69 thoughts on “March 25, 2020: “Forgiveness, Please””

  1. My 12-year old has been blazing his way through The Simpsons on Disney+, he started with season 1 and is going in order. It's been a lot of fun watching some of it with him, it is crazy to think I was basically his age when watching them for the first time.

    If only he had the joy of seeing bootleg Simpsons merchandise everywhere, as well.

  2. I have reached the point where I need something of a distraction. Tell me why my hypothetical proposal is terrible.

    Hypothetical scenario: Suppose baseball can't resume until August.

    Hypothetical proposal:

    Premise: At that point, nothing could be done to make 2020 approximate a typical season, so do something completely intended to be a one-off, never-to-be-replicated event. There may be gimmicks, but it's going to be a really challenging landscape -- all forms of entertainment are going to be trying to make up for lost time, fans will have less disposable income than in recent years, and fans may even (understandably) be reluctant to head out full force into big crowds. On top of that, even if everything else was normal, they'd be going 1:1 with the NFL and college football, which in itself could be challenging given that usually they have a lot of narratives going by the beginning of football (pennant races, trade deadlines, prospects called up to expanded rosters, etc.)

    Drop AL/NL -- not for the usual reasons I cite for leaving them behind, but to further cement that 2020 is just different than every other year and we're not going to try to pretend it's normal. Home teams can decide at their own discretion if they want to use the DH.

    Then you can split the league into 5 regional groups -- call them groups and not conferences or divisions, because again this is different than any other year.

    Do two 4-game series per week -- at least one schedule double-header per week, and it might actually be better for the players to play 2 scheduled double-headers per week with a day off rather than one scheduled double-header and no days off.

    With six teams per group, over six weeks, you can play each team in one series at home and on the road. So after five weeks, teams have 40 games under their belt and you can crown group champions.

    The next part of the schedule is more complicated, but basically the idea is to as best as possible pit evenly-matched teams against each other. At this point each team can be designated with a group letter and a number from their group finish -- A1 through E6. We will form three overlapping supergroups from the original groups.

    Supergroup Alpha: #1, #2, and #3 seeds from each group
    Supergroup Beta: #2, #3, and #4 seeds from each group
    Supergroup Gamma: #3, #4, and #5 seeds from each group
    Supergroup Delta: #4, #5, and #6 seeds from each group

    Within each Supergroup, for each team there are 12 new teams that have not yet been played. Without enumerating all of the teams, suppose that roughly we have:

    Group A finish:
    1 - Minnesota
    2 - Milwaukee
    3 - Kansas City
    4 - White Sox
    5 - Cubs
    6 - St. Louis

    Supergroup Alpha will include Minnesota, Milwaukee, and KC, but those teams have already played each other, so those games carry forward into the Supergroup stage. So for Minnesota (A1), the rest of the schedule would go something like:

    A1 @ B1
    A1 vs. B2
    A1 @ B3
    A1 vs. C1
    A1 @ C2
    A1 vs. C3
    and so on working through D1, D2, D3, and E1, E2, E3, and the return legs.

    That gives 12 more weeks of games, which is potentially still too long of a season (you'd be in late November at that point, potentially having to move northern games to neutral sites or spring training locations.) But at that point, you'd have 14*4*2 = 112 games contributing to each team's Supergroup standing and the winner of Supergroup Alpha could be considered the winner of the "regular season."

    In December, you could do a 8-team elimination tournament at a neutral site (best of 5?), take the 5 group winners from way back in August (so the August group stage is extremely critical) and the top 3 teams from Supergroup Beta. I guess home-field advantage might be muted (though hitting second is generally advantageous anyway) but the supergroup results would be used to seed the tournament.

    If I'm poking holes in my own idea, I'd really just like to add two teams to the league and start off with 4 groups of 8 , followed by 7 supergroups of 12 teams (instead of 5 groups of 6 teams followed by 4 supergroups of 15 teams.) Then you'd have a 7-week initial group stage where the group winners qualify directly to the elimination tournament and the 5th and lower seeds are eliminated from contention. Then the supergroup stage would last 8 weeks, with the primary playoff implications being seeding for the #1 seeds and the top 4 teams in Supergroup Beta qualifying for the other 4 playoff spots, and ultimate bragging rights for the Supergroup Alpha winner as potentially the most legitimate claim to best team in the league baseball has ever seen.

    1. Next spring is WBC, so a late year going into an early spring is potential problem. Also, with dual-use stadiums you're going to run into conflicts. Also, FZ coronavirus FZ FZ taking it serious FZ.

      1. Does baseball have many dual-use stadiums/parks left? I can't think of any off the top of my head. Raiders are out of Oakland, Metrodome is long gone, Candlestick is history. I was thinking dual-use would be a bigger issue for most other sports. Baseball parks get booked out for concerts sometimes, but seemingly not as often as NBA/NHL arenas, and some NBA and NHL teams share (or you have the Lakers and Clippers sharing Staples Center.) Technically the Yankees share with NCYFC in MLS, but Yankees are going to win that priority battle every time.

        1. Wikipedia lists Rogers Centre as multipurpose. But, looks like the Blue Jays are the only active tenant now.

            1. Yep. Argonauts moved to BMO Field starting with the 2016 season. As you likely remember, the Bills were a short-term tenant around the beginning of that decade too.

          1. It really seems like baseball's biggest threats currently are something like:

            1) Pandemic
            2) Economic downturn
            3) Weather limiting the months in which they can play in their normal locations
            4) Players physically able to play only so many games per week
            5) Diminishing returns on fan interest for each additional game added per week

            And stadium availability would be below those on the list.

  3. Karl-Anthony Towns' parents both have COVID-19 and it does not sound good for his mother. Medically induced coma.

    Go to the Timberwolves feed on Twitter and watch Karl talk about it, or don't. Heartbreaking.

    1. Some folks have recovered after the medically induced comas. Not all, but some. These are truly dark times.

  4. We had a successful 5-way family Zoom video call last night (complete with green screen, which was pretty darn cool), and I found out about teddy bears in windows, which is a coronavirus thing now.

        1. My MiL did this. We were a little weirded out. But she also included her creepy old dolls, so...

    1. I will say, that was a damn solid presentation by the governor. My only critique would be he did not clarify if restaurants could still do take out and delivery.

      1. Agreed. He was clear about the threat and what he needs us to do, and realistic about what it means. All the while, stressing that we're doing a great job and that we're all in it together. Excellent address.

      2. Building off free, he tweeted out a graphic showing what is open and closed.

          1. No, but next week at this time, it'll be easier to get buy in on an extension than it would be to get people bought in on a longer period of time up front. As far as I can tell, a lot of these orders have stopped short of Easter, which potentially helps reduce initial backlash of "they can't just cancel my Easter plans".

            As opposed to China or Singapore, in the US, the government ultimately is asking for cooperation rather than demanding it -- yes on a small scale they can punish individuals for breaking an order like this, but if people disobey at scale, there is not much they can practically do to stop it.

            1. No, but next week at this time, it'll be easier to get buy in on an extension than it would be to get people bought in on a longer period of time up front

              Right. After 10 days of a modified lock down a new normal sets in.

        1. I spent a bunch of time today helping entities through this. I could pretty much make an exception for everyone I talk to based on the wide range of listed critical services and the way the same are described in general terms. My approach is to advise complying with the spirit of the law, in addition to the letter. I'm still waiting for some more guidance on certain types of establishment and limits of functions, as well as best practices for dealing with employment consequences. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to put some of that together.

            1. The fact that a person works alone does not put them on the critical services list, and I haven't seen any exemptions for people who work alone. That's one I had to explain more than a couple times. Even had one that was "but I work alone with just one other person." "Working alone together" definitely wasn't going to cut it.

  5. I don't think there's much interest in NASCAR here, but I enjoy watching from time to time and their broadcast last weekend of an iRacing version of that weekend's race was quite well done. They do have an advantage in that their simulated races are accurate enough that exceptional video game participants have actually transitioned into live racing at the highest levels (and since the cars obscure the humans inside, they don't have the optics problem of simulated people not looking too much like real people), but I still think that ESPN and all of the other broadcasters are completely missing the boat by not arranging something similar for other sports.

    Maybe they don't need to do an entire slate of games, but if TNT did a double-header on their normal broadcast nights, with live commentary from the normal commentators and the usual Inside the NBA coverage pre- and post-game, it would be fun. I think sports fans would tune into that just as a pleasant diversion. Fox and MLB Network could replace national broadcasts with virtual events and it wouldn't really be baseball, but it could be fun.

    Obviously there are more important problems to solve, but by and large I don't think those problems will be solved by anyone working for a television station and the more indoor entertainment which can be provided to keep people at home, the better.

    I suppose the counterpoint is -- and maybe I'm just easily entertained -- that I could keep myself entertained with existing content indefinitely without any new content, but it mostly wouldn't be sports content. Generally, I can't bring myself to get too interested in rebroadcasts of old games, though documentaries could be interesting, or if they took old MLB games and had retired players comment on them like alternate commentary on movies, that could be pretty great. Like I want to hear Randy Johnson's commentary on how he approached different hitters in the 2001 World Series, etc. That would be something unique that you'd never get with a live game broadcast.

    1. Marble racing has been a hit* for us. I think I'd watch esport baseball if it was on at the same time.

      * One child wants to watch it while the other ranges from interested to active disinterest.

    2. I haven't been into NASCAR since Dale died, but my dad said he watched a 1986 race at Richmond yesterday and found it quite enjoyable. I'm with you in that right now I'd rather focus on all the streaming stuff I haven't watched yet than watch classic games, but would maybe tune in if there were added content like you describe.

    3. How to simulate a NASCAR race:
      1. Dump a bag of Skittles into the toilet
      2. Squint your eyes
      3. Flush

    4. Major League Rugby is simulating the rest of their season on Twitch. Each MLR team got assigned a national team in Rugby 20 for XBOX and then players from each team are going head-to-head and they're streaming.

    5. I've been enjoying watching the old games on ESPN Classic. They've been showing games from the '70s and '80s, so I get a chance to see guys play whom I remember, but haven't seen for a long time.

    6. I’m pretty surprised rival teams’ bloggers haven’t teamed up to do an alternate track announcing of old MLB games. I’ve thought about returning to twitter after 7 years of being away to encourage it. I like the players revisiting the games idea as well!

      I should probably put those Twins World Series DVDs in...

      1. Bloggers are probably wary that they’ll put in the time to add commentary and then have it taken down immediately.

        1. Yeah. I feel like there's gotta be a way around it. Like "start the video, then start this audio." Technically I can't imagine that's illegal. Though maybe they couldn't say the player names? I guess legality doesn't matter, though. If MLB threatens, they'll have to take it down.

          Why do things have to be some complicated?

    1. 🙁 it's just going to get worse and worse

      One of my employees is in a coma. Don't think it's COVID; she's been struggling with a brand new heart condition at age 38 for three months now. But I wouldn't be surprised if she is exposed now. If she survives whatever this is.

  6. I just had the NOPD knock on my door asking for video footage from my house cam. Not an encouraging development.

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