MLBits: No Fans in the Stands (Yet), MLB Fans Getting Younger? The Complex Clevinger/Plesac Issue, More

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MLBits: No Fans in the Stands (Yet), MLB Fans Getting Younger? The Complex Clevinger/Plesac Issue, More

Chicago Cubs

The wife recently ordered us one of those fancy Nespresso Coffee machines (which I think makes us friends with George Clooney), and I must say … I freakin’ love it. I was fine with my Keurig. And I was fine with my regular old coffee maker, too. But the coffee and espresso-based drinks this thing pumps out … whew. They’re good. If you were thinking about getting one, you can get free shipping (and free returns) right here on Amazon, which would support Bleacher Nation in the process. Win-win. There are cheaper options, as well – like this one right here – and I’m sure they’re also solid.

No Fans In the Stands Just Yet

Earlier today, Rob Manfred held his weekly call with owners when the topic of opening ballparks to fans down the stretch was brought up. The Rockies and Rangers, in particular, are reportedly pushing hard to make it happen. However, the decision was to keep the status quo for now:

Remember, even if MLB allowed fans in the stands, certain cities are still not allowing it. That, alone, presents a potential imbalance in revenue, competitiveness, and, of course, risk. Fans in the stands doesn’t mean just more people sitting in the stadium. It also means more staff in the ballpark to serve those fans (which isn’t wholly a bad thing, of course … people need/want to work), and less space for the players to spread out.

Ultimately, with cases still rising across the country and MLB just BARELY over their TWO major outbreaks this season, I think taking things slowly for now is probably the right call.

More Fans in the Right Age Group? For MLB? Really?

One of my favorite – and most effective – anecdotes to describe the current state of interest in MLB reads like a marketing short horror story: “The median age of a MLB fan goes up by one year, every year.” Baseball is infamously behind the NBA and NFL in this respect and it does present a serious challenge to the longevity of the sport.

But lately, there’s been some good signs:

And get this, not only are there more younger eye balls on baseball games lately, there’s also reportedly been “staggering growth for women and Hispanic viewership” in the younger age ranges, as well. If MLB can continue appealing to younger, more culturally and gender diverse groups, they’ll have a better shot at the bright future we all hope to see.

There are some important caveats, however, including a new, more representative way to measure viewership, which includes more mobile and other streaming platforms, and the fact that the season is shorter and going on during a pandemic, where sports are limited and people have more time at home. Still. Good stuff.

The Morally Complex, Multi-Million Cleveland Issue

After Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac were caught going out in Chicago (and basically lying about it) during their series against the White Sox, they were each “demoted” to the team’s alternate site. The move was justifiable, but also relatively dramatic, if we’re being honest about the way team’s typically behave with players as important as these two. But as it turns out, at least one teammate said they would opt out of the season if the two remained on the active roster, and several others may have implied the same. Now THAT’S how you hold a teammate accountable.

But there’s more to this, and it’s a little morally complex.

If the Indians keep Clevinger down in the alternate site for 20 days, they will delay his free agency by a full season, keeping him in Cleveland through 2023 (when he’ll be 32) instead of 2022 (when he’ll be 31). The difference in the contract he might get as a 32-year-old starter as opposed to a 33-year-old starter is enormous, especially as his performance would likely be expected to be worse in his walk year than the year prior.

The number for Plesac is 18 days and it could affect whether or not he reaches arbitration a full year earlier as a Super-2 player.

There are millions and millions of dollars at stake here, and advantages to be had by the Indians, who could hide behind “discipline,” to serve their own interests. What these guys did was wrong, but like I said … this is complex.

Odds and Ends:

•   Jeff Passan answers a bunch of questions on why Plesac and Clevinger weren’t suspended, the state of the union between MLB and the MLBPA, the likelihood of a playoff bubble, the Cardinals ridiculous schedule and a whole lot more.

•   Good news in Miami:

•   Final bids to buy the Mets are due by the end of this month! You can read more about the sale, the expectations, the timeline, and the bidders right here:

•   The Tigers are calling up a trio of top prospects, including No. 8 overall Casey Mize, No. 50 overall Tarik Skubal, and a former Cub prospect, Isaac Paredes, who was traded by the Cubs to the Tigers along with Jeimer Candelario in exchange for Alex Avila and Justin Wilson.

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Author: Michael Cerami

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