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Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

Well ... not so fast

Chicago White Sox v Cincinnati Reds Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

And ownership mouthpiece Jon Heyman, all day on Wednesday, was reporting “an agreement” and a “done deal.” Right. The MLBPA naturally preached caution, given that owners are still lobbying for the fewest games possible and have not addressed their unreasonable demand that players waive all rights to legal action in the case of illness of death from playing. Cynically, you could look at Manfred’s hasty release as a desperate attempt to win back the PR battle that MLB had pretty much lost the minute they started walking back their salary promises from March.

Encouraging? Sure. A guarantee of baseball? Not quite.

There’s no baseball but teams are still manipulating service time
Craig Calcaterra, NBC Sports

There may be no baseball being played but some teams are still doing what they do best: taking advantage of powerless minor leaguers and manipulating service time.

That’s the report from Kyle Glaser of Baseball America, whose sources tell him that “at least four teams were offering undrafted amateur players — and a few recently drafted players — contracts that begin in the 2021 season rather than in 2020.

In fact, here’s Exhibit A as to how differently the two sides are proceeding into a 2020 “baseball season.” The MLBPA just pledged $1 million from their strike fund kitty to minor leaguers; MLB has teams attempting to force their 2020 draftees to sign 2021 contracts, ensuring an extra year of control. Uh, MLB, if (most) players drafted last week wanted their contracts to start in 2021, they would have skipped this con-job draft and entered the 20-round 2021 draft.

6 clubs that crushed this year's Draft
Jim Callis,

With the No. 1 overall choice on Wednesday and five more selections on Thursday, Detroit took six straight position players. Not only did the Tigers add some balance to their system, but they also had the best Draft of any of the 30 clubs.

I suppose before you get too giddy over our two-first-rounders draft, check out Callis’ take on the best drafts. The White Sox are not there, not even in the honorable mentions.

If you love baseball, support the players' side
Colleen Sullivan, South Side Hit Pen at Sports Illustrated

MLB and the MLBPA reached what’s called the “March agreement.” Owners advanced $170 million for April and May with the caveat that if there’s no season, the money will be kept by the players. There were other compromises, too, such as the draft being shortened for to five rounds for 2020, shortened to 20 rounds for 2021, and a tweak to arbitration rules.

These were probably the last things anyone agreed on.

I mean, it’s cute that anyone would think there was another side to support here but the players. But man, read almost any sportswriter these days — there was a Sox on 35th piece that was downright painful in the two-sidesing of the issue — and you’d think they all had in their bylines.

Report: MLB's 60-Game Restart Proposal Includes Universal DH for 2020, 2021
Tyler Conway, Bleacher Report

Major League Baseball's latest proposal to the players reportedly includes a universal designated hitter for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post provided the details of the proposal sent to players Wednesday, which calls for a 60-game season with full prorated salaries and expanded playoffs that include a $25 million postseason pool.

I mean, no big surprises here. The universal DH might be the only good thing to come out of a pandemic now on track to kill at least 200,000 Americans.

Morning Music
I’m the first to admit that The Flaming Lips got too weird, even for me. But there’s a trio of albums starting about 20 years ago — The Soft Bulletin, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, and At War With the Mystics — that are just a divine mix of beauty and lunacy.

“Waitin’ for Superman” is a beautiful song. The entire Soft Bulletin LP is. A super-sweet song cycle. Seemed sort of appropriate for the times in which we live.