Stan Musial to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom this afternoon

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As was announced last fall, today Stan Musial will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  The ceremony is this afternoon at 1:30PM Eastern/12:30 Central. KSDK.com and NewsChannel 5 in St. Louis will carry it live if you’re interested.

As I said back in November, Musial is most worthy of this. Not just because he was one of the greatest ballplayers who has ever lived, but also because his integrity, demeanor and just plain and simple decency stands for the notion that a sports figure can be a role model, even if we are increasingly inclined to reject that notion in this day and age.  He’s been in the public eye for close to 70 years, and I’ll be damned if I’ve ever read or heard one negative thing about him.  Which is frankly amazing considering how the world works these days.

There is really no one else like Stan Musial in baseball. He doesn’t need an award from the President for anyone to realize it, but by gum, I’m glad he’s getting it.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.