Following up: Some answers, more questions as MLB restarts

Details about Major League Baseball’s plan to play through the pandemic are still rolling out, and Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich answered 12 frequently asked questions. The biggest question …

What if a team has a larger outbreak?

… has the least satisfying answer:

It would depend on the scale, ultimately. But the ill players all would have to follow the above self-isolation and care procedures, and the players likely would be replaced by those in the organization who are healthy, a source said.

“Next man up” is often an admirable mindset when it comes to professional sports, but it takes on much creepier vibe when it’s due to pandemic rather than a cluster of knee injuries (this is what I was getting at with the “contaminated meat sacks.”). It indeed seems like Major League Baseball is going to try to machete its way through the season regardless of the body count.

Sports Illustrated’s Emma Baccellieri talked to various public health experts about this plan to conduct a regular season at home cities instead of hub cities, and one can envision a situation where some teams just get waylaid by a spread, and the rest of the league will try to move on without them.

“The Twins and the Rockies have different public health leaders and different public health perspectives and, quite frankly, are in different places in the coronavirus outbreak right now than the Rangers and the Diamondbacks,” says Dr. Dawn Comstock, a sports epidemiologist at the Colorado School of Public Health. “You’re going to have to deal with different public health mandates.”

I just don’t see this working out well, especially as teams try to figure out how to get some fans into the seats. Danny Parkins says the White Sox are preparing to let in a limited number of fans, provided the city and state give such clearance. Chicago might have earned such a chance, but then you see states like Texas angling for the same opportunity at the same time it’s getting hammered by the coronavirus, mostly because its leaders didn’t urge precautions at the start of the pandemic.

This merely continues the theme of the league not taking the virus all that seriously. We saw that in the labor negotiations. Cash-strapped owners could have gotten their wish for fewer games simply by putting the pandemic concerns first, but instead they tried to hammer a revenue-sharing peg into a health-shaped hole for weeks. Even White Sox union rep James McCann sounded confused by the strategy.

“I never thought that the struggle of economics was going to keep us from playing a season and that’s part of my frustration with the way that everything was handled. I don’t think anyone ever thought that was going to hold us back from playing. It’s the virus that we can’t control. It’s the virus that we don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s the virus that put us in this situation in the first place,” McCann said.

* * * * * * * * *

I’d like to be more excited about this compromised season, because I could get the opportunity to see how history worked. The Nashville Sounds are planning to host two teams of free agents that can use First Horizon Park to stay in shape. If a MLB team showed interest in one of the free agents, they’d pay the Sounds to acquire them, the way teams did before farm systems existed.

That sounds awesome. But because Tennessee is seeing a muted version of the rise in coronavirus cases across the South, it also doesn’t seem like the greatest idea for this particular locale.

That setup could work in other places to benefit some older minor-league players who desperately need an opportunity to stay on radars. For younger prospects who are facing a lost season, Keith Law talked to teams to better understand how they’re trying to maintain progress.

It’s worth reading, because it’s hard to sum up. On one hand, this could be a way for self-motivated prospects to distinguish themselves sooner than their counterparts. On the other hand, the structure of minor-league baseball affords a more level playing field to prospects who might not have the resources to forge their own path so easily.

Every source I asked said their team’s focuses were on keeping players motivated and giving them skills training remotely, with the hope that they’d get hands-on time with the players later this year. That doesn’t say what will happen to players who regress during the downtime, not due to lack of motivation or effort, but because of anxiety or depression, or lack of access to equipment or training partners, or time spent helping a sick family member.

* * * * * * * * *

Going back to Texas, one of the running disagreements Josh and I have is the necessity of a retractable roof. Josh makes the case that the White Sox’s next park needs one to make April games inhabitable. I’d agree, except retractable roofs are expensive and require a lot more real estate to make it possible.

And as the new ballpark in Texas shows, they’re often incredibly ugly.

And that’s with the roof open. With it closed, it looks like an Icelandic yogurt production plant. Others have seen it as:

It’s just staggering for its ugliness, and it wasn’t supposed to be this bad. Like the restoration of Ecco Homo, something got lost along the way.

I’m skeptical a Chicago team would pony up the resources necessary to make sure a retractable roof stadium is done well, and I wouldn’t want taxpayers to put in position where the product didn’t match the picture, because you can’t slap a UPS label on a ballpark and send it back.

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Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

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I know its ugly as hell but i also know a Ranger fan who said it could be a literal toilet for looks and still be better to watch a game in then sitting in the sun on a 100 degree day.

Eagle Bones

Not that this justifies spending $500 mil in tax payer money, but as someone who has attended a game in the old stadium and sat in the sun, I can concur with this statement. I don’t think I’ve sweated that much in my entire life. I was literally soaked head to toe by the second inning. It looked like I had jumped in a pool.

As Cirensica

I went to a game at the Tropicana Field and the stadium didn’t look ugly once inside in the A/C. It was incredibly hot that day, and not a single cloud anywhere….While doing the line to get in, I felt dizzy. Without the roof, I could easily see people suffering a heat stroke.

As Cirensica

I perceived the stadium very spacious for some reason. There wasn’t many people in the stadium when I went (no surprising) so the cowbells were buried in the background noise. To be honest, I found Tropicana Field better than the Rogers Centre which I always find it very tight. People are so crammed, and the space between sits whether side-by-side or in front of you is the tiniest I have ever seen. At Tropicana Field the leg room was very generous.

Lorenzo Barcelo

I found the lighting when sitting behind 3rd base akin to turning on the light to use the bathroom at 3 a.m. Felt too bright.

Eagle Bones

The day I went with my buddy, it was actually a beautiful day weather wise. We sat in the bed of his pickup having a beer before we walked in. There was just something very odd about walking INSIDE (on a beautiful day no less) to watch a baseball game. We enjoyed ourselves, but it just wasn’t the same.


We sat in the bed of his pickup having a beer

This is now on my bucket list.


A good pre-game activity in Oakland, what with the mild weather and killing brain cells that would otherwise fixate on the sewage-leaking mausoleum you are about to enter.


it is a wonder that team had any fans the seats given the unbearable west Texas heat. which does not even remit after sunset.


I don’t mind the retractable roof in Miller park a ton, but the support needed for a roof really swallows up the sky, making it feel more like you’re in a car with a sunroof than a convertible. Less of a “park” in the traditional sense of the word and more of a “stadium.”

I went to Toronto once while the dome was closed and it was like being in a tall, stagnant convention center.

Eagle Bones

Good analogy with the cars. Well put. Not sure I’ve ever been to a game at a stadium with a retractable roof, but I have attended a game at the Trop. And yeah it was a very bizarre feeling watching a game inside like that.


Miller Park though cavernous is a good model for any major ball club that plays in the upper Midwest.


RE the roof, my wife and I lived in Seattle for 4 years and went to a bunch of Mariners games. The roof lives above a bunch of nearby railroad tracks when it’s not in use — maybe Sox could do something similar with those tracks west of the current stadium.

As for whether the roof was worth it, it did feel less outdoors even when the roof was open. But it was damn nice not to have to worry about the game getting rained out. Doubt Jerry would pay for a roof, and I wouldn’t want the local taxpayers to have to pay for it either.

Eagle Bones

Very much this:

Doubt Jerry would pay for a roof, and I wouldn’t want the local taxpayers to have to pay for it either.


We all have to realize going in that this will not be a perfect baseball season. It will actually not even be close to that. MLB might not even be able to finish it if virus cases get even worse than they are now. Nobody knows what will happen.

However, I’m still going to try and enjoy the season. The world is not the same as it was, say, five months ago. Because of that, I will gladly take a 60-game season and the ensuing playoffs and World Series.

Yes, it’s possible that a team (possibly our White Sox) will have its playoff hopes dashed by an untimely cluster of COVID-19 cases to key players. And it’s also possible that an undeserving team could make the playoffs this year because of the shortened schedule.

But so what? The alternative is to sit here twiddling our thumbs until everything is absolutely perfect, something that might not happen for the next five or 10 years, or maybe ever.

As for those who think it’s not acceptable or not even worth it to have an abbreviated season, keep in mind that there is definite precedent for such a thing. I still remember the NFL holding a nine-game season in 1982, a season capped by John Riggins’ memorable TD run in the Super Bowl against the Dolphins. That run is still looked at as a great moment in NFL history, and nobody suggests that the Redskins’ title that year was not worthy of championship status. The same goes for the 1981 MLB season, in which the Dodgers were World Series winners, even though the teams with the best overall records in each NL division that year were excluded from the playoffs. Nobody these days looks at those Dodgers as being undeserving champs. And, frankly, the 2017 and 2018 World Series champs were found to have both cheated. If anything, a team that wins the title this year and is NOT found to have cheated will be a much more worthy champ than the Astros and Red Sox were.


If anything, a team that wins the title this year and is NOT found to have cheated will be a much more worthy champ than the Astros and Red Sox were.

Problem is that with all of the rule changes being implemented for a short season, there will be more opportunities and more incentive to cheat.


Yep it is worth a shot . This baseball season will be a sprint and not a marathon but I want to see Robert ,Eloy, Kopeck and the rest of the Sox, I thought we would have a great summer until the zombie apocalypse hit. I hope 2020 mini season will be a great diversion from all the crap that is going on around us.


Having spend 60 years attending Sox games experiencing snow and sleet in April and May and many hours long rain delays during the rest of the Chicago summer I would jump at a retractable roof stadium for the Sox. . Besides fan comfort it would be nice to purchase tickets for a Sox game and know it would proceed regardless of the fickle Chicago weather .It would be a great plus for the Sox. They could draw a lot of out of town fans like the Brewers because of the certainty that the game would proceed. Any body who says they like baseball rain delays has not attended many games. On the other hand given the state of Illinois economy unless Amazon founder developed a passion for south side baseball played in Chicago it aint gonna happen.


Speaking of Amazon, some news about the naming rights of the new Seattle hockey arena.

Jeff Bezos announced on Thursday that Amazon would be buying the naming rights to the arena that will house Seattle’s future NHL team. While the team itself has yet to be named, he revealed that the arena would be called Climate Pledge Arena.

The idea behind the name, according to his Instagram post about this topic, comes from what he describes as “the urgent need for climate action.” According to his caption, the arena will supposedly have many environmentally friendly aspects which include being “the first net zero carbon certified arena in the world,” generating “zero waste from operations and events,” and using recycled rain water for the ice which will “create the greenest ice in the NHL.”


HK-47 Vibes, I must inform Jim of his Meatbag status:


HK-47, or any general KOTOR reference, gets an automatic +1 from me.


Where is the Sox alternative site for this season? If it’s been announced, I’ve missed it. The Sox don’t have any minor league affiliates nearby to use.