State of Baseball Update: Week One by Andrew Santangelo
Sports are finally back! The NHL and NBA seasons are underway in their final games before the postseason, while participating in a bubble situation. The MLB, on the other hand, is in the middle of a sports crisis that is going to take a lot of trust and work by commissioner Rob Manfred to get out of.
The MLB is a week through the season and has already seen 17 different games postponed due to COVID-19. The Phillies and Marlins have not played since Sunday, July 25th. This means they will need to make up at least seven games pending any further cancellations. The Cardinals are the latest team to have spikes in cases forcing them to have canceled their past weekend games with more to most likely follow. This will cause a mandatory shift in scheduling for many teams. MLB has already adjusted rules saying seven-inning game doubleheaders to allow for more doubleheaders to be scheduled and lessen the risk of injury overall. While the Phillies, Cardinals, and Marlins have canceled because of the coronavirus, their opponents have been affected in the games because the other series has been postponed.
As most teams hit ten games into the season, eight teams have to make up more than one game this season. This is going to be extremely difficult to find a way to get all these games in by the end of the season. If these games can not be made up, how will the MLB decide to create a fair way to make the playoffs? They would have to think about having the team’s winning percentage be the ultimate deciding factor, but how fair is that to teams that play a full 60 game season.
The MLB is already hitting the panic button as Rob Manfred came out and spoke twice. The first time about his concern on the league as a whole being able to finish, then to tell fans how he is not a quitter. “We are playing. The players need to be better, but I am not a quitter in general, and there is no reason to quit now. We have to be fluid, but it is manageable.” Manfred said to reporter Karl Ravech. This came shortly after he threatened to cancel the season if the cases continue to spike. He warned Tony Clark, the head of the MLBPA, and there were reports that the MLB was warning TV stations to start preparing their programs for a cancellation. Manfred is correct that the players have to be better at following protocol as Marlins were caught going out after games and the same with the Cardinals as their team sees spikes. Players need to be able to trust one another that each player is doing their job in following the protocols set in place to help make this season finish. However, it falls on the whole league at this point with how bad it has been managed and for him to toss it on the players like it has been 100 percent their fault is where he is wrong because it falls on everyone involved in the league at this point to finish the season.
As the season continues to progress positively, hopefully, the biggest struggle is not being in an abubble setting like the other major sports. The NBA, NHL, MLS are all off to the races and having a multitude of successes so far. The NFL is hopefully learning from each mistake the
MLB is making as the NFL season is right around the corner and facing the same issues without a possible bubble. Personally am skeptical about the MLB completing the season while my partner on the Tuesday night Baseball show Jose thinks the season will be completed. As the MLB continues to fight for their season, all we can do is sit back and hope the season can be achieved. Every team has adversity this season; some will find more than others when these teams come back from these layoffs as it would be like starting over fresh again, which will have a little bit of adjusting for these players. The big thing to note here with all of the starting, stopping, and starting again that could lead to more injuries for some of the players. Finally, Manfred has these “protocols’ set in place if he wants them to work; he needs to enforce them. Marlins and Cardinals players have been caught going to casinos and bars after games, but there will be no punishment for the teams or players. Does this mean what stops this from happening again? Now that players see there are no punishments for going out after games, the league and fans should be worried about it happening again in the near future.