That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: MLB By Tuesday maybe good news

photo of MLB image

MLB: By Tuesday maybe good news

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Another week has gone by (two weeks to date) and there still no final agreement to begin an abbreviated 2020 season. But early next week, maybe by Tuesday, there could be the news the sport is waiting for. Let me explain.

During this week, MLB presented to the players union a 67-page proposal on a plan to keep the players and staff safe from Covid-19 and still open the season. The MLPA went through it and had over 130 players on-line, many posting questions, seems players want more testing and more often. So, they seem receptive and MLB will probably take those recommendations and amend the proposal. The union on behalf of the players they represent sent the notes on the MLB health and safety plans during this pandemic.

Now for the economic side of things. Remember originally the MLB/owners 50-50 revenue sharing proposal was basically DOA, (dead on arrival). Now we know the MLB/owners plan to deliver a “new economic proposal” and it might be the one that the players union agrees with. In that case, there could be an agreement.

This next week, could determine the future of baseball for the next few years. This Pandemic has left 40 million Americans, (size of California) unemployed and so far thousands of businesses that might never comeback. The country will comeback, because this country always does, but image if the power-to-be in baseball didn’t come to an agreement. How can they justify this fight between billionaires vs. millionaires? Baseball would suffer serious damage much more than in previous work-stoppages by strikes and lockouts. It would truly be unconscionable.

If settled,Spring Training for two weeks in June and season starts by Independence Day July 4th,the biggest American holiday,with the National Pastime.

Baseball could go from goat to hero, if they even only play 82 games. This would be the best medicine for the American people in 2020. Let’s hope it happens, because life will eventually be normal sometime in the future.

Both sides will enjoy this Memorial Day weekend and will return to the table next week.

One thing is for sure, if by the end of next week there is no agreement, there will not be a season

I hope everybody enjoys the summer-type weather here in the Bay Area. Go out get some sun/vitamin D,enjoy yourself and stay well

Hasta la vista.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Major League Baseball Hispanic Heritage Museum vice president and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: The New Constitution for Baseball 2020

Former Pittsburgh Pirate Dave Parker wore a mask at one time while playing for the Bucs. This illustration gives you an idea what some creative looks are to come. (espn.com file photo)

The New Constitution for Baseball 2020

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

This week the Commissioner of Baseball, Rob Manfred, presented to Tony Clark, in charge of the Major League Players Association a 67 page “Operations Manual” for the players union, to review, give their input, recommendations/amendments, and ultimately approval. This one is all about the health of the players and not about the 50-50 sharing of revenues, which still has not been approved. These are all for the 82-game “regular” season. No Spring Training rules are listed here, but they are also very stringent

These are some of the key new “rules”.

-No spitting. -No chewing of gum or anything, including seeds -No sitting next to each other in the dugout -No fighting -No traditional pregame exchange of lineup cards -Coaches must wear masks and no touching of their faces with their hands (including to give signs) -Balls that are in play and touched by player(s) should be removed and exchange for a new baseball. -After an out, players are discouraged from throwing the ball around the infield. -Pitchers should bring their own rosin bag to the mound -Hitters should have their own pine tar and batting donuts that they bring with them to and from the on-deck circle -First and third base coaches must remain in or behind the coach’s box and shall not approach a base-runner, fielder or umpire. -Using the indoor hitting cage is discouraged -Players are not to high-five or any type of demonstration even after a walk-off -No use of saunas, steam rooms or other hydrotherapy at the ballparks clubhouse are prohibited -The duties performed by bat boys/girls will be performed by existing team employees -No Mascots allowed

Traveling to hotels also has restrictions, like no venturing outside the hotel on the road. Cannot use Uber, Taxi, Public Transportation, but only buses provided by the team. While at the hotel, limit the amount of players on each elevator. No congregation in the lobby, player family or friends. And there are more not listed here. Like for team charters to try to use smaller airports if possible. But these will give you an overall flavor of what it would be.

And of course, no fans.

Spring Training rules not listed here.

Stay tuned and stay well.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio play by play voice for the Oakland Athletics and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Umpires Impartial Pillars of Judicial Dignity

Former Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver (left) and former umpire Ken Kaiser (right) get into it during their MLB active days (New York Times photo file)

Umpires: Impartial Pillars of Judicial Dignity

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

It should not be lost during the baseball negotiations between owners and the players union, that the Umpires are “all in” and ready to go,if there is a 2020 season, Let’s give the umpires some love, because slowly but surely their jobs will not exist.

While distrust exist between the owners and the players union during these negotiations, trying to bring baseball back and save the season, the umpires reached a deal weeks ago to cover the 2020 season during the Covid-19 pandemic. In that agreement umpires took a 50 percent cut in pay in May and nothing more if no games are played. They usually make between $150,000 and $450,000. They agreed to play with masks and to abide on whatever new restrictions are put in place.

On July 10,2019 in York, Pennsylvania the independent Atlantic League became the first American professional baseball league to use a computer call balls and strikes, this was during their All-Star Game. The umpire behind the plate wore an earpiece connected to an iPhone in his pocket and then relayed the call after receiving it from TrackMan computer system that uses a Doppler radar In other words, during this “experiment”the umpires was like a baby-sitter, because he depended on a computer to tell if the pitch was a ball or a strike. During the 2018 season the MLB umpires at home plate were wrong by 20 percent of the time, that is the most important umpire on the field and he sees hundreds of pitches during each game.

Umpires never get any love from the crowd,unless they get hurt, as they walk out of the field, or if they are trying to stay in the game after they get hit by a ball a bat or collusion with a player. In some parks (including Oakland) umpires sometime get booed just when their names are announced before the game. It is a ungrateful profession, by any means. They get a lot of verbal abuse and it takes a special man to be an umpire. I always admired the baseball umpires, they are part of the game we love.

Quotes about umpires.

-I didn’t mean to hit the umpire with the dirt, but I did mean to hit that bastard in the stands. -Babe Ruth -Umpire’s heaven is when he works third base every game. Home is where the headache is., -Ron Luciano(Umpire) -I never questioned the integrity of an umpire. Their eyesight yes. -Leo Durocher -In a way an umpire is like a woman. He makes quick decisions and never reverses them and doesn’t think you are safe when you are out. -Larry Goetz – I’ll never forget the time he came out there to argue, and he turned his hat around. I turned my hat around, too, and he said he wanted to punch me. I said, ‘Go ahead you midget, you’ll hit my knee.’ (talking about Orioles manager Earl Weaver) -Umpire Ken Kaiser.

Stay tuned and stay well.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish play by play announcer on 1010 KIQI San Francisco and Tune In and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: The A’s will be the only big league club to stream all games (no radio); Will announcers do all games in Arizona?

Tune In image from tunein.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1 When baseball does return the A’s will be introducing it’s new non radio streaming casts on tunein.com. The A’s president David Kaval said this will be the state of the art way to listen to MLB games as he said the A’s are trying to reach for a younger demographic that will use their phones and computers to stream games.

#2 Critics of the A’s leaving their last two radio stations 97.5 The Game and 860 KTRB The Answer say traditional radio is the best way to listen to A’s broadcasts and how can you listen in the car or at the ball park?

#3 Tune In will be streaming A’s games in Spanish and English for all pre season and regular season games as the regular season is expected to return if negotiations with the players works out.

#4 Critics also say that the move to go to Tune In was solely done to save money from paying airtime to the local radio stations.

#5 If the A’s do not play their home games in Oakland and play them at their Cactus League location in Mesa will A’s English announcers Ken Korach and Vince Cotroneo and Spanish announcers Manolo Hernandez-Douen and yourself broadcast all games from Arizona?

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s Spanish play by play announcer on the A’s Spanish flagship station 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Yasiel Puig A Showman without a Show

Former Cleveland outfielder Yasiel Puig (66) is looking to play on a big league team as he seeks his fourth MLB team of his career. Is his “Wild Horse” reputation making him less attractive to joining a club? (sportscasting.com file photo)

Yasiel Puig – A Showman without a Show

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

If baseball returns in 2020 it will be without fans and maybe without Yasiel Puig. Puig still a free agent and there have been many rumors, one of them (seem like years ago) is that the San Francisco Giants were close to signing him. The talented Cuban-born outfielder is not in a hurry to sign as he said in an interview with Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald in Miami. Puig indicated his focus is slowly turning toward 2021.

In the occasions I have been able to interview Yasiel, he always indicated to me that his love for the game was the key for him playing baseball, he likes to talk baseball he enjoys every second he is on the field and I cannot think of any other player that enjoys to play in front of a crowd, more than Yasiel Puig.

The first time I spoke with him was during his rookie season with the LA Dodgers. The Angels were visiting Dodger Stadium for an inter-league Freeway Series and at that time he was doing stuff as a rookie and, his name was getting compared to Joe DiMaggio. Of course he is no Yankee Clipper but his talents are well documented. A great arm from the outfield, great speed and good instincts. Puig generates excitement from the time he is in the lineup and he plays with abandon and a lot of passion. As much as he wants to play this year, I do not believe the notion of playing at empty stadiums excites him at all. .

Yasiel’s best years were with the LA Dodgers 2013 to 2018, and then in 2019 he played for Cincinnati and Cleveland. There are many nicknames in the game of baseball some are corky or some might be even tacky. But when the great Vin Scully named Yasiel “The Wild Horse” he could not have described him better.

If there is no 2020 season we will not see Yasiel Puig, if there is a season there is a chance a team like the Giants, who were not supposed to be a contender this year might take a chance with him on a one-year deal. Like many Latino players Puig wants to play every day and with a team like the Giants, there would be no reason he could not do that. Image Puig wearing a Giants uniform,facing Madison Bumgarner now with the Arizona Diamondbacks? Many fans would pay just to see that.

In a way it is sad that this Showman doesn’t have a show to perform. For the real baseball fan, not to see him play is not a positive. But this is no “regular” year in baseball, so anything goes and nothing should surprises us. I am sure Puig would be content returning in 2021. But in case you forgot, he was a free agent before the virus, and he is a free agent during the virus.

Stay tuned and stay well.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez for That’s Amaury’s podcasts each Tuesday on http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Television can only save Baseball

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred as he appeared on CNN with Anderson Cooper Tonight (cnn.com photo)

Television can only save Baseball

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Unless there is a bottom of the ninth walk-off home run, the first week of negotiations on trying to come to an agreement between the baseball owners and the players union did not produce much more than quotes from both sides, and signs of frustration from both sides. Commissioner Rob Manfred said on CNN “If we don’t play a season, the losses for the [club] owners could approach $4 billion.”

Blake Snell, Tampa Bay starter, who won the Cy Young in the American League in 2018, said that playing for anything less than his full $7 million salary is “just not worth it” as he cited safety concerns, something that Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle had said early in the week.

Phillies mega star Bryce Harper reacted to Snell comments by saying: “He ain’t lying, he’s right. He’s speaking the truth bro. I ain’t mad at him. Somebody’s gotta say it, at least he manned up and said it. Good for him. I love Snell, the guy’s a beast. One of the best lefties in the game.”This is what Snell had said a day earlier:”Y’all gotta understand, man, for me to go — for me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof. No, I gotta get my money. I’m not playing unless I get mine, OK? And that’s just the way it is for me. Like, I’m sorry you guys think differently, but the risk is way the hell higher and the amount of money I’m making is way lower. Why would I think about doing that?”

The Commissioner made his case by saying that because baseball is a seasonal business, and the season never got started and there are no revenues, the sport could be devastated. He also said he has “great confidence” that both sides will come to an agreement to play in 2020. MLB concerns about the Coronavirus pandemic is understandable. “A laboratory in Utah, which MLB normally uses for drug testing for minor league players, will handle the testing, and there will be a 24-hour turnaround,” Manfred said.

At the conclusion of the week, the main issues remain salary of players and health of players.

Television could be the cure for 2020. No disrespect to radio and print media, but TV revenues for baseball are unmatched. With zero revenues, no attendance, luxury boxes, concessions, parking revenues, baseball will definitely feel that television would be the greatest medicine, to alleviate some of the financial hit taken by baseball, not to mention to heal the country as baseball is needed more than ever today as the National Pastime.

Have a great weekend. Stay tuned and Stay well.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the play by play Spanish radio voice for the Oakland A’s on 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Back to the Future- Fox to Pump Crowd Noise

Oakland A’s Spanish announcer Amaury Pi Gonzalez (left) and former A’s announcer Evelio Mendoza (right) were a broadcast duel during the A’s glory years of 1988-1990 (photo from Amaury Pi Gonzalez)

Back to the Future: FOX to Pump Crowd Noise

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Talking from personal experience. During a recent interview with Joe Buck of Fox Sports said the network will use artificial crowd noise during games with no fans, old stuff comes back, because this has been done decades ago. Although with a high degree of technology nowadays, this method was used decades ago. When a baseball team didn’t want to send me on the road, to call the games because of budgetary reasons. I got permission to call the games from the radio station studios. This was done with the teams express permission; I also called games with “crowd noise” for television.

But it was not only on the radio. In the 1990’s when I was sports anchoring during the 6PM newscast at Telemundo CH 48 San José, Joe Cruz was the General Manager and he had the station build a set, especially for the games that we were going to broadcast on the road for the Oakland Athletics. The set had the colors of the team ‘green and gold’. If the A’s were in Baltimore, we would get the lineups via FAX. I would have the lineup and be ready for the game.

There will be a green screen behind and the moment we got the feed from the A’s regular flagship TV station we would be “on”. I needed a partner so I called Erwin Higueros, now with the Giants (who had his start with me on the radio) and we called a handful of away games from the Telemundo studio in San José, This was years before Telemundo was bought by NBC/Comcast and became a much bigger station with a much larger audience because the proliferation of the Hispanics in the Bay Area. As of today (prior to the US Census that was to take place this year) approximately 2 million Hispanics make their home here in the nine-county Bay Area.

But even way before that, I called games for radio from the radio studios, when the team was on the road. Evelio Areas Mendoza was my broadcast partner in the 1980’s on KNTA 1430AM Santa Clara. We would be at the main studios at the radio station at that time we will call the city where the team was playing, directly to the media person connection to get the lineups hours before the game. There was a “continuous cartridge with crowd noise” that would run during the whole game, sometimes it was not synchronized with the action on the field, so it was a little odd. For example, a player of the opposite team to the A’s will hit a home run and the crowd noise behind the call would not coincide with the sound. Nevertheless, the job was done. The games were called live from the studio when the team was on the road.

Everything has been done in sports broadcasting, really. If you like to adventure into the past. Ronald Wilson Reagan 40th President of the United States re-created baseball games. Reagan was a sportscaster for several radio stations between 1932 and 1937. This was more of an acting job, since he had to read the “baseball wire”, first read each play and then bring it alive with his imagination on the radio.

If there is a season this year, FOX Network will use “crowd noise” behind the games that would be played at empty stadiums. Not a surprise and nothing really new, maybe millenniums think that is cool and “new” but they will find it easy to research that this is really, old stuff.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary each week and catch Amaury’s podcasts Tuesdays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Day One of Negotiations–Owners 0 Players 0

nbcsports.com file photo: Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle (right) spoke out on Tuesday saying the players concerns were safety and a vaccine is needed to guarantee safety concerns before returning back

Day One of Negotiations: Owners 0 Players Union 0

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

The negotiations began today in New York. The main point of contention is two-prone. One is financial, the other health.

1-How to split the revenues if they agree to start the 82 games season during the 4th of July weekend, as the MLB/Owners proposed a 50-50 split. The players union is not happy with that arrangement.

2-The situation with Covid-19, what happens if a player gets infested, testing, local, state, federal authorities quarantines and the whole enchilada during this unprecedented time in our country.

It is said that without any revenues the owners have already lost in the hundreds-of-millions of dollars (each team) thus 2020. In 2019 the revenue in MLB was between $10 and $11 billion among all 30 teams.

If they get an agreement, the season would begin with no fans in the stands, no broadcasters and probably no baseball writers at the actual locations of the games. Television cameras at location with announcers calling the games from the studio watching on video screens. Writers could probably cover the game at home, looking at their television screens. I refer to this over a month ago, speculating how games can be covered if announcers are not on location, since I have extensive experience doing this during regular times.

Both sides did agree in one thing today. Health and safety of all involved, coaches, managers and staff, these are the primary concerns

Super agent Scott Boras said he is not telling the players to sign on this deal as proposed by MLB/Owners. Ex-Oakland Athletics reliever now with the World Champion Washington Nationals Sean Doolittle “We want to restart the season again,” Doolittle posted on Twitter again Tuesday. “We also want everyone it would require to resume a baseball season to be as safe as possible.”

Looks like both sides played by the rules, there were no ejections (that we know) but nobody scored….yet.

Stay tuned and Stay well.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Major League Baseball Hispanic Heritage Museum Vice President and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: MLB Players and owners negotiating on opening season; NBA considering opening season Christmas Day; plus more

logo image from mlb.com file

On That’s Amaury’s podcast:

#1 MLB players agent Scott Boras says that what the owners are proposing a 50-50 revenue and the players are not interested in that offer plus testing, safety, social distancing and how that will work has been a factor in Tuesday’s negotiations.

#2 Players are guaranteed safeguards social distancing, masking, disinfecting, and protections in prevention of Covid 19 virus.

#3 The NBA is now considering opening up their regular season on Christmas Day. After having the NBA season suspended in March the league wants to open up on Christmas.

#4 The idea of opening the season on Christmas had also been suggested but some don’t think it’s a good idea and would like to keep opening month in October.

#5 One of the ideas of the NBA wanting to open on Christmas Day is because there is much less competition with the NFL at that time of the year as the NFL season is winding down towards post season.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish play by play announcer for the Oakland A’s heard on the A’s Spanish flagship station 1010 KIQI San Francisco and Amaury does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: MLB Season Would the Players say Fair or Foul?

amNY.com file photo: MLB Commissioner and the owners will present their proposal to start the 2020 regular season by July 1st on Tuesday

MLB Season: Would the Players say Fair or Foul?

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

This entire plan is contingent on MLB getting the green light from local, state and federal officials. The sport can secure testing for the players, medical personnel. The owners approved the plan, but now it is the MLBPA (players union) that have to approve it, and there are obstacles in baseball and outside baseball.

MLB and the Owners are proposing:

-A season of 82 games that would begin during the July 4th weekend. Teams only face geographical division rivals.

-Teams would only face division rivals and the same geographic division in the other league to keep games regional.

-Inter-league match-ups limited to AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central and AL West vs. NL West.

-Teams would prefer to play at their regular ballparks at home, but if medical and government approvals can’t be obtained then they will play at Spring Training Stadiums. Here in California (five major league clubs) the Governor said recently, no sports with fans until there is a vaccine.

-Postseason: Expanded from 10 to 14 games and doubling wild cards in each league to four. The DH will be expanded to be used by both leagues.

-The All Star Game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on July 14, as of today is called off.

-The owners propose that players will receive a percentage of their 2020 salaries based on the revenues that MLB receives during the regular season and postseason. This is probably the biggest obstacle for the players.

Those, and the health concerns, figure to be the main point of contention between MLB and the MLBPA. The players already agreed to prorated salaries back in March and do not want to take further pay cuts. The owners claim they are losing 40% of the revenues, by playing in empty stadiums, no tickets sold, no luxury boxes revenue, no concessions no parking. The players said there is no:”revenue exit” for them as they solely depend on their salary.

At the End: All of this stuff depends on the Covid-19, situations in each State. In the US (unlike other countries) there is no “one size fit all” all 50 States made their own decisions. And that, as we know, is very fluid at this time, nevertheless MLB made this proposal, probably in a last ditch effort to rescue the 2020 season. If it happens it would look like the 1981 and 1994 seasons.

It takes two to tango.

Stay well.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Oakland A’s play by play talent heard during the regular season on KIQI 1010 San Francisco and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com