Before we jump into the lead story for today’s links, just a quick note: if you were trying to comment on posts yesterday and found yourself unable to, there was an issue across the SB Nation platform that resulted in commenting being disabled. It’s back up and running now on all posts.
I have been watching some spring training games lately, and while it’s lovely to see live people back in a park, and live games being played, I’ve begun to notice a trend. From players to fans, a lot of people are not taking safety mandates seriously.
In terms of the players, prior to the start of spring training there were new safety guidelines released by MLB. One of them specified that while players did not have to wear masks on the field, they would be required to wear them at all times in the dugout, and would even have a designated monitor to ensure this was happening.
There's something very pure about Pete Alonso sitting in the dugout, just holding a bat pic.twitter.com/wGLvuhvEGF— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) March 4, 2021
Yes, it’s a lovely image. But neither player is abiding by MLB mask policy. Likewise in many videos of the stands, fans are ignoring the masking policy as well.
You might think me a buzzkill for mentioning it, but I don’t mind. The reason those policies exist are to keep the players and fans safe, and to give MLB the best possible shot at a full 162-game season. How quickly fans forget their own cardboard cutouts taking their place in the stands, which could be brought back if people fail to adhere to the safety requirements. So too, we could see teams missing a week or more of games because of a COVID outbreak in the clubhouse like we saw with the Marlins last year.
All of this brings me to Texas, where the governor’s new easements on masks and events could mean that in theory the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros could fill their stadiums to 100 percent capacity.
Neil Leibman of the Rangers said, “We look forward to responsibly welcoming fans to a Rangers game at Globe Life Field for the first time at the start of the 2021 season.” He did not indicate how they planned to do that if they opened to full capacity and could not enforce masking regulations.
You can read more about how Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision will impact Texas sports in this piece by Evan Grant.
Now onto the links!
- In line with the discussion above, most MLB teams are very enthusiastic about selling tickets again, even in reduced quantities, writes Eric Fisher.
- Gregor Chisholm shares why the current Mickey Callaway scandal will force ALL MLB teams to take a hard look inward.
- On that note, Indians management won’t be able to sweep their participation in the scandal under the rug, writes Jason Lloyd. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- While they will certainly be hot button issues for the CBA, don’t expect further discussion of the universal DH or expanded playoffs this year, says Evan Drellich. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- The Dodgers are going for broke with a nearly $250 million payroll, but can it buy them another World Series ring? Alden Gonzalez looks at how the LA team is outspending everyone else.
- There are a lot of opinions about what stats do and don’t matter, and Kevin Goldstein wonders “Can RBIs matter?”
- MLB has announced than June 2 will now be Lou Gehrig Day across the league. Michael Shapiro looks at this decision and what it means for ALS research.
- The Philadelphia... Blue Jays?
Something weird happened today in 1943.— High Heat Stats (@HighHeatStats) March 4, 2021
The Philadelphia Phillies were officially renamed the Blue Jays.
Their uniforms still said Phillies, but were blue and featured a a blue jay emblem.
It lasted for only 2 seasons before they switched back to the Phillies. pic.twitter.com/oGWR27CUDb
- RJ McDaniel reflects on fan discontent and how it manifests on the field.
- With Tampa Bay expecting to welcome the hottest shortstop prospect in baseball this year in Wander Franco, Jake Mailhot suggests it’s make it or break it time for current SS Willy Adames.
- No wonder MLB deadened the ball this season. Sluggers are on the rise! Jim Callis, Jonathan Mayo, and Sam Dykstra scout the top incoming slugger for each team.
- Surprises incoming? David Schoenfield looks at the top non-roster invitees this spring training season.
- Devin Gordon goes back in time for the history of Mike Piazza, Roger Clemens, and a broken bat.
- You know I can’t resist a Fergie Jenkins post, but without cheating can you name the other two Hall of Famers who were members of the Harlem Globetrotters?
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.