OBSERVATIONS: Is it time to shut down baseball for 2020?

By HAL McCOY

UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave, exhausted from watching all the ESPN talking heads babble and babble about Michael Jordan, even though ‘The Last Dance’ series was fascinating.

—Maybe it is time to just shut it down, lock the doors, put the uniforms in mothballs, lock the bats and balls in a climate-controlled room and cancel the 2020 baseball season.

The players are on the precipice of shooting themselves in both feet, alienating the fans forever.

And what is it all about? Money, It is ALWAYS about money. In late March, MLB and the players signed a deal that players would be paid on a pro-rated basis when baseball returns.

That means if they return in early July and play 81 games, half a season, the players would be paid half their salary.

Now, though, MLB is trying to change course. They want to split revenue with the players 50/50. MLB realizes that games would be played with no fans, 40 per cent of the revenue (ticket sales, concessions, parking).

The players are saying, “No way, no how.” These are guys who average $4.4 million per player per year. They haven’t been paid since May 1 and, just as an example close to home, Joey Votto is losing close to $139,000 a day. A DAY!

He was paid $21 million last season, so he won’t be wearing shoes with holes in the soles.

How does it look to the general public during this COVID-19 pandemic, with 70,000 deaths in the United States and the number mounting every day? And the pandemic is not over, not even close.

How does this squabble over money look to one of the 15 per cent unemployed in this country, with the number mounting?

Tampa Bay’s All-Star pitcher, Blake Snell, says he won’t play for a reduced salary, “Because it is just not worth it. No, I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, OK? The risk is way the hell higher and the money I’m making is way the hell lower. Why would I think about doing that?”

Snell was supposed to make $7.6 million this season. OK? No, not OK, Blake.

No matter how prepared MLB is with its plans to resume play, it is too dangerous. The risk is too high.

Do I miss baseball? With all my heart and soul. Do I want to see baseball resume. With all my heart soul. . .in 2021, if it is safe.

Just add 750 major league players to the unemployment line. With the major league minimum pay at $563,500 a year for rookies and many making more than $30 million a year, the players wont be standing in the food lines.

If the money issue is resolved and play resumes in July, they won’t be playing games in California. Governor Gavin Newsome has extended quarantine in that state until August. That means no baseball in Los Angeles, Anaheim, San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego.

—Without looking it up — and you won’t believe it if you do look it up — who owns the longest hitting streak in Riverfront Stadium?

Not that I don’t trust Jeff Weller, who posted it, but I looked it up. And I didn’t believe it. It isn’t Pete Rose. It isn’t Joe Morgan. It isn’t Sean Casey. It is owned by Ron Oester, who put together a 31-game hitting streak in Riverfront. (I still refuse to call it Cinergy Field.)

—Anybody know what to do with $200 worth of gift cards from Bravo and Brio?

—Is college football at risk? You betcha. The NCAA says it is up to individual conferences to make determinations, but schools have to be in session, classes on campus.

So, 23 universities under the California State umbrella announced there would be no classes on their campuses. So, no football at places like San Diego State, San Jose State and Fresno State.

There will be more. With so many states opening back up, virus experts believe there will be a spike in Covid-19. Noted immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci says because of close contact on the field, football is at the greatest risk.

—The Mid-American Conference is taking drastic steps already. The MAC, of which Miami is a member, has canceled post-season tournaments for eight sports this fall-winter.

It also has reduced the basketball post-season to eight teams. So far, it has not made changes to the football season. But stay tuned.

—Alabama quarterback and Miami Dolphins draftee Tua Tagovailoa used some of his draft money to purchase his mother a Cadillac Escalade. Not only is he a good son, he is a good American for buying American. No Mercedes or BMW or momma.

—When Pete Rose ran he was compared to a greyhound. . .not the dog, but the bus. He ran like a runaway bus. Despite average speed, he stole 198 bases during his career. But he was caught 149 times, only a 57 per cent success ratio. But, as pointed out by Facebook friend Don Tincher, Rose had a special day and it wasn’t for the Cincinnati Reds, it was against them.

It was 1980 when Rose played for the Philadelphia Phillies. Playing against the Reds and pitcher Mario Soto, Rose stole three bases in one inning. He walked and stole second. Then he stole third. Dayton native Mike Schmidt walked. Schmidt stole second and Rose bolted for home, the back end of a double steal.

—Ty Cobb stole home 54 times, most in MLB history, including eight in one season. Jackie Robinson stole home in a World Series game. The lumbering Babe Ruth stole home 10 times. Rickey Henderson, the all-time base thief, only stole home four times, three of them in his first two seasons under manger Billy Martin.

Rose? That was his only theft of home. He only tried twice, once successfully and the other time he was thrown out, although he says, “I was safe. I even surprised the umpire and he missed the call.”

—The NCAA is about to come down on the Kansas basketball program and coach Bill Self.

Most egregious was the program’s association with Adidas representative T.J. Gassnola, who latched on to the program and Self.

The school’s administrators wanted Self to get rid of Gassnola, but Self gets want Self wants and Gassnola continued to hang around, even though he was a convicted felon and suspected of making illegal payments to recruits.

David Reed, the school’s NCAA Rules Compliance director, compared Gassnola to notorious Mafia gangster Lucky Luciano.

Gassnola was with the team for last season’s Maui Classic when the Jayhawks beat Dayton’s Flyers in overtime.

Makes you wonder how many Jayhawks who beat the Flyers were taking cash under the training table?

6 thoughts on “OBSERVATIONS: Is it time to shut down baseball for 2020?

  • May 14, 2020 at 4:06 pm
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    No matter which sport an athlete is paid for it is always far too much considering what they contribute to society.People who actually contribute and make a positive difference
    never get the monetary rewards due them.TV personalities,actors and sports people always get too much undeserved attention but we the fans are to blame.And yes I do admire the refuse collectors doing their jobs and making a big difference in our lives.
    Employees who work in the trades and use their mental and physical skills make a great contribution even though most are not college grads.If most people decide to earn a college degree then we will lack skilled trades which is vitally important in keeping all things functioning.

    Reply
  • May 14, 2020 at 4:38 pm
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    Blake Snell: not a good look! As fan since Crosley, I totally agree Hal – I say shut the thing down! Hopefully some bigwigs see your post. It is UNACCEPTABLE that they have not come to an agreement – ridiculous!

    Reply
  • May 14, 2020 at 7:00 pm
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    I’m with you, Hal. Cancel the season. They have been gradually destroying what once was “The great American Pastime” anyway. Even before the pandemic, the game we grew up with is barely recognizable. I miss that game. This weak facsimile…not so much. Maybe the fact that they can’t come to a reasonable and safe solution is just an indication of how far away from real “sport and fans” they have drifted. Stay safe, Hal!

    Reply
  • May 15, 2020 at 7:56 am
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    I’ll join the chorus, pull the plug.

    The current CBA with the players is expiring next year. That negotiation will be blood on the walls. Perhaps another extended work stoppage. Another major nail in baseballs coffin ?

    Attention owners and players: many fans really don’t much care anymore. Our fun money will be going elsewhere.

    Personally, I love the Reds but I’m tired of homerun or strikeout only baseball. Smallball appears dead.

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  • May 16, 2020 at 12:56 pm
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    This is exactly why I haven’t missed baseball for the last 50 or so years…… It’s not the game, IT’S THE PLAYERS. MLB to me doesn’t even exist. Love to go and watch sandlot ball though. That reminds me of my younger years and the REAL GAME, before free agency.

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  • May 17, 2020 at 2:57 pm
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    Just heard networks considering piping in crowd noise for empty stands….like laugh tracks on sitcoms.

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