Philadelphia Phillies and MLB 2020 season days lost to the COVID-19 pandemic: 13.

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Reports have begun to surface that Major League Baseball is seriously considering a plan to begin the 2020 regular season. Under the discussed plan, all games would be played at a centralized location in the Phoenix, Arizona area, home to the spring training Cactus League and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

MLB Insider Jeff Passan discussed the proposal on ESPN on Tuesday morning:

Ken Rosenthal at The Athletic wrote that while U.S. government officials support the MLB plan, a number of obstacles remain:

The March 27 agreement between the league and union providing an economic road map for a shortened or canceled season includes a provision saying the parties shall meet in good faith to discuss “the economic feasibility of playing games in the absence of spectators or at substitute neutral sites.” Such language seemingly would create an opening for the owners to ask the players for salary concessions if part or all of the season is played without fans. But historically the union has defended contract guarantees.

As a response to these rumors, Major League Baseball itself issued a public statement late on Tuesday morning. It reads:

MLB has been actively considering numerous contingency plans that would allow play to commence once the public health situation has improved to the point that it is safe to do so. While we have discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option, we have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan. While we continue to interact regularly with governmental and public health officials, we have not sought or received approval of any plan from federal, state, or local officials, or the Players Association. The health and safety of our employees, players, fans and the public at large are paramount, and we are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus.

Baseball Hall of Famer and legendary Detroit Tigers outfielder Al Kaline passed away on Monday at the age of 85. In this clip, a veteran Kaline wins his battle with a young Steve Carlton, then with the Saint Louis Cardinals, in Game 6 of the 1968 World Series.


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Now for the latest Philadelphia Phillies news from local and national resources:

This afternoon at MLB.com you can view a live stream rebroadcast of Cole Hamels‘ no-hitter pitched in his final start with the Phillies back on July 25, 2015 at Wrigley Field against the host Chicago Cubs. By the way, the opposing pitcher that afternoon? Current Phillies starter Jake Arrieta, who would win the National League Cy Young Award that year.

Corey Seidman at NBC Sports Philadelphia reported on the possibility of the Phillies and the rest of Major League Baseball actually opening in late May or early June:

Players would be sequestered almost like jurors, able to go to and from the stadium and basically live in a different form of quarantine. They’d be away from their families for a prolonged period of time, which would suck. A lot of us are in this same boat, sacrificing our ability to be with some of our loved ones to keep them safe.

Seidman also wrote on the frustration felt by Rhys Hoskins, who has been working on a new batting stance in preparation for the 2020 season:

We saw a different look from Hoskins at the plate in spring training. Over the offseason, he adjusted his setup, lowering his hands and relaxing his arms while opening up his batting stance a bit. While Hoskins is not running himself ragged in the cage every day, he is continuing to work toward making the new setup and stance stick subconsciously.”

Todd Zolecki at MLB.com took a look at the top five second basemen in Phillies history. It will be no surprise to anyone that Chase Utley tops the list:

Eleven years as one of the top position players in baseball should be a long enough stretch of dominance to enter the Hall of Fame conversation, and maybe even make it.

Ed Barkowitz at The Inquirer reported on Aramark workers who would normally be handling food, beverage, and many other services at Citizens Bank Park at this time of year:

As a subcontractor, it fields 800 workers for a typical Phillies game and as many as 1,200 for special events such as opening day or the postseason…When there are no games, the Phillies don’t pay Aramark and Aramark doesn’t pay its workers.

Mark Gola at P3 Media Communications interviewed Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy on his career in the booth:

A New Jersey native, McCarthy is recognizable to eyes and ears as the play-by-play television broadcaster for the Philadelphia Phillies. He also calls games for the NFL on Westwood One and NCAA men’s basketball championship tournament games for CBS.But it was not his booming voice that ignited a successful career in sports communications. McCarthy’s climb began in college, by putting pen to paper and his nose to the grindstone.

Greg Auman at The Athletic wrote about his all-time favorite baseball player, Mike Schmidt. I believe many Phillies fans would echo his choice. As a 12-year-old, Auman wrote to Schmidt asking to have a baseball card autographed, receiving the following response:

I want to thank you for writing to me and I certainly appreciate your good wishes,” the typed letter began, and he even apologized for the delay, explaining that “although my reply is not always prompt, it is only because I like to read each letter personally.” It was signed in blue Sharpie, the “S” in his last name a big, sweeping loop, no dots on either “i” in his name. The enclosed 1988 Topps card had the exact same signature in blue, and now-13-year-old me had a Mike Schmidt autograph. The world was never a kinder, better place.

The latest issue of The Turf Zone from the Pennsylvania Turfgrass Council includes a nice piece on Reading Fightin’ Phils groundskeeper Dan Douglas. You can read it at that link, which is in pamphlet format, so you will need to double-click the article to read it full-sized.


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Philadelphia area coronavirus updates continue to be provided via The Inquirer live news ticker on the pandemic. Also, the City of Philadelphia is currently under a Business Activity and Stay at Home Order. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the NIH (National Institutes of Health have tremendous resources on updates and the national response.

You can view the archives for these Lunch Bell reports at any time. They are released every day all year-round barring some unusual circumstance. Each report highlights important updates on the Phillies and MLB, including articles curated from around the web, social media posts, and video. During the pandemic we will include any relevant updates in that regard as well.

Be sure to follow The Bell all across social media at our @philliesbell handle: TwitterFacebookInstagramLinkedInPinterest, and TikTok. Also, visit our Phillies Bell YouTube channel for a growing selection of video clips.

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