680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – It’s Monday, which means it’s the start of a new work week. It also means that in just a few days, the 2020 MLB regular season will (finally) be upon us! This time last month, the MLBPA and owners were still caught up in a tense back-and-forth stalemate, and it was starting to look like time was running out to get this season off the ground. But, we can now say that the Braves (and 29 other teams) will play a meaningful, regular season game this week. While it might’ve seemed far fetched that we’d see baseball, or any other pro sporting event at times over the last few months, it’s starting to sink in for everyone just how close we are.
“I was walking around the house this morning getting excited” Brian Snitker said this afternoon. “Even more so, these intersquads were a good test for what we’re going to be in for. I personally think it’s going to be ok” Snit added. While nobody is really sure what it will be like playing in empty venues that typically hold between 40,000 and 50,000 fans on a nightly basis, teams are doing their best to bring a sense of normalcy to the ballpark. Teams have been tweaking their usage of ambient crowd noise, pumping up cheering when big moments happen. While nothing will truly replace the energy the fans bring on a nightly basis, players and coaches are slowing starting to get adjusted to the simulated atmosphere. We’ll still hear walk up songs, PA announcements and teams will still flash their LED lights on homeruns or other big moments, so watching on TV or listening on radio shouldn’t feel THAT much different.
With the series in New York starting on Friday we also now know how the Atlanta rotation will shape up, at least for the first four games. Mike Soroka starts the Opener on Friday, becoming the youngest Opening Day starter in franchise history. Soroka will be followed by a pair of lefties in Max Fried and Sean Newcomb to round out the first three games at Citi Field. Mike Foltynewicz will get the nod in game four of the season, the opener in Tampa. The fifth spot still remains the biggest question marks for the club with four days to go, with Kyle Wright and Josh Tomlin battling it out for the final spot. Cole Hamels still remains a possibility down the road, but isn’t close to being ready to pitch in a game.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.