We’re now past the day on which the 2020 baseball season should have opened, with no clarity on when it might actually begin. But there is news out there on what it might look like.
- During the day Thursday, Ken Rosenthal reports that owners and players were getting close to a resolution on the issue of service time for a shortened 2020 season. (The Athletic subscription required)
- Later Thursday, this resolution had been reached and you can check it out on Rosenthal’s Twitter feed.
- But what will that season look like? Jayson Stark has some answers — among them, the likelihood that a lot of games that are already scheduled will be played on the dates already mapped out. (The Athletic subscription required)
- Rosenthal and Stark have some ideas on experiments MLB could try with the sport when it does return. Among the folks they talked to was former Cubs manager Joe Maddon. (The Athletic subscription required)
- Scott Boras says MLB should play 162 games with a World Series game on Christmas. Mike DiGiovanna has details on the super-agent’s ideas.
- The UK newspaper The Sun reported that the London Series games between the Cubs and Cardinals have been cancelled. Caveat: no other outlet reported this and a MLB source told me this has not been decided yet. (If the London games are cancelled, those games would be played in St. Louis, as they had been designated Cardinals home games.)
- Commissioner Rob Manfred sent a message out on Opening Day that he hoped baseball, when it does return, would help the country heal. Whatever you think of Manfred, I believe we can all get behind that. Here’s a full letter to baseball fans from Manfred.
- Meanwhile, Manfred addressed the Red Sox part of the cheating scandal by saying that while the investigation is done, his focus has been on the pandemic and he will issue a report before play resumes.
- Kiley McDaniel reports on the 2020 MLB Draft, which apparently will be held in July, but possibly shortened. Negotiations are ongoing.
- If you are starved for live baseball action, Korea’s KBO is live-streaming scrimmages.
- Former NBC Sports Chicago field reporter Kelly Crull is now working for Fox Sports South, though Patrick Mooney reports she’s in a weird limbo now between her apartment in Chicago and her parents’ house in Indiana because there’s no season. She sent out thanks to Cubs fans for their kindness over the six years she worked in Chicago. (The Athletic subscription required)
- Chris Sale, Noah Syndergaard and Tyler Beede are having Tommy John surgery. You might think that’s “elective” surgery not needed during the pandemic, but Henry Schulman spoke to a noted TJS doctor about why these procedures can and should be done now.
- Meanwhile, Fanatics and MLB have teamed up to use material that would have gone to make souvenir jerseys into masks and gowns for hospitals. Jessica Golden reports that over a million of these will be made and MLB is picking up the cost.
- They usually have an Opening Day parade in Cincinnati, but Tom Verducci writes about how this year, yesterday was “just Thursday.”
- Could MLB look to expansion as a result of the coronavirus stoppage to try to recoup some of the money lost? Craig Edwards takes a deep dive into where money from previous expansions went.
Going to slip one Cubs note in here:
Baseball transaction on what would have been Opening Day: The Cubs have optioned reliever Dillon Maples to Triple-A Iowa.— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) March 27, 2020
Now for some features and fun!
- It’s a good time, while we all have downtime, for “what if”s. Aaron Gleeman wonders what might have happened if David Ortiz had stayed with the Twins. (The Athletic subscription required)
- During the 1918-19 flu pandemic, Babe Ruth was stricken with the disease. Here is an excerpt from a book by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith.
- Lastly, two Rule 5 picks (of the 11 made in the Major League phase last December) were caught in an odd situation with no pay due to the agreement on how non-40-man roster players and minor leaguers were to be paid after baseball stopped. Fortunately, as Dan Connolly reports, deals were worked out for both of them. One was Michael Rucker, who was returned to the Cubs from the Orioles. (The Athletic subscription required)
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.