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: 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: 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

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Until a Vaccine is available

Korean Organization Baseball players with masks prepare to play in front of an empty stadium (mercurynews.com file photo)

Until a Vaccine is Available

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

In the next few days Major League Baseball will present,what might be the final proposal to the players union in order to start the 2020 baseball season by early July..The South Korean Professional League.started playing last week and Athletics third-base coach Matt Williams is managing the KIA Tigers. Dan Straily,once a pitcher for the Oakland Athletics is now pitching for the Lotte Giants. A total of ten (10) teams make the South Korean Professional Baseball League. Umpires there are playing with Masks.And no fans.

There is a reason why MLB is the #1 baseball league in the world, not only the best talent in baseball all over the world, plays there, but we also have a total of 30 teams. And of those 30 teams, the State of California (the most populous with close to 40 million residents) also has the most teams, five (5) of those 30; Angels, Athletics, Dodgers, Giants and Padres.

According to the Mercury News, California Governor Gavin Newsom says restarting sports is ‘difficult to image’until a vaccine is available. The state is just beginning Phase Two, of four phases with Phase Four the reopening of sporting events with fans. The state won’t move into the final phase of Newsom’s plan, which includes the reopening of sporting events to fans, until immunity to COVID-19 has increased and a vaccine is widely available.

Wonder about when a Covid-19 vaccine will happen? Nobody and everybody is an expert,depends what you see, hear or read. Oxford has said they might have it by summer’s end or early fall.

The experts virologists have many models and they have been all-over-the-place with their projections, not every time they have been right. The Media is all over the place,”experts” coming out of the woods, some very optimistic, others say this pandemic will go for the next two(2) years. But remember, scientist do not work for ratings, the media does, so they can generate revenues, so they can go on the air. So for me.all regular networks, cable, talk shows. Late night shows, it is just entertainment, because they are as opinionated as ever and in this case as ignorant as ever. So, who knows?

Mr.Walter G. Gibson created a fictional character The Shadow, one of the most famous of the pulp heroes of the 1930’s and 1940’s and he used to say “Only the Shadow knows”.

Adiós and Stay Well.

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

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Passing of A’s minor leaguer Miguel Marte; Tyler Rogers and Taylor Rogers twins who could have matched up; plus more

Oakland A’s minor league first baseman Miguel Marte who passed away Friday at age 30 from complications from Covid-19 (mercurynews.com file photo)

On Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1 Happy Cinco DeMayo Amaury, the sad news about Oakland A’s minor league player Miguel Marte who passed away from Covid-19 complications early last week. Marte was 30 and hit .230 with three home runs in his final season in 2012. He played for the A’s organization from 2008-12.

#2 The San Francisco Giants almost had two brothers who almost face each other the Giants Tyler Rogers and the Minnesota Twins Taylor Rogers and yes both are twins but Tyler is not a Minnesota Twin.

#3 The Oakland A’s had two heavy loses this week with Miguel Mante who we talked about to pen today’s podcast and their there was A’s pitcher Matt Keough who passed away over the weekend at age 64. Keough was part of the Fine Aces consisting of Brian Kingman, Rick Langford, Steve McCatty, and Mike Norris.

#4 Former Five Ace pitcher and A’s teammate Rick Langford said, “I was proud to call him friend I’m so sad he’s gone”

#5 With a number of states opening up is this a safe indication that there might be a chance that baseball could opening in the not too far future.

Join Amaury each week for That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Say Adiós to my Little Friend: Instant Replay

MLB struck an agreement with its umpires on a new deal Friday, according to AP (photo by AP)

Say Adiós to my Little Friend: Instant Replay

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

If there is a 2020 baseball season, there is a very good chance the Instant Replay will disappear. It would be a shortened season by the Covid-19 pandemic. Although is not official yet, sources say it looks like both sides came to an agreement. The umpires are guaranteed 50 percent of their salaries for the month of May, but nothing else is there are no season and no games are played.

The Major League Umpires make on average $150,000 to $450, 000 plus, if just one regular season game is played this season the umpires are guaranteed about onethird of their salaries. Umpires already have been paid from January to April. Looks like the umps will do well either way. The MLB Umpires Union said in a statement, they were pleased to reach this agreement with the commissioner’s office.

The old saying ‘the glass is half full or half empty ‘applies to the record since 2014. When the Instant Replay was established, with about half of the challenged calls resulting in reversal. In other words, major league umpires, missed half of the challenged plays and are right on the other half.

There still no timetable for an Opening Day. The parks where they are proposing to play in Arizona and Florida are not wired for the replay review, so they would play these games without no fans, and no replays. On the other hand, it seems what the owners do not want is the “replay review”.

A good scenario would be to open the season/play in Arizona and Florida and then later, if there is an effective treatment for the virus (most experts do not expect a vaccine until 2021) and then move to the original baseball parks where all 30 teams play, under the new proposed realignment of merging both leagues into three by geographical logic: East, Central and West. Even then, it would be with no fans.

Revenues? The games will be entirely for television that means the TV revenue is the only revenue generated. No fans, No tickets sold, concessions or parking. The rest we must leave to the financial experts, but anyway you look at this, is a very ugly situation.

Finally: Since we are talking about numbers, I will make it very simple. In my book there is a 50-50 of a season in 2020.Those are my best odds.

Stay well.

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

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Kapler says Puig most likely will not join Giants

Former Cleveland outfielder Yasiel Puig leans against the dugout last season is negotiating with the San Francisco Giants in a deal that is reported to be close to getting done. (AP photo)

On That’s Amaury’s podcast:

#1 Giants manager Gabe Kapler said that a deal acquiring Yasiel Puig is not even close but sources said that Puig was for awhile on the Giants radar. How much would have a Yasiel Puig acquisition would have meant to the Giants.

#2 Yasiel had a reputation when he played with Los Angeles, Cincinnati and Cleveland and there were players who reportedly didn’t like him. He’s been shipped around since LA how would have fit in at the Giants?

#3 There is no doubt Puig is a talent with Cleveland he hit .267, 148 hits, 24 homers and 84 RBIs he can definitely provide power in the Giants offense.

#4  Would Puig have been the  same or somewhat kind of personality that former Giant Barry Bonds was in the clubhouse and field to the game?

#5 Some of the things that were said about Puig by some of his former teammates that he could be controversial and self fish could those issues be distractions if he had joined the Giants?

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

 

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Baseball in Cuba could start before US

Cuban baseball will be back April 30th after the Coronavirus shutdown well before Major League Baseball will consider coming back (AP file photo)

Baseball in Cuba could start before US

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

According to the Havana Times. All official sports events have been canceled in Cuba until April 30th at least, in response to the global Coronavirus pandemic. That includes baseball,the one sport that people have been playing almost as long as the United States. The population of the largest island in the Caribbean is approximately 11.5 million and as of today Cuba’s total of 1,389 Covid-19 cases and 58 dead.

It would be easy to start baseball in Cuba,because everything is controlled by their government. There are no complications like here in the US with MLB the MLB Players Union,the 50 different States/politics open or not open for business and of course a much smaller country..

Here is easily explained:

1-Owners of teams. None. The Cuban communist government owns baseball and all other sports.

2-Players. Baseball players get paid by the government and the stars make around equivalent of $2,000 per year.

3-Fans/Games. Cubans pay subsidized prices of just a few centavos

4-Media. Private ownership of broadcast media(radio,TV,print is prohibited)and the government owns all mainstream media outlets *(below)

5-Largest most famous Stadium: Estadio Latinoamericano, Havana, 55,000 capacity,build in 1946.

*Cubans were allowed to have cell phones in 2010,however the Internet is very limited and strongly censored.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast: Roberto Clemente #21 should be retired

Roberto Clemente in his 1964 Topps Giants Card photo with the Pittsburgh Pirates (sportsmemorabila.com file photo)

Roberto Clemente #21 should be retired

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Although he was not the first Hispanic to play major league baseball, Roberto Clemente remains the most famous among all born in Latin America to play in the best baseball league in the world, and definitely the most historic figure.

There is only one number that was retired by all teams, and that was Jackie Robinson’s #42 in 1997. In Pittsburgh, were he played for his whole 18 year Hall of Fame career, there is a bronze statue of him at PNC Park and even the six street bridges, which is now the Roberto Clemente Bridge. Now, there are many statues of players, but how many do you know have a bridge with his name?

Just like Robinson, Clemente played under a lot of discrimination. Clemente also met racism in many forms, unlike Jackie Robinson, because, Clemente (from Puerto Rico) aside from the color of his skin, also had to fight his language and culture.

Many believed Clemente suffered more than Jackie Robinson. Because of his language barrier, Clemente was misquoted frequently, something he detested. Towards the end of his career, in the early 1970’s, as I was at Candlestick Park writing for El Mundo News, a Post Group publication Clemente’s Pirates team was facing the Giants and after he struck out, I heard somebody inside that press box shout “send him back in a banana boat!.”

Clemente was involved in charity. He chartered a plane from San Juan, Puerto Rico, filled with help for the suffering people of Managua, Nicaragua. It was a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that killed thousands. Clemente’s DC-3 airplane crashed north of San Juan on December 31, 1972. His very last hit was his 3,000 hit during his final at bat on September 30, 1972.

To the credit of Major League Baseball since 1973, one year after his disappearance, the Roberto Clemente Award (once the Commissioners Award) is given to the player in every team that exemplifies sportsmanship, community involvement and contributions to his team. And at the end one player among all 30 nominated wins the award.

Roberto Clemente was a quiet man. A professional baseball player with innate talent, a proud man, respectful of everybody regardless of race or nationality and most of all, he loved the game of baseball. The field was his canvas, and he could do anything on a baseball field. He died helping people in another country, not his own. In today’s narcissistic society, more men like Roberto are needed; these are the role models our youth need.

Many players born in Puerto Rico, like Candido (Candy) Maldonado, Rubén Sierra have told me they only wanted to wear “el número 21″for Roberto. But he is not only a national hero in Puerto Rico; his name is known internationally, especially in Latin America where more and more players are coming from to play in the United States.

The Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum and Hall of Fame, since it was founded in 1998 has exhibited in numerous events across the country, All Star Games, Fan Fest and Museums and community events. There is no one player more popular than Roberto Clemente. During one of our exhibits at the San Francisco Main Library, we saw a man that was kneeling and praying in front of the Clemente exhibit. I asked him about that and he told me “I am Puerto Rican and he is like a God to us. His body was never recovered, but we know he is here with us”.

With the ever increasing demographics in the US which all point that in a few decades half of the US population could be Latino, not to mention the players coming from Latin America, baseball would be wise to retire number 21.

Eventually baseball will retire Roberto Clemente’s famous “número 21”. But why not now?

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

Baseball Si, Bullfights No

Illustration of a bullfight in Cuba (image from wikiwand.com )

Baseball Sí Bullfights No

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

Amaury Pi-González

Cubans that came to the US to study in 1860 were introduced to baseball and right after the Spanish-American War in 1898 (US fought to help Cuba gain its independence from Spain-1902) Cubans learned to play the game from American soldiers.The Cubans accepted the US game and since then it has become Cuba’s passion.Cuba was a colony of Spain from 1492 to 1898.In other words since Christopher Columbus discovered the island during his first trip toward the New World.

Bullfighting was present in Cuba during its colonial period (Spain brought it to the island as well to most of Latin America) but the United States military under pressure of civic association and because Cubans never really took-on to bullfights which they considered a degrading spectacle and was abolished by the US military after the Spanish-American War in 1901.

Cubans then adapted the game of baseball as their #1 pastime. Since Cuban independence in 1902, to date, Cuba has banned bullfighting, however,today in Latin America México, Colombia,Peru and Venezuela and some others still have bullfight arenas and scheduled bullfights.

Bullfighting never really re-appeared in Cuba.However,on August 31,1947 a Sunday in La Habana at the Gran Estadio del Cerro (today Estadio Latinoamericano where baseball is played) a total of 30,000 people witnessed the demonstrations of Mexican Matadores,Fermín Espinosa, and Silveiro Pérez aka “Armillita”. It was not “pure”bullfighting,because you could not stick(Picadores)flags to the bulls or kill them. It was the only way the authorities agreed to invite the Mexican Matadores to the capital of Cuba.

But baseball flourished in the largest island in the Caribbean. It was in 1874 when the Cubans build their first baseball stadium in the Matanzas province. La Liga Profesional Cubana de Béisbol (The Cuban Professional Baseball League) was in existence from 1878 until 1961,when the Fidel Castro communist dictatorship banned all professional sports from the island.

From 1871 to 1961 the main teams in that most famous Cuban Pro-League were: Almendares,  Habana,Cienfuegos and Marianao. This Cuban league was the earliest baseball league founded in Latin America.Right after Cuba other Latin American countries learned baseball.Cuban promoters and players took the game to, México, Nicaragua, Venezuela and others who started their own leagues in the 1880s.

Although I have never seen a live bullfight in my life,I have been lucky as a kid growing up in Cuba to have seen a lot of the great Cuban and American baseball players of that time,in that old Cuban Professional Winter League. Like Orestes Miñoso, Luis Tiant, Sandalio(Sandy) Consuegra, Julio(Jiquí)Moreno, Octavio”Cookie”Rojas, Frank Herrera, Mike Fornieles, Julio Bécquer,Edmundo (Sandy) Amorós, Camilo Pascual, Pedro Ramos, just to mention a few, as well as American baseball stars that played for those teams in the 1950’s and until 1961: Jackie Brandt, Brooks Robinson,Bob Shaw, Jim Bunning, Bob Allison, Al Spangler, Bobby DelGreco, Billy Muffett, Bill Werle. Also many African-Americans played in Cuba like Monte Irwin and Don Newcome

According to the Havana Times. All official sports events have been canceled until April 30th at least, in response to the global Coronavirus pandemic.

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