MLB Week One

Photo by Uppercutmagazine

Major League Baseball Begins Amid Pandemic in 2020


By David A. Avila

Not even a week has passed and Major League Baseball took a tumble with a Florida team testing positive for the coronavirus.

Fifteen Florida Marlin players and several personnel working for the team tested positive after playing the Philadelphia Phillies. As of Wednesday, no Phillies tested positive and the Marlins remain in Philadelphia.

MLB suspended the upcoming Marlin games for a week scheduled to take place in Miami. Other teams expected to meet the Marlins were re-routed to other destinations.

What a mess.

Despite the stumble, other teams cautiously proceed but the rest of the teams around the country are looking over their shoulder to see the outcome.

What happens if another team is decimated with the coronavirus?

All professional sports teams are inspecting the MLB including the powerful National Football League that is scheduled to start its season.

The NFL is not playing in a bubble like the National Basketball Association and that puts their season at risk.

Baseball is leading the way, but in which direction?


Play Ball


After less than a week the National League Player of the week was pitcher Kyle Hendricks of the Chicago Cubs who tossed a three-hit complete game shutout against the Milwaukee Brewers. The American League Player of the Week was Nelson Cruz who smacked three homers and drove in 10 runs for the Minnesota Twins against Chicago White Sox.

Some other noteworthy players included Los Angeles Dodger rookie Dustin May who substituted for Clayton Kershaw on Opening Day and led the team to victory against the San Francisco Giants. That had not happened since Fernando Vargas subbed for Jerry Reuss back in 1981. Incidentally, that Dodger team proceeded to win the 1981 World Series versus the New York Yankees.

Another eye-opening performance took place at Yankee Stadium where Giancarlo Stanton blasted a homerun more than 450 feet on his first at bat of the year. He followed up with a right field double. One reason might be the noticeable weight loss by Stanton. He looked rather svelte.


World Series Feud


A return clash between former 2017 World Series rivals saw the Los Angeles Dodgers display a form of retaliation against the Houston Astros who were caught cheating by stealing signs. Dodger pitcher Joe Kelly threw near the heads of both Astro third baseman Alex Bregman and shortstop Carlos Correa. After striking out Correa the lanky Dodger hurler made gestures that cause players to erupt out of their dugouts.

MLB officials decided to suspend Kelly for eight games, and also the Dodger manager Dave Roberts was suspended for one game. Kelly never hit any of the opposing batters.

Fans and social media abounded with complaints on why Kelly and Roberts were suspended while none of the Astros received any penalties at all for their part in the cheating scandal.


Super Star Watch


Here are some of the super stars that have switched teams and a look at how they are doing.


Mookie Betts – the former Boston star switched to Dodger blue and has six hits in 30 at bats so far. His speed has contributed to several runs and a double in the extra-inning affair with the Houston Astros contributed to the team’s two-game sweep.


Anthony Rendon – the former Washington star third baseman now with the Los Angeles Angels has only played two games. He was sidelined with a muscle injury but has resumed play. Rendon immediately delivered with a two-run homer against the Seattle Mariners. More importantly, he provides stability in a position that has remained a trouble spot for more than a decade.


Corey Kluber – the former two-time Cy Young Award winner from Cleveland could be out for the season after suffering a shoulder tear. Estimates for Kluber’s return are a minimum of eight weeks. That’s possibly the entire season for the Texas Ranger pitcher.


Madison Bumgarner – the former San Francisco Giant southpaw now with the Arizona Diamondbacks faced off against the Texas Rangers and was unable to hit 90 miles an hour with his fastball. Though his speed has dropped he still knows how to get hitters out. But the margin for error has been reduced with his fastball unable to blaze past hitters.


Josh Donaldson – the former Atlanta Brave third baseman has three hits in 17 at bats including a homer. He has yet to be acclimated to his new team but so far the powerful Minnesota Twin outfit has not needed his power. Expect him to heat up soon. He can carry a team all by himself.


Gerrit Cole – the former Houston Astro hurler now slings for the powerful New York Yankees. So far Cole has pitched two games and won two games with his assortment of power pitches and outstanding command. In a shortened season he could be the ex-factor the Yankees need to return to the World Series.