MLB fans want a 2020 season. But what people, like myself, have been wondering is: how feasible is it? We all know COVID-19 has hit us like a tidal wave. However…there could be some actual light at the end of the tunnel. Jeff Passan started the rumblings with this tweet.
NEWS: Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are focusing on a plan backed by federal health officials that could have players in training camps by May and games soon thereafter.
Details at ESPN on how MLB may return — and the difficulty in doing so: https://t.co/zDoNa3k4pm
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 7, 2020
Then, ESPN came out with the article on how it could actually happen. There were a few alterations suggested for this season which a lot of people find interesting…to say the least.
If we’re going to remove umpires, eliminate mound visits, and put players in the stands six feet away from each other to maintain social distancing, then how are we tagging out runners? We implementing pegging? pic.twitter.com/Wwn95zQmz1
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) April 7, 2020
With these suggestions in mind, let’s take a look at a few of them in detail.
The Electronic Strike Zone
This has been toyed with for a few years now. Honestly, now is the best time to do it. Give it a trial run and see if it can be efficient for a full 2021 season. People have been saying electronics can do it better than the humans. Let’s test the theory out now. What do you honestly have to lose? Some players complain? Players will complain either way if a call is horrifically bad.
No Mound Visits From Catcher or Pitching Coach
I get this, but at the same time, I don’t like it. Pitchers sometimes needs to hear critiques from their catcher or pitching coach. If their changeup is staying up and they can’t figure out why, that’s why the catcher and pitching coach are available. They aren’t going to shout it out because it gives away information to the hitters. There has to be a better way to do this. No mound visits is a big disadvantage for the pitcher.
Seven Inning Doubleheaders
This one I feel depends on how many there actually are in the season. If it’s only a few, that’s fine. The diehards like myself love more baseball anyway. If the players are in on it, let it happen. It reminds me a lot of travel baseball, both from a playing and coaching perspective. But hey, these guys are in the best shape for the most part. They can handle it. If they like the doubleheader concept, then put it through and let’s play two!
Regular Use of On-field Microphones
This is probably the best idea in mt opinion. It relates fans more to the game, hearing from the players DURING the game. They’ve experimented in the past with this and it’s produced great results. Don’t believe me? Here’s Mookie Betts during a Spring Training game in 2018:
Mookie Betts is mic'd up for today's spring league game and had a ball hit his way during an interview 😂pic.twitter.com/Ov6IwCww0Q
— Adam Forsythe (@adamforsythe) March 27, 2018
We need moments like that more often. Just don’t give it to the batter actually hitting or whichever pitcher is on the mound. Let them focus. An outfielder or an infielder is totally fine.
Sitting in the Empty Stands 6 Feet Apart
Bart Simpson characterizes it perfectly. I get it. I wish it didn’t have to be that way. But again, I get it. It’ll look weird. But if that means playing baseball, then be as far away from each other as possible!
Do I think this could be good news for an MLB season in 2020? Yes and no. I think these are good rules to put into place, for the most part. But there are still risks involved. What if a player contracts it again? Are they going to do the same thing and shut down operations again? I don’t know. But, there’s a foundation in place. If the MLB keeps working at it, we might get sports sooner rather than later. Hey, I’m not complaining about that!
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-Al Nahigian (@BigAl2793)