Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams was on the Reds Hot Stove League show this week, hosted by Jim Day and Thom Brennaman. You can listen to the full show here if you’d like to – it’s just over 34 minutes long.
The show started out with Dick Williams talking about the Reds positive test of a member of the staff for coronavirus/COVID-19 out at the Goodyear complex in Arizona, and how the organization was handling the situation. From there the topics shifted into baseball-related talk.
The first question that came up is what spring training could look like if and when baseball returns this year. Williams offered up a few different thoughts on what some options could (and let’s stress the word could here – nothing at all is decided) look like. It most likely will take place back at the spring training homes for teams, whether that’s in Arizona or Florida, instead of taking place in the home cities of teams (for example, those remaining in camp would just all go to Cincinnati and train/get ready there).
Maybe with the delay, and the hope to get games started sooner, when things re-open, the rosters are much smaller – with maybe 35 players to give everyone remaining more playing time and the teams fewer roster decisions to make from start to finish. Shortened games could be an option for the spring as a way to play with smaller rosters where you aren’t just filling out the final innings with guys who won’t be making the team in preparation for the season.
There could potentially be expanded rosters. The idea would be there for several reasons. The teams want to play as many games as possible, which could mean scheduled double headers – where there’s already a +1 player on that days roster – but with how things are looking, too, teams may feel it’s best to just have an extra pitcher or two every day, especially early on if they try to have a shortened spring training and the starting pitchers aren’t ready to go out and give you 6-7 innings every fifth day early on.
When it comes to how the playoffs would go, that’s an open-ended question. Williams didn’t offer much here, but let the two hosts kick around some ideas and chimed in. Brennaman asked about doing perhaps a split season, much like there was in 1981 where if you missed the discussion that Chad Dotson and I had on this week’s episode of Redleg Nation Radio then perhaps you aren’t aware of how that played out – the winners of the first half and the winners of the second half both qualified for the playoffs, unfortunately leaving the team with the best record in baseball outside and looking in. And that team was the Cincinnati Reds. Speaking of Redleg Nation Radio, we had some discussions on some fun ways that would be different for how to handle the playoffs this year and Chad had an outstanding suggestion that you should be sure to check out.
Assuming we get baseball back this year, it’s probably going to be a different version of it than we are used to. Yeah, the actual game played on the field will be the same. But rosters will be different, the day-to-day is likely to be a bit different, and maybe even the playoffs will be played out a bit different. What are your thoughts about how to handle the playoffs in a shortened season? Have you seen any ideas floated out there that really stand out as ones you would like to see explored?
Tucker Barnhart giving back at home
While a lot of places are shut down, plenty of restaurants are still sort-of-open in the sense that you can still pick up food at them, and if they offer delivery services – they’ll do that, too. Most just aren’t allowing dine in options as we all are either being ordered to practice social distancing for the time being, or being encouraged to.
Tucker Barnhart and his wife Sierra took the opportunity on Thursday to try and help out two of their favorite local places – all of whom are probably facing tough times and decisions on how to remain open and do their best to keep their employees working. They purchases $500 gift cards for two different restaurants in Zionsville to cover as many meals as that would cover at each place.
Hey guys, @dandakich and others helped us think of this. $25 per order until the gift cards run out starting at 5 pm. at both places. Tell them Tucker Barnhart sent you! Amore Pizzeria Ristorante and Friendly Tavern in Zionsville! #eatlocal #TakeoutThursday pic.twitter.com/XO0Fdveym6
— Tucker Barnhart (@Tucker_Barnhart) March 19, 2020