That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: MLB says a deal must be in place by 5 pm today or first week of regular season will canceled

Both MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred (left) and MLB Players executive Tony Clark (right) are seen at 2017 World Baseball Classic in file photo. Both MLB and the Players Union have agreed to extend negotiations until 5 PM today in Jupiter FL Tue Mar 1, 2022 (file photo from Bleed Cubbie Blue)

MLB and MLB Players called it a night at 2:30 AM EST and will resume negotiations later this morning

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi Gonzalez

Major League Baseball and the Major League Players Union reported at 2:30 AM that there are still some gaps in some of the major issues. Both sides will resume meeting later this morning but MLB has said that if an agreement is not met by 5:00pm EST today the first week of the regular season will be canceled which is scheduled to start on March 31st.

Owners and players negotiated past the “deadline” that had been established by Commissioner Rob Manfred, which was 12:00 midnight, Feb 28. According to the Commissioner and MLB baseball that deadline, if not met, would have canceled at least Opening Day March 31.

A day prior to this agreement the owners said they will be ready to cancel all the games in the month of April. MLB locked out the players last December 2. The season is suppose to begin on March 31.

If a new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) is agreed upon it would expire in 2027.

More details to come.

Catch Amaury Pi Gonzalez with all the latest on the MLB-MLBPA negotiations on Tuesday’s podcast at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Headline Sports with Tony Renteria: Will the rest of Mickelson’s sponsors walk out on him; Holmes could be on his way out at Kings; plus more

Phil Mickelson seen here during the third round at the PGA Championship golf tournament on the Ocean Course on May 22, 2021. Mickelson this week lost two of his sponsors because on controversial remarks made possibly joining a Saudi super golf league (AP file photo)

On Headline Sports with Tony Renteria:

#1 After golfer Phil Mickelson’s remarks in his new autobiography that were actually suppose to be off the record according to Mickelson saying that the idea of a Super Golf league in Saudi Arabia would be a great idea and saying he was aware of human rights abuses in Saudi including the death of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi who was murdered on Oct 2, 2018 by Saudi and Turkish officials in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul that he would like to join a Saudi Super golf league. After the remarks were published Mickelson’s sponsors Heineken and Amstel dropped him. Because of the heavy fall out of the remarks do you think Mickelson could lose the rest of his sponsors?

#2 Talk to the hand: The Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard has received a tsunami of coverage since his open slap to the head of the Wisconsin Cowboys assistant coach Jake Krabbenhoft after the line hand shake last Sun Feb 20th. Howard who was suspended for the rest of the season and fined $40,000. Howard will be back in front of the bench on March 9th for the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis.

#3 Tony talk about former Oakland A’s pitcher Goose Gossage who said this week that he would to stuff Yankees general manager Brian Cashman in the trash bin head first for using analytics saying “it breaks my heart what happened to this game.” Gossage said he would like to punch MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in the nose. Baseball writer Bob Nightengale wrote “what is Gossage doing these days? Nothing but burning bridges.”

#4 How much danger does baseball get into if they can’t get an agreement this Sunday and as announced by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred the beginning of the season March 31st could you see one to three weeks of the regular canceled?

#5 The Sacramento Kings after picking up Domantas Sabonis most likely will trade Richaun Holmes. If that happens Holmes would have played for the Kings for three seasons since the 2019-20 Holmes is averaging 11 points per game.

Join Tony for Headline Sports each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: MLB and Players Union to meet Thursday January 13

MLB union chief Tony Clark, right, and lead union negotiator Bruce Meyer at a press conference last Thu Jan 6, 2022 in Arlington. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Clark and Meyer hope to solve the lockout as MLB and the Players Union meet Thu Jan 13, 2022 (AP News photo)

MLB and Players Union to meet Thursday January 13

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Commissioner Rob Manfred on behalf of MLB announced the current lock-out on December 2, 2021.

Here some of the most interesting issues they are hope to address and eventually come to agreement.

1-Minimum salary: A rookie at the end of 2021 salary was $570,000. The players union is looking for a raise that could go for a minimum of between $700,000 to $750,000 and there could be a compromise here. Today baseball rookies have the lowest salary among the four top pro-sports league. Here are the others: NBA: $925,000, NHL: $775,000, NFL $660,000. While MLS is $81,000. (All players have to pay taxes and a fee to their respective agents)


2-Free Agent: Today a rookie becomes a free agent when he reaches his sixth year of service. The MLBPA thinks it should be five years, not six. Unlike the minimum salary this one could be tougher to come to an agreement as the owners do not see it the same way as the players. You cannot ‘split the baby’ here, is either one or the other. The owners always want to keep a player under control for as long as they can.

3-Expanding the Playoffs: This one is about the owners wanting to have 14 teams in the playoffs, while the players want 12. Of course with 14 teams there will be more revenues. But some say it diminishes competition, the season is already a long 162 game campaign. But, do you want a team with 75 wins to be in the Playoffs? However, there is Money here and never bet against money. Television loves this. I think there is a good chance this makes it to the owner’s delight of 14 playoff teams.

4-NBA Style Draft Lottery: If above is approved and the postseason expands to 14 teams then the remaining 16 teams in MLB would enter a draft lottery like in basketball.

5-Universal Designated Hitter: There is plenty to chew here. I know many fans and regular media people that are split on this and I have heard all sides. One: Why should David “Big Papi” Ortíz be a Hall of Famer, he was a one-dimensional player, a hitter. The other side: Yes, true, but he played for 20 years and hit 541 home runs and was a leader. For those that forgot already, as a rookie in 1997 Ortíz played 15 games at first base for his first team, the Minnesota Twins. Like it or Not, the DH is going to the National League, just like the Umpires used to wear different garb in the AL and the NL and for decades now they all wear the same.

Other topics: Revenue Sharing, Salary Arbitration, Remove Qualifying Offer and like always some tax matters than are way too boring even for some very bored accountants.

Finally: Like any negotiations of this magnitude, no one side is going to get everything they want. My father used to say “a half loaf of bread is better than no bread at all”. Let’s hope that they can come to something of an agreement that would satisfy both owners and players. For the good of the game.

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

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Major League Baseball officially in lockout; First work stoppage since 1994

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred (left) and Major League Players Association Executive Tony Clark (right) confer during the 2021 World Series at Minute Maid Field in Houston. The two sides met on Wed Dec 1, 2021 for just seven minutes and adjourned as the lock out became official. (file photo from Newsday)

Major League Baseball Officially in Lockout

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

At 12:00 AM (midnight) Thursday, December 2, 2021, owners lockout players after both sides failed to come to a contract of a new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). For the first time since 1994-1995 there is a Lockout in the game.

The best news is that this is happening early, with two-and-a half months before all 30 teams report to their respective training camps in Arizona and Florida. The 2022 season is scheduled to begin on March 31.

Without a new CBA, which is the negotiated accord that governs 99.9 % of the working relationships between MLB and MLBPA (players association), there is no baseball, there are no games, and transactions between teams are now frozen. During a lockout, free agency and trades of major league players are not allowed.

To make this clear: A strike is when the labor side (players and their union) puts a halt to operations, while a lockout is when management (owners) initiates the stoppage. In other words; a strike is when the players refuse to work while a lockout is when the owners refuse to permit the players to play. In this case, it is a lockout.

During the past three weeks, teams have spent close to $2 billion dollars in player signings. Max Scherzer, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Robbie Gray, Byron Buxton, Kevin Gausman, and Javy Baez are among some of the players that have gotten new contracts with new teams between $100 million to $325.

By looking at these signings we would think the business of baseball is doing great. Owners do not pay these contracts, because they are “nice guys”, as blunt as it sounds, owners do not go into the baseball business to be nice, but to make money.

Because many of them want to win and want to hire the best talent available they make these investments. The MLB revenues have increased from less than $5 billion in 2005 to more than $10 billion, during the last pre-pandemic season.

I cannot believe this lockout could go into the 2022 season, but if that happens nobody should be shocked. There is too much at stake here for the game. Aside from this two protagonists (owners and players), there are many others that work in the game of baseball around the 30 major league cities in the country.

They all want stability in their lives, anxiety is considered a disorder and it is not pretty. Teams also like to plan for sponsors, ticket sales, promotions, many peoples livelihood depends on the business of baseball and the majority are not players or owners.

There are many things that both sides are and will have to negotiate for the next CBA contract (usually a contract of this sort last for 5 years). Below are just a few of those:

-Pitch clock (yes, to ‘speed-up’ the game) -Creation of a “salary floor” -Salary arbitration for players after two years, not the three currently. A quicker path to free agency. -Universal Designated Hitter -Revenue sharing (in 2021 a modified, Loan-based revenue sharing was adopted) And many other issues that will not take a week or two to come to an agreement, or maybe it will? We can only go from the previous record of these type of negotiations and it is not a pretty sight.

“Baseball is like a poker game. Nobody wants to quit when he’s losing; nobody wants you to quit when you’re ahead.” -Jackie Robinson.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: A’s Port of Oakland buildings, railroad and gondola

No word yet on the Oakland A’s Howard Terminal ball park but baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is losing patience (artists rendition of Oakland A’s Howard Terminal ballpark image from Piedmont Exedra)

A’s- Port Of Oakland, Buildings, Railroad and Gondola.

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

Recently commissioner of Major League Baseball Rob Manfred said he is not optimistic about a new deal to keep the team in A’s in Oakland. He made the remarks to the Sports Business Journal and confirmed relocation is on the table for the A’s but not only to Las Vegas but as well to other locations in other cities.

Manfred said that Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland A’s need new ballparks, but reiterated (as he has done in the past) that Oakland is the team right now that concerns him the most. Manfred said (quote) “Frankly, in some ways we’re not sure we see a path to success, in terms of getting something built in Oakland.”

The commissioner is following the situation in Oakland and could be worried about the points listed below, that seems to be on the table between both parties.

Below deals with some of these topics.

-Port of Oakland. How can the ballpark affect the Port of Oakland operations? Concerns that the port needs to expand to accommodate large cargo ships. That this would be more difficult with a baseball stadium at Howard Terminal. Port of Oakland workers have demonstrated in front of the A’s team owner John Fisher in San Francisco as they are against the proposal to build the new stadium at Howard Terminal. Workers say that will displace blue collar jobs.

-Buildings. The Athletics plan calls for Howard Terminal to build one (1) residential tower as high as 600 feet and another at 400 feet tall. These buildings would compete with designs such as the Ordway building, which is 400 feet tall and the tallest building in downtown Oakland. Ordway building is also known as #1 Kaiser Plaza.

-Railroad. The DRC (Oakland Design Review Committee) wants a safe way for the visitors to the park to avoid the railroad tracks altogether. The DRC is concerned with the safety of people to get to the park across the railroad crossings. AMTRAK trains travels right in front of Jack London Square. Note. Union Pacific controls the rails.

-Gondola. In 2019 the Oakland A’s proposed the idea of a gondola to take fans from BART to Howard Terminal. However, this idea was not in the plans and reviewed by the committee. The proposal was to move fans from downtown Oakland to a stadium at Howard Terminal. The fans would be “ferried” via an elevated gondola similar to what you might see at a ski resort to the stadium. Looks like the gondola is a No Go.

Above are some of the key points to be discussed by the Alameda Board of Supervisors this October 26. As of today the official agenda for the meeting still pending and has not been announced to the public.

It seems that Commissioner Rob Manfred, who has put a clock in baseball to ‘speed up’ the game, has also put the A’s on the clock when it comes to the new Howard Terminal ballpark.

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

Headline Sports with Tony Renteria: Bickerstaff take over coaching reigns in Cleveland; NFL to add more playoff teams; plus more

cavsnation.com photo: New Cleveland Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff will take over the coaching duties after former head coach John Beilein resigned

On Headline Sports with Tony R:

#1 The Cleveland Cavaliers John Beilein resigned as head coach and replaced him with JB Bickerstaff who is the son of former NBA head coach Bernie Bickerstaff who coached around the league for many years.

#2 The NFL are adding more playoff teams will this be a matter of making the post season more competitive or is the NFL just milking that much more

#3 The Kings have won four of their last seven games and host the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night at Golden One Center their coming off two tough loses to Milwaukee and Dallas

#4 The players in baseball are ready to riot as MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is under pressure by the players to take the World Series Trophy back from Houston and officially cross the Astros off as the 2017 World Champions

#5 The sign stealing scandal has dominated baseball so much its all anyone talks about will fights with the Astros turn the average fan off and they’ll go somewhere else?

Tony Renteria talks Headline Sports each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Bang the drum slowly; Terrible 2020 for Puerto Rico; Alex Cora is Out as Red Sox Manager

abchouston13.com file photo: Former Boston Red Sox manager Joey Corey was fired on Tuesday by the Boston Red Sox after it was disclosed that he over saw the technology of sign stealing via TV monitors and plastic cans as drums when as bench coach of the Houston Astros and manager of the Red Sox

Terrible 2020 for Puerto Rico: Alex Cora is Out as Red Sox Manager

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

Days after Puerto Rico was shaken by powerful earthquakes, another thing has shaken the island. A day after the Houston Astros fired their Manager and General Manager, the Boston Red Sox part ways with their manager Alex Cora. This decision directly related to the investigation of the Astros sign-stealing allegations in the 2017 season. Cora was the bench coach for the Astros in 2017 and was found to have been involved in the operations from the replay room to transmit the signs in game situations.

Commissioner Rob Manfred statement on Alex Cora: “Cora was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs,” Manfred wrote in his findings. “Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players’ conduct. I will withhold determining the appropriate level of discipline for Cora until after the [Department of Investigations] completes its investigation of the allegations that the Red Sox engaged in impermissible electronic sign stealing in 2018 while Cora was the manager.”

Alex Cora won the World Series as manager of the Boston Red Sox in 2018, becoming the first manager born in Puerto Rico to do so. Carlos Beltrán named new manager for the New York Mets last year, after season’s end, is also under investigation as he also was part of decision making for the the Houston team.

This has been a terrible beginning of this 2020 year for the island of Puerto Rico. The recent earthquakes that continue to devastate the island and now what just happened with Cora and also potentially Carlos Beltrán also born in Puerto Rico. The difference is that Beltrán has not managed his first game yet this upcoming season.

We probably have not heard the last on the sign-stealing scandal. And there should be more to come.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez has been covering the MLB sign stealing scandal and is the Oakland A’s radio Spanish play by play announcer on KIQI 1010 and does News and Commentary each week at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

MLB The Show 2019 World Series podcast with Daniel Dullum: Astros stay alive, even series 2-2; plus more

photo from the Washington Post: Yordan Alvarez put the Astros on the board first with a two-run home run in the second inning. (Jonathan Newton /The Washington Post)

On the MLB The Show 2019 World Series podcast with Daniel:

1 World Series tied at 2-2 after Astros take Game 4; home team yet to win

2 Nationals fans boo Astros’ Roberto Osuna in wake of controversy

3 Commissioner Rob Manfred said President Trump opted out of World Series’ first pitch to improve fan experience

4 Red Sox hire Tampa Bay Rays’ Chaim Bloom as Head of Baseball Operations

5 Longtime MLB umpire Chuck Meriweather dies at 63, second umpire to die this month after Eric Cooper

Daniel did MLB commentary throughout the 2019 season and will return next Sunday doing NHL podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Maple bats: Do they cause more harm than good?

In this June 4, 2013 photo, the wood of choice for the Uppercut Bat is a high grade piece of Maple that can be custom ordered and designed with a variety of stains and paints, at the Uppercut Bat Company in Tupelo, Miss. Ever since the game of baseball was invented, players have needed two essential pieces of equipment: a ball and a bat. The Uppercut Bat Co. is less than two years old, but it has drawn a legion of fans and customers who have taken to the company’s wood bats. (AP Photo/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Thomas Wells)

By: Ana Kieu

Maple bats became popular after the MLB introduced the first sanctioned model in 1997.

Former outfielder and first baseman Joe Carter was the first baseball player to use a maple bat. Carter played for the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, San Diego Padres, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles and San Francisco Giants. In his professional career, he hit 396 home runs and drove in 1,445 runs. He was also named to five All-Star teams.

Former left fielder Barry Bonds used maple bats over the course of his career. Bonds broke the MLB’s single-season home run record in 2001. He also broke a career home run record in 2007. He finished the season with 28 home runs, 66 RBIs, 340 at-bats and a .276 batting average. He led both the American League and National League with 132 walks. He became a free agent on October 29, 2007. He served as a hitting coach for the Miami Marlins in 2016.

The validity of maple bats decreased in 2010. The MLB inspected them after they began to shatter at a faster rate. The doubtfulness surrounding maple bats revived after Chicago Cubs rookie Tyler Colvin was struck in the chest by a piece of a broken bat. As a result, Colvin was hospitalized in stable condition and sidelined for the rest of the season.

Despite the incident involving Colvin, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that eliminating maple bats was impossible due to a shortage of high-quality ash. However, Scott Drake, vice president of communications for TECO, said that Louisville Sluggers could produce some bats made completely of ash. Although there’s a shortage of ash, the overall supply hasn’t been hollow just yet.

The close call for Colvin should’ve been enough for the MLB to take steps towards action. The league shouldn’t have to wait until a player dies on the baseball field before the necessary changes are made in bats. In 2010, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said the same thing and put an emphasis on how the league would wait too long for an in-game death.

Colvin’s injury came two years after the MLB started looking into the issue of shattered maple bats. 2,232 bats broke in the final three months of the 2008 season. 756 of those bats separated into multiple pieces. It’s obvious the problem came from the increased use of bats made from maple, but all we can do is educate ourselves about the dangers and risks until the league wakes up to smell the coffee.

Maple bats can cause more harm than good.

Baseball and Softball return to 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

 

Olympics Day 12 - Baseballby Charlie O. Mallonee

The International Olympic Committee announced yesterday in Rio de Janeiro that five sports would be added to the 2020 games in Tokyo including baseball and softball. Both sports made their exit from Olympic competition following the Beijing games in 2008.

Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said, “The inclusion of the package of new sports will afford young athletes the chance of a lifetime to realise their dreams of competing in the Olympic Games – the world’s greatest sporting stage – and inspire them to achieve their best, both in sport and in life.”

Softball teams will have 15 player rosters while baseball teams will allowed to carry 24 players.The plan is to use existing and temporary venues for the competitions.

“We are excited about the IOC’s announcement restoring baseball and softball to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a news release. “Baseball and Softball are global sports that belong in the Olympics. We are grateful to the IOC executive board, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and the World Baseball Softball Confederation for their collective efforts, which will allow fans throughout the world to again enjoy Baseball and Softball on the Olympic stage.”

The planned dates for the 2020 games are July 24 to August 9 which put them in the heart of baseball’s regular season. Unlike hockey which has shutdown its schedule to allow its top players to participate in the Olympics, baseball has sent its top minor league players to represent the country in the games. Major League Baseball is very resistant to change and not very creative when it comes to finding solutions to problems.

MLB has been exploring a shortened season. The 2020 season would be the ideal time to cut back to 154 or 144 games and then take a two-week break to allow “big leaguers” to play in the Olympics. Teams could bring in their farm teams to play in the big stadiums, let fans attend for free and make money on parking and concessions.

The major league clubs could rotate players in and out of Tokyo. Send a player in for a one to two games and then bring then bring them home allowing another MLB player to take their place.

If the owners just cannot get on board with allowing their players to be gone that long, then they could take a five-day break and play the 2020 All-Star Game in Tokyo as part of Games.The Home Run Derby and the game would be a true international event. How about a MLB versus the World All-Star Game? The possibilities are limitless. Baseball just needs to quit thinking like its 1929 and jump into the 21st century.

OLYMPICS: Softball-USA vs Japan

The return of softball to the Olympics will have a very positive effective on women’s softball in the USA. There is a considerable following for softball at the college level but there is a tremendous drop off of interest and coverage of the sport at the professional level. The National Pro Fastpitch League has six teams located in South, Midwest and Eastern states and does not receive much attention from the mass media.

The reestablishment of an Olympic program should generate renewed interest in the sport beyond the college level and give players the opportunities to grow their sport before a larger audience. The Olympic involvement should also bring more sponsorships and money to the sport which will be good for the coaches and players.

“Today’s decision is an important milestone in the sport’s history and a momentous day for baseball/softball’s estimated 65 million athletes in over 140 countries, as well as millions more fans around the world,” said WBSC president Riccardo Fraccari. “On behalf of the WBSC and all the athletes, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to the Tokyo 2020 leadership for putting their faith in our sport to begin with; to IOC president Thomas Bach, whose Olympic Agenda 2020 vision has made this opportunity a reality; and to all IOC members for recognizing the valuable contribution the sport can make to the Olympic Movement.A key part of baseball/softball’s popularity is the universality of the sport. It offers an accessible route for young people all over the world to play and stay in sport.”

In 2020, we know it will be the “women’s softball dream team” playing for Team USA in Tokyo. Will it be the “men’s baseball dream team” or the “who is that team” for Team USA baseball? Only time and money will tell.