With no fans in the stands, the umpires can hear everything on the field. Including the suites where team executives are sitting.
On Sunday, Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, proud owner of a new 3 year contract extension, was ejected by umpires Hunter Wendelstedt and Joe West after Rizzo could be clearly heard chirping at them from his suite at Truist Park, just as his players would in the dugout over some bad calls.
Some have speculated that West, who called security to remove Rizzo from the premises, gave Rizzo the gate because, unlike the players and umpires, he wasn't wearing a mask to protect himself from COVID-19. West himself is on record as a coronavirus denier, so the hypocrisy would've made him look bad if Rizzo was tossed just for that.
Either way, it's just another indication of how this short season is hurting the defending champions, who are 11 games under .500 entering play today after losing to Atlanta, 10-3.
Speaking of the Braves, Shenendehowa graduate Ian Anderson (2-0) takes the mound today vs. Miami. The game will be shown on YouTube, beginning at 1 pm (ET). I had assumed Anderson would pitch every 5th day, but Atlanta is using a 6-man rotation, it seems, and pushed his start back to today. That means, though, that he could face the Mets after all during the series at Citi Field on September 18-20. Stay tuned.
Baseball is mourning the loss of another Hall of Famer:
Lou Brock began his career in Chicago with the Cubs in 1962 as more of a power hitter than the base stealing genius he'd become in St. Louis, as shown above. The Cardinals acquired Brock during the 1964 season, en route to the World Series. Brock would appear in 3 Series in a 5 year period with St. Louis between 1964-68, and retired in 1979, three years before the Cardinals would return to the Fall Classic, beating current division rival Milwaukee.
Problem child Bryce Harper threw another tantrum Saturday night, and was ejected in Philadelphia's loss to the Mets. Unlike past tantrums where Harper would get thumbed for arguing balls & strikes, this time, it was over a foul ball. As Harper returned to his position between innings, he continued the dispute, despite teammate Neil Walker trying to hold him back, and was bounced.
Sunday, Harper returned with a new haircut, a better attitude, but it was another loss for Joe Girardi's Phillies. Harper singled and stole second & third, only to be left stranded. Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom gave up only a homer to backup catcher Andrew Knapp, while the Mets offense exploded for 17 hits and 5 home runs, including 2 from Pete Alonso, in blowing out Philadelphia, 14-1. Ouch!
The teams finish a wraparound 4 game set today
In other Mets news, the team will conceivably have a new owner before the season is out, pending approval from the other 29 owners. Billionaire Steve Cohen has agreed in principle to take over the team, ending Fred Wilpon's 31 seasons as owner. The Mets will need to build on the momentum from winning the last two games to save freshman manager Luis Rojas' job, unless Cohen has his own ideas. GM Brodie Van Wagenen has lost the fan base, especially with suspicions that he, on orders from Wilpon's son, Jeff, has been making some of the game decisions, overruling the manager.
Jeff Wilpon is another trust fund brat who doesn't know what he's doing, but in the minds of Mets fans, his meddling has been more pronounced the last couple of years. If the Mets can reach the playoffs, Rojas has a chance to return next season, but I wouldn't count on Van Wagenen remaining. Just sayin'.