Monday, May 25, 2020

FN POLL: Readers Support Baseball In 2020—But Only By 55%-45% Margin

If the early results to our FenwayNation poll are representative of all baseball fans, Major League Baseball had better tread carefully with any plans to play baseball in 2020. As the chart shows, while a majority (55%) do support some form of baseball being played this year, a substantial minority (45%) oppose it. That's hardly an overwhelming endorsement. We posed our survey question after two guest columnists (Bill Collins for the 'Yes' side; Gary Morgenstein for the 'No' side) laid out the cases for each position. MLB has floated multiple plans for having some sort of abbreviated 2020 season—from playing all games in Arizona and Florida to a re-configured 'home stadium' division system based on geography and limited travel. In addition, it's unclear whether owners and players can agree on a host of thorny compensation and revenue-sharing issues. In the meantime, 2020 is rapidly slipping away. You can still vote in our poll HERE.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

FenwayNation POLL: Should MLB Baseball Be Played In 2020?

Now that we've presented both sides of the issue, should MLB baseball be played in 2020, or not?
 
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Saturday, May 23, 2020

FenwayNation Point/Counterpoint: Just Say "YES" To Baseball 2020

by Bill Collins

As we enter what feels like Day 900 of this pandemic’s social distancing and self-quarantining, the absence of all sports, especially baseball, is glaring. Perhaps now might be just the right time to begin the steps to bring back our National Pastime. With all of the torment and upheaval that COVID-19 has brought to all of us, we can all use a nice, ongoing distraction. And baseball would be that perfect distraction. Just look at the online success of Taiwanese baseball to understand that we need to have it back with us.

But there are people who don’t want to bring baseball back until the world has once again retained its normal orbit. That might end up taking a while. A popular argument against bringing baseball back is that it won’t be anywhere near the same thing we’ve been enjoying for almost 150 years. Well, the game has changed over the years, and it’s had to adapt a bit since it’s humble beginnings. It’s time for that to happen again, even if it’s for a hopefully short while.

Friday, May 22, 2020

FenwayNation Point/Counterpoint: Just Say "NO" To Baseball 2020

by Gary Morgenstein 

The Lords of Baseball have assembled an ambitious and complicated plan for the 2020 season that’s rich in safety measures. Thank goodness for that. Not a single player or anyone associated with the game should be exposed to coronavirus. Make that points 1-10. So let’s play ball.

I say no. Presenting a season which makes a mockery out of the essence of the game will only hasten its demise. Baseball’s leisurely pageantry makes it different from all other sports. Now before I’m trolled, I have the utmost respect for the athleticism and the fandom of all sports. But they ain’t like baseball.

Because baseball is slower, it has time for the dramatic human pauses. For the runner and first baseman to exchange pleasantries. The manager to run onto the field and argue jaw-to-jaw with the umpire. The infielder to dart closely behind the baserunner at second. And yes, what is baseball if not a geyser of sunflower seeds.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

To Be Or Not To Be?: Should MLB's 2020 Season Happen, Or Not?

Gary (L); Bill (R)
In the next few days, FenwayNation will be addressing the existential question of 2020: "Will there be some form of MLB season, or not?". We will be presenting advocates for both sides of the issue—in an effort to give our readers the reasoned (or not so reasoned) arguments for and against any baseball in 2020.

Advocating the "pro" side will be Bill Collins—a longtime friend of FN and a true baseball aficionado. This guy loves baseball so much, he actually rode in a car with your humble Editor-In-Chief to Cleveland and Baltimore just to watch the Red Sox play on the road. If you've ever seen me drive, you'd know that's real dedication on the part of Mr. Collins. Bill is a world-class chef and operates Chef Bill, Inc. which offers personal chef services, cooking lessons and 'romantic dinners for two' in the wiles of Western Massachusetts (actually Amherst). You can contact him at this email address: bill@chefbill.com or call him at (413) 230-3773. Look for his article advocating for the return of baseball (in some form, at least) in 2020.

On the other side of the ledger (the "no" side) will be renowned author Gary Morgenstein. Gary's fantastic novel "A Mound Over Hell" combines science fiction and baseball in the dystopian world of 2098. You can buy it on Amazon HERE. Gary is also a playwright—with his latest piece a play about racial harmony called "A Black And White Cookie". We're letting Gary do this even though he is a die-hard New York Yankee fan. Hey, think of it as penance—you'll get into heaven a lot sooner by letting Gary do this. Actually, I've met Gary in person, and I can tell you he is a terrific guy—despite his team allegiance. Look for his "anti" article soon.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Four Red Sox Make MLB's List Of The Best To Never Win An MVP Award

Getty Images
Major League Baseball's internet arm—MLB.com—recently selected the 15 best players never to win an MVP Award. More than a quarter of the players identified (26.7%) wore a Boston Red Sox uniform. The four Carmine Hosers were: David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Wade Boggs and Adrian Beltre. Three, of course, were long-time residents on Yawkey Way—while Beltre had only one (albeit spectacular) season calling Fenway Park home. It's amazing that none of these four brilliant players ever brought home the MVP iron—though each had the requisite "excuses" applied to them as "non-winners". You know, Papi was "just" a DH; Manny couldn't field; Boggs was just a "singles" hitter; and Beltre—well, actually, I can't imagine why this guy never won at least one. For the Red Sox in 2010, Beltre hit .321, with 28 HRs and 102 RBIs—and led the world in doubles with 49. He had an OPS of .919 and made the All-Star team. After leaving the Red Sox (who inexplicably did not sign him), he played eight more seasons for the Rangers—and the made the All-Star team four more times. Over his 21-year career, Beltre hit .286 with 477 HRs—finishing in the Top Ten in MVP voting six times. But, somehow, he never won it all.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Willie Mays Confirms That The Red Sox Could Have Had Him "Easy"

As if you weren't completely depressed with the lack of baseball, along comes a new biography of the great Willie Mays that confirms the blunder of the Red Sox in not signing perhaps the greatest player of that generation. In the new book "24: Life Stories and Lessons From the Say Hey Kid", Mays reveals that Boston passed on signing him. A Red Sox farm team shared an Alabama stadium with Mays' Negro League Team—the Birmingham Black Barons. Mays, as a supremely talented teenager, was showing his dazzling abilities right before their eyes every day. Said Mays of the Red Sox, "Oh, they had me easy." Think of it—an outfield with both Ted Williams and Willie Mays—and maybe Jackie Robinson at second. We think it would have worked out—even with Willie's disdain for the Junior Circuit: "I didn’t like the ballparks in the American League. I thought the National League was stronger than the American League. That’s what I thought. When I went to the All-Star Game over there, they wanted me to say that I wanted to be a Red Sock. I said, ‘No, I’ll go where they paid my family.'" Growing up a Red Sox fan, Mays was always my favorite non-Carmine Hoser (until Brooks Robinson came along many years later). Mays' magnificent two-way talents and his joy in playing the game made him seem larger than life. In any event, the Red Sox did not sign the 24-time All-Star and the team, the city and fans of Boston are poorer for it.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

POLL UPDATE: Still A 50/50 Division On New MLB Plan For 2020 Season

Continued voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that readers are still literally divided 50/50 on MLB's new plan for the 2020 season. As the chart shows, 50% favor MLB's plan for a shortened season starting in June or July—and played at all 30 MLB ballparks—and 50% oppose. The plan envisions 100-110 games, and some sort of playoff scheme. No fans would be allowed at games, and three new, geographically-based divisions (of 10 teams each) would be formed. You can still vote in this poll HERE.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

POLL: FenwayNation Readers Divided On New MLB Plan For 2020 Season

Early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll suggests that fans are literally evenly-divided on MLB's new plan to play a truncated 2020 season. As the chart shows, 50% favor the idea and 50% oppose it. The plan would eliminate the traditional American and National League alignments and create three new geographically-based divisions: East, Central, West—with 10 teams in each division. All 30 teams would play home contests in their own stadiums. Regional groupings would keep down excessive travel. It is estimated that this idea could result in 100-110 games—plus some sort of (yet to be determined) playoff scenario. No fans would be allowed during the regular season, but might be allowed (on a limited basis) for post-season tilts. You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

FN POLL: Favor Or Oppose New MLB Plan For Shortened 2020 Season?

MLB is considering starting a shortened 2020 season in June or July—with 100 to 110 games played in the teams' home stadiums. Three new 10-team divisions would be created (East, Central, West). No fans would be allowed to attend—but might for the playoffs. Do you favor or oppose this plan?
 
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Sunday, April 12, 2020

FenwayNation POLL: MLB's 2-State Plan For '20 Season Gets More Support

Early results to our latest FenwayNation POLL suggest that MLB's new plan to have an abbreviated 2020 season in two Spring Training locales garners far more support than their earlier Arizona-only idea. As the chart shows, more than six in ten readers (62%) support this new plan, while 38% remain opposed. Essentially, under this new plan, all 30 teams would play a shortened schedule in the state where they have their Spring Training facilities. League and division alignments would be completely re-shuffled to match the geographic alignments in each state. For example, the Red Sox and Yankees would be in different Florida divisions. While a post-season scenario remains unclear, there would likely be shortened play-off rounds—leading to a World Series (a match-up of the top team in each state) The series would take place in a domed, neutral stadium (probably in November). You can still vote in this poll HERE.

FN POLL: New MLB Plan Plays In AZ And FL With New Leagues And Divisions

Another MLB plan would play a shortened 2020 schedule in both Florida and Arizona—with no fans in attendance. Leagues and divisions would be completely re-aligned based on a team's Spring Training location. Some form of playoff would end in a World Series played at a neutral site. Favor or oppose?
 
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Wednesday, April 8, 2020

FenwayNation POLL: Over Six In Ten Oppose MLB Plan To Start Season In AZ

Early voting in our latest FenwayNation Poll shows that more than six in ten readers (61%) oppose the preliminary plan of Major League Baseball to start the 2020 season sometime in May with all 30 teams playing in and around the Phoenix area—with no fans in attendance. Players would also be isolated in local hotels for the entirety of the season. As the chart shows, almost four in ten (39%) support the plan, You can still vote in the poll HERE.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

FenwayNation POLL: Favor Or Oppose MLB's Proposed Plan For '20 Season?

MLB is considering starting the 2020 season sometime in May, with all 30 teams playing games in the Phoenix, Arizona area—with no fans in attendance. Players would be isolated in local hotels for the entire season. Do you generally favor or oppose this plan?
 
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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Surviving (No) Opening Day 2020 With Renowned Author Gary Morgenstein

As we all struggle with a baseball-free existence, FenwayNation is reaching out to different segments of the baseball community to get their thoughts on how to cope. Our first guest is renowned fiction author Gary Morgenstein. His terrific novel, "A Mound Over Hell", traces the fate of baseball in a post-World War III apocalyptic America. The sequel, "A Fastball for Freedom, Book Two", will be out next year from BHC Press—including a good number of scenes at the 22nd Century Fenway Park. Below is a link to Gary's author page and, a fun video of him trying out for the Yankees to promote his second novel. Yes, the Yankees! Hey, we are all in this together!

Author's page:
https://www.bhcpress.com/Books_Morgenstein_A_Mound_Over_Hell.html
Tryout video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQWqvq_cha8&t=13s

Now, here are our questions for Gary and his answers:

FenwayNation: "Since you've written about baseball in the context of a dystopian world, how do you view the fate of baseball in the current COVID-19 crisis?"

Gary: "It’ll be interesting to see how much fans missed baseball as a barometer of the game’s place in a relieved country. In my novel, disgraced baseball, facing its final season ever in 2098, represents the once powerful America which lost World War Three. Increasingly fans view the sport as belonging to a past which no longer exists. There’s a reason why baseball is rarely portrayed in science fiction (excluding fantasy stories like Field of Dreams). Writers simply don’t think the game will make the cut into the future. Once we return to normal, does the country embrace its familiar pillars like baseball? I think in the short term they will, but let’s say attendance is down, which’d be understandable. There has to be lingering uneasiness about abandoning social distancing. Do we only allocate so many seats per section? Discounts on streaming services? Lower ticket and concession prices? How does baseball reach out, especially when the increasing bulk of its fan base are older? Do owners return to the halcyon days of colorful promotions a la the iconic Bill Veeck or the inventive minor leagues (if the owners don’t destroy them first) to make baseball a safe environment – emotionally  – that we all recall as kids to reassure everyone that America’s back? There can’t be appeals to patriotism like the aftermath of 9/11. The virus knows no borders. I wonder if post-crisis America, from waiting on lines, self-imposed isolation and not having texts answered inside eight seconds, might show more patience for baseball."

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Red Sox Introduce New "Socially Distant" Team Logo

We're not sure if we like or hate the idea—but you have to admit it's novel. The Red Sox announced on their official TWITTER feed a new "socially distant profile pic" that disentangles the "socks" of the old logo. Part of us wants to mock this as the NOG's typical political correctness (to go along with disgusting kale showing up in Fenway food). But another part of us wants to applaud the ownership for lightening up the current somber mood with an idea that actually does encourage smart behavior on the part of their fans. So, as we try to weather the vast empty desert that is Baseball 2020, even little reminders of what will come are more than welcome. It might only be a partial season, but it's looking more and more that it will be some form of season at least. Who knows, by May we might be actually talking about whether Andrew Benintendi can really lead-off all year or whether we have any starting pitching beyond Eduardo Rodriguez? We can only hope.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

FN Poll: Readers Deadlocked On Whether X-Man Or Raffy Should Be Protected

The early results to our latest FenwayNation Poll show that readers are just about evenly divided on whether to protect Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers in the event of a Red Sox "Re-Build". As the chart shows, 47% say Bogie should be kept "at all costs", while nearly as many (46%) opt for Devers as they guy we would have to keep. Just 5% name Andrew Benintendi as the player that has to be held onto, while 1% each choose Eduardo Rodriguez and Christian Vazquez. Another 1% chose another unspecified player. You can still vote in the poll HERE.