The 2020 MLB season is coming to an end with the World Series scheduled to end this week. Despite this, Rob Manfred and MLB are already looking forward to the 2021 regular season in a sense. After the World Series, MLB must answer questions ahead of the 2021 season, many of them dictated by the COVID-19 global pandemic. With no fans in the stands and loss of games played during the 2020 regular season, Rob Manfred and MLB have a huge loss in their pockets; MLB and its 30 clubs are $8.3 billion in debt.
According to Sportico, various lenders will post $2.8 billion to $3 billion in operational losses this year. With this, MLB has several questions to answer in the next several months.
What The Free Agent Market May Look Like
The MLB free agency period may be pretty crazy due to the fact some players only played a 60-game season. Some stats are going to be inflated so some contract numbers could look very interesting. Obviously, for some teams, it will be just another offseason.
Where Will The Toronto Blue Jays Play?
Think of the Toronto Blue Jays, who are in limbo again about where they will play the 2021 season. Players don’t want to be in that situation and may opt to sign with a team other than the Blue Jays. With minor league baseball most likely back in 2021, it won’t be easy to find a home in the United States for the Blue Jays. During the 2020 season, the Blue Jays called Buffalo home for the season but with a minor league team in the area, that may not be an option in 2021.
Will There Be Fans?
During the 2020 season, all 30 MLB clubs played with no fans in the ballpark. MLB Commissioner, Rob Manfred had this to say about fans being allowed in ballparks next season.
“We are going to be at historic high levels of debt, And it’s going to be difficult for the industry to weather another year where we don’t have fans in the ballpark and have other limitations on how much we can’t play and how we can play.”
With the colder months of the year churning ahead, COVID cases have began to rise again across the country.
The NFL is currently letting the teams work with their local health officials deciding on how many fans to allow inside the stadiums. For example, the Kansas City Chiefs have been allowing around 15,000 fans for their home games. However, teams like the Los Angeles Rams, New England Patriots and New York Jets have not had any fans at their home games in 2020. MLB could do this, but for a 162-game season, some teams would lose a lot of money game-by-game.
If the Kansas City Royals have a couple thousand fans for their games but the New York Yankees cant, then MLB and Rob Manfred’s hands may be tied. These are some important questions Major League Baseball must answer with the 2021 MLB season quickly approaching. Rob Manfred has said that in some way fans will be in ballparks but has not said how MLB will do this.
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