Phillies Step Up to the Plate
Phillies fans have had their ups and downs with their hometown franchise but let it be known that they can officially stand taller than every fan of every other MLB franchise as of this moment. And that has nothing to do with runs scored or victories won but everything to do with something much more important – caring for those who work for the Phillies franchise – or perhaps should we say, the Phillies family.
While many other teams are furloughing employees (a euphemism for laying them off until baseball returns) while cutting salaries for those not protected, the Phillies became the first franchise to guarantee jobs through the month of October. It’s a bold step but one that resonates with the millions of people who have lost their jobs and don’t have the benefit of a caring employer looking after them.
Managing partner John Middleton stated through an email, “While we will likely need to implement other cost-cutting alternatives in the interim to deal with our extraordinary loss of revenue, including possible salary reductions, you can be assured of your job and health insurance for the next five-plus months.”
When the smoke clears and COVID-19 begins to fade from the spotlight, giving way to some semblance of normalcy, Phillies fans can be proud of the way their team responded to a crisis in a way that will hopefully shame the others to follow suit. Although it’s not a sexy sports story, it is a vitally important one and maybe it’s not so coincidental that the City of Brotherly Love houses the first baseball franchise to realize charity begins at home.
Books Giving Phillies a Chance
Although we’re still a long way from baseball resuming, if it returns at all, what we do know is that the bookmakers are dealing MLB odds on teams to win their respective divisions, pennants, and World Series. As of this writing, Philadelphia is being offered at a generous +4000 to win a World Series title this season which means if you bet $100 then you will get a healthy return of $4000 if that dream comes true. As for winning the NL East, the frontrunners are not surprisingly the Atlanta Braves (+200), followed by the Nationals (+250), Mets (+300), Phillies (+300), and the Marlins (+2500) bringing up the rear.
It wouldn’t be a complete shocker if the Phillies made a deep postseason run, after all, they have one of the most lethal hitters in the game with Bryce Harper, and if Andrew McCutchen can stay healthy then Phillies fans could see their fair share of thunder and lightning this season. Arron Nola and free-agent acquisition Zack Wheeler will give the Phillies a chance to compete for the division crown this season. And if we want to put on our rose-colored glasses, imagine what Philadelphia’s chances will be if Jake Arrieta can rekindle some of the magic that made him one of the most feared hurlers in the game, with even more rest than anticipated after he went under the knife last August for season-ending surgery to remove a bone spur in his right pitching elbow.
Bryce Bummed About Olympics
When the Summer Games commence in Tokyo in 2021, baseball will be played for the time since the ’08 Olympics and Bryce Harper believes that big-leaguers should be allowed to participate. From 1992 through 2008, baseball was part of the Summer Games but was discontinued until this go-around. During that time, only amateurs were allowed to play because Major League owners did not want to lose two crucial weeks in the summer to send their stars to represent the Red, White, & Blue.
Harper recently participated in a Barstool Sports podcast and stated, “It is such a travesty to me. The 2020 Olympics, in Japan. And you’re not sending big league guys? Are you kidding me? You want to grow the game as much as possible and you’re not going to let us play in the Olympics because you don’t want to [lose] out on money for a two-week period? OK, that’s dumb.”
Harper elaborated further, “[Major Leaguers] have to do the Olympics every four years. You want to grow the game? You want to really take it to different countries and different places?”
“The 2021 Olympics are next year because of the coronavirus. Why not shock the world and put all your big leaguers back into the Olympics?”