Saunders: If 2020 MLB season is played, what will it look like?
The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States neared 100,000 on Friday, with more than 1,500 deaths. It’s clear that the pandemic is spreading.
There’s some relatively good news from the sports world, however. I’ve talked to a number of Rockies players and texted with more than 20 baseball beat writers around the country, and the consensus is that there will be a Major League Baseball season in 2020.
Baseball’s great unknown: What would a 2020 season look like?
There are a lot of reports and rumors about what might be in store. The consensus is that there won’t be a full 162-game schedule, that the playoffs would extend into November and that postseason games could be played at neutral, warm-weather sites or in domed stadiums.
Plans are in limbo, of course, and will depend upon how long the virus lasts and what precautions must be held in place through the summer.
“Look, my optimistic outlook is that at some point in May, we’ll be gearing back up,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in an interview Wednesday with ESPN. “We’ll have to make a determination, depending (on) what the precise date is, as to how much of a preparation period we need, whether that preparation period is going to be done in the clubs’ home cities or back in Florida and Arizona.
“Again, I think the goal would be to get as many regular-season games as possible and think creatively about how we can accomplish that goal.”
Manfred added: “But the one thing I know for sure is baseball will be back. Whenever it’s safe to play, we’ll be back. … We will be part of the recovery, the healing in this country from this particular pandemic.”
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who’s done yeoman’s work reporting on baseball’s plans amid the chaos, here’s what the season could look like:
- Launch spring training in mid-May.
- Begin the season in late May or early June and run into October with a schedule of about 140 games. The season was originally scheduled to end on Sept. 27.
- Include more split doubleheaders than usual.
- Possibly cancel the All-Star Game.
- Add more teams than usual to the playoffs.
According to a report Passan received, a season would be incumbent upon a situation developing where there would be no bans on mass gatherings “that would limit the ability to play in front of fans.” There is, however, a caveat, because Manfred could still consider the “use of appropriate substitute neutral sites where economically feasible.”
MLB does not want to play games with no fans in attendance. But, as Passan wrote, games would begin when, “Medical experts determine that there would be no health risks for players, staff or fans, with the commissioners and union still able to revisit the idea of playing in empty stadiums.”
In other words, baseball in the age of the coronavirus remains murky. But Rockies all-star outfielder Charlie Blackmon continues to hope for the best.
“I do think it’s coming, I think we will play,” Blackmon said. “I feel much more optimistic now than I did a week ago. Absolutely. I’ve been paying close attention and it looks like people are taking this thing very seriously and I think we are going to come out of this OK on the other side. Sooner rather than later.”
Source: Read Full Article