Phillies

Bryce Harper has some interesting changes in mind for 2020 MLB season

Bryce Harper has some interesting changes in mind for 2020 MLB season

Bryce Harper is sure keeping his mind and body active in quarantine. 

During the coronavirus shutdown, he's set his personal deadlift record of 505 pounds, made headlines while streaming on Twitch, pondered taking batting practice on an empty Las Vegas strip, and this weekend he outlined the kind of 2020 season he'd like to see.

The bold text below is the idea Harper laid out early Saturday morning on Instagram:

Baseball Season: Beyond the health and safety which comes first for all players, staff, workers, fans, and families. ⠀

Just an idea I have been thinking about.

East/West like NBA. ⠀

July 31 days⠀
August 31 days ⠀
September 30 days ⠀
October 31 days ⠀
November 15 days

135 games. ⠀

Off day every 2 weeks on a Monday and Sunday double header 7 innings. ⠀

30 players. 6 man rotation. Save arms. IF pitchers wanted this. If not no big deal. DH and any other ideas possible.⠀

Playoffs
2 week World Series. Like Super bowl week. ⠀

10 teams round robin format College World Series kinda style at the new Texas Stadium or whatever stadium/stadiums are best. 3 game series. You win the series you move on. You lose you play the other loser in a 1 game wildcard. Winner of that moves on. Other team is out.

Or you could play it in Vegas so you have the Strip Hotels and could use one hotel for all the guys and contain possibly? ⠀

2 teams left 7 game World Series. They get 2 days off before the series. With those 2 days off you do a All Star Game and homerun derby. Could do the MLB awards as well at that time. ⠀

Open this up on all platforms. No blackouts. Open it for everybody to watch. ⠀

Then you back up season the next 2 years. May 1st 2021. April 1st 2022. Maybe I’m crazy. Just fun to think about and throw around ideas

Not sure about the 10-team round-robin College World Series-style playoff idea, even though I'm all for getting weird in 2020. The less recognizable MLB's playoffs become, the less seriously some (or many) will take it, especially in a shortened season.

The 30-player roster seems like an inevitability, and six-man rotations make a lot of sense this season. As Cole Hamels recently explained on the Phillies Talk podcast, a starting pitcher going six innings will feel like nine innings for much of the early part of the season.

Harper's got some interesting ideas. Whether or not you agree with the ideas above, it's always beneficial when one of the faces of the game is the one sparking the conversation.

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The OG Phillie Phanatic wants Major League Baseball to lighten up

The OG Phillie Phanatic wants Major League Baseball to lighten up

Dave Raymond, the OG Phillie Phanatic, was alarmed when he read the news earlier this week.

No Mascots!

Has Major League Baseball lost its mind?

Or worse, its sense of humor?

Don’t misunderstand, Raymond, the man who breathed life into that big ball of green fur from the time it debuted in 1978 until 1993, is all for ridding the world of this nasty coronavirus beast. He’s all for social distancing, frequent handwashing and everything else that goes with protecting folks from getting sick. He knows how serious this thing is.

And that’s why he’s hoping that MLB won’t follow through on its plan to ban mascots from games when and if the sport comes back with a proposed 82-game schedule in July.

“I understand that only essential personnel can physically be at the games,” Raymond said Friday. “But I would argue that in these serious times mascots are more essential than ever.”

After shedding the Phanatic’s fur and handing the keys to the ATV to the equally brilliant Tom Burgoyne 26 years ago, Raymond dedicated his professional life to the concept of fun. It’s serious business. Raymond has owned and operated companies that help professional teams and college sports programs develop mascots/brands. He has trained mascots and helped found a mascot Hall of Fame. His current focus is motivational speaking. Everything is centered around the Power of Fun — which just so happens to be the title of his book — and how it can make a difference in people’s lives.

In these trying times when lives have been lost, when people have gotten sick and when the world has wrapped a mask around its face and gone into quarantine, Raymond is preaching louder than ever about the importance of a little fun and the respite it can offer in difficult times.

“It’s a scientific fact that laughing helps a person emotionally and physically,” he said.

That’s why he believes mascots need to have their place in baseball’s return.

“Mascots are a reflection of the fans’ heart and soul and part of the reason fans get emotionally connected to their teams,” he said. “During this time, we need the connection they provide more than ever. I understand that fans can’t be in the stadiums, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still engage them through mascots and character brands. Baseball needs to be creative and carve out space for entertainment.”

Raymond proposes that mascots be featured on television broadcasts when the game returns. It would be kind of funny to see a camera pan over to the Phanatic sitting all alone in section 305. Maybe even have Bobby Vinton’s Mr. Lonely play in the background.

If the Phanatic absolutely, positively cannot be in the ballpark, then he could be featured through technology and social media. Raymond proposed live streaming the Phanatic, wherever he might be, watching the game. Run it across social media platforms and have fans follow along. Raymond also proposed prerecording videos that could feature fans playing catch with the final throw landing in the Phanatic’s glove as he stands on the field. Another idea: Replace the Phanatic’s middle-of-the-fifth-inning dance skit with a live Zoom call on Phanavision and let fans log in. He’d like to see this stuff in every major league city.

“I understand it’s safety first, but there’s still room to lighten things up a little,” Raymond said.

Raymond is sharing this message with mascots who have been sidelined all over the country, from the major leagues to the minor leagues to the colleges. He has personally tutored many of them. They are his friends. Some have been furloughed from their jobs.

“It’s really devastating,” he said.

On Tuesday, Raymond will host a Zoom webinar for mascots and officials from teams, leagues and colleges that he has worked with over the years. It’s titled What The Heck Should My Mascot Do Now?

For Dave Raymond, the answer is simple:

Follow the rules, but by all means, be creative, embrace technology and mascot on.

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Phillies Talk podcast: Locations, opponents, details on Spring Training II

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Phillies Talk podcast: Locations, opponents, details on Spring Training II

On today's Phillies Talk podcast, Jim Salisbury and I discussed what Spring Training II could look like amid Jim's report that the Phillies will likely get to stay home and train in South Philadelphia.

• Benefits of having camp at home.

• Who could Phillies play in Spring Training II?

• What happens to the minor-leaguers? Will there even be a minor-league season?

• Just how big could regular-season rosters get?

• Spencer Howard will likely put pressure on Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez.

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