March 25, 2020


Is it better to love than to never love at all?

It seems that proverb is part of the ongoing discussions between MLB, the players union, players, agents and fans.

Agent Scott Boras wants a 162 game schedule no matter when the season starts. He thinks a Christmas Day World Series game would be fine. A cynic must assume that he wants a full season to earn full commissions from his players.

The national pandemic shut down has postponed the season start to probably May. It will take several weeks for teams to re-start spring training so pitchers have time to stretch out. Memorial Day may be the new opening day.

But for fans, it still is tradition. They want their team games played at home, not at a southern neutral site (especially for playoffs). Owners are in it for the revenue so appeasing the hard core fan base is a mutual obligation in the final schedule.

I think most people will be alright with an 81 game shortened season. The players are barking about getting a full year service time (so they can get to free agency quicker). It is doubtful that the players will get their full salary for a half season. A short season does put more teams into play for the post-season.

MLB has been pushing the boundaries of the season before this crisis. 2020 was supposed to begin in March. The playoffs are getting pushed into November. It is all television revenue driven decisions.

But there is still a small probability that the season could be cancelled (like the Toyko Olympics). The adjustment of the travel schedule, the possibility of bankruptcies to hotels, airlines etc. may make the logistics of even a short season a nightmare.

But the biggest hurdle may be overall fan interest. With no current pro sports, fans are re-wiring their entertainment habits. They are finding new things to do while isolated at home. The great unknown is how many of these baseball fans will drop their consumption of baseball. Many people can easily get over a lost love, but will people who love baseball let it go, too?