view.
Most of all be SAFE! We are in this together and will get back to normal in due time.
Comment: Ring786@aol.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
By Lenn Robbins
The beauty and curse of being a sports fan is that you never forget some days.
June 15, 1977. I was working a summer job at a pool club Canarsie when the news began to spread. Unbelievable news in the sense that it simply could not be true. It was unbelievable. Then it became friggin’ unbelievable! And then all sight and sound became a jumbled cacophony. Everything happened in slow awful motion.
The Mets were trading Tom Seaver.
It couldn’t be true. But that night, there was the most Amazin of Mets crying on television. We cried, too. It was dubbed the Midnight Massacre and surely thousands of Mets fans felt a piece of themselves get killed that night.
Patriots fans woke up Tuesday morning to their own version of The Seaver Nightmare: There will be no Brady sequel.
Brady announced he was ending his 20-year marriage in New England, with Boston, with Patriots Nation. He’s packing up his six Super Bowl rings, four Super Bowl MVP trophies, three NFL MVP awards and deflated balls and heading to where?
Tampa? Some nice beaches for sure, but it pales in comparison to the culture of Beantown and the close-knit community that is New England.
San Diego? Can’t beat the weather but the Chargers have flipped that city the birdie by moving to Inglewood and sharing a stadium with the Rams. Nothing like eight road games and eight neutral site games to end your career.
Chicago? Wonderful second city with an odd attempt at pizza, but if Brady wants to win another ring, the Bears don’t have better weapons than the Patriots. And Chicago’s line was rated 29th in the league in 2019 meaning Brady might want to pack his Cape Cod Beach Chair.
You know what? Who cares?
It doesn’t matter where Tom lands. It’s where Tom is leaving.
Mets fans didn’t care what team their Tom had been traded to. Cincinnati? Where? What? They were despondent that No. 41 would be wearing a different jersey, dazzling another fan base, making hitters look the fool.
Of course, there are differences between their Tom leaving and our Tom leaving although both moves were tied to free agency, the bane of every sports fan everywhere. Never again can fans embrace a player as theirs. Just ask Cavaliers’ fans.
Seaver was already in a brutal, year-long conflict with owner M. Donald Grant over the direction of the team. He was livid the Mets did nothing to improve the roster after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached the previous summer. He wanted to remain a Met but felt he couldn’t under Grant’s penny pinching and elitist attitude.
Brady, knowing a new CBA would likely be reached this year, insisted the Patriots deal he signed last season prevented New England from slapping the franchise tag on him. When the new CBA was approved on Sunday, Brady was a free agent. He wanted to find another home.
In about as brutally timed announcement as imaginable, Brady took to Twitter on a St. Patrick’s Day like never before. Bars and pubs are closed because of Covid-19. There’s not even a place to drown one’s sorrows with other mourners!
You know what? Who cares?
Patriots fans know one brutal truth today – their franchise is done. The Greatest of All Time is leaving. New England is just another team on the NFL map.
Sure, there will be storylines to follow: Is Jarrett Stidham the answer? Is Phillip Rivers a good stopgap for a season or two? Is the replacement in the upcoming draft and will the Pats will make a stunning deal to move up?
You know what? Who cares?
This is not to say we feel bad for New England. Hell no. It just means Mets fans know the feeling that Pats fan are experiencing today. It will never be forgotten. They’ll never forget where they were today. It’s a wound that never heals.