MLB has now suspended all baseball operations as of March 12, 2020. So what’s next for the sport and its 30 major-league level teams as they wait this thing out?
First and foremost, MLB will now have the responsibility to ensure that it’s facilities and players are safe. I knew it would only be a matter of time until players started to become infected with the virus. While there’s been no reports of MLB players falling sick, the NBA has confirmed that a play of players from the Utah Jazz have now fallen ill.
Players from almost all sports have come into contact with countless numbers of fans, not knowing whether or not they may have been infected. The problem with this virus is that victims are unaware they have it until they’ve already become contagious.
Whether or not teams will still be allowed to practice alone remains to be seen. The Cubs have closed their facility in Mesa, Arizona for a deep cleaning and disinfecting.
I think at this point we must assume that teams will not be allowed to practice as a group. Managers will now be forced to make their final roster decisions prematurely. By this time, most already had a good idea of who they’d be adding, but some of those remaining decisions are going to be left to chance. Managers will have to take what data they’ve been able to gather, then make their best educated guesses from there.
Even with a minimum two-week delay, it’s going to be nearly impossible to make up all of these games. The season will undoubtedly be shortened, but to what extent remains to be seen. There’s no way that teams will be able to play the amount of double-headers necessary to make up for the suspended games.
The situation may be worse than MLB’s decision to postpone the season until April 9th. In addition to MLB’s suspension of operations, the Governor of Illinois has requested that none of the Chicago teams (MLB, NBA, NHL, etc.) play any home games until at least May 1st. The team owners have agreed to the request.
That Cubs will have 18 home games affected by that decision, including two series with the Pirates and one Series with St. Louis. The White Sox would have 16 games affected, including series with the Royals, Rangers and Mariners.
The extra travel for home games at alternate facilities will undoubtedly be a statistical nightmare. Next, teams are going to lose a home-field advantage, as they play in either away stadiums or neutral venues.
In addition to making roster decisions, teams will also have to decide what to do with the guys who will make the roster.
According to RHP Anthony Bass (Blue Jays), players still don’t know whether they’ll be going home or staying in camp. Next, Bass says that players aren’t even aware of how they’ll be compensated for this time.
MLB’s decision to suspend baseball was the proper thing to do. The Commissioner and team owners have a tentative plan, but for the rest of us, what comes next is waiting.
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