Trey Mancini's grace; Another schedule idea; MLB OK's refunds - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Trey Mancini’s grace; Another schedule idea; MLB OK’s refunds

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

After Trey Mancini’s disclosed that he’s undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer that would sideline him for the 2020 season, assuming there is one, the reaction from Orioles fans and teammates was understandably supportive.

Mancini’s article in The Players’ Tribune read as if it were Mancini speaking, and the support he’s received was because he is a genuinely good person and excellent representative for the Orioles.

He’ll have to endure chemotherapy, which began April 13, every two weeks through mid-October, and as he wrote, “If baseball returns in 2020, it will probably be without me.”

Not only is it a shame that the Orioles will be without their best player, but their most well-spoken one, too. During what’s going to be a challenging season on the field, it would have been nice to have Mancini’s perspective.

It would have also been great to hear his thoughts on the challenges of the coronavirus in baseball.

But Mancini has an important fight of his own, and his graceful handling of this awful situation will only increase his popularity in Baltimore.

He’ll have to be replaced on the field for 2020, and the Orioles will need a player who’ll speak for the team during tough times.

If his treatments are completed on schedule, Mancini will have a full offseason to rest and regain strength for 2021.

After Adam Jones left after the 2018 season, Mancini was assumed to be his successor as the unofficial team spokesman. There’s no question that he symbolizes the team, and now he’ll symbolize something bigger and more important.

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Another schedule idea: Over the years, there have been many ideas to adjust the 162-game schedule and make it more equitable.

During the delay because of Covid-19, there have been many ideas tossed out, some repeated here, for an abbreviated schedule and possible realignments.

Some seemed intriguing. Others seemed to be non-starters.

According to USA Today, another idea seems to be gaining momentum, and it sounds much more plausible than earlier ones.

The 30 teams would be divided into three 10-team divisions. The Orioles would be in a division with the other four American League East teams: Boston, New York, Tampa Bay and Toronto, four National League East teams: Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, and Pittsburgh from the NL Central.

Assuming public health permits, games could be played in major league parks without fans.

After a week to report to their spring training sites, players could have a three-week spring training, and perhaps the season could begin in late June or early July.

With nine opponents in the division, perhaps teams could play each other 12 times. That would make for a 108-game schedule, two-thirds of a 162-game season.

The regular season could run through October and expanded playoffs could take place at neutral sites, warm-weather sites, in November. It certainly would be odd having the World Series coincide with Thanksgiving, but in this unusual year, few things seem to be ruled out.

This proposal is far better than the one that would have placed all 30 teams in Arizona or, as in spring training, 15 teams in Florida and the other 15 in Arizona.

Another idea floated had 10 teams each based in Florida, Arizona and Texas, where they could play  in a dome.

This Eastern Division could make for more logical travel. The farthest trip for the Orioles would be to Miami, and four opponents — the Mets, Nationals, Phillies and Yankees — would be within 200 miles.

The idea of staging the season in Florida and Arizona would have been much costlier for teams because they’d be effectively on the road for the season.

More proposals will be offered in the coming weeks, and that gives us hope that perhaps there’ll be a 2020 season.

Refunds coming? Fans who had already purchased season or individual-game tickets have been justifiably nervous since the season was delayed.

Beginning Wednesday, teams will be allowed to set refund policies for tickets to games that weren’t played.

Including Tuesday, 16 of the Orioles’ scheduled 80 home games have not been played.

It’s likely that if and when the season begins, it will do so without fans in the stands, and if fans are allowed later in the season, social distancing guidelines might still be in effect.

On the original schedule, the Orioles were supposed to play Boston in Williamsport, Pennsylvania on August 23 to coincide with the Little League World Series. That was listed as an Orioles home game. Though a cancellation of the game has yet to be announced, it seems unlikely that will be played.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

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