Jonathan Papelbon on the Phillies clubhouse: “I haven’t seen any leadership”

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You tend not to see much in the way of clubhouse drama in Philly. It’s a veteran-laden team with a manager whose teams have no real history of drama of any kind. So Jonathan Papelbon going on the radio and saying this is surprising to say the least:

Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon did not mince words this week when asked about what it is that his team lacks. “Since I’ve been here I haven’t seen any leadership,” Papelbon said.

He followed it up with vague comments about how the team has “more to lose than it has to prove” and about how he feels that he should have spoken up more than he did last year.

But really, the next time a relief pitcher is viewed as a team leader in a big league clubhouse will likely be the first time, and Papelbon likely knows that. As a result, it’s hard to see these comments as anything other than a criticism of Charlie Manuel, Jimmy Rollins and other Phillies vets.

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.