If you were to tell me that there hadn’t been baseball for 30 months, I might well believe you. 30 weeks? For sure. But 30 days? Just 30 days? Surely it’s been longer than that since Adam Wainwright took the mound for the Cardinals against their spring roommates, the Marlins. So many things have changed since that day but one thing hasn’t–there’s still no baseball and no idea when there might be some.
Oh, there’s another plan floating around where baseball would be sorted into Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues and teams would either play in Florida or Arizona, with the winners of those two ersatz leagues meeting in a World Series. This would have the Cardinals in a division with the Nationals, the Astros, the Mets, and of course, the Marlins. Playing the two teams that were in the World Series last year quite regularly wouldn’t necessarily be a lot of fun. The Marlins would pad that a bit, of course, but it feels like a big ask.
Then there’s the fact that there would be zero Cardinals/Cubs games in 2020 this way, which would be quite a shift from originally showcasing the two teams over in England. As one of my Twitter followers pointed out, a Cards-Cubs World Series would be intense, but wouldn’t that also just accentuate the….unrealness of the whole thing?
Plus all the drawbacks that the earlier all-in-Arizona plan from earlier are still in play here, except that you run twice as much risk of having some player exposed. (Though, on the positive side, if someone in Florida gets sick, they could shut that down for a bit while still letting Arizona play. Then again, given sickness rates, they are increasing their odds of someone getting sick by going to the Sunshine State.) You still have to keep the players quarantined from everything, which means their families. You have to control hotels, dining, and everything else. This doesn’t talk about robot umps, though that probably would happen, but you know everyone would have to use a DH with the mix of NL and AL teams.
Alex said it well on Chirps this week–if you have to go to all of this, is it really time for baseball to come back? Now, in fairness, I could see where as things improve the number of people allowed to gather is larger. Say it opens up to 100–that would be enough to have a game with no fans in the stands. I don’t know if it’ll work like that, though. And I surely don’t know if it’ll happen anytime soon.
I want baseball to come back. I get that some gimmicks and some wonkiness may happen, but I still want the sport to be recognizable. Otherwise, I think we’ll be less than excited after that first week or so when the game returns. We’d miss the rivalries, we’d complain about the gerrymandering, and overall 2020 would be seen as a mess. Whether it is better to have a mess of a game or no season depends on your point of view, of course. I’m not sure exactly where I come down on it.
One month down. Who knows how many to go.