The Good and The Bad With The Return of Baseball
The summer pastime is back! And we all need something to pass the time right now. MLB owners and players finally reached an agreement to play some baseball in 2020. Personally, I'm shocked. I thought the greed would cancel the entire season. Maybe they looked at the country and realized that fans wanted to be entertained by people they look up to for throwing a ball. Or maybe they just realized some millions of dollars are better than no millions at all. Either way, we will have baseball.
In a statement released by the MLB:
The announcement follows confirmation that the MLB Players Association has accepted the health and safety protocols that will guide MLB’s return to play and that players will be able to report for training by July 1. The health and safety of players and employees will remain MLB’s foremost priorities in its return to play. MLB is working with a variety of public health experts, infectious disease specialists and technology providers on a comprehensive approach that aims to facilitate a safe return.
So when teams take the field on July 23/24, what will it look like?
First, it will be a 60 game season that will run through September 27. Since there won't be travel, don't expect many days off for your team and expect double headers.
Playoffs won't be expanded. This one is a bit of a surprise as I thought it would be the perfect year to expand playoffs and test the waters for the future.
Teams will play divisional opponents 10 times and five interleague opponents 4 times.
In order to speed up extra inning games, teams will begin the inning with a runner on second base during extra innings. No 17 inning marathons!
The NL will adopt the DH. (Side note, I will write another story about how this stinks and will pave the way to permanant DH in the NL. Boo)
There will still be a trade deadline! The most exciting part of baseball for teams that are out of it mid-summer will now take place August 31. I don't see a lot of trades happening because most teams shouldn't be completely out of it in a little over a month. More teams have hope this year than ever before!
The teams will start with 30 players for the first two weeks, then 28 for two weeks and then 26 for the rest of the season. This could lead to expanded rosters in the near future which could be a good thing for the game.
And of course, all the Covid-19 rules. It's everything from testing, to injured list, to no spitting...yeah, no spitting in baseball. There are a lot, and the game will look different.
The good: We'll have baseball. Many more teams will be in it late into the season. Maybe (fingers crossed) MLB will see that less games can be better for the game and shrink the season moving forward. I'm not saying 60, but what about we start around 120. The trade deadline. It could be boring, but I'm hoping it's a wild ride right before the playoffs start. Because for teams, it doesn't matter that it's a shortened season, a World Series trophy, ring and banner still means the same thing.
The bad: The DH. Man I hate the DH. And this is coming from a Brewers fan that saw Jimmy Nelson ruin his career by sliding into second base and hurting his shoulder. No fans in the stands. I actually do hope they pump some crowd noise in to give the game "the feel" we all know. The virus. Players will test positive during these 3 months and we will see teams evolve and rules change. As long as more games don't get canceled it won't be that bad.
OK, got it all? Ready for rule changes, no fans, a short season and virus rules? Yes you are. We all are ready for it any way we can get it. So, let's play ball.