For sure eSports are a big deal. While that industry may not be ready to fill a lot of the TV time -- we have custom car auctions for that -- it may become the refuge for the restless sports fans. Given the advancement in quality of the gaming experience, a lot of younger people prefer them to watching real games. Will old-timers like myself end up down the same road?
That helped trigger it for sure. The NCAA was resisting the tidal wave of shutdowns and it was willing to go with empty venues as a work-around. But when Kansas and Duke tells NCAA leaders to sit up and and extend a paw, they sit up and extend a paw. The blue-blood programs run the Association, which also explains how they can get away with almost any rules violation.
That could still happen. There is a lot of love for Lane Thomas in the organization. He could be in play for Bader's spot as well. The truncated outfielder competition is probably the No. 1 drawback for the Cardinals losing the remainder of exhibition play. The situation remains unresolved. I noted in earlier chats that the outfield could remain fluid during the season and now the shorter spring training could contribute to that.
As I always note, Mike Shildt was not shy about sitting Matt Carpenter last season when he had a better option at third base for the biggest games. And I trust that he will do that again this season if he has better options for right field. Make no mistake, Shildt works very hard game to game to put his best team on the field.
I believe the Cardinals could pay the right guy more than $200 million. DeWitt has some reservation about paying gigantic money to pitchers, due to the obvious injury risk, but Flaherty will test that resistance. Pitching talents like him don't come along often. Drafting Flaherty was like drafting -- and actually signing -- a Max Scherzer or Stephen Strasburg. And it's not like franchise has a bunch of other guys due for huge dollars soon.
BTW, shout out to the NCAA for extending waivers to spring sports seniors who lost their season. They are collateral damage in this fight. Hopefully schools can make this work to let athletes finish their careers properly.
Yelich forced the Marlins' hand when he saw that the franchise went into full tank mode. And, yes, it was a bit surprising to see him extend with the Brewers at such team-friendly terms. But that is a solid baseball market and the Brewers have proven capable of punching above their weight in the past. He has had a better experience there than, say, Mike Trout in Anaheim.
At this point went you look at all the issues -- team travel, exposure to heavily trafficked areas like hotels, exposure to operational staff at stadiums, some proximity to opponents -- there may still be concerns about player safety.
We're a few weeks away from knowing how pervasive this virus really is in our country and several weeks after that to see how well social distancing is working and how helpful warmer weather can be. So it may take well into May for sports to consider its restart. All we can do now is take precautions now and keep adjusting as needed until the professionals get on top of this thing.
There would be a lot to consider -- length of preseason, roster size for the first few weeks (extra pitchers needed?), length of season, schedule construction, trade deadline and even playoff expansion if the regular season is dramatically cut. Once MLB believes that a restart is feasible, there will be a lot to decide in concert with the players association. For instance, if teams just pick up the original schedule at the date when play starts, there could be great disparity in schedule strengths (home/road splits, opponents, interleague play).
Good for them. The media members ride up and down the elevator at Enterprise Center with food workers and vendors on game day so we can appreciate how many people rely on these games to pay the bills.
OK, that's it for this week. We'll see you next time. Not sure we'll talk about, but we will think of something.