Justin Verlander is hurt and isn’t pitching. But he hasn’t crawled into a hole and died. His arm is hurt, sure, but he’s still capable of, you know, going out to eat and spending time with his girlfriend, all of which are things literally 100% of ballplayers and almost every other single person in America does, more or less, when they have a minor injury.
But when you’re a baseball player people expect you to wear a hairshirt when you’re injured. To look dour and never be out in the world. Clay Buchholz got a lot of crap thrown at him a few years back for showing up at a charitable event and not locking himself in his basement following an illness. Verlander, too, has been catching flak for actually living his life.
On Instagram the other day, Verlander had a message for those folks:
He expanded on all of that to Lynn Henning of the Detroit News, showing that he’s taking it in a bit more stride than that post suggests he is. But really, you can’t blame him for being fed up with that kind of thing. Ballplayers are already in a bubble. That they’re expected to act in certain, clearly artificial was for the sole purpose of pleasing some irrationally demanding fans is about eight bridges too far.
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.