We would be one week away from Opening Day this afternoon if the world weren’t falling apart. But here we are, in at least a short-term new reality where the world, indeed, is falling apart – at least a little bit. Baseball is shut down. There’s no spring training. There’s no date for which the season may resume. But there are still some things coming out, baseball wise, that are news worthy.
A report from late last night from the Associated Press noted that Major League Baseball is at least considering the possibility that it will cancel the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft, as well as cancelling the 2020 international signing period for amateur players. The plan is being considered as a cost saving measure for teams. Without a season happening, income is going to be impacted in ways that probably aren’t quite as obvious as others – but one big one is lack of ticket sales and all that comes along with people being at games (parking/food/beverages/merchandise).
With the bonuses paid out for amateur players, cancelling the draft and the international signing period would save each team an average of $13,000,000. For some teams it would be more, and for some it would be less. It really depends on where each team falls in the draft and how their draft pool would play out. For a team like the Reds, who according to Forbes works with about $285,000,000 in revenue in a normal year, $13,000,000 is a lot larger part of their budget than most other teams who have significantly higher revenue streams. In a scenario that every team is now facing, where that revenue is going to take a large hit, that money saved is going to be a much larger portion of their 2020 balance sheet.
For now, it’s just a proposed idea, and not official in any capacity. But there are plenty of questions of what doing that would do for baseball, both domestically and internationally. It could have big impacts on high school, junior college, and 4-year college baseball if it were to happen. As things stand right now, there are only 11.7 scholarships available per college team. If the hundreds of high school players who would have been drafted and signed in a normal draft are now all being forced, basically, to go to college, that’s going to take away scholarships from others who would have gone undrafted, or selected to go to college to further their education while playing baseball. And unless college baseball expands their rosters, it could also cost some players the opportunity to play at the next level, too.
How the Reds are handling their case of COVID-19
As was reported earlier on Wednesday, a Reds employee in Goodyear tested positive for the coronavirus/COVID-19. The good news is, Dick Williams said on the Reds Hot Stove League show on 700 WLW last night that the person was feeling improved and only had “mild symptoms”.
With that said, that person had been in contact with many other Reds, and non-Reds employees at the facility. Jim Day, for example, noted that he was awaiting his results from a test and has self quarantined. He also made note during the broadcast that several other Reds employees were tested on Wednesday and that everyone is awaiting their results – which he said were expected in 3-5 days. Both Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer and C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic have a little bit more detailed accounts if you’re interested in reading more about it. Here’s the link for the Enquirer. Here’s the link to The Athletic.
Shogo Akiyama is working out in Los Angeles
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Shogo Akiyama is taking his talents to Los Angeles. That is, he will be training and working out in the Los Angeles area with Twins pitcher Kenta Maeda, who extended the invitation to him when spring training was shut down.
What’s to come here at Redleg Nation?
We’re all going to be doing our best to continue to bring baseball stuff to you. As you can imagine – that’s not as easy as it normally would be. Right now we would usually be knee-deep in actual baseball. Spring training would be coming close to an end, and the team would be trimming down their roster with a week left, trying to make the choices on the final few roster spots. That, however, isn’t the case these days. And after a very long offseason, it’s not always easy to get back to the “offseason” coverage – because there’s only so much of that kind of stuff that can be done.
That doesn’t mean we can’t do some non-current coverage though. As you may have seen this morning, I personally began a series that I’m having a blast with – one where I do research on a fictional baseball player from a movie and intertwine facts we know about them from what we learn in the movie, and then write about how their life both before, and after their role in the movie – creating a “fake true story” as it goes. This morning’s subject was Morris Buttermaker of The Bad News Bears. And with his story, based on what we learned about him in the movie, there’s a sort of connection to the Cincinnati Reds and Joe Nuxhall that was pretty cool to stumble upon.
Other ideas that I’ve got planned:
- Sabermetric “Whatever days” – This will be a series that once a week will be an article introducing a stat or an idea that’s considered more sabermetric/advanced than traditional, and diving into the strengths and weaknesses of the stat. This should begin next week.
- More historical pieces. If we don’t have current baseball to look at and to talk about, we can look back at Reds history and talk about it. There’s a whole lot of it in Cincinnati. Here there’s not exactly a formal topic/ideology like there is with the sabermetric day topic. One topic that I’d really like to tackle is the whole “Barry Larkin/Kurt Stillwell” situation and decision from the organization. And that may very well be the first piece that I personally tackle. But there’s a whole lot of fun pieces that could be written about (and probably have been).
- There are some games available on Youtube that are free. There’s a possibility that one day a week we designate a “live watch party” and do a game thread for that game. We could set something up where at 7PM we start the game together and we can just discuss/interact as if we would in real time during the season. Not sure how that would go, but on the surface it seems like it could be a fun exercise.
These are just some of the ideas at hand. We are 100% open to other ideas, particularly if they are something that could be done as a series of articles as we are going to need a whole lot of things to write about over the next two months.
Thanks for sticking around. We’re all seemingly in this mess together. Keep your distance from others. Wash your hands. Stay safe.