I think we can all agree that this Coronavirus Social Distancing thing sucks. The lack of any sports has me bored out of my mind and wife and I may have run out of things to talk about. Luckily I have Instagram and Twitter to keep my attention.
On the bright side, my honey-do list that my wife keeps moving from month to month on the calendar is getting shorter and shorter. I am also missing baseball very much. Not Just Phillies baseball, but all baseball. This past Saturday was supposed to be opening day for our local league. Seeing the fields empty when they should be packed with kids is depressing. My son, who agrees with me as he plays on three different teams, is missing baseball, but he is getting better at Fortnite. The silver lining I guess. His practices have been relegated to hitting balls into a net and catches with dad. Hitting balls into a net can only go so far as he wants to be like Big Al and hit dingers:
So where does this leave us with the Phillies? What is MLB’s plans for a season? What are the Phillies doing about J.T Realmuto? And is Bryce Harper designing the next Phillies uniform?
MLB’s Bold Plan to Start the Season
On the morning of April 7, ESPN reported on a possible plan for the start of the MLB season in May. This will be very different than what we have ever witnessed. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the season will begin in Arizona at the Diamondbacks’ Chase Field and ten other minor league parks. The games will be played in empty stadiums and if the MLB can adhere to the strict social distancing guidelines by the CDC, then the CDC, as well as the National Institute of Health, would approve of the plan.
How would it work? Well here are some of the ideas to promote social distancing: Players would sit in the stands at least six feet apart. The Robo Umps used in the minor leagues last year would be implemented to promote safe separation between the home plate umpire, catcher and batter. Mound visits between catchers and pitching coaches would be eliminated.
The proposals are unique and could work. When asked about it, Phillies Infielder Phil Gosselin said that playing in empty stadiums would be tough, but “baseball without fans is better than no baseball.” Amen Phil!
J.T. Realmuto’s Extension, Or Lack Thereof
I have not had the luxury with my job to be working from home. Governor Tom Wolf can’t shut me down. Therefore I have not been able to be as proactive on the Realmuto talks as I would like to. The fact is this deal should have been done weeks ago, however, talks have stalled.
A few months ago I wrote about my concern with Matt Klentak. I was mocked and called an idiot and stupid. You know, the type of people who just want to motivate me to elevate my writing. I get it that everything is shut down over this pandemic, however, if our children can adapt and learn online, there is no reason that Klentak isn’t getting this deal done remotely. My main fear is that the Phillies will try to go cheap and Realmuto will be elsewhere next season.
The two sides were not close to a deal. Realmuto is seeking a deal similar in AAV contract to what Joe Mauer signed with the Twins back in 2010 when he signed an eight-year $18 million deal. Mauer’s $23 million AAV is being used as Realmuto’s benchmark, not an unreasonable ask considering the contract was ten years ago. Pay the best catcher in baseball and move on!
Bryce Harper says the Phillies want to sign Realmuto. He told Jim Salisbury: “I think the Phillies organization absolutely loves J.T. and our team absolutely loves him as well. He’s the best catcher in baseball, a great person, and he’s a great family man. He’s a guy that we need in our clubhouse.”
Harper Keeping Busy
The Harper family has been great throughout this pandemic, having donated $500,000 to those in need. That’s amazing and another reason why he is loved in Philly. Harper issued a statement on Twitter:
Is Harper also designing the Phillies’ next uniform? Yesterday on Instagram, he suggested the Phillies needed an alternative home and road uniform. His suggestion is to make the red batting practice jersey part of the mix. Not a bad idea. I leave you with a fun picture depicting how we all feel right about now. Take care everyone, be safe and bring back baseball!
Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports