Gonna be a bit of a smorgasbord today. That’s ok, not all of them are gross or a petri dish of foodborne illness. There’s a Polish buffet around here that would change your life. Anyway, to it…
MLB and the MLBPA were able to stop throwing beer cans at each other long enough to agree to updated safety and health protocols for the 2021 season. The silliness will also be back, in that there will be seven-inning double-headers again and the extra-innings rule of every half-inning starting with a runner on second.
The double-header rule is a nod to the growing reality that there will still be a lot of games to make up. In a normal season, double-headers are a rarity. Your favorite team might play two or three all season, choosing to rather gobble up shared off-days to make up games. Of which there will be more this time around than the 60-game sprint last year. But if postponements pile up, and there’s no reason to think they won’t, at least through the first half of the season, it’s probably just a matter of sanity to keep this change. With nearly a quarter of the NHL currently waylaid and the NBA having gone through their halts, it’s hard to see how MLB will get through without having to do something similar.
The extra-inning rule...it’s stupid but we might be stuck with it. It’s kind of fun to see how yet another league is just utterly terrified of ties. Even more scared than they are of 17-inning games that happen maybe three times in a season total.
Apparently, we’ll all go into locked-in syndrome if a baseball game ends without a winner, to the point we’ll be happier with a carnival game to settle things almost randomly, just like the NHL’s kindergarten recess of 3-on-3 OT and shootouts. It’s also pretty curious the lengths MLB will go to protect relievers, by far the most interchangeable and replaceable parts of any team. 17-inning games don’t make life any harder on any starter, who are under the real injury threat from the changes the past two seasons. No one wants to see relievers get hurt either, but there’s a reason clubs go through about 20 of them a season. They’re everywhere. But they can’t throw more than one inning (though now no less than three batters). They can’t throw three days in a row. And god help you if a manager has to use the entire pen in a game twice per season. And even when they did, back in the olden days of 2019, they would just call up two more guys the next day.
It was all happening in Columbus in the NHL last night. Top of the list was this goal from Jack Roslovic to give the Jackets a 3-2 win and send Brett Pesce’s tail to a multi-night residence between his legs.
It’s a good thing for the Jackets, too, because they already might have to start hoping Roslovic becomes a bigger part of the Pierre-Luc Dubois trade. That’s because it took King of The Redasses John Tortorella all of four games to tire of Patrik Laine’s jester act and nail his goofy ass to the bench. Laine played all of 11 minutes, none in the 3rd. Torts wasn’t talking after the game about the benching, leaving the world to guess.
Laine has had a decent start in Ohio, and was coming off a two-goal game. But if Torts is waiting for Laine to become a 200-foot dynamo, then he’s going to end up a very disappointed man. This is what Laine is. He waits around for chances to score like you wait around for a bus. Or maybe Torts is getting a head-start on chasing yet another star out of town. After all, Tortorella is getting older, and might not have time for the multi-year turning of a player’s soul cold this time around. Like an aging tennis player, he’s trying to end points earlier.
MLS was able to veer before going over the cliff, as it looks set to agree to a new CBA that will see training camps and the season start on-time. The deal extends the CBA to 2027, which is what the owners wanted, to get more time to assess the lay of the land after the North American-hosted World Cup of 2026. This really means they’ll get to bank added revenue from sponsorships and tickets thanks to rising interest after that tournament for a season and a half before having to share with the players.
The players will see no salary cuts in 2021, and lowering of free agency thresholds later in the deal, along with some other trinkets. It’s not a great deal for the players, but owners don’t lose lockouts, and whether the better landscape for the players comes in 2026 or 2027 doesn’t really matter to a lot of these guys, who either won’t be playing anymore or will have hoped to have moved on to Europe anyway.
But it’s always good when two sides decide to not go all Thelma and Louise together.