Play ball! Or, will we?
It’s the middle of May, and sports enthusiasts of all ages would normally be indulging in the NBA playoffs, the NHL playoffs, and the opening of the MLB season.
Social distancing restrictions are easing up in numerous states, and more businesses are up and running once again. How quickly will it be until we see that opening pitch and that sky-rocketing dinger smashed out of the ballpark?
Teams and management have their own ideas on how to bring back America’s pastime, but it’s ultimately up to Dr. Tony Fauci and others to determine how quickly fans can be back in the stands. A sport that is as all American as red, white, and blue, baseball’s absence has left an unfathomable void in the hearts of fans.
What do the talkies and analysts have to say about the fate of the MLB season?
Buster Olney (ESPN Baseball Insider)
- Olney opined that MLB is “at the top of the first inning,” meaning that the league has so many things to work through when it comes to getting the 2020 season underway. The league has to answer numerous questions ranging from player safety and frequent Covid-19 tests to financial issues. If rosters unfreeze, Olney believes that the Chicago Cubs will be impacted the most because the team is having a “financial crunch.” Once rosters are unfrozen, MLB franchises will be looking to dump individual players.
Jeff Passan (ESPN MLB Insider)
- Passan recognizes how the financial aspects of the 2020 MLB season have the potential of becoming “really, really ugly.” Unlike the NFL, NBA, and NHL, the MLB does not have revenue splits due to the fact that there is no salary cap in place. Consequently, the MLB is attempting to become creative and perhaps will implement a 50-50 revenue split. This will somewhat make up for the fact that no fans will be allowed in stadiums and because the number of games played during the 2020 season will likely be 82 games, instead of the typical 162 game season. MLB is “exploring the possibility of holding spring training in mid-June, with the hope of starting the regular season in early July.”
Mark Teixeira (ESPN Baseball Analyst)
- Former Yankee, Teixeira insists that players must realize that this year is different. People must be willing to adapt and be flexible amidst the pandemic. As a result, Teixeira believes a 50-50 revenue split is “very reasonable for the 2020 season.” He also acknowledges that players’ safety and health are still the most important components of the game.
Jim Rome (CBS Sports)
- Rome and MLB writer Tyler Kepner discuss the details of baseball’s proposal for the 2020 season. The men emphasize that it is “huge news” that a DH spot is being added to rosters in the National League. Furthermore, Kepner believes that a team with young pitchers like the Oakland Athletics will benefit from an abridged season because stamina in the playoffs will not be an issue with the shortened season.
I also checked in recently with some devoted sports aficionados to get their spin on the situation. With Covid-19 upending the sports schedule, where are these fans feeling the loss most?
A spot-check of a handful of college aged fans say that baseball is on their minds too:
Drew Schiffer (Syracuse University ’23 Sport Management – Syracuse Men’s Basketball Manager)
I’ve always been an avid baseball fan. My father and grandfather both grew up supporting the St. Louis Cardinals and brought me to numerous games throughout my childhood. Because it runs in the family, I chose to cheer on the Cardinals. I definitely miss baseball, and when I think of summer, I envision a beautiful day at the ballpark.
Considering the NHL and NBA would be mid-playoffs as of now, it’s unfortunate to have no sports being played. Also, since the St. Louis Blues pulled off an historic playoff run last season and ultimately won the Stanley Cup, it would have been exciting to see what the Blues could have achieved in this year’s NHL playoffs. I would have loved to have been at the Enterprise Center with my father and grandfather watching the Blues attempt to win back-to-back championships.
Megan Monzo (Syracuse University ’22 Sport Management – Vice President of Programming for the Syracuse Sport Management Club)
Growing up playing softball my entire life, I have always enjoyed watching baseball and attending games. I’m from Pittsburgh, PA and a proud hometown fan of the Pirates. However, since my older brother started working for the Yankees, I have grown to follow them closely as well.
Because baseball would still be at the inception of its season, I miss watching hockey the most. When Covid-19 put a halt to sports, it was disappointing because playoff hockey was right around the corner.
Dante Giugliano (Syracuse University ’22 Sport Analytics – President of Hockey Analytics Club)
Although I’m a Boston Bruins and New England Patriots fan, the New York Yankees are my team when it comes to baseball. My dad is originally from New York, so even though I’m from Boston, I was raised to be a Yankees fan. I’m definitely thankful for that.
However, hockey is the sport I miss most right about now. My team, the Boston Bruins, were on pace to have home ice advantage throughout the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the NHL currently would have been mid-way through the playoffs. I’m also the Vice President of the Syracuse Club Roller Hockey Team, which contributes to my love of the sport.
Jenna Key (University of Colorado Boulder ’22 Communications and Journalism – Intern for the Sports Broadcast Journal)
I grew up a baseball fan. Growing up in New York and having a father who was a pitcher for the New York Yankees (Jimmy Key), I was raised to love and root for them. Especially around this time of the year, I definitely wish baseball was being played. There’s nothing as enthralling as attending a baseball game and sitting in the ballpark.
Jack Lovalvo (Syracuse University ’21 Sport Management – Member of the Syracuse Sport Management Club)
Baseball has always been in my blood and a passion of mine. I played for 12 years and I’m a supporter of the Detroit Tigers. Some of my greatest memories as a kid were at Comerica Park watching guys like Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera showcase their skills. At this point, however, I actually miss golf the most. Missing the Masters and all of the tournaments leading up to it was unfortunate.