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2020 General MLB off-season


Mo Horn

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Our first dumb injury of the new season. 

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Cubs left-hander Jose Quintana underwent surgery on his left thumb, the team announced today. According to the team’s press release, Quintana suffered a laceration on his left thumb last week while washing dishes at home. The cut required five stitches, and Quintana ultimately required microscopic surgery to “further determine the extent of his injury.”

“The procedure identified a lacerated digital sensory nerve in his left thumb,” according to the Cubs. Quintana will be shut down from throwing for two weeks, and the team will make a further determination on his timetable for a return at that point.

It now seems likely that the ultra-durable Quintana will open the season on the injured list. Remarkably, that’d be the first IL stint ever for Quintana, who has averaged 32 starts and 193 innings per season since becoming a full-time starter in the Majors.

Quintana, 31, would’ve headed into the season hoping for a rebound campaign of sorts after struggling to a career-worst 4.68 ERA last season. The lefty was perhaps hampered, to an extent, by a .326 average on balls in play (career .304 BABIP) and even more so by a career-low 65.9 percent strand rate, which resulted in a more optimistic 3.80 FIP. That said, Quintana has turned in three straight years of an ERA north of 4.00, so a return to his 2013-16 form might not be realistic to expect, either.

 

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38 minutes ago, Helobious said:

No one in any other sport, or in any other realm of life, injures themselves the way baseball players do. I don’t get it. I’m reminded of whatever guy landed on the DL a few years ago because he pulled his oblique while sneezing.

I’m sure a lot of guys have had this happen

Sosa is the one I always remember though

Steve Sparks shoulder dislocation via trying to tear a phone book is the one that’s always at the top of my list

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38 minutes ago, henrygandorf said:

didn't somebody cut their hand open a while back opening a cd case or some shit?  probably was over 10 years ago, i mean, cd's.

if i'm remembering it right, brian anderson (the pitcher) had several weirdo injuries.

Adam Eaton - stabbed himself in the stomach trying to open a DVD

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29 minutes ago, Beau Vine said:

I assume you posted this because the Rangers were listed as the most popular baseball team in Texas. Good try but, in recent years, the Astros have  had significantly higher attendance,  TV ratings and merchandise sales. You’re welcome to justify this choice if you can   

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19 minutes ago, TonyTexas said:

I assume you posted this because the Rangers were listed as the most popular baseball team in Texas. Good try but, in recent years, the Astros have  had significantly higher attendance,  TV ratings and merchandise sales. You’re welcome to justify this choice if you can   

I read it on the Internet, so it must be true.  theactivetimes.com is an unimpeachable source of true facts.

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3 hours ago, Helobious said:

No one in any other sport, or in any other realm of life, injures themselves the way baseball players do. I don’t get it. I’m reminded of whatever guy landed on the DL a few years ago because he pulled his oblique while sneezing.

I'm looking forward* to how this guy manages to hurt himself this season:

Astros insider: Carlos Correa, a brutal slide and the rules ...

*not looking forward to it at all, as it gets stupider every season.

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10 hours ago, Helobious said:

No one in any other sport, or in any other realm of life, injures themselves the way baseball players do. I don’t get it. I’m reminded of whatever guy landed on the DL a few years ago because he pulled his oblique while sneezing.

My favorite was Zumaya’s Guitar Hero injury during the ‘06 ALCS.  

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Prohibition baseball: Inside the biggest All-Star Game no one watched

By Brittany Ghiroli Jul 2, 2020 130 

Luke Jackson had nowhere to throw when baseball shut down. So, the Atlanta Braves right-hander got desperate, watched some YouTube videos, and built a makeshift mound. He was throwing alone in his driveway in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. when he got the fateful text.

“Hey, if you ever need to throw live,” said Eric Cressey, who Jackson has known and trained with since 2011, “we are having a small group of guys here.”

Jackson immediately hopped in the car and drove to Palm Beach, which houses one of two Cressey Sports Performance gyms. With most of the country shut down, it was a quick 90-minute commute. Jackson wasn’t sure what to expect. What he found was a who’s who of Major League stars.

A group that included Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton and more than 30 other big leaguers had quietly been working together – from a safe distance. They formed a secret baseball group while playing at Palm Beach Gardens High School.

There were no known cases of the virus among players at Cressey’s gyms.

“The health and safety part was hard. We had to have really small groups, use all 10,000 square feet of the facility,” Cressey said. “But the security aspect of it was probably even more challenging, to be discreet and give these guys an element of privacy. Guys were saying it was like ‘Fight Club’ or Prohibition baseball.”

“If people knew what we were doing, we would have had 10,000 people at Palm Beach Gardens High School to watch us.”

The group started organically. With the abrupt end to spring training and uncertainty about a possible restart, a lot of players already in the Jupiter/Palm Beach area stuck around. As COVID-19 became more of a long-term concern, guys who lived in Florida year-round let Arizona rentals lapse and returned home.

Logan Morrison, who signed with the Milwaukee Brewers this winter, hadn’t seen live pitching for six weeks when he got to Cressey’s. Then he faced Kluber and Scherzer back-to-back days.

Verlander approached Morrison on another. Would he mind standing in and giving him feedback on his slider? Verlander was still searching for the feel.

“I get goosebumps just talking about it,” Morrison said. “When someone asks you to help them out with something, and you’re thinking they’re on another level from you. It’s pretty cool. At the end of the day, everyone wants to beat everybody, but they want to beat you at your best. So guys were helping each other out.”

It was the best of both worlds: a talented group of big leaguers in a setting where the outcome didn’t matter.

“How often do you get competitive at-bats with feedback?” Orioles reliever Richard Bleier said. “Goldy told me stuff I never thought of before, and I’ve been pitching for 13 years. That’s stuff you can’t get throwing bullpens.”

Goldschmidt played first base in both of the nine-inning games Cressey and his wife, Anna, organized in the final week of June. The first one at Palm Beach Gardens High School was started by New York Mets teammates Rob Gsellman and Michael Wacha. There were rules for safety, including no sliding and distancing as much as possible. But it was no boring spring showdown. There were pitching battles, several home runs and plenty of good-natured trash talking. The group went through 56 balls in that first game, giving Cressey a crash-course on baseball expenses.

“Most of these big-league guys are used to throwing with brand new pearls every time, and you are looking at 200 bucks a dozen,” he said, laughing. “Every foul ball, it stings a little bit.”

Cressey, who was hired this winter by the Yankees to oversee their training and strength/conditioning departments, said there wasn’t much talk about keeping everything quiet. Guys understood when catch sessions morphed into live bullpens and games. But it doesn’t mean they didn’t give him a hard time for it.

Bleier kept begging for things to go on YouTube, even showing one of his live BP sessions during a takeover of the Orioles Instagram. Thank God, he was teased, no one paid attention to Bleier’s social media efforts.

Still, his instincts weren’t wrong. Imagine a game of big leaguers mic’ed up, in a casual setting? At a time when much of the country was under lockdown?

“You want to see Scherzer and Goldschmidt or Stanton go head-to-head?” Jackson said. “And hear them go back and forth? People are going to pay to go to a high school field for that.”

When Jackson first got there, he was stunned. Not only were all these big leaguers cycling in and out, but there were also another 30 to 40 minor leaguers — even some new draftees – spread out and working in small groups. Cressey, along with pitching coordinators Brian Kaplan and Mark Lowy and on-field coordinator Max Rios, communicated daily with town officials to make sure they were following the proper protocols. Bullpen schedules were organized in waves by service time. There would be guys who had five to six years in the big leagues throwing ninth.

There are “just guys” and then there are “full-on dudes,” as Cressey puts it. And they had a team full of dudes.

“We had a real roster that could beat other pro teams. It’s like, so for the All-Star Game this year, we are just going back to Cressey’s?” Jackson said, laughing. “I would live there if I could.”

As the labor fight between the league and players raged on, the group camaraderie grew even stronger. Morrison estimates it was a mix of about eight percent COVID-19 and 92 percent the owners that united the group. Scherzer, a union rep, would often field questions while throwing. The Nationals ace, who had his own personal quarantine catcher in Baltimore’s Bryan Holaday, was a frequent fixture in the live batting practices but didn’t pitch in either of the final week games.

“I didn’t get out there as much as I’d like,” said Scherzer, who is well known for his mammoth early-spring bullpens and work ethic. “This is what you have to do when you’re trying to stay as sharp as possible while we were waiting for baseball to start.”

One early morning, Bleier saw Scherzer and Verlander throwing next to each other and thought, “That’s a lot of money on those mounds.”

Jackson’s first live batter was Goldschmidt, who homered off him during a National League Division Series that ended the Braves season. Remembering the moment this week, he feigns disgust for a second, then laughs.

One day, the bizarreness finally hit Cressey. There was NFL punter Matt Bosher kicking on the 80-yard turf, over Verlander’s head. Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett was throwing routes, while Scherzer was doing some live BP in the corner. Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard had already been in and out doing rehab.

“I looked around and was like, is this for real, or is this some sports fantasy team?” Cressey said. “It’s hilarious. It was one of those things that came about by necessity.”

It’s the greatest live BPs and All-Star Game none of us will ever see. The one where a small group of wives attended and those who worked on the field adjacent to Cressey’s stayed to gawk. Groups under 50 outside in Florida were permitted, and there’s no question how fast the shiny aluminum would have disappeared from the bleacher seats if someone had leaked word to the public.

“If it was up to me, I’d be exploiting everyone there, but that’s why (Cressey has) got so many guys who trust him,” Bleier said. “He cares and it’s not ‘Oh, let’s put it out on Instagram.’”

Cressey has some video and may eventually create a highlight reel someday. He’s plenty busy, and still unsure. There were other concerns about streaming and promoting a sandlot-style game while MLB and the players association were in public, ugly negotiations.

“I think people were scared of the owners, they didn’t want it to rub the wrong way,” Morrison said. “My stance is, ‘Listen, they are the reason we are here in the first place’. We wanted to work this out earlier. This was their fault that we had to play on a high school field, so let’s fire up the cameras. That’s how I look at it.”

There is another point Morrison, who played in both of the Fight Club games, would like to drive across.

“Max Scherzer has $250 million dollars (seven years, $210 on Scherzer), Justin Verlander has how many millions of dollars and those guys are still out there grinding it out every day, seven days a week in the Florida sun. And it’s hot and humid as shit. It’s not always fun out there,” he said. “It’s because they really want to play and play well this year. Even when we weren’t allowed to play, we found a way.”

Kluber, Scherzer, Verlander, Stanton, Jackson, Morrison, Goldschmidt, Gsellman, Wacha, Syndergaard, Bleier, Holaday.

The big-league players part of the Palm Beach crew also included Josh James, Taylor Guerrieri, Brian Moran, Mike Brosseau, Ryan LaMarre, Steve Cishek, Nick Wittgren, Brad Hand, Zach Plesac, Anthony Swarzak, Monte Harrison, Isan Díaz, Jordan Holloway, Austin Voth, Kyle McGowin, Tyler Kinley and Kyle Barraclough. There were more free agents and non-roster guys. A.J. Ramos and Kevin Siegrist. Even now, Cressey isn’t sure if that’s a comprehensive list.

Triston McKenzie and Jesús Luzardo were there and started in the second game adjacent to Cressey’s gym. (The city of Palm Beach owns the field.) Cressey’s wife, Anna, threw out the first pitch, a well-deserved honor for someone who put in 18-hour days.

“We basically ran an organization for a few months,” Cressey said on the phone Tuesday, on the eve of the first day of baseball’s summer training.

Players have reported back to their respective home cities by now, many doing interviews for this story while they follow mandatory quarantine after a COVID-19 test.

Will it help? All the preparation, the work that went into baseball’s underground fight club? Scherzer thinks so.

‘The cool thing about baseball (is) you’re always trying to face the best, one on one,” he said. “I had to keep my feel for my pitches, to keep them all separate, now I can get into midseason form as quickly as possible in camp.”

There will be a natural ramping-up over three weeks, perhaps time for everyone else to catch up by Opening Day on July 23. There’s no telling what will happen in a 60-game season, but the Palm Beach crew likes their chances. And they’ve got one hell of a quarantine story.

“Where else were multiple Major Leaguers playing games?” Bleier asked. “We had check-ins with the Orioles, and I’d see other guys do like four ups and simulate (games) to nobody. I was throwing to All-Stars, getting feedback and then learning more by watching them play. It was unique, and I hope they figure out a way to continue it in some way next year.”

Whatever happens, the 2020 Fight Club will always be special. Plus, it may be the biggest crowd these guys play in front of all year.

“I was kinda nervous,” Bleier joked of his outing in the first game. ‘We had some parents there.”

 

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The only thing dumber than getting offended by a team name like that is getting offended when that team wants to change their name. Just let them change their name, who gives a shit. God forbid it tarnishes the long illustrious history of success that the Cleveland Indians have. Maybe it’s the least they could do after having the Native equivalent of Sambo as their primary logo for decades.

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2 hours ago, Helobious said:

The only thing dumber than getting offended by a team name like that is getting offended when that team wants to change their name. Just let them change their name, who gives a shit. God forbid it tarnishes the long illustrious history of success that the Cleveland Indians have. Maybe it’s the least they could do after having the Native equivalent of Sambo as their primary logo for decades.

100%

Also, if anyone needs to change their name, its the Texans.  Their play on the field tarnishes the name.  Sam Houston never blew a 24 point lead.  They need to change their name to the Oilers which is synonymous with blowing leads.

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On 7/3/2020 at 3:12 PM, Helobious said:

I made a joke last year or 2 years ago that Bleier had to be the most obscure athlete in pro sports. He was verified on Instagram at one point despite just 2000 followers or so. It was kind of sad. 

Well they aren’t Indians. 
 

just go back to the Cleveland spiders. 

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13 hours ago, Nope said:

Anybody know if he can still be added to the playoff roster?

You would hope things with the virus have started to settle by then.

I would think later in the year it would get worse with the weather cooling down, but don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about.

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On 7/4/2020 at 6:55 PM, Nope said:

Anybody know if he can still be added to the playoff roster?

You would hope things with the virus have started to settle by then.

Nope.  (Name checks out.)

According to the agreement, any player who "opts out" is 100% out for the entire season, including postseason.  Therefore, they can't change their mind once the decision is officially made. 

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1 hour ago, MC Fresh Breath said:

I saw that.  For Felix that might have been it.  Was semi-doubtful he was going to get on in a normal season wasn't it? 

I'm sure he went through a grueling offseason conditioning regimen to get in tip-top shape for this season.

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