Three plus weeks from the last time a Cardinal threw a competitive pitch and we know probably even less than we did on that Thursday. After all, back then there was at least the idea that the season would just be delayed a couple of weeks. Granted, it didn’t take long for that to be proven wrong, but as of what turned out to be the end of spring training, there was at least some possible hope. Now, we just sit huddled in our homes (or at least, that’s where you SHOULD be) and wait to hear if anything is changing.
On Thursday, when the Cardinals should have been playing the Orioles in the first game at Busch Stadium for 2020 (man, how tough is this on the Rangers, who still haven’t had a chance to play in their new park?), John Mozeliak met the media. However, instead of the traditional press conference in the bowels of the ballpark or an interview in his office, the president of baseball ops got with the times and Zoomed it.
I have to say, I hear a lot about Zoom and its conferencing abilities but I’ve not ever done anything with it. Actually, I take that back. I just realized we had someone come pitch us something in our office and wanted to bring in his superiors in California, so I wound up setting up an account then. That’s the extent of my knowledge about it, though. Though maybe I should get familiar with it–I think a Zoom conference might be the only way John Mozeliak meets with the bloggers this year. I hate that Blogger Day will be a casualty of this shortened season but I can’t imagine they’d spend one of so very few weekends entertaining us.
Anyway, back to Mo. He answered some questions (here’s Brenden Schaeffer’s writeup of it) and there were a few things out of it worth talking about. When spring training shut down, there were players from Venezuela who, obviously, were going to have issues with getting home. The Cards thought to move them to the Dominican, which would be closer, but that hasn’t been as helpful as they’d like. At least they are getting housing and food, though. I don’t know that they are getting the weekly stipend because they are being housed, but that’s still better than a lot of options.
The Cards had a member of the organization (besides Jim Edmonds, who also got a positive result) with COVID-19, but both that employee and Edmonds are doing well and it doesn’t seem like either of them spread it (or that they got it from each other, from what I can tell). It’s really remarkable that you had all these people in Florida, which is turning into a hot spot, and none of them came down with it or brought it home. Feels like they shut down spring training just in time, really.
Mo also said that their “fingers are still crossed it’s 162”. I hope that he’s able to do things with his other hand because those fingers are never going to be uncrossed. There is no way to get in 162 games (within reason, at least) if the season can’t start until six weeks at best have passed. With gatherings larger than 10 out until April 30, even if May 1 has players in Jupiter, it’d be May 15 or so for a start date and nobody, NOBODY expects that best case scenario to happen. But even if it did, trying to cram 45 games into the existing schedule would be tough. You could maybe get 15-20 in October if you wanted to stretch things, but could you figure out a way to get the other 25 into what’s already there? Especially when you are talking about entire series.
We’ve talked about the schedule plenty already, of course, but the idea that anyone in baseball can even pretend to think we’ll get 162 is pretty illogical. Even he acknowledged that people would probably think it’s crazy for that to be an option. I guess maybe it’s a good thing they are trying to consider everything, but the odds of 162 this year would be much, much longer than navigating an asteroid field or surviving a night on Hoth.
Something that I (and I imagine many others) have thought about was brought up, which is what happens if a player tests positive after the season starts. Can you imagine waiting and waiting for an Opening Day, only to have the season have to shut down three weeks later? Perhaps you could get by with one league playing while the other league was in quarantine (assuming it wasn’t an interleague play) but given how the symptoms can be delayed by up to 14 days, that could mean the player has come into contact with five different teams. The whole league could be contaminated, so there’s no just skipping games. Which is one of the big reasons why playing before June (at best) seems really unlikely.
Injury updates were also given–Andrew Miller could probably play today and definitely by time the season starts, for instance. Miles Mikolas is playing catch and should be doing a bullpen session soon. Gotta think he’s going to be ready as well, if not soon after. Brett Cecil, well he just can’t catch a break, having to pause his rehab for a personal matter. You’ll remember he had a different personal matter a couple of springs ago (I believe it was the passing of his father-in-law, though there were no details given until months later) and that interruption probably led in part to his disastrous season. Still, it sounds like he’ll be back to work soon and given the time he’s got in front of him, he very well may be healthy when they return to the field.
Overall, there’s nothing earth shattering about what Mo had to say, no real breaking news. It’s just good to have him talking baseball. We’ll take what we can get these days!