Things got a bit testy during the last few innings of the Cubs’ 6-0 win over the Reds on Saturday, culminating in a benches-clearing face-off between Cubs reliever Pedro Strop and Reds outfielder Yasiel Puig.
In the bottom of the eighth, Strop stepped in for Steve Cishek to preserve the Cubs’ five-run lead. With two outs and zero runners on, he allowed a double to Eugenio Suárez, then hit Puig in the thigh with a 93.7-m.p.h. fastball. Puig stomped toward the mound to exchange words with Strop, flipping his bat and chucking his helmet before he reached the pitcher. He was restrained by Chicago backstop Willson Contreras and home plate umpire Mark Wegner, but the both Puig and Strop continued to jaw at each other until their teams’ respective benches and bullpens had emptied around them.
It was a fruitless fight; warnings were issued and both sides seemed to respect the umpires’ directives, at least to the extent that no ejections were deemed necessary.
In the ninth, however, tempers flared again after Dillon Maples plunked José Peraza. Reds manager David Bell emerged from the dugout to question the decision not to eject Maples but, instead of Maples, was ejected from the game himself. Any further disputes were soon tabled as the Cubs wrapped up their 6-0 win following Curt Casali‘s three-pitch swinging strikeout.
Matt Spiegel of 670 The Score Chicago heard from a source that Major League Baseball executives have been discussing a 100-game season that would begin on July 1 and conclude on October 15. It would essentially pick up the second half schedule, eliminating the All-Star Game while hosting the World Series at a neutral warm-weather stadium — ideally Dodger Stadium.
In the event the Dodgers, who won 106 games last year, made it all the way through the playoffs, the World Series would be hosted in Anaheim or San Diego. The earlier rounds of the playoffs would be played in the cities of the teams involved, which might be tough since the postseason would extend into November.
Spiegel went on to describe this vision as “an absolute best case scenario,” and that’s accurate. In order for the regular season to begin on July 1, the players would need to have several weeks if not a full month prior to get back into playing shape — more or less an abbreviated second spring training. And that would mean the U.S. having made significant progress against the virus by way of herd immunity or a vaccine, which would allow for nonessential businesses to resume operations. The U.S., sadly, is faring not so well compared to other nations around the world for a variety of reasons, but all of which point to a return to normalcy by the summer seeming rather unlikely.
Regardless, the league does have to plan for the potential of being able to start the regular season this summer just in case things really do break right and offer that opportunity. Commissioner Rob Manfred has stated multiple times about the league’s need to be creative, referring to ideas like playing deep into the fall, changing up the location of games, playing without fans in attendance, etc. This rumor certainly fits the “creative” mold.