By Kyle Block
During the last few weeks as the Coronavirus pandemic has shown no signs of slowing down in the United States, all professional sports have been put on halt. This has impacted sport leagues whose seasons have not even begun, including the MLB. Rob Manfred, the MLB’s commissioner, was quick to announce a 2 week delay to Opening Day, which was originally scheduled for Thursday, March 26th. Since that announcement was made, the delay has been extended indefinitely, but what does that entail for the future of the 2020 baseball season?
Here are 4 of the most likely possibilities:
- Shortened Season With Focus on Completing Divisional Games
This proposed model would make sure that in the shortened season all divisional games would be completed. Thus, playoff spots would be fairly given as division winners will have played against their entire 76 games versus divisional rivals. Although this schedule is highly plausible, the MLB rather have other plans in which they will have time to complete the whole season without missing any games.
- Delayed Season With Multiple Double Headers Per Week
Due to the timeframe the MLB has to complete their season, if they want to have every game played there will need to be less breaks in the season. By playing multiple double headers a week, meaning at least one double header per series, the MLB would be able to have every game played by the scheduled end of the regular season as long as covid-19 dies down in the next 2-3 months. The issue with this model is that players would not receive adequate breaks, risking injury.
- Delayed Season That Starts In May While Also Playing Games Without Fans
This plan is the newest possibility rumored from the MLB. Teams would travel to Arizona where there are many MLB training facilities and fields. Games would have robotic umpiring for the strike zone, no mound visits, no fans in attendance, and spacious dugouts to have the players distanced from one another. If this is to happen, the season can start as early as May and games will be aired nationally. Some issues with this proposal is that the MLB cannot confirm that all of their players are healthy to be sharing the same baseballs, space, etc. Even with these issues, currently this seems to be the most likely outcome for the 2020 season.
- Canceled Season
As the Coronavirus pandemic has not even hit its peak yet, the outcome of having an entire season cancelled is becoming more and more likely. Some foriegn players and coaches have returned to their homes in other countries for safety reasons. This is not a good sign for major league baseball as they would need those players to return if they wanted to start the season relatively soon and most likely have told those players and coaches to stay in the USA or Canada. Hopefully this is not what happens, but due to safety reasons it may become the only choice of action.