I write about the Cubs. That’s what I left the lawyer life to do, it’s what I always wanted to do, and I routinely feel like the luckiest guy in the world that I get to do what I want to do.
Right now, like so many other people, I can’t quite do what I want to do in precisely the way I want to. On the one hand, it’s like, give me a break, Brett. There’s a lot more at stake right now than you not “quite” doing “precisely” what you want to do. Mostly I do still feel that. I’m not a psychopath. But on the other hand, it does sting a little when I’ve settled in to do the Bullets over the past week, and it’s almost entirely been a medical/national news set of stories grafted onto baseball. It’s not “quite” “precisely” what I’m here for, and I know it’s not quite what you’re here for either.
We will adjust and evolve, but I realize now that, realistically, this is our new world for a while – so there probably aren’t going to be so many sets of Bullets that provide an entirely Coronavirus-free experience. I’m just going to accept that in the short-term, and include it where appropriate or necessary. Fortunately, a lot of other posts are still going to be humming along that are just baseball. Well, and also some that are wholly baseball-connected Coronavirus items. Dang this is such a weird time …
- Let’s start with something that’s just awesome before we get to the other stuff. If you didn’t see this play from infield prospect Andy Weber, you will want to see it. Such a beaut:
I see many @MiLB players being nominated to post their favorite game highlight on social media to get our minds off the delay, & thought broadcasters should as well!
Here's my fav call from 2019 – @andyweber5's Jeter play
— Brendan King (@BKingSports) March 16, 2020
- Man, I could watch that one over and over. And I probably will, so that I have something to watch.
- Weber, 22, was the Cubs’ 5th rounder in 2018, and although there are questions about whether he can stick at shortstop as a starter, the bat definitely came along last year at South Bend. Not only did he finish the season hitting a solid .275/.338/.400 (113 wRC+), but more importantly, he did what you want to see: he got much better in the right ways as the season went along. From June 28 on, he hit .293/.375/.432 (134 wRC+) as his walk rate improved, his strikeout rate fell (to just 18.2%), and his power jumped. And really, you can go through his game log and it was just a steady improvement from the beginning to the end, with every part of his game getting better and better. That’s why he was seeing a decent bit of big league Spring Training action, and why he’s going to be a guy to watch at High-A Myrtle Beach when that season gets going.
- The President’s recommendation that everyone avoid groups of 10 or more people will put a further limitation on what baseball players can do for training purposes right now, even if they’re back home – a whole lot of gyms are flat out shutting down, even after otherwise setting up social distancing precautions (i.e., more than six feet between stations). These are the kinds of extreme measures we need in place to ensure the Coronavirus doesn’t spread too quickly, and ultimately it’s the kind of thing that COULD help sports fans get their sports back later this summer. But man, it’s going to make staying in shape – just athletic shape, to say nothing of baseball shape – really challenging for players.
- If and when Spring Training Part Two kicks in, I really don’t think just a couple weeks are going to do it if we want players to really be ready to go. It might take something like two weeks of physically ramping back up and then another two weeks of practice games.
- It feels like, with Spring Training facilities moving closer to a total and complete shutdown, some of the confusion for minor leaguers will go away, but they’re still going to need money to live for the next however many months:
Talking to people around the minor leagues suggested a state of total confusion. Players can't get part-time jobs. They can't collection unemployment. =One player was sent back Venezuela without enough money to pay the cab from the airport to his home.https://t.co/mEdCaxnsjA
— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) March 16, 2020
- The MLBPA is taking care of big leaguers on the 40-man with a stipend until play resumes (kind of like they would during a strike), but minor leaguers have suddenly been thrust right back into the offseason … except they don’t have the same ability to plan for or get seasonal jobs. Ultimately, I suspect it is going to be up to each organization to decide how to help these guys out based on need, and I hate that it’s coming to that, rather than a larger coordinated effort. Who knows what the minor league seasons will even look like for these guys this year?
- This is nice, though:
MLB and the MLBPA announce a joint $1M donation to help fight hunger as a result of school closures and quarantines stemming from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Donation will be split between Feeding America and Meals on Wheels America. pic.twitter.com/eegWOZ818D
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) March 16, 2020
Social Distancing PSA:
Brought to you by Max Scherzer & Mike Mussina.
Let’s all do our part to defeat the virus. Seriously. 💪 pic.twitter.com/fFDQno6Be1
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 17, 2020
- This serves as a PSA and a fundraiser:
We’re raising funds to help workers affected by the loss of games at Wrigley Field. ALL proceeds from the sale of this shirt will be donated to displaced hourly employees who make Wrigley the best experience in the country! Please share 🙏 LINK: https://t.co/BJ6HvNsvif pic.twitter.com/VkKLY9M49o
— OBVIOUS SHIRTS® (@obvious_shirts) March 17, 2020
- One of my favorite throws ever:
One of the greatest throws of all-time. The crazy thing is that the announcers didn't realize at first just how good it was. Vlad being Vlad. pic.twitter.com/BOT081IRNZ
— Baseball is Fun (@flippingbats) March 17, 2020