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SnakePit Round Table: The re-opening of Arizona looms...

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We should also see some movement towards the return of baseball this week.

Coronavirus Photo by Brian Lawless/PA Images via Getty Images

So, how’s it going…

Makakilo: Thursday, my web-cam arrived! Friday, while in my office, I participated in a Zumba class. I said hi to friends before class started and class felt awesome.

And life is full of surprises. I was delighted when I turned over a rock in my yard to discover a blind-black-snake! It was about the size of an earthworm. I carefully replaced the rock. I continue to be happy and strongly optimistic.

ISH95: meh. Been a long couple weeks, some COVID related, some not. Been really enjoying my extra free time though with Life cancelled. It’s been almost a year since the last Phoenix Comicon, and I’m finally getting around to hanging some of the autographs we got that year!

Steven: It’s going well! Seattle is cautiously re-opening and I’m seeing more people on the streets (without masks :(). I got word we will still be WFH for the foreseeable future, which makes me sad.

Jack: We’re doing ok. Everyone is healthy. Physically anyway. Learning gardening through trial and error. Mostly error.

Jim: Today is the one month anniversary of the last time I went past the end of our drive. Considering that, I’m feeling fairly chipper. It’s getting to the stage where it would feel weird to go anywhere or be with other people. Strange how you adapt.

James: All things considered, I am still doing well. I am still waiting to hear back from a few various entities about plans for my future. The waiting has been stressful. Others in my house are beginning to adapt to this notion of staying home a bit better than they were. That has cut down on my daily stressors.

Are you more optimistic or pessimistic about a 2020 season than two weeks ago?

Makakilo: About the same. I am sticking with my prediction that the season will start on 10 July. Supporting that prediction are three points:

  • Daily average (latest 3 days) of new cases reported to the CDC fell from an April plateau near 32,000 to 26,741 on 8 May. Likely, new cases will continue to fall.
  • “If the owners give their approval, the league will present its proposal to the players’ union on Tuesday.” — Ken Rosenthal Details of the proposal are leaking to the public.
  • The longer that fans go without attending baseball games, the more likely their behavior will be permanently changed from attending games to watching on-line/cable/TV. The MLB and MLBPA both benefit from a return of baseball in 2020.

ISH95: I actually am, though I’m not sure that’s a good thing. It’s looking increasingly likely that there will be MLB. Whether or not there should be… I’ll leave that to Jack.

Steven: Definitely more optimistic. Rumors are going around for an abbreviated season starting in late July and while I think even that is still too early, I hope it’s just empty stadiums. I remember watching that Baltimore game that was closed to the public and was amazed at all the different sounds you could pick up.

Jack: Looks like they will try to start it up. That much is clear. I hope that everyone remains healthy, players, coaches, support staff, medical staff, clubbies, grounds crews, television crews, media, front office staff, and all their families and those they come in contact with. Go D-backs!

Jim: At this point, it looks almost certain there will be baseball in some form or other. Hopefully it will all work out for the best. My big concern is what will happen in the (likely inevitable) result of someone testing positive. How will it be handled? That’s going to be… interesting.

James: It sure looks like MLB is going to do their level best to try and have a partial season. The owners still need to sell the MLBPA on whatever plan they put together. There will still be some other hurdles as well, such as where to play the New York, Toronto, and San Francisco games. But, I am confident that MLB is going to at least test the waters. Of course, actual games are still likely two months away and an awful lot can happen in that time - good or bad.

The MLB draft will be just five rounds. Thoughts?

Makakilo: Let’s look at how the changes to the draft help the MLBPA (opinions expressed may or may not reflect the opinions of the MLBPA).

  • 90% deferred draft payments. Team financial liquidity is improved in 2020 and 2021. The MLBPA can justifiably argue that some of that liquidity should go to MLB players.
  • Reduce rounds to 5. Less newly drafted players will make it easier for teams to consolidate the minor leagues. Less talent in the minors will eventually cause less talent entering the majors. The MLBPA will be pleased that the bidding for a reduced supply of talented players will cause salaries to rise.
  • MLB must decide whether to increase the rounds beyond 5 (and must not reduce bonuses). Some of the 30 teams strongly disagree on how many rounds to draft in 2020. The MLBPA could be pleased that conflict between the teams could weaken the MLB when it bargains for a new agreement with the MLBPA.

ISH95: Owners get what they want, and the MLBPA rolls over at the expense of their future members. Also, hello minor league contraction plan!

Steven: Very misguided. 150+ players are losing guaranteed money despite doing nothing wrong. I hope they allow players not drafted to sign for a max of 200k or something, treat them like 10th round or higher draft picks with higher bonus maximums.

Jack: I posted some comments in the thread from Michael’s article. The shortened draft, and contracted minor leagues is just one part of the picture. As much as we love to hate the money bags owners, it’s reality that everything they do now is going to be part of an effort to stop the bleeding. You are going to see multiple teams drastically cutting payroll next year too. I believe disparity will increase greatly.

Jim: At this point, you wonder why they didn’t simply cancel it entirely. But I guess for college players in their senior year, there still needs to be a plan: everyone else can just continue their education for another season. It’s going to make the 2021 draft interesting, with likely about 1¾ draft’s worth of talent. Might almost be an incentive to tank for 2020?

James: Five rounds is a bit of a joke. This feels like the final nail in the coffin of minor league contraction. Even with contracting teams though, cutting the draft down to fewer than 20 rounds seems short-sighted. For instance, the Toronto Blue Jays have had no fewer than 10 players on their 2018 and 2019 rosters who were selected after the fifth round. That doesn’t even touch on the history of the Diamondbacks with Paul Goldschmidt and Brandon Webb.

Arizona restaurants get to reopen for restricted dine-in this week. Got any plans?

Makakilo: In Hawaii, only take-out is open. Recently, I got take-out from Ripples of Smiles. Their summer roll and mushroom curry were a culinary delight. I plan to go back this week.

ISH95: I’ll be reopening my dining room and trying not to have a nervous breakdown in the walk in. Seriously, if you go to a restaurant after reopening, be kind to the employees. This is going to be a hard week for us.

Steven: Seattle is still closed to dine-ins, so it’s more rice and beans for me.

Jack: Nope. No desire and no need to go to restaurants yet.

Jim: I may never dine-in ever again.

James: My current plans are to refrain from dining in or going to bars for a while still. I’ll probably wind up waiting for a vaccine, or at least until the winter holidays.

What do you think is the second-greatest moment in D-backs history? [The 1st being obvious!]

Makakilo: As a Diamondback, Randy Johnson pitched a perfect game against the Braves on May 18, 2004. He struck out 13 batters and completed the game with 117 pitches. This is the second greatest moment because:

  • He was the oldest pitcher to throw a perfect game at 40 years, eight months and eight days old.
  • Perfect games are rare. None have happened since 2012. Fourteen perfect games were thrown in the 40 seasons from 1980 through 2019, and nine were thrown in the 110 prior seasons.
  • So far, he is the only Diamondback pitcher to throw a perfect game. The Diamondbacks made no errors and allowed no Brave baserunners.

ISH95: I’m going to say Archie’s triple. It’s the defining moment of recent Diamondback history.

Steven: RJ’s perfect game was amazing. Take a night and rewatch it

Jack: For moments, hard to beat the 2017 NL WC game and Archie’s triple or RJ’s perfect game in 2004. But the second greatest team achievement in Franchise history deserves a mention here. That is of course winning the NLDS in 2007 against the Cubs in a 3 game sweep to book a spot in the NLCS which they then lost. Other than the 2001 World Series, that’s the farthest any D-backs team has gotten in any season. So I wanted to bring it up. It was classic Livan Hernandez. 5 hits and 5 walks in 6 IP. He threw only 54 of 101 pitches for strikes. Just wouldn’t give him and gave them all the slop they could handle. But Livan induced 3 ground ball double plays, frustrating the Cubs, while Stephen Drew, Eric Byrnes, and Chris Young all homered giving all the support needed

Box Score

Jim: All of the above are excellent candidates. But I realized there was one I omitted to mention in the article, and didn’t crop up in the comments. There’s something to be said for the 2011 NL West title celebration, where the players spontaneously plunged into the pool. That was just such a joyous thing to watch.

James: There are so many to choose from. Single moments that stand out are the Bradley triple and, as Jim pointed out, the pool celebration. Those were moments of spontaneous joy. When it comes to performances, RJ’s perfect-o is a big one for me.

If you could choose one skill to instantly master, what would it be?

Makakilo: Recently, I sang along with We Are The Champions. The result was beyond terrible. I could barely comprehend the difference between my imagined singing and what my ears heard. Singing would be a great skill to instantly master. Perhaps when I talked my voice would be so awesome that people would be inclined to agree with my out-of-the-box ideas. But what fun would that be? Maybe I’m my best self no matter how I sing.

ISH95: I’d remaster how to play the violin. I used to be a very good violinist, but gave it up for… reasons. I’ve tried to pick it up since, but my fingers just don’t move that way anymore

Jack: Why hitting a 98 MPH fastball of course.

Jim: I’d not mind learning a musical instrument, probably the piano. Either than or another language. Spanish would probably be most useful here, but I’m almost inclined to go for something utterly pointless, like Hungarian.

James: Either piano or guitar, probably the piano if I have to choose just one. I’ve tried my hand at it in the past, but I never got very far. I know most of the theory and can read the music, but I need to figure out the skill of getting my left hand to play.