The Boston Red Sox will not be opening as scheduled and that is certainly no surprise. Just when is still a question to be answered.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred in a Captain Obvious moment stated that the opening day for major league baseball will not take place as scheduled. How long a delay is just conjecture and normal life is now dependent upon COVID-19. Spring training is gone – at least temporarily – as camps have shut down.
Other sports – if it gives one some condolences – are in a situation where the season is possibly abruptly gone. The NBA and NHL may just pack it away until 2020-21. Japan is still slogging along with hopes of getting the Olympics in. I wish them well. Then comes baseball.
Just what will happen? There is ever a hopeful management scenario of actually completely a 162 game schedule. Is this generated by monetary concerns? Ah…all the wonderful clichés that can surface regarding that statement.
Getting the players ready is an issue that will be handled on an individual and small group basis. Due diligence is now front page and has been ever since exorbitant salaries took flight. An offseason regime is professionally necessary since showing up like Pablo Sandoval does not enhance job security or long-range investments. Players are accustomed to an off-season ritual and generally have a support group of their fellows to bond with in the manly art of season preparation.
So a two-week window may be available for final preparation to start the season but when? For many of us, summer begins with the Memorial Day weekend and that may be a good target date for MLB providing COVID-19 is a baseball fan and cooperates.
A shortened season is a great idea and long overdue. This may present a nice trial run for players and fans. Seasons have faced the schedule ax in the past with wars, labor unrest, and now this virus. That quite naturally raises concerns about the precious statistical accomplishments. Those requirements have been jimmied in the past and can be again. A simple extrapolation.
The schedule could present a nice minor league approach with seven-inning double-header or some other intricate approach if the magnets of baseball go all greed on the situation. They could even conceivably make all games seven-inning affairs.
There is a myriad of questions that will be addressed by management and the union regarding salaries, drafting, incentives, service time, and that just is the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully, both sides will be able to understand the complexities of an unusual circumstance and take a sensible path. Of course, sensible has often been ignored by the baseball establishment – owners and players.
For the immediate future, the situation remains “fluid” to use a favorite term of situational politics. For the sports staved fans the wait is death by a thousand cuts. When baseball returns it will be a clear signal that normalcy is not far behind.