The Brewers announced on Monday that infielder Nate Orf had his contract selected from Triple-A Colorado Springs. Orf is in Monday night’s starting lineup, batting sixth and playing second base against the Twins.
Orf, 28, is a great story. He was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Baylor University. He didn’t break out until his fifth year in the minors when he hit .320/.397/.507 in 125 games for Colorado Springs last season. It’s been more of the same this year, as he hit .307/.412/.563 with 27 extra-base hits and 20 stolen bases in 74 games prior to his promotion.
MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy shares Orf’s story about when he signed:
Can we just talk about that for a minute? Brewers execs had a fresh-faced 22-year-old kid in their office and screwed him out of $500 because he was so ecstatic to play professional baseball he gave up his own leverage. In 2012, Forbes valued the Brewers at $450 million (they’re now valued at over $1 billion). Not that this kind of behavior is surprising coming from a league that institutionally underpays minor leaguers across the board and has lobbied Congress to keep it legal.
At least Orf will now make a prorated major league salary and have lifetime healthcare coverage. If he plays 43 days in the majors, he’ll qualify for the annual pension plan. Hopefully he never forgets how the Brewers nickel-and-dimed him out of $500. And God forbid if the club should ever question his loyalty as is wont to happen in this sport.
Adrian Wojnarowski and Adam Schefter report that President Donald Trump told the sports commissioners on today’s conference call that he hopes that the leagues can re-open their doors to fans by August or September. The conference call, as we wrote earlier today, included a who’s-who of sports decision-makers.
Trump reportedly also said that the NFL can open on schedule in September, and urged the commissioners to work together to lobby for sports-related tax credits for consumers.
It’s hard to imagine MLB being able to get anything resembling a full season done if the game doesn’t resume until August or September. Even with the proposal to play a lot of double-headers in consideration, that would be asking an awful lot of the players, especially the pitchers. The season could theoretically stretch on into October, with the playoffs being held in warm-weather environments and domes in November. Yet that would depend on COVID-19 being contained in those locations, and would also impact the length of the offseason. Players would have less time to heal and rest up for next year’s spring training.
Trump’s benchmarks are also being set without any real sense for the scale of the pandemic given the abysmal lack of testing taking place to track the spread of the virus. The CDC and other health outlets within the government are operating on educated guesses and not hard data. We could have live sports back by August, or not until November. It’s simply too soon to tell.
The decision to re-open the leagues would not be a light one. Fans will be eager to get back in the stands after such a long layoff without sports. Live sporting events pull in tens of thousands of people, and just a handful of infected fans would be able to let the virus spread like wildfire. The health of the players is also paramount. Even a single player testing positive for COVID-19 could derail the nascent season.
One thing is clear, though. If baseball isn’t able to return until September, we may as well not have a season at all. There’s a very real chance we won’t be seeing any American baseball until 2021. Now might be a good time to figure out how to livestream the KBO, which is hoping to start its season sometime next month.
If you want to learn more about COVID-19, give the CDC’s site about the virus a read. Informing yourself is the most important step.