News broke last night that Major League Baseball will officially be returning this summer. The players agreed to a 60-game schedule that will begin either July 23rd or 24th and are to report to their training camps within a week from today on July 1st. The union and owners also agreed to extensive health protocols as the league attempts to make things as safe as possible in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This will be an MLB season unlike any that we’ve ever seen before, however. At 60 games, this will be the shortest big league baseball season since the 19th century. Games will be played in empty stadiums with no fans in attendance. Teams will only play against those in their “geographical region”; for example, the Brewers will face only the NL Central and AL Central teams. There will be a universal designated hitter for the first time, although it will supposedly go away in 2021. Games that go into extra innings will have a runner start on second base. Individual teams will have to submit a list of 60 players who can appear for them this season, and will be allowed to carry a small taxi squad on the road. Rosters will begin at 30 active players while gradually whittling down to 26 during the first month of the season. The trade deadline will be August 31st. There will be twice-daily temperature and symptom checks and COVID-19 testing done every other day. Players who are high-risk or live with someone who is high-risk can opt out of participating. There will also be a special “injured list” for COVID-19 cases.
The announcement of a regular season that is only 37% of the normal 162-game schedule comes on the heels of nearly three months of ugly public “negotiating” that took place as the owners sought further financial concessions from the Players’ Association after agreeing to pay prorated salaries in March. No agreement to renegotiate those financial aspects was ever reached, leading to the owners and Commissioner Rob Manfred imposing a season on Monday night. The lengthy stalling and stinging rhetoric meant that MLB missed the opportunity to return by the previously stated 4th of July target, denying the league the chance to potentially dominate the television airwaves until the other major sports leagues return. The fighting also frustrated and turned off many fans who did not want to hear all the bickering over unfathomable sums of money in the midst of a public health and unemployment crisis. Others still have expressed concerns about the “legitimacy” of a season with so few games played under a much different set of rules, one that may not even feature several of the league’s most prominent players if they choose to opt out. And as a reminder, eight members of the Phillies organization recently tested positive for the coronavirus, and three Rockies were announced to have tested positive yesterday, including Charlie Blackmon.
However, there will (probably) be baseball played at Miller Park this summer with Bob Uecker (probably) calling games on the radio. There won’t be tailgating before games or a raucous crowd belting out “Roll Out The Barrel” during the 7th inning stretch or mini-sausages tripping over each other during the Sunday relay races. But Christian Yelich will (probably) get the chance to continue on his superstar trajectory in 2020, and Brandon Woodruff will (probably) have the opportunity to prove he can be a true ace for the Milwaukee Brewers. There will (probably) be a World Series and (probably) one last opportunity to earn Ryan Braun a championship ring before the final guaranteed season of his contract runs out. And we’ll (probably) be able to watch it all play out on television or tune our radios into the sounds of summer.
How do you feel about all this?
Are you excited for the 60-game MLB season?
This poll is closed
No, not after all the fighting between owners and players.
No, I’ll believe it’s actually happening when the players are on the field for Opening Day.
No, it’s not safe.