With a schedule delay, there will most certainly be winners and losers over COVID-19. For the Boston Red Sox just who will win or lose?
Red Sox baseball circa 2020 is either going to be significantly abbreviated or canceled. Unlike 1994 where the World Series evaporated in a labor dispute this season is either being held hostage or vaporized by a virus. Germs killed the Martians in the “War of the Words” and now the baseball season. Are there any winners and losers to this? Here are a few that I note.
The Red Sox have pending free agents with the most notable being Jackie Bradley Jr. Bradley will become a free agent even if the season is obliterated. A win most certainly for JBJ. Also, the reason is service time will be counted for a full season even if it is squashed.
The service time issue could give a nice “win” for the Red Sox since they have already sent Mookie Betts packing for a pair of used socks, a package of baseball cards, and some “prospects.” The Red Sox get to keep their stash even if the season is long gone.
In the something is better than noting the latest agreement is players will be gifted $170 MM for the first two months to be distributed among the players on the 40-man roster. A win, but a real loss with the minimum salary in the $600,000 range.
A real loser will be merchandising that runs off the enthusiasm as the season builds. Think those Red Sox shirts will be flying off the Amazon shelves? And players get a share of that pie.
A loser will be charities. Many players are pro-active with using their salaries for causes and so are teams. Even the most minor of local charities can often collar a few tickets or some memorabilia for an auction. That will probably be on hold.
Agents are considered losers by many fans and they will lose. Contracts have a percentage going to the agents who will now have to wait until the season gears up. I’ll send Scott Boros a gift card for Dunks.
The local restaurants, bars, and hotels that depend on ballpark traffic will lose and that funnels down to the staff. Even the street vendors lose out as my pre-game sausage meal is now gone.
The Red Sox have been in the forefront of paying part-time employees while this nightmare continues, but gone are the tips a vendor gets. At least the 1,300 part-time hustlers that get Fenway operative will get something.
From what I have been able to fathom out of the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) adjustments is players who are on the Injured List (IL) will be paid. For Chris Sale, this is certainly a win and it also is for Boston if Sale misses a non-existent season. Maybe this is inaccurate, but it would represent a good reason to have Tommy John Surgery.
Dustin Pedroia is also a winner in this delay as he rests on the 60-day IL and continues to work on his latest comeback effort. No rush since time is Pedroia’s friend.
The longer this lasts the better it is in a competitive sense for prospects and young players. During WWII many veteran players gave up years to serve their country only to return and find skills eroded. The same may apply to players long in the tooth.
Do the fans win or lose? I have semi to non-baseball fans as friends and they could care less if baseball resumes. That is troubling to a sport that needs to be rejuvenated. We also save money as a game at Fenway Park is certainly not cheap.
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Undecided as far as I could determine is just what will the status be for players with an opt-out provision in their contracts? The season seems to be counted regarding service time. Neither J.D. Martinez or Xander Bogaerts have opt-outs in play for 2020. But it could be a win or loss depending upon the possible market fluctuations.
A positive outcome for fans may be baseball offering discounted tickets, very fan-friendly promotions, and one admission double-headers. At one time I used to love the twi-night Fenway double-headers and with potential scheduling dysfunction, they may return.
A real win is for players and teams that do nothing if we eventually have a season. A great built-in performance excuse will be COVID-19. Players love to justify failure based on something besides they just sucked. Weather, injuries, full moon, etc.
A real winner for me is a possible late start for the season. Face it, folks, in the great scheme of MLB some are weather traps. Baseball in April and May can be weather inspired nightmare with games canceled for rain, snow, and cold. As we roam into summer the weather gets far better. A real plus that may help attendance.