As the Cincinnati Reds get back on the field to prepare for the upcoming 2020 season, they’ve jumped right into live batting practice with Reds pitchers facing off against Reds hitters. These practices at Great American Ballpark have been streamed live via the organization through their various social media platforms. And on Monday afternoon the final pitch of the day came from Trevor Bauer. That pitch came to new outfielder Nick Castellanos, and he did not miss it.

As someone who works from home, and well, works covering baseball, it’s been a joy to set up a second screen and watch these practices while working on other things. Kudos to the Reds for setting it all up and giving fans something to follow along with as we push towards “new” opening day. Speaking of that, if you missed the schedule release last night, check it out here.

Here’s a question for everyone: Would you be interested in a “game thread” type post where we embed the live stream of a practice and all just chat about it? Perhaps on a Saturday or Sunday so it’s not conflicting with work? Just a thought, but let me know and if enough people are interested we’ll give it a shot.

Exhibition games against Detroit

We learned on Monday night that the Cincinnati Reds will open up the season against the Detroit Tigers on Friday July 24th at 6:10pm. Shortly after that we learned that the two teams will also play two exhibition games in Cincinnati a few days prior to opening day. On July 21st the two will face off at 6:40pm and they will have another game the next day, July 22nd, at 6:10pm. The two teams will then take off the 23rd before returning for opening day on the 24th.

MLBtv price is now set for the 2020 season

In a normal, full 162-game season, MLB.tv is $121.99 for the year. You could also subscribe monthly for $24.99. But 2020 isn’t a normal year at this point, and the season is just 60 games. For this 60-game abbreviated season, you can subscribe for the season at the price of $59.99. You can get a team only subscription for $49.99 for the year. Some quick math tells us that unlike what the owners are paying the players this year, the fans aren’t getting anything pro-rated.

The old price was $122 for 162 games. That’s $0.75 per game. The new price of $60 for 60 games is $1.00 per game, assuming you buy the full package rather than the team specific package. That’s a 33% increase in price per game. Even if you buy the team specific package, the price per game is $0.83 – but you don’t get access to any other games beyond your own team in this scenario.

Oh yeah – blackout rules still apply. You can’t go to the stadium and watch the game, but you also might not be able to watch the game without a cable package, either. Oh, and hopefully your cable provider offers the channel you want.

No testing issues for the Reds

“As far as I know there haven’t been any out of the ordinary delays that at least was a surprise to me based on my expectations,” said Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell on the COVID-19 testing for the Reds when asked about it on Monday. “So far nothing totally out of the ordinary on our end.”

That hasn’t been the case for everyone around the league, though. Some teams around Major League Baseball have run into some issues when it comes to getting back their testing results, or even being tested, in the early on with the return to team activities. The Washington Nationals cancelled their workout on Monday due to the fact that the team didn’t receive the results from their tests from Friday. General Manager Mike Rizzo said, “We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff, and their families. Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp. Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise, Summer Camp and the 2020 Season are at risk.”

The Nationals aren’t the only team that was having issues. Multiple teams had testers not show up over the weekend. Major League Baseball failed to get many of the tests from Friday shipped out to the facility in Utah that does the analysis due to poor planning over a holiday weekend. That led to a statement being released by Major League Baseball explaining how they botched the whole thing.

Kris Bryant told the Cubs media during Monday’s press conference that he’s not feeling safe or comfortable because of the testing issues. “We’ve had guys here that showed up on Sunday and haven’t gotten tested again eight, seven days later. And then you don’t get the results for two days either, so that’s nine days without knowing. I think if you really want this to succeed, we’re going to have to figure this out. I wanted to play this year because I felt that it would be safe and I would feel comfortable. But honestly I don’t really feel that way, which is why I’m trying to keep my distance from everybody and wear my mask, just so that we can get this thing going.”

22 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    He unloaded on that one!

    As for the MLB-tv package … I hoped for better, but expected something like this. I have to believe they’ll drop the price pretty quickly when people hesitate to sign up. I’m still considering my options.

    • JayTheRed

      So I already paid for my full 162 game season back in March of 2020. I have been given a $60 credit toward next season or I can request a refund up through Aug. 31st. I only paid for the Reds games since I am out of market and can see my favorite team every day except when they play the Brewers. (annoying).

      Anyway just wanted to share that info with everyone.

  2. SultanofSwaff

    I’m in the Chicago area, so I’d get blacked out of 13 of the 60 games. I don’t have cable either. Man, that’s frustrating!

    • Bred

      If you use a VPN, I use Express VPN, I am not a sales person for them, you mask your location and should get all the games. I signed up from a link on Kim Kamando and got 3 months free. Many choices for a VPN networks.

  3. Tom Mitsoff

    I hope Fox Sports Ohio will televise the exhibition games. No reason why they shouldn’t, since they will be at GABP.

    • docproc

      Had the same thought. Would be nice to get televised games a few days earlier!

  4. rex

    MLB.TV works well

    you can watch it on a computer or a game system or even a smart TV

    you can watch the game and listen to the radio coverage if you want

    I watch it on playstation

  5. Bred

    MLB auto renewed my subscription before the shutdown which was okay with me because I wanted to see ST games. What are the chances they automatically refund my money? I am thinking zero to none.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I had the same experience — auto renewal at full price. I sent their support a message asking whether they plan to refund or credit the amount we paid in excess of the current $59.99. Haven’t heard back yet. 😉

    • Bred

      I am wrong. I got an email offering a refund today. It truly is a strange time.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        I got that email as well. They are offering either a refund of the portion over and above $59.99 or a credit for 2021. Well played, MLB.TV.

      • Don

        I sent an e-mail asking for a refund of my MLB.TV in June and they gave me my annual fee back. If you asked you got a full refund 4 to 5 weeks ago. Now I have to decide it to start TV again or just listen on Sirius to the new Reds Radio team.

  6. Bob Purkey

    Ownership just doesn’t get it on this, do they? They are looking down the barrel of a lockout/strike next year, which will end up crushing the sport revenues again for quite some time, and then they try to grab more money than normal for games that have goofy rules added and that will have an asterisk behind it for eternity. . . what brilliance!

    They ought to cut the bottom out of the cost of these games, but they are counting on the thirst of any live sporting event!

  7. Mike Adams

    Curious what you think, Doug, and the rest of Red Leg Nation:

    With a 60 game schedule, how many games do you think it will take to win the Reds’ division outright?

      • Don

        I think some non-competitive teams will trade away anyone they can to drop salary. I can foresee more teams than we would like to have be totally not competitive and have than 40+ losses.

        I would not be shocked if the division winners willl need 40 wins to win the division and 37 to be a Wild Card. I see this as more like the NBA has regular season where the top teams win more than 60% of their games and the top teams 70 to 75% and the bottom teams tank very early in the season.

    • MK

      I think 36. It would be a .600 win pct.

      • Tom Mitsoff

        Last year the Cardinals won the division with a .562 winning percentage. That would equal 33.72 wins this year.

    • Mike Adams

      I don’t think there will be more difficulty playing lesser teams but those who have a shot at the division will fight tooth and nail. It will be more like play off games with them.
      Hmmm, I say 33 wins will be enough.

  8. Bred

    According to Fangraphs the Cubs have most projected wins in the NLC. On the chart it looks like 32/33 wins. About 1 or 2 more than Brewers, Cards, and Reds who look to be tied. The article states the Cubs and Cards have an easier AL schedule than the rest of the division. 35 or 36 is about the projection for LAD, so 35 ought to do it for the Reds.
    Doug, I hang out some over the weekend at RLN to watch live practice.

    • Don

      according to MLB.com the REDS got the most advantage from the 60 game schedule compared to the 162 game schedule

      Here is part of the article from MLB.com
      These teams benefit from the new schedule

      Reds (-.012 easier strength of opposing schedule)
      Twins (-.008)
      Cardinals (-.008)
      Indians (-.008)
      Cubs (-.007)
      Brewers (-.006)

      Right away, you see something interesting: all of these teams are from the two Central divisions. Why? For the NL teams, the answer is easy: They’d originally been slated to face the AL East (.487 expected winning percentage, dragged down by Baltimore) this year in Interleague Play, as well as the NL East (.518) and West (.515) in intraleague play. That’s all gone now, so instead of dealing with the Yankees, Dodgers, Nationals, Braves, Rays, Red Sox and Mets (along with some lesser teams, sure) they get the weak AL Central (only a .478 expected winning percentage). That’s a nice bonus.

      (The Reds especially win out here, because they play 10 games against the Royals and Tigers, while the Cubs and Brewers get only seven. That’s because the Tigers are Cincinnati’s designated rival this year, meaning they play six times. Throw in 10 more against the Pirates, and the Reds have a full one-third of their schedule against the Royals, Tigers and Pirates — three teams that combined to play .360 baseball last year.)

      For the Twins and Indians, much like the Mariners, it’s about the share of their schedule taken up by the three other teams in their division. (That’s the White Sox, competitive at a projected .501 winning percentage, and the rebuilding Royals [.433] and Tigers [.405] at the rear.) Previously, they were going to play 35% of their schedule against that trio. Now, it’s 50% — literally half the season — against three teams projected to collectively post a .446 winning percentage.

      In what’s expected to be a three-team Central race, even a game advantage due to the schedule could be huge.

  9. Don

    I watched the stream last weekend and was going to post some about what I saw. That would be good to have a thread about the practices.