This week in baseball
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This Week In Baseball…


Summer Training is happening as we speak. To say that things have gone off without a hitch would be nothing less than a lie.


Teams have their hands full in trying to utilize this time to figure which players will be in their starting lineups to lead the charge to the world series. At the same time, every organization is trying to navigate a minefield of new procedures, where one false move can derail everything. So much still hangs in the air, and that air is filled with fog and uncertainty. 

And boy did it start on a rocky note when the A’s, NationalsAstros, Giants, and Cubs all had to postpone workouts due to the delay in the process of getting COVID-19 test results back. That is the whole reason why we have baseball again this year; these precise and punctual testing procedures HAVE to be executed. If MLB fumbles this in any shape or fashion, baseball will not happen, pure and simple. 


this week in baseballIt immediately caused grief amongst players and rightfully so, because while this is new for everyone involved, it could show a sign of things to come. Matt Chapman, Oakland A’s Platinum Glove 3rd baseman was not shy in sharing his opinion on the matter during a video conference with the press:

“We were frustrated that we weren’t able to start on July 1st. You look around the league, and other teams are starting training on the 1st, and guys had been flying into cities days prior to that to get tested and make sure they were on top of it. We were disappointed that our organization took those extra few days, and it ended up costing us even more than a few days when we were all ready to go on July 1st. But we’re on the field now, and that’s all that matters. That’s all we can control. We want to move forward.


Man, that Chapman is one great determined individual; he reminds you of the tough rugged ballplayer of yesteryear where all that mattered was playing baseball. The conference just oozed his intensity to play and threw shade on the Athletics organization in the process. Today’s lesson for the A’s: Don’t cross Matt Chapman when he is pissed off!


Las Vegas native and third baseman of the Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant spoke to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers about the testing and his concerns going forward:

What we agreed to was testing every other day, and we’ve had guys who showed up on Sunday [June 28th] and hadn’t got tested again until seven days later. And you don’t get the results until two days later. That’s nine days without knowing. If we want this to succeed, we have to figure this out. I wanted to play this year because I thought it would be safe. Honestly, I don’t feel that.”


Photo Credit: Chicago Tribune

Bryant voices the same concerns I had when I read over the “Return to Play” proposal weeks ago. How do you test so many players consecutively before every game and expect quick results? The delay is almost definite when you think back to the protocols written in the guidelines manual. Everything always sounds much easier on paper, but the act is near impossible.

In another crazy story escalating concerns, Las Vegas born and Texas Rangers’ outfielder Joey Gallo tested positive for COVID-19, and then… negative? Reported by Evan Grant:

Joey Gallo tested negative for COVID-19 today via nasal swab at a private lab in Dallas. Must test negative again in 24 hours to be cleared to return to the field. Nasal swabs have twice been negative, but there was a positive saliva test by MLB lab in-between. More protocol confusion.


This incident reportedly has caused players to doubt the efficiency of the testing altogether. Just imagine if they didn’t test him again, even though he was in the clear on two different occasions. The repercussions could have been catastrophic, leading to a very large outbreak amongst the team and possibly others.


These results could reappear again down the road just based on the fact that we still know too little about the virus at this time. As long as they continue to be thorough and test sequentially, players should be safe. All it takes is for one person to not follow protocol due to rushing or laziness, and the domino effect will ensue.

To predict which player will shine this season, we’ll have to assume that certain players will actually play instead of opting out.  Some teams have already begun taking some hits due to players deciding not to play. Los Angeles Dodgers’ newly recruited Pitcher David Price and Nationals First Baseman Ryan Zimmerman are two of the biggest stars opting out. The player pool still provides enough talent to grab that proverbial brass ring and march into September with superstars on the field. 

ESPN reported that San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey has chosen to opt-out of the season Friday because of health concerns for his adopted twin babies Ada and Livvi. Both were born about eight-weeks premature and will have to remain in neonatal intensive care for the next few months. Buster Posey released this comment to the media:

“In the current state that we are right now and these babies being as fragile as they are for the next four months, at minimum, this ultimately wasn’t that difficult a decision for me. From a baseball standpoint, it was a tough decision. From a family standpoint and feeling like I am making a decision to protect our children, I think it was relatively easy.”


Photo Credit:
Buster Posey/Instagram

Posey was trying for a bounce-back year after nagging hip issues hindered his last two seasons, and it seemed like he was going to do just that by his numbers in spring training, hitting .455 before the shutdown in late March. No doubt The Giants will be missing the 33-year old veteran catcher, Posey brings a leadership role to the team, something that every ballclub looks for in a catcher.  Giants manager Gabe Kapler, and Farhan Zaidi, Giants’ president of baseball relations, fully support Posey’s decision for putting family first.

Then take two top-rated and talented players, Angels’ CF Mike Trout and The Dodger’s RF Mookie Betts. Two fantastic players whose absence no doubt would leave a giant crater-like hole in both team’s lineup. Both players who are having the same concerns but are in two completely different predicaments. Trout, who is expecting his first child with his wife Jessica in August, has already expressed his concerns playing with the threat of COVID-19 to the media last week in a statement reported by Mike DiGiovanna


“Honestly, I still don’t feel that comfortable. It’s going to be tough. I’ve got to be really cautious these next couple weeks. I don’t want to test positive. I don’t want to bring it back to my wife. It’s a tough situation we’re in.”

Trout has yet to commit to the 2020 season officially but still has been seen working out at the Angels’ facility in Anaheim, wearing a mask while running bases and playing the field. Joe Maddon and The Angels have taken special precautions to try and make Trout feel as comfortable as possible by team-wide agreements that no one can visit bars or restaurants through the remainder of the 2020 season.

In all honesty, it might never feel comfortable. The fear of bringing home the virus to his wife and newborn could make him just want to cash in the chips and walk away from the table. Opting out would ultimately make sense if the future Hall of Famer announces it in the coming weeks, no one could ever fault him for his worry.


In Mookie Betts’ case, he is on the verge of becoming a free agent this winter.


baseball's black eye
Photo Credit: ABC 7

He is predicted to make a hefty large-figured contract, maybe not quite the $400 million range expected before the pandemic, but no doubt something close. Now, If Betts were to opt-out this season, he would not be able to hit the free agency market until after the 2021 season, dampening his value in the process. While he has already confirmed to play this year, he pretty much said that his hands were tied. 

“I’m not in the same predicament as someone who can opt-out. I’m in a different spot. My decision is obviously going to be different.

When asked if he was considering sitting out, Betts’ answer sidestepped the question a bit:

“Free agency is like, on the back burner. That’ll come. That’s nothing that I’m really thinking about right now. I think the main concern is safety and health. There’s a lot going on. We haven’t gotten tests back. We don’t know who’s sick, who’s not sick.”

Mookie Betts and every other baseball player are in for a complicated and presumably, dangerous season this year. While Betts is focusing on the here and now, He has to be continually thinking about the future.

That is every player’s mental process, especially when it comes to contracts. The shelf life of an athlete is limited, and the value of a baseball player is like a stock market, you have to know how to sell when the time is right. Not only is he risking himself and his family for this season, but in a weird conflict, he is also doing it for his future in more ways than one. 


This is only a couple of weeks in, but already we might want to fasten those safety belts and brace for impact just in case. This season is going to be bonkers, and I hope all the players, and all of us watching, can make it out without any damage.


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-Joshua Rushford – Franchise Sports Media

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