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Cup o’ Joe, side o’ dough: Boras weighs in

As more details come out over how baseball might be played in 2020, scrutiny remains

Baseball - White Sox vs. Angels Photo by Larry Goren /Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

Coronavirus test plan proposed by MLB for resuming season
Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated

One of the hurdles Major League Baseball faces in a return to play is how to provide frequent and comprehensive coronavirus testing without depriving frontline workers and the more vulnerable from needed tests. MLB believes it has cleared that hurdle: by partnering with the Utah lab that runs its performance-enhancing drug program to turn that lab into a coronavirus testing facility.

In partnership with MLB, the Utah lab, The Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory, not only would provide coronavirus testing for the 3,000 or so baseball players and support staff but also for thousands more in the general public. Under that plan, MLB would provide a net gain to public testing rather than drawing from existing resources.

It’s good that MLB feels that by this Utah lab is essentially letting them go “carbon-neutral” with regard to using tests that might otherwise be more important elsewhere. But as long as there is little urgency from our executive office vis-a-vis testing, it might be hard to justify burning through so many tests “just” to play baseball.

MLB players heading toward impasse with league owners
Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated

“The players I represent are unified in that they reached an agreement and they sacrificed anywhere from 30 to 40% of their salaries so that the games could amicably continue,” said Boras. “The owners represented during that negotiation that they could operate without fans in the ballpark. Based on that, we reached an agreement and there will not be a renegotiation of that agreement.”

The players association may not require much urging. A person familiar with the union’s plans said that the revenue-sharing idea was a nonstarter. Union head Tony Clark expressed the same idea to The Athletic, saying that “the league is trying to take advantage of a global health crisis.”

Yep, sounds about right.

Little League World Series: How and why it was canceled
Matt Martell, Sports Illustrated

Chris Gingher was putting together a video lesson for his fourth grade class when text messages flooded his phone. The inevitable had just happened.

Earlier that day, April 30, Little League emailed thousands of local volunteers across the country, notifying them that Stephen D. Keener, the President of Little League International, would be holding a press conference that afternoon. As the Little League world watched on Facebook, Keener announced that due to the coronavirus pandemic, there would be no Little League World Series for the first time in its 73-year history.

This is pretty sad. I have a lot of friends with cherished Williamsport tournament memories. I believe our friend Brett had some crazy experience with the Little League World Series. If only there was a way to give these kids an extra year of “eligibility.” But I guess it’s on to Pony League?

MLB agent Scott Boras started as failed minor leaguer
Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated

There were better players throughout the minor leagues. But none of them would have as much of an impact on the sport as the guy who couldn’t field, didn’t hit for power and would never make the majors.

Yeah, this batch today is SI-heavy, but I missed a lot of good stuff the past few days. Whatever you think of Boras, he does love baseball. This is a pretty fascinating study from Stephanie.

Meeting Scott Boras
Brett Ballantini, South Side Hit Pen at Sports Illustrated

Anyway, when I came back to my hotel room in Glendale one day in spring and saw I had an urgent message to call Scott Boras, I was intrigued. Did he see my promise and want to give me an exclusive something-or-other? Was this his modus operandi, wining and dining new beats at Golden Corral in exchange for favorable coverage? Did someone in the White Sox org hip Scott to the unorthodox connections I was making with players? Was he just, like, Brett, I get you?

I remember him telling me this story not long after it happened, heh. Brett’s remembrance, timed to publish with Stephanie’s piece above (and in fact linked within Stephanie’s national story), is told with his usual aplomb. But the punch lines aren’t surprising.

2020 OOTP sim: heartbreak city
Brett Ballantini, South Side Hit Pen at Sports Illustrated

On a rainy night with the thermometer hitting 60 at first pitch and falling, the White Sox opened a homestand forcing fans to sit through four hours of ultimately crushing baseball.

After Yasmani Grandal's one-out, two-run homer capped a three-run rally to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth, Evan Marshall and Alex Colomé both surrendered gopher balls in the 11th to set the White Sox back, 6-4.

Another day, another extra-inning loss.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred confident owners, players will reach deal to play
Daryl Van Schouwen, Chicago Sun-Times

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday that he’s confident the league will reach an agreement with players to play a shortened 2020 season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and claimed owners would lose up to $4 billion if the season is not played at all.

Did you see that Tom Ricketts claimed to season ticketholders that the Cubs earn 70% of their revenue from the gate? Unless beers run $50 and that “Marquee” TV deal is like WSNS-TV money, what a crock.

Where Were They Then? Part Four
John Gorlewski, South Side Hit Pen at Sports Illustrated

Today's look at the Top 10 List of White Sox Prospects from 1958-59 examines the careers of two pitchers who the White Sox hung onto for the bulk of their careers, and a slugging first baseman many don't realize came up through Chicago's farm system. The two pitchers would lead a competitive pitching staff to the end of the next decade.

Nearing the end of the series, the names John is featuring from the 1958 prospect class are just astounding. Wow.

What would Cubs fandom be like if the White Sox had left Chicago?
Al Yellon, Bleed Cubbie Blue

Four times in a 20-year period the Cubs nearly became the only major-league team in Chicago. What would baseball fandom have been like in Chicago with the Cubs as the only team?

I figured the best way to find out what displaced Sox fans would have done was to ask a Sox fan. So I went to Brett Ballantini, who runs our SB Nation White Sox site South Side Sox.

Yeah, yeah, Al, BCB, grumble, grumble. Al’s been a friend to SSS, at least since Brett’s been around. Several times a year, it seems, he gives Brett space on site, and his readers range in reaction from bemused to impressed. I’m don’t give a hell about the Cubs, but this is a fun and intriguing read. The comments are remarkably cogent, by and large. Use a VPN or whatever so BCB never shows up on your browser history, and have a look.

Morning Music
I’m not sure what drew me to Radio Clash today, but once you’re caught, you can’t get away.

Go ahead, check my punk cred at the door. London Calling is a masterwork and Sandinista! is the craziest mess and most disappointing follow-up in rock history. “This is Radio Clash” was a bit of redemption, in my eyes. The groove is intoxicating, and it’s a pretty badass video to boot. I wasn’t in London in 1976, but this seems to capture Clash essence as well anything I’ve seen of them.