It's 4:21 AM as I begin writing this blog. I was seconds away from passing out as I gave my final scroll of Twitter before closing my eyes. Then boom. ESPN's baseball megaphone Jeff Passan dropped his latest piece detailing what's next for baseball. As sad as it sounds, this article gave me life.
I've left my apartment just once in the last 10 days, and that was only for a 20 minute walk. My life's daily activities have shrunk down to eating, blogging, complaining about my incoming wisdom tooth, and playing MLB the Show. Tomorrow should be a National holiday. It should be Major League Baseball's Opening Day. I should be gearing up to see Gerrit Cole take the mound in Camden Yards. Instead I have to wonder if we'll even have a season. By nature, I'm a pessimist and live life expecting the worst. That way, to me, if something good happens I'll always be pleasantly surprised if the worst possible scenario doesn't happen. It's a terrible way to live and I know I need help, but that's besides the point. Over the last few days when people ask me I've told them I don't expect a baseball season to happen in any fashion. Jeff Passan's early morning article gave me hope that my pessimist prediction could fall flat on its face.
Passan details how over the last 10 days MLB and MLBPA have met to discuss how we can still do this thing. Now obviously a lot has to happen outside baseball for this to all work. People have to actually stay inside. We have to flatten the curve together, whatever that means. We have to stop coughing on people in supermarkets and being bioterrorists. We have to stop panic buying toilet paper. Society has to come back to Earth first. But assuming we can make that happen, these two baseball parties are looking at an early June return to America's pastime.
MLB and the MLBPA have worked toward a potential agreement over the last 10 days, acknowledging the inevitability of a shortened season that both parties hope would begin by early June and would guarantee players a prorated salary that would depend on the number of games played, according to sources. Multiple players told ESPN they are willing to play a significant number of doubleheaders -- as many as two a week -- to make up for lost games and try to get as close to a full 162-game schedule as possible.
Oh yeah, you read the same line I did. We're talking about a SIGNIFICANT amount of scheduled doubleheaders so we can try and get as close to 162 games as possible. Passan's article says multiple players have said they'd be down for this, but let's wait and see what a wider poll's results bring. I'm personally all for it. I've long thought that a scheduled doubleheader, something that was normal years ago, should be brought back to modern baseball. Obviously we could be looking at more than just a few sprinkled in here, but the more baseball the better in my mind. I think with that will come an early expansion to rosters so that there's more players available on a daily basis. I don't even know how you would rework the schedules, but that's a conversation that happens when things begin to actually look brighter. Right now they just need some kind of plan where everyone is on the same page.
We also could be looking at a regular season that goes well in October and forces a November playoff month. Those games would be played in warm weather neutral sites as well as domes if it's legally allowed by then to play inside.
While the sides have discussed a myriad of options for a potential season, both agree that if necessary, regular-season games could stretch into October and playoff games could be played at neutral sites in November, either in warm-weather cities or, if federal officials allow indoor events, domed stadiums, according to sources. Expanded-playoff scenarios have been under discussion but are likely to be settled as the scope of the coronavirus outbreak becomes clearer and a firm outline of a championship season is set, sources said.
If the entire season is cancelled that creates a number of problems with players contracts, service time, and all sorts of other things. There is a gigantic headache on the horizon if a season doesn't get played. Passan makes me think in this article that the owners and the MLBPA want to do everything humanly possible to play a season, pro-rated or not, this year. Fuck yes.
Another part of this potential agreement is to pay minor leaguers close to what they should be getting for the foreseeable future. That's awesome. A lot of these guys have been lost without their income from baseball. They've been getting allowances, but it's not enough and there's no guarantee of what's to come next. Looks like the higher ups are looking out for these guys and that's the right move.
So what is my actual prediction/hope based on what I'm reading? I think we get a July start date, maybe July 4th to celebrate America, assuming we're able to contain this virus in the coming weeks and weather the storm. I don't think fans will be allowed to attend games, or at the very least there will be a much lowered capacity. Who knows if the Yankees could even play at Yankee Stadium given how bad this is getting in NYC by the day. The unknown that could come in the next month is really what will tell the story. This could get completely out of hand or people could actually follow the rules and self quarantine which we were all told to do yesterday for 14 days starting now.
The MLB and MLBPA, according to Passan, have set a Wednesday deadline to decide on all of these matters and how to attack the future. It seems like there's an understanding on both sides of what they need to do, which is huge considering these two sides have been going at each other's necks for the upcoming new CBA.
Please just give me baseball. It's all I care about. Limit the fans or don't let any in, I can handle that. Start the season in July for all I care. Let the postseason go into December and play the games in Florida. Just give me some baseball. Let's get nuts.
For now, please wash your hands, stay inside as much as you have to, and try to relax a bit.