The Rundown: A Salute to Asian Professional Baseball, Kerry Wood Celebrates an Anniversary, No Current Plans to Restart MLB Season
“The bassoon is one of my favorite instruments. It has a medieval aroma, like the days when everything used to sound like that. Some people crave baseball…I find this unfathomable, but I can easily understand why a person could get excited about playing the bassoon.” – Frank Zappa
I am mildly attuned to the hype regarding KBO baseball, but I will be extremely disappointed if the masses that currently embrace the alternative to American baseball abandon their Asian counterparts if and when there is a reboot of the 2020 MLB season. That seems inevitable to me, though I hope I am underestimating their new fans. I just can’t help but feel that a sinister screen scrolling announcing the return of America’s pastime, like the ones in the Star Wars movies, will have those who have found a new hope with Pacific Rim professional baseball jumping ship.
To me, the fascination with the KBO and Taiwan baseball runs parallel with those who have enjoyed the train wreck that is Joe Exotic in the Netflix series Tiger King. The hype and hyperbole seems forced at times, too much for something that is new to a worldwide stage. The curiosity factor is obviously huge, but is that enough to carry the game when fans can start watching the daily exploits of Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, and Kris Bryant again? Probably not.
KBO umps are savage. pic.twitter.com/GThfcCexmH
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 5, 2020
That’s not to say the games aren’t fun to watch. Korean and Taiwanese baseball provides something of a soothing respite during the ongoing pandemic. With the empty stadiums, the sounds of the game — such as the crack of a baseball bat meeting a 90 mph fastball or an over-exaggerated third strike call — are so wonderful that you can almost smell the fresh spring grass through your television set. Visions of one day returning to Wrigley Field to see a must win Cubs-Cardinals tilt feel more real right now than at any time since baseball halted operations nearly two months ago. Fans of MLB should be forever indebted for the reverie that accompanies those broadcasts.
If you’re looking for live sports, there’s no current alternative, and that newfound love for our baseball brethren is genuine for many. The time will come, however, when Asian professional baseball is merely an afterthought except to true die-hards. I really hope that doesn’t happen. Heroes should never be forgotten, and right now those players are the true guardians of the game.
Cubs News & Notes
- KBO players with Cubs connections include Dan Straily, Hee-Sop Choi, and Mel Rojas Jr.
- 16-year-old prospect Cristian Hernandez, who may sign with the Cubs, is drawing comparisons to Álex Rodríguez and Manny Machado.
- Anthony Rizzo is taking baseball’s long “on deck” period in stride.
- A possibility exists that Jon Lester may have pitched his last game with the Cubs if the 2020 season is canceled.
- Lester is open to the idea of finishing his career with the Red Sox.
- The sim-Cubs made it two straight over the Dodgers with a 7-1 win in The Show MLB 20 action yesterday. Yu Darvish and Kyle Schwarber were the heroes of the day.
- The Strat-O-Matic Cubs have now lost two straight to Los Angeles, falling 8-6 in yesterday’s action. Kyle Ryan joined Craig Kimbrel and Trevor Megill on the IL, and Brad Wieck was recalled from Iowa before the game.
- Minor league shortstop Zack Short was yesterday’s guest on The Rant. Brett Taylor from Bleacher Nation will be join Jon, Evan and Danny today. You can watch the episodes on the Cubs Insider YouTube page.
- Today is the 22nd anniversary of the Kerry Wood game. If you watched it live, tell us what the experience was like for you in the comments section.
- There is a case to be made that Wood’s performance that day was the best by a starting pitcher in the history of the game.
- You can watch the game in its entirety on the MLB Network at 2:30 PM CT today. Don’t forget to set your DVR if you are an essential worker.
Apropos of Nothing
Do you think Kid K watches replays of his historic performance when they are aired?
Find Your Inner Hero
California restaurant owners Deke And Patti Lyndall are delivering hundreds of free meals three days each week to first responders and frontline hospital workers in their community.
“My mom and dad said sometimes it isn’t about making money. It’s about doing the right thing,” he said. “We are losing money but we decided if we are going down, we are going to go down doing the right thing.”
Odds & Sods
We live in a different world than we did whan Top Gun was first released. Apparently Val Kilmer had a slightly different career path, however.
Tom Cruise will work with NASA on first movie filmed in space, NASA says https://t.co/YfHD0zUSyn pic.twitter.com/wqel5fNtHP
— The Verge (@verge) May 5, 2020
MLB News & Notes
Watching KBO baseball provides equal amounts of anxiety and joy.
The Indians organization held internal meetings regarding a potential reboot of the 2020 season with game starting July 1.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic says that baseball has no firm plan in place to restart its season anytime soon (subscription required).
Quoting Rosenthal: “There is no plan, can be no plan, until Major League Baseball gains a clearer perspective on which states are containing COVID-19 well enough for games to be played safely in their most stripped-down form, without fans.”
The Nationals partied so hard after winning the 2019 World Series that they were kicked out of a bar.
Willie Mays is celebrating his 89th birthday.
Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martínez is leading COVID-19 relief efforts in the Dominican Republic.
I think this would be a perfect time for the Cubs organization to bring Sammy Sosa back.
After all the success of #TheLastDance ESPN is moving the 30 For 30 “Long Gone Summer,” the 1998 HR chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, to Sunday June 14th ? pic.twitter.com/6ikpg6fpxh
— Starting 9 (@Starting9) May 6, 2020
They Said It
- “We’ve all seen the way a common cold goes through a clubhouse..We’re in such close proximity, it’s impossible to enforce social-distancing measures when you’re trying to play a Major League Baseball season.” – Sean Doolittle
Wednesday Walkup Song
Hero of the Day by Metallica. A salute to Asian professional baseball players.