While there seems to be more and more talk about the 2020 season actually happening, one major milestone of the summer won’t be. It looks like Ted Simmons‘s wait to be enshrined is going to last a little longer.
Bob Nightengale (I know, I know, but I think this is pretty solid) reported yesterday that it looks like the Hall of Fame induction ceremony for this season, which was to include Simmons, Derek Jeter, Larry Walker, and Marvin Miller posthumously, will be cancelled and rolled over until 2021. Given the fact that so many people would be in such close quarters, plus the fact that New York is the center of the coronavirus pandemic right now, at least as it concerns North America, this is really a no-brainer. As Andre Dawson pointed out, there are a lot of older players (not to mention fans) that come to this event. Can you imagine what would happen if Willie Mays caught COVID-19 at this thing?
There’s always the option for those players not to attend, but that would also dampen what that weekend is really all about. If you are celebrating baseball, you want as many of the legends there as possible. It’s a chance to see Bob Gibson and Sandy Koufax together, to have pictures of Hank Aaron and Johnny Bench together, to really revel in the history of the great game. When a lot of players shouldn’t come because of health concerns, it’s a good sign that maybe you need to shut it down for the year.
No doubt it’s going to devastate Cooperstown, which thrives on the ceremony and tourism in general. The fact that there was to be an estimated 100,000 people in a place that typically has a population of 1700 means that businesses there can live off of one weekend for much of the year. Now they have to figure something else out or find another way to bring in revenue, trying to survive until next summer.
Speaking of the Hall of Fame, let’s revisit what’s going on with the Cardinal version. We wrote a bit ago about the fact that the Cards weren’t publicizing the vote all that much. They have been doing a little more as of late, putting up a few tweets about it, but you’ll notice that the deadline got pushed back to May 1 and right now there are no specific plans for their induction. You wonder if they may not take a page out of MLB’s book and have a super-sized one next year. Honestly, it’s probably the best idea. Even with the gradual opening of things, I don’t know that people will want to gather in Ballpark Village to watch an induction and it feels like even they want to, they probably shouldn’t. Now maybe by August we’re talking about a month or so clear of any problems and it looks like things are OK, but I wouldn’t be planning any events like that right now.
Anyway, as we said above, we might not be able to have things like inductions, but it does seem like we’re going to have a season. Nightengale also put out an article saying that MLB was thinking about three 10-team divisions that would start in late June. Basically you’d have a West, a Central, and an East, which means the Cards would get games with both the Cubs and White Sox, the Brewers, Reds, Pirates, Royals, Tigers, Twins, and Indians. The plan also includes teams using their own ballparks, just without fans.
Now, if you are a Cardinals fan, you are all right with that from a selfish point of view. There’s not a team in that bunch that is clearly better than the Cards and many that are significantly worse. You have to figure that at least the top two teams in each division will go to the playoffs and, given how much we’ve heard about expanded postseason play, It could be that there would be two wild card teams outside of that as well. Honestly, that’d just be 10 teams and that’s what usually winds up in the playoffs anyway. You just have to figure that there’s no play-in game or anything. Though I’m not sure how many you can take and not have it wind up with some team having a significant bye somewhere in the playoffs, but that’s another story.
(OK, so if I’d actually read that a little closer, I’d have seen that the Braves were in there instead of the Pirates. That changes the calculus a little, but not much. They’d probably be the favorites in that division but St. Louis wouldn’t be far behind.)
I’m still not fond of the idea of a 2020 season that nobody will really take seriously. If the Cards win this year, people will always say “Yeah, but that 2020 title really shouldn’t count”. That said, there’s no getting around that really and as long as baseball doesn’t take this opportunity to completely revamp the leagues for the future, I think we can manage one year like this. I’m not excited about it, but I can deal with it.
I’m just not sure that the regular travel is a great idea. I wonder if we’ll see more like six game series in one spot, then have the teams move around, instead of going every little bit to a new place. Could you see a month-long homestand, followed by a road trip just as long? I don’t know, but I’m sure MLB is giving it a lot of thought.
Could we be seeing the light at the end of this series of posts? I’m pretty sure we are all hoping that’s the case!