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Signs of optimism in baseball?

Players and owners might be closer to a staging a shortened season. But they're not all the way there yet.

Kevin Kaduk
Kevin Kaduk

Good morning, frents …

New Bears QB coach John DeFilippo says he wants more “juice” in his room, which he defines as “passion, energy and swagger, baby.”

I have no idea if he’ll be able to turn Mitch Trubisky around, but I do know he just stole the t-shirt slogan I was planning for Midway Minute this fall.

Speaking of plans, make sure you read to the end for a small housecleaning note.

Are we any closer? Depends who you ask

One day I hope to inform you of the return of our beloved Cubs and White Sox.

Today is still not that day.

But after I went all fire and brimstone earlier in the week, baseball made room for a little optimism in my heart on Wednesday afternoon. MLB commish Rob Manfred confirmed he’d had a face-to-face meeting with union head Tony Clark and that actual progress had been made.

Said Manfred in a statement:

"We left that meeting with a jointly developed framework that we agreed could form the basis of an agreement and subject to conversations with our respective constituents. I summarized that framework numerous times in the meeting and sent Tony a written summary today.

"Consistent with our conversations yesterday, I am encouraging the clubs to move forward and I trust Tony is doing the same."

As the afternoon wore on, the “framework” leaked out from various sources.

  • A 60-game season with full prorated pay, which the players have demanded from the beginning and believe they are owed from a previous agreement made in March.
  • The  players agreeing to drop any legal right to a grievance based on that March agreement.
  • Players returning to their home cities for a three-week spring training starting June 29 and the regular season starting on July 19.
  • An expanded 16-team playoff for both 2020 and 2021, which would allow the owners to recoup some money through the sale of television rights.
  • A $25 million postseason pool and a $10 million joint fund for social justice.

The adoption of a universal DH for both 2020 and 2021, which has long been on the players’ wishlist and would likely mean the end of pitchers hitting in the NL since it’s unlikely the owners would be able to put the horse back in the barn during the next CBA.

So all good, right?

Well, not quite. A union source told Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic on Wednesday night that a 60-game schedule was too short and that no agreement has been reached.

The report was not reason to completely erase the good feelings from earlier in the day.  With the owners seeing the writing on the wall and agreeing to full prorated pay, it’d stand to reason that the players are going to try and squeeze out as many guaranteed games of pay as they can. Hopefully this is just some quibbling to get the schedule up to 65 or 70 games. (Every little bit counts when you’re trying to get back to half of the full-season paycheck you’d planned on making.)

Could this holdout spur some bad feelings from Manfred and the owners, who apparently believed they were a few small details from bringing this one home?

Maybe.

But if Manfred went from abandoning all hope on ESPN Monday night to getting chummy with Clark on Tuesday, it signals to me that the owners know they can’t afford to skip the 2020 season. If the two sides are within 10 games or so of each other, maybe this counts as the small details that need to be ironed out.

Then again, who knows? This whole thing has been the first roller coaster that I haven’t enjoyed riding and I still have no idea what twist, turn, drop or plunge comes next.

Hopefully it just ends sometime soon.

The last time baseball came “back”

Not exactly vintage Harry here, but the clip seemed appropriate for today.

A few things about Opening Day 1995:

There was an elephant wearing a Reds hat in Cincinnati for some reason.

Thanks to YouTube user MLBonVHS for uploading the entire game.

Have a link for Midway Minute? Email me!

Matt Snyder with six reasons to embrace an abbreviated MLB season. (CBS Sports)

Are the Bears on the doorstep of a Riley Ridley breakout? (Bleacher Nation)

Here’s footage of Mitch Trubisky working out with David Montgomery, Allen Robinson and others at Buffalo Grove HS. Warning: The video has a NSFW soundtrack. (BearsWire)

Nick Foles and his wife Tori just welcomed a son named Duke Nathan into the world. There are pictures to prove it. (Twitter)

The Bears are closing their offices Friday to celebrate Juneteenth and want their fans to celebrate as well. (Chicago Bears)

An interesting piece from 2014 about Jerry Reinsdorf trying to stop Rob Manfred’s ascension to commissioner. (NY Times)

Metta World Peace on the time he accidentally broke Michael Jordan’s ribs. (NBC Sports Chicago)

Jim O’Donnell reports that Arlington and the horsemen have a tentative deal. It calls for a late July return and 30 live dates through September.  (Daily Herald)

Mark Lazerus with a great feature on Kevin Weekes and his work for racial equality in hockey. Weekes has been mentioned as a candidate for a spot in the Hawks revamped front office and the team would be getting a great leader if so. (The Athletic)

Now Alison Victoria’s investors are suing her over “Windy City Rehab.” That show remains my favorite trainwreck and I’m concerned there won’t be a season 2. (Tribune)

• Finally, thanks to everyone who took the time to send me beloved Chicago athletes wearing the strange uniforms of another team. Here are my three favorites, which I’d honestly forgotten all about:


Housecleaning note!

50/50 chance there won’t be a newsletter on Friday morning. With the return of sports possibly just around the corner, there’s a lot of infrastructure work I want to do on Midway Minute and only so many hours in the day. So we might be looking at a few four-day weeks coming up — and possibly a short hiatus in July — as I catch up on a lot of growth work I’ve been meaning to do.

But whatever I decide to do, I’ll keep you posted! The dedicated group that has opened my emails the past four months means the world to me and I’m beyond amazed at what we’ve already been able to build. I can’t imagine how fun this is going to be once we have a wild baseball season (hopefully) and a full Bears campaign to pick apart.

So, as always, thank you for being a #frentofthenewsletter.

Let’s go have ourselves a day.