Today is Rare Disease Day, an opportunity to learn more about rare diseases, about the often unseen impact they have on folks, and about how we can help push for health equity and inclusion. It is a topic that is near and dear to our family, as The Littlest Girl has a rare genetic disorder (it doesn’t even have a name – just a letter and number string), which presents unique challenges both for her and for us. But also, she is sweet and fun and bright and is so much more than any perceived limitations associated with her condition. For my part, the message I’d want to share with folks: please just make sure you’re thinking about inclusion. About how you can help keep “different” people involved. It means so much not only to them, but also to their families.
• So the day is here. The “deadline.” Major League Baseball and its owners have said that if there is no new CBA agreed to by today, then they will unilaterally start cancelling regular season games. They say those games will not be made up and the players will not be paid (though, strictly speaking, that is a bargaining position, since the players could say they will never sign off on a new CBA unless they get back-pay). I do believe MLB means it, though I think there’s a chance that if things are looking like a deal could happen by tomorrow or Wednesday, they might hold off on the cancellations for 48 hours. That is to say, I think it is unrealistic to expect a deal today, given what came out last night and certainly what Saturday looked like. But it is a teeny, tiny bit more plausible to hope for enough progress today that a deal on Tuesday or Wednesday becomes possible. Let’s call that one a … 10% proposition?
• One wrinkle that came out late last night is that the owners want to preserve their ask of higher luxury tax rates in exchange for dropping the draft pick cost attached to qualified free agents in the future. Given that the luxury tax rates have always been sky high in the league’s asks, it sounds like what they’re actually saying is that they definitely won’t come down on those unless draft pick costs for qualified free agents is back in the deal. The pairing might seem odd at first, but it’s actually pretty clearly connected: if you’re a small market team, you want some extra way to block the big boys from spending huge dollars – so if the tax rates go down, then you at least want it to be extra painful when they try to sign the top free agents.
• … that is all to say, when I saw that reporting, my initial thought was: yuuuuup, the small market owners really are driving this thing.
• (Also, if the owners are going to tie the qualifying offer stuff so strictly to the luxury tax, then the players should just call that bluff and say, fine, you can keep the qualifying offer but we’re not budging on needing the CBT thresholds to go up, and the taxes to come down. I understand that the qualifying offer hurts a small number of free agents each year, but the ripple effect of the luxury tax impacts waaaaaay more (including those same free agents!).)
• Meanwhile, this Buster Olney article chronicles how for the players of at least one organization (San Francisco), they’ve reached the end of the pre-planned workouts and ramp-up that was laid out for them before the lockout – so they’re just having to wing it now. I’m sure they’re not the only one, and while players generally know how to get themselves ready before Spring Training, it’s a lot harder when you don’t even know when Spring Training is going to start:
The Monday workout starts in the weight room before shifting outside, where the Atlanta Braves’ Kyle Wright, the Kansas City Royals’ Collin Snider and a couple of other pitchers throw to a handful of hitters from the mound on Hawkins Field. His shirt soaked in sweat, Wright guesstimates that he threw about 25 pitches. He has thoughts about possibly ramping up his pitch count in the days ahead, but then again, he’s not sure; nobody knows when this wait will end.
Casali figured he would work out four days out of five during the week, then take the weekend off. But if the lockout continues, he’s not sure exactly what he’ll do, beyond staying ready.
• I just hate this situation the most for the young guys on the 40-man roster who don’t have years and years of experience ramping up for a normal Spring Training, and thus can easily pull it off on their own. The Cubs have a disproportionate volume of those young guys, and it sucks.
• The Mets are hiring Elizabeth Benn, formerly of MLB’s offices, to be their director of major league operations, now one of the highest-ranking positions held by a woman in baseball.
• I liked this play and pose a lot:
I just want to watch stuff like this. pic.twitter.com/mZkdpBIZFz
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 27, 2022
• Well this guy is awesome (literal 300+ pound defensive lineman on the football team):
— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) February 27, 2022