We may see the Boston Red Sox take the field in 2020, but how the MLB wants to carry on the season is just an awful idea any way you cut it.
I’m going to start this out by saying I’d give just about anything right now to see the Red Sox play ball in 2020. I’ve loved baseball for as long as I can remember. It’s my favorite sport to watch, my favorite to attend, and was my favorite to play growing up. This game has been one of the greatest and purest bonds between me and my family. We may not always see eye to eye, but at the end of the day, baseball always brings us together.
With that said, I hate the plans that the MLB is tossing around right now to try and play out the 2020 season. I understand the business aspect of wanting to play the season as I’m sure the owners are feeling their pockets get lighter without any action. But even if they get something going, fans won’t be allowed to attend for who knows how long.
So it won’t matter if there’s a season as the owners will still lose out on concessions, ticket sales, and gift shop sales. The only thing they may be able to make some money on is television rights, which unlike the other major sports, isn’t as lucrative in baseball.
When’s the last time you read about the major networks fighting over a Yankees/Red Sox game? That’s right, never. If it’s a weekend, it’ll usually fall on FOX or ESPN, and their home networks any other night of the week. This is the part that has me not only perplexed but downright annoyed that the league is pushing so hard to get games going.
The world is changing and the news surrounding the coronavirus seems to evolve every day. What we know about it on Tuesday doesn’t mean a damn on Wednesday. Why put the players at risk? It just isn’t worth it to me. I’ll be honest, I have my tickets purchased for this season and want nothing more than to be in Fenway Park, but not at the risk of the fans or players.
You can try to implement whatever measures you think will be sufficient to keep everyone “safe,” but it still won’t be enough. All it takes is one player getting sick for the entire house of cards to come crashing down. When the report by ESPN’s Jeff Passan broke about the league looking at starting the season totally in Arizona I felt a migraine instantly begin.
Not only do you want to force a season during one of the most dangerous times in history but you then want to have 30 teams worth of players and coaches all in one area, foolish. That’s just asking for trouble, I can’t see any other way around it. Then it was reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today that we may see a season under new divisions and split between Florida and Arizona.
Essentially what would happen is that we would see the disbanding of the American League and National League for 2020, while the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues would rise to power. Whatever the season would be it’d essentially be an amplified version of spring training with the speaker cranked to 11.
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This may be sacrilegious in the eyes of Red Sox Nation but I’d much rather skip right over the 2020 season and shoot right into 2021. Granted, that would create pure mayhem for free agency and pretty much everything else related to service time, but it’s the most logical solution. Sports without fans in the stands just feels empty and cold. What is a grand slam without 35,000 screaming fans? It’s just another hit.
This may sound very negative and I can’t deny it whatsoever, but I just don’t know else to feel about these scenarios. Though, I do commend the league in trying to bring some level of normalcy back to the baseball-loving world. I think it’s safe to say that we could all use something in our daily lives that will make things feel a little more like they used to, but this is asking a lot.
It’s not fair or even safe to have these players together in a hotel away from their families just to play games in a season that most have already placed an asterisk next to. If I was Rob Manfred, I’d sit with my television partners, the MLBPA, as well as anyone else that needs to be at the table and brainstorm with them the best way to move on to 2021.
It’s just hard for me right now to imagine a season where things resemble anything close to what we know. In the back of my mind, I’ll always be worried about the health of the players as well as anyone else in the vicinity. I love the Red Sox, I love my fellow members of Red Sox Nation, and I want all involved to be happy, healthy and safe. At this point in time, that means we may have to wait until we get to see our team back on the field.