MLB 2020: We're Playing, but We Can't Agree on Anything

bankshot1

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Whether its realistic or not to bring back fans into parks, and I think the risk/reward has too much risk particularly for a social distance crowd of probably less than 10,000 at Fenway--(Baseball fever catch it, but watch out for the covid-cough) , I think its hilarious that after fighting with the MLBPA for months about how to split the revenue pot with no direct fan revs, the Sox are now talking about getting fans back into the park.
 

axx

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Whether its realistic or not to bring back fans into parks
It's entirely an political issue whether they have fans. I think they would open it up now if allowed to. But we're probably talking the very end or maybe only the playoffs if the Red Sox were to get there.

The Patriots I think will have an easier time having fans.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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It's entirely an political issue whether they have fans. I think they would open it up now if allowed to. But we're probably talking the very end or maybe only the playoffs if the Red Sox were to get there.

The Patriots I think will have an easier time having fans.
It absolutely shouldn't be a political issue, it should be a health issue. Fortunately I don't think Charlie Baker would allow fans in MA until there's a vaccine or a highly effective treatment for an infection. Unfortunately, I expect there are plenty of idiots in charge elsewhere that will allow teams to open the gates, and that will put the Red Sox and Patriots at a financial disadvantage. Wouldn't it be great if there was a cohesive federal response to this crisis?
 

bankshot1

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It's entirely an political issue whether they have fans. I think they would open it up now if allowed to. But we're probably talking the very end or maybe only the playoffs if the Red Sox were to get there.

The Patriots I think will have an easier time having fans.
I think its a public health issue. PERIOD. That a public health issue has become political issue and has led and will lead to so many additional people getting sick and dieing is a tragedy. I've no idea if the Sox would open Fenway today, or under what conditions, (social distance seating, masks required playing to 20-30% capacity) knowing all the risks involved. I think their responsibility goes well beyond caveat emptor.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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That would be a massive HIPAA violation unless the players themselves disclose but anything could happen.
That’s not really how HIPAA works.

Employment Records
The Privacy Rule does not protect your employment records, even if the information in those records is health-related. In most cases, the Privacy Rule does not apply to the actions of an employer.
 

effectivelywild

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That’s not really how HIPAA works.
From that same page:
"Your employer can ask you for a doctor’s note or other health information if they need the information for sick leave, workers’ compensation, wellness programs, or health insurance.
However, if your employer asks your health care provider directly for information about you, your provider cannot give your employer the information without your authorization unless other laws require them to do so."

More to the point---obviously teams will need to know what players test positive and/or are positive for antibodies to COVID-19. I'm not disputing that. However, I'm pretty sure they have to be careful about releasing that information to the public, particularly the antibody status. Obviously a player put on the COVID DL means that they have tested positive or have symptoms, but the antibody status? That's Protected health Information. You can't share that without the individual's consent.

I mean, I might be misinterpreting this, but given the number of modules I have to do each year about PHI and HIPAA, the general rule is "don't disclose anything unless it's necessary"
 

moondog80

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Interesting look at what a 60 game season might look like. Would someone hitting .400 be taken seriously?

 

DJnVa

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No, this case isn't going to stop the season. But there are going to be ones and twos testing positive from now until camps open. And then you're going to get groups quarantining when it starts spreading. This isn't going to work. I want it to work, but it isn't going to work.

Someone should start a poll asking if folks think the season will proceed as planned without any teams having to drop out or be significantly impacted by Covid-19
I don't think anyone ever thought this was going away. That's why there are expanded rosters and the other precautions. Germany's pro soccer league has been going for almost 6 weeks now with no major issues. I know that's not exactly the same, but it can work.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I don't think anyone ever thought this was going away. That's why there are expanded rosters and the other precautions. Germany's pro soccer league has been going for almost 6 weeks now with no major issues. I know that's not exactly the same, but it can work.
The difference is that Germany has been FAR more successful corralling the virus in general. This is why US-based leagues are going to struggle to pull off their seasons...

32109
 

Earthbound64

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Rangers employees terrified.
“We are terrified for our safety,” the employee told ESPN anonymously for fear of repercussion from the organization. “Terrified to share COVID-19, unknowingly, with an older employee, a pregnant coworker or anyone else who may have some sort of underlying condition. We all knew it would come to this. It was only a matter of time.”
 

Earthbound64

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The Gray Eagle

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Eck and Remy don't need anything that O'Brien offers. Removing the play by play guy and leaving Eck and Remy to handle everything would be addition by subtraction.

O'Brien was good on the radio but is annoying on TV. Ideally, he would go back to radio. Not gonna happen though.
 

snowmanny

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If that's all a play-by-play guy did, I'd agree with you.
Eck and Remy don't need anything that O'Brien offers. Removing the play by play guy and leaving Eck and Remy to handle everything would be addition by subtraction.

O'Brien was good on the radio but is annoying on TV. Ideally, he would go back to radio. Not gonna happen though.
You're both right, and of course deference to professional expertise etc. O'Brien talks on TV like he is still doing radio. He adds very little to the TV broadcast. There are plenty of great play by play guys but he's not one, and he's certainly not McDonough or Orsillo.
 

effectivelywild

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From that same page:
"Your employer can ask you for a doctor’s note or other health information if they need the information for sick leave, workers’ compensation, wellness programs, or health insurance.
However, if your employer asks your health care provider directly for information about you, your provider cannot give your employer the information without your authorization unless other laws require them to do so."

More to the point---obviously teams will need to know what players test positive and/or are positive for antibodies to COVID-19. I'm not disputing that. However, I'm pretty sure they have to be careful about releasing that information to the public, particularly the antibody status. Obviously a player put on the COVID DL means that they have tested positive or have symptoms, but the antibody status? That's Protected health Information. You can't share that without the individual's consent.

I mean, I might be misinterpreting this, but given the number of modules I have to do each year about PHI and HIPAA, the general rule is "don't disclose anything unless it's necessary"
Just following up...https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/29389792/mlb-teams-id-players-test-positive-coronavirus
 

uncannymanny

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Eck and Remy don't need anything that O'Brien offers. Removing the play by play guy and leaving Eck and Remy to handle everything would be addition by subtraction.

O'Brien was good on the radio but is annoying on TV. Ideally, he would go back to radio. Not gonna happen though.
Who will tell us that it’s “off the green”?
 

SirPsychoSquints

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Just following up...https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/29389792/mlb-teams-id-players-test-positive-coronavirus
What's the difference between a covid test and a torn labrum? Is there something in the CBA where the players have specifically given permission to disclose?

And this older article says otherwise, so I suspect it's a question of what the PA & MLB have bargained, not HIPAA.


Under the statutory language of HIPAA, most of the medical staff employed by professional sports teams would almost certainly be considered healthcare providers subject to the privacy and security requirements of HIPAA. . . . However, [the Department of Health and Human Services] issued a response during the notice and comment period that communicates the opposite effect: DHHS first noted professional sports teams were “unlikely to be covered entities” that would need to abide by HIPAA privacy rules. Further, even if teams would be covered or partly covered, DHHS noted that—although it did not condone a blanket reduction of privacy for an entire group of individuals (like players), it is fully within the purview of employers to “mak[e] an employee’s agreement to disclose health records a condition of employment” (as is maintaining a certain level physical fitness). DHHS adopted language “excluding employment records maintained by a covered entity in its capacity as an employer from the definition of ‘protected health information.’” Operationally, the effect of the guidance is to affirm teams’ power to compel players to disclose health information (waive HIPAA privacy) and subsume the information into the employment record of each player. Once considered part of the employment record, the contents of the record are not viewed as protected health information.
 
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DJnVa

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My Google-Fu is failing me---what's the cost for MLB.TV this season?
 

Joe Sixpack

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They typically offer a discounted rate of $50 for the full season around Father's Day. So I'd guess we'll see a similar deal offered this year.
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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What's the difference between a covid test and a torn labrum? Is there something in the CBA where the players have specifically given permission to disclose?

And this older article says otherwise, so I suspect it's a question of what the PA & MLB have bargained, not HIPAA.

So you think Cashman is just blowing smoke?
 

mauf

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If that's all a play-by-play guy did, I'd agree with you.
Since I know you have experience with this — what does a PBP guy who isn’t physically at the game add to the viewer’s experience? (PBP announcers in the booth spot things happening off-camera all the time, but they won’t be doing that from a remote studio, and I assume they won’t have the usual spotters assisting them either.)
 
Since I know you have experience with this — what does a PBP guy who isn’t physically at the game add to the viewer’s experience? (PBP announcers in the booth spot things happening off-camera all the time, but they won’t be doing that from a remote studio, and I assume they won’t have the usual spotters assisting them either.)
In the context of a multi-person booth, the PBP guy is both a table setter and a link man in addition to a narrator and storyteller. I firmly believe that Eck and Remy would be lost without an O'Brien to steer them in certain directions - usually passively (by describing the scene in front of him and giving them words to follow and react to, but also by reading the out-of-town scores and telling stories of his own), but often actively (by asking them questions and bringing up new topics of conversation for them to pivot off of). Hopefully the PBP person is able to tell his or her own stories as well as introduce facts and statistics to the broadcast that fans at home might not know. Good PBPers will also be able to describe what they see in an artful manner that their audience will appreciate, and to convey excitement and enthusiasm to their listeners which enhance the experience of just watching the action without them. And if absolutely nothing else, all PBPers should at least be able to remind you who is pitching, who is at the plate, who is on base and who is making plays in the field, etc. - which you might take for granted, but which is still a skill which I promise you not every color commentator would be able to bring to the table, and which is absolutely necessary for the vast majority of fans who would otherwise forget who they're watching without those sorts of reminders. Very little of a PBPer's value comes from seeing stuff off-camera that the viewer at home can't see, in my experience; baseball is an exception to this general rule, but mainly because a commentator can track the flight of a ball and the positioning of runners and fielders simultaneously, and therefore has a better feel on how hard a ball is hit or how likely a runner is to score or advance than the viewer at home, not because he's seeing stuff off the edge of the screen in the normal course of action. (It's actually going to be weird to see how PBPers cope with being in a studio and not being able to track the flight of the ball...and I say that having pondered doing exactly this myself at the Tokyo Olympics, where I'm going to be doing all of the baseball and softball commentary out of a studio instead of at the ballparks in question. Particularly at first, as PBPers come to terms with not being at the games in person, you're going to hear quite a few home runs mistaken for medium-depth fly balls, and vice versa.)

I do 95%+ of my PBP work off-tube - i.e., off of a monitor rather being at the arena in person - and 95%+ of that work on my own, without a color commentator or other partner to keep me company. Lazy PBPers may not add any value, and can indeed add negative value if they don't have certain basic competencies, but I certainly think I add value to my broadcasts through the research I do, the statistical knowledge I bring, the "game awareness" I possess (which across various sports includes stuff like knowing the rules well and being able to interpret them, what it means for a team to have X timeouts remaining, understanding what different results in a game taking place concurrently will mean to fans of the game I'm watching, etc.), and hopefully the way I can convey drama and excitement to the viewer with my calls of dramatic and exciting moments. Because how good does a home run actually feel without a good home run call to accompany it? Probably less than you might imagine.

By the by, in this context you might be interested in briefly checking out my own set of baseball and softball commentary demo reels:
Not that I think I'm the best baseball/softball PBPer in the world, but watch at least the beginning of the first few clips on that page:

1) At start of the solo demo reel at the top, watch the great defensive play by the Japanese second baseman - first on mute, then again with my commentary. Does my commentary (both during and after the play) add anything to the way you experience it, or the appreciation you have for it?

2) At the start of the second clip - featuring the only game I called at the Asian Games in Jakarta two years ago with a commentary partner - listen to my repartee with Hong Kong manager (and former Montreal Expos color man) Tom Valcke. I came armed with what I hope are a few facts, and I elicited an anecdote out of Valcke which I can't imagine he would have mentioned himself without me teeing him up.

3) Read the description above the third clip and then watch it (it's only 47 seconds long) - did my little jokes make you chuckle at all? Did I segue out of the joke and back into describing the next play seamlessly?

I was there in person for all of this commentary, but I think these points are universal, both for in-person and off-tube commentary. O'Brien may not be the best PBPer in the business - I'm not passing judgment on him - but I certainly think you'd miss him greatly if he wasn't there and you were to just have Eck and Remy to listen to.
 

grimshaw

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Dan Patrick, who is generally as tough an interviewer as Jimmy Fallon asked Manfred all the right questions.
Couple of other tidbits (paraphrasing).

-Not in favor of shortening a full season. Only maybe 154 but that would consider extra playoffs as a factor.
-Claims only two owners were against playing - and only for safety reasons. Not sure I buy that one.
-Was non-committal on whether they would keep the runner on second for extra innings rule. Just said it made sense for this year.
-Mentioned there wouldn't be expanded playoffs this year. There had been a report earlier that it could still be negotiated in season, so that may be posturing to make the players seem inflexible.
-Some of the NL owners are coming around to the idea of the universal DH beyond this year. Seems likely to me based on how it was talked about.
 

SirPsychoSquints

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So you think Cashman is just blowing smoke?
I don't think Cashman knows anything more than what he's been told - his quotes are VERY wishy-washy.

I missed a quote lower down:
"Because COVID-19 is not considered an employment-related injury, we will respect the privacy of the players who test positive or who are under evaluation, and we will defer to their wishes regarding public updates about their status," an MLB spokesperson said in a statement. "Without their voluntary permission, we will not disclose any COVID-19 related information."
So they're distinguishing between employment-related injury and non - and again, it says "we will respect the privacy" and "we will not disclose" - none of it cites "legally can't." I think it's about agreements with the players, not legal authority.
 

BaseballJones

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Just caught this on WFAN's Beningo and Roberts. From a caller....

DeGrom is pitching a perfect game and has thrown just 96 pitches through nine. But the score is tied. So out he comes for the top of the 10th, and they put that stupid runner on second. He gets a ground out to second, advancing the runner to third. Then he gives up a sacrifice fly, and the run scores. He then strikes out the last guy. The other team doesn't give up a run and the Mets lose 1-0 in 10 innings, but deGrom retired every single batter he faced - all 30 of them, without exception.

What's the ruling on that? Perfect game? How can you get a perfect game and LOSE?

There's virtually no chance of something like this actually happening, but..... it's obviously a non-zero chance.
 

jon abbey

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The Yankees are talking about starting the season with 18 pitchers on a 30 man roster, I don't think there are going to be many complete games by anyone this season. And DeGrom only pitched into the 8th once all of 2019, maybe not the best example here.

I don't really get discussing unusual hypotheticals, let's see someone actually hit .400 for the 60 game season before we spend time worrying about 'what that means' (hint: it means 2020 is fucked up in every way possible, baseball included).
 

BaseballJones

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The Yankees are talking about starting the season with 18 pitchers on a 30 man roster, I don't think there are going to be many complete games by anyone this season. And DeGrom only pitched into the 8th once all of 2019, maybe not the best example here.

I don't really get discussing unusual hypotheticals, let's see someone actually hit .400 for the 60 game season before we spend time worrying about 'what that means' (hint: it means 2020 is fucked up in every way possible, baseball included).
Aw man...

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQqiuynMwCQ