random hacks and pointless shenanigans

Last Week In Baseball (2020-08-10)

Three weeks into this strange season, and I’ve already failed at watching every single Red Sox game. So it goes.

Boston’s finally winning games! Sure, it’s only against the lower half of the AL East, but a win is a win!

In all seriousness, it’s hard not to see this as the start of an upswing. Facing the Yankees immediately after series against Toronto and Tampa doesn’t have me feeling super optimistic, but I’ll take the wins I can get, and maybe it’s the morale boost that’s necessary going into the rest of the season.

Three weeks in, and I’m actually coming around on the cardboard cutout fans. There’s clearly an easter egg hunt going on with some of them, and my only regret is that I lack the resources or connections to plant elaborate pranks around various stadiums. Since I don’t, here are some free suggestions:

  • Recreate the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover behind home plate.
  • Put the entire House of Representatives in the bleachers. Senators get box seats.
  • TV show casts are an obvious choice, but still a fun one. All 13 Doctors, anyone who’s ever had a line in an episode of Seinfeld, things of that nature. Use this list of shows with large ensemble casts as your inspiration.
  • Hall of Presidents. That’s it, that’s the tweet.
  • There haven’t been enough presidents to fill an entire section at most ballparks, but there definitely have been enough popes.

I usually talk about baseball’s mediocre response to COVID-19 in the last part of the post, but there honestly isn’t that much that’s new to talk about there. Sure, some more games have been postponed now that some Cardinals tested positive, but MLB isn’t yet making any changes to address the situation. Much like the coutnry itself, we’ve just settled into an uncomfortable status quo. Instead, I’m going to come for another sacred cow and talk shit about the NCAA. At the time of writing1, no P5 (and only one D-1A to my knowledge) conferences have announced that they’re cancelling the football season for the fall, although the Big Ten is rumoured to be doing so as soon as tomorrow. The ACC “intends” to play, and word has it that the SEC is continuing their plot for media domination by inviting schools whose conferences aren’t playing to participate. If I had to guess, I’d suspect that once B1G and another P5 conference cancels, the others will follow suit. Maybe the SEC is actually that foolhardy, though! We won’t know until it happens.

I don’t see a moral, ethical, or healthy way to have college students travelling around the country even just for in-conference games, though. It’s simply not possible, and baseball is currently proving it. This time, it’s going to be combined with the slowly-unfolding hell of university life. The issue of rights and leverage that NCAA athletes have, and the gross imbalance of power that exists between them and their school (and also against the NCAA itself!) is definitely one of the issues at play here, and my hunch is that the prospect of college athletes attempting to form some sort of organisation or union scares athletic directors and NCAA lawyers more than any virus does. I wish them well.

There should be a swear jar for judicial-related puns and wordplay regarding Aaron Judge.

See you next week.

  1. It’s 20:49 on Monday night. I’m eating a leftover pork chop and some tortellini.