Friday Newsletter time: Baseball's work won't be done as soon as lockout ends. COVID will make sure of that.
The latest surge has put another significant issue in front of the owners and players, who met Thursday to work toward a new CBA.
The heirs to the Wilson fortune are part of the Mansfield Independent School District, which on Thursday afternoon cried uncle and closed its schools until Wednesday.
The cause? Oh, just 195 confirmed COVID-19 positive cases among faculty members and 750 positive students. That doesn’t account for all the faculty and students who were going to school with COVID, whether they knew it or not.
The hope is that a five-day window will allow everyone enough time test negative.
What does that have to do with the Texas Rangers and baseball, which are locked out and each passing day puts an on-time start to spring training and the regular season in jeopardy?
Once the lockout is settled but before it’s time to play ball, the owners and players will have to address how to handle the Omicron surge. Things could be very different in a month, but neither side is going to want any outbreaks to delay the start of the season — especially if their labor issues delay the start of the season.
That comes on top of creating a window for free agents to sign and for teams to execute trades.
Players don’t want to go through rigorous COVID testing again. They would do it, begrudgingly. Teams don’t want another surge, which could hurt them at the gate yet again either by fans choosing to not attend games or by local ordinances.
The Rangers opened Globe Life Field to full capacity last season beginning with the home openers.
If the surge continues, it would seem probable that MLB and the players wouldn’t let media in the clubhouse, even if it means media no-showing spring training and a lack of positive stories for a sport coming out of a labor battle.
That would not be good for the Newsletter, either.
The COVID landscape appears to be shifting, with the CDC making changes to recommended guidelines. Omicron is spreading rapidly, but isn’t nearly as strong as the original strain.
That comes from the pediatrician to the heirs of the Wilson fortune, as well as experts and studies around the world.
As for baseball, it needs to agree to have a season first. Once that’s settled, how to again deal with COVID will be high on the to-do list.
So long, pitchers hitting
Much of what was leaked from the first serious labor meeting in six weeks Thursday sounded bad, because the players hated the owners’ latest economic proposal.
That shouldn’t be a surprise. This is a negotiation. The players will respond, and eventually the sides are going to figure this out. Too much is at stake, and both parties know it.
One thing that reportedly was broached and that both sides seem willing to put into place is the universal designated hitter. It’ll be a sad day for all of you who enjoy watching pitchers hit, sacrifice bunts and double switches.
This will help team owners ensure their best pitchers aren’t injured doing something they aren’t paid to do, and the players will like it because it creates more jobs for guys who can really only hit.
Both sides will enjoy the rest players can get by spending an occasional game at DH.
The length of games will get longer in the National League, with no more automatic outs in the lineup. The figurative playing field will be evened out, as American League teams don’t have to juggle their lineups when playing at NL ballparks.
It’s hard to find a huge negative here, except, of course, the elimination of pitchers hitting and the massive reduction in sacrifice bunts and double switches.
So, yeah, no negatives.
Card of the Week
Guess who turns 24 today? It’s the Rangers player who has been a player at the Newsletter on consecutive Fridays.
Sam Huff was the subject of Friday on the Farm last week, and today his 2020 Bowman Chrome Mega Box is the Card of the Week.
It’s a nice card for a player who is trying to make himself better this offseason by refining his diet while also making sure his knee is stable and his bat improves.
The Rangers continue to see him as a catcher, a position where his power could make him an All-Star-caliber player. He has a big arm, moves well and can manage a pitching staff, but he will likely head to Triple A to start 2022 after not catching at all in 2021.
Happy birthday to Sam.
Hoping you all find something to entertain yourselves this weekend. Enjoy. See you Monday.