That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Covid-19, Doubleheaders, Time of the Game

Chicago Cubs second baseman Jason Kipnis (27) turns to finish a double play with a throw over St. Louis Cardinals Dexter Fowler (25) during the second inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Chicago. The Cardinals will be ramping up their games with 53 games in 44 days to make up for canceled games (AP Photo/Mark Black)

Covid-19, Doubleheaders, Time of the Game

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

As of today, a total of 33 games have been postponed, because of Covid-19. There is a good chance some teams (like during the 1981 season, shortened by a 50-day players strike) will not be able to play the same amount of games.

Nothing wrong with that, as long as there is not a big difference in games. If a team ends playing 55 games, out of the 60-game season, it seems fair, however lesser games played could damage the season.

Going into the playoffs that could be a concern and winning percentages might have a key role to play. The St Louis Cardinals (one of the teams affected by Covid-19) are now in the process of playing 53 games in 44 days. If Cardinals fans like doubleheaders, 2020 is their year! However, that is not good if you are a pitcher and Managers will tell you the same.

Going by what has happened it seems that MLB didn’t have a good plan regarding how to handle playing with a Pandemic, and Protocols have not worked as good as they expected. MLB doesn’t want to be the league that fails, since the NBA and NHL have been successful, so far. It remains to be seen when it comes to the NFL season.

Why are the Playoffs this season that important?

1-MLB Stands to make $1 Billion in Television revenue.

2-Prior to the season, players negotiated a $50 million dollar Playoff pool.

3-More than likely teams that qualify for the Playoffs, total of 16 (eight on each league) will be playing in a Bubble, like the NBA. This means less travel for the players, easier to contain virus infections. Cities have yet to be announced if the go to the Bubble plan.

Statistics: Interesting stats about game time so far. We know during the last few years MLB has been trying to shorten the game time, by using various rule changes. So far this 2020 season, the seven inning games are averaging two hours and 34 minutes. While the regular nine inning games 3 hours and 6 minutes, and that is the longest ever.

Baseball is a game of stats today more than ever. Everything has a number: launch angle, speed of the ball leaving the bat, two of the most recent. I tolerate them, but not hooked on them, to me a home run is just that, regardless if it is so high it broke a cloud and so hard that nobody saw the ball, still a home run and you can trot around the bases.

In case you think that the seven inning games are here to stay, you do not have to worry much. Doubtful this will be permanently set. Less innings means less stat (fewer records) for players and in return it will always have the owners paying less money. The chances that seven inning games are going to be here to stay, I would say are two: “slim and none”.

Stay well and stay tuned.

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

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: A’s take advantage of Giants struggling bullpen; A’s close out two game series tonight in Arizona

Oakland Athletics’ Chad Pinder, right, celebrates with Sean Murphy (12) after hitting a two-run home run off San Francisco Giants’ Wandy Peralta in the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1  The A’s went on a tear against the San Francisco Giants over the weekend that included two comeback wins with home runs from Stephen Piscotty on Friday night for a grand slam that tied the game in the ninth and the eventual come back in the tenth and on Saturday Mark Canha hit the game winning home run to edge the Giants.

#2 The Giants bullpen has suffered through this series and they sent out catcher Tyler Heineman to pitch in relief who wound pitching a scoreless inning on Sunday using breaking pitches

#3 Once again the A’s slugged another one out against the Giants with a 15-3  laugher to close out the three game sweep at Oracle Park.

#4 One of the big reasons for the A’s success in the series is the Giants relievers have given up 23 home runs in 24 games and evidence of that is when they had to go to a position player Heineman for relief help.

#5 The win put the A’s 4.5 games in first place in the American League west with a 16-6 record the winningest record in MLB.

Join Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the A’s Spanish lead announcer on 1010 KIQI 1010 San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsadioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Memory Lane The 1981 Oakland A’s

Copy of a delivered Sports Illustrated cover of the starting rotation of the 1981 Oakland A’s pitching staff top left to right, Rick Langford, Steve McCatty, Brian Kingman, bottom Matt Keough (left) and Mike Norris (right)

Memory Lane: The 1981 Oakland Athletics

That’s Amaury News Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

This current 60-game abbreviated season and the strike-abbreviated season of 1981 have many similarities. For the Oakland A’s 1981 was a bittersweet year. The A’s went far in the postseason, but felt short of the World Series. Some of us remember that year, in my case it was another crazy baseball season. The 1981 season and strike lasted from June 12 until July 31. It was all about arguing for free-agent compensation, in case anybody forgot. About one-third of the regular season was cancelled that year.

The 1981 season was actually split in half and there was quite a controversy because some teams missed out the postseason. The strike lasted a total of 50 days. All Star Game was postponed and then played August 9 in Cleveland, the second time an ASG was played in the month of August. Seems were settled and owners gave teams that won their divisions the right to advance to the Postseason.

The Oakland Athletics won the west that year with a record of 64-45 and got the right to travel to Kansas City for the best of five Divisional Series vs. the Royals. My broadcast partner, Julio González (RIP) and yours truly traveled to Kansas City for the first two games. The A’S won their two games in Kansas City and then returned to Oakland, were they finished the Royals via sweep.

While in Kansas City I wanted to visit the Harry Truman Library, in Independence, Missouri, not far from Kansas City, I convinced Julio we should visit. As somebody who likes history, I thought that would have been a good time to visit the former President hometown and library, but time was of an essence and we never visited. We were not more than 12 miles or so away, since we were staying at the hotel just outside Kaufman Stadium across the freeway, a big Marriott Hotel.

The next stop for the Athletics was New York. Yankee Stadium as we traveled for the American League Championship Series and a win would find us in the World Series. The first two games where in New York, I remember we took the team bus and I was wearing an A’s warm-up jacket (I should have known better, I lived in NY in the late 60’s) as we came out of the bus, some kids where throwing pebbles and stuff at all of us, players and alike as we came out of the bus right in front the stadium. Not a good omen.

The Yankees took the first two games in New York, and ultimately they also beat the A’s on the game at the Oakland Coliseum. We were done for the season. A crazy strike-year, A’s swept the Royals, and then got swept by the Yankees.

In 1981 Julio and yours truly were doing the games for KIQI 1010AM when the owner was Cuban-born Rene DeLa Rosa, a lifelong baseball aficionado, who just a couple of years’ before bought the station from Bay Area communications magnate James Gabbert.

Today and during the last few years the A’s broadcast Spanish station are aired on that same frequency 1010AM/990AM although with new management, studios, but still in San Francisco. The 1981 World Series matched the New York Yankees against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

I covered the games in LA for the radio station with interviews and pre-post game reports, Fernando Valenzuela who was the man for the Dodgers and one of the most popular players in all of baseball sat down with me for a one-on-one, among other players, also colleague friend and Dodger Hall of Fame broadcaster Jaime Jarrin, with whom I would be working a few years later during playoffs for the US and Latin-American Radio networks.

At the end, the Los Angeles Dodgers won in six games and their celebration took place inside their dressing room at Yankee Stadium, as they took that game six in the Bronx.

My memories of the 1981 season are still there, and it reminded me of the current 2020 season. We all know the reasons this season was “delayed” and we know a player strike also reduced 1981 which ended with a bi-coastal World Series between the Yankees and the Dodgers, the TV network dream. Ironically, today 39 years later, the two favorite teams to meet in the World Series in this 60-game season are, the Yankees and the Dodgers. Stay well and stay tuned.

Catch Amaury Pi Gonzalez and Manolo Hernandez-Douen for all of the Oakland A’s Spanish play by play on 1010 KIQI Le Grande San Francisco and Amaury does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: There is No Social Distancing in Football

(lineups.com image) The Houston Texans are scheduled to open the season against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday September 10th

There is No Social Distancing in Football

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

In football the purpose is to move the ball towards the opposition’s end zone ultimately into their end zone to score a touchdown. This is achieved by 1-Running with the ball until you are tacked. 2-Throwing the ball down field to score. And of course, there is a field goal kicker. That is the NFL-type of football we know.

Even when you play “touch football” in a park with friends, we still make contact with each other, that is why we call it “touch football’. Football is antithetical to baseball, where one team on the field is well separated by bases 90 feet apart, and even more of a distance among the three outfielders.

The catcher, the hitter and the umpire are the ones that are closer to each other during most of the game. But, how can you have social distancing in football, when the core of the sport is a brutal confrontation with the purpose of hitting your opponent hard until you beat his brains out.

The NFL is planning to have their season. If it all goes well as the NFL hopes, their season opener will have the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans in their season opener Thursday, September 10. To be followed by a complete 17-week season, then playoffs and eventually Super Bowl 55 in Tampa on February 7, 2021. The league also has contingency plans to start the season later, if necessary. Just like in baseball, although for different reasons, in the case of baseball a labor disagreement between owners and players, the NFL seems to be committed to play a full 2020–21 season.

For the NFL their biggest opponent this season is #19, Covid-19 to be exact. Controversy has followed the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell is not a very popular man. Goodell is like “Captain Obvious” he said (quote) “The NFL in 2020 will not look like other years”.

Special helmets. Sports manufacturing Oakley, who already build face shields for the players have send some NFL teams their new helmets equipped with a Mouth Shield they hope will protect players from Covid-19 for their approval. The biggest challenge for the league is probably not on the playing field, but in the traveling, hotels and especially when players have some free time available.

My favorite quote about football. “Football has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealously, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting”

-George Orwell.

Stay well and stay tuned.

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

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Broadcasting Road Games from Home

(@JessieSanchezMLB file photo 2012)  Oakland A’s Spanish broadcaster and author of That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary Amaury Pi Gonzalez (left) and Manolo Hernandez Douen bring you live A’s action from the Oakland Coliseum on 1010 KIQI San Francisco

Broadcasting Road Games from Home

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

OAKLAND–This season the major league teams will not travel, all 30 of them. The road games will be broadcasted from the city where the visiting team resides, i.e. if the A’s are playing in Seattle, the A’s radio and television announcers are calling the game from Oakland. It could be from the park, or from the radio or television studios. Maybe a new experience for some of my younger colleagues.

Through the years I have done many games from home when my team was on the road. Sometimes at the baseball park inside the booth where the home games are done, many other times, (years ago) from the main radio studios.

Nowadays, it is probably easier, because of social media, you can have the lineups and all the stats you need to call a game in the palm of your hands on your smart-phone. But that was not the case before social media.

I remember if the team was away and I was at home (and I do not mean my house) but the park where my team played or at the radio station of my team. I would have to call the city where the team was playing and talk to a team media-relations person who would dictate to me the lineups, and some of the information I needed. Later when FAX machines ‘came about’, it became easier for me, since I would call the media person and request he/she fax me the game’s lineups as well as the team notes.

Imagine yourself sitting in front of your television, with a microphone that goes directly to the radio and it is live. This is what announcers do when they are “recreating” from the studio when they are not traveling with a team.

Here is a memory from years ago….a broadcast of the Oakland A’s from the Oakland Coliseum when the club was playing the Tampa Bay Rays in Florida. I remember that there was a delay during that game, due to a lighting strike that hit Tropicana Field. The lights went out. I was doing the game from our regular broadcast booth at the Oakland Coliseum. The television went black, my partner and I keep talking baseball explaining to the radio audience what had happened.

It was a coincidence that during that game Carl Stewart from the Bay Area News Group was writing a story about our production, and he was in awe as Manolo Hernández-Douen and yours truly, who kept talking baseball during blackout in Tampa. Many minutes later, the game was back on our screen and we continued the regular play by play and commentary coverage of the game.

Today, when the Athletics are at home and the game is on local television, you can go to the SAP channel and watch the game while you listen to our broadcast in Spanish. Today we have all the technology, but I understand what my colleagues, who used to travel all the time, will be going through, by calling these road games from the city where the team is from a television screen. It is not easy, even for the most experienced broadcasters, because there is nothing, like calling the game where the game is taking place, in the same stadium, the normal way.

Stay well and stay tuned.

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

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: How much of the blame will MLB Commish Manfred take on crisis?; plus more

Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle was one of the first players to speak out against the idea of playing a season in a pandemic and in the last 24 hours MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has been catching a lot of the blame (photo from Yahoo!)

On That’s Amaury’s Podcast:

#1 MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is in a real spot here he pushed for baseball to go ahead with this 60 game schedule and players like the Washington Nationals Sean Doolittle and the Cincinnati Reds Trevor Bauer said they should just shelve this season and now MLB has a huge outbreak of Covid.

#2 The Miami Marlins have half their team out positive with Coronavirus held up in a hotel room in Philadelphia quarantined and two MLB games were canceled that pretty much has other clubs in fear and also pretty much puts the season in danger of being canceled.

#3 The Detroit Tigers manager Rob Gardenhire said that he’s nervous to play the Cincinnati Reds since second baseman Mike Moustakas and Reds outfielder Nick Senzel are reported to being sick while a unnamed teammate has tested positive for Covid 19.

#4 Amaury from the famous Utah Jazz Rudy Gobert incident when he rubbed his hands all over the microphones and laughing about the Covid threat later got Corona now fast forward to baseball some of the players, talk show hosts and those who work in the game say this should have never launched from day one.

#5 Amaury do you think the NHL and the NBA got it right and have a bubble in Orlando for the NBA and in Canada for the NHL will the NFL be next because of the nature of the game being a sweat swapping contact sport?

Join Amaury is the Oakland A’s Spanish announcer on 1010 KIQI San Francisco and join Amaury each Tuesday for That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Toronto Blue Jays are Homeless as 2020 season begins

Pennsylvania Department of Health have ruled against the Toronto Blue Jays sharing PNC Park with the Pittsburgh Pirates because of the increased cases of Covid-19 (photo from tripadvisor.com)

Toronto Blue Jays are Homeless as 2020 season begins

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

The Toronto Blue Jays might have to play their full 60-game season on the road after PNC Park the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates (team they were talking to) denied them access to play their 30 home games at PNC.

Statement by the Pennsylvania Department of Health:

“In recent weeks, we have seen a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in southwestern Pennsylvania,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a statement.

“To add travelers to this region for any reason, including for professional sports events, risks residents, visitors and members of both teams. We know that this virus does not discriminate, and can even make professional athletes very sick. We are committed to protecting the health and well-being of all Pennsylvanians.”

Over the weekend, the Blue Jays were denied by the Canadian Government to use their home station Rogers Centre, because they feared bringing American League East teams to Toronto could spread the Coronavirus in the largest city in Canada.

On Monday the Pirates announced they were in discussions with the Blue Jays and MLB, hoping they could host the Toronto team at PNC Park this season.

The Blue Jays will begin their season this Friday the 24th as they are expected to play the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida.

In the meantime MLB is trying desperately to find the Homeless Blue Jays a home for 30 games.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio play by play lead announcer on 1010 KIQI San Francisco and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: MLB 2020 will it be remembered as “Fake Season?”

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner who is noted for his pretty good use of the bat will not be able to hit as the National League for the first time will be using the universal designated hitter one of the firsts in baseball that Amaury talks about in today’s commentary (arizonarepublic.com file photo)

MLB 2020: Will it be remembered as the “Fake Season”

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Will this 2020 season that begins this week be remembered as the season when these things happened? At least ten (10) of them.

1-The Canadian team was not allowed to play in Canada. 2-The first season when there was a new “Virus DL” list. 3- First season when National League used the Designated Hitter. 4- First season when no fan caught a foul ball at a game. 5- First season when many players and umpires opted-out prior to the inaugural game. 6-First season when a game went extra-innings and the team batting in the top of the 10 th automatically starts the frame with a runner at second-base. 7-First time all parking lots at each park are empty. 8-First season each team broadcaster radio and television works inside a whole booth alone. 9-First time all schedule promotions at each park, like the tickets, will be a collector’s item and 10- A 60-game season that is not completed, because of extenuating circumstances.

I am sure there will be other “firsts” like in some places the National Anthem might not be played. Many people that are invited by teams to sing, will not be there, and a plethora of other stuff.

No question we are embarking into this season just like when in early August of 1492 Spain King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain financed the trip by Italian mariner Christopher Columbus who sailed from Spain with three small ships, and in late August sighted Cuba, which he thought it was mainland China. Later Columbus (who didn’t have a GPS) landed in Hispaniola (today Dominican Republic) and thought it might be Japan. Obviously and inadvertently, as history would have it, Columbus was involved with three baseball countries; Cuba, Dominican Republic and Japan. He struck-out on China.

Hopefully this 60-game season will be completed as planned and fans hungry for the game WILL get a taste of a season that will be marked with asterisks. A very realistic possibility exists that some baseball historians will regard the 2020 season as the “fake season”.

As much as I love the game of baseball, I still have my feet planted on the ground and this is how I see it. You might agree, or disagree. I will always respect your opinion as long as we can remain a free country.

Stay well and stay tuned.

Catch Amaury for Spanish A’s broadcasts on the A’s Spanish flagship station at 1010 KIQI San Francisco and News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Oh No Canada!

Rogers Centre in Toronto the usual home of the Toronto Blue Jays but not this season because of the huge pandemic issues in the US. The Canadian government is not allowing teams from the US in Toronto (ballparksofbaseball.com file photo)

Oh No Canada!

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

The Federal Government of Canada has prohibited the Toronto Blue Jays of playing at their home field Rogers Centre this season, because of their necessary travel to the US and the dangers of Covid-19 to the Canadian citizens. 2020 keeps bringing us unprecedented situations.

According to sources, the Blue Jays are considering two places; Dunedin, Florida,their Spring Training Home or Buffalo New York, their Triple A affiliate. But those two places present challenges. Dunedin is in Florida, today one of the hottest spots for the virus in the US and Buffalo, that park in Buffalo doesn’t have lights to major league standards, not to mention that New York State has been hit hard by the virus.

Canada has not been hit as hard by Covid-19, but to be fair to the US. Canada by territory is larger than the United States, their total population is 37 million people while the US is around 325 million. The State of California alone has a larger population than Canada, with around 40 million.

Ironically the Blue Jays are scheduled to open the season next Friday the 24th against the Rays at Tampa Bay. Looks like Florida is in the cards for the Jays one way or another.

Less than a week remains for a decision, where the Toronto team will be playing their 30 home games this year. But one thing is for sure, it will not be at their home park and country of Canada.

Stay tuned and stay well.

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

 

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Yasiel Puig with Los Bravos

Former Cleveland outfielder Yasiel Puig is headed to the Atlanta Braves after signing a deal with Atlanta (sportscasting.com file photo)

Yasiel Puig with Los Bravos

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi Gonzalez

The Cuban-born outfielder who was rumored to sign with the San Francisco Giants is signing a one-year deal with the Atlanta Braves. Aside from the Giants, the Orioles also showed interest in the controversial Puig.  Atlanta is much closer to Miami, where Puig makes his home, a 1 hour 30 minutes flight instead of Baltimore, or a coastal flight from San Francisco. So, I am sure he is elated to play that close to home, with a contending team loaded with Latino players..

In this short 60-game season that is a week away, Puig can rotate with one of the very best young outfields in the game, the sensational 22-year old super star Ronald Acuña Jr., Ender Enciarte and Marcell Ozuna, all three Latino players to the delight of Puig who speaks English but prefers Spanish.

Puig could easily find himself in another World Series; the Atlanta Braves are that talented of a team. He would probably be their DH when they play teams in the American League, since this season National League teams will be allowed to have a designated hitter. Puig could prove to be a very good acquisition for Los Bravos, or it could also be a disaster, because with him a team is basically ‘rolling the dice’. It is as simple as that.

The great Manuel (Manny) Mota worked with a young Puig when he arrived to the US, and played for his first team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mota for years always told me when I asked him if he wanted to manage, he always told me, he did not, because he believed he wanted to teach young players and he has done that very well for many years, especially with young Latino players.

Yasiel Puig had a very dangerous escape from Cuba, he is very talented, I would say he was given some God-given talents that you really cannot teach, but he is also a liability, and there are certain players that do not listen to good advice, they just do what they want to do. I am not one that subscribe to giving players nicknames, but one of the best ever given was from the great former Dodger announcer Vin Scully, when he called Yasiel Puig “The Wild Horse”.

Puig is a very colorful man, he has a big heart and is very popular with the Hispanic community. He used to visit Porto’s, a great Cuban chain of restaurants in the Los Angeles Area and was famous for treating lots of people at that wonderful and very popular eatery. He seems to enjoy playing baseball as much as anybody I have ever seen, granted his “style” is not approved by a lot of people. Yasiel Puig is a fun guy to see play and now he will be wearing the Bravos de Atlanta uniform, his fourth team, so far, since he arrived from Cuba.

Note: KIQI 1010AM/KATD 990AM(10,000 Watts) San Francisco, covering the Bay Area and Sacramento continues as the Spanish radio home for the Athletics as they will carry 26 LIVE home games, all Friday, Saturday and Sunday games as well as all night games from the Oakland Coliseum

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com