Tony Massarotti

Mazz: Did J.D. Martinez quit on the Red Sox?

Martinez? Unless or until we find out more in a world with limited media access, he has no defense or excuse. It sure feels like Captain Video pulled a Manny Ramirez in New York last weekend, refusing to hit in one of the few games where the Red Sox have had a chance this season. Whether they won or lost the game is irrelevant. The whole point, this year especially, is to try.

Mazz: Is this the price of the Patriot Way?

Hightower, Chung and Cannon head a list of six Patriots players who have opted out of the 2020 NFL season in recent days, all for reasons that are both personal and obvious. In the NFL, sooner or later, you can indeed reach a point where the punishment is no longer worth it, especially if you have what those three men possess.

Mazz: The odds of a return? Baseball still feels like the safest best bet

And yet, I keep coming back to this: baseball has the best chance. It’s a no-contact sport in which the players rarely have to be within six feet of one another for any extended period of time. Social distancing is built in. If baseball can’t be played, other team sports have no hope - so you should be rooting hard for baseball even if you hate it.

Mazz: New rules mean a sudden change of identity for J.D. Martinez

Now here we are, two years later, and suddenly Martinez regards himself as a DH. Hmmm. How convenient. In case you missed it, baseball will employ a universal DH this year – that means in both leagues – and the rule will almost certainly carry over into the next bargaining agreement between players and owners. The days of pitchers batting for themselves have likely gone the way of the payphone, so guys like Martinez no longer need to be so disingenuous.

Mazz: In 2020, McGwire and Sosa aren't walking through that door

Last night, conveniently and as baseball continued what certainly feels like another labor war, ESPN aired “Long Gone Summer,” the documentary that highlighted Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and the pursuit of baseball’s single-season home run record, once regarded as the most significant record in all of sports. The price for baseball back then was that the record now means nothing at all, swallowed by a steroid era that made McGwire and Sosa look like caricatures of themselves.

Mazz: Time for Manfred and baseball to call the union's bluff

When Manfred wanted to aggressively pursue pace-of-play initiatives, the union stood in his way. MLB allies then told us that Manfred had the power to unilaterally impose a pitch clock, but he never used that power. Now the union is threatening Manfred to unilaterally impose a 50-game schedule, presumably because union officials think he won’t do that, either.

Mazz: Yes, in 2020, Julian Edelman has something to prove

Last year, despite a career high in receiving yards, Edelman’s play had slipped by year’s end. During the regular season, he led the NFL with a whopping 13 drops. Maybe that was the result of injury, maybe that was the result of overall workload resulting from four Super Bowl appearances in the five previous years, maybe it was the result of … age.

Mazz: Be careful, Baseball, because you're losing us

Earth to baseball: you’re losing us. And the fact that you’re losing us now should tell you something. Now make of this what you will, but I recently asked, on Twitter, the simple question of whether people wanted baseball to return in 2020. A whopping 60 percent basically said no.

Mazz: For starters, safety rules ain't worth spit

In the midst of a global pandemic, certain rules make all the sense in the world. Others don’t. Outside the foul lines and between innings? The more the better. But if were going to go through all these measures … isn’t the point so that players can play the game on the field without significant limitation?

Mazz: From Jarrett Stidham, Patriots want good stuff cheap

Last season, during Tom Brady’s final year in New England, the Patriots ranked 10th in the NFL in cash spent at the quarterback position with slightly more than $24.5 million according to spotrac.com. But as of Monday, the Patriots had dropped all the way to 30th in the NFL, ahead of only the Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals