Tag: MLB

Baseball Is Back With Those Questions.

By Rich Mancuso The New York Extra/

So baseball is back and that’s what you want to hear. The owners put the players in a position to play 60-games after months of back-and-forth proposals. The medical protocols are in place to prevent a spread of COVID-19.  

Face the facts. The owners and commissioner got their deal. The players and union  get their grievance, so baseball will be headed for more disruption after the 2021 season.  Honestly, though, this is a matter of dollars and cents. 

The battle between millionaires and billionaires and why we have no baseball until July 23rd. No baseball July 4th. This deal could have been done weeks ago and it is difficult to understand why we waited so long.   

Regardless, both parties are wrong when it comes to the specifics of dollars and cents in the billionaire industry of MLB.  Fans are the losers. Stadiums will remain empty and that means more revenue lost for the owners and the players. 

No All-Star game or home run derby which generates revenue. Universal designated hitter for both leagues, and three divisions by region. Runner at second base in the event a game goes to extra innings that is more suited for the sandlots. 

Locally, the Yankees and Mets in the same division, oppose each other four or six times and that will draw interest if you are enthused  to see baseball played differently. 

Revenue at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium, accustomed to an average of 47,000 fans during the borough rivalry, will not exist with fans not in the ballparks.

08/15/19 Cleveland Indians vs New York Yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny #17 aaron boone takes #57 chad green out of the game after giving up 5 runs in the 1st inning Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020

The Yankees and Dodgers are favored to reach the World Series, that is, if we are fortunate to get there without a disruption.  Aaron Boone will not manage a 100-win Yankees team and the Mets will finally unveil new manager Luis Rojas.

file photo Luis rojas Neil Miller The New yOrk Extra/ copyright 2020

And Mets fans will see Yoenis Cespedes back in the lineup as a probable DH. Gerrit Cole and Jacob deGrom, dueling against each other on the mound, is one of those anticipated baseball moments of 2020. 

All possible situations can occur during this 60-game sprint. 

Yes, a global pandemic caused disruption and there could be more cases of COVID-19 in baseball, already seen, which could cause another stoppage of the game. So with the strict medical protocols and no end to the coronavirus, players are ready to report Monday for part 2 of spring training in their home ballparks. 

 It’s July 23 and 24th and Opening Day.. It will be different for the players, personnel, and limited amount of media covering games with no access to players. Yes, the media will be required to wear face protection in the ballparks from initial reports. 

 It will be different for you and me.  As a baseball purist, the format and different rules don’t go over well. But this will be the only game in town if and when the NFL schedule goes off as planned and fans will tune in.

Those medical protocols? Players are concerned and are expecting numerous positive results of COVID-19 as many travel to their destinations from Latin America and cities that are seeing a rise in cases of the Coronavirus.

Temperature checks, distancing, and constant testing will be the norm. Separation and different routines are not the norm for players that are creatures of habit. The baseball played won’t be normal. There is no answer as to how MLB will deal with an increase in positive COVID tests.  

If a team is informed to relocate, because an infection rate says it is not safe, what are the procedures and where do they go from there? These are answers that will be played out when this truncated and unusual season begins.

This is unprecedented territory. Baseball is not being played in a bubble like boxing has successfully done in Las Vegas with Top Rank and  ESPN the past three weeks.

And there is a possibility that numerous players will sit this out with fear and caution. Simply, they don’t want to be put in a position of being placed in isolation and away from their families, more complicated if that arises on the road.

Either way, high profiled players and those not in that bracket have mixed views about getting back on the field.  According to the agreement, those who opt out  will not get service time and pay. There are exceptions with circumstances and different players. reached out to some players. As expected there were mixed signals. As much as baseball players are that fraternity, they are concerned about their safety. Creatures of habit, as they are, the signals were not positive about isolation from each other in the clubhouse, on the road,

Anything from the travel, to leaving the ballpark 90-minutes after the last pitch was thrown is a concern.  They are scrambling to find places to reside and how to commute to the ballpark with social distancing.  

And, to some, the game of baseball is not meant to be played with no fans in the ballpark. But, they will adjust because they have no other alternative to play. They will leave the economics to another day as their game is headed to a major collision with owners.

“ I was hesitant,” said a player with veteran status. “I talked this over with the family and slept on it. Not enthused but will go with the plan and hope for the best.”

Another said, “Just hope for the best and go with the plan. Hope for the best and we will get through this. Going to be weird for everyone and different.. No doubt we have no time with a sprint to go on a losing streak and have no time to get back in the race for the postseason.”

A few said, a MLB shutdown was preferred  until a proper vaccine for COVID-19 was in place, then again, who knows the duration as to when the medical community will have that.   And they would have sacrificed sitting at home and going with that route of safety and let it play out.

So here we are. Baseball is back and lots of questions that will have answers in the month ahead to that new Opening Day. Not the way the game should be played, and not the norm reporting a game at the ballpark.

In the end, safety is first and foremost. Players and owners are aware of the changes and protocols. But fans got their game. The next few months will be a sprint and not a marathon. 

But what happens next year? If this coronavirus is not under control 2021 is in jeopardy and here we go again. 

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso


Risk For Baseball Is The Clock Ticking

By Rich Mancuso The New York Extra/

“Baseball is in major trouble without a season.”  Doc Gooden said that Friday morning. And as the clock ticks with optimism and pessimism the 2020 baseball season is running out of time.

05/27/12 San Diego Padres Vs. New York Mets at Citi Field queens ny : Mets legend Doc Gooden waves to the crowd before throwing out the first pitch. Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020

Gooden said to “I would get an arbitrator, It’s becoming personal. They have to do what is best for baseball. It almost has to be from a fans standpoint. Can’t see them risking not having a season.”

And the reality, as much as we don’t want to hear this, baseball is in trouble if they don’t play. You can debate, as I do, about 50, 60, 70 games does not constitute a real and legitimate baseball season. You can debate who is right or wrong here when it comes to MLB and the players position about the specifics. 

But you can’t dispute that fans want baseball. 

You can’t dispute that the players want to get on the field and fight about now and the future.  And it is agreed that we need baseball as that diversion from what has been encountered in this nation the past few months.

All of this is coming down to economics and that is agreed, a percentage of this and that. The amount of games means more money for the players as the owners continue to lose revenue with every game and stadiums in the dark,

“I wish I had the information as to why the owners are against more games and more opportunity to increase revenue,” Carlos Torres said when contacted. 

06/12/15 Atlanta Braves vs N.Y. Mets at citifield Queens N.Y. New York Mets lead 5-3 after 7 innings New York Mets relief pitcher Carlos Torres #52 pitches in the 7th inning Neil Miller/The New York Extra/ copyright 2020

The former Mets right-hander,  veteran with six teams and a free agent is also waiting on the sidelines. He continues to throw by his home in Kansas with hopes he can latch on to a team that may need an extra pitcher. If, and when rosters are constructed a spot could come with a taxi squad that has been discussed with a truncated schedule of games.

“I’m just looking forward to owners telling the players when and where they need to report so I can fight for a job,” he said. “ Players have been ready to play for months now.”

Friday and the stalemate continues. No arbitration, back-and forth they go, and one reported face-to-face with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark.

We heard Wednesday from Clark. 60 games and expanded playoffs this year and next.  

“We believe this this offer represents the basis for an agreement on a resumption of play,” Clark said. 

But his membership on Thursday proposed a 70-game schedule and that was rejected by Manfred.

Said Gooden, “70-games is fair. Negotiating in public is not good. This year all egos have to be put aside and do what is best for baseball and the fans”

Regardless, there has to be a resolution to this mess. The clock ticks. Players and the owners are looking bad and fans are losing interest with a dismal economy and continued concerns about a global pandemic of the coronavirus that got us here.

Oh, the pandemic. There seems to be minimal focus on the health protocols for players and those that will be in ballparks that will get clearance to be there with no fans in the seats.

Apparently, as one current player said, “Right now we have no problem with the medical protocols But I don’t want to be placed in position of isolation from my family in the event there is a case of COVID.”

There is also that extreme and serious situation of a possible second wave of COVID-19 and that could disrupt the game again. Owners have made it a point to conclude play before a possible scenario unfolds.

Friday afternoon ESPN reported that five players and three staff members tested positive for coronavirus at the Phillies and Blue Jays complexes in Clearwater, Florida. The teams have closed their training facilities. .

Florida, suddenly the epicenter of Coronavirus cases, is where numerous teams would hold a limited spring training and home for the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins. 

Back to the basics of this baseball debate. It has obviously come down to economics and that always seems to be the probable cause in previous labor wars with MLB and the players.

And in the event  50-games becomes a season, with Manfred having authority to do so, that means less money for the players as the owners will recoup some of their losses with the television revenue that has put plenty of money in their pockets.

There are also the risks of a 50-game season if players are put in that position to get back on the field.

“50- games, especially a pitcher,” Gooden said. That’s possibly nine starts and risking major injury. As a fan, I don’t care if it’s 20-games. A pitcher. it’s a risk.” 

However the risk now is the game of baseball and losing a 2020 season that would have severe implications. 

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Another Day Without Baseball For A Writer

By Rich Mancuso.

So what does a baseball writer do as ballparks remain dark ? There is only so much you can take of keeping track as the players and owners take their stand about a possible 2020 season.  

4/2/05 Yankees practice @ Yankee Stadium : Yankees Grounds Crew lay down a tarp on the field at Yankee Stadium today. There was going to be a practice but was rained out. Neil Miller The New ork Extra/ copyright 2020

We write about the possible optimism. We write the next day, about pessimism, and the situation is  we are without  baseball. Think about the ramifications and ask the question, will baseball survive this gridlock as a global pandemic continues?

Baseball personnel are not sure when this gridlock will end. Others,   personnel, that are employed with seasonal jobs and depend on a baseball season for a paycheck, are not sure. Fans are losing interest and don’t want to hear millionaires and billionaires arguing about dollars and cents.

Neil Miller/the New York Extra/ copyright 2020

MLB completed a five-round amatuer draft last week. Instead of 40 rounds that left many prospects in the dark. College and high school baseball is still on hold. Professional umpires got their last paycheck from MLB at the end of May.

And yeah, it makes no sense. We want baseball but not a 50-game season that would resemble a sandlot league, because the game is known for streaks.  A truncated season could put a team out of contention with a losing streak right out of the box.

So with all of this in mind, and with the daily routine of a writer being denied, it was time to say hello to the ballparks. It was time to venture and hear the quiet that surrounds Citi Field and Yankee Stadium.

This week, though, both ballparks would have been dark. The schedule called for the Mets to play at Wrigley Field in Chicago. The Yankees were set to open a two-game series at Pittsburgh and move on to Minnesota.

And, yes, we have adjusted to these gaps in the schedule where both local teams are either on the road or at home at the same time because of interleague play,

But this was no baseball and not caused by the schedule.

Packed the bag with the laptop and all the necessities needed for a ballgame and wore the face mask. Boarded the 6 train to 125th Street and transferred to the 4-train 161 Street and Yankee Stadium. 

Different feel of an empty train heading to the ballpark, Immaculate train cars and stations due to the MTA guidelines of constant cleaning and disinfecting.

No fans on River Avenue and establishments that depend on Yankees home games closed.  Headed up the stairs to Babe Ruth Plaza. And this writer passed by Gate 4, the press gate, in what would be the first step of the process to cover a game in the Bronx. Closed door and one security guard seen at the front desk.

One walk around Yankee Stadium.  Visions of a home run being hit, roar of the large crowd,  but a reality the game is dark and the doors are closed.

Back to the 4-train and that walk past Heritage Park, site of the old Yankee Stadium.  Gates locked, though some managed to get on the fields and hit some baseballs on grounds that need maintenance. 

So, with envisions this was one of those and more normal day-night home games of Yankees and Mets, time to get the 4 train to Grand Central.

Subway Series? No, but a trip to Flushing and Citi Field. Grand Central to the 7 train and Citi Field. Clean and immaculate train station at Willets Point and similar to the number 4 and 6 lines with  very few passengers.  First noticed that the parking lots were empty as Citi Field appeared from the window, and those temporary tents that were used for COVID-19 cases were gone.

Cifti Field, passed by the Hodges Gate which is the entry point for the media. Nobody home. Baseball was not going to be played today. Walk around the street now known as “Seaver Way ” and peek through the bullpen gate by the outfield area.

No fans, empty stadium. And the airline traffic at nearby Laguardia Airport was quiet.  Welcome to the pandemic that has curtailed airline traffic.

One walk around Citi Field and a look at the outfield sign that says stay healthy and see you soon. The pavilion areas were quiet.  Imagined the crowd roar from another Pete Alonso home run ball, a pitching gem from Jacob deGrom. 

Said hello to a security guard that is used to seeing yours truly. He is one of a few that is employed to secure the ballpark.

This was a double dip and conclusion of another day without baseball. But it was a remedy to rid the void of no baseball.  

As of Tuesday, players and the league are at a standstill.  The days pass and time is clicking on the clock. One day there is optimism and the next all hopes are gone.

Some do say that there will be a baseball season and two sides will eventually come face-to-face and  litigation will wait.  Others, like me, don’t care at this point. It has got to this point of a vision as to what could have been an exciting 2020 baseball season in New York.

Regardless, the game is in trouble and has changed with the dramatic structure of economics.  We as a society are continuing to adjust with the change and hope for the best. 

In the end, though, it may not happen, we all want baseball. The Summer is not the same. But you can always take that walk around the ballparks and envision the way it should be.

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso 

MLB’s Owners Put Their Finger on the Nuclear Button


By Lenn Robbins

06/09/08 mets charity event at richards greenwhich ct fred wilpon left and jeff wilpon right Neil Miller/The New York Extra/ copyright 2020

Bob Manfred, reportedly in the voice of God, said there shall be baseball this year!

If the owners and players, who look more greedy and stubborn with every reported case of Covid-19, can’t agree on a deal to restart the season, Manfred has the power to enact a 48-50 game, uh, season.

And you thought there was bad blood between Leah Remini and the Church of Scientology.

Just wait until after the 2020-21 season when baseball’s collective bargaining agreement is up for renewal. I wouldn’t set foot in that negotiating room without Jimmy McGill and Dirty Harry’s law firm of Smith & Wesson.

The owners latest offer, delivered Friday afternoon according to published reports, calls for a 72-game season with 70-percent of prorated salaries. Players would max out at 80-percent of their prorated salaries if the postseason is completed.

“Just so y’all know, 70% of prorated salaries at 72 games is the exact same as … wait for it … full prorated at 48 games,’’ Cincinnati pitcher Trevor Bauer Tweeted. “Nothing to see here. Same exact offer in different clothing. Just a reallocation of risk.”

The players had offered an 89-game season with full prorated salaries earlier this week.  Manfred had said on ESPN that the owner’s next offer will be a “significant move in the players’ direction” but “if we have to we’ll exercise that right” to set a 48-game season. Sounds like threatening divorce before the marriage.

The owners offer includes a Sunday night deadline. Then they can use their nuclear option –  the 48-50 game season.

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams said on Twitter the button had been pushed

“It expired as soon as they hit send.”

What’s so enraging about this is that both sides seem to be operating as if they’re in a bubble, that could burst Sunday night.

It seems pretty clear that whatever decision is reached in the next few days will raw wounds that will barely have even begun to heal when next negotiation begins. Worst case:

We could be looking at one 48-game season, one full season and no season in 2021.

Here’s what makes this so disheartening. So many sports fans would be willing to part with their lucky jersey to watch a live sporting event that doesn’t take place in an octagon. You know one played on grass and leaves pristine white pants looking as if they got dragged through a monster pull.

I’m itching to see an upper deck home run, a pitching gem, a manager being ejected, a 10-year-old fan snagging a foul ball. I can’t wait for the day I can jump the No.7 train to Citi Field. Or the No.4 to Yankee Stadium, which could be sponsored by the pharmaceutical company that discovers the vaccine for the coronavirus and returns us to some semblance of normalcy.

It could take years before the virus of 2020 is completely under control. But it could take forever for baseball to convince fans the virus of greed and stubbornness doesn’t beat in the heart of the sport.

JUST VOTE — Kudos to Hofstra University for its announcement that all varsity teams will not have any mandatory team activities on Tuesday, Nov. 3rd, aka Election Day, so athletes can vote. “We think it is incredibly important for our student-athletes to have their voices heard and their votes count,’’ athletic director Rick Cole, Jr. said in a statement.

The Back-And Forth And Baseball Is On The Clock, by Rich Mancuso,The Ne York Extra/

                  Baseball is a marathon not a sprint   

 Every game has significance during a 162- game season and the game is a marathon. And with proposals going back and forth, with time ticking on the clock, the MLBPA and their players may be forced by owners and the league to play a sprint of 50 games instead of 162.

Remember, this is a game of streaks. On the mound, at the plate. Teams go through losing and winning streaks and games in April that are lost  come back to haunt them in September. 

And there would be expanded playoffs.  So where does this back-and-forth game of baseball politics stand with an abbreviated 2020 season in jeopardy?

This is not the 1990 lockout or  the 1994 strike that put the game in jeopardy, though economics this time is much more and seems to be the major stumbling block towards getting players back on the field.

Regardless, the perception of the game among fans is not good. COVID-19, a recession, and unemployment does not sit well with the public as billionaires and millionaires play their game of economics instead of  balls and strikes thrown and home runs hit.

And as other professional sports leagues begin their process of resuming,  the perception is not any better. The NBA, NHL, and  MLS, also with revenue at stake. will resume soon. Professional golf, horse racing, tennis have resumed on a limited basis with no fans and proper medical protocols.

Live boxing, with no fans and proper medical protocols resumed in Las Vegas Tuesday night. Top Rank and ESPN began a summer series in a closed venue that became a ratings bonanza and got the jump on other promotions.

But baseball remains idle with their annual amatuer draft as a highlight the next two nights that will be televised on ESPN and the MLB Network. We  await the latest review of the proposals from owners to the players.

The players to the owners. The back-and-forth and not coming face-to-face at the bargaining table as there are more significant issues facing this nation. But, as always, baseball could be the diversion.

Reportedly, the Major League Baseball Players Association presented a season of 89 games with a complete and prorated share of salary and expanded playoffs. They wanted 114 games. 

The owners want less. They say they are losing money. The players don’t want to be cut short.. Hey, you or I, even under the circumstances at hand, don’t  want our salaries curtailed.

But give or take, does it make a difference to a millionaire? Does a billionaire owner, with all types of insurance and a financial loss at hand, stand to go bankrupt? Probably not to you and I.

Medical protocols, yeah the game would be different. As stated here, players are creatures of habit. They are willing to go along with the adjustments of sanitizing, social distancing, COVID-19  testing, and temperature checks. 

They are willing to adjust at playing in ballparks with no fans, again a major revenue stream to the owners and players and that also factors into this economic equation that is more difficult to understand and different from the other sports leagues.

Then again, the NBA and NHL are resuming a brief schedule and driving full speed into a tournament type of playoff system, and you hear nothing about salary and that word prorated.

MLB players want to get back on the field. But to many, contacted by, if they are put in position to play 50 games, that’s a sprint and not a marathon.

To the players, the latest proposal does not add up. 

 “We’ve never been put up to a test like this,” said one player.  The test, if players are put in that 50-game position and refuse to play, the league and owners can’t  replace Mike Trout, Aaron Judge, Anthony Rendon. 

They are one of the many faces of baseball. 

Trout has been vocal about the medical protocols and concerns, though silent on the economic issue as their union does the talking. 

They look at economics. Many teams have terminated scouts and their development staffs have been cut back and eliminated.  They have been the backbone of the game for years as analytic departments have taken control and stayed on staff during the coronavirus pandemic. 

To show you how the game has changed, analytics over scouts. 

“They (owners) look at numbers more than talent,” said another player. Take that into account if you play less games.”

And then there is this factor again, put in a position of a 50-game season if two sides can’t come to an agreement that to some is close to fruition.

Owners used minor league players who broke picket lines in the past. Times were different with economics. Now, with the minor league system gone in 2020, there is no feeder system. 

And the players are concerned about service time, again a complicated breakdown due to different structures and free agency. There is a concern in regard to a 50-game season.

The sprint instead of a marathon? You can see more than one player on the injured list. Normal 162-game season and the comeback time can vary from two weeks, a month, maybe more time.

A significant amount of games are missed during a normal season with injuries to calves, hamstrings, arms. A season is over in all probability on the injured list with a 50-game schedule. They are looking at that factor and also a concern about a second wave of COVID-19 that could cause concern with isolation from families.

And a second wave of the virus, a concern that the revenue from a different postseason is lost.

In other words, baseball in 2020 is on the clock. You can side with the owners. You can side with the players. Regardless, we want to see baseball in some form.

If not, the game is in more trouble and leaves a lot of questions for 2021.

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Alex Santos Anticipates And Projected To Be Top Draft Pick

“Alex Santos is one of the Top high school players In the nation.”

Comment from a high ranking NL baseball official who monitors every prospect and words about Alex Santos. The Mount St. Michael Academy senior from the Bronx  is expected to hear his name called next Wednesday night in the first few rounds of the annual Major League Baseball draft.

And at the age of 18, and listed at  6’3″, 185-pounds, as one scout said about the right-hander, “His fastball tops 95. Looks like a stud with nice fade and drop change.”

 Another scout said, “He knows how to attack the zone.”

“Out pitch is the curve ball,” Santos said from his parents home that is blocks away from his school. “Probably the changeup one of the longest pitches I’ve been able to fix over the years.”

He said about the changeup, “Have good trust in it. It’s late and sharp.” 

That’s one of five pitches he throws that includes a two-seamer and slider.  That means Alex Santos has good mound presence. At his age, of course, there is still more to learn and he accepts that. 

Major League Baseball will conduct their annual amateur draft next Wednesday and Thursday evenings in prime time, The draft, revised from 40 rounds to five, will be televised live on ESPN and the MLB Network.

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the normal and the draft this year is different. It will be conducted via remotes as teams make their selections, and Instead of thousands getting a call from a Major League team there will be an estimated hundred.

Santos, after getting the anticipated call, has a decision. If the money is right the pro career will begin, though with baseball in a holding pattern there is no telling where this will go.

However, the backup plan is remain property of a team that selects him as one of the few. Santos, can fulfill a commitment of a four year scholarship to play ball and study at the University of Maryland.

The draft will proceed, though baseball will conduct business with the game on hold. Players and owners are no closer to an agreement as to how or when the first game will be played.

Alex Santos, though, he continues to workout on a daily basis. The high school spring season was cancelled, so he has not been on the mound and pitching to active hitters with exception of a few games in the Fall season.  

About that anticipation and his name to be one of those few that get the call Wednesday night?

“It means I’ve put all the hard work in, stood to the ground of baseball,” he said.  “Just I accomplished what I needed to accomplish through hard work and passion for baseball.”

Santos would be one of those rare players drafted from New York City. Baseball has gone in another direction in evaluation of talent from this area. Scouts tend to place more emphasis on prospects in warm weather areas of the country where baseball is played often.

The south, southwest, and west coast have seen a predominant number of selections come out of the draft the past five years. Also, the focus and concentration has been on international players from Latin nations and elsewhere.

Yes, the game has changed. Though, Alex Santos, a Latino from the Bronx, would be the first and top selected draft pick from the New York area since the days of Manny Ramirez.

Ramirez, the power hitter and Washington Heights kid from the Dominican Republic, was drafted as a first round pick by the Cleveland Indians out of George Washington High School in 1991.

Bobby Bonilla, Lehman HIgh School in the Bronx, had the talent but was bypassed in the draft.  Instead, a scout with the Pirates signed him after watching his power and ability at a baseball camp in Europe. Bonilla would eventually play with the Mets, and at the time signed the highest paid contract in the National League at 5-years and $29 million.

Recently there have been others, though, not first rounders. T.J. Rivera (Lehman- Mets)  and Johnny Monell (Columbus High School, Bronx) a 27th round pick of the San Francisco Giants in  2005 who later played for the Mets.

And there is that passion for baseball and being that potential draft pick from the Bronx. 

 “There is a lot of good talent here,” Santos said. “Mentality like working hard and having the passion for  the sport to wake up eight in the morning and get your work done. Baseball is more than skill.  It’s mental.”

That same scout said about Santos,” He is a good fit for the bullpen with that fastball and selection of pitches.” 

 Santos would not mind that role out of the pen. He admires Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals starter and Dellin Betences, Yankees 8th round draft pick, now with the Mets and one of the top bullpen artists in baseball from Washington Heights.

It’s been a high school career that included an 18-strikeout game. Santos played for a team that did not win many games last season and that economical pitcher that does not give up many runs.  

He is destined to be the first Mount St Michael player drafted since Collin Mahoney in 2004. The others, James Rowso and Sammy Rodriquez in 1994.

“Always work hard and stay humble,” Santos says. “It will lead you to success.”  

 Comment:  Twitter @Ring786 Mancuso

Take Your Pick: Players Or The Owners? by Rich Mancuso /The New York Extra/

When boxing promoters begin the process of a mega fight the negotiations of earnings begins at a 50/50 split. There are other elements in the process as they bargain and usually it becomes a 60/40 split with both camps.

With Major League Baseball, and the process of starting an abbreviated season, the process is getting more complicated as it pertains to revenue for the players and owners. 

Blame the baseball politics now on COVID-19 and the pandemic. Boxing, of all sports, well that depends on who you want to believe when the negotiations conclude with their politics. 

Basically, and as you have heard with MLB and the players, this is about economics with the billion dollar owners wanting it their way and the mega million ball players looking at it another way.

And they can’t come to an agreement about a split. 

There is a major division here.  Each day passes with that question of when, where.  How would they commence a different 2020 baseball season with economics as the answer?

Though it should be safe first. with proper testing and protocol to assure that players, coaches, umpires, and other personnel are not at risk of the coronavirus. Instead, it goes back to the question, who wants what? Is it greed of the players or the owners?

Regardless, we all want baseball. We need that diversion. But, this has to be done the proper way, if not there is no way.

A prorated rate of 82 games, projected to be half of the players salaries was negotiated in March with players and MLB and that concludes in two weeks.,  informed by sources in the players union, would need to return that money received if and when an abbreviated season begins and that’s one of the issues that gets more complicated.

And to the multi-million dollar contract player that does not appear to hurt them in the pocket. To the minimal salary player, that amounts to a major difference. To you, the fans, who would be shut out of the ballparks, it’s both parties racking in revenue.

It’s about those hurting and fighting to put food on the table that are more important than baseball and all sports at this point of time. That, my friends, is more important than playing the game of baseball and a labor war that is developing into a clash between billionaires and millionaires.

Safety, though, as one insider said to this columnist is more important.

“Other than filling the pockets of owners who are safe at home watching the games, it is not going to get the economy going or help the blue collar workers who still will not be back at their jobs. If one person, player, a team personnel becomes infected, is it worth it? What’s the hurry?”

“So they put another asterisk in the history books. It will be a flea on a mountain as far as the important things in baseball history.”

Yes, baseball should not be a priority at this point. The issue of economics and position of bargaining with another contract for players and owners is not the priority.

And when some of the top names in the sport offer their opinion, as they did Thursday, believe me, it’s not only about the money, rather the safety of players and their families along with other personnel.

Something is being said that a certain person in the White House is dictating moves telling the owners to get the economy moving. But that is simply my opinion. 

“Don’t know what else they can do with the safety.” said a NL insider.    “Think they will play, but if they don’t adhere to the agreement made in March about prorated the players won’t play.”

In the meantime, there have been discussions of starting a second spring training in a matter of weeks. Players have been informed to stay in shape and prepare. 

One player contacted said, “They are not telling you that they don’t replace the 83 percent of our salaries we spend on hotels and food.” 

Others contacted said, they want to play but safety was more important to them and their families. In other words, money to them is important but not the issue here. A majority, as one said, “are not for this proposal.” 

So payment of a split that would go more to the owners does not seem fair. Then again, we should not be in this discussion when a pandemic has caused many to lose jobs and not knowing what the future holds. 

Players have been informed to not sweat in locker rooms.  Spitting would not be allowed for safety issues, difficult for a ballplayer because they are creatures of habit.  

Teams would play in home ballparks with no fans if permitted. And of course, no fans means revenue lost from ticket sales, concessions, and parking. 

As of Friday, no word about opening up cities that are major markets to baseball  including  New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit. Toronto and the Canadian border is closed, so the Blue Jays would play at their spring training base in Dunedin Florida.

The Mets and Yankees have a reported contingency plan. They could  possibly play home games at spring training complexes in  Tampa and Port St. Lucie Florida.

Designated hitters in both leagues, a 14-game postseason, games against divisional and regional opponents, expanded rosters to 30 as proposed  is not the issue.  

“There is no minor league system,” said the insider.” That could be an issue if a roster player is not available to play due to injury. 

The amateur draft, scheduled for early next month, is also a question and would be reduced to five rounds. The owners did not want that.  

So it is back to this issue of a season or a lost one. The Marlins and Tampa Bay have furloughed most of their employees and suspended their health plans. That is also an issue.

An issue because it has that impact regarding the well being of office personnel, scouts, and those who are the forefront of a Major League Baseball franchise.

 MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said on CNN Thursday night,” And if we don’t play a season, the  losses for the owners could approach $4 billion.”

The owners, he said, feel that it is important for the game to be played. 

Yeah, this isn’t boxing and more complicated for baseball when it comes to a split. Who would have ever thought this would be so difficult? 

Not a player will take less money and that seems to be the overall consensus. If they want to play the economics of this will happen. Remember, though, proper safety protocols are more important.

And more importantly, the general public does not want to hear about who is right or wrong here.  But the owners have the money and can give in if they want their game to be played. 

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

There Are Obstacles And Baseball Should Look At Next Year

“They want to play but there are obstacles”

That quote comes from a high ranking baseball official when asked about the potential or any start to the 2020 MLB season.  He speaks with MLB officials on a daily basis.  

But as each day passes, and as the Coronavirus pandemic continues, chances are the season being played at this point  he says, is “fifty-fifty.” And the obstacles are standing in the way.

From this perspective, and from the latest projections of the pandemic far from over, the 2020 baseball season should be put in the books as no games played, records on hold, contracts up in the air, and start up again next year,

For the well being of players, their families, and a fan base, the best option is look at 2021, though that same official did not offer that ray of optimism about a normal  baseball season next year.

Basically, we have come to realize that things will not be the same if and when this pandemic is in control.  That pertains to baseball, all sports, and everything that was prior to COVID-19.

And if MLB seeks to get their players back on the field, as the official said, “They have a lot to overcome. They could get it done.  But if something  happens it all goes down the tubes.”

Going down the tubes is significant in the event a season begins and proper testing for COVID-19 reveals a player, coach, staff, or officials test positive. That would become the obstacle. 

Any type of abbreviated and different season would be down the tubes, with the worst possible scenario of putting in the effort to start a 2020 season in late June or by July 4th, and then shut down.

“No one knows what’s happening for tomorrow,” said the official.  “I know that MLB is super motivated to play. They really want to play because they will be the only game in town.”

He believes MLB can recoup from their financial downfall. The players are getting paid, though not a full salary, through the end of this month.  The financial burden won;t hurt the player with a mega contract as much as it does with the player making a minimum salary. 

And the few players contacted by The Ny are not in favor of the latest MLB concept of splitting a potential season into three divisions. Nor are they for playing in three venues in the states of Florida, Arizona, or Texas.

They want to see fans in the seats, of course so do the owners. Besides that significant revenue from the various network and regional television deals it is the fans that bring in a significant part of the revenue stream for MLB.

All  of the 30 teams are estimated to be  losing $300 million or more since the shutdown. Four weeks of the schedule, listed as postponements, have resulted in furloughs of front office personnel and major reductions in salaries.

Though the June 10th amateur draft is on schedule, the official said there will be no minor league operations this year. There is talk about an expanded instructional league at some point of six or seven weeks.

 But all of this, like the start of the season, remains to be determined. Tampa Bay is the one team to cut back on their scouting division. Eventually, and after the draft,  scouts currently on staff could be furloughed and analytics will take over. 

Scouts are continuing to conduct evaluations, looking at  prospects, trades, and who is on the bubble from spring training. That is a routine that would be taking place if the MLB season was in progress.

Again, there are obstacles.  And all of the talk, the contingency plans, they don’t move forward without the consultation of  medical authorities at the CDC and others that MLB is in consultation  with on a daily basis. 

Which brings us back to the point of these obstacles. This is not a move to the finish line as to what sport will resume first and how they will do it. It comes down to the safety of the players and others.

It comes down to baseball being played on the field with no fans in the stands. That revenue stream is significant and the issue of no fans could be going into 2021.

It all depends on where we stand with this pandemic, knowing of course that we are not out of the woods.

And as much as there is a buzz of the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, and Braves in the same division, that would bring television ratings, most of the players that were contacted were not for the concept.

That, the players, is a major obstacle along with how their contracts and reductions of salaries would be impacted due to an abbreviated season. 

It would not be a normal season. And a postseason played in November is not baseball no matter where it is played.  A champion would not come out of a World Series and a Commissioner trophy would be something else.

That **** would have to be placed in the season and how legitimate would be the records? The individual honors of batting champion, MVP’s Cy Young Awards? 

Again, so many obstacles. And from this perspective, as much as I want baseball, it won’t be the same. Call it a day and wait until next year with the hope we can be back to some type of normalcy that is safe and proper for all.

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Logistics Say MLB Plan To Resume Can’t Be Possible

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 had doubts about the MLB concept. 

J.D. Davis at the Thurman Munson Award Dinner /Feb 6 2020/neil Miller/ The New york Extra/ copyright 2020

“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.

05/18/16 Washington Nationals vs NY Mets at Citifield Queens NY Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez #47 pitches in the 4th innning Neil Miller/The New York Extra/ copyright 2020

“ 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:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

The Season of the Asterisk Claims Mets Syndegaard Pitcher


#34 Noah Syndegaard pitches in spring training of 2020 Neil Miller/The New York Extra/

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.