Doom and Gloom
By Ed Botti, June 11, 2020
A friend of mine emailed me the other day and said something to the effect of “I love Start Spreading the News, but when did you become the writer of doom and gloom”. I thought about it for a minute and realized that he may be right.
Like all of the other writers here at SSTN, we spent the fall and winter months writing, with a few exceptions, pieces about ”what was”. The feel good retrospective pieces and some tragic stories of the past. Yes, we all sprinkled in some predictions about Matt Blake as Pitching Coach, we covered the cheating Astros and of course the signing of Gerrit Cole gave us all a clean canvas and an overall feeling of “I can’t wait for the Baseball season”.
I for one was looking forward to writing about the “what is” during the 2020 season; and then we all know what transpired on March 12. You don’t need me to rehash all of that.
The “what is” did not become Giancarlo Stanton’s bounce back year, Aaron Judge’s odd injury suffered last September, Gleyber Torres’ adjustment to full time shortstop duty, Gary Sanchez and his inconsistencies behind the plate, or even Clint Frazier and who knows what he was going to say this season, and if his insane bat speed would play out, and how he would do defensively.
All of that while monitoring Didi and Joe in Phllly.
We were going to have an infinite amount of news, stats and stories to cover and critique.
There was so much intrigue awaiting us in 2020.
Who amongst us was not waiting for the overall reaction of the fans when the Astros played, especially in the Bronx? That really was becoming the most anticipated aspect of the season on a nationwide basis. Before all of this started all I heard on Radio and TV from the fans was “we wuz robbed”.
I had it circled on my calendar; Monday September 21. That was the night the Astros were set to make their first post – cheating appearance in the Bronx. Talk about being robbed? How great was that going to be? Imagine all of the cleaver and hysterically funny signs we would have seen?
The Staten Island Yankees had a planned garbage can night, and I was going!
New Yorkers have a unique sense of humor, and we would have seen it in all its glory that evening and the rest of the 4 game series. And I will bet, it would have been loud, maybe a little rowdy, but that’s it. No damage to Astro buses or cars, etc… Good clean fun.
Also circled on my calendar was April 7. We would have been given a glimpse of things to come, as those same cheaters were set to play in Queens. I am sure many Yankee fans would have infiltrated Citi Field to welcome the Astros to the Big Apple.
I planned to be covering those games and reporting back to all of you on how it went. I was actually hoping to see our old friend Dellin Betances throw a few inside to Mr. Bregman and Mr. Altuve.
But like they say, you can’t always get what you want.
By now, June 11, 2020 the endless discussion of when Aaron Judge will play in 2020 would have been the talk of the town. Right now, we would be about 65 games or so into the season, and from all indications I have read about and heard discussed by people in the know, he still would be on the sidelines watching, barely even swinging a bat.
Would that have opened the door for Clint Frazier and/or Mike Tauchman to take the ball and run with it, or would they have fallen flat on their faces? I was looking forward to finding out.
This past March, while speaking with JT the Brick on his SiriusXM show, I talked about a potential problem brewing with the Yankees.
In case anyone has forgotten when camp kicked off several Yankees, including Giancarlo Stanton and most notably Gleyber Torres, were being very vocal about the Astro cheating, and were convinced they did so in 2019, when they eliminated the Yankees.
Remember the buzzer?
While on the other side of the field, Gerrit Cole took on the role of Sergeant Schultz from Hogan’s Heroes fame, with his ”I saw nothing, I heard nothing” rhetoric. All of that, while it was widely reported by all the NY Media in Tampa that Cole was a student of the game, and during his brief time in camp knew everything that was going on with his teammates on the field, watched everything closely and conferred with them about pitch selection, etc.
So, he comes to New York and sees everything, but while in Houston, he sees nothing?
Anyone want to buy a bridge in Brooklyn?
How would his teammates have accepted him? Would they have trusted him?
That was a brewing story that just faded away on March 12.
By the way, if you haven’t tuned in to JT’s show, you are missing one of the best Sports Talk Shows on the air. Let’s face it folks, the glory days of WFAN seem to be in the past. This show is a breath of fresh air!
We will have to wait to find out if Gio Urshela is for real and if his newly found rotational hitting stoke he displayed last season is what made the difference for him in 2019?
I thought it was a little trivial when I first heard about it, but let’s not forget that on August 13, the Yankees were playing the White Sox on national TV in the corn fields of Iowa at the site of the movie set of Field of Dreams.
The ghosts of Shoeless Joe, Eddie Cicotte and even Babe Ruth all watching as Giancarlo would have stepped to the plate as the sun set in an Iowa cornfield!
Now? I’d love to see that tableau.
No, in an instant the “what is” became a pandemic and is now a labor dispute.
I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
Yes, indeed doom and gloom.
So, without further ado, here is where we are today.
Little ground has been made in the fight over money, and the divide is essentially the same.
Another revision to the MLB offer has been proffered, and countered by the MLBPA within hours for an 89-game regular season, with the players getting their full prorated salaries.
Neither side viewed the other side’s offer with much excitement and enthusiasm, to put it nicely.
The MLB offer is being reported as a 76 game season, 50% salary with a 25% kicker… if the postseason gets played and a champion is crowned.
MLBPA doesn’t like that deal because they feel all that is guaranteed is 50% pay, and maybe another 25%.
MLB is holding firm to their position that they will lose too much money by paying prorated salaries during an 89 game season. MLBPA is not buying any of it.
The MLBPA plan would have the regular season run from July 10 to October 11, finishing up right when the NBA finals would finish, avoiding competition for the MLB Playoffs with the NBA Playoffs and the NFL regular season, to a degree.
MLB does not want to play into November out of fear of a second wave of the virus, which would put at risk $787 Million of playoff revenue.
MLB threw a bone to the MLBPA by eliminating the qualifying offer for the 2020 and 2021 seasons, and any draft pick compensation tied to free agency.
MLBPA does not believe the removal of the qualifying offer helps players in the current situation.
It has gotten to the point of getting very late in the season to keep trying to find that middle ground. We now are hearing that the Commissioner, a man in well over his head in these types of matters, can just implement a season schedule that forces players to abide by it, and report to their teams.
A decision that will most likely increase the divide in the management/labor relationship.
The Commissioner does not prefer making the decision, which is well within his power to do so. He would rather have the two sides reach a deal on their own.
The problem for him is the longer this goes on will make it more and more likely that he will have to do so, and we will have a season of 50 or so games, with prorated salaries.
If we are going to hear “play ball” anytime soon, the Commissioner needs to step up and take charge. It’s getting late, very early, as Yogi would say.
A 50 game season? I don’t even know what to make of it.
The infamous March agreement we have been discussing the last few weeks or so, gives Manfred control of the schedule, as long as the players get prorated salaries.
Sorry, more doom and gloom.
Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. But at this point in time, I guess it is better than Hogan’s Heroes reruns!
RIP Claudell Washington. Thanks for some great memories.
Stay tuned, and hang in there everyone!