MLB is proposing a 154-game season to the Baltimore Orioles, the rest of the teams, and the MLBPA. This per Jon Heyman of Foxsports. This of course after last year’s labor issues on the heels of COVID, and what ended up being a 60-game season.
The bare bones of the proposal as reported are a 154-game season, which would start roughly a month late. There would be expanded playoffs, which this year would reach into November, and a universal DH in both leagues. The players would also receive their full salaries as based on the 162-game schedule.
Obviously these alterations are being proposed due to COVID. My hope is that the MLBPA doesn’t agree to it. Now I’ll admit that in total it is a reasonable proposal. But my point would be why is it needed?
I get trying to keep everyone safe from COVID. And I’m in no way suggesting that the league shouldn’t be attempting to take precautions for players and coaches. But we should also keep in mind that as the vaccines are being administered, COVID numbers are going to go further and further down as time goes on – presumably. So will it be the threat that it was in 2020?
I know that sounds arrogant or even foolish to some. And I say all of this as the son of a COVID survivor. My father was in the ICU for two weeks battling for his life. I don’t wish it on anyone. Also keep in mind that the NFL was able to play it’s season with relatively few issues. The NBA and NHL just started up recently, but they’re doing their thing as we speak. As is college basketball.
So I guess my point is, why isn’t the 2021 season being treated as business as usual? That may be a bit strong; it won’t be business as usual. Teams will have to decide on an individual basis whether to admit fans. And how many at that. But given the relative success of other sports, does the 2021 season really need to be altered?
The difference I suspect is that baseball does series’. In those other sports teams fly into a city the day before a game, and are on the way home immediately following it. In baseball teams are in a cut for between 2-4 days. And in essence guys can’t leave the hotel. However despite a few major hiccups with various teams at the beginning, even MLB was able to sustain a fairly safe level of play last year.
So I see no reason the season should be delayed or shortened. However time will tell if the MLBPA accepts this offer.