Phillies

The 2020 Phillies spring training TV schedule is here

The 2020 Phillies spring training TV schedule is here

The Phillies will be playing in spring training games in less than two weeks and you can catch 10 of them on NBC Sports Philadelphia and NBC Sports Philadelphia+.

This will be the Phils' most interesting camp in years because of the new, experienced, succesful coaching staff, the first full spring training for Bryce Harper in Clearwater, two key new arrivals in Zack Wheeler and Didi Gregorius, and the presence of exciting prospects like Spencer Howard and Alec Bohm.

Jim Salisbury broke down the Phillies' top 10 spring training storylines earlier today.

Here is the full TV schedule for Phils Grapefruit League action:

Sunday, Feb. 23 vs. Pirates at 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Monday, Feb. 24 vs. Orioles at 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia+

Tuesday, Feb. 25 vs. Blue Jays at 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia+

Saturday, March 7 vs. Red Sox at 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Monday, March 9 vs. Yankees at 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia+

Tuesday, March 10 vs. Twins at 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia+

Sunday, March 15 vs. Pirates at 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia+

Tuesday, March 17 vs. Blue Jays at 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia+

Wednesday, March 18 vs. Reds at 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia+

Thursday, March 19 vs. Yankees at 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia+

Saturday, March 21 vs. Rays at 1 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia

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MLB's new plan to play by May or June is so crazy it just might work

MLB's new plan to play by May or June is so crazy it just might work

An idea so crazy that it just might work. 

There is a ton to digest in ESPN's report early Tuesday morning which outlined MLB's ambitious plan to potentially play regular-season games in empty stadiums in Arizona by late May or early June.

How?

Coronavirus tests capable of generating same-day results would need to be more widespread and available to MLB in a way that does not "diminish access for the general public," per the report. 

MLB's plan "has the support of high-ranking federal public health officials who believe the league can safely operate amid the coronavirus pandemic."

Where?

Under the proposed plan, the entire league would settle in Arizona for the 2020 regular season. Games would be played at Chase Field and at surrounding spring training complexes in the Phoenix area.

Players would be sequestered almost like jurors, able to go to and from the stadium and basically live in a different form of quarantine. They'd be away from their families for a prolonged period of time, which would suck. A lot of us are in this same boat, sacrificing our ability to be with some of our loved ones to keep them safe.

When?

Early June for regular-season games is a target date with teams needing at least a week to 10 days to reach a level of preparedness for the grind. But there is no definitive word as this entire plan is dependent on the availability of COVID-19 tests with rapid turnarounds.

It's also dependent on Arizona not becoming a hot spot. As of midnight Tuesday, there were 2,456 total COVID-19 cases in Arizona, 23rd among U.S. states. 

What if a player tests positive after teams begin working out?

Per ESPN, "officials do not believe that a positive test alone would necessarily be cause to quarantine an entire team or shut down the season."

This is interesting in comparison to the tentative plan in South Korea. The KBO is scheduled to play exhibition games two weeks from today, but former MLB pitcher Dan Straily, now pitching in Korea, told ESPN this earlier in the week:

"If anybody, anybody — if the No. 1 starting pitcher to the person cleaning, security, R&D — anybody gets sick in that time, we postpone two weeks."

In theory, a baseball player in the states who tests positive for COVID-19 after games begin again could be immediately quarantined to mitigate the effects. But how will that play out in practice? Look at how many asymptomatic NBA players unknowingly spread the virus around the league before it shut down. 

One positive test might not be grounds for another shutdown, but what about two? What about three?

The goofiest, BEST proposal

With such close quarters in dugouts, players could reportedly be seated in the stands apart from each other. What a hilarious visual. Picture Bryce Harper hitting a home run and 20 of his Phillies teammates scattered throughout the lower bowl pumping their fists like fans. Add in the potential for more players to be mic'd up and this could turn into a lot of fun.

There are so many weird wrinkles to this plan that you wonder how many elements were floated out by the league to gauge fan and media reaction.

Robo umps?

Convenient excuse to incorporate the electronic strike zone, which is a consideration because of the close proximity between umpire, catcher and hitter.

Would the players agree to all this?

They'll want to get paid. Their 2020 salary is prorated based on the length of the season. Only 4% of player salaries leaguewide are guaranteed in the event of a canceled season.

As cooky as this plan is, it beats no baseball and no paychecks after May.

But what about the lost ticket sales for empty-stadium games?

They could be made up, in part, by amended national TV broadcast agreements. There would be such a massive demand for live sports in early June if baseball is back that money could be recouped in the form of an expanded national TV package and advertising money.

It would be a chance for baseball to take center stage and create so many new fans. Perhaps that could offset or soften a season of lost ticket sales.

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Joe Girardi has been throwing down in the kitchen during time off

Joe Girardi has been throwing down in the kitchen during time off

With no baseball games to manage, Joe Girardi is leaning into one of his biggest hobbies.

"I love to cook so I've kinda broadened what I cook," Girardi told Mike Missanelli late last week. "I've been making this Nutella pizza, the simplest thing to make."

Qué?

"You just buy the dough that's pre-made," the skipper said. "You cook it for about seven, eight minutes at 450 (degrees), then you pull it out and you put the Nutella on it and you put strawberries or bananas, whatever you like, and a little powdered sugar and it's a great dessert. 

"The kids absolutely love it. That has been my new thing."

Kind of like a crepe — there's sweet and there's savory. Depending on how much Nutella you slather on there, you're looking at about 500 to 600 calories for one piece and 60 to 70% of your daily sugar intake. Every calorie matters during such a sedentary period! I am not proud to say I gained six pounds in the first three weeks of the quarantine.

Girardi, like practically everyone else, is making the most of the extra family time he's getting with his 20-year-old daughter Serena, 18-year-old son Dante and 13-year old daughter Lena. 

"I find myself cooking every night," Girardi said. "I think I've picked up from a restaurant one time. I love to cook so it works out and my wife loves to clean up so it works even better."

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