Have you ever made that annoying phone call to a company that has robotic phone attendants that keep you on-hold for seemingly ever? That is what this new isolation feels like. Our lives are stuck on-hold with no real time to get our call answered. Three months from today is America’s birthday which is when some are speculating we could see baseball again. Today was supposed to be “ring day” for the Washington Nationals, and that obviously has been cancelled due to COVID-19. Max Scherzer said he kind of saw the ring from Jostens when he spoke during his appearance on Intentional Talk this week.
Welcome to the family. pic.twitter.com/Aid7eFhdLi
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 7, 2019
The Nationals ring is supposed to rival and may be better than a Super Bowl ring according to what Mike Rizzo said at the team’s WinterFest in January. Super Bowl rings are usually the largest in size and gaudiest on the “bling” rating scale in sports. After the New England Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX in 2015, team owner Robert Kraft ordered 150 rings at a cost of nearly $5.5 million due to the size of the diamonds.
“How is it that the ultimate prize in the most macho sport ever invented is a piece of jewelry?,” actress Jennifer Garner said in the movie Draft Day about the champion’s ring.
To the victor go the spoils. Vade ad victor spolia. Each of those Patriot rings cost $36,500 which was the most ever for a Super Bowl ring made by Jostens at the time, but they shattered their own record price after their 2019 win as they used six large “football” shaped diamonds to depict their six Lombardi trophies. The Washington Nationals are on World Series win number one, and you can see the many creations below:
If I designed the ring, there would be a big red Curly W of rubies with a diamond baseball with ruby stitching, and on one side a baby shark and on the other “Fight Finished”. You can fill in the rest in your mind as there would have to be hundreds of smaller diamonds.
This past week, general manager Mike Rizzo drove back to Washington, D.C. from West Palm Beach and had a great idea to display the World Series trophy on his window sill on Thursday night which was supposed to be Opening Day. Fortunately, our favorite twitter guy, Navy Yard Nats, walked by Rizzo’s townhome in his Navy Yard neighborhood and caught this iconic photo that he posted to his Twitter account:
Spotted in SE DC Navy Yard area just now 🏆 #WorldSeries
🚨This is not a drill 🚨 pic.twitter.com/opGdLI8Llg
— Navy Yard Nats (@NavyYardNats) April 3, 2020
Several others then headed out and got similar photos and Mr. Rizzo even made a cameo appearance at his window. If he wanted anonymity, he has now given up the secret of which home is his in his tony row of townhomes that are all valued at over $1 million each. Rizzo settled on his home just a little over two years ago in January of 2018, and his neighbors, as you can imagine, are Nats fans. As someone said, he has signs from his alarm company near his front steps, but also the cutest homeplate shaped floor mat at his front door. When this Carroll model was built in 2011 for its original owner, it boasted the short half-mile walk to Nationals Park.
The Nationals created a graphics board on South Capitol Street with an Opening Day graphic and the words “We Miss You, Too” and they took out a full-page in the Washington Post with that graphic.
The Nats took out a full-page ad in today’s three-page WaPo Sports section. pic.twitter.com/Ljtn4v1t4C
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) April 2, 2020
You know what, we miss you too!
With no real baseball to discuss, we are relegated to discussing past games in which we know the results. The last Nats transactions were on March 26th. Rizzo sent six players back to the minors. Sure, it was fun to relive the Wild Card game on Thursday afternoon here on TalkNats, but new games are what we really want.
Baseball life really has been following along here on this site and in the social media. One of the more creative divergences was a Tim Bogar video of that wild Wild Card game using some slick “stop-motion animation” editing that our own editor extraordinaire Kevin Nibley could appreciate. TJ Bogar, Tim’s son, who has a degree in media production and has been working in television in New York City for about 6 years did the production work. TJ told us that he spent about 4-to-5 hours making the video.
This took WAY too long but it’s awesome and my dad is so proud so give it a watch https://t.co/oMKzBasrjR
— Aralee Bogar (@AraleeBogar) April 3, 2020
To add some extra appreciation for what Bogar produced, Nibley explained the process for shooting that video.
“That is well done and very time consuming by Bogar,” Nibley said. “His talents go beyond baseball. That’s stop-motion animation for that video. There are 24 frames in a second of film (30 in a second of video), so to do that, you shoot each frame like a still photo, then physically move each piece a very slight amount, then shoot another photo and repeat. It’s very time consuming. Same principle of how artists animate with drawings, but for this you’re slowly moving models.”
There of course are rumors that baseball could be played in empty stadiums. Do we really want that? Ken Rosenthal wrote in The Athletic:
“MLB is prioritizing public health as it examines all possibilities, sources say. The season, at least initially, could be played in Florida or more likely Arizona, where spring training parks are more concentrated. But the logistics of quarantining 30 teams in one area would be extremely complex and potentially controversial, sources say, requiring local, state and federal government cooperation and resources that might be necessary to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Baseball is a secondary concern at a time when thousands in the U.S. are dying from COVID-19. The possibility of the sport returning this summer in stadiums open to fans appears increasingly remote. But if the season could be played safely in empty parks, without disrupting efforts to save lives, the sport could play a restorative role for the country, as it did during World War II and after 9/11.”
As I have previously written, paying players their full salaries while not receiving money for ticket sales, concessions, “merch” and parking would not be financially viable and Kevin Acee of the San Diego Tribune agrees in his newest article. Teams like the Orioles who own a large majority of their network like MASN are still receiving cable subscriber fees — but it is unknown if the cable companies are paying less based on the lack of “live” baseball, but those teams relying on RSN money from FOX and AT&T are not getting paid at all.
Now if the players who combined make about $4.5 billion in salaries were willing to take a pay-cut large enough to compensate for the loss of stadium revenue then you can envision games played in empty stadiums by July 4th.
We always want to look out for those who are struggling in this current environment. The Nationals are doing their part with shifting resources to local food banks and taking donations at www.Nationals.com/FUND We wrote an article that fortunately became the conscience to get minor leaguers paid as they looked like the forgotten figures once again, and they will get paid at least $400 a week through May which is great news to see that those making the least are getting some cashflow.
As part of the MLB and MLBPA agreement reached last week, each team will pay approximately $5.7 million over the next two months to cover the total $170 million advanced to players on the 40-man rosters.
Reader Hayley Armstrong of the The Simple Dollar forwarded me an article for anyone struggling financially in these tough times as they created a good reference piece.
President Donald Trump was scheduled to participate in a phone call with all major-league sports commissioners today at noon per a White House press release. Last week, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred vowed on ESPN that baseball would return, but he did not say “this year”.
“The one thing I know for sure is baseball will be back,” Manfred said. “Whenever it’s safe to play, we’ll be back. … We will be part of the healing in this country from this particular pandemic. I think it would mark a real milestone in the return to normalcy.”
Baseball could return to empty stadiums with only families attending. Would it be 100 percent safe? That is the most important question. To you, be safe, and we will talk soon!
Tonight at 8pm, we have baseball on MASN.
IT’S A #STRASMAS MIRACLE!
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) April 4, 2020