Baseball is a numbers’ sport, with analytics and figures bounced around almost daily.
Darryl Scott, a Yuba City High graduate and former major leaguer in the early 1990s with the California Angels, said re-evaluating numbers is part of the game.
The 2020 baseball season remains on hold due to another number being jostled around – how long should the season be and how much should the players be paid?
The latest proposal from Major League baseball includes a 76-game season with players receiving 75 percent of their prorated salaries. One caveat to the proposal according to a report in the Los Angele Times is if the postseason gets canceled due to a second wave of COVID-19, the players would get their salaries reduced by 25 percent, effectively erasing a collective $200 million gain.
According to the Times report published Tuesday, June 9, the players’ union is unlikely to accept the latest proposal, essentially dropping negotiations back to the drawing board. So far there has been an 82- and 114-game season rejected by either the players or the owners, with the possibility of a counter offer by the players in the coming days of a 50-game schedule.
Scott, who has a vested interest with both the owners and the union, said eventually an agreement will be suitable for both parties.
“As a coach I sit in the middle between the two (parties),” he said. “I am paid by the organization and work with the players. It’s one of the things that will work itself out … We’ll have baseball at some point.
He said a 50-game season could work.
“A 50-game season is (basically) the length of a college season. You put those games in a two month span … It’s a lot of games in a short amount of time.
But baseball in many ways is a daily grind, and players are accustomed to that. Currently Scott is preparing the team for any such possibility in order for the season to begin.
Scott, who joined the Rockies organization in 2009, has been working teleconference meetings with Colorado’s pitching staff and his fellow coaches.
“We have a zoom call once a week with the entire bullpen to check in and see how everybody is doing,” Scott said.
Part of the 67-page MLB health and safety proposal includes several new normals for baseball to consider in order to begin its season amid a pandemic. A few worthy notes include a regional schedule where the Rockies would play only teams from the National League and American League West; spread out (social distanced) locker rooms; a possible implementation of facial coverings worn in the dugout; no physical lineup card exchanges; and more.
It all pertains to safety for everyone involved, Scott, 51, said.
Another safety precaution that has been talked about, Scott said, is a possible roster expansion to 28-30 players, which would add two extra pitchers to the bullpen.
Scott said an expanded bullpen leads to more efficient use of a team’s starting pitcher.
“We wouldn’t feel the pressure to stretch a starter out deep into the game, he said.
Scott said under normal circumstances a coach would look to get at least six innings out of each starter to open a season.
“The players and owners agree that safety is a huge priority,” Scott said. “Everybody is learning as we go.”
An additional key element during the negotiation phase is that despite the multiple divisions and 30 different teams in the league, Scott said only one set of safety protocols will be administered once everything is a go.
Once coronavirus hit …
For the first few weeks, Scott said everyone within the organization stuck around Denver, thinking the pandemic would only last a week or two.
Scott said after a while guys started filtering back home under the condition that they would remain ready for a possible restart date.
When a coach checks in with a player to give an update; provide a workout plan; or for general news, Scott said the conversation is always prefaced with a personal anecdote.
“A lot of (the meetings are) personal,” he said. “We care about the people around us.”