Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Category: Baseball

Andrew (1976- ), Baseball, Bauer, Friedman, George (1989- ), Los Angeles Dodgers, Major League Baseball, Springer, Trevor
Ready or Not, Baseball Begins Spring Training This Week


Steve Sparks is heading to spring training soon to broadcast the Houston Astros’ exhibition games on radio. But with the sport and the country still in the grip of the coronavirus, he will miss the up-close access that gives spring training its charm.“We’ll probably have some roped-off areas where we can get to a certain spot, but not like those days where you could stand right next to the bullpen, watch the prospects and listen to the teaching,” said Sparks, a former major league pitcher. “One day I was eight or 10 feet away from Justin Verlander throwing in the bullpen, seeing him look at an iPad after every pitch and making this one adjustment that I was able to talk about for half of a season because of what it did for his fastball.”Fans, too, can often get close enough for their own moments of wonder at complexes in Florida and Arizona, which open for pitchers and catchers for 15 teams on Wednesday and all teams by Friday. Most teams let fans roam the back fields with few restrictions. In Mesa, Ariz., the Chicago Cubs encourage fans to tailgate beside the players’ walkway from the training complex to the ballpark, bringing a touch of Wrigleyville to the desert.Alas, this spring will be different. Attendance will be limited to 20 to 25 percent of capacity, depending on the city. The usual ambience — crowded grassy berms above the outfield walls, fans snagging autographs — will take a hiatus. Even the minor leaguers will keep their distance; most of them will not report to spring training facilities until the big leaguers leave town.At least players in Florida will get a break from two- or three-hour bus rides. The five teams based in the east coast of the state — the Mets, the Houston Astros, the Washington Nationals, the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals — will play against only one another, and the teams that train in the Tampa area will not play the teams in the Fort Myers area.The changes make last spring training seem much longer than 12 months ago. Back then, the industry was consumed by the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Three managers and a general manager were fired over it, and the Houston players faced severe backlash from colleagues around the league and fans at exhibition games. The pandemic abruptly changed everything.During a four-month shutdown, the commissioner’s office and the union bickered over the details of the restart, an early battleground for the painstaking negotiations to replace the collective bargaining agreement that expires after this season.The sides assumed their hard lines again this winter. With support from city officials in the hard-hit Phoenix area, owners proposed pushing back spring training, staging opening day in late April and shortening the schedule to 154 games. Players would get full pay, with a universal designated hitter and expanded playoffs as part of the deal. The union rejected that plan without a counterproposal, retaining the expanded playoffs as a bargaining tool to get the larger-scale changes it wants in the next C.B.A.Barring a change, then, the league will head into an uncertain future by turning to the recent past, with pitchers hitting in National League parks and the same playoff format as was held from 2012 through 2019 — three division winners and two wild-card teams in each league. Last season, eight teams from each league qualified for the postseason, and the designated hitter was used in all games.“I don’t understand why we don’t have a D.H.,” Chicago Cubs outfielder Ian Happ said last week on MLB Network Radio. “I think for both sides, for the fans, for the game, for health and safety — there’s no reason why the D.H. shouldn’t be in there. It shouldn’t be tied to anything. The D.H. makes sense for the betterment of the game. It makes sense for the future, it makes sense for keeping pitchers healthy. Nobody wants to see Max Scherzer, Jon Lester or Kyle Hendricks hit. They want to see them strike guys out; they want to see them be the aces that they are.”Two innovations from last season will remain: Extra innings will begin with a runner on second base, and games will last seven innings during doubleheaders. (Some spring training exhibitions will be limited to five innings.) The league will also introduce a new ball that adheres closer to the middle of the existing specification range — in other words, slightly lighter and less bouncy, in hopes of curbing the majors’ home run surge.For some pitchers, this adjustment confirmed suspicions that the league had juiced the old ball to generate more homers. In any case, if last season proved anything, it was the timeless lesson that pitching usually wins. The Los Angeles Dodgers had the best earned run average in the majors and won the World Series. They beat the Tampa Bay Rays, who had the best E.R.A. in the American League.The Dodgers added to their overpowering staff by signing Trevor Bauer, who won the N.L. Cy Young Award for Cincinnati last season, to a three-year, $102 million contract. The deal is front-loaded with salaries of $40 million in 2021 and $45 million in 2022, and Bauer can opt out after either season.Bauer, who chose the Dodgers over the Mets, will be the third former Cy Young winner in the rotation, joining Clayton Kershaw and David Price. The Dodgers also have a wave of hard-throwing homegrown starters, none older than 26, in Walker Buehler, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May and Julio Urias, who threw the final pitch of the World Series.No team can match that depth, not even the division-rival San Diego Padres, who traded for Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove to build off the team’s first playoff appearance since 2006. After a shortened season, it may be more important than ever to carefully manage pitchers’ workloads.“We feel like we’ve got seven proven major league starters; we’re not sure exactly how things are going to shake out on April 1, but we couldn’t be more confident that they’re going to help us through the year and also through October,” said Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations. “Adding to our pitching depth was something that was really important to us, just with all the unknowns, going from a 60-game season back to 162 games.”While the Dodgers try to become the first team to repeat as champions since the Yankees won three straight from 1998-2000, the Padres, the Chicago White Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays moved aggressively to continue their ascent. The White Sox — under a new manager, the Hall of Famer Tony La Russa — gave three-year contracts to starter Lance Lynn and closer Liam Hendriks in free agency, while Toronto splurged for center fielder George Springer (six years, $150 million) and infielder Marcus Semien (one year, $18 million).Several other teams made multiple win-now moves, like the Yankees (Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon), the Mets (Francisco Lindor, Carlos Carrasco, James McCann, Trevor May, Aaron Loup), the Minnesota Twins, the Washington Nationals and even the Kansas City Royals, who traded with the Boston Red Sox last week for outfielder Andrew Benintendi.The Red Sox, who dealt Price and Mookie Betts to the Dodgers last winter, stumbled to 24-36 for a .400 winning percentage, their worst since 1965. Their additions have been mostly low-cost placeholders — Franchy Cordero, Enrique Hernandez, Marwin Gonzalez, Hunter Renfroe — signaling another year of rebuilding at Fenway Park.Teardown strategies are still in vogue, and not just with typically stingy teams like Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay. The Cubs shipped Darvish to the Padres, and the Colorado Rockies dealt Nolan Arenado to the Cardinals, less than two years after signing him to an eight-year contract extension. Several other teams, like Arizona, Baltimore, Cincinnati and Seattle, did almost nothing to improve.It is no wonder, then, that players believe the current economic system incentivizes losing while also discouraging teams from exceeding a luxury-tax limit, in effect creating a salary cap. Resolving those issues and avoiding a strike must be an off-field priority this season — because while this spring training is bound to feel different, it is surely better than no spring training at all.

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Anthony S, Baseball, Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Coronavirus Risks and Safety Concerns, Fauci, Major League Baseball, Major League Baseball Players Assn, Washington Nationals
Dr. Fauci on the 2021 MLB Season: ‘You’ve Got to Do as Best as You Can to Protect the Players’


As far as Dr. Anthony S. Fauci can recall, last season was the first time his life was almost completely devoid of watching baseball. “Much to my great pain,” he said in an interview with The New York Times on Friday evening. He added later, “It was just really terrible.”Before the coronavirus pandemic turned the world upside down and consumed his life, Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert and an adviser to seven presidents, loved a reprieve from work that came from visiting Nationals Park, cracking open a beer, eating a hot dog and watching his beloved Nationals. Growing up, he played in Brooklyn’s sandlots, adored the Yankees and memorized players’ statistics.“My year has been completely a lost year,” Fauci, 80, said. “I hope that this coming year it’ll be a little bit different, but that’s going to depend on the dynamics of the outbreak.”With spring training starting next week in Arizona and Florida — both frequent virus hot spots — and the Major League Baseball season set to begin on April 1, Fauci discussed the public health challenges ahead, his optimism that a normal 162-game season can be played, his belief that fans can return safely to the stands outdoors and what he told baseball officials.Despite not watching much baseball last season, do you at least know how the Nationals did? (After winning the World Series title in 2019, they went 26-34 in 2020 — tied for last in the National League East.)Yeah, a little disappointing. But we’ll be back.From a health standpoint, did you follow along and see how M.L.B. and the players handled the 2020 season without a bubble — from early outbreaks on the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals that jeopardized the season to the tightening of the protocols and bubblelike conditions throughout the postseason?Unfortunately, I really can’t comment intelligently on it because I was completely out of it. I feel badly because I’m such a fanatical baseball fan, but I was just out of it completely. I just was working 18, 19 hours a day, seven days a week. I didn’t have time.Federal officials talked separately to M.L.B. and the players’ union last week. Did you recommend that the season be delayed or continue as planned?I was not recommending one way versus the other because it was very clear that there was tension between the Major League Baseball leadership and the Players Association — that the players wanted to get the season going on schedule and there was some concern about whether or not they should delay it, which would have salary and other implications. I couldn’t get involved in that.The only thing I said was that, from a public health standpoint, it looks like the cases — if you look at the plotting of the cases — they have peaked, they’re turning around and are starting to come down. And likely, the more time that goes by, the less and less cases we’ll see. Unless — unless — and this is a possibility, we have an unexpected surge related to some of the variants. So I think it would really be a close call and I didn’t want to get into any of the dispute about delay it or not delay it.I just would say that whatever you do, you’ve got to do as best as you can to protect the players and the people associated with the game because you don’t want them to wind up getting infected. As time goes by, there’ll be more and more vaccines available. And I would imagine within a reasonable period of time the players and everybody else are going to be able to get vaccinated. I don’t think that’s going to happen before the season starts, but I think that would be something that is on the horizon.Updated Feb. 12, 2021, 11:21 p.m. ETAnyway, I didn’t want to take any kind of sides in any dispute because I think it’s an empiric decision. It’s really a judgment call.Do other professional sports leagues ask for advice, too?They all have. And that’s the reason why I’m a little gun shy about this because it has gotten taken out of context. They ask me questions that are public health scientific questions, and I give them answers based on solid scientific data. The decision that they make, that’s up to them.Although cases are trending down, they are still higher than when the 2020 season started on July 23. So are you more or less optimistic that a longer 162-game season can be completed?The thing that I have some optimism about — but I would have to underscore that it’s cautious optimism — is that, even though the cases are high relative to this time last year, they are on the down slope. And as every day goes by, it looks like it gets less and less. If you look at a month or so ago, we were having 300,000 to 400,000 cases a day. Now for the last few days in a row, we’ve had less than 100,000 cases, which is remarkably diminished.So as the slopes keep going down, we’re going in the right direction. Superpose upon that the fact that we now have highly efficacious vaccines that are being rolled out. We are vaccinating more and more people each day. And we will have more and more vaccines available as the weeks and the months go by. So it looks like we’re heading in the right direction. Whether or not it stays in that direction is going to depend on a bunch of things: Are people going to continue to be careful and to implement public health measures? What is going to happen with the variants? Are they going to make things more difficult by having an additional spike in infections? I don’t know.The big wild card in this is really the variants. Because the variant that is in the U.K. that is likely going to become more dominant in the U.S., the models tell us that will happen probably by the end of March. If we don’t adhere to public health measures the way we should, that could take off on us. That’s the reason why I say I’m cautiously optimistic because we could turn around and go the opposite direction pretty quickly.The regulations may vary across different communities, but what do you think of the likelihood that there will be fans in the stands during spring training and the regular season? The positive aspect of baseball is that most of it is outdoors. And if you space people well enough, you get people to wear masks, you have situations that people don’t crowd at the concessions near each other to get food and things like that, you can pull it off in a pretty safe way, I believe.New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that starting on Feb. 23, with testing, distancing and face covering requirements, arenas and stadiums with 10,000 or more seats can host 10 percent of the venue’s capacity. Is that advisable?If you’re going to do it indoor, you’ve got to have the capacity significantly less than if you do it outdoor. Outdoor is a big safety valve in the sense of the transmission of respiratory disease. Outdoor is always better than indoor.As an ardent Nationals fan, would you go back to Nationals Park to watch a game this season?It would entirely depend on the level of the virus in the community. If every time you look at the charts in the newspaper about infections, it keeps going down and down and down, then by the time I’m getting ready to go to a game — where, for me, it’s warm enough to go to a game — I might very well decide that I want to go into the stands. But again, it’s tough to make a decision in the middle of the cold month of February of something that you might do in March or April because you don’t know what the level of infection is going to be.On a final note, do you want to throw out another ceremonial first pitch after last year’s errant toss at Nationals Park on opening day?I would like a chance to redeem myself. (Laughing.)Have you been given that opportunity?No, they haven’t mentioned anything about that yet.Are you at least practicing in the meantime?I haven’t. That was the problem with why I threw it so bad: I practiced so much I hurt my arm.

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Anthony S, Baseball, Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Coronavirus Risks and Safety Concerns, Fauci, Major League Baseball, Major League Baseball Players Assn, Washington Nationals
Dr. Fauci on the 2021 Baseball Season and His Disastrous First Pitch


As far as Dr. Anthony S. Fauci can recall, last season was the first time his life was almost completely devoid of watching baseball. “Much to my great pain,” he said in an interview with The New York Times on Friday evening. He added later, “It was just really terrible.”Before the coronavirus pandemic turned the world upside down and consumed his life, Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert and an adviser to seven presidents, loved a reprieve from work that came from visiting Nationals Park, cracking open a beer, eating a hot dog and watching his beloved Nationals. Growing up, he played in Brooklyn’s sandlots, adored the Yankees and memorized players’ statistics.“My year has been completely a lost year,” Fauci, 80, said. “I hope that this coming year it’ll be a little bit different, but that’s going to depend on the dynamics of the outbreak.”With spring training starting next week in Arizona and Florida — both frequent virus hot spots — and the Major League Baseball season set to begin on April 1, Fauci discussed the public health challenges ahead, his optimism that a normal 162-game season can be played, his belief that fans can return safely to the stands outdoors and what he told baseball officials.Despite not watching much baseball last season, do you at least know how the Nationals did? (After winning the World Series title in 2019, they went 26-34 in 2020 — tied for last in the National League East.)Yeah, a little disappointing. But we’ll be back.From a health standpoint, did you follow along and see how M.L.B. and the players handled the 2020 season without a bubble — from early outbreaks on the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals that jeopardized the season to the tightening of the protocols and bubblelike conditions throughout the postseason?Unfortunately, I really can’t comment intelligently on it because I was completely out of it. I feel badly because I’m such a fanatical baseball fan, but I was just out of it completely. I just was working 18, 19 hours a day, seven days a week. I didn’t have time.Federal officials talked separately to M.L.B. and the players’ union last week. Did you recommend that the season be delayed or continue as planned?I was not recommending one way versus the other because it was very clear that there was tension between the Major League Baseball leadership and the Players Association — that the players wanted to get the season going on schedule and there was some concern about whether or not they should delay it, which would have salary and other implications. I couldn’t get involved in that.The only thing I said was that, from a public health standpoint, it looks like the cases — if you look at the plotting of the cases — they have peaked, they’re turning around and are starting to come down. And likely, the more time that goes by, the less and less cases we’ll see. Unless — unless — and this is a possibility, we have an unexpected surge related to some of the variants. So I think it would really be a close call and I didn’t want to get into any of the dispute about delay it or not delay it.I just would say that whatever you do, you’ve got to do as best as you can to protect the players and the people associated with the game because you don’t want them to wind up getting infected. As time goes by, there’ll be more and more vaccines available. And I would imagine within a reasonable period of time the players and everybody else are going to be able to get vaccinated. I don’t think that’s going to happen before the season starts, but I think that would be something that is on the horizon.Updated Feb. 12, 2021, 11:21 p.m. ETAnyway, I didn’t want to take any kind of sides in any dispute because I think it’s an empiric decision. It’s really a judgment call.Do other professional sports leagues ask for advice, too?They all have. And that’s the reason why I’m a little gun shy about this because it has gotten taken out of context. They ask me questions that are public health scientific questions, and I give them answers based on solid scientific data. The decision that they make, that’s up to them.Although cases are trending down, they are still higher than when the 2020 season started on July 23. So are you more or less optimistic that a longer 162-game season can be completed?The thing that I have some optimism about — but I would have to underscore that it’s cautious optimism — is that, even though the cases are high relative to this time last year, they are on the down slope. And as every day goes by, it looks like it gets less and less. If you look at a month or so ago, we were having 300,000 to 400,000 cases a day. Now for the last few days in a row, we’ve had less than 100,000 cases, which is remarkably diminished.So as the slopes keep going down, we’re going in the right direction. Superpose upon that the fact that we now have highly efficacious vaccines that are being rolled out. We are vaccinating more and more people each day. And we will have more and more vaccines available as the weeks and the months go by. So it looks like we’re heading in the right direction. Whether or not it stays in that direction is going to depend on a bunch of things: Are people going to continue to be careful and to implement public health measures? What is going to happen with the variants? Are they going to make things more difficult by having an additional spike in infections? I don’t know.The big wild card in this is really the variants. Because the variant that is in the U.K. that is likely going to become more dominant in the U.S., the models tell us that will happen probably by the end of March. If we don’t adhere to public health measures the way we should, that could take off on us. That’s the reason why I say I’m cautiously optimistic because we could turn around and go the opposite direction pretty quickly.The regulations may vary across different communities, but what do you think of the likelihood that there will be fans in the stands during spring training and the regular season? The positive aspect of baseball is that most of it is outdoors. And if you space people well enough, you get people to wear masks, you have situations that people don’t crowd at the concessions near each other to get food and things like that, you can pull it off in a pretty safe way, I believe.New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that starting on Feb. 23, with testing, distancing and face covering requirements, arenas and stadiums with 10,000 or more seats can host 10 percent of the venue’s capacity. Is that advisable?If you’re going to do it indoor, you’ve got to have the capacity significantly less than if you do it outdoor. Outdoor is a big safety valve in the sense of the transmission of respiratory disease. Outdoor is always better than indoor.As an ardent Nationals fan, would you go back to Nationals Park to watch a game this season?It would entirely depend on the level of the virus in the community. If every time you look at the charts in the newspaper about infections, it keeps going down and down and down, then by the time I’m getting ready to go to a game — where, for me, it’s warm enough to go to a game — I might very well decide that I want to go into the stands. But again, it’s tough to make a decision in the middle of the cold month of February of something that you might do in March or April because you don’t know what the level of infection is going to be.On a final note, do you want to throw out another ceremonial first pitch after last year’s errant toss at Nationals Park on opening day?I would like a chance to redeem myself. (Laughing.)Have you been given that opportunity?No, they haven’t mentioned anything about that yet.Are you at least practicing in the meantime?I haven’t. That was the problem with why I threw it so bad: I practiced so much I hurt my arm.

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Baseball, Discrimination, Kim, Lonnie, Ludtke, Major League Baseball, Manfred, Melissa, Meyer-Shipp, Michele, Moore, Ng, Renee, Robert D, Sexual Harassment, Tirado
Baseball Works to Confront Its Treatment of Women


Fury built inside Melissa Ludtke when she read about a second recent revelation of sexual harassment of female reporters in Major League Baseball. She had fought against sexist treatment when she was in the same role earlier in her career, so the topic is personal.In 1977, Ludtke and Time Inc., the parent company of her employer at the time, Sports Illustrated, sued M.L.B., among others, when she was denied access to the clubhouses at Yankee Stadium. A year later, a district court judge ruled that denying Ludtke the same access male journalists enjoyed was a violation of the 14th Amendment.“I’m dismayed that after 42 years since the decision came down basically saying that women reporters should be treated equally to men, the attitudes don’t seem to have evolved in the way you might have expected they would,” Ludtke said in a recent phone interview.Over the past month, news reports have exposed accusations of sexual harassment against Mets General Manager Jared Porter, who was swiftly fired, and the Los Angeles Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway, who remains suspended pending an investigation. These have been painful examples of the way women in and around baseball are treated. In response, M.L.B. tweaked its harassment and discrimination policy, established an anonymous third-party hotline to report issues and mandated training for top club executives.“What’s happened in baseball most recently is just a wake-up call,” said Renée Tirado, who joined M.L.B. in 2016 as its chief diversity and inclusion officer before leaving in 2019. “And it was inevitable. We’re in an age of social media. We’re in a different type of age that demands a different type of accountability.”Tirado added that she thought baseball currently had “the fundamental and foundational components to do better.”“It’s just now a matter of actualizing them and prioritizing them,” she said. “And that’s where not only sports but all industries fail — we react instead of being proactive. I will rest on the fact that I think baseball will now operate in the sense of being proactive. And they had to learn. Everyone had to learn. This is their #MeToo moment.”Once excluded from the sport, women have made notable inroads in improving their representation in M.L.B. More women are joining front offices and coaching staffs, such as Bianca Smith of the Boston Red Sox or Alyssa Nakken of the San Francisco Giants. And after being passed over for several openings, Kim Ng finally broke through when the Miami Marlins hired her in November as their general manager, making her the first woman to hold that title in major league history.Progress, though, doesn’t mean the deep-rooted problems have evaporated in an industry still dominated by men and sometimes referred to as a boys club, and where a commonly repeated refrain is, “what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse.”“I don’t know that we’ve begun to even skim the surface on how to address what’s both cultural and at times generational issues,” said Lonnie Murray, who has been a baseball agent for 15 years.She pointed to the criticism that Sandy Alderson, the president of the Mets and a longtime baseball executive, received for admitting recently that no women were consulted in vetting Porter before he was hired in December. She said Alderson is well respected in baseball, but she wondered how much of a blind spot the sport had developed.“Because in what has been deemed traditional baseball, there hasn’t been really a need to talk to women about how a guy was doing his job because women didn’t exist in the positions to have those reviews,” she added.M.L.B. updated its harassment and discrimination policy this week, in an effort spearheaded by its new chief people and culture officer, Michele Meyer-Shipp. Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the changes in a memorandum sent to all team owners, presidents and general managers. He attached the new code of conduct and a fact sheet titled “M.L.B. Speak Up,” which outlined the league’s rules and potential discipline, and how to report a complaint. Both, he wrote, should be hung as posters throughout clubhouses and press rooms.“Depending on the severity of the situation, remedial action may take the form of a warning, a suspension, termination of employment, or any other measures available to a Club or the Commissioner,” read a portion of the hotline poster, which also promised that reports would be taken seriously, handled confidentiality and that there would be no retaliation for any complaints made in “good faith.”Manfred also instructed each club to send its most senior baseball operations and business executives — five from each side — to anti-harassment and discrimination training slated for next month. He asked clubs to ensure similar training was done for all other staff members.“Harassment and discrimination have no place within Major League Baseball,” the league said in a statement. “We are grateful for the courage of the women who have shared their stories, and we believe that an open dialogue is an important part in progress.”The introspection has extended to teams who, suddenly, were trying to update their hiring practices or improve their workplaces. The Cubs’ president of baseball operations, Jed Hoyer, who was the team’s general manager when Porter was the professional scouting director there, told reporters that teams should vet prospective employees as extensively as they do first-round draft picks and make sure their environments are safe for women. Top executives of the Cleveland Indians, another of Callaway’s former employers, and the Angels announced similar efforts.Murray said much of the conversation of late has involved reporters because “women within M.L.B., no matter what type of policy is put into place, it doesn’t protect them from repercussions.” She cited an incident about five years ago, when she got drinks with several scouts after a tournament. Meeting up at the hotel bar after a long day to talk about work is commonplace.But when she called it a night, she said, one of the scouts followed her into the elevator and then grabbed her in the hallway. She said she screamed, he apologized repeatedly and left. She said she doesn’t talk much about this or identify the person because of the stigma that would follow her.“Questions will arise: ‘Well, how late was it, and why was she sitting down there with all those guys drinking?’” she said, adding later: “So where else am I supposed to get information? Who am I supposed to communicate with? How do I go around the good old boys club? You can have video from the hotel that shows exactly what happened and people will still question it. And even if they don’t question, guys will say, ‘Well, don’t invite Lonnie because there was some stuff that went down.’”Over all, Murray said her experience in baseball has been “fantastic.” She said that she wouldn’t be where she is in her career without some men in baseball, but “I don’t seek to protect anyone by any stretch of the imagination.”Tirado said harassment in baseball was attributable to “people who have bad behavior unchecked.”“I think that’s the collective failure of not just baseball but of all sports who do not check the behavior early,” she said.While Ludtke said she saw and heard inappropriate things while covering baseball, she said she was lucky not to experience the same level of sexual harassment female reporters have faced now. Ludtke, who retired and is writing a book tentatively titled “Locker Room Talk: A Woman’s Struggle to Get Inside,” said modern technology, such as Twitter and text messaging, has made it easier to harass women in and around baseball.Tirado said that the recent revelations of harassment, as “gross” and demoralizing as they were, may help move the needle for progress because women have been let down by the law, regulations and policies for decades.“We cannot continue to live under the scriptures of a sport that started where there were no women anywhere,” she added later. “Behaviors that keep getting passed down and on and on. I would love to see baseball have men leading this conversation.”Tirado said more women at all levels of organizations, particularly in leadership, will help baseball evolve, though the burden shouldn’t be on just them. She said she remained optimistic that baseball can improve in terms of equality.“The beauty of this, too, as painful as this is right now for the sport, this is a moment of empowerment for women as well,” Tirado said. “The mic is turned on.”

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Baseball, Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown (NY), Derek, Jeter, Larry, Walker
เบสบอลฮอลล์ออฟเฟมบาร์แฟน ๆ จากการเหนี่ยวนำ


พิธีเข้ารับตำแหน่งเบสบอลฮอลล์ออฟเฟมเป็นงานใหญ่ที่หาได้ยากที่สุด: ให้ผู้ชมฟรีโดยไม่ต้องมีความสามารถที่เข้มงวด ราคาที่คุณจ่ายคือพยายามไปที่ Cooperstown, New York ซึ่งเป็นหมู่บ้านทางตอนเหนือที่งดงามริมทะเลสาบ Otsego รางวัลคือจุดบนสนามกีฬาถัดจาก Clark Sports Center ซึ่งมีผู้เล่นที่ยิ่งใหญ่ที่สุดในประวัติศาสตร์มารวมตัวกันในเต็นท์เดียว แต่ด้วยสถานการณ์นี้ปัญหาที่ Hall of Fame ไม่สามารถแก้ไขได้ เป็นปีที่สองติดต่อกันจะไม่มีพิธีเปิดให้แฟน ๆ กิจกรรมของปีที่แล้วถูกยกเลิกเนื่องจากการแพร่ระบาดของไวรัสโครานิกและฮอลล์ประกาศเมื่อวันศุกร์ว่าจะย้ายไปที่ไซต์คูเปอร์สทาวน์ในร่มในปีนี้ในฐานะ “รายการโทรทัศน์” บนเครือข่าย MLB โดยไม่มีแฟน ๆ ที่ได้รับอนุญาต สิ่งที่เขาเคยคาดหวังว่าจะเป็นสถิติฝูงชนสำหรับการเริ่มต้นของ Derek Jeter กัปตันทีมแยงกี้ที่รู้จักกันมานานจะไม่เป็นฝูงเลย Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons และ Marvin Miller – บทเรียนปี 2020 จะได้รับเกียรติในวันที่ 25 กรกฎาคมโดยมีเพียงเพื่อนและแขกที่ได้รับเชิญเท่านั้นที่ได้รับอนุญาตให้เข้าร่วมด้วยตนเอง “ มันยากมากกับการขนส่งบางอย่าง” Tim Mead ประธาน Hall of Fame กล่าวทางโทรศัพท์จากคูเปอร์สทาวน์เมื่อวันศุกร์ “ พื้นที่มันเยอะมากและเพราะว่ามันไม่มีตั๋วมันไม่เหมือนกับสถานที่ที่เปิดมีที่นั่งและคุณสามารถวางแผนและบอกว่ามันเป็นปาร์ตี้สามหรือสี่คนหรืออะไรก็ได้ สิ่งนี้จะเป็นปัญหาอย่างมากกับโครงสร้างพื้นฐานของเราในการบำรุงรักษาที่คูเปอร์สทาวน์ “การย้ายพิธีจากคูเปอร์สทาวน์ซึ่งอาจจะเป็นสถานที่จัดงานกลางแจ้งที่มีที่นั่งแบบควบคุมได้ – มีความดึงดูดเล็กน้อยต่อสถาบันลับแม้จะไม่มีแฟน แต่บรรยากาศแบบบ้านนอกก็เป็นจุดหมายปลายทางของ Hall of Famers และเป็นส่วนหนึ่งของงานที่ดูเหมือนจะไม่สามารถถูกแทนที่ได้” เรื่องราวอยู่ที่คูเปอร์สทาวน์” มี้ดกล่าว“ นี่เป็นส่วนหนึ่งของสิ่งที่ครอบครัว Hall of Fame รอคอยอยู่มันเปิดโอกาสให้พวกเขาทำสิ่งอื่น ๆ นอกเหนือจากงานพิธี” ของ Fame – สำหรับการเขียนเบสบอลการถ่ายทอดความเป็นเลิศ และความสำเร็จตลอดชีวิต – มักจะนำเสนอในวันก่อนพิธีปฐมนิเทศที่สนามดับเบิลเดย์ซึ่งเป็นสนามเบสบอลขนาดเล็กที่มีบ้านยาวอยู่ที่ถนนสายหลัก รางวัลเหล่านี้รวมถึงรางวัลสำหรับนักกีฬา Al Michaels ที่มีอายุยาวนานจะมอบให้ในบ้านในปีนี้ด้วย หาก Hall of Fame เลือกที่จะจัดงานกลางแจ้งหรือจัดขบวนพาเหรดประจำปีซึ่งถูกยกเลิกไปด้วยเช่นกันอาจทำให้แฟน ๆ เข้าร่วมการเดินทางได้แม้ว่าจะเป็นเพียงการดู Jeter และดาวอื่น ๆ ก็ตาม ในขณะที่พิพิธภัณฑ์เปิดให้จุได้ 25 เปอร์เซ็นต์ (ครั้งละประมาณ 400 คน) ความหวังก็คือการกีดกันนักท่องเที่ยวที่หลั่งไหลเข้ามาในหมู่บ้านเล็ก ๆ ในคราวเดียว “ มันไม่ยุติธรรมสำหรับชุมชนที่จะทำให้ตัวเองอยู่ในตำแหน่งนั้น” มี้ดกล่าวและเสริมว่าหอเกียรติยศกล่าวว่าจะปฏิบัติตามหลักเกณฑ์ด้านสุขภาพของรัฐนิวยอร์กในการจัดงานมีส่วนร่วมในการรักษาระดับต่ำ: ไม่ ผู้เล่นได้รับคะแนน 75 เปอร์เซ็นต์ของการโหวตเมื่อเดือนที่แล้วทำให้มั่นใจได้ว่าจะไม่มีคนหนุ่มสาวเข้ามาในผลิตภัณฑ์ที่ จำกัด มาก

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Baseball, Billy, Boston Red Sox, Conigliaro, Deaths (Obituaries), Tony (1945-90)
Billy Conigliaro, Keeper of His Brother’s Baseball Flame, Dies at 73


Billy Conigliaro, the first draft pick in Red Sox history, who started out in the Boston outfield with his star-crossed brother Tony and later spent years taking care of him after a heart attack, died on Wednesday at his home in Beverly, Mass. He was 73.His death was announced by the team. No cause was given.Though he wound up winning a World Series ring with the Oakland A’s in 1973, Billy Conigliaro was always a part of New England lore, forever connected by his local roots and the tragic events surrounding his older brother.Born less than 10 miles from Fenway Park in Revere, Mass., on Aug. 15, 1947, Billy Conigliaro was chosen fifth overall out of Swampscott High School in 1965, in Major League Baseball’s inaugural amateur draft.He made his big-league debut as a pinch-runner in April 1969, the same month his brother returned after almost two years from a beaning that had derailed his All-Star career.Five days after that, Billy made his first start, hitting two home runs in Boston. He hit another the next day, but he had just one more that season.His best season was 1970, when he played 114 games and batted .271 with 18 home runs and 58 runs batted in. The next season, he hit 26 doubles and 11 home runs in 101 games.Overall, Billy Conigliaro played 247 games for the Red Sox through 1971. He was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers in a 10-team trade in 1972 and abruptly retired. He returned with Oakland in 1973 and played three games in the World Series as the A’s beat the Mets. A knee injury ended his career after that season.Conigliaro played his first two big-league seasons alongside his brother, an enormous star for a franchise that hadn’t won the World Series since 1918.Tony Conigliaro made his debut for Boston in 1964 at 19 and won the American League home run title the next year. A month after playing in the 1967 All-Star Game, with Boston on its way to a championship, he was hit in the cheekbone by a fastball from the Angels’ Jack Hamilton. He suffered extensive injuries, including permanent damage to his left eye.He returned to the major leagues in 1969 and, despite limited eyesight, hit 20 home runs that year and 36 in 1970, playing alongside his brother.Tony Conigliaro was working as a sportscaster in San Francisco when he auditioned for a broadcaster job with the Red Sox in 1982. By all indications, he was set to get the job when he had a heart attack while Billy was driving him to the airport in Boston.He later had a stroke and was in a coma. Billy devoted much of his life to caring for him until Tony’s death in 1990 at 45.For the past 31 years, Billy Conigliaro had served on the committee for the Tony Conigliaro Award, given annually by the Red Sox to a major league player who “has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination, and courage that were trademarks of Tony C.”His survivors include his wife, Keisha, and a brother, Richie.

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Baseball, Contact Tracing (Public Health), Coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Major League Baseball, Major League Baseball Players Assn
Baseball Devises New Pandemic-Related Rules for 2021


One prominent element, however, will not return: the universal designated hitter, which the union had sought. It became a negotiating chip: The league had offered the designated hitter in exchange for an expanded postseason, which the union rejected.Rosters will be smaller than last year — 26 active players, with 28 in September, vs. as many as 30 last year — but reserve squads will remain, and roster rules may be relaxed to help clubs if there is a virus outbreak.Teams must assign several new titles related to the many demands of playing during a pandemic: an infection control prevention coordinator, a compliance officer (who must be an assistant general manager or of higher-ranking), a contact tracing officer, a contact tracing working group and at least one face-mask enforcement officer.Players and key staff must wear Kinexon contact tracing devices, which have also been used by the N.F.L. and N.B.A. (The manual has various rules on who can gain access to the data in the event of a confirmed virus case and when the data should be deleted.) According to the protocols, “repeated failure” to wear the device at team facilities or during team activities, or to return them to their docking stations, can result in discipline.Players and key staff can also be fined $150 per violation, beginning with the third instance, if they do not wear a mask properly, or at all, when required.While the regulations for the season can be tightened as needed, they can also be relaxed should the public health situation improve. Vaccinations won’t be required for players, the manual stated, but M.L.B. and the union will strongly encourage them “at the appropriate time.”Saag said his hope that this M.L.B. season can be completed stems in part from the rollout of vaccinations and from his belief that “a lot of the ice jam of getting access to vaccines will start to thaw” by opening day. He predicted a significant transition toward more normalcy and safety by perhaps the All-Star break in July.“But here comes a caveat,” he said. “There’s an assumption in everything I just said, that the variants that are emerging will be contained through the vaccine, and that the public will continue to be vigilant, especially with regard to mask wearing and, for the time being, avoiding large crowds. So when you take that and extend it to the fans who would want to go to a game, we’re still going to have to constrain that until we get to a point where the transmission of virus is at a very low level.”

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Baseball, Major League Baseball, Rawlings Sporting Goods Co
M.L.B. Will Change Its Baseballs After Record Home Run Rates


After years of fielding questions about record home run rates and variations in its baseballs, Major League Baseball informed its 30 teams in a memorandum on Friday of changes to the balls — and how they will be handled — for the 2021 season. Chief among the differences will be a slightly reduced weight and slightly decreased bounciness, the latter of which could reduce home runs.“As you are aware, M.L.B. has engaged a committee of scientific experts over the last several years to study the construction and performance of the baseball,” said one of the first lines of the memo, which was first reported by The Athletic. “One of the recommendations of that committee has been to narrow the manufacturing specifications of the baseball in order to improve the consistency of the baseball’s performance.”Five of the six seasons with highest home run rates in baseball history have occurred since the start of 2016. The other came in 2000, before the league tested for steroids. Many pitchers insisted during the record-setting 2019 season that the ball felt different in their hands, and the ace starter Justin Verlander accused the league that summer of intentionally spring-loading the ball. The home run rate plummeted during that postseason, which further raised suspicions among players.(Although home runs have reached record highs, scoring hasn’t, as the hitters’ power surge coincided with record rates in strikeouts and with pitchers’ throwing harder than ever.)Officials from M.L.B. and Rawlings — which has manufactured balls for the league since 1977 and has been effectively owned by the league since 2018 — have said on multiple occasions that the ball has not been intentionally altered. They said there would always be some level of inconsistency to the baseballs because much of the manufacturing process is done by hand, at a factory in Costa Rica.In December 2019, M.L.B. released the findings of a panel of scientists it commissioned to study the issue. The committee’s report said that slightly lower seam heights on the balls, which reduced the drag, and players’ swinging more for the fences were primary causes for the power surge, but added that the scientists couldn’t completely explain the power increase. The league pledged to continue studying the issue.Friday’s memo detailed the new changes. M.L.B. told teams that “in an effort to center the ball within the specification range” for bounciness, Rawlings produced balls that “loosened the tension of the first wool winding.” The result was a ball that weighed 2.8 grams less and had a slightly reduced bouciness that was, on average, “more in the middle” of the league’s current range.In a footnote in its memo, M.L.B. wrote that its independent laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, as well as Rawlings, had estimated that the change in bounciness would reduce the flight by an average of one to two feet on 375-foot fly balls.Though unacknowledged in the memo, this change could lead to fewer home runs over the course of the 162-game season. Also a slightly lighter ball could offset the decreased bounciness.M.L.B. told teams on Friday that, with the testing of the new ball complete, “we are comfortable that these baseballs meet all of our performance specifications and achieve the objective of re-centering the ball within the specification range.”The league said it would release more conclusions from the testing in the coming months.Also in the memo, M.L.B. said that five more teams had applied for and received permission to store balls in humidity-controlled environmental chambers (known as humidors) for the 2021 season. Five teams — the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Boston Red Sox, the Colorado Rockies, the Seattle Mariners and the Mets — used humidors during the 2020 season. A humidor can help combat the effects of a site’s lack of moisture, which makes balls fly farther.M.L.B. also said in the memo that it would begin employing on-site compliance officials for every 2021 game to ensure that teams were following league rules, including those regarding chain of custody of game balls and the application of mud used to help pitchers better grip a ball.The league has tried of late to better enforce its rule against pitchers’ using banned foreign substances like pine tar to improve their grip and the spin of the ball, which can result in more strikeouts.Tyler Kepnercontributed reporting.

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Baseball, Cuba, Deaths (Obituaries), ESPN, News and News Media, Pedro Gomez, Television
Pedro Gomez, a Pillar of Baseball Coverage for ESPN, Dies at 58


Pedro Gomez, a mainstay of ESPN’s coverage of Major League Baseball for much of the past two decades who went from the newspaper sports section to millions of television screens, died at his home in Phoenix on Sunday, ESPN and his family said. He was 58.No cause of death was given by the network, which announced Mr. Gomez’s death late on Sunday night.“We are shocked and saddened to learn that our friend and colleague Pedro Gomez has passed away,” James Pitaro, the chairman of ESPN and Sports Content, said in a statement. “Pedro was an elite journalist at the highest level, and his professional accomplishments are universally recognized. More importantly, Pedro was a kind, dear friend to us all. Our hearts are with Pedro’s family and all who love him at this extraordinarily difficult time.”Tributes to Mr. Gomez, a son of Cuban refugees, poured in from across journalism and professional sports, including from several baseball franchises. Mr. Gomez’s son Rio Gomez plays for the Salem Red Sox, a minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.“Devastating news about Pedro Gomez,” Jeremy Schaap, the veteran sports reporter and an ESPN colleague, said on Twitter. “Such a lovely, kindhearted, talented human being. So proud of his family.”Jason La Canfora, who covers the National Football League for CBS Sports, said on Twitter that he looked up to Mr. Gomez.“I was blessed to meet Pedro Gomez as a cub reporter in college, and further blessed to be able to call him a friend,” Mr. La Canfora wrote. “He represented the best of us, as journalists and human beings.”Mr. Gomez joined ESPN in April 2003 after spending 18 years as a baseball beat writer and columnist, including for The Miami Herald in his native South Florida, San Jose Mercury News, Sacramento Bee and Arizona Republic.During his career, he covered 25 World Series and 22 All-Star Games, according to an ESPN biography, which said he attended the University of Miami and majored in journalism.Mr. Gomez also chronicled some of the more sordid episodes of the national pastime. In 2007, there was Barry Bonds surpassing Hank Aaron’s home run record under a cloud of suspicion over steroid use. There was also the case of the Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman deflecting a foul ball during Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, which the then-Florida Marlins went on to win.In 2016, Mr. Gomez and his son Rio were profiled by ESPN for a Father’s Day feature. That same year, he traveled to Cuba to report on an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, the first time a Major League Baseball club visited there in about two decades.“Completely surreal to those of us Cubans and/or Cuban Americans,” Mr. Gomez said on Twitter at the time.During the trip, Mr. Gomez took his father’s and brother’s ashes back to his family’s homeland, ESPN recalled.Mr. Gomez was a member of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and a voting member for the Baseball Hall of Fame.In addition to his son Rio, he is survived by his wife, Sandra Gomez; another son, Dante; and a daughter, Sierra.

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Baseball, Bauer, Cohen, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, Steven A, Trevor
Trevor Bauer Picks Dodgers Over Mets


The Mets have had an eventful off-season under their new owner, Steve Cohen, adding one dynamic star, several other solid players and subtracting one disgraced general manager. But their hopes of strutting into spring training as the undisputed winners of the winter will not be fulfilled after their final chance at a big prize slipped away.Trevor Bauer, the best pitcher on the free agent market, turned down an offer from the Mets to sign with his hometown Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday in a deal that will give the Dodgers, the defending World Series champion, one of the deepest starting rotations in baseball.Bauer, a 30-year-old right-hander, confirmed his decision to join the Dodgers in an elaborately produced video posted to his YouTube channel. The video, set to dramatic music, teases New York fans by briefly flashing a Mets jersey with Bauer’s name stitched across it, then ends with a shot of him in a Dodgers uniform saying, “This season is about adding to our legacy, and I can’t wait, Dodger fans.”Multiple news reports said that the deal was for three years and $102 million guaranteed, and that it included an option for Bauer to opt out after each year. He will make $40 million in 2021 and $45 million in 2022, according to ESPN.Bauer had narrowed his search to a handful of teams this winter, but by Thursday only two remained, according to Bauer’s agent, Rachel Luba. Those were believed to be the Mets and the Dodgers, and expectations among Mets fans soared. But like George Springer, the free-agent outfielder who signed last month with the Toronto Blue Jays instead of the Mets, Bauer decided to go elsewhere.Bauer, the National League Cy Young Award Winner in 2020, will join a Dodgers pitching rotation that includes Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Tony Gonsolin, David Price (who opted out of last season because of coronavirus concerns), Julio Urias and Trevor May.The Dodgers’ pitching staff, including relievers, led Major League Baseball in team earned run average over the last two years, recording a 3.02 last season. Los Angeles has led the National League in E.R.A. for four years running.Bauer went 5-4 with a 1.73 E.R.A. for the Cincinnati Reds in last year’s pandemic-shortened season. He was the only pitcher in M.L.B. with two shutouts.Using a scientific approach that relies heavily on data analysis and high-tech instruments that measure every aspect of his windup and delivery, Bauer is a student of pitching — constantly analyzing and adjusting virtually everything he does on the mound.It is not a new passion: In high school in California, Bauer played chess with his physics teacher at lunch; whenever their games ended quickly, Bauer and the teacher would discuss the physics of baseball. As a major leaguer, he has been open about his willingness to share his evolving knowledge with teammates and opponents alike.In nine seasons over all, including five in Cleveland, Bauer has compiled a 75-64 record with a 3.90 E.R.A. At the same time, he has gained a reputation as one of baseball’s most outspoken players, someone who would banter with strangers on Twitter but also vigorously defend the game against critics who bemoan the growing focus on strikeouts, home runs and walks.At times, his outspoken nature made headlines, on topics ranging from his views on President Barack Obama and President Donald J. Trump, his rejection of the idea that human activity can influence climate change, and his frustration with what he considers the “liberal slanted” news media.Two years ago, he engaged in a contentious exchange with a female college student that resulted in several of Bauer’s followers attacking the woman online. Bauer later issued a statement saying he would “wield the responsibility of my platform” with more care in the future. He is one of the few players to employ a woman as his agent, and he has contributed to women’s charities, including one that supports female software coders.Even without landing Bauer, the Mets had an off-season that was quite productive. In January they acquired Francisco Lindor, one of the best shortstops in baseball, in a trade with Cleveland that also yielded the starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco.The Mets also signed James McCann, a top catcher with the Chicago White Sox, to a four-year contract worth approximately $40 million, and added the free-agent pitchers Trevor May and Aaron Loup to provide bullpen depth. Most recently, they traded for Joey Lucchesi, a left-handed pitcher who was with the San Diego Padres.And there are still several free-agent starting pitchers on the market, including Jake Odorizzi, James Paxton, Jake Arrieta and Gio Gonzalez. The Mets could also try to trade for a starter. Any of those options would require far less money than signing Bauer, potentially leaving the Mets enough cash to add another position player. They have been linked to discussions about the free-agent outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr., a defensive specialist with limited offensive production.

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