June 24, 2020

Baseball! Owners & Players Agree To A 60-Game Season Beginning July 23

There will be a 2020 baseball season.

Probably.

Maybe.

The Players Association agreed yesterday to Major League Baseball's proposal of a 60-game regular-season schedule, to begin July 23 or 24.

Players will report to training camps by July 1 (a week from tomorrow!). Most teams will be training in their major league parks. Players, coaches, and support staff will be tested for SARS-CoV-2 every other day during "summer" training, the regular season, and postseason. Players will also receive temperature/symptom checks at least twice per day. Anybody testing positive will be quarantined and two negative tests would be required to return.

Each team will play 10 games against each of the four teams in its division and 20 games (four games each?) against the other league's corresponding division (e.g., AL East will play NL East).

Teams must submit a 60-man training camp roster by Sunday afternoon. Teams will open the season with a 30-man roster, which will be reduced to 28 players after two weeks and to 26 after four weeks.

I cannot properly express my disgust and anger at this decision: For regular-season games, teams will begin each extra inning with a runner on second base. If you are keeping a scorecard, the runner will be considered to have reached on an error, but the other team will not be charged with an error. Of course. Score it E-MLB, perhaps? The 2020 postseason will not use this bullshit gimmick. All bets are off for future postseasons.

Also, the DH will be used in both leagues. This also annoys me, but it's small potatoes compared to the Extra-Inning Runner.

Ben Lindbergh has written an excellent overview at The Ringer.
MLB still almost fatally fumbled an opportunity to generate interest in and loyalty to its product by making it as difficult as possible for its fans to feel good about baseball. ... [T]he sport turned people off at a time when it could have bolstered its somewhat specious claim to traditional "national pastime" status. ...

The good news now is that even if the season doesn't start, or has to stop prematurely, MLB can convincingly claim that COVID-19 was the culprit ... This saga did damage to baseball, but the worst was averted, and barring additional ass-showing, the league can come back next year with something close to a clean slate. ...

Not only does the season pale in significance to the existential issues dominating the news, but it also seems like a blend between naive and overly optimistic to sketch out the season down to the last detail considering the likelihood that the coronavirus will make it all moot.

Over the weekend, MLB shut down team training camps for cleaning after 40 players and team personnel tested positive for COVID-19. The outbreaks spanned several teams—including the Phillies, the Yankees, the Blue Jays, the Giants, the Astros, and the Angels—in multiple locations. The number of known infections has continued to climb. And that’s before most of the players report. Hours after the MLBPA signed off on the health-and-safety protocol, Charlie Blackmon and two other Rockies reportedly tested positive, which seems like a sign of things to come. ...

Here's a sobering truth bomb for fans who are happy to have this messy labor battle behind them: This was just the tremor that preceded a longer economic earthquake to come. MLB's CBA expires in December 2021, and if this spring is any indication, the next negotiation isn't going to be a friendly affair. ... By refusing to allow the owners to squirm out of their commitment to prorated pay, the players effectively fired a shot across MLB's bow, sending a signal that they won't be browbeaten into settling for less than they believe they're entitled to earn. ...

The players even scored some points in the court of public opinion, where they historically haven't fared well. Fans have dependably sided with ownership in past labor battles, swayed by rhetoric about "greedy" players whose salaries are accessible and easy to stew about (unlike the owners' much larger but less visible bank accounts). ...

For the first time, there's little truth to the maxim that the season is a marathon, not a sprint. ... [T]his year's championship won't be viewed as legitimate in the way that a normal, non-sign-stealing-tainted one would ... but fans of mediocre teams can dare to dream about an upset. ...

7 comments:

D.Ing said...

Blabbing, or "strategizing" about the new man-on-second rule sounds like a lot more fun than endless replays of old games. I'm already imagining the Dodgers are batting in the bottom of the ninth, tie score, two outs, nobody on, #9 hitter up.

Wouldn't you rather see Mookie start the 10th with a really fast guy on second and nobody out? What's the strategy? This could be a whole new kind of "sacrifice."

On second thought, or third thought, I think I would just tell #9 to swing out of his shoes and try to send everyone home. Let's not get bored with sermons about the "purity" of the old game. Let's see how everyone adjusts to make things work.

allan said...

Some things are so very wrong, they are 10000% wrong the second you hear them.
This is one of those things.

Jim said...

Yeah, the runner on second thing is simply bush. Surprised Manfred didn't want a real gimmick like having ties decided by each team sending up their favourite slugger for a home run derby duel. (brought to you by yet another sponsor).

Straddling the Border said...

I don't want to wish COVID on anyone, but I kind of hope there's just enough fear of the virus's spread that the season doesn't happen after all. Because I never want to see this "10000% wrong" idea in a major league baseball game. Let alone the "three-batter rule". And the universal DH.

Paul Hickman said...

Has MLB or anyone else mentioned some kind of "latest" end date ?

How far can they go into November or December ?

Because I suspect Covid might sweep the Series !!!

Leroy said...

Qui sait jusqu'où il peuvent aller?

allan said...

Qui sait jusqu'où il peuvent aller?

The question Expos fans would be asking if their team existed.