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The pandemic shortened Major League Baseball season began yesterday, with the New York Yankees defeating the Washington Nationals 4-2 in a rain-shortened six-inning game, and the Los Angeles Dodgers beating the San Francisco Giants 8-1.

Some other baseball notes…

•  ESPN reports that "Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed Thursday to expand the playoffs to 16 teams for the 2020 season, the sides announced … All second-place teams in the six divisions will now qualify for the playoffs. The seventh and eighth teams in each league will be chosen by best record.

"The first round of the playoffs, scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 2, in each league will be four three-game series with all games played at the higher seed's home stadium. The rest of the rounds will be their customary length: The two Division Series in each league will be five-game series, while the AL and NL Championship Series and World Series will be seven-game series."

•  Variety reports that "when Major League Baseball kicks off its 2020 season, fans won’t be allowed to sit in many of the ballparks. Viewers who watch any of four games broadcast over Fox or Fox Sports 1 this Saturday may not notice.

"The Fox Corporation-owned outlet intends to fill the seats of Wrigley Field, Dodger Stadium, Nationals Park and Petco Park with hundreds of virtual attendees, and will do the same at all the ballparks from which it broadcasts games over the next several weeks. It’s part of the company’s effort to bring fans of the national pastime a game that looks and sounds like a traditional event, not one played in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic."

When you consider the degree to which the networks can use digital technology when covering the games, it makes perfect sense that they'll be able to put virtual fannies in the seats.

KC's View:

Dr. Anthony Fauci threw out the first pitch at the Washington Nationals game, and it was a less than impressive effort.

But I think it is important to see it a different way.  As one commentator said last night, if you looked at it one way, it appeared that he was flattening out the curve…