Monday, April 20, 2020

Monday Musings, Pandemic Edition

After spending the last week or so writing some rather long posts I thought I might take a break from that today and share some thoughts on a few different things.

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I really enjoyed putting together yesterday's post on Mr. Koo's glorious day from 15 years ago. It was almost as much fun to write about as it was to actually watch the game when it unfolded in real time. The details of that game still stick in my head so clearly, and I sure can't say that about many of my life experiences from a decade and a half ago.

Still, I had to do a bit of research to write that piece. Yesterday I recommended a long, well-researched piece by Rory Costello on the game itself.  I went back to enjoy that article in full after I posted my piece last night and discovered a second article by Rory Costello on the same site on Mr. Koo's entire career.  Turns out he wound up playing ball in Australia at the end of his career and he still lives there and coaches baseball.

After enjoying that one I took a look at Mr. Costello's author page and saw that he's contributed countless bios and articles on Mets players and themes that I intend to spend some time reading. It's funny, I knew about SABR years ago and always intended to do some reading on their web site when life became "less busy," but we all know how that goes. I hate this f***ing pandemic, but while my life is on hold I am going to at least take advantage of the opportunity some added time brings.  What better way to fill the void left by no baseball than taking the opportunity to enjoy something baseball related?

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I saw this article on SI.com about MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's decision to allow teams to furlough or cut the pay of many club employees.  Not that this came as any kind of shocker, but as someone who knows full well what it feels like when Coronavirus robs you of your livelihood with no real clear picture of when you might get it back, I feel for these folks.  It's easy to dismiss concerns about billionaire owners and the highly paid superstars at the major league level.  As it trickles down to the lesser compensated players and coaches and other support personnel I feel much more.

When you get down to baseball lifers in scouting and coaching at the minor league level my sympathy level grows to its highest.  These are working-class people who lack the safety net of wealth. They live paycheck to paycheck like so many of the rest of us.

I have to feel that smart organizations will do everything in their power to retain these folks and give them enough to sustain themselves during these trying times.  As far a certain organizations whose owners were only able to sustain themselves thanks to an infamous Ponzi scheme, I worry.  You don't want to have to rebuild everything from the ashes of sort-sightedness once real life makes a comeback someday.

I continue to believe that the minor leagues is how baseball touches the lives of much of the country. Their importance and the need for these clubs to survive this disaster should not be given less weight and effort than is given to the survival of the major league clubs.

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Saw this one on NBC Sport's Hardball Talk.  Japanese baseball was planning a return in May, but that's not happening now.  The basic story was that there's been an increase of COVID-19 cases recently after a decline that had given hope to a reopening.  As Craig Calcaterra points out in his piece, the reasons for the bad news has similar causes to what we're dealing with here.

Avoiding the politics of this, I still feel like the asymmetric approach we're taking to this pandemic in our country is not only going to delay baseball's return, but ultimately whatever reopening of this country will be possible before a vaccine becomes widely available.  We'll have it under relative control in one area while it's raging somewhere else. It's probably going to have to be in control everywhere in the US before we see baseball, and some larger facet of our old lives, really have a chance to return.

My optimism rises and falls about baseball returning.  I would be more consistently optimistic if we could all pull together and stop paying attention to the minority of citizens who think this is one giant conspiracy or that this is some left-right fight with winners and losers.  I want to watch baseball and get back to work as much as I want anything in this world.  We need smarter leadership for that to happen.

What we definitely don't want is to rush into something half cocked that ultimately has to take the kind of giant step backwards that Japan is experiencing right now.  As a baseball fan, I can think of few things more deflating than baseball starting to return, the plan failing, and losing it all over again.  Same thing with real life.  Let's get it right.

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I think I might have a chance soon to get back to working, at least part time.  If I get to a point where it's no longer possible to post here every day I'll communicate that clearly in this space, including whatever posting schedule I intend to follow. After taking a decade off from doing this I have no plans to go away again.

Thanks for stopping by.  I'll be back tomorrow.  Please stay well.


 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos

2 comments:

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