We have to practice pill-swallowing for the first time with one of the kiddos, and man alive, that’s something. All the tips and tricks are great, but it’s still quite the process. The one thing I’m very grateful about is that we started practicing with candy before it is actually NECESSARY to use the real pills. If I have any decent advice for other parents who get into this spot, that is definitely it.
• The Cubs released their initial Summer Camp roster (that’s what they’re calling it, and that works for me), with 39 players slated for Wrigley Field (the crew attempting to make the Opening Day 30-man roster), and 11 players slated for South Bend (the alternates to be called upon when necessary later on). We’ll later have a lot of thoughts on the composition of the initial roster, the position battles (whoa! That stuff again!), and what to make of the 10 open spots. For now, though, Other Bullets …
• South Korea is the next country to allow fans back at its games, with the KBO getting attendance in the 20-30% range:
Breaking – Cultural/Sports ministry just announced that it will now allow Pro sports teams/leagues to sell tickets and allow fans at the games. Allowed capacity is 20~30% depending on the size of each stadium. More to follow! #KBO
— Daniel Kim 대니얼 김 (@DanielKimW) June 28, 2020
• Good for them, and I also think it’s noteworthy that a country that has done as well as South Korea wound up waiting THIS long to allow fans at games. In the United States, we are still clearly battling community spread … and various MLB teams are talking about plans for fan attendance. It still might be possible later on, and I totally get that you have to make the plans first in case things change, but it’s painfully obvious that (1) we have to have a much better understanding of what’s happening right now relative to the raw numbers and positive test rates, and (2) we have to get community spread back under control. It’s *barely* a passable idea to have fan-free baseball right now as it is!
• Speaking of which, as Gordon Wittenmyer writes, there are some things to keep in mind this week as players arrive, including the positive tests that will come:
As 1,800 MLB players enter camp this week, beware of knee-jerk reactions to a number of positive COVID-19 tests that is almost certain to be measured at least in the dozens.
— NBC Sports Chicago (@NBCSChicago) June 29, 2020
• Two things can be true at once: it is absolutely expected that dozens of baseball players – just by the math – are going to test positive for COVID-19 this week; and it is also absolutely a shitty thing. The fact that these players would, now, test positive doesn’t really have anything to do with the resumption of baseball, and that context is important. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a sad, and scary reminder that this virus is out there spreading, often without anyone around even realizing it. I hope that everyone who shows up and tests positive – and their families – are ultimately safe from the worst effects of the illness. I’ll do my best to report on the news in this area with tact and care and context.
• Mike Petriello on the less obvious ways this season might be historically different:
— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) June 29, 2020
• One I found particularly interesting: home field advantage, through the history of baseball, has been worth about 3 percentage points on your chance of winning (home teams win about 53% of the time, road teams about 47%). Some of that is because batting last is better, but we suspect that much of it is just the comfort of being in your place, in front of your fans, etc. Will that aspect still be the same in this weird year?
• Ethan Roberts was a later-breakout type in college, selected by the Cubs in the 4th round in 2018 (higher than many expected, given his relief profile), and it sure seems like he’s turning into a player development darling for the organization:
The dude who walked 2 hitters in the second half last year, the dude with maybe the most ridiculous spin rates in the organization, is also the dude hitting 96 here. https://t.co/6RSRLqzlBT
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) June 28, 2020
• We don’t have nearly enough data to say such a thing, so I’m not saying it, I’m merely noting it: given the draft capital used on Roberts and Burl Carraway, are the Cubs going to be trying their hand at developing elite relievers, specifically? It’s not really something you see organizations do, because the best relievers in MLB tend, overwhelmingly, to come from the ranks of minor league starters who just couldn’t get over the hump for one reason or another. Roberts, by the way, was a multi-inning type last year – his first full pro season. And as Bryan noted in his tweet, Roberts started posting ridiculous numbers in the second half last year at High-A Myrtle Beach. He might not be too far off.
• This dropped literally in the same three-minute window as the Cubs releasing their roster:
REPORT: The Patriots are Signing Cam Newton to an “Incentive-Laden” One-Year Dealhttps://t.co/iRZslZBlWd
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) June 29, 2020