There might not be baseball happening right now in terms of games, but it’s not keeping the players from getting their work in. And that includes Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Sonny Gray. One of the Reds aces is back in Ohio and on Tuesday afternoon he was at Great American Ballpark throwing a bullpen session.

Teams began to allow players to enter facilities in both their spring training sites as well as their home ballparks in the last two weeks. There are restrictions on what they can do while there, and how they have to go about their business – but they are able to take advantage of the facilities now rather than try to figure out how to make things happen in their backyard or a local park or local training facility that may not exactly be the same level as a Major League site.

Remembering that time that Paul O’Neill got out to one of the best starts ever

Mike Petriello of MLB.com tweeted about Jin-Sung Kang of the KBO on Tuesday night and the incredible start that he’s out to this season. He’s currently hitting .450/.500/.810 through 115 plate appearances. He compared that to the best starts in baseball history through 115 plate appearances in the Major Leagues since 1918. There were some big names on the list, led by some guy named Ted Williams. Some other names on the list included Jimmie Foxx, Stan Musial (twice), Barry Bonds (twice), Babe Ruth (twice), Ty Cobb, Hank Aaron, and two current players in Ryan Zimmerman and Cody Bellinger. But sitting there in the 3rd spot was Paul O’Neill.

The Cincinnati Reds traded O’Neill away in November of 1992 for Roberto Kelly. Initially that trade looked solid, Kelly was an All-Star in 1993 for the Reds, but they traded him away in May of 1994 for Deion Sanders. Prime Time was exciting at times on the baseball field, but he wasn’t particularly good for Cincinnati, either. O’Neill on the other hand turned a solid career in Cincinnati into an excellent career in New York.

The 1994 season is remembered for a lot of things. The biggest one, of course, is the strike/lockout situation that resulted in the cancellation of the playoffs and World Series. But it’s also remembered for all of the records that were being chased down at the time that we didn’t get a chance to see play out. Several players had a chance to hit 60 home runs and make a run at the then record 61 home runs. Tony Gwynn was hitting .394 when the season came to an end.

As an 10-year-old in 1994, my memory is only so good for that time period. I remember the home run chase. I remember Gwynn making a run at .400. What I don’t remember is what Paul O’Neill did to begin the season that year. On May 12th that season he had played in 28 games and had exactly 115 plate appearances. At the end of the day he was hitting .473/.574/.849. Obviously he slowed down from there, but he was still hitting .405 on June 16th. He did slump a bit that month before rebounding in July and August before watching the season come to an end.

Dr. Fauci: MLB should consider not playing into October

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times spoke with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases about how long the baseball season should go. This of course is an ongoing question as the owners and players try to hammer out details of a season. The owners have continuously offered plans that had a season end in September before starting the playoffs with the claim that they were concerned about a “second wave” of COVID-19 coming in the fall. The players have proposed longer seasons that extend into November in an effort to play as many games as possible.

If the question is time, I would try to keep it in the core summer months and end it not with the way we play the World Series, until the end of October when it’s cold,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a telephone interview with The Times on Tuesday. “I would avoid that.

Could baseball games in October be a problem? Dr. Anthony Fauci believes it’s probably not the best idea.

“I’d have to underscore probably,” he said. “This virus is one that keeps fooling us. Under most circumstances — but we don’t know for sure here — viruses do better when the weather starts to get colder and people start spending more time inside, as opposed to outside. The community has a greater chance of getting infected.

8 Responses

  1. Big Ed

    If they aren’t having fans for the post-season, then they could move all the games to warm-weather facilities. Or play it by ear, and decide later, with another 3 months of data to rely on.

  2. RedNat

    So if the commissioner ” cancels” MLB, one has to assume that is permanent. Just like a business closing down.

    Do the players start up their own league? Do they join other leagues? Players have the right to earn a living. Maybe barnstorming will return to the American country side. ( which i think would be a heck of an idea) . You can cancel mlb, but you cannot cancel baseball!

    • Bred

      The barnstorming idea is genius! If T. Bauer and others could pull it off that could pose a real threat to MLB. They could use college stadiums, we have one here in Austin that would allow fans, and TV networks not affiliated with MLB could pick up the games. At first the money would be less, but the power the players would gain would be tremendous. I know it is not the 1900s and the difficulty of creating a new league would be daunting, but the mere threat may be frightening to MLB owners. It is a pipe dream I know, but ….

  3. Pablo

    It was only 42 seconds long but nice seeing a baseball activity occurring in GABP. Sadly I think that will be all we see this year. Both sides are taking their cold war to mutually assured destruction.

  4. Mark Moore

    Happy and sad at the same time … still on the doubtful side of us seeing any MLB play this season. And as for the virus, still so much we don’t know about this one specifically.

    On a happier note, I watched the “Tom Seaver” 1-hour biopic I recorded on MLB Network. Great piece with the primary focus on the Mets years as you would expect. Still the no-hitter final out call was great and made me smile. Sad ending as they talked about his dementia and pulling back from the public eye. We just lost my Mom to dementia about a month ago (92+ years) and it’s a wicked thief.

    So seeing Sonny is a great thing … but I’m really not sure who in today’s MLB world can really compare to Tom Terrific (at least in my book). Just a guy who loved the game and played it until he knew he had nothing left worth giving.

  5. RedsFan11

    Walked by GABP on Monday night. Was an absolutely beautiful night for baseball. All I could do was sigh and mutter “this will be as close to baseball as I will get all year”..

    • Mark Moore

      Now you’re really making me sad … and with my daughter moving out of Detroit I’m not sure when I’ll make the pilgrimage to the Queen City and GABP again.