Newsletter: Baseball returns, and more in the week ahead

A view of the field and empty seats at Dodger Stadium.
A view of the field and empty seats during the Dodgers’ summer camp workout in preparation for the 2020 shortened season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
(Harry How / Getty Images)

Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Monday, July 20, and here’s a quick look at the week ahead:

On Monday, Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, Kohl’s and CVS Health stores across the U.S. begin requiring customers to wear masks or face coverings. (Californians have already been required to wear masks in public since June.)

Also Monday: A coalition of Black advocacy groups and labor activists is organizing a Strike for Black Lives to pressure numerous corporations to raise wages and allow workers to form unions. Thousands of workers are expected to walk off the job as part of the mass demonstration, according to CNN.

San Diego’s massive Comic-Con may be canceled for the first time in 50 years, but Comic-Con@Home — the fest’s virtual replacement — will begin Wednesday.

Major League Baseball’s 2020 season, which has been postponed since late March, will begin at long last on Thursday. Opening night of the 60-game regular-season schedule will include the L.A. Dodgers facing off against the San Francisco Giants in an empty Dodger Stadium.


Here in Southern California, the majority of households will be able to catch a Dodgers game on television that isn’t broadcast nationally for the first time in seven years. The widespread availability comes after Spectrum finally reached an agreement to carry SportsNet LA, the Dodgers’ television home, on AT&T video platforms, including DirecTV, at the beginning of April.

The WNBA season, which has been postponed since May, will begin on Friday.

Sunday marks the country being just 100 days out from the presidential election, which will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

Military teams are on the way to five California hospitals amid coronavirus staffing shortages: Active-duty U.S. Air Force doctors, nurses and other medical providers are being sent to work in California hospitals to assist with the steep rise in coronavirus cases that has strained some healthcare systems across the state. The five hospitals being served are in Lodi, Fresno, Visalia, Stockton and Rancho Mirage. The move comes as some officials have described hospital staffing — not bed capacity — as the chief stumbling block when it comes to scaling up operations to accommodate more patients. Los Angeles Times

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said Sunday that L.A. opened too quickly and again warned that the city was close to imposing some type of new stay-at-home order. Despite his comments — which suggested that reopening decisions had been made only at the state and county level, and had therefore been out of his hands — local leaders such as Garcetti are permitted to issue closure and stay-at-home restrictions that are stricter than those issued by the county or state. (They just can’t issue rules that are more lenient.) Meanwhile, Los Angeles County COVID-19 cases continue to surge after a record-breaking week. Los Angeles Times


Pacific Islanders in L.A. County suffer the highest coronavirus infection rate of any racial or ethnic group: Six times higher than for white people, five times higher than for Black people and three times higher than for Latinos. Los Angeles Times

“Let me be your tour guide through the historic Central Avenue that I came to know, love and revere.” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on L.A.’s Central Avenue jazz oasis. Los Angeles Times

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with his music collection in 1969.
(Neil Leifer / Getty Images)

After Alex Marshall-Brown, a Black woman, was made unwelcome outside an L.A. church, the reeling congregation is searching its soul. A week after writing about the way several of its members treated Marshall-Brown when she sat on the church lawn, columnist Nita Lelyveld returns for Sunday services. Los Angeles Times

Protesters gathered Sunday to demand justice for Mely Corado, who was killed by the LAPD nearly two years ago in a police shootout at the Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake where she worked. LAist

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President Trump won’t commit to accepting the result if he loses the November election. In an interview aired Sunday on Fox News, the president refused again to promise he would accept the results of the coming presidential election and brushed aside public opinion polls that showed his standing with voters plummeting over his handling of the worsening coronavirus outbreak. (A quick refresher: The peaceful transfer of power from one president to another has long been considered a hallmark of American democracy.) Los Angeles Times

Tributes abound for Rep. John Lewis after the death of the civil rights giant. Lewis died Friday at 80. Los Angeles Times


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has publicly called for the FBI to investigate the June fatal shooting of Sean Monterrosa by a Vallejo police officer. Her statement comes as both the Solano County district attorney and California attorney general’s offices are putting forth their best legal arguments to avoid taking on the Monterrosa case. Mercury News


The number of coronavirus infections in Orange County has grown dramatically over the last month, and is now second only to Los Angeles County in the state. Los Angeles Times

There were no reports of the coronavirus in Yosemite. Then they tested the park’s sewage. San Francisco Chronicle


Fueled by several glasses of a light, summery rosé, writer Susan Orlean went on an inebriated, comical rant that all but won quarantine Twitter over the weekend. Here, Orlean discusses her viral tweets with culture writer Deb Vankin on the proverbial morning after in an interview that’s equal parts delightful and insightful. Los Angeles Times

Did these baristas lose their jobs because of COVID-19 or because they tried to unionize? Augie’s Coffee, an Inland Empire mini-chain, announced the immediate shutdown of its five locations and laid off 54 employees on July 4, just a week after workers announced they planned to become one of the few unionized coffee shops in the U.S. Los Angeles Times

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, a Black housing crisis gets worse: Black Americans have long been more likely to pay unaffordable rent and mortgages compared with white people, according to census data. With the current downturn, Black households face a greater probability of being unable to pay, raising the risk some may be forced onto the streets or into shelters already disproportionately occupied by Black people. Los Angeles Times

The California Historical Society is selling its Mission Street headquarters. To stay afloat, the nonprofit statewide educational organization is liquidating its main asset: a remodeled 1912 hardware store around the corner from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco is ousting the last boat at Fisherman’s Wharf that sells seafood to the public. The decision has angered devoted locals. San Francisco Chronicle

A poem to start your week: “I Would Like to Describe” by Zbigniew Herbert.

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Los Angeles: partly sunny, 82. San Diego: partly sunny, 75. San Francisco: partly sunny, 62. San Jose: partly sunny, 78. Fresno: sunny, 100. Sacramento: sunny, 91. More weather is here.


This week’s birthdays for those who made a mark in California:

Actor Danny Glover (July 22, 1946), retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (July 23, 1936), long-deceased master of noir Raymond Chandler (July 23, 1888), anti-bullying activist and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky (July 23, 1973), director Patty Jenkins (July 24, 1971) and baseball player Barry Bonds (July 24, 1964).

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes.