Baseball America's April cover reflects nation's somber mood in COVID-19 crisis


First, hoping that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. Hang in there during this difficult time!
If you are looking for content, here's a story idea relating to COVID-19 and baseball; we have two interviews available via telephone, skype, zoom, for print, on line, podcasts, social media, and other platforms... 
At a time that the baseball season, a harbinger of spring, would just be underway, now the Coronavirus crisis has the United States and countries around the globe reeling, and that of course includes the world of sports. MiLB owner and a native Long Islander and Mets fan GARY GREEN (Omaha Storm Chasers, Richmond Flying Squirrels and Montgomery Biscuits), Baseball America Managing Partner, and USL Soccer team owner, and Baseball America Editor & Publisher B.J. SCHECTER are available to discuss the economic impact on individual players, cities and franchises, as well as the compelling cover of the April issue: (the image of a lone baseball  on a field reflecting the somber tone of America) full details below: 
Warm regards, and stay safe, John Cirillo, 914-260-7436
Gary Green quotes in red transcribed from interview with FOX 5’s Tina Cervasio on SportsXtra, Sunday, March 29, 2020
·       MiLB teams in jeopardy of folding if postponement of seasons continue over an extended period of time ”Absolutely not (in danger of folding)! Minor league baseball is strong, minor league baseball is not going anywhere. We will be fine as an industry…It’s difficult, it couldn’t have come at a worse time, as we ramped up with staff and overhead; However the legislation that came last Friday, especially the payroll protection act will really help big time.”

 ·       Many MLB teams are paying their minor league players: ” I was very happy to hear that, but I was unhappy that MLB was cutting the draft from 20 rounds to 5 rounds; that crushes the dreams of 15 rounds of players.”

·       MiLB baseball is essential to economy of those cities throughout America in a variety of ways

·       Baseball America’s Love of the Game program plans to expand digitally to solicit pictures, stories and videos of players on all levels, possibly even elite high school players

·       How can players on all levels stay in shape while at the same time keeping social distancing

·       What can Baseball on every level do to provide the distraction until we come back to normalcy?

·        BASEBALL AMERICA APRIL COVER: For the April issue of Baseball America, normally its minor league preview, Baseball America decided to go with a powerful image of a baseball sitting on a field with no text except the BA banner. It’s the first time BA has ever run a cover without any type. A beautiful cover with two of the Dodgers’ top prospects was originally planned but then scrapped when baseball was suspended because of the coronavirus. The new cover reflects the somber tone of the nation and gives the message of baseball standing still with an arresting photo. ”This was our publisher BJ Schecter’s idea…We ‘ripped up’ our (original preview) cover…Opening day for baseball is such a ceremonial day; there is no better opening day in sports in this country than baseball, and we wanted to match the feelings that the industry and our fans were feeling.”

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Mack – FWIW – Coronavirus Edition - Daily Thoughts 3-31


7pm tonight on ESPN – 9-21-2001 game pitting the Mets and the Braves. First game back after 9-11 and the game that Mike Piazza made us all smile again.

Most of you know who John Sickles is. He is the guy that used to publish those great Top 30 prospect lists for SB Nation. He’s now a writer for The Athletic and is a Facebook friend of yours truly.

John is currently suffering from ‘flu like symptoms’ but has yet to be tested.

He posted on Twitter yesterday that:

            John Sickels  @MinorLeagueBall

That's exactly what I think. We will be very lucky if we have an attenuated 60-game season played in empty stadiums in August and Sept.  I doubt the minors resume at all this year and Covid may do for the minors what Manfred was wanting to do.

It was so bittersweet seeing that beautiful hospital ship dock in New York Harbor yesterday afternoon. And then they show pictures of tents in Central Park. 

This is my home you are screwing around with.

A question asked of  Dan Szymborski -

Grand Admiral Braun: Maybe a better question for Jay Jaffe, but do you feel that if a player was essentially one of the best 3 players in the sport for a half a decade, does it sound Hall of Fame-worthy? Seems like that could still encourage “large-Hall” thinking. Thinking about Andre Dawson, Dale Murphy, etc.

Dan Szymborski: I think you can argue that

I’d probably have voted for both Dawson and Murphy. But I’m also more willing to vote on peak value than the vast majority of the voters today.

 See Johan Santana.

I would have cast a vote for Santana.

An addition to yesterday’s reported agreement in baseball:

            Kendall Rogers and Shooter Hunt Retweeted a Tweet from Aaron Fitt

Important distinction here: the extra year of eligibility is guaranteed, but the roster spot is not. A lot of players are going to have to find some other school to take advantage of those extra years. And that’s OK. A roster crunch was unavoidable.

Shooter Hunt - Still a LOT of questions to be answered and schools apparently not “forced” to keep players, but my understanding is that the year of eligibility is guaranteed.

Matt Klentak: is it more likely we see a shortened season or no baseball till 2021

Jay Jaffe: I still think it’s more likely that we see a shortened season than none at all. It may be an oddly shaped one in terms of the possibility of starting with empty stadiums, neutral site postseason stuff with an expanded field, maybe even seven-inning doubleheaders (but I doubt that), but last week’s agreement between the league and the union, and the comments by Tony Clark, made it clear that MLB wants to do *something* rather than nothing, even if things get weird. I’m going to retain hope, and I think you all should as well. After all, it’s still only March 30, not July. 

Hardball Times shut down due to the coronavirus. Here’s part of their statement:

Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a situation where continuing to publish THT, at least for now, is impossible. The suspension of the baseball season, while undeniably the right thing to do for public health, has resulted in a significant decline in traffic to us, a baseball-related site. I hope that sometime in the not-so-distant future we’ll be able to return to publishing insightful, unique baseball commentary and analysis. At the moment, though, we have to close our virtual doors.

And so it begins…

          Nicole Auerbach  @NicoleAuerbach

Source tells @TheAthleticCFB that the NCAA Division I Council has approved blanket waiver for all spring-sport athletes to get an extra year of eligibility. Schools will be able to offer less (or zero) aid or match what they provided this year. Up to each school for each athlete.


Tony Plate - Mets Still looking For New Owner


Team representatives are still seeking purchasers as the Mets ate still looking for a new owner. When the club broke off its deal two months ago with Steve Cohen the current Wilpon ownership group would’ve retained operational control for a five-year period under that arrangement. The team is now offering an arrangement with nothing like that attached.
The Mets are sticking to their $2.6 billion asking price in an effort to find an interested taker. It will take time before they can find a taker especially at the current time with the economic downturn therefore the Met ownership would have to show much patience for a deal to be made. Also, they may have to go down on the price if they want to find a taker.
I still commend Major League Baseball that decided to concur with a Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that all gatherings of fifty people or more be canceled. The president extended social distancing to April 30th

You have to take the correct precautionary measures to assure the safety of everyone. It is better to be safe than sorry.  
As to when New York will open up for business remains to be seen. If things go right the plan for the regular season to begin is June. There is a possibility that some of the fans might not come back once the season finally gets underway which will add to the financial crisis of the teams. We’ll see what happens. Only time will tell.
It was good to see that Noah Syndergaard’s Tommy John surgery was a success. The timetable for his return is April of 2021 which means he will be expected to pitch most of next season; therefore he’ll probably be non-tendered, barring a setback.
The Mets will be left with only one year of club control remaining over him. He is owed a $9.7 million salary after avoiding arbitration. And he’ll command the same salary for 2021 at the same rate due to injury. He will become a free agent upon conclusion of the 2021 season.

The injury could open up a role for David Peterson later this season. Luis Rojas called him the team’s seventh starter early in spring training and he may have a greater chance to reach the Major leagues in 2020. He will begin the season with Syracuse. Corey Oswalt is another pitcher that could be counted on as an alternative as well.


Tom Brennan: I Wish Mets Had a Catcher Like Hobie


I love a good gag, most times.

But when I look at the production of Mets backup catchers in the past few years, in a different way, I gag a lot.

By the numbers:

2019: Nido, Rivera, and d'Arnaud - 32 for 175 (.183)

2018: Mesoraco, Nido, Lobaton and d'Arnaud - 69 for 351 (.197)

Sub-Mendoza two straight seasons!

Think a just little further back...Anthony Recker?  

He hit .190 in 140 games as a Met between 2013 and 2015, in 389 at bats.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was a Mets back up catcher option the caliber of, say a....


We at Macks Mets have had a frequent reader and valued contributor who uses the Hobie handle.  

He is not Hobie Landrith, who is now 90 years old, but it got me thinking:

Would Hobie Landrith, transported to today, have been a superior back up catcher?  

Well, maybe you don't know about Hobie.

Here's some scoop:

Hobie played in 772 games over 14 seasons in the majors between 1950 and 1963, retiring at age 33.  He broke 100 games just twice, and had 4 seasons of between 70 and 83 games.  So he was a back up catcher, production-wise, more often than not.

The 5'10", 170 Landrith played just 23 games for the Mets, in historic and (corona virus-free)1962, and while the team went 40-120, he went .289/.389/.422 in his brief Mets stint.  He was sold to the Orioles in June 1962 after the Mets had lost their 17th straight game.

Amazingly, he was the Mets' first pick in the 1961 expansion draft.

Over his whole career, he was .233/.320/.327 in 2,228 PAs.

I'd take .233/.320/.327 from my Mets back up catcher, especially, if he could be solid defensively, wouldn't you, considering what the Mets have gotten out of the back up catcher spot in recent years?

Well, Hobie threw out 40% of would-be base stealers in his career, so you can check of that box too, and he was a solid .983 fielding percentage catcher.

So, would I take him in his "prime" as a back up Mets catcher?  In a heart beat.

Lastly, Wikipedia had this note regarding his best moment as a Met, which I thought you would enjoy:

Landrith's only home run as a Met came at a prime moment on May 12. He was set to pinch hit in the bottom of the 9th inning with the Mets down 2-1 against the Milwaukee Braves and all-time pitching great Warren Spahn

When Landrith reached the batter's box, Stengel called time out, going to the batter's box and whispering something in Landrith's ear. On the first pitch, Landrith hit a game-winning two-run home run. 

After the game, Stengel remarked, "I told him to hit a home run." 

In typical Mets form for the inaugural season, the win was almost voided when Rod Kanehl, pinch runner for Gil Hodges, failed to touch third base after the home run. Third base coach Solly Hemus gave Landrith a sign to slow down, then escorted Kanehl back to third base. If Landrith touched third base before Kanehl, Rod would have been called out and the Braves would have gained a win on a walk-off home run by the opposing team.

I can almost hear it: HO-BIE, HO-BIE, HO-BIE, HO-BIE!

John From Albany – Mets Breakfast Links 3/31/2020


Good morning.  Happy Birthday Ryan Cordell, Pete sticks up for Noah, Luis Rojas talks about what he is doing and Darryl Strawberry talks to A-Rod.

NY Post: Pete Alonso defends Noah Syndergaard after surgery causes coronavirus backlash. “The Mets first baseman took issue with a Sports Illustrated story examining if pitchers should be getting Tommy John surgery while the nation’s health care system is strained by the coronavirus pandemic. ‘Who is to judge someone’s medical needs in order to perform their job?’ Alonso tweeted Monday in response to the story. ‘Noah’s surgery, or any other athlete’s surgery during this time shouldn’t be scrutinized considering it is done by orthopedic surgeons, not those on the frontlines battling this pandemic.’”

ESPN: MLB managers on how they're helping team, family deal with pandemic.  Luis Rojas Mets – “We use an application that all large organizations are using, called Teamworks. There we send group messages and information to the entire groups, communicate in general terms, with the whole group. We are also constantly making calls and sending personal texts to keep in touch. Lately we have been using Zoom video calls.”

SNY.TV had more on this including how Rojas is in contact with Brodie Van Wagenen and the front office every day.  They also had this quote from Luis: "I do believe we are going to have a season this year," Rojas said. "I hope we will. But knowing the timeline right now is very difficult. We certainly know that what is happening right now is much bigger than the game. Now we are following protocols, following everything to the letter to overcome this. But our mentality is that we will play baseball this year, at some point."

NY Post: Florida coronavirus order could further delay MLB 2020 season. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday he’s going to sign a “Safer At Home” executive order for southeast Florida. The order, if it goes into effect, would last through mid-April.

Mets.com: Marcus Stroman gets work in pitching to Dominic Smith in street.

SNY.TV: Darryl Strawberry explains how Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter impacted his game with Mets and more with A-Rod.  On Alex Rodriguez’ Instagram Live Darryl told how Gary Carter worked with Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, and Doc Gooden, and how Keith Hernandez “taught us what it was like to play in big games and big situations."

ESPN:  The biggest one-hit wonders for every National League team. For the Mets it was Bernard Gilkey.  Stats: .317/.393/.562, 30 HRs, 117 RBIs, 8.1 WAR; Another notable the Atlanta Braves’ Buzz Capra.

Mets 360 had a Poll: What will be most important in a shortened MLB season? Starting Pitching, Relief Pitching, Depth, Other. Starting Pitching was in the lead at the time of this posting.

Metsmerized Online: Remembering Mets Prospect Brian Cole.

The Korea Herald: The South Korean baseball league is pondering shortening the 2020 regular season by as many as 36 games, with its start having been delayed by the coronavirus outbreak..with few, if any, signs that the virus has been tamed, the GMs on Tuesday discussed pushing the start date further back to May.

Baseball Mexico: The Mexican League is considering options for their 2020 schedule moving forward and the Mexican Pacific League's own 2020-21 season could potentially be affected. League president Horacio de la Vega said: "In the scenario in which we start on May 11, we'll plan to be playing 102 games per team and finishing at the start of the Pacific season, that is, around October 12 or 14..that is the current scenario."

Mack’s Blast From The Past comes from 3-31-10Mack – A kink in the Armour.

Born on this date:

New York Mets traded Ron Swoboda and Rich Hacker to the Montreal Expos for Don Hahn on March 31, 1971.

New York Mets signed free agent Ray Sadecki on March 31, 1977.

New York Mets traded Juan Berenguer to the Kansas City Royals for Marvell Wynne and John Skinner on March 31, 1981.

New York Mets traded Rusty Tillman to the San Diego Padres for Rick Lancellotti on March 31, 1985.

New York Mets traded Alan Zinter to the Detroit Tigers for Rico Brogna on March 31, 1994.

New York Mets traded Ryan Thompson and Reid Cornelius to the Cleveland Indians for Mark Clark on March 31, 1996.

New York Mets traded Tim Bogar to the Houston Astros for Luis Lopez on March 31, 1997.

New York Mets claimed Yorkis Perez on waivers from the Atlanta Braves on March 31, 1997.

New York Mets signed free agent Mike DiFelice on March 31, 2005.

New York Mets signed free agent Ricky Ledee on March 31, 2007.

New York Mets released Tony Armas on March 31, 2009.

New York Mets signed free agent Bobby Abreu on March 31, 2014.

The Mets trade hard-luck right-hander Anthony Young to the Cubs for shortstop Jose Vizcaino. A-Yo holds the major league record for the most consecutive losses by a pitcher.
In the longest scoreless opener in National League history, pinch-hitter Alberto Castillo's single with two outs and the bases loaded gives the Mets a 1-0, 14-inning victory over the Phillies. The most extended Opening Day game in major league history occurred in 1926 when the Senators blanked the Philadelphia A's in 15 innings, 1-0.

At Shea Stadium, the Mets Opening Day lineup includes the first regular starting double-play combination in major league history featuring natives from Puerto Rico. Second baseman Roberto Alomar and shortstop Rey Sanchez combine to make two twin killings as the Cubs drub New York, 15-2.

2001 - After 31 years in Three Rivers Stadium, the Pittsburgh Pirates move into their new $262 million home at PNC Park, losing to the New York Mets, 4 - 3, in an exhibition game. The 38,000 seat stadium is nestled at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers with a spectacular view of the city.

2010: With spring training coming to an end, the disabled list is getting crowded. Among those who will miss the beginning of the season are Mets SS Jose Reyes, who missed most of 2009 with injuries and joins teammates Daniel Murphy, Carlos Beltran and Kelvim Escobar on the list;

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