The novel coronavirus outbreak has the nation — and the world — practically on lock-down, with various forms of entertainment from athletic events to bars and restaurants all closed down for the foreseeable future. Despite this dystopian timeline the planet has seemingly veered off on, things will eventually circle back around and our lives will regain some semblance of normalcy. In the meantime, here are the latest stories in Detroit Tigers news.
Florida State League to use Hawkeye technology
Robot umpires are coming to the Florida State League — at least the initial phase of of HawkEye implementation for the time being. In a recent article published my MLB.com, the following plan was stated for when games eventually resume in the Sunshine State.
During the 2020 season, nine of the FSL’s 11 stadiums will use HawkEye technology to call balls and strikes. Parks in Bradenton, Charlotte, Clearwater, Dunedin, Fort Myers, Lakeland, St. Lucie and Tampa as well as the stadium shared by Palm Beach and Jupiter will have the new system. Daytona and Florida (which will play in North Port beginning this season) will use the more standard umpire setup.
According to the statement, Publix Joker-Marchant Stadium will be one of the nine venues fitted with the ground-breaking technology, which will be trial-tested at the High-A minor league level which includes the Lakeland Flying Tigers. However, an umpire will still remain behind the plate to relay HawkEye’s calls as determined by viewing multiple camera angles.
While the new pitch-tracking system is a welcomed advancement in how major league baseball is officiated, it also brings a few detractors as well such as diminishing the value of pitch framing, which could have a significant effect on the careers of catchers who excelled at the practice. Nonetheless, when summer baseball resumes in Florida fans will get their first look at the future of nation’s pastime.
FOX Sports Detroit to air Tigers games from ‘19
In lieu of active games to keep sports enthusiasts occupied on what would have been opening weekend, FOX Sports Detroit announced that it will be broadcasting the three opening games from the 2019 season to satiate the fanbase’s thirst for Detroit Tigers baseball.
Instead of watching the Tigers take on the Tribe next Thursday, viewers will get to see the opening game against Toronto from last season, and similarly for the two following games. All broadcasts will begin at the time scheduled for this year’s match and will be re-broadcasted overnight and the next morning as well.
If that is not enough to ease your baseball withdrawals, there is a veritable cornucopia of classic MLB games available for free on YouTube, as well archives of complete Tigers games also on that same platform; Tiger Bites from the 2016 season are also readily available.
MLB could cancel draft, postpone international draft period
One of the more terrifying prospects for those loyal to the Olde English D is talk of MLB completely cancelling the amateur draft for this season. After a demoralizing 114-loss season that produced a ray of hope in the form of the top pick in this year’s draft, the loss of that draft selection would be utterly devastating to the franchise and fans alike.
MLB’s proposal to give the draft the axe as well as pushing back the international signing period is a cost-saving measure that would be achieved by cancelling or postponing amateur signing bonuses — which amounts to about $400 million annually — to both domestic and international players. Teams and the player’s association are currently in active talks to resolve the issue of service time during the layoff, which could also have a significant impact on MLB franchises’ bottom line.
One way or another, there is little doubt that there will be a consequential disruption in the amateur talent pipeline this summer, if there is even any baseball at all. This is one of many stories that will continue to unfurl in the coming days.
MiLB players to receive coronavirus compensation
The Major League Baseball Communications Twitter account released the following official announcement on Thursday afternoon.
A league-wide initiative has been announced for Minor League players to receive compensation between now and the scheduled start of the Minor League season. MLB will continue to work with all 30 Clubs on the development of an industry-wide plan for compensation beyond.
A league-wide initiative has been announced for Minor League players to receive compensation between now and the scheduled start of the Minor League season. @MLB will continue to work with all 30 Clubs on the development of an industry-wide plan for compensation beyond 4/8. pic.twitter.com/Ck8Lv9uuzp— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) March 19, 2020
MLB’s Mexico City and Puerto Rico games canceled
As the sports dominoes continue to fall, the latest casualties of the novel coronavirus outbreak are MLB’s games that were scheduled to be played in Mexico City from April 18-19 as well as Puerto Rico on April 28-30. The games will instead will be rescheduled to be played in the appointed home team’s cities when the MLB schedule resumes.
The Mexico City series scheduled for April 18-19 between the @Padres & @Dbacks & the San Juan series scheduled for April 28-30 between the @Mets & @Marlins have been canceled due to the delayed opening of the 2020 @MLB season. Games will be rescheduled in the home teams’ cities.— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) March 19, 2020
Well isn’t that interesting?
The first pitching machines were powered by gunpowder (late 1800s), many injuries ensued. pic.twitter.com/Hz1lBC5t4P— MLBcathedrals ⚾️ (@MLBcathedrals) March 19, 2020
Around the horn
How to avoid a possible injury spike among major league pitchers due to the coronavirus layoff. Here are some recent player options in the AL Central of note. Which 2019 MLB Draft picks will be the first to reach the majors and which may reach the Hall of Fame? Ilitch Companies partners with Metro Detroit-based Forgotten Harvest to help those in need. ‘We want to help you out’: Behind the financial support efforts for minor leaguers