Friday roundup: Deadspin est mort, vive Deadspin (also baseball may be dead again, film at 11)

This was another shitty week in what feels like an endless series of shitty weeks, but with one undeniable bright spot: On Tuesday, the former staffers of Deadspin announced the launch of Defector, a new site that will be everything the old Deadspin was — sports and news reporting and commentary “without access, without favor, without discretion” — but this time funded by subscriptions and staff-owned, so safe from the threat of new private-equity owners decreeing that they stop doing everything that made the site both popular and worthwhile. I’ve already explained why I thought Deadspin desperately mattered for anyone who cares about sports’ role in our greater lives, or just likes great writing that makes you both laugh and think; you can read here my own contributions to the old site before its implosion (not sure why the article search function is listing every article as written by Barry Petchesky, who knows what the private-equity people are up to). Needless to say, launching a DIY journalism site in the middle of the collapse of the entire journalism business model is an inherently risky prospect, so if you want to give the Defector team a bit more of a financial foundation to work from, you can subscribe now. I already have.

But enough good news, let’s get on with the parade of sadness and horror:

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11 comments on “Friday roundup: Deadspin est mort, vive Deadspin (also baseball may be dead again, film at 11)

  1. While I have very little confidence in the abilities of the people who run MLB, I can’t really fault them for attempting to operate some sort of bastardized season. There’s a staggering amount of money at stake for them, for players, for sponsors etc.

    We can certainly point curiously at some of the steps they’ve taken (no bubbles, players and associated game personnel moving relatively freely from city to city etc), I am willing to believe Manfred when he says ‘we planned for several contingencies’.

    I’m sure they did, and I’m sure they had some really smart people working on it (wait, the Dolan’s aren’t yet MLB owners are they?)

    But they may be trying to do something that is impossible to do even reasonably safely. With this morning’s news about the Cardinals (and, no doubt, soon other teams as well), and yesterday’s news about the Phillies… we now have 8 of the 30 teams impacted directly or indirectly (Phillies now can’t play Blue Jays this weekend in all likelihood, Cards/Brewers up in the air; Marlins opponents still waiting… how did the Mets & Braves and any of the teams they have played since the Marlins outbreak escape scrutiny in this again?), and perhaps 5-10 games for each of these teams under a cloud (out of an alleged 60 game season). These aren’t normal times, obviously, but no-one would even think of calling it a “real” season if a few teams had played only 130 of their scheduled 162 games.

    In short, the next few days for MLB are critical in determining whether there will be any sort of season or not. They appear to have built in 7-10 off days for each team in the proposed schedule. For certain teams, most or all of those days have now already been used up.

    How many MLB players who opted in to the shortened season do you suppose are now thinking about opting out again? Several have. I suspect more will in the short term (despite the fact that otherwise healthy young athletes generally don’t appear to have severe symptoms, Freddie’s anecdotes notwithstanding).

    It is getting harder and harder to see how even the 60 game shortened MLB season can be completed given where we are today. Perhaps “this” will be the end of the infections and the so called compliance officers just imposed will make sure nothing like this happens again. But I doubt that is possible.

    1. If you’re going to try to pull off even a 60-game season, this is really the only way to do it: Expect positive cases, and shut teams down for a while and reschedule games once those happen. They maybe could have had rules in place for how to decide whether games would still be played after positive tests, beyond “ask the shortstop what he thinks,” but I don’t fault what they’re doing now.

      If I’m putting money in the prediction pool, I’ll go with: They keep trying this until mid-late August, then throw in the towel on the regular season, put all the teams in quarantine for 2 weeks, and then start the postseason with all 30 teams, in a bubble.

      1. Or strat-o-matic.

        Any thoughts on whether – had they adopted some sort of regional (and bubbled) qualifying tournament – they might have made out better?

        I do understand their position: that it is much harder to bubble 30 baseball teams that play every day than it is to bubble NBA, NHL or MLS teams that play 2-3 times per week and have smaller rosters.

        Still, you wonder.

        1. Not only do I think it would have worked better, I said so back in April:

          That’s where I called for seven-inning games, too. Do not trifle with my powers of prognostication.

          1. Its not too late to do my tournament suggestion with the reborn Expos and Portland team.

        2. How much longer can MLB go with the season? What are the odds that the Marlins do not start up by Tuesday. The Cardinals already have two players with the virus and depending on the results of the current tests, it could be more, (hopefully not). The Phillies were suppose to start this weekend and that is on hold. Collateral damage has been the Yankees, Nationals, Brewers, Blue Jays, and Orioles.
          7 inning double header games, starting extra innings with runners on second, (I really hate that rule), Blue Jays with home games in Buffalo and where they happen to be before then for some games, and now talk of using winning percentage to determine where a team is in the standings since all games may not be made up really makes this an uninteresting season to me and I love baseball.
          The idea of a taking two weeks to isolate and then have teams in a bubble for a 30 team playoff really make it less of a great feeling for any team winning the World Series. I am for scrapping this season and starting fresh in 2021.

          1. I hate the artificial nature of the starting the tenth (or maybe 8th…) inning with a runner automatically placed on second too. Other than being a crap way to end a game (why not just have a 3 batter per team home run contest instead? Or line up your remaining unused pitchers and see if they can throw a baseball through a plastic clown’s open mouth from 75 feet?), it does not meet the ultimate goal – ending games quicker.

            Sure, a larger percentage of games ended in the 10th inning that in games where the RoS start is not used… but the tenth inning takes 40 minutes to play.

            If MLB wants to make games faster, change the 30 seconds between pitch rule to 20-25 and ENFORCE IT. And stop letting batters leave the box after every pitch. Their sponsors will have to live with their wristband and elbow pad logos not being perfectly displayed on camera for each pitch.

  2. The Expos wouldn’t be able to play in Montreal (no travel to Canada without quarantine), and wouldn’t have any players. I suppose you could put the Sugar Land Skeeters in tricolor hats, though.

  3. No comments on the arena pictures. I like that all the jersey wearing folks are channeled into one entrance. Optimistic pictures as trees are full of leaves, no jackets – somebody thinks the Islanders are playing in June. Which explains the excitement – everyone standing, raising hands in the air because there is a pass to the slot. Even the people in the foreground – who are looking away are standing and cheering.

  4. Looking at the Tampa Bay situation if they proposals are due by January 2021 and it will take most of 2021 to review them and pick one you then have environmental studies, lining up financing, etc. So you’re looking at the end of 2024 before any groundbreaking can take place. At that point there are 3 seasons left of the lease. Considering a new stadium would take 3 years to build they can either make a deal that year or negotiate an out.

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