December 2, 2021

1. Major League Baseball is in a lockout

For the first time in 26 years, MLB has a work stoppage — and we can only pray that it won’t cut into next year’s regular season.

Some more details, from today’s piece in Sports Illustrated:

2. And here’s what a lockout looks like in the internet age

It didn’t seem to occur to anyone until early this morning, checking the MLB.com site, just how odd and empty-shelved a work stoppage would look, with the first of its kind in the internet age (the last one happening in 1994–95).

Here’s the MLB homepage, as of this afternoon — with no images or videos or references to current players or teams, only general “baseball” stories or content about retired players and vintage moments.

Even the player pages, while still there on the site, have no player or team images — just a photo of a pile of baseballs, and the career stats:

3. The players respond to the lockout

First came the blank, faceless silhouettes on the official MLB sites and stat pages, then came the blank, faceless avatars on Twitter in response:

4. Here’s Commissioner Rob Manfred’s letter to baseball fans

Posted today as the focal point of MLB’s website and social media material, and here’s the beginning of it (with the full letter linked below):

And here he was today, at a press conference on the entire matter:

5. More erasures taking place around the league

Put up the Christmas tree, hang the wreath. Take the player banners down, wipe the faces, wipe the logos. This holiday season, it’s MLB lockout season.

6. Meanwhile, the Athletics are looking at stadium site in Las Vegas

Maybe it’s a bluff to gain more leverage in Oakland, maybe it’s for real — but it’s starting to look more for real.

Here’s exactly where it would be on the map, right in the heart of the busiest part of the city:

7. In the eleventh hour, the Red Sox re-acquired Jackie Bradley Jr.

Literally, at 11:31pm last night.

The beloved outfield trio that helped bring another World Series title to Boston in 2018, that was disbanded just two years later (Betts to the Dodgers, Benintendi to the Royals, Bradley Jr. to the Brewers) — is it making a comeback?

8. Javy Baez speaks eagerly about playing with Miguel Cabrera

If we ever get to see baseball again, that is (knock on wood).

From today’s article in the Detroit Free Press:

“The way Miggy has done this, many years and many swings, I want to have that confidence to have an approach like Miggy and something that takes me to the next level,” Baez said Wednesday. “I haven’t had my best season yet, so I’m working to have a great season. I want to talk to Miggy to learn something about swings, then I can keep the same swing for the rest of my career. I’m working on trying to see the ball better and chase less pitches.”

9. An odd quirk to the lockout situation: Teams can still hire managers

The Mets still have work to do.

And another slight oddity (among many others) — apparently Justin Verlander never officially signed his deal with the Astros, even after it was announced last week:

10. And lastly, some reason for optimism (maybe)

It’s not much, it’s just a line from Rob Manfred, but hey — it’s hope, and we’ll take it in any form or degree.

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