I hope the beginning of another week without baseball finds you as well as reasonably possible under the circumstances. As we sit here in mid-April, there are discussions around the resumption of Major League Baseball, professional baseball in South Korea is slated to begin in empty stadiums in May, and Chinese and Taiwanese leagues have already resumed play. How wise of a decision any of this is remains to be seen, but if you are missing baseball, it might be on the horizon.
Norris staying sharp
Coming into the 2020 season, Daniel Norris says he felt the best he had in years. His fastball had crept back up to the mid-90s, and he had developed what he terms as a “positive changeup.” Then everything got shut down. Currently, Norris remains in Tampa where he continues to work out and resists the temptation to visit his family in Johnson City, Tenn.
“When all this went down, I wanted to see everyone,” Norris noted. “I had to take the advice of the doctors and trainers, and all of them said to stay here.”
Norris is focused on staying sharp and is ready to resume baseball in whatever form it might take for the season, even if that means playing in empty stadiums.
“Honestly at this point, we just want to play ball,” he said. “We play for the fans and they’re the reason we get to go out there and do what we do. At the end of the day, they are going to be able to watch us on TV and see us on the field. I think everybody is understanding of the circumstances in the worst-case scenario that they don’t get to be in the stands. It would be weird for sure, but at the same, I think we are ready for us to play ball. ”
Figuring out the outfield
If you jump down a few paragraphs in Anthony Fenech’s recap of the latest virtual Tigers game for the Detroit Free Press, he takes a guess at how the Tigers outfield might shake out for the 2020 season. Fenech has JaCoby Jones starting in center field and Cameron Maybin holding down the right field job, but left isn’t as clear of a picture. He has that spot lined up as a two-man race between Christin Stewart and Victor Reyes, with Stewart being given every opportunity to show that the job should be his.
Rebuild lagging behind?
R.J. Anderson of CBS Sports compiled a list of the 10 rebuilding teams with the brightest futures ahead, and the Tigers clocked in at the No. 9 spot. It’s the normal knock on the Tigers minor league efforts: great arms and few bats. Anderson seems to believe Casey Mize, Tarik Skubal, and Matt Manning all see time with the big league club this year [Ed.: You know, if there’s even baseball]. That would be fun, but I don’t see the rush.
As Major League Baseball explores ways to get a season in for 2020, one of the ideas being considered is the temporary suspension of the National and American Leagues and playing the season entirely in Arizona and Florida. The Tigers would slot into the Grapefruit League North with the Yankees, Phillies, Blue Jays, and Pirates. The logistics of how to get this done while still ensuring the safety of everyone involved is difficult.
Chris McCosky of The Detroit News is not a fan in the least bit, and he has a bucket full of valid reasons why. These are very preliminary plans, and the likelihood of this being implemented seems slim, but it’s promising that the league is trying to figure out if a season can happen.
Around the horn
Should baseball come back this year? Al Kaline wondered if he should have been a doctor. The internet slang baseball dictionary. One weird retro commercial for every team, featuring Kirk Gibson promoting a boat show. South Korean baseball pitches an early May start.