SHREVEPORT – Louisiana is expecting news today from Governor John Bel Edwards regarding moving into Phase 2 and reopening the state.
Whatever else this pandemic has been, it has certainly been the cause for many businesses and restaurants to close permanently. Maybe they were already on the brink of closure and Covid just pushed them over the edge—I don’t know. It seems now that people are just “over it.” I’m seeing fewer people wearing masks than I did a week or two ago. The rioters and looters on my television aren’t wearing masks, either, for the most part.
Louisiana State University has released their plans for reopening the college for the fall semester; plans include social distancing, increased sanitation measures, and random testing of the campus population:
Random testing between 10 and 16 percent of the populations of all LSU System campuses statewide for COVID-19 this fall. Participants would be selected randomly from lists of students and employees, and those selected would be encouraged to participate in the testing, although, not required. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 would be interviewed in an effort to determine who they have been with recently so that accurate contact tracing can be achieved. Every effort would be made to locate and test anyone believed to have been exposed. The goal of this plan is to determine the incidence of the virus on LSU’s campuses and to locate and mitigate any possible clusters of the virus.
The public school system in which I work has not yet released any specific plans, but the discussions sound much like everything else with social distancing and increased sanitation. I’m having a hard time envisioning my 15 and 16 year old students practicing social distancing in the hallways and the very small classrooms. On our campus there is just not a lot of room to spread out classes to keep kids six feet apart or have smaller classes.
Will they have to wear masks? Will I have to teach theme, symbolism, and literary analysis through a mask?
It is hard to imagine.
I have seen discussion in neighborhood social media groups with parents who will opt to home school rather than send kids back to “an environment of fear.” So be it. That, too, will be interesting to monitor. For example, mine is a Title 1 school in a high poverty neighborhood and not many parents are interested in home schooling their kids. That is not to say none will or that all of our kids are in poverty; that’s not the case. There is a high percentage that are and many struggle just to have regular meals.
The virus numbers do seem to be leveling off, but our challenges are not.
The latest in our series of write-ups of the various leagues I am running. If you wish to inquire about future openings (all current spots are filled) contact me via the Dynasty system or leave a request in comments.
This weekend the All Futility 100 loss league West divisions. These results and standings were all current at the time of this writing
American League West
2008 Seattle Mariners 86-65 1st place
With three games to go and a two game lead Seattle has control of their own destiny. Will they be able to hold off the final late surge?
Heroes: Jose Lopez in addition to leading the league in hits & doubles is 4th in batting. Ichrio Suzuki is 3rd in runs and stolen bases and is top ten in the league in hits & triples with 9 OF assists thrown in. Seattle Closer Brandon Morrow is 3rd is saves (25) but more importantly has only blown 5 in 30 chances which makes all the difference.
Zeros: If Starter Miguel Batista had managed better than a 6.26 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP in 21 starts Seattle would already be resting starters for the playoffs. The same goes for Carlos Silva who with 30 starts is just under .500 thanks to a 5.58 ERA a .312 avg against plus almost 50 more hits given up than innings pitched
Wild Cards: There is no better illustration of the difference between getting good defense & run support and not than the contrast between starters Jarrod Washburn & Felix Hernandez both have a .260 avg against but Washburn is 13-7 despite a 4.63 ERA while Hernandez leads the league with a 2.96 ERA but is 10-14 with a full dozen unearned runs scored off him vs only 2 vs Washburn.
Coming Attractions. Seattle heads home to finish their season vs the 1982 Minnesota Twins. If they can win sweep the twins it’s a clinch no matter what.
Injury Report:Erik Bedard who has been out since July will not play again this season but if Seattle hangs on will be recovered in time for the playoffs.
1973 Texas Rangers 83-66 2nd place 2 GB
The Texas comeback from the bottom of the standings to within 2 games (and only one behind in the loss column) with 5 to play is one of the great stories of the season.
Heroes: Jeff Burroughs & Bill Sudakis are 1 & 3 in HR in the AL and in a 4 way tie for the RBI lead going into the final four games. Meanwhile the starting pitching duo of Jim Bibby & Jim Merritt are in a 4 way tie for the lead in wins & are sitting at 2-3 in League ERA. Bibby is also 1st in Avg against while Merritt is 2nd in WHIP.
Zeros:Jim Mason’s .212 avg with 0 HR & 18 RBI in over 200 ab isn’t impressive but if you want to know why Texas is still 2nd look no further than starter David Clyde (6-11 6.16 ERA ) in 25 starts and Charlie Hudson whose 6-4 record and 3.70 ERA in 43 appearance (4 starts) look good but six blown saves vs 7 converted saves is the difference between being 2 behind in the loss column and 0.
Wild Card: Texas has feasted off of AL East teams a full 20 games over .500 against them but they have not been so successful against left handed pitchers against whom their record is just below .500.
Coming Attractions: Texas Season is going to come down to their final two home games vs the 2005 Kansas City Royals and then a trip to Tampa Bay to finish their season with 3 games against the big bats of the 2002 Devil Rays.
Injury Report: Texas makes its dash with nobody on the DL but with a pitching staff desperately in need of a rest particularly Sonny Siebert.
1982 Minnesota Twins 79-72 3rd place 7 GB ELIMINATED
When last we left the Twins they were battling Seattle neck and neck, however a late 4-6 run has been just enough to put them five to go a single game too far back.
Heroes: There may be recriminations in Minnesota over their finish but Kent Hrbek Certainly did his part .343 (3rd) with 36 HR (6th) and 128 RBI’s (2nd) plus top 7 in Triples, Hits, Runs OBP, Slugging and OPS. On the Mound Robert Castillo is 1st in WHIP, tied for the league lead in wins 6th in ERA 3rd in Innings pitched 5th in strikeouts and 2nd in best avg against (.242) And Ron Davis’ 28 Saves vs 3 blows is pretty solid.
Zeros:Frank Viola may have a great future but his 7-11 record with a .325 avg against and 5.45 ERA is a big reason why Minnesota is eliminated today. It also doesn’t help that Terry Felton (5 saves in 9 chances) and Jeff Little (4 saves in 8 chances) couldn’t do the job when Davis wasn’t available.
Wild Cards: Nobody closed out games like Minnesota. They were 1st in the majors in saves while tied for the fewest blown saves in the AL. Unfortunately it’s a little tough to get to that save situation when you lead the league in both walks and Home Runs allowed.
Coming Attractions: Minnesota might be out of it but with their season finishing in Seattle against the 1st place 2008 Mariners they hold the destiny of the division in their hands.
2005 Kansas City Royals 76-73 4th place 8 GB ELIMINATED
Kansas City is playing for pride. One win secures at least a .500 record and they are but a single game behind Minnesota in the loss column. Can they manage to get out of the cellar in their final five games?
Heroes:David DeJesusis currently tied for the AL lead in doubles 4th in triples 10th in OBP & 7th in walks. Matt Stairs is 2nd in OBP 4th in Slugging and only injuries kept him out of bigger categories and Mike Sweeny’s .309 avg 33 HR & 122 RBI’s are nothing to sneeze at. Andy Sisco in 51 games out of the pen went 8-2 with 3 saves in as many chances & a 2.85 ERA
Zeros: Practically the entire Royals starting rotation can quality with only one starter managing an ERA under 5 but the worst offenders of the lot have to be Runelvys Hernandez (3-15 6.72 ERA .321 avg against & over 50 more hits than innings in 32 starts) and Jose Lima (8-12 7.03 ERA .315 avg against in 26 starts)
Wild Card: It certainly wasn’t offense that put Kansas City in last. They led the league in Runs, doubles, RBI’s OBP and OPS and led the majors in Avg and Slugging. However while they hit .290 as a team they also allowed their opponent to hit .290 against and converted the fewest saves in the AL while being near the bottom of almost every AL pitching category.
Coming Attractions: Kansas City’s offense will have a chance to decide how the division finishes as they play a pair in Texas against the 1973 Rangers before closing out their season against the AL East champion Chicago White Sox.
Injury report: The good news for KC is all of their potent bats are available for the close of the season, the good news for their opponents is so is all their pitching.
National League West
2012 Houston Astros 77-74 1st place
Houston won their two biggest games of the season sweeping Arizona for a pair giving them a 2 game lead with three to play. But with both San Diego and Arizona still alive with 3 to go they’ll have to go all out to guarantee a playdate against the 100 win Nationals.
Heroes: You won’t find a lot of Astros on the various leader boards but one is Wilson Lopezwhose 16 saves are 2nd in the league. Another is Scott Moore whose .327 avg is 2nd in the league But Justin Maxwell’s 32 HR and steady pitching from folks like starter Jordan Lyles (14-8 1 sv 3.93 ERA 1.32 WHIP) and reliever Fernando Rodriguez (10-4 3.85 ERA in relief) played their part.
Zeros: If Xavier Cedeno (52 games 1 start 4-3 2 saves in 8 chances 5.58 ERA) .292 avg vs) Fernando Abad (33 games 6 starts 3-8 1 save in 4 chances 6.64 ERA .323 avg vs) & Rhiner Cruz (43 games 3 starts 3-5 0 saves in 2 chances .7.76 ERA .327 avg vs) had been even slightly better the NL West would be sown up today.
Wild Cards: Despite a -58 run differential (No team with a record better than 25 games under .500 has worse) and the worst fielding percentage in the majors (.977) the 2nd most blown saves in the NL and more of their batters striking on than on any other team they are two wins from a division title. Perhaps being 2nd in HR & RBI, in the NL have something to do with it.
Coming Attractions: It all comes down to a three games series in Milwaukee vs the 2002 Brewers. Win two and Houston punches their ticket to a series vs the Nationals.
Injury Report: Fortunately for Houston all three zeros on their list Fernando Abad, Rhiner Cruz and Xavier Cedeno are out till next year along with Buck Travis are out for the season and playoffs although there is a Tiny chance that Cedeno could be well enough to play before the end of the World Series. Francisco Cordero won’t be available vs Milwaukee but if Houston makes the Playoffs he might be able to be activated late in the Washington series if another Astro is injured.
2004 Arizona Diamondbacks 75-76 2nd 2 GB
Arizona managed to climb all the way from last to a tie for first with five games to go only to lose 2 straight to Houston. Can they pull off one final miracle in their last series?
Heroes: The question isn’t if Randy Johnson will win the NL CY Young. With the exception of Home Runs per 9 Innings (4th in majors 2nd in NL) and Innings Pitched (1st in NL 2nd in Majors likely to be 1st soon) he leads leads the majors in every non relieving pitching Category and by a lot. His 1.88 ERA is a full run better than the #2 his 335 K’s is 85 better than the 2nd best and he’s hte only pitcher with a WHIP under 1.00 (0.80) the question is does he win MVP too? Luis Gonzalez Brandon Webb and reliever Mike Koplove did their part but Johnson is the best in the majors period!
Zeros: To say that reliever Randy Choate (58 gm 3-10 1 sv in 3 chances) and starter Edgar Gonzalez (12 starts in 13 games 3-7 6.36 ERA .301 avg against 11 HR in 58 innings) have been bad is true but Casey Fossum line of 29 starts, .337 avg against 8.38 ERA 1.82 WHIP and a 5-13 record takes the cake. If they had collectively been 2 games better over their 41 starts and 59 relief appearances the Diamondbacks would control their own destiny.
Wild Card: If Arizona makes the playoffs Randy Johnson is the wildest card there is capable of beating any team at any time. Arizona as been a doubles machine leading the majors and it’s a good thing too because their 13 steal attempts (10 sb) are the fewest in the NL. On the mound they lead the majors in ERA (3.97) WHIP (1.33) avg against (.246) K’s (1259) fewest Runs & Earned runs (674/600) fewest hits (1282) and lead the NL in completed games. One guess why.
Coming Attractions: It comes down to a 3 game series vs the 1973 San Diego Padres. at home. Johnson will pitch once so it will come down to if the remainder of the staff can come through. Two wins forces Houston to win one. 3 forces them to win two
Injury Report:Danny Bautista will not be available for the SD series but if the team makes the playoff he’ll be recovered sufficiently to make the roster.
1973 San Diego Padres 74-77 3rd place 3 GB
It’s a credit to the relevancy of this Padres team that with a single series to play they are still in the playoff hunt but they not only need Houston to be swept they will need to beat Randy Johnson. Can they do it?
Heroes:Willie McCovery still has an excellent batters eye leading the league in walks and OBP. while hitting a solid .298 with 25 HR & 99 RBI. Young Dave Winfield has been a liability in the field (10 OF errors) & doesn’t have McCovey’s patience at the plate (31 BB vs 139K’s) but with 25 HR & 105 RBI he’ll do. On the Mound Dan Spillner has been the best of a good rotation 11-8 with a 3.78 ERA and a save in his only chance.
Zeros: Of all the teams I’ve written this is the hardest to pick out zeros because while many have performed below avg, no regulars stats have been horrible, but it’s fair to say that while their numbers aren’t horrible the inability of Padres relievers to convert saves like Bill Laxton (7 of 12 ) Lowell Palmer (4 of 8) and Mike Corkins (6 of 10) are a big reason why SD is a game away from elimination.
Wild Cards: No team has a more consistent set of starters 1-4. Spillner, Randy Jones (.261 avg 4.52 ERA) Dave Freisleben 4.72 ERA, and Bill Grief (4.91 ERA) have consistently kept SD in games. If only their manager’s health has been as consistent as their rotation.
Coming Attractions: It all comes down to the final three games against the 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks. One loss (or one Houston win) and they’re done.
Injury Report: San Diego goes into their final Do or die series with all hands healthy and on deck.
2002 Milwaukee Brewers 61-90 4th place 16 GB Eliminated
It’s been a disappointing season for Milwaukee which started strong but now could finish with the worst record in the majors. However they will play the deciding series for their division.
Heroes:Eric Young has been a runs machine scoring 104 while stealing 56 bases (3rd in the league) Despite 200 k’s Jose Hernandez 32 HR (4th in the league) & 94 runs makes him feared but not as feared as Rickie Sexton whose 25 HR 53 doubles (2nd in league) 112 RBI’s and 90 runs scored means he’s a danger both at the plate and when he’s on base.
Zeros:Ruben Quevedo’s 3-18 record in 34 starts is well earned with a 7.14 ERA a .291 avg against and a WHIP of 1.67. Nick Neugebauer 2-11 record .279 avg against 6.84 ERA & 1.86 ERA is only better because he’s had just 18 starts to do it. At the plate Ronnie Belliard at .218 2 HR 24 RBI & only 23 runs & a .281 OBP inspires little fear for a 3rd baseman.
Wild Cards: Milwaukee has earned their place in the league. They have the worst batting avg in the majors and the fewest hits which is trouble. Perhaps if they were on base more they’d be a tad more careful as they also lead the majors in being caught stealing. However in the field they don’t make such mistakes their fielding percentage of .985 leads the NL but it’s not enough to overcome NL’s worst ERA (5.07).
Coming Attractions: Milwaukee final three games at home will not only decide if they finish with the worst record in the majors but will also decide the fate of the NL West as they finish against the 2012 Houston Astros who need w wins to clinch without help.
Injury Report: Geoff Jenkins, Valerio de los Santos and Mike Matthews will all miss the final series of the season. Slugger Matt Stairs just might be healthy in time to play in the last game of the year