As June dawns, the days are counting down to whether or not the Colorado Rockies and the rest of Major League Baseball will realistically be able to play in 2020.
While MLB Network’s Jon Heyman calls today (June 1) as the “soft deadline” for MLB owners and players to come together on what it will take to play in 2020, there is not a lot of wiggle room in terms of the calendar and what must be done in order for the Colorado Rockies and the other 29 teams to return to the diamond.
If a regular season is truly to begin around July 4 and finish around the start of October, Heyman believes things must be settled in the June 5-8 time frame. That would allow teams to have a form of spring training and adjust to what will be some new rules in terms of slowing the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
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That time frame is also not far away and there is a lot left to do if baseball is to return. It’s certainly possible that things could come together quickly, but there will need to be some quick concessions shown by both sides if that is to happen.
Meanwhile, on Sunday night, Jeff Passan of ESPN.com tweeted that the MLBPA has countered with a proposal of a June 30 starting date and a 114-game schedule that would end on Halloween. It’s the continuation of a back-and-forth, very much public negotiation between the players and the owners that will be in the spotlight for much of this week.
Yes, there is much to work out this week. However, one thing is for certain. If there is a 2020 season, it will be a season unlike any other we have ever seen. Games will likely be played with no fans and National League pitchers may not bat as the designated hitter becomes a part of the senior circuit’s fabric. Expanded rosters will give Colorado manager Bud Black pitching and hitting options like he has never had before. There has been a lot of talk about younger players getting their chance to show their skills. This could be the season where a player like Brendan Rodgers, Sam Hilliard, or Garrett Hampson gets on a hot streak at the plate and stays in the lineup. With a schedule that is expected to be roughly half of a normal year’s slate, riding the hot hand (from a veteran or rookie) could be pay dividends.
Is a shorter season better than no season at all? Absolutely. Will a shorter season or no season at all in 2020 cripple baseball heading into the future? No. Baseball has survived scandals and strikes in the past. Baseball will return and fans will embrace it, whenever it does. This is a critical week for the 2020 season … but not for the game we all love.
As we reported last week, at least one betting service is putting the odds on a season happening in 2020. I think they’re right. I think we will see baseball in 2020. In a time when we all need some good news, this week’s baseball developments could provide just that. If it’s safe for all involved, let’s hope baseball comes back and we can all get back to arguing about lineups and slumps.
We will be keeping an eye on the news and keeping you updated with the latest on the news regarding the 2020 season here on Rox Pile.