Hello! Welcome to Superlatives. A weird little roundup for a weird little season where we hand out some superlatives and awards for the previous week in baseball.
For Taking The Biggest L
With Apologies To Vlad Jr. And Nobody Else
In case anyone wasn’t aware, we are doing a baseball season in the middle of a global pandemic. That’s probably not gonna come up a lot, so it feels worth mentioning. One team that is going to be acutely aware of this is the Toronto Blue Jays.
With Canada forbidding baseball games, the Blue Jays were forced to turn to the only play that would have them: Pittsburgh. Then, after thinking about it, they were forced to turn somewhere less bad than Pittsburgh.
#Breaking Toronto @BlueJays will play their home games in Buffalo, N.Y. this season after the federal government rejected a plan that would have allowed them to use the Rogers Centre. https://t.co/0zvYeTffGk
— Toronto Star (@TorontoStar) July 18, 2020
When that didn’t come through, either, they settled on Buffalo, with additional home games potentially scheduled in New York and Washington DC.
Imagine being the biggest prospect in baseball since you hit your first home run (for Vladdy Jr. that was on his 1st birthday), getting all the buzz in the world, having a subpar rookie season, and then having to move from Toronto to Buffalo in the middle of a pandemic. Life comes at you fast.
The good news is that the Jays can take a cue from the Angels, and rebrand as the Buffalo Blue Jays of New York City and DC, or BBJNYC&DC for short. If playing baseball doesn’t work out for BBJNYC&DC, they can probably work as a decent legal firm for asbestos-specific class action lawsuits.
For our runner up here, I just want to shout out Dr. Anthony Fauci. It was announced that Dr. Fauci would throw out the first pitch on Opening Day between the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees. Dr. Fauci, who has been busy dealing with some stuff at work lately, stepped to the mound and…
Dr. Anthony Fauci threw out the first pitch before the Nationals-Yankees game. pic.twitter.com/04Tbkh7Voa
— ESPN (@espn) July 23, 2020
Look, to be fair. It’s been like, some really tough work stuff.
Welcome To San Junipero
Broadcast Decision Likely To Be A Black Mirror Episode
Rich People Doing Rich People Stuff.
As we continue to experiment with a fanless season, we’re going to probably see a range of solutions – some bad, some good. Most of them, however, will end up just being downright weird either way.
This week, I wanna highlight that the Dodgers and other teams are gonna give fans the ability to buy their own cardboard cutout likenesses and put them at games. If they really wanted the full Dodger Stadium experience, they wouldn’t start placing the cardboard cutouts until the 3rd inning, then they’d pull them all during the 7th inning stretch. Anyway, this leads to a very important question.
Did Danny DeVito buy a cardboard cutout at Dodger Stadium?
— Melanie Bates (@melaniebates16) July 24, 2020
Because I think Danny DeVito bought a cardboard cutout at Dodger Stadium.
I can only hope this will end up with weird LA rich people doing weird LA rich people stuff, like Rob Lowe spending his monthly wine allowance on just filling the entire stadium with himself for one home game.
Edit: It took exactly one day into the season for this to happen, and it was worse than I could have imagined. My colleague Alex Kleinman covered it yesterday here, but let’s just check in on that tweet one more time.
White Sox fan Paul Garrett bought 100 cardboard cutouts of himself! He’ll be cheering on the White Sox near the visitors dugout. pic.twitter.com/hj8TJbyhpP
— Chuck Garfien (@ChuckGarfien) July 22, 2020
Yup, still 100 cardboard dudes just chillin’.
Meanwhile, for their first weekend broadcasting experiment, Fox decided to take us straight to terrifying.
No fans? Not on FOX Sports.
Thousands of virtual fans will attend FOX’s MLB games this Saturday. pic.twitter.com/z9oQU0rYuC
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) July 23, 2020
Now, it may be true that the last thing any of us want to see on our broadcast is the Goth family staring us down from behind home plate, but that’s not entirely right. It’s just the last thing we want to see so far.
The Manfred Conspiracy Corner
Best Conspiracy Of The Week
The MLB Won’t Let You Boo The Astros!
It was reported recently that the MLB will be rolling out a Crowd Noise Simulator App that allows fans to remotely cheer on their teams. The app will apparently have around 75 unique crowd noises that fans can select, which will then be piped in to the stadiums.
However, apparently if the Boo sounds are overpowering, the stadium will instead lower the overall volume of cheering. This is, obviously, designed for the Houston Astros. This season was meant to be a 162-game apology tour for Houston, and a tour-de-force for the creativity of baseball fans everywhere, who have spent the entire offseason pioneering new ways to smuggle an entire trash can and desktop computer past stadium security.
Instead, the Astros will play to deafening silence, and fans will have to find other ways to make Alex Bregman sad.
In the meantime, let’s just keep talking about the Justin Verlander pool video.
— Kate Upton (@KateUpton) July 11, 2020
Another Day In The Salt Mine
Saltiest News Of The Week
Guys, I Think Mookie Betts Might Not Be Coming Back?
RIP to the following freezing cold takes:
- The season won’t happen and Mookie will never have played a game in a Dodgers uniform.
- The season will happen, but Mookie will opt out for COVID concerns.
- The season will happen, Mookie will play, but he wasn’t that good.
- The season will happen, Mookie will play, he’s actually that good, but his heart isn’t in it.
- The season will happen, Mookie will play, he’s actually that good, his heart is in it, but he misses Boston and is coming back to the Red Sox next year.
Outfielder Mookie Betts and the Los Angeles Dodgers are in agreement on a 12-year, $365 million contract extension, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Combined with the one-year, $27 million deal he’s currently under, the total is 13 years and $392 million.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 22, 2020
Anyway, congratulations to M**kie B*tts on his standing reservation at Nobu Malibu for the next 13 years.
Of Course That Happened
For The Most Predictably Weird Thing
The Yankees and Nationals Don’t Want To Play Too Much Baseball.
Baseball came back on Thursday night. And despite a shortened season and a sense of instability amongst fans wondering what their beloved sport would look like in a changed America, we were all able to come together for the game of baseball in 2020… for 5 innings.
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) July 24, 2020
Yes, the very first game of baseball in our season shortened by mother nature was, in fact, shortened by mother nature. Because of course it was. And normally, I wouldn’t call rain a disaster, but it ended in the Yankees winning, so that’s a disaster-level event to many people.
The Mariners World Series Report
This Is The Year.
Previous Odds: 0%
Current Odds: 100%
Percentage Change: +100%
Vegas Odds: 500/1
The Mariners are going to win the World Series this year. The season has barely started and it’s already the weirdest one we’ve had in decades. Anybody who thinks they know what’s going to happen is wrong. Baseball is unpredictable over 162 games, so when we’re playing less than half of that number, things are going to get absolutely kooky. So now the only Mariners fan I’ve ever met, a friend of mine named Vinny, has pointed out that the Mariners are the unchallenged Kings of Kooky Baseball. Given that, the only sure thing is a World Series run for Seattle.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) July 25, 2020
Look to this space for weekly updates on Seattle’s World Series parade route planning.