The 2020 minor league baseball season has officially been canceled, but don’t try telling that to the Portland Sea Dogs. They’re too busy celebrating their undefeated season.
The Sea Dogs, the Double-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, announced on Wednesday that they will soon be selling T-shirts to “celebrate the remarkable accomplishment” of finishing the season undefeated.
It's official…the Portland Sea Dogs have finished the 2020 season undefeated! Celebrate the remarkable accomplishment with the Sea Dogs undefeated tour t-shirt. Available for pre-order through July 13th only.
🛒: https://t.co/VhWcWdiVe3 pic.twitter.com/lk3seZhcTp
— Portland Sea Dogs (@PortlandSeaDogs) July 8, 2020
Keep in mind that the Sea Dogs have committed to paying all of their employees this year even with the season being canceled, so you have to commend their efforts to generate revenue. While the joke may be corny, the shirts are a good way for fans to support the team during a difficult time.
In addition to selling “undefeated tour” shirts, the Sea Dogs have also offered takeout and delivery with their ballpark concession food.
We’ve seen some teams make outlandish claims about phony accomplishments in the past, but you can’t fault the Sea Dogs for trying.
So much about the 2020 MLB season — and everything in life these days — is in flux based on changing circumstances related to COVID-19. But one thing we know is that MLB teams are hopeful to have fans in their stadiums this year.
Boston Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy told reporters on Wednesday that fans at Fenway Park this year could be a “possibility” if the cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts continue to decline.
Kennedy says fans at Fenway in Phase 3 of reopening could be a “possibility” based on Massachusetts data on decline in COVID-19 cases. “We are hopeful to have fans at some point.” Says some MLB clubs anticipate fans this year.
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) June 24, 2020
Several other MLB teams are reportedly hoping to have fans at games.
The possibility of having anywhere near a capacity crowd this season is highly unlikely, but teams are hoping to be able to have some fans, even if it’s a limited amount in order to adhere to advised social distancing guidelines.
MLB and the players association agreed this week to a 60-game regular season. Players will report to camp by July 1st.
MLB teams have made the difficult decision to release hundreds of minor leaguers this week, and the son of Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo is among those who were cut.
The Red Sox released 22 minor league players on Friday, according to WEEI’s Rob Bradford. Lovullo’s son, shortstop Nick Lovullo, was one of the 22.
Nick Lovullo had been in Boston’s minor league system since 2016. He got all the way up to Triple-A Pawtucket last season and hit .200 with a .265 on-base percentage there. The 26-year-old hit .220 across three levels last year in 246 at-bats.
Torey Lovullo was a bench coach with the Red Sox from 2013-2016. He then went on to become the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017 and won the NL Manager of the Year award in his first season with the team.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported this week that the minor league baseball season is almost certain to be canceled, which has resulted in many players losing their jobs.
The Boston Red Sox have one of the most well-known looks in all of baseball, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to potential changes.
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy suggested recently that the team is looking at possible concept changes for its classic uniforms, though he added that the club is “respectful” of its traditional look.
“We are looking at changes as we go forward,” Kennedy said, via Chad Jennings of The Athletic. “(The changes will be) likely geared to get us to a uniform that is geared towards high performance. We will always be respectful of our incredible traditional look and feel, but we are always open to new and different concepts as time goes by.”
Fear not, traditionalists. It sounds like the Red Sox are more focused on changing the fit than the aesthetics.
“I think our folks on the ownership side are really more focused on fit,” executive vice president of partnerships Troup Parkinson said. “They think that, for example, Nike can bring tons of technology to the fit and hopefully help the performance of the athlete, which has happened in basketball and in football, but, amazingly, in baseball it hasn’t. The (players), if you talk to them, they will say the uniform doesn’t fit.”
It’s hard to imagine major changes to Boston’s uniforms, especially the home whites. If it’s more a performance issue than anything else, that seems easily adaptable.
There was some modest outcry when it was announced that the Nike “swoosh” would appear on MLB uniforms going forward. It would be much worse is even bigger changes were made.
The Boston Red Sox were likely relieved when Major League Baseball announced its findings from the investigation into the team’s sign-stealing antics, but the organization has still issued an apology.
After MLB commissioner Rob Manfred released his report, Red Sox President & CEO Sam Kennedy issued a statement saying any violation of rules is “unacceptable” and apologizing to fans and the league. Kennedy did, however, note that the entire Red Sox coaching staff and most of the players from 2018 were cleared of any wrongdoing.
— Red Sox (@RedSox) April 22, 2020
Many initially thought MLB would determine that the Red Sox were guilty of operating the same type of sign-stealing scheme as the Astros, especially since former manager Alex Cora was painted as the mastermind behind what went on in Houston. Instead, the league found that a video replay system operator used the replay room during some games to share information with players. The information was only useful when a runner was on second base, and MLB says the entire coaching staff and most players were not directly involved.
There was initially some speculation that the Red Sox could bring Cora back in 2021 if MLB cleared him in Boston’s investigation, but a move the team made on Wednesday all but rules that out.
As expected, Ron Roenicke is now the permanent manager of the Boston Red Sox after the league finished its investigation into the organization.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Red Sox are removing the interim tag from Roenicke, and he will be the team’s manager going forward.
This has been long expected and was essentially a formality after the investigation concluded. Commissioner Rob Manfred absolved Boston’s coaching staff of blame over any sign-stealing that happened in 2018, meaning Roenicke had no connection to the scandal. That cleared the path to make him the permanent manager.
Former manager Alex Cora, who Roenicke is replacing, was also cleared of blame in the report. However, he still won’t be anywhere near baseball thanks to his actions with another organization.
Major League Baseball has completed its investigation into sign-stealing allegations against the Boston Red Sox, and the league announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox manager Alex Cora has been suspended for the 2020 season. However, that penalty only stems from Cora’s role in the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal in 2017.
MLB announced minimal penalties against the Red Sox that include the loss of a second-round draft pick and a suspension for video replay system operator J.T. Watkins. While Cora was suspended for the entire 2020 season as expected, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred noted that the discipline does not stem from any activity while the manager was in Boston.
In a summary of the findings, Manfred wrote that it was determined that Watkins used the video replay room during some regular season games in 2018 to “revise sign sequence information” that he had legally shared with players prior to games. The information was only relevant when a runner was on second base, and the investigation found that Cora, the Red Sox coaching staff and most players did not know Watkins was illegally using the replay room to update information. Here’s the relevant portion of the summary:
In summation: MLB didn't find very much. pic.twitter.com/0smdGRIWdQ
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) April 22, 2020
Another noteworthy portion of Manfred’s report stated that the commissioner would not have felt inclined to punish any Red Sox players even if the Commissioner’s Office had not given players immunity in the investigation, such as the league did with the Astros investigation.
Manfred wrote in the report: "Although the Commissioner’s Office agreed not to discipline players who were truthful in their interviews, based on the findings of the investigation, this is not a case in which I would have otherwise considered imposing discipline on players."
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) April 22, 2020
Cora was painted as one of the masterminds behind Houston’s cheating scandal, but MLB determined he had very little — if any — involvement in what went on in Boston. Manfred had decided to wait until after the Red Sox investigation to discipline Cora in case Cora was guilty of further violations, and that turned out to not be the case. That should greatly improve his chances of landing another job when he’s reinstated following the 2020 season.