Is MLB 2020 doomed… again?

Let’s face it, 2020 has been a nightmare for Major League Baseball. It started with the coronavirus, then it was arguments over pay. Next, it was the disagreements over the schedule length, followed by more disagreements over safety protocols for the players. We’ve finally (sort of) cut through all the red tape, and now we’re again asking if MLB 2020 is doomed… again.

COVID-19 Strikes Again

Just about the time we thought we’d cleared the forest, COVID-19 has reared it’s ugly, ruthless head again. An increasing number of breakouts have been appearing in major cities, many of which just happen to house MLB stadiums.

There’s rumors that Texas may shut down again, leaving the Rangers and Astros homeless. Furthermore, MLB and the Toronto Blue Jays haven’t even cleared the health and guidelines for the team to play in Canada, prompting MLB to suggest sharing a stadiums with the Rays. That sounds great, until you consider that Florida is in the same boat as Texas, jeopardizing home fields for the Marlins, Rays and those now nomadic Blue Jays.

Chicago has seen an increase in cases, as has New York. The outbreaks seem to cover the map, north to south, east to west. Personally, I can’t see how all of this rioting, er, uh, “protesting,” hasn’t helped to exponentially increase the number of positive tests, but that’s a subject for another day, time and format.

The Opt-Outs

Part of the negotiations between the league and union provided for players to be able to opt-out of playing this year for personal reasons. Just as we were ready to start seeing the names which would appear on the expanded rosters, the opt-out crew began chiming in.

Then, shortly thereafter, Ryan Zimmerman made his decision, releasing the following statement:

With a newborn infant and a high-risk wife, I certainly understand Zimmerman’s concern. The problem is, COVID-19 concerns aren’t the only reason a player can opt out. Players can cite injuries, family matters, or just that they’re thoroughly pissed at Rob Manfred and his 60-game schedule. You’d never say that, of course… just blame the virus.

While the following tweet pertains to football, it may be safe to assume that it will affect MLB as well.

No Guarantee On July 1st Reboot

Players are due to report to camp within two days for Spring Training 2.0. Official games are supposed to start on July 23rd, however, ambiguity remains. I’m now hearing from sources that say MLB is in a state of “limbo.” Not good.

With no clear direction, one can only wonder if Manfred is going to be forced to pull the plug again. As a result, some of these guys have to drive mega miles to get to their respective stadiums/seasonal homes, yet nobody’s been given the official green light. With just a couple of days left, you’d think guys would already be reporting, but that isn’t the case.

Time is getting awfully short not to have a clear sense of direction, yet there seems to be none. Obviously, the safety of the players is paramount. The virus will always take the driver’s seat, as players, owners and fans are left to wonder what this godforsaken virus will do next. Fingers crossed, but for now it looks as MLB is doomed… again.

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Ken Allison, Baseball Dept Head
Ken Allison is the senior of two MLB Department Heads, as well as a writer and editor for Overtime Heroics. A life-long MLB fan, he's also written for CubsHQ and had the opportunity to try out for the Chicago Cubs in 1986.

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