The Rundown: Adjusting to World Without Baseball, Heyward Gets It Right, Epstein Calls for Better Testing Protocols
“And good ol’ boys were drinking whiskey and rye saying this will be the day that I die.” – Don McLean
Statement from Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts: pic.twitter.com/L5le4gWE0V
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 12, 2020
There was bad news on the doorstep today if you’re still one who gets a morning paper delivery, unlike someone like me, a gormandizer of online sports news. Baseball has been suspended indefinitely, at least through the rest of spring training and the first two weeks of the season. That rushing sound you were expecting to hear as baseball opened the 2020 season has been temporarily muted.
Even if MLB allows its teams to start playing again in mid-April, the city of Chicago would rather wait until May 1 to allow social gatherings large enough to fill Wrigley Field. Championships are tough to come by when you play your first 10-15 games away from home. In case you forgot, the Cubs were one of the poorer road teams in all of baseball last season.
And it’s not just baseball. The entire sports landscape, nay, the entire world, seems to be going on an extended blackout. My office has asked me not to come in for up to 60 days until the current COVID-19 pandemic is expected to be contained or eradicated. I love my home, but it loses a lot of its luster when it suddenly becomes my prison cell. That said, at least I am getting paid during this time, so I have no right to bitch or moan.
In another example of the imminent breakdown of society, store shelves are emptying at a rapid pace, toilet paper and hand sanitizers are apparently worth their weight in gold, and the Dow Jones is on pace to fall to zero in about 10 business days. Frankly, I’m surprised the financial markets haven’t been suspended for a few days to let cooler heads prevail.
And there it is….. early questions from players: do we go home now? Stay and train? How/when do we start back up? Have another 2 wk spring then start where schedule picks up? Do we still get paid?… this is wild
— Jason Kipnis (@TheJK_Kid) March 12, 2020
The biggest losers in all of this are the people who cannot work from home and rely on low-income jobs to stay afloat. We can debate whether or not baseball players deserve to get paid during the blackout, but what about the vendors, maintenance staff, groundskeepers, ushers, bartenders, and ticket-takers who depend on sold out games at Wrigley Field to survive? Now scale that out to society in general and what you have is something that is nearly as grim as the Dark Ages. Today we call it social distancing. It’s like we are living in a real life episode of the Twilight Zone.
“Even the technology that promises to unite us, divides us. Each of us is now electronically connected to the globe, and yet we feel utterly alone.” – Dan Brown, Angels & Demons
Once the pandemic has ended, businesses may not have the capital to put many of their employees back to work. Social financial reform is going to be needed soon, and if you’re too much of a capitalist to not acknowledge that, then you may not have a heart. In times of trouble, Americans have traditionally helped each other out to the best of their abilities, but now we live in a society where selfishness has become somewhat of a pandemic of its own. That has to change immediately.
If you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck and do not have the ability to work from home, the short- and long-term ramifications are likely exhaustive and crippling. There’s not much to look forward to, nor is there any societal escape from those fears.
We’ll miss baseball, which has always been reliable in its ability to offer a pleasant diversion when life’s stressors become too much to bear. A lot of Cubs fans have been using the hashtag #strapiton as a rallying cry for this year’s team. We probably should make that a personal affirmation until life returns to normal, whatever the new normal may be.
“We’re all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.” – Rudyard Kipling
If I may make a personal plea, try your best not to spread false information that may incite panic. Whether you think a conspiracy exists or not, the CDC website is probably your best source for honest information. Thanks to social media, we live in a time where breaking a story often supersedes factual reporting. Please be careful in choosing what to share with others.
Odds & Sods
This would have been a better scene were it from a fictitious disaster movie.
Hundreds of hungry monkeys swarm across Thai street as 'rival gangs' fight over food after tourists who normally feed them stay away because of coronavirus https://t.co/lQZ0sOzwDF pic.twitter.com/8TgrCTBrQ8
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) March 12, 2020
Cubs News & Notes
- Theo Epstein believes the United States needs to step up when it comes to testing citizens for COVID-19 (subscription to The Athletic required).
- Here’s how the pandemic will affect the Cubs and other MLB teams.
- Jason Heyward has the correct take on how MLB is handling the current situation. “I’m more worried about going and saying hello to my parents,” the outfielder said. “They’re 62, 63 years old. I got teammates with kids. Relatives. I’m just more worried about that – the safety of everyone else that may not be able to fight it off.”
- Obviously, the Cubs-Dodgers game slated for yesterday was called off.
- Kris Bryant is hoping to avoid leadoff anxiety and stay mentally prepared to kickstart the team’s offense once the season resumes.
- Not to add misery to yesterday’s bad news, but Daniel Descalso is probably a lock to make the team once baseball reboots.
- Former Cubs and current Giants pitcher Jeff Samardzija thinks Chicago’s front office should keep its core together.
- Yesterday was the launch of Marquee on streaming outlet Hulu. Talk about poor timing.
MLB News & Notes
Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini underwent successful surgery yesterday to remove a malignant tumor from his colon. The tumor was discovered last week during a colonoscopy. Lab results and the timetable for his recovery will not be known until next week.
The return of baseball will likely be a very fluid situation in the coming weeks with nothing guaranteed. Ken Davidoff of the NY Post has some answers to the most common questions surrounding yesterday’s announcement by MLB.
Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell, the second NBA player to announce he’s tested positive for the coronavirus, is the son of Mets’ director of player relations and community engagement Donovan Sr., who will be tested for the virus, per team announcement.
A beacon of Love.
Kevin Love commits $100,000 to the Cavs' arena and support staff due to the suspension of the NBA season.
(via @kevinlove) pic.twitter.com/HbqU1Wt8D0
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 12, 2020
They Said It
- “It’s scary because [transmitting the novel coronavirus] can happen like that. What do you want to do? Wait for that to happen and wait for it to spread?” – Jason Heyward
- “We told the players everything that we know, everything that we didn’t know but hoped to know soon and shared our thoughts completely and candidly with them. Most questions we can’t answer, unfortunately, at this time. Everything that we could answer, we did. Testing is a much broader issue than just how it relates to a major-league team or a sports team. We’re far behind in this country as a whole in testing, so our stance is the more testing, the better.” – Theo Epstein
- “I’m not a doctor. But following the lead of the doctors, we haven’t had anyone in camp, including David [Ross, who was confined to bed rest for flu-like symptoms when Cactus League play began], who’s met the standard to get tested in this country. Right now, it’s a really high threshold just to get a test. There have been a shockingly low number of tests throughout the country, and we all hope that changes soon.” – Epstein
Friday Walk Up Song
It’s The End of the Word As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) by R.E.M. Just a one-day break from this month’s theme.