With Obstacles Baseball Should Look At Next Year

By Rich Mancuso/ Sports Editor

“They want to play but there are obstacles”


That quote comes from a high ranking baseball official when asked about the potential or any start to the 2020 MLB season.  He speaks with MLB officials on a daily basis.  


But as each day passes, and as the Coronavirus pandemic continues, chances are the season being played at this point  he says, is “fifty-fifty.” And the obstacles are standing in the way.


From this perspective, and from the latest projections of the pandemic far from over, the 2020 baseball season should be put in the books as no games played, records on hold, contracts up in the air, and start up again next year,


For the well being of players, their families, and a fan base, the best option is look at 2021, though that same official did not offer that ray of optimism about a normal  baseball season next year.


Basically, we have come to realize that things will not be the same if and when this pandemic is in control.  That pertains to baseball, all sports, and everything that was prior to COVID-19.


And ff MLB seeks to get their players back on the field, as the official said, “They have a lot to overcome. They could get it done.  But if something  happens it all goes down the tubes.”


Going down the tubes is significant in the event a season begins and proper testing for COVID-19 reveals a player, coach, staff, or officials test positive. That would become the obstacle. 


Any type of abbreviated and different season would be down the tubes, with the worst possible scenario of putting in the effort to start a 2020 season in late June or by July 4th, and then shut down.


“No one knows what’s happening for tomorrow,” said the official.  “I know that MLB is super motivated to play. They really want to play because they will be the only game in town.”


He believes MLB can recoup from their financial downfall. The players are getting paid, though not a full salary, through the end of this month.  The financial burden won;t hurt the player with a mega contract as much as it does with the player making a minimum salary. 


And the few players contacted  are not in favor of the latest MLB concept of splitting a potential season into three divisions. Nor are they for playing in three venues in the states of Florida, Arizona, or Texas.


They want to see fans in the seats, of course so do the owners. Besides that significant revenue from the various network and regional television deals it is the fans that bring in a significant part of the revenue stream for MLB.


All  of the 30 teams are estimated to be  losing $300 million or more since the shutdown. Four weeks of the schedule, listed as postponements, have resulted in furloughs of front office personnel and major reductions in salaries.


Though the June 10th amateur draft is on schedule, the official said there will be no minor league operations this year. There is talk about an expanded instructional league at some point of six or seven weeks.


 But all of this, like the start of the season, remains to be determined. Tampa Bay is the one team to cut back on their scouting division. Eventually, and after the draft,  scouts currently on staff could be furloughed and analytics will take over. 


Scouts are continuing to conduct evaluations, looking at  prospects, trades, and who is on the bubble from spring training. That is a routine that would be taking place if the MLB season was in progress.


Again, there are obstacles.  And all of the talk, the contingency plans, they don’t move forward without the consultation of  medical authorities at the CDC and others that MLB is in consultation  with on a daily basis. 


Which brings us back to the point of these obstacles. This is not a move to the finish line as to what sport will resume first and how they will do it. It comes down to the safety of the players and others.


It comes down to baseball being played on the field with no fans in the stands. That revenue stream is significant and the issue of no fans could be going into 2021.


It all depends on where we stand with this pandemic, knowing of course that we are not out of the woods.


And as much as there is a buzz of the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, and Braves in the same division, that would bring television ratings, most of the players that were contacted were not for the concept.


That, the players, is a major obstacle along with how their contracts and reductions of salaries would be impacted due to an abbreviated season. 


It would not be a normal season. And a postseason played in November is not baseball no matter where it is played.  A champion would not come out of a World Series and a Commissioner trophy would be something else.


That **** would have to be placed in the season and how legitimate would be the records? The individual honors of batting champion, MVP’s, Cy Young Awards? 


Again, so many obstacles. And from this perspective, as much as I want baseball, it won’t be the same. Call it a day and wait until next year with the hope we can be back to some type of normalcy that is safe and proper for all.

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786  Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso


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