MLB 2020 Season: A 9th Inning Save or a Strikeout?

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Skye Lam

“If the MLB and the Players Association do not come to an agreement soon, this may be the start of a new reality for professional sports,” said Skye Lam ’22.

Summers in America: Beaches, Barbeques, Baseball. Will we be able to enjoy these summer pastimes, or will this summer be a strikeout, due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic?

While beaches and other recreational areas are beginning to open, sport teams have not been given the green light to resume their seasons. Major League Baseball (MLB) has been suspended indefinitely and players and fans do not know whether they will even get to experience the 2020 season in their stadiums.

Talks have been ongoing to determine when and how the season will reopen. Officials have speculated that stadiums could only accommodate 50% capacity to ensure that social distancing restrictions are met; fans would be  required to socially distance, leaving seats open between themselves. Other plans include requiring masks and other personal protective equipment for fans in the stadiums at all times. However, the deciding factor for this season is money, since the league owners are not planning to pay the athletes their full salary for a reduced season. Jason Sethiadi ’21 said, “It’s a hopeful sign that Governor Cuomo is encouraging teams in the state to restart their training camps, but the road ahead is still highly uncharted. As a New Yorker, going to Mets games and watching my favorite team play come spring is something that we always look forward to doing.”

Spring training and especially Opening Day 2020 usually bring in a lot of money for the sport. Fans have been waiting for months to see their favorite players on the field again, but since these events have been canceled, the MLB is looking at loss of income at the start of their season. “If the MLB season was to start again this year, it would mean playing baseball without any fans, which equates to huge losses in revenue for owners,” said Skye Lam ’22. “As a result of these unfortunate circumstances, this would also mean pay cuts to players’ salaries.” To these athletes, baseball is more than just a game–it’s their career.

“Beyond the fear of playing in an era of social distancing and the COVID-stricken nation, Major League players are also conflicted over the expected pay-cuts. Many Minor Leaguers have been released and are no longer a part of their organizations, leaving them completely vulnerable with difficult financial circumstances,” said Sethiadi. Just like tens of millions of Americans, the minor leagues have started to release their players as their jobs are deemed nonessential.

“As an avid baseball fan, I would definitely not want to see the entire MLB season cancelled just because of financial disagreements. In an unprecedented time where everyone is stuck in quarantine, baseball can serve as another source of entertainment,” said Lam. However, at the end of the day, these players are the same as everyone else and rely on baseball to pay the bills.

Several offers have been sent back and forth with the most recent being an offer on June 12, 2020. The offer summarized a 72-game season with a possibility of a post-season and proposed that the athletes would receive 70% of their prorated salaries for completing the regular season. In addition, the season would start on July 14, 2020 and end on September 27, 2020. Since there has been no confirmation, there is still a chance that the season will be over for good and the players will not be back until next year.

Bronx Science students have also missed out on their own Spring PSAL season. Sethiadi said, “Personally, I was looking forward to getting back outside to play in pickup baseball games and train with my friends and family. I saw how many other high schoolers around the world lost their senior seasons, and it’s hard not to feel emotional for them.” The best that we can hope for is a summer where we can start to return to normal and play pickup games in the park.

“As an avid baseball fan, I would definitely not want to see the entire MLB season cancelled just because of financial disagreements. In an unprecedented time where everyone is stuck in quarantine, baseball can serve as another source of entertainment,” said Skye Lam ’21.

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