The Rundown: Battling Dog Days of Global Pandemic, Len Kasper Helps Aspiring Broadcaster, KBO Debuts on ESPN

Often in late spring training, or just after the trade deadline during the regular season, we go through a bit of baseball burnout commonly referred to as the “dog days.”

Like many others, I am currently in the dog days of ths pandemic. The lack of true live sports is starting to get the best of my mood, and isolation is negatively impacting my fight against liver disease. This is my ninth week of self-quarantine, and though I do get out of the house now and again, the inability to fully unsequester myself has me in a bit of a deep funk right now.

Social activity is a significant part of all of our lives. The deprivation of those daily interactions has me feeling a little lifeless these days, and for that I apologize. Clinging to the buoy that is social media is only making matters worse as partisan-leaning agendas, which obviously coalesce with the upcoming November elections, seem to ignite more fear and hatred than love and support.

It’s hard to be a fan of anything right now, much less baseball. And as much as Rob Manfred and Mitch McConnell want us to believe that the sport we love can lead the healing process of an entire nation, I am not so sure that’s the answer, and it could lead to dangerous implications.

The bottom line is we all have to work toward better solutions, especially when it comes to ramping up live sports. I want to see baseball played, but what I don’t want to see is for the game to start up and then be forced into another shutdown. Honestly, that’s my view of the world. I’m not so sure that baseball should lead us back to civilization, because if it fails, I don’t think I have the mental capacity to handle that type of defeat.

And that’s to say nothing of the resounding statement it will make about the failure to control COVD-19.

Cubs News & Notes

Find Your Inner Hero

Because of social distancing requirements, Callaghan McLaughlin, a 6-year-old from Saanich, British Columbia has been prevented from operating his lemonade stand. Because young minds often think of the simplest, yet more ingenious alternatives, he quickly changed his business model and now operates a neighborhood joke stand for passersby. Because of current economic difficulties for many, he cracks wise for free.

Here’s one for you: “What’s red, white and blue?” Wait for it. “A sad candy cane.”

I am fully on board with this kid as a future CEO.

Odds & Sods

Reaching legendary status in baseball doesn’t always mean doing the right thing. In 1974, Pirates starter Dock Ellis vowed to hit every batter that stepped into the box against him, and he almost made good on his promise (subscription to The Athletic required).

“Hey rook,” Ellis told outfielder Kurt Bevacqua during batting practice, “I bet you a Chateaubriand I don’t get out of the first inning when I face the Reds.”

That’s not the most fabled story about the retired Pittsburgh hurler, however.


MLB News & Notes

Former Twins infielder Trevor Plouffe, who has been out of baseball since 2018, fired off a tweet that got most baseball fans pretty excited that a reboot of the 2020 season would start with a second version of spring training in home baseball parks commencing June 2. It was refuted pretty quickly.

MLBPA chief Tony Clark would love to see some type of restart of the 2020 season begin as soon as possible, but not unless the health and safety of the players is the foundation of any plan.

KBO Baseball debuted on ESPN last night and, of course, social media went wild.

If you are interested in learning more about Korean professional baseball, this guide by Bleacher Report is a good starting point.

Bob Costas of MLB Network believes that a shortened season potentially played in empty stadiums is the perfect time to experiment with rules changes.

Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper put a troll in his place.

On Deck

On a personal note, my health is continuing to deteriorate. I have been dealing with swollen, painful fingers (actually all extremities), which makes typing difficult so please forgive me if I miss a day or two now and then. It is tough to get appointments because there have been a number of layoffs at the local hospital and a lot of the urgent care centers have been closed. But I’m hanging in there and appreciate the positive thoughts.

Extra Innings

Not the only reason they named an award after Cy Young, but he sure was a special pitcher, and 511 wins is a record that will never be broken. Young is baseball’s first GOAT.

They Said It

  • “I started having a crazy idea in the fourth inning that Richard Nixon was the home plate umpire, and once I thought I was pitching a baseball to Jimi Hendrix, who to me was holding a guitar and swinging it over the plate. I remember diving out of the way of a ball I thought was a line drive. I jumped, but the ball wasn’t hit hard and never reached me.” – Dock Ellis
  • “Put in a pitch clock with nobody on base, have computerized balls and strikes… short of running the bases clockwise, I think people would accept most anything. Tinker with the postseason format, go ahead! Throw everything against the wall and see what sticks.” – Bob Costas

Tuesday Walk Up Song

Touch of Grey by the Grateful Dead. We will get by, we will survive.

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