Lunch Bell: April 2, 2020

Philadelphia Phillies and MLB 2020 season days lost to the COVID-19 pandemic: 8.

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With all of the negative coverage regarding the coronavirus pandemic it is important to remember that there are positives out there. Tremendous resources are being expended to develop effective, safe treatments as well as a vaccine.

One treatment found to be highly effective in a large number of cases on which it has been tried to date is the drug combination of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine. Though they have yet to be tested over a full clinical trial, the FDA has just approved an emergency use authorization.

Dr. Stephen Smith, M.D. of The Smith Center for Infectious Diseases and Urban Health one of the most respected voices on the subject of virology, called the treatment “a game-changer” just last night during an interview with Laura Ingraham:

During this month of April the number of both infected individuals and deaths is going to rise, both here in Philadelphia and across the nation. That will be due largely to the increasing availability of testing as well as the delay in discovering those individuals and then fully integrating an isolation program for them. We should then begin to see a drop in both cases and deaths during May.

Here in Philadelphia, City Council approved an $85.4 million emergency funding to battle coronavirus via their first-ever virtual meeting. Per The Inquirer: “The only person who participated in public comment, a woman from Fox Chase who called in by phone, urged the lawmakers to hold the city accountable for how the money will be spent and thanked them for their leadership during the pandemic.

The mayor has announced that trash and recycling pick-ups are running about a day behind their usual schedules due to sanitation workers calling out sick. Philly residents should continue to put trash out as usual on their normal day and it will be collected as soon as possible.

Stay updated on the pandemic here in the Philadelphia area via The Inquirer coronavirus live news ticker on the subject. Also, be sure to to understand the City of Philadelphia 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 as well.

Today is World Autism Awareness Day, kicking off April as a month-long effort to educate on this developmental disorder that is characterized by difficulties with social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. About 1 in 54 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to estimates from CDC’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network.

In news around Major League Baseball the community of the game is remembering long-time Chicago White Sox broadcaster and former Phillies pitcher Ed Farmer, who passed away on Wednesday night following a battle with cancer. Farmer won 30 games over 11 seasons in MLB from 1971-74 and 1977-83.

1975-NOT-REALLY-ED-FARMERWith the Phillies, Farmer pitched in both the 1974 and 1982 seasons. In 1974, the right-hander was just 24 years old and in his fourth big-league season. He went 2-1 over 14 games including three starts. He was then dealt away that December for Stephen McCartney, an infielder who never reached the majors.

Signed again as a free agent in January 1982, Farmer went 2-6 over 47 games including four starts and registered six saves for a Phillies team that won 89 games and finished just three games out in the NL East race.

Phillies icon Larry Bowa was among those paying tribute to his friend today, tweeting out the following message: “Woke up today and learned my good friend, Ed Farmer, the radio voice of WhiteSox, has passed away. Ed was a great teammate and one of the nicest guys I’ve had the privilege to know. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.


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

Today would have been the 2020 Phillies home opener down at Citizens Bank Park. I have tickets to the now-postponed game, having planned to attend with my brother. Jim Salisbury at NBC Sports Philadelphia wrote about his own favorite Phillies home opener, from the 1994 season:

…today I’m reliving my favorite Phillies home opener, the day cancer-stricken John Kruk, just a few days after his 33rd birthday, literally rolled out of a radiation treatment and smashed an RBI double in his first at-bat of the season as 58,627 of his best friends looked on in amazement and showered him with loud adulation from the seats.

Scott Lauber at The Inquirer wrote on the effect that expanded active rosters will have on the Phillies and MLB once the game (hopefully) returns this season:

In a shortened season, organizational inventory would become the great equalizer, with the deepest 40-man rosters superseding the most talented 26-man ones…the likelihood of doubleheaders means depth will be king.

Lauber also wrote on Phillies left fielder Andrew McCutchen and what might be expected from him once the game resumes:

…while there’s little doubt that McCutchen will return to the field, it’s fair to wonder if he will be able to do so at his previously elite level of performance, according to multiple medical experts.

Meghan Montemurro at The Athletic wrote on the all-time greatest Philadelphia Phillies players by uniform number, from 0-99:

The No. 34 is the most popular jersey number in the franchise’s history (64 players have worn it for at least one season). Andrew Knapp will be the last player to wear it (2017), as the Phillies plan to retire it this year in honor of Roy Halladay. All but seven numbers between 0 and 79 have been worn by at least one player.

On Monday afternoon, I appeared as a guest on the “Phillies Talk” podcast hosted by  Rich Baxter in which we talked about the numerous effects that the coronavirus pandemic has had on baseball and society. It was a wide-ranging discussion that I think you would enjoy.

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.

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