MLBUA releases statement regarding Joe West’s COVID-19 comments — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

After umpire Joe West doubled down on some controversial comments about COVID-19, the MLB umpires’ union released a statement on Thursday.

MLBUA releases statement regarding Joe West’s COVID-19 comments — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

MLBUA releases statement regarding Joe West’s COVID-19 comments

By Bill BaerJul 9, 2020, 4:05 PM EDT5 Comments

The Major League Baseball Umpires Association (MLBUA) released a statement on Thursday, addressing recent comments made about COVID-19 by umpire Joe West. The statement reads:

“Recent public comments about the current Coronavirus pandemic do not in any way reflect the position of the Major League Baseball Umpires Association.

“Our nation, and the world, has suffered greatly from this deadly virus. In the midst of continued suffering umpires are attempting to do our part to bring the great game of baseball back onto the field and into the homes of fans everywhere.

“The MLBUA fully supports the health and safety protocols agreed to by MLB and the MLBPA, and we have agreed to make dramatic changes to our usual working conditions in an effort to navigate this unprecedented season.

“The health of everyone involved in making this season happen is of utmost importance to the MLBUA — ourselves and our families, team personnel and their families, MLB office personnel and their families, as well as countless other “behind the scenes” people that truly make the game what it is. It is an awesome responsibility and one we do not take lightly.

“Regardless of any umpire’s personal views, when we report for a resumed spring training and 2020 season, we will conduct ourselves as professionals and in accordance with the health and safety protocols.

“We look forward to being back on the field soon to play our small role in providing the healing power of baseball to the fans of this wonderful game.”

West, 67, said on Tuesday that while he is someone considered “high risk” during the pandemic, he plans to go to work. He also expressed skepticism about the coronavirus data, saying, “I don’t believe in my heart that all these deaths have been from the coronavirus.”

West doubled down on Thursday, telling Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY, “Those statistics aren’t accurate, I don’t care who’s counting them.” West also espoused a conspiracy theory, saying, “Our system is so messed up they have emptied hospitals because there’s no elective surgery. The government has been giving these hospitals extra money if someone dies of the coronavirus. So everybody that dies is because of coronavirus. I don’t care if you get hit by a car, it’s coronavirus.”

It’s good that the MLBUA disavowed West, even if it didn’t mention him by name. That being said, is that enough? If you’re a player, how comfortable will you be playing in a game in which West is working? Do you trust him to call out a player who licked his fingers or coughed into his hand before touching the baseball? Do you trust him not to get in your face when he feels you disrespected him by questioning a call?

In order for this whole thing to work, the players, coaches, umpires, and all other personnel need to have a certain level of trust in each other. Players who are high-risk, or who have high-risk family members, are relying on everyone else to make smart decisions. They’re trusting their teammates, et. al. to wear masks and socially distance, to not to go out to bars and restaurants, to faithfully wash their hands. All it takes is one slip-up for things to go sideways for a player and, thus, the game. This is not a simple difference of opinion; lives and livelihoods are on the line. West, with his dismissive comments, is not engendering any trust.

Follow @Baer_Bill

Nashville out of MLS tournament after 9 players test positive for coronavirus — Daily News

Nashville SC has withdrawn from Major League Soccer’s MLS is Back tournament in Florida after nine players tested positive for the coronavirus, the league announced Thursday. Nashville is the second team to withdraw from the tournament. FC Dallas had to pull out after 10 players and a coach tested positive for COVID-19. “Due to the…

Nashville out of MLS tournament after 9 players test positive for coronavirus — Daily News

ACHARA HAS SURGERY

ACHARA UNDERGOES SUCCESSFUL SURGERY

Toronto FC announced that rookie midfielder Ifunanyachi Achara underwent successful surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and lateral collateral ligament (LCL) in his left knee on Tuesday. The surgery was performed by Dr. Tim Dwyer and Dr. Danny Whelan at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto. Achara will begin rehabilitation and will miss the remainder of the 2020 season.

New extra innings rule will not create a sacrifice bunt-fest — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

Many — myself included — assumed the new extra innings rule would mean bunts, bunts, and more bunts. Not so fast.

New extra innings rule will not create a sacrifice bunt-fest — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

New extra innings rule will not create a sacrifice bunt-fest

By Craig CalcaterraJul 9, 2020, 9:39 AM EDT1 Comment

Last month we learned that Major League Baseball will be implementing a new extra innings rule aimed at reducing the length of games: each extra inning will start with the batting team placing a runner on second base. The runner, which will be the player who made the final out of the previous inning, is considered to have reached base via error. If he scores, his run will be counted as an unearned run.

When the new extra innings rule was first announced I and many others suspected that it would lead to a sacrifice-bunt-a-rama. That, teams would always try to move the runner over with a bunt, thinking that having a runner on third base with one out would be better than most other scenarios because a run could score on a wild pitch or a sac fly in addition to a base hit. In my own case this belief was bolstered by anecdotal evidence: I’ve been to three minor league extra inning games and in all three of them both the visiting and home team began their respective halves of the tenth with a sac bunt attempt.

As is almost always the case, however, it’s a good idea to set aside conventional wisdom and your own lyin’ eyes when assessing something where there is broader data available. We learn that today via an article from MLB.com’s Mike Petriello, who crunched numbers in an effort to see whether that 10th inning sac bunt is a good idea and whether an increase in bunts would accompany the new extra innings rule.

You should read the whole article because it breaks down the strategy from multiple perspectives — and includes an analysis of not just whether the team on offense should bunt but whether the team on defense should issue an intentional walk — but the upshot is that, in thousands of minor-league extra innings games . . .

  • The visiting team bunted to start their inning only 22 percent of the time under the new extra innings rule;
  • The home team, when tied, bunted to start the inning only 31 percent of the time under the new extra innings rule; and
  • The home team, when behind, bunted to start the inning just 13 percent of the time under the new extra innings rule.

Some of this is immediately intuitive. If you’re the home team, in the bottom of the 10th, down by two runs, you’re going to need at least two runs to avoid a loss, and in that case you do NOT want to give up the out a bunt will cause. Some of this makes sense the moment you set aside the conventional wisdom, look at the numbers and realize what the run expectancy is for a runner on second with no outs vs. a runner on third with one. There are, obviously, adjustments to be made based on who the specific hitter is, who the runner is, and all of that, so the base run expectancy doesn’t rule all, but on the whole, bunts are far less favored than might first be believed.

Which, given that we’re in an age where every front office staff knows this data just as well as the stat folks at MLB.com do, and that they’re going to instruct their managers and coaches about all of this as well, means that we’re not gonna see a huge number of bunts as a result of the new extra innings rule. Or at least we shouldn’t.

Follow @craigcalcaterra

Creativity key for Blue Jays in shortened, challenging training camp — Toronto Sun

Even in the not so life-and-death world of professional baseball, pandemic times call for pandemic measures. Read More

Creativity key for Blue Jays in shortened, challenging training camp — Toronto Sun

MLS Players Hold Powerful Black Lives Matter Demonstration Before Game — NESN.com

Major League Soccer on Wednesday made its return in Orlando, Fla., but one of the biggest stories emerged before the game kicked off. Prior to Orlando City’s thrilling 2-1 win over Inter Miami, Black players participating in the MLS Is Back Tournament joined Orlando and Miami players on the field and stood together for a…

MLS Players Hold Powerful Black Lives Matter Demonstration Before Game — NESN.com

Enes Kanter Confident Celtics’ 18th NBA Championship Is ‘Coming Soon’ — NESN.com

The Boston Celtics understand why they’re traveling to Orlando for the NBA’s return-to-play plan. Jayson Tatum mentioned Tuesday that if the Celtics were going to the Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, they “might as well try to win a championship.” Boston teammate Enes Kanter took it one step further. Kanter on…

Enes Kanter Confident Celtics’ 18th NBA Championship Is ‘Coming Soon’ — NESN.com

Kawhi Leonard doesn’t travel with Clippers to Orlando, is due to arrive in a few days — Daily News

With approval from the team, the Clippers’ star Kawhi Leonard did not travel with his teammates Wednesday to Orlando, Florida, according to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes and confirmed by a league source. The two-time two-time NBA Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year is expected to join the squad in a few days at the…

Kawhi Leonard doesn’t travel with Clippers to Orlando, is due to arrive in a few days — Daily News

Report: Jamal Crawford agrees to terms with Brooklyn Nets for Orlando bubble — Nets Wire

Brooklyn Nets wing Caris LeVert has a great opportunity to prove he’s the franchise’s third star while in the Disney World bubble.

Report: Jamal Crawford agrees to terms with Brooklyn Nets for Orlando bubble — Nets Wire

For Dodgers’ Max Muncy, new center field backdrop is a painful adjustment — Daily News

LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers made approximately $100 million in renovations to Dodger Stadium after the 2019 season ended. The nucleus is a brand-new center field plaza, which required a total teardown of the black backdrop facing home plate. The new backdrop is just as black, but it comes with some quirks. The singular tower…

For Dodgers’ Max Muncy, new center field backdrop is a painful adjustment — Daily News