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Sixty games, interleague play, expanded playoffs. Baseball is about to get the made-for-TV season it deserves, a bonkers reality series to tide us over until nature lets us off the mat.

“The Tiger King” entranced America as the coronavirus pandemic tightened its grip last spring; maybe this ersatz baseball season will bridge the gap to normalcy with a season that will be anything but normal: regional schedules, a universal DH, extra innings that start with a runner on second.

One can hear the national promos already:

“The Washington Nationals beat the odds to win their first World Series title, but can they beat the COVID-riddled upstarts from Miami without two of their championship heroes?”

It’s just stupid enough to work, different enough to be what it is: a fugazi.

An abbreviated training camp reboot starts this weekend, and games aren’t expected to start until this last week in July, but the drama started Monday when a handful of major league players started dropping out. It wasn’t unlike William Holden dropping out of “The Guns of Navarone” because the money wasn’t good enough, but with a side of, “Well, I also don’t want to get my family sick.”

So far, none of those players have been Minnesota Twins, who have a legitimate chance to win the first asterisk World Series, an unfortunate twist of fate for a market starved for playoff success.

“People will be quick to say in some ways that it’s not a normal year. Of course it’s not a normal year, we all know that,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said Monday. “But what you will see are some pretty cool things and some things that will be very memorable. And this is a whole different challenge than we’re normally used to.

“So if we want to make the argument that it’s not a typical season and there should be a star next to this year, that’s actually OK. That’s fine. But whatever team comes out here and finds a way to deal with all this adversity, all the players that find a way to deal with the adversity, and still go out there and prepare and perform, that’s a great thing to note, as well.”

The Rock is not wrong, but it will be an adjustment; not because the season will be short and some players will be missing but because of these temporary rules. While it’s smart for baseball to embrace the anomalous nature of the season, it needs to be careful.

Yes, the universal DH makes sense because of the regional interleague play, but it’s probably the final step in baseball’s crusade to kill double-switches, sacrifice bunts and stolen bases. And while players will inevitably be quarantined after positive tests, dressing them like Old West outlaws and making them sit in the “town jail” during games is tasteless.

Worse yet: starting extra-innings with a pinch-runner on second base and replacing the traditional mid-season all-star break with the “break-even point.” None of it is a particularly good luck. Related Articles

  • John Shipley: Fans at Target Field? Minnesota’s in better shape than most
  • Twins plan to use empty CHS Field in St. Paul as training site
  • Unlike other teams, Twins not expecting any players to opt out of season
  • Lewis, Kirilloff part of Twins’ 60-man player pool; two coaches sitting out
  • Charley Walters: Paul Molitor says ‘you’ve got to take your lumps as a high draft pick’

On the plus side, it would be fun to see if, say, Mike Trout can hit .400 for 60 games, or Miguel Sano can play a full season. One hopes Bert Blyleven will continue to entertain Twins fans with his circles, replacing lucky fans with the scenes of his most awesome flatulence.

“I hereby circle the water fountain next to the media elevator.”

So, yeah, this could be all right. And as the Twins’ manager notes, it won’t be easy for a team to successfully navigate the pandemic, injuries and new rules of a 60-game season to win a championship.

If we accept the 2020 season for what it is, and what it isn’t, it should be fun.

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Alabama Chancellor Finis St. John Says The Crimson Tide Intend On Playing Football

Alabama chancellor Finis St. John wants fans to know that the Crimson Tide intend on playing football this season.

During a Tuesday afternoon summit with President Donald Trump about getting things rolling again on the educational front in America, St. John was asked if Alabama will play football. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)


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A post shared by Alabama Football (@alabamafbl) on Mar 24, 2020 at 2:25pm PDT

The man running the show down in Tuscaloosa said the Crimson Tide are “planning to play the season” amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

You can watch and listen to his full comments below.

“Will Alabama be playing some great football? What’s going on with Alabama?” — Trump

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) July 7, 2020

It’s not a secret that I’m not exactly a huge fan of the SEC. In fact, I hate the SEC and view my mission in life as one that requires me to expose them.

However, when it comes to making sure football happens in the fall, I’m 100% on the same page as the SEC and Alabama.


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A post shared by Alabama Football (@alabamafbl) on Feb 21, 2020 at 1:30pm PST

While we might hate each other on Saturdays in the fall, we’re walking arm-in-arm when it comes to defeating coronavirus.

Wars often have a way of creating unlikely allies and alliances. In WWII, we had the Soviet Union and America join forces.

In the war against coronavirus, I am joining forces with the SEC.


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A post shared by Alabama Football (@alabamafbl) on Feb 11, 2020 at 4:33pm PST

I will do whatever it takes to help make sure Alabama plays some ball this season. You can take that to the bank.

You can also bet on me returning to prime form of hating the Crimson Tide as soon as this crisis passes.

P.S.: Finis St. John is a first ballot Hall-of-Fame name for a college chancellor in the south.

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