I hope an end to coronavirus is near, not just because I miss baseball, but because I have now lost all motivation since self-isolating 18 days ago. Most of you have only recently sequestered yourselves, so heads up: When you enter week three, you are going to start feeling virtually imprisoned. I don’t even know what day it is anymore and I almost forgot that my birthday is just four days away.
That said, we must all soldier on and do our best to flatten the curve. The layoffs are real and unemployment numbers are surging into uncharted territory. Many of my friends lost their jobs yesterday. If you feel like you are living a real-life science fiction movie, it’s because you are. Natural selection has always been a part of the human cycle, and though there are numerous diseases that cause sweeping deaths, including the flu, none are as unpredictable or as scientifically baffling as COVID-19.
It was nice to see everybody enjoy the rebroadcast of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series yesterday evening. I didn’t watch it because I am in the middle of a chronologically sequenced MCU binge, but that’s only because I am starting to feel like everyday is Groundhog Day. All that’s missing from my life is Ned Ryerson. Besides, after multiple viewings of that historic game, the impact starts to feel a little diluted.
I’ve seen Ben Zobrist hit that tie-breaking 10th inning double off of Bryan Shaw so many times that I can mimic both the television and radio play-by-play. In fact, in the same way that I view Titanic (boat hits iceberg, I stop watching), I pretty much go into white noise hypnosis after David Ross hits his home run to give the Cubs a 6-3 lead. I still don’t know why Jack had to die in the epic movie and I still can’t figure out how the Indians blew a three-games-to-one lead in the ’16 series. Is it any wonder a video exists of the Cubs victory played against a similar soundtrack?
Everything is better with Celine Dion I suppose, unless you are Jack Dawson, or the Indians.
The breakdown of Grandpa Rossy’s performance in that game is now more interesting to me than the game itself.
After 18 days, I’m tired of reruns on TV and in real life and I can’t wait for the season to resume, if it ever does. Life can become one big suckhole once you start to tire of baseball replays, even the greatest one. That pales in comparison, however, to the 3 million-plus Americans who don’t know when they’ll get their next paycheck. I hope the nightmare ends soon, for everybody.
Cubs News & Notes
- If you had purchased a travel package to see the Cubs-Cardinals series in London, I hope you insured your trip.
- The shortened season could cost the Cubs $300 million in the secondary ticket market. I guess it’s a good thing they signed Daniel Winkler instead of Gerrit Cole. I can’t wait to see front offices spin these kinds of numbers during free agency come November.
- The Cubs announced yesterday that relever Dillon Maples is headed back to Iowa.
- This was supposed to have been a big year for Maples and several other long-term Chicago prospects.
- In a game simulation of Opening Day played by CI’s Ryan Davis, the Cubs lost 7-4 to the Brewers. Kyle Hendricks started, reliever Casey Sadler took the loss. I’d have started Yu Darvish.
- Darvish did start in the Strat-O-Matic simulation, but the Cubs still lost 7-4. It looks like Joe Maddon was managing the bullpen in this one, however. Also, Steven Souza Jr. was injured in the simulated game and will head to the IL. That’s not something Cubs fans want to see.
- Souza and his wife made their Tik-Tok debut yesterday, and it’s truly must-see content.
- Tommy La Stella and Mark DeRosa revealed that their favorite Opening Day moments came when each was a member of the Cubs.
- Without Cubs baseball, Marquee is improvising like everybody else (subscription to The Athletic required to access content).
- Also from The Athletic, announcers Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies talk about how they’re dealing without baseball during the current pandemic crisis.
- Wayne Messmer and his wife Kathleen performed a virtual rendition of The Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America yesterday on Facebook Live.
Odds & Sods
I still love Dexter Fowler even though he plays for the enemy, but honest to God dude, it’s much easier to have a savings account when you make $16.5 million annually. Most of the now-jobless had been living paycheck-to-paycheck, which is a fact of life for about 78% of the entire country [raises hand]. This could have been communicated a little better, but, at least Fowler is doing his part to help.
For the first time in most of our lives, baseball mean nothing right now. all that matters is our overall health, how well did we save our earnings, how are we helping those who need help, and being considerate humans.
— Dexter Fowler (@DexterFowler) March 26, 2020
Apropos of Nothing
I wonder how front offices will value free agents like Mookie Betts if there is no 2020 season. I imagine a veteran like Jon Lester could theoretically be forced into retirement if no games are played.
MLB News & Notes
MLB and the MLBPA struck a deal in which players will receive a full year of service time even in the event of a canceled season.
Joel Sherman of the NY Post wrote a great piece on the traditions of Opening Day.
Alex Speier of the Boston Globe wonders if baseball can justify Tommy John surgery during the coronavirus crisis.
Fans flooded the Astros’ Opening Day at Home game on YouTube with a number of cheating hot takes and jokes.
MLB number crunchers see the Cardinals as a mediocre team in 2020.
Bradford Doolittle of ESPN offers ways to fill the emptiness of the suspended baseball season.
Bill Bartholomay, who moved the Braves from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966, died yesterday. He was 91.
Something cool to brighten your morning.
We’re proud to partner with @MLB to support emergency personnel who are fighting against COVID-19 and face a need for masks and hospital gowns. We're utilizing our manufacturing plant in Easton, PA to make masks and gowns out of the same jersey fabric that the players wear pic.twitter.com/5jEg1B2iUa
— Fanatics (@Fanatics) March 26, 2020
They Said It
“Typically during the baseball season, I can’t speak for [Jm Deshaies], but I’m guessing he knows what I’m talking about, we’re around the ballpark all the time. I read a lot, I love finding a book or two that I’m diving into, but it’s very rarely a baseball book during the season because I’m so overwhelmed by baseball. But I have found myself on YouTube almost every night watching old games, I’m reading a baseball book right now. I really miss baseball. More than I anticipated. It just feels like since we started, kind of the way my body clock works, we should be waist-deep in baseball right now. It’s very surreal to me that we’re not.” – Len Kasper
Thursday Walk Up Song
I Kissed a Girl by Katy Perry
What went wrong? The song was actually dated from the moment it was released, and even Perry admitted the song’s lyrics were somewhat problematic and stereotypically over-the-top. Miley Cyrus claims the song was written by her.
How does it play today? The MTV Unplugged version, included here, plays much better than the original, because it takes a more serious tone. The pop-centric original almost seems like it is making light of those stereotypes.