When/if Major League Baseball goes ahead and gets the season started again, the Oakland A’s could come out of the gate with a major advantage.
A’s traveling secretary Mickey Morabito says the way he understands it, baseball would get things going by picking up play at the point of the original schedule.
So, if the season was to start on June 1, the A’s would be at home for three games against the Tigers June 2-4 and, after a day off, two games against the San Francisco Giants June 6-7. On the schedule as original scripted, the A’s would have off days both before and after the series with the Giants.
That would be likely to change with MLB likely to try to cram as many games into the nooks and crannies of the schedule, so off days will be rare.
That plan at least temporarily would wipe the first two months of the season off the schedule. Would it be made up? Some of it, perhaps. Certainly not all of it.
And since the first month of the A’s schedule was a monster, there is the real possibility that however the schedule works out, the A’s won’t be facing as many of the best teams as had been planned.
“Right now, we’ve lost two of three trips to Houston, two of three to Anaheim and two of three to Texas,” Morabito said. “We’ve lost a lot of games against some good teams.”
No team had a tougher first three weeks than the A’s, who were down to face all three defending American League division champs -- the Astros, the Twins and the Yankees – in the first 16 games. Overall, in the first two months, the A’s had 61 games, 30 of which came against teams that were over .500 last season.
Oakland’s June schedule as originally posted called for 25 games, 19 of which were against teams that finished .500 or lower last year, including the first 14 of the month, so with a June start, the A’s might have a chance to make their 2020 bow against some of the sports’ lesser lights.
“Right now, there’s a lot on the table,” Morabito said, noting that the rules against playing more than 20 days in succession and limiting doubleheaders have been scrapped. “We could be adding games on off days, then go two (extra) weeks into October. There are a zillion things on the table.”
Like the rest of the organization in this time of COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Morabito is working from home these days, and his workload is a little lighter.
It’s up to Morabito to book all the team’s hotel rooms and to charter the team’s air flights. He’s in charge of dispensing the meal money due weekly to players. During spring training, he has to make sure the club has a bus or two to get the troops where they need to go. For regular season road trips, he has to arrange transport to and from the ballparks from hotels and to and from hotels from airports.
Did we mention tickets? It’s under Morabito’s job description to disperse the allotment of game tickets each player, coach and staff member.
For now, Morabito is taking things one road trip at a time. Last week he canceled everything having to do with the Cleveland-Houston-Texas road trip originally scheduled for April 20-29. It would have been the club’s second road trip of the year.
This week, he had to cancel all of the club’s needs for what would have been the third trip to Seattle and Anaheim, originally scheduled for May 12-17.
“I get up every day and I cancel something,” Morabito said.
Thanks to the pandemic, it’s not getting easier.
“I’m calling hotels, and some of the representatives I work with have been laid off,” he said. “And at some others, the hotels we use are just closed for now.”