Updated: Jun 5
(Picture Via Reuters.com)
Game 7 of the World Series, bottom of the ninth, two outs, bases loaded, down 3, and the count is full. The pitcher gets the sign, comes set, and starts his windup. The batter loads and connects. He drills it deep to left field and over the fence! AND THE CROWD GOES silent. He searches for his family after rounding the bases then remembers they aren't there. He thinks how fun it will be to celebrate with the fans at the parade then remembers that there isn't going to be one.
Of the four major American sports (Basketball, Football, Hockey, and Baseball), baseball has been hit the hardest by the pandemic. Hockey and basketball got far enough into the regular season that jumping into the playoffs is reasonable. The super bowl ended just weeks before the pandemic spread rapidly. A new plan by the NBA has them back on the court on July 31st. One might ask, how can a contact sport like basketball return before baseball? One word, GREED! To the surprise of nobody, the MLB players association and the MLB can't get along. With the U.S unemployment rate being the highest it has been since the great depression, it is exasperating to watch multi-millionaires argue about money. MLB owners (Also known as Money Loving Billionaires) proposed that players making 30 million dollars would receive slightly less than seven million. The names that run baseball like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper would never agree to a deal like that. Even lower-paid players are saying that it is unfair because they know that if that happened to them, they would be pissed. Prorated salaries are the fairest option. That means they would be paid the same amount per game that they would have if there had been a typical year. With the possibility of a 162 game season long gone, this would mean significant pay cuts, but it has gathered support from the players anyway. They understand that with no fans they can’t expect to make what they would have.
When will baseball start again? Baseball is not like any other sport. The players need to ease into it. You can't jump straight into competitive environments because pitchers’ arms aren't game ready. A month-long training camp that includes scrimmages and intersquads is necessary before starting the season. Assuming that starts early to mid-July, the season would begin early August. If the season began on August 1st, and we assume they play 13/14 days, a 114 game regular season (Proposed by the MLB players association) wouldn't end until December 1st. Assuming they play 16 games every 2 weeks (1 doubleheader a week and no off-days), the season would end November 7th. Both sides agree an expanded postseason is needed to counteract a shortened regular season. A standard playoff takes about 30 days, so the expanded playoff would be about 45 days. This would cause baseball to be played in late December or perhaps even January. Baseball cannot be played at Wrigley Field in the winter. Designated fields and venues would be required, which is exactly what fans and players don't want. A 114 game season is foolish and would affect when the next season kicks off too. The owners are pushing for a 50 game season. Baseball is meant to have a long season. Baseball fans also want to watch more than just 50 games! They need to meet somewhere in the middle. An 82 game season is a perfect balance.
Nobody knows for sure if or when baseball will be back. Hopefully, people won't take it for granted. Baseball is the most beautiful game in the world, and let's hope it comes back this year.