Greetings from Nationals Park in D.C., where afternoon thunderstorms have altered the pre-game schedule for tonight's 89th All-Star Game.
The NL was supposed to take batting practice at 5:05 p.m., to 6 p.m. eastern time, with the AL at 6:05 to 7 p.m. Now the NL will hit from 6 to 6:30 followed by the AL from 6:30 to 7.
First pitch is still scheduled for around 8 p.m.
The infield was covered by a tarp for a chunk of the afternoon, and fans all over D.C> ran for cover as rain intensified. Twitter followers chimed in, with one fan hiding out in the gift shop of the Washington Monument.
Twins righthander Jose Berrios is scheduled to pitch the fifth inning tonight, barring unforeseen circumstances, and he's fired up about it. He's having a blast. He went out to dinner with the other five Puerto Rican players selected for the game - Cleveland's Francisco Lindor, Detroit's Joe Jimenez, St. Louis' Yadier Molina, Seattle's Edwin Diaz, Chicago's Javier Baez and Berrios - Took their families out to dinner last night, a party of over 30.
Berrios said he made a point of introducing himself to every All-Star, but seemed a little nervous about initiating a lengthy conversation with anyone. "I didn't want to bother anyone," he said.
Today was the annual BBWAA meeting during which MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and Players Association Chief Tony Clark took turns answering questions.
I'll have a story online shortly about the two biggest nuggets from the meetings - free agent movement and the DH debate. But there were interesting comments on a number of subjects:
Manfred didn't appear to be too concerned with the slip in attendance, - which is down around 1,700 a game - he pointed to the slew of games that were postponed during the first month of the season factoring in the decline. "In 2017, we played two games (all year) with a game time temperature was 40 degrees or less. In April (this year), we played 35 of those and we also set a record I believe for the number of cancellations. So what does that do to you? We all know that rescheduled games, you don't draw what you were going to draw in the regularly scheduled games."
He lated added: "I think it's more weather than anything else."
Clark was asked about pitcher usage - relievers starting games, more bullpen usage - and the ramifications in contracts and arbitration. "The game being a certain way and certain valuations and considerations tied to it, if all of those are going to change, then we have a far more significant conversation that needs to be had, related to the entire industry and the system that's inherent therein. That is something that, based on what we have seen, is an ongoing evaluation."
Clark indicated that the union would be open to more dialogue about shortening the season. He noted that starting the season a few days earlier this year extends the calender and extends, "the grind.": "We've had that conversation in the past. We did not have it this last round of bargaining but we have had conversation in the past, recent past. So there's no reason why we couldn't have that conversation again."
And, finally, Manfred managed to infuriate the city of Portland while answering a question about keeping baseball in Oakland. Portland is making noise about becoming a major league city, but Manfred's answer, if you read between the lines, suggests the league is more interested in returning baseball to Montreal or expanding to Mexico. "There is not another market in the United States that has the upside potential that Oakland has," he said. "We would regret leaving Oakland if we did that." The comment didn't go over well with some Portland fans when it reached the internet.
Mookie Betts, RF
Jose Altuve, 2B
Mike Trout, CF
J.D. Martinez, DH
Jose Ramirez, 3B
Aaron Judge, LF
Manny Machado, SS
Jose Abreu, 1B
Salvy Perez, C
Chris Sale, LHP
Javy Baez, 2B
Noland Arenado, 3B
Paul Goldscmidt, DH
Freddie Freeman, 1B
Matt Kemp, LF
Bryce Harper, CF
Nick Markakis, RF
Wilson Contreras, C
Max Scherzer, RHP