Stealing home is usually lame. It’s almost always on a double steal where the catcher throws down to second, totally aware that the guy on third might break, but taking a reasoned gamble that he won’t. Yes, it’s technically a steal, but it’s not what people think of when they think of “stealing home.” People usually think of derring-do, crazy speed and an intense play at the plate.
Last night we actually got the latter. Well, minus the intensity, as it looked like someone had to wake up Padres pitcher Kevin Quackenbush. But credit to Andrus for being on top of things as he broke and gave us a real, bonadife steal of home plate:
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As the announcer noted, Quackenbush is a righty, so there’s even way less of an excuse for him to ignore Andrus than it would be for a lefty. But in a day and age where pitchers have been conditioned to go to any length to get themselves in the zone and mentally prepared for each and every pitch, I guess you’ll have that. Well, that and longer games.
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.