STL sports chat with Ben Frederickson

STL sports chat with Ben Frederickson

Bring your Cardinals, Blues and St. Louis sports questions, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

    Greetings chatters, thanks for joining in for another Tuesday chat. We don't have games to talk about yet, but we certainly have lots of things to talk about regarding the talks that could attempt to bring games back. Imagine we will discuss that quite a bit here today. I'm game. Let's roll.
    What odds are you giving that advertisements will be allowed on the jerseys/uniforms (similar to European sporting leagues such as futball) themselves in the near future? I see it coming in the future but it may arrive sooner as a way to recoup some dollars. Unfortunately, I believe, once advertisement is allowed it's here to stay. Your thoughts on both the odds of this and your opinion of ads on uniforms please.
    I think it's just a matter of time. The idea of the Nike swoosh appearing on the front of baseball uniforms would have made people lose it not long ago. Well, they're here. And that won't be the end of it. Soccer is ahead of the curve in turning its players into billboards. I imagine every other sport will follow eventually. Perhaps not to that degree, but I do think a lot of things that were stiff-armed in the past, perhaps including this topic, could be more likely to arrive now as there is the cover of attempted recovery from the financial burden of the pandemic.
    The best STL sports moment of the past decade was the Blues winning the cup. The worst STL sports moment of the past decade was the Rams leaving St. Louis. What do you think will be the best and worst moment for STL sports in the 2020s decade do you think? My prediction for best moment is St. Louis will be hosting a World Baseball Classic final. The Worst moment will be St. Louis getting passed up for NBA expansion.
    I think the best moment will be the Blues winning another Stanley Cup. Their window remains open. I think they've got a good shot at winning it again if they find a way to salvage this season. It's a gloomy thing, predicting the worst thing that will happen. We are going to lose some beloved St. Louis sports figures in this decade, I imagine. That is going to be hard. The pandemic throwing a wrench in the wheels of the MLS expansion team would be a bummer as well, though I have no reason today to think that is going to happen. I wouldn't put NBA expansion anywhere on that list, though. In order to be passed over for something, you have to have a place in line. Neither St. Louis nor the NBA is presenting St. Louis as an expansion hopeful.
    what happens to the players and owners if season is canceled and they cant come to an agreement?
    Then it would go down as a lost season.
    The players would get the pay advance that was agreed upon on March 26, and a year of service time.
    The owners would eat big losses.
    Spring training would start up again next year.
    The landscape could look a lot different. Not all owners have as much liquidity to sustain a lost season. More successful teams might have to prop up less successful teams, or we could see some turnover in owners.
    I'm not all that optimistic that an 82-game season will be able to operate without the coronavirus stopping things somehow, someway but I do think we wills see owners and players agree it's best to try -- even if some players who are not on board decide to abstain.
    Games get everybody paid.
    I can't help but think the Battlehawks were the final pro football team that this city ever sees. Thoughts?
  • It certainly feels that way for now, though no one really saw the BattleHawks coming either. If another pro football league makes a run at it, it would have to have St. Louis high on its list of places to plant a flag in. Maybe that happens. I'm against St. Louis doing a single thing to encourage the NFL to return in any capacity, but if the league finds an owner who wants to come build his own stadium here and try to repair the wrong that was done, there would certainly be support for that project. I just don't see it happening.
    Could we ever see neutral site college football games at The Dome At America Center or Busch Stadium (or ideally an NFL stadium in St. Louis) or is that reserved for Atlanta, Dallas, and Orlando?
    As in a bowl game?
    I think Busch Stadium should host an annual game between Illinois and Mizzou.
    I think that would be awesome, and it's the kind of thing colleges should do more of to counteract declining attendance -- before coronavirus became a topic -- that is threatening to hurt the sport.
    More regional games of interest and natural rivalries will help attendance.
    I'm tired of seeing the college world bemoan disinterested fans when they trot out schedules that are unappealing. Far too often, schedules are built with a coach's record or win total in mind. Playing games people want to see should be the number one priority if attendance is a concern.
    Sorry, end rant.
    A bowl game would be cool. How about the Sportsmanship Bowl? It could fall in line with the St. Louis Sports Commission's Musial Awards for sportsmanship. Just one condition. It's not accepting .500 teams.
    The MLS twitter account seems to be more active now. Do you think we hear a team name soon and colors?
    Hey Matt, thanks for checking in. Again, I don't think you are going to see announcements on name and colors until after the city of St. Louis has completed its gradual exiting out of the coronavirus shutdown. That process doesn't START until May 18, so I think it will be a little while still.
    Do you like the idea of a 82 game season? Or should they try to fit more games in there? Maybe end the season later?
    Compared to normal? No. But it's better than nothing if they can pull it off. The number of games could be up for debate in the discussions that will take place between the owners and the players as they go back and forth over the proposal owners approved Monday. Players might push for more games no matter what pay structure they get, because the 50-50 split from revenue will rise with games, as would their prorated contract payments, which is the plan they prefer, the one they thought they agreed to on March 26. But if health is the top concern for players, and we should all understand why that is said to be the case, then more games might not be best. Every game offers a chance at exposure. Every game that is not the postseason, where revenue really surges, decreases to some degree the chance of this plan working until the postseason starts. Baseball is meant for the long haul of a season, but I would rather have a half-season than no season. I just hope it works.
    I am not sure of the connection between an universal DH and the shortened season. What is its purpose, other than to test it for future use? Does it use make the players safer? Not. It seems like advocates of the DH are using the pandemic to advance their cause.
    I agree with your point but, as you probably know, disagree with your opinion on the DH.
    Adopting the universal DH for the shortened 2020 season seems like nothing more than finding a convenient way to make the change that should have been made a long time ago, at a time when there won't be significant pubic resistance.
    It's never made sense for two leagues that are playing for the same prize to use such different rules, and there are competitive disadvantages, like the American League being a more appealing place for certain players because the option exists. The DH should either be abolished or universal, and it's not going to be abolished, so this is the right thing.
    But I agree that shrouding it in player safety seems like a reach.
    If anything, it makes sense now because of the regional restructuring of the schedule will feature regular games between AL and NL teams, meaning the absurdity of the difference in leagues was going to be very obvious if they tried to keep pretending it's not.
    Bowl game would be neat but I meant but meant an opening weekend game. Like how Alabama and Duke played in Atlanta for their first hand. Maybe have Notre Dame face Oklahoma or someone in St. Louis or would a nicer stadium be needed?
    Those games tend to be awarded to the biggest, newest stadiums around.
    I don't think St. Louis would be in the mix for that kind of game.
    Sean Doolittle of the Nats listed a bunch of concerns on the health side of this new proposal, including what happens if a player tests positive. It seems like that is as big of an issue with the players as the money. I am not sure of the optics of all the players, personnel being tested every day while millions are unable to get tested.
    He sure did, and I'm glad he gave us that view into what the players are discussing. It's also worth remembering that the crowd of players is much larger and much more diverse in opinions than the owners. That means that what Doolittle has on the top of his list of concerns is not the same as another player. I know there are some players who would have been playing already, if this was up to them. So, that's a large, differing group of voices that the MLBPA has to boil down to one stance. It's tough. 
    I think the owners sent a bad message to the players by leaking so many details about their proposal -- specifically the payment structure -- to the national media without any specifics about player safety and testing, etc. It either shows that they don't care that much, or that the plans are not yet made, or that they don't think the plans are that important. They are not the ones playing. I agree with you about the optics on testing. Sports leaders keep telling us there will be enough tests, but where are they? Another thing Doolittle mentioned: What about players with underlying conditions that make them more vulnerable to coronavirus? An example: Jordan Hicks is diabetic. That would seem to make him a lot more at risk than others. 
    Spring training at Busch? How would they do that, with only one field?
    The camp will likely be limited to whatever the active roster winds up being  -- some have suggested it could get up to 50 players, with 30 available each game. If there is a taxi squad of sorts, a pool of players that can join that group of 50 during the course of the season, I'm not sure where that group will train or wait. That's a good question. If the Cardinals do decide to do this at Busch, they will surely incorporate the visiting clubhouse as part of the encouraged attempt to distance players out as much as possible. Doing it in Florida would probably make more sense, considering there is more room. TBD on that. There has to be an accepted plan before that decision can be made.
    So, if/when the rosters are unfrozen and trades can happen, won't most teams be trying to dump salary? The rich teams could get richer and the poor teams, well, will be on the Triple A level in performance.
    Not necessarily. This shortened schedule is going to give some teams that would not normally have the chance to weather a 162-game season an increased chance of winning. The Rangers and the White Sox could win this World Series. Who would have thought that at this point a year ago? How trades are going to work is a huge unanswered question at this point. Is a player quarantined after a trade, for example. Lots of unanswered, valid questions at this point still.
    Not to make light of the coronavirus epidemic, but how crazy would it be if the Rams home opener at the new stadium has no fans in attendance (given the exorbitant costs to build it)?
  • The stadium would have to be finished first. 
    That's going to be a challenge if construction employees keep testing positive for coronavirus.
    Nothing but the sound of crickets coming from the NHL. That league's not coming back this year, is it?
    I would be careful correlating noise with confirmation that any league is coming back. Baseball is the story now because of the owners agreeing on their plan. The players still have to accept it. It could turn into an ugly fight. And then, on top of that, the virus doesn't agree to any plan. It has the potential to derail whatever owners and players agree on. It would be hard for me to imagine baseball moves toward starting games again and hockey doesn't try. I think there will be more steps forward. I do wonder if any of them have a chance of getting where they want to go before the virus intervenes. But there's too much money on the line for these leagues and their players not to try.
    Thoughts on the Stanford study showing only 0.7 percent of MLB employees tested positive (60 out of between 5400-5500)?
    The league stressed the study is not going to influence its decision making on a return, though I'm not sure why it wouldn't, or how it couldn't. You can read it multiple ways. One way is that the cancellation of spring training seemed to do a decent job of keeping the virus away from the MLB, which raises the question of how that might change if things ramp up. Another way is to look at the lack of serious symptoms described by the bulk of the MLB employees who had tested positive, which backs up the thinking that baseball players in the prime of their career -- who don't have underlying health issues -- are not at as great of a risk of serious health danger from coronavirus as other parts of the population, like the elderly.
    With the Enterprise owners also majority owners of the new STL MLS team, and like other businesses, they furloughed 100,000 employees. I know sport is second fiddle to employment but does the company doing this cause major concern for the expansion team?
    It's a fair question that could be asked of any sports ownership group that got its sports ownership capital from a business that is taking a coronavirus-related hit. That's pretty much every business at this point, unless there's a sports-owning mask producer I don't know about. I've heard nothing that suggest there is reason to worry about the MLS4TheLou ownership group's finances.
    Could you please explain how much the players stand to lose in a revenue sharing arrangement compared to a pro-rated per game payment plan? Is it the precedent being set that the players oppose or the basic dollars and cents pay out? I am good at creating money but my lawyers usually handle these things.
    It would be nice to see it in such black-and-white figures, but we can't because MLB owners do not open up their books completely. They share certain things with the players' association, but the players' association can't share those things with the public. So, we only get bits and pieces of local revenues. In general, players have pushed back against revenue sharing because it leads to a salary-cap system, and they don't want their salaries capped. In recent years, not sharing the revenue has been better for owners because they've had revenue wins on things like the selling of teams and massive TV contracts, along with the launch of MLB advanced media. Players don't want a cap, and they don't want to be invited into revenue sharing when they know revenue is going to take a hit, and they know whatever agreement they make now will influence the next round of CBA negotiations after the 2021 season. An exception to the revenue split is the postseason. Player contracts are paid for regular seasons, and they get revenue shares in the postseason. Hope that clears things up.
    I have a crazy idea

    The Blues play half their games in Kansas City and the Chiefs play half their games in St. Louis. Playoffs would be tricky. It’ll never happen but do you think both cities and both franchises would be okay with it?
  • No, I think those franchises want to play in their cities.
    Why can't writers like Derrick Goold understand steroids are obviously part of major league baseball and excluding players like Barry Bonds from the HOF is "the lamest thing ever"? I feel like I'm going to vomit every time I hear Goold talk about the HOF like it's about "integrity" and not baseball. He's so far off it's embarrassing.
    Derrick chats most Mondays. 
    Feel free to ask him.
    If you're asking me, I would say that some of the dumbest decisions -- and I can speak from experience here -- are made under the everybody's-doing-it argument.
    Ask clean players who had to compete with steroid winners, or miss the Hall of Fame because of them, how they feel about it and your opinion might gain some nuance.
    60 days since the Cardinals last played a game. Does it feel like 60 days? I can't tell anymore.
    But who's counting? Oh, everyone. Right.
Powered by ScribbleLive Content Marketing Software Platform