The return of America’s pastime


The New York Yankee Stadium. Photo from Pixabay.

Peter Styx, Staff Reporter

Baseball and all other sports have been canceled since March 12 and it has left the world with a gaping hole. Sports in general are such a big part of our culture and society, and it has not been the same without them. 

Although many other sports were nearing the end of their season including the NBA and NHL, and the NFL had just finished their season, the MLB was just preparing to start their season and were only a couple weeks into their Spring Training games in Arizona and Florida when the COVID-19 outbreak occurred. Even though the league will not be the same as it usually is, the commissioner Rob Manfred and the owners of the 30 teams have made big steps towards the start of a season.

The season will obviously be shortened and different from the normal 162 game schedule and the ten team postseason. The most recent news shares that the MLB will have a season within the range of 80 games and a 14 team postseason. Since the season did not start when it normally would (the last week of March), team schedules are all messed up. The MLB needed to find a way to make a more efficient schedule, so they decided to have teams only play other teams within their division and their corresponding division in the other league. For example, The Chicago White Sox will only play teams in the American League Central (the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, and the Cleveland Indians) and the National League Central (the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, and the Pittsburgh Pirates). This means that teams from the AL Central will no longer be playing teams from either coast in either league as an attempt to keep traveling to a minimum and ultimately decrease the risk of players, coaches, and key members contracting the virus. 

As far as the season goes, there are still a lot of questions up in the air about how games will be conducted and rules enforced, such as implementing the Universal D.H. rule (having a designated hitter in both leagues, instead of just the AL), and even the start date of the season. There are also concerns on how players will conduct themselves in the dugouts in an attempt to keep a somewhat social distance, which is hard considering both teams share the same baseballs. As many questions and concerns are being addressed, the MLB has come a long way since their original plans and rumors of canceling the season in all. As of their latest statements, they are planning on starting the season the weekend of the Fourth of July. 

Also still in the air are the players and their contracts. In professional baseball, there’s a huge difference in salaries, with some players making millions of dollars compared to thousands. The players in the major league don’t have too much to worry about because most of them are still making enough to support themselves and such, but the minor leaguers will definitely get hit the hardest through all of this. Most minor league players are making less than $40,000 a year and with there being a possibility of contracts getting cut and minimized, these players are looking at only making about $20,000 a year from being a professional athlete. 

Other baseball leagues such as the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) started their season on May 5, with their first game airing at midnight CST. They had no fans in the stands and had all of the coaches and managers wearing masks. The MLB may use a similar format when they begin on July 4. The KBO has continued play and has had no issues with the virus so far.

Manfred and the MLB has come a long way since March 12 with the help of doctors and a better understanding of COVID-19. The MLB will continue to release statements on the state of the league and the attempt to restart it. The MLB is one of the first American sports leagues to even talk about a start to their season, and have brought hope to the fans and the country as a whole.