In baseball, 60 games falls squarely in the “small sample size” bucket. As such, we can expect some weirdness happening. Luke Mullins pulls out a few of the more prominent points of weirdness, such as the possibility of a long winning streak catapulting a team into contention, or a long losing streak tanking a successful team’s chances. There’s the possibility of avoiding bullpen attrition, the addition of the DH. Most intriguing, there’s the thought experiment of a Rockies pitcher winning a Cy Young.
Of course, there’s other ways this season will be weird. Four Braves players, including perennial MVP candidate Freddie Freeman, has tested positive and is on the COVID IL, along with a couple of Yankees like DJ LeMahieu. More players are opting out of the season like Dodgers starter David Price and former Mariners legend Felix Hernandez. Some big name players like Buster Posey and Mike Trout are still considering not playing. And while only 1.2% of tests MLB conducted this week came back positive, that was enough to make it clear that COVID-19 is still, at the very least, an ongoing disruption that needs to be taken seriously.
Today: Freddie Freeman and DJ LeMahieu announced as testing positive; Mike Matheny is first manager to say he had the virus; David Price opts out; Buster Posey joins Mike Trout in saying he isn't sure whether he'll play this season.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) July 4, 2020
Now that summer camp has opened and we have a season on the horizon, it’s easy to get excited about what’s to come. If/when the games come, it’ll be baseball! And that’ll be great! But in so many ways—some we can see clearly now and others that won’t be apparent until the season gets going—it will not be business as usual.
Nick Groke brings these questions into a Rockies-centered frame of reference in his new column. There are practical concerns—how will the lineup shake out?—and bigger picture concerns—will the safety protocols actually work?—that fall under Groke’s purview.
Trevor Story grew up in the Dallas area surrounded by people who did not look like him, especially on his baseball teams. So as a new season dawns amidst an almost unprecedented rise in conversations surrounding racial injustice in America, he wants to make positive contributions to that conversation. Story talks about how he has wanted to take a more active leadership role and how speaking up for friends and teammates like Ian Desmond or Josh Bell of the Pirates (or new teammate Matt Kemp) falls right in line with those efforts.
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