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Fox Sports Detroit to air 2019 Tigers games for some reason


Next Thursday would’ve been Opening Day. We’ll have no live baseball, but fans who have access to Fox Sports Detroit will be able to see three classic games next weekend.

I define “classic” very, very loosely here, because the games aren’t going to be from pennant-winning seasons like 1984, 2006, or 2012. Nope, they’re gonna be from . . . last year. When the Tigers went 47-114.

At 1 PM Eastern next Thursday FSD will air last year’s Tigers opener in Toronto. They’ll re-run it at 8 p.m. and midnight, and again at 2 p.m. on Friday. On Sunday, March 29, they’ll play the game against the Yankees from April 2, 2019, airing again at midnight and 8 AM the next morning. Finally, on Monday, March 30 — the date that would’ve been the home opener in Detroit — the network will air last year’s home opener against the Royals. That broadcast will air at 1 PM and again at 8 PM and will air on repeat all day that Tuesday.

I guess the biggest question I have is why broadcast the very bad, very anonymous 2019 Tigers in the first place? I mean, I realize that owning the broadcast rights to games is a limiting factor here — FSD likely does not have the ability to take games from WDIV Channel 4 from back in 1984 or something — but they’ve been doing Tigers games for a very long time! They have a pretty big archive, one presumes, of games featuring actually good and actually interesting Tigers teams.

Also: even if last year’s Tigers team was good, why broadcast something so recent? Fans might very well remember the details of those games, thereby defeating the purpose of giving them something that approximates live baseball. I’m not even a Tigers fan and I remember what happened in that home opener against the Royals, as I had it on for about six innings. Why not play a game from, say, 2014, the outcome and details of which will likely have been forgotten by now?

Part of me wonders if it’s an optics issue. As you may remember, Fox Sports Detroit famously fired its longtime announcing duo, Mario Impemba and Rod Allen, late in the 2018 season after the two of them got into what was described as an ugly fight while broadcasting a game in Chicago. Maybe the network doesn’t want the most high-profile thing it’ll be broadcasting in the near future to feature the voices of two guys a lot of fans miss but who also left in ignominy?

That could be wrong. It’s just a guess. But I can’t think of another reason why Tigers fans would want to relive the 2019 season of all seasons unless there was no choice whatsoever.

Nationals’ major leaguers to continue offering financial assistance to minor leaguers

Sean Doolittle
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On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.

After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.

Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.

The full statement:

Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.

We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.

We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.

Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.