MLBits: What is Joe West Saying, Juan Soto Isolates, Mets Sale, Kemp's Progress, More

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MLBits: What is Joe West Saying, Juan Soto Isolates, Mets Sale, Kemp’s Progress, More

Chicago Cubs

I’m not sure there are actually any lessons to take away from the fact that every game this season will effectively represent 2.7 games in a normal year, but I’m just continually reminded of 2018 season and how things began with Milwaukee (compared to how they ended).

If you recall, the Cubs won eight of their first nine games against the Brewers that season, which would be absolutely devastating for any team in 2020 (that would be close to sweeping the season-series against a division rival). The difference, of course, is that they had plenty of time to bounce back … which they did by winning seven of their final ten games, forcing a tie-breaker, which they also won to take the division and push the Cubs into a one-game Wild Card, which they lost.

I guess what I’m saying is I think David Ross and the Cubs should focus their strategy on winning as many games as possible as soon as possible. What do you guys think of that? Too controversial? I’ll keep tinkering with it.

To Test or Not to Test? That is Definitely Not The Question

Yesterday, upwards of five teams experienced testing/reporting delays that led to postponed or cancelled practices. Today, you can add the Cubs to the list, as well as their group in South Bend. MLB’s start remains extremely disappointing – and borderline reckless – though I’m sure they’re aware of both after getting a phone call from David Ross, among many others I’m sure.

Fortunately, the delayed results for the Cubs were only from tests administered on Sunday, and they’re scheduled for more tests today. That’s how this is supposed to go – testing every other day, results in 24 hours.

On a more optimistic note, I like (that’s a relative term) to see more of this:

Is it bad that someone tested positive? Of course. Does it stink that Soto is not at practice? Definitely. But I want MLB to be so on top of testing that they know who might have a chance of testing positive before they do. That’s how this thing is supposed to be working.

Joe West Said Some Stuff, You Will Roll Your Eyes

When Joe Maddon, baseball’s second oldest manager, decided not to opt-out of this season, I felt worried for him, but also comforted by the fact that he is pretty clearly taking this virus seriously and plans to hold himself and his organization accountable. And when David Price decided that the risks of playing in 2020 outweighed the rewards for him and his family, I didn’t bat an eye. Every person is different, and as long as you are actually practicing the necessary precautions, I won’t deride any decision these guys make.

So when I learned that Joe West – a 67-year-old, overweight umpire with a history of high blood pressure, all of which make him “high-risk” – said he was not going to opt-out of 2020, I tried my best to support him. I think it’s probably a bad idea, but then I already think he should stop umpiring.

But when I saw the things he said about COVID-19 and the 2020 season, he no longer had my support:

“If this game hasn’t gotten me by now, no virus is going to get me  …. I [told MLB], ‘Look, most of these people that they’re reporting are dying are not healthy to begin with. I’ve lost 25 pounds over the winter. I’m playing golf every day in the heat. I’m fine. I’m not going to back down now.’

“I don’t believe in my heart that all these deaths have been from the coronavirus. I believe it may have contributed to some of the deaths. I said, ‘I’m not going to opt out. I’m going to work. And I’m going to work until you take me off the field or I get hurt, whatever. I’m working.’”

First of all, “healthy” people are dying, and others are getting extremely sick. So, no. Second of all, you are FAR from peak physical health, whether or not you lost 25 pounds. Third of all, I’m not sure how or why the beliefs in your heart hold any sway over a virus that has killed well over 100,000 people in this country. And lastly, this is not a “tough guy” thing you can just work through. Stop propagating that ridiculous mentality.

These are dumb comments. These are dangerous comments. These are unwelcome comments.

And if you’re wondering why I care so strongly, it’s simple: If Joe West is not going to take this seriously, he can compromise the integrity of the protocols and put your favorite player at risk. He needs to do better. Period.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Let’s Buy the Mets

I know we all had our hearts set on an A-Rod/J-Lo led purchase of the Mets, but the dust hasn’t settled on the field just yet. Remember Steve Cohen? He’s the guy who was all set to buy the team for $2.6B back before COVID-19, and now he’s back for another swing:

The first round of the bidding process ends on Thursday, and Cohen’s $13B net worth could throw a wrench into the other bidders best laid plans. Specifically, while the Wilpons were holding onto a $2B valuation of the franchise, the post-Cohen bidders were all expected to fall well short of that. But if he’s back in the fold, perhaps they can get over some of the issues that led to a last-minute fallout several months ago.

The team hopes to have an agreement by October, so that MLB can approve the sale by the end of 2020. Mets fans continue to pray. More at The New York Post.

Tony Kemp Attempts the Impossible: Have a Productive Conversation About Race on Social Media

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder by police earlier this year, former Cub Tony Kemp found himself depressed – depressed at the situation, depressed about the broader societal conversation, and depressed about his inability to do more. So he reached out to his followers on social media saying, “Let’s be honest. It’s been a tough week. If any of you need to talk or want to be more informed don’t hesitate to ask me. All love.”

What followed was an outpouring of conversations, which he eventually formalized into a campaign called the +1 Effect, during which he discussed – directly – his perspective on broader societal reform with more than 125 people from across the country. And while I’m sure they weren’t all so productive, a few people do seem to have been reached: “When I was talking to him,” said Bob Wheeler, a 52-year-old white man who lives two hours outside Dallas, “Tony seemed genuinely concerned and he really wanted to know what I thought about making things better …. That just blew me away.”

“We had the exact same end point in mind,” Wheeler continued. “We just got at it from different viewpoints.”

That right there is how you lead. Good for Kemp. I wish I could be more like him.

Please go check out the article at The New York Times. I assure you, you will be blown away by the exchanges. As it turns out, trying to strong arm people into seeing your point of view, isn’t the best way to go about it.

Author: Michael Cerami

Michael Cerami covers the Chicago Cubs, Bears, and Bulls at Bleacher Nation. You can find him on Twitter @Michael_Cerami