This unprecedented situation with COVID-19 and the resulting pause on the 2020 MLB season leaves us with a ton of questions we’ve never really had to ask before and not a whole lot of straight forward answers. It is, of course, hard to get straight forward answers when the simple but uncomfortable act is we don’t know what things are going to look like next week, much less a couple of months from now. As hard as it is to admit, there’s a real chance we don’t get any baseball this year, and it sure seems like the absolute best-case scenario is to start up in July.
With all of that being said, if we do get some baseball this year there are going to be questions to answer regarding what happens after that. MLB and the Players Association did reach an agreement to answer some pressing questions, but more remain. That brings us to this week’s FanPulse poll that was sent out to fans all around baseball, asking five questions about this scenario. We’ll go through them one by one.
Will there be an All-Star Game?
We answered this recently in a staff roundtable post, but I’m surprised by these results. I understand that the All-Star Game is not as important as actual games, but I also think hardcore fans can underestimate how important this event is — not just the game but also the Home Run Derby — for outreach to more casual fans. I think if they play this year they figure out some way to get it in, whether it be a season-opening thing or a Pro Bowl style event before the World Series. I’d be surprised to see it canceled altogether.
How many games for a meaningful season?
This is an interesting one, though I think I disagree with the premise altogether. I assume this means at which point will we take the champion seriously. For me personally, I will look at any champion from this year in two ways. For one, it is never going to be a normal season. Even if they somehow play a full slate, it will be under a condensed schedule and immediately follow a world-changing event. I don’t think there’s any scenario in which that season is normal. That being said, the champion would also be legitimate because everyone is playing under the same rules. Unless the Yankees win. In that case, it doesn’t count.
Should there still be spring training?
35 percent of people are out of their mind. At least 75 percent of pitchers will get hurt in the first month of the season if they don’t have another spring training. Come on.
I think this is a scenario not enough people are talking about, and I’m blown away by these results. I think people are underestimating the importance of the offseason here. I suppose there’s some interpretation as to what “much later” means, but I take it to be more than just a few weeks. If they are playing to Thanksgiving, you can’t ask World Series teams to turn around in three months for spring training. The rhythm of the calendar is not just for a mental break, it’s to get players — especially pitchers — some time to physically recuperate. This will be doubly important given that any season would almost certainly feature fewer off-days, and thus more wear and tear from which they’d need to recover.
How many rounds?
We agree! I’ve already talked about this in a few different spots, but it’s entirely clear this is just a play to cut the lower levels of the minors in a couple of years, and it sucks.