Philadelphia Phillies and MLB 2020 season days lost to the COVID-19 pandemic: 19.
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Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich at The Athletic combined on a piece regarding the behind the scenes activity taking place as MLB considers opening the 2020 season:
“At one point last week, MLB signaled to the union it was preparing to move quickly. But a planned call between the league and the union produced only a basic message: The coronavirus had made the future too uncertain to advance the discussions. The two sides expect to remain in contact this week, though MLB has yet to bring a specific proposal to its owners.”
Alden Gonzalez and Marly Rivera at ESPN combined on a piece relating that MLB is helping its Venezuelan natives stranded here in the U.S. by providing English lessons and other amenities:
“Most major leaguers from other countries — the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Japan, South Korea — have had the ability to return home. The Venezuelans have not, in large part because of ongoing tension between the country where they work and the country where they live. The U.S. government has increasingly tightened economic sanctions against Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, part of which included the suspension of passenger and cargo flights between the two nations.”
Brendan Kuty at NJ.com reports on the passing of New York Yankees owner Hank Steinbrenner, son of their legendary late owner George Steinbrenner, including a statement from the family which read in part:
“He was introduced to the Yankees organization at a very young age, and his love for sports and competition continued to burn brightly throughout his life. Hank could be direct and outspoken, but in the very same conversation show great tenderness and light-heartedness.”
Jay Jaffe at Fangraphs concludes a three-part series (links to first two included) in which he examined how the baseball shutdown may affect the Hall of Fame case of some players:
“Jacob deGrom: The winner of back-to-back NL Cy Young awards and last year’s NL strikeout leader, deGrom has more at stake this year than the quartet of pitchers who have at least 50 JAWS (Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, Clayton Kershaw, and Max Scherzer) because he’s much further from any major milestone.”
Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux turns 54 today, and here we enjoy a flashback to his famous “Chicks dig the longball” days when he and teammate Tom Glavine were inspired by Mark McGwire to bulk up for their opportunities at the plate:
Now for the latest Philadelphia Phillies news from local and national resources:
Major League Baseball will be continuing the tradition of honoring Jackie Robinson on Wednesday, the 73rd anniversary of his birth, with a full slate of programming across multiple platforms. Included will be last year’s Jackie Robinson Day game between the Phillies and Mets at Citizens Bank Park along with pregame ceremonies, which will air at MLB.com at 4:00 p.m. EDT:
Matt Breen at The Inquirer reported on former Phillies superstar Chase Utley, who spoke on Monday via MLB Network’s ‘Intentional Talk’ program with a doctor working on the front lines in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic:
“(Dr. Mark) Mikkelsen is working back-to-back overnight shifts in Penn’s COVID-19 unit. He said he’s happy to be there, showing up each day “with passion and compassion and doing the job that needs to be done.” The last month, he said, has been a blur.”
Todd Zolecki at MLB.com continued a series examining the top five players at each position in Phillies history. At third base, we all know that Mike Schmidt tops the list. Also on the list is Dick Allen:
““He’s the greatest player I’ve ever seen play in my life,” Hall of Fame closer Goose Gossage told USA Today in 2014. “He had the most amazing season  I’ve ever seen. He’s the smartest baseball man I’ve ever been around in my life. He taught me how to pitch from a hitter’s perspective, and taught me how to play the game, and how to play the game right. There’s no telling the numbers this guy could have put up if all he worried about was stats. The guy belongs in the Hall of Fame.””
Corey Seidman at NBC Sports Philadelphia surveyed that outlet’s Phillies contributors to see what one change they would make to Major League Baseball if they were in charge, including this from former Phillies closer Ricky Bottalico:
“Unrelated to 2020 circumstances, my number one rule change would be to move the bullpens inside, behind the dugout. This would speed up games. Why are these players being summoned from 500 feet away?”
Are you a Phillies-loving sadomasochist? Then you just might enjoy this piece published today by Tony Wolfe at SB Nation, who looks back to 1999 and a game in which the host Cincinnati Reds became the first team in National League history to blast nine home runs in a game:
““It was like they were using aluminum bats,” Phillies starter Paul Byrd told the press after the game. “Every time they swung the bat, the ball landed in the 500 level.””
Enjoy Phillies left fielder Pat Burrell attempting to hit a ball out of the Citizens Bank Park construction site back in 2003:
Philadelphia area coronavirus updates continue to be provided via The Inquirer live news ticker on the pandemic. Also, the City of Philadelphia is currently under a Business Activity and Stay at Home Order. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the NIH (National Institutes of Health have tremendous resources on updates and the national response.
You can view the archives for these Lunch Bell reports at any time. They are released every day all year-round barring some unusual circumstance. Each report highlights important updates on the Phillies and MLB, including articles curated from around the web, social media posts, and video. During the pandemic we will include any relevant updates in that regard as well.
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FINAL NOTE: Wishing a happy 79th birthday to MLB’s all-time Hit King and the Phillies 1979-83 first baseman Pete Rose!