Who to root for?

The postseason has begun and the Mariners are once again nowhere to be seen. What's a Seattle baseball fan to do? In this wacky year of expanded playoffs, most us will pick a team (or a succession of them) to ride with through the World Series and make the best of it. But whom to choose...?

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Mini-season ends with Mariners not ready for 2021

With today's loss to the AL West Champion Oakland A's, the Mariners officially finished their part in 2020’s wild and wacky baseball season. It went about as expected, overall, with some interesting surprises and familiar frustrations, serving its purpose as an evaluation/on-the-job training ground for some players while failing miserably at that task for others. So, you might say the goals were a little different, but in the end it was just another Mariners season, done before October and watching other clubs play for titles. Even in crazy 2020, when you have to be really bad to miss the playoffs.

See full post: "Mini-season ends with Mariners not ready for 2021"...


Postseason to be held at neutral sites, Manfred wants fans (and their wallets) in attendance

Commissioner Rob Manfred's office has announced an agreement between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association on neutral locations for this years Division Series, League Championship Series, and World Series. While the first round of playoffs will still be held at the higher seed's home ballparks, the latter rounds will be contained to southern California and Texas.

See full post: "Postseason to be held at neutral sites, Manfred wants fans (and their wallets) in attendance"...


Giants series relocated

The Mariners' two-game series against the San Francisco Giants that was slated to begin tonight has been postponed one day and relocated to San Francisco due to abysmal air quality in Seattle. This was done after complaints were lodged by players, principally from the Giants, but also from the Seattle side.

See full post: "Giants series relocated"...

mlb covid

Opt-outs and COVID cases

Below is the current list of major league players who have opted out of playing in 2020 due to concerns over the coronavirus, plus a list of players who are known to have been infected with COVID-19. This list will obviously grow and evolve as preseason training camps progress, and we will update it as needed to keep current.

See full post: "Opt-outs and COVID cases"...


M's postponed until Friday and other news bits

In addition to tonight's and tomorrow's games between the Mariners and the Oakland A's being postponed, Thursday's contest has also been pulled form the schedule. This doesn't appear to be because the Oakland crew has had any further COVID-19 issues beyond the one case that was revealed on Sunday; rather, it seems to be more of a logistical issue for the A's coupled with extra caution. Instead of traveling to Seattle, the A's will go home to Oakland and prepare for their series with San Diego, scheduled to begin Friday.

See full post: "M's postponed until Friday and other news bits"...

bat ball mask

COVID updates and miscellany

Will the St. Louis Cardinals play baseball again in 2020? Since a COVID-19 outbreak among their squad became known, the Cards have been in limbo, with all of their games since July 29th postponed. Though no new cases of the virus have cropped up in the last couple of days, they remain quarantined for now. Major League Baseball currently plans on the Cardinals taking the field again starting this Friday against the White Sox in Chicago and potentially playing a makeup doubleheader tomorrow against the Detroit Tigers. We'll see.

See full post: "COVID updates and miscellany"...

baseball grass

News bites: 8/4/20

A few items from the day to pass along:

See full post: "News bites: 8/4/20"...


Cardinals' COVID outbreak grows

The St. Louis Cardinals are the new Miami Marlins. Today's coronavirus test reporting, from tests performed over the weekend, bring the Cardinals' total number of infections up to 13 (seven players, six coaches and/or support staff among the traveling party).

See full post: "Cardinals' COVID outbreak grows"...


COVID updates, etc.

Another day, another postponement in Major League Baseball. As was the case yesterday, tonight's game in Milwaukee between the hometown Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals has been bumped due to more positive test results for COVID-19. One St. Louis player, two coaches, and a staff member traveling with the team tested as infected, in addition to the two Cardinal pitchers that we learned yesterday had tested positive. None of the six Cardinals consented to make his identity known.

See full post: "COVID updates, etc."...


More COVID cases puts season in (more) jeopardy

Another coronavirus case among the Miami Marlins and two COVID-19-positive test results from the St. Louis Cardinals were made known today, bringing the Marlins' total number to 18 players and two coaches and causing enough concern with the Cardinals for MLB to postpone their game tonight against he Milwaukee Brewers.

See full post: "More COVID cases puts season in (more) jeopardy"...


Minor Notes

Just a few items for the day:

See full post: "Minor Notes"...

manfred hands

Reality Bites

I am genuinely surprised. The blowback on MLB generally and the commissioner's office specifically over the Miami Marlins' COVID-19 outbreak has actually resulted in Commissioner Manfred taking the Marlins off the schedule for the time being.

See full post: "Reality Bites"...


Marlins outbreak further illustrates Manfred's faults

As posted this morning, the Miami Marlins are in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak. Since posting that article, test results from late last week came back and seven more Miami players and two coaches had positive results for the coronavirus. The personnel involved were not identified. The Marlins' opponents over the weekend, the Philadelphia Phillies, underwent supplemental testing today and both the Phillies and the Marlins postponed their scheduled home games this evening.

See full post: "Marlins outbreak further illustrates Manfred's faults"...

bat ball mask

Between COVID-19 and short preseason, pitchers start dropping like flies

The first few games of 2020 are in the books, and we're just starting to see how both a short preseason training camp and holding games during a pandemic is hurting various teams' rosters.

See full post: "Between COVID-19 and short preseason, pitchers start dropping like flies"...


Opening Day is here

Whether it's a good idea or not, opening day is happening, and it's happening today. Empty stadiums, masks in the dugout, broadcasters working from home, it's the weird and wacky 2020 mini-season, for as long as it lasts.

See full post: "Opening Day is here"...


16-team playoffs a go for 2020

It's official, as of about three hours ago—which is also three hours before the first pitch of the truncated 2020 season—the playoffs will include eight teams per league this year, assuming a postseason is played at all.

See full post: "16-team playoffs a go for 2020"...

baseball grass

As opening day nears, questions still remain

After much delay we're finally here. In this bizarre age of coronavirus and leadership by idiots, all of the hemming and hawing over schedule length, pay scales, health protocols, et cetera, is over; all of the logistical puzzles have been solved and the troubles are all behind us, so we're set for games to—

See full post: "As opening day nears, questions still remain"...

mlb covid

More 2020 logistics as MLB rolls the dice with 2020

Make of this what you will—the District of Columbia gave the Washington Nationals an exemption to its COVID-19 isolation policy, saying players may forego the 14-day quarantine if they become infected so long as they restrict themselves to Nationals Park and their residences/hotels for the two-week period, while the Canadian federal government has denied a similar exemption to the Toronto Blue Jays, so there will be no games played in Canada and the Jays have to find somewhere else to call home for 2020.

See full post: "More 2020 logistics as MLB rolls the dice with 2020"...


Updates on the folly surrounding the 2020 season

We're still a week or two away from seeing any real evidence of success or failure in Major League Baseball's coronavirus health and safety protocols, but we are seeing evidence of failure to see the big picture in other ways.

See full post: "Updates on the folly surrounding the 2020 season"...


Camp Notes

Not much to talk about today, but here are a few notes to pass along.

See full post: "Camp Notes"...


Will 2020 be baseball's Titanic?

I heard the various preparations of sports leagues to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic described today as being akin to "a press release at the launch of the Titanic." It's not my phrase; I think it was Chris Hayes who coined it. But whomever gets the credit, it's certainly apt.

See full post: "Will 2020 be baseball's Titanic?"...


"Summer camp" continues, coronavirus also continues

As major league teams proceed with their preseason training camps and the truncated 2020 season's scheduled opening day approaches fast, issues with the COVID-19 pandemic refuse to be ignored.

See full post: ""Summer camp" continues, coronavirus also continues"...


It just continues

My, oh my.

See full post: "It just continues"...


The reward of a functional society

Preseason training camps are in session and the season is still scheduled to begin in less than three weeks, but Major League Baseball's preparations for play in the age of COVID-19 are proving to be, well, less than robust.

See full post: "The reward of a functional society"...

More players test positive for coronavirus

More players have been reported to have had positive COVID-19 tests as training camps get underway. All-Stars Freddie Freeman, D.J. LeMahieu, Salvador Pérez, Miguel Sanó, and Aaron Nola are among today's new additions to the list.

See full post: "More players test positive for coronavirus"...


The dominoes start falling

As preseason training camps open up, the coronavirus test results come in. A reported 31 positive tests came in the initial screenings as payers reported to their home ballparks this week, including Cleveland's Delino DeShields Jr., San Diego's Tommy Pham, and Texas' Brett Martin, all of whom approved their result being made public. This in addition to previously known infections, such as that of All-Star Charlie Blackmon and two Rockies teammates and 11 Philadelphia Phillies.

See full post: "The dominoes start falling"...

manfred hands

Manfred steps in it again and the COVID IL gets its first of many uses

Commissioner Rob Manfred went on the Dan Patrick radio show yesterday and metaphorically stepped on another rake to whack himself in the face. In discussing the lengthy and ultimately pointless so-called negotiations with the players' union—and the animosity created by them—Manfred said this: "The reality is we weren’t going to play more than 60 games no matter how the negotiations with the players went."

See full post: "Manfred steps in it again and the COVID IL gets its first of many uses"...


Designated Dumbness

The weird 2020 faux-season is scheduled to begin in a few weeks, and considering its various rule alterations and pandemic protocols, one issue continues to rankle me like no other, because it threatens to last a lot longer than this bizarre year of coronavirus: The "universal DH."I loathe the designated hitter rule. It was a bad idea when the American League implemented it in 1973 and it's bad today and it'll be bad tomorrow. It should not be made universal, it should be metaphorically burned with fire until no trace of it remains.

See full post: "Designated Dumbness"...


Players start opting out as COVID-19 continues to rage

As tomorrow's deadline for players to report to preseason training camp approaches, four major league players have announced they will be opting out of the 2020 season due to concerns over the coronavirus.

See full post: "Players start opting out as COVID-19 continues to rage"...


Even in a short 2020 season the schedule will be f-ed

I wasn't in favor of Interleague play when it started, in 1997. I knew then that the novelty of it would wear off in a few years and that it did nothing good for the game, in fact it detracted from the All-Star Game and the World Series. (These things remain true, by the way.)

See full post: "Even in a short 2020 season the schedule will be f-ed"...


The COVID factor

Commissioner Rob Manfred has spoken: Major League Baseball will open a truncated season on July 23rd, with a preseason training camp to begin July 3rd after players report no later than July 1st. The season will last 60 games and end September 27th. So sayeth the almighty Rob.

See full post: "The COVID factor"...


Details begin to emerge for 2020 changes

The players' union and Commissioner Rob Manfred's office have given up on arguing over economic matters for now, but they are still ironing out protocols for health and safety in the theoretically-upcoming abbreviated 2020 campaign. Some of those protocols will translate to rule changes on the field in the interest of player safety.

See full post: "Details begin to emerge for 2020 changes"...


Commissioner announces 2020 season will commence

So. You know all that arguing and wrangling and bad blood being spilled and hostility being ginned up between ownership and the players' union over the past couple of months? Yeah, that was for nothing.

See full post: "Commissioner announces 2020 season will commence"...


MLB closes spring facilities, season negotiations stalled again

Surprising absolutely no one who's been paying attention, multiple major league clubs have reported COVID-19 infections among their players and staff and apparent outbreaks in their spring training facilities. MLB today ordered all spring facilities closed again, after several clubs shut down complexes on their own.

See full post: "MLB closes spring facilities, season negotiations stalled again"...


Latest on 2020 negotiations

Well, Commissioner Manfred's tactics seem to have backfired on him, as his office has resumed negotiations for a new agreement to open a 2020 campaign. It's not all good news, though it does appear that a deal will be struck now that the league has given up on trying to reduce player pay beyond the pro rata agreement already made in March.

See full post: "Latest on 2020 negotiations"...


Keep digging that hole

A little more than a week ago, I wrote that the Commissioner's office and the MLBPA needed to stop digging as they fell further and further into the hole they were creating for themselves with the general public. They didn't take my advice, of course, and today we have Commissioner Rob Manfred essentially threatening to pull the plug on a 2020 season that wasn't likely to happen anyway because of made-up offenses committed by the players' union.

See full post: "Keep digging that hole"...


Minor league life, getting drafted, and being a whole person

I became a big fan of pitcher Dirk Hayhurst because of his writing. The former minor- and major-leaguer, who had brief, middling stints with the Padres and Blue Jays, has written four books—all of them excellent—about his time in baseball. He also spent some time as an on-camera commentator/analyst with Sportsnet and TBS. He's a brilliant, thoughtful, articulate person with a lot of insight into the culture and the business of baseball.

See full post: "Minor league life, getting drafted, and being a whole person"...


Commissioner's Office fans flames of discord once again

It boggles the mind. Really. The actions taken by the office of the Commissioner of baseball, representing the ownership groups of the 30 major league clubs, in the ongoing "negotiations" with the MLB Players' Association regarding a potential truncated 2020 season, have been unbelievably foolish.

See full post: "Commissioner's Office fans flames of discord once again"...


Stop digging!

When you find yourself stuck in a hole, the first rule of thumb is to stop digging. Sadly, the Commissioner's Office, Major League club owners, and the Major League Baseball Players' Association can't seem to put down their shovels.

See full post: "Stop digging!"...


Manfred, owners give themselves black eye in 2020 negotiations

Stop me if you've head this before, but Rob Manfred is incredibly bad at his job. I mean, picture the worst job you can imagine a commissioner of baseball doing, then multiply that by a factor of five and you might get close to just how bad the man is at the job he's contracted to hold until 2024.

See full post: "Manfred, owners give themselves black eye in 2020 negotiations"...


If I were Commissioner

There is a lot of disagreement among baseball fans. Is the DH a good thing? (Answer: no.) Is it better to hit 50 home runs or bat .350? (Answer: .350.) Do newfangled sabermetric stats like WAR mean anything? (Answer: sort of.) Views on these and many other topics big and small will differ and be fodder for arguments in the bleachers until the end of time.

See full post: "If I were Commissioner"...


The next team to relocate

The Major Leagues have been pretty stable over the past few decades. Though there were plenty of threats by a few ownership groups, the only team to shift from one home to another in nearly 50 years was the Montréal Expos, who moved to Washington to become the Nationals in 2005. But for a stretch of time, teams were hopscotching all over the country.

See full post: "The next team to relocate"...


Commissioner's Office issues another half-baked plan for 2020

Another week, another silly conversation about starting up the 2020 Major League Baseball season. It was already tiresome, but I guess we'll keep doing this.

See full post: "Commissioner's Office issues another half-baked plan for 2020"...


Empty talk of starting season continues among owners

My screed from last week about the ridiculousness of these "plans" to start the 2020 season remains true, but the Commissioner's office and MLB ownership groups continue to put forth proposals to get things going. Today they formally approved this idea and have submitted it to the players' union.

See full post: "Empty talk of starting season continues among owners"...


Plans for a new Opening Day are foolhardy

Sigh. It's like there's a new one every week now: A "plan" to start the Major League Baseball season in some fashion amid the coronavirus crisis.

See full post: "Plans for a new Opening Day are foolhardy"...


What do you know? It's the Trivia Challenge Mark II

While we continue waiting out the COVID-19 hiatus, why not indulge in a little baseball quiz-taking? In the spirit of last year's Mariner-centric Trivia Challenge, we present this year's more generalized (with plenty of M's stuff too) baseball trivia quiz. Click below to begin, then when you're done you'll be brought back here so you can tell us what you think.

See full post: "What do you know? It's the Trivia Challenge Mark II"...


Another 2020 plan that won't happen

A few days ago, Major League Baseball was discussing a 2020 season played entirely in Arizona. Today the talk is around playing a season with all teams using their spring training facilities as their home fields.

See full post: "Another 2020 plan that won't happen"...


Home runs are boring

Those that know me well know that my favorite ballclub of all time has nothing to do with the Mariners. Long before I became a Northwesterner, way back in the pre-Internet days, I followed the Majors the best I could from a minor-league town. We had the newspaper box scores. The NBC Game of the Week on Saturday afternoons and Monday Night Baseball on ABC. Cable TV was a novelty, but my mom splurged for it so I had access to a few "superstations" that carried National League games from Chicago, Atlanta, and New York and our local radio carried...

See full post: "Home runs are boring"...


2020 season to start up? Don't hold your breath

The last few days have seen some reporting that suggests Major League Baseball is preparing to start the season sometime late next month or early in June. Don't read too much into it, though.

See full post: "2020 season to start up? Don't hold your breath"...


Season delayed

Well, that was fast.

See full post: "Season delayed"...


Age of uncertainty

Opening Day is just two weeks away...maybe.

See full post: "Age of uncertainty"...


Manfred is bad for baseball

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred held a press conference today from the Atlanta Braves' spring facility that addressed the ongoing fallout from the Houston Astros' cheating scandal. It did not go well for Mr. Manfred, for Major League Baseball, or for the concept of justice.

See full post: "Manfred is bad for baseball"...

World Series Trophy

Quit Screwing With My Game

As you may have read elsewhere, Major League Baseball is considering yet more changes to be implemented in 2022. This is in addition to the changes already enacted last year and several that will begin this coming season. And I'm getting pretty damn tired of it.

See full post: "Quit Screwing With My Game"...


My Hall of Fame ballot

Ballots are cast for inducting new members to the baseball Hall of Fame by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. I don't get a vote. But if I did, I would take the privilege seriously and try to be dispassionate in my selections. Meaning I would even vote for Jeter.

See full post: "My Hall of Fame ballot"...


Prognostication evaluation

So, how'd we do?

See full post: "Prognostication evaluation"...


The next wave of NPB imports

First was Hideo Nomo, in 1995 (no offense to Masanori Murakami). Then a number of pitchers, including ex-Mariners Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Kazuhiro Sasaki. Ichiro broke through in 2001, opening a modest floodgate that swept in Hideki Matsui, So Taguchi, Kenji Johjima, Kazuo Matsui, Norichika Aoki, and plenty of others. Yusei Kikuchi made the jump last season. Next season, a few more veterans of Nippon Professional Baseball may make their debuts in the Major Leagues.Star outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo has already been told he'll be posted by his current club, the Yokohama BayStars, for bids from Major League teams. Seibu Lions outfielder...

See full post: "The next wave of NPB imports"...


Game 6: Nats win despite potentially critical blown call

Well. Ask for an interesting World Series game and the baseball gods provide.

See full post: "Game 6: Nats win despite potentially critical blown call"...


DC duds

A great first game. A good second one until it got silly in the late innings. A decent contest, if not a really exciting one, in Game 3. And two snoozers.

See full post: "DC duds"...


Hey, we know him

Now that the Wild Card slots are filled with the conclusion of the WC play-in games—good one in DC, dull one in Oakland—the playoffs can begin in earnest. As we tune in for the four League Division Series starting tomorrow, we may not know a lot about the teams playing; after all, we don't see those squads very often, a lot of their players are unknown quantities unless we're super-diehard baseball consumers. But some will be familiar because they used to be Mariners.

See full post: "Hey, we know him"...


New Yankee Stadium

Getting back to the digression from a few weeks back, when I took off on a week-long east coast non-Mariner road trip, a look at new Yankee Stadium. This is out of order, as we went to Philadelphia before New York (and after Washington), but I still don't have my Philly photos available, so I'm shuffling the deck a bit.

See full post: "New Yankee Stadium"...


Nationals Park

This week's non-Mariners road trip began with two games at Nationals Park in Washington, DC. Both games were against the Atlanta Braves and both were won by the visitors, though the home Nats did make things interesting at the end of the contests.Some thoughts on Nationals Park as a facility:

See full post: "Nationals Park"...


Temporary digression

For the next week or so, things here at might seem a little off. I am joining a couple of friends in taking a trip to see other teams in other parks, placing the Mariners on the back burner for the duration. There will still be posts and info, but some of it will be about games at Nationals Park and Yankee Stadium.

See full post: "Temporary digression"...

bouton pilots

"Ball Four"

Jim Bouton’s Ball Four, which Major League Baseball viewed as akin to a bomb flung into their living room by a traitorous freak when it was published in 1970, has become respectable. It’s not just that The New York Public Library included Ball Four among their “Books of the Century” in 1996—the only sports books so honored—or that one of Bouton’s old teams, the New York Yankees, invited Bouton back to an Old-Timers game after years of shunning him. It’s the book itself. 

See full post: ""Ball Four""...


Vogey an All-Star, new voting system underwhelms

The 2019 All-Star Game will be played a week from tomorrow in Cleveland, and Your Seattle Mariners will be represented by everyone's favorite sandwich inspiration, Daniel Vogelbach. Vogey earned his selection with a mid-year OPS of .898, 20 home runs, and 48 RBI.

See full post: "Vogey an All-Star, new voting system underwhelms"...


Precarious Predictions

It's opening day (again!) Time for the traditional exercise of trying to predict the future and declare, in advance, the winners in this upcoming season. Bill and Tim give it a go, even though we pretend no expertise beyond the average fan's. How good are our skills? How much do we know? How much do our biases show (hint: a lot)? Well, all we really know for sure is, some of these predictions will be wrong.

See full post: "Precarious Predictions"...