So, just yesterday in his Coronavirus and You podcast, Brett mused over the possibility of continuing baseball reporting (thus things to write about and address here on SSS) if players remained in camp to work out. It was a long shot, but still on the table.
Well, today that option was taken off of the table:
Earlier in the day, there were reports from some teams that “certain” players would be allowed to remain in camp and work out. There was a lot of speculation over who those “certain” players might be (Triple-A? bonus babies?) but I’m positive the reference was to international players who don’t have an easy way home, and sometimes not a comfortable existence when home.
But now, the point is moot. Spring Training is Shut Down. The always-insightful Jacob Pomrenke points out a flu-delay to the season is not unprecedented:
There is precedent for starting a baseball season late. In 1919, Opening Day was pushed back by 2 weeks — in the middle of a global pandemic and a war between MLB and the minor leagues, in case you're wondering if history ever repeats itself: https://t.co/Dw1HsyyqLO #BlackSox100 pic.twitter.com/UtHlsmVFZJ— Jacob Pomrenke (@buckweaver) March 12, 2020
There’s also been some concern over what happens to student-athletes who have seen their postseason tournaments cancelled (basketball) and seasons themselves truncated (baseball). The NCAA apparently is giving at least some of those affected a chance at a do-over, and it has potentially enormous ramifications for the baseball draft, if a senior opts for a fifth year of play vs. going pro:
BREAKING: The @NCAA has officially granted all Division 1 baseball players an extra year of eligibility. It is expected, but not yet confirmed that there will be no scholarship limits for the upcoming 2021 season. More details to follow as this story develops.— NCAA Baseball Fans (@NCAABSB) March 13, 2020
From @TCU_Baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle:— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogers) March 13, 2020
“Whatever the fall out is, it’s 100 percent the right thing to do. The bottom line is no player should lose eligibility after playing 25% of the season to a situation beyond his control."
We’ve also seen a lot of wild speculation today about the shape a truncated/resumed season would take. Some have indicated a full season could be played, with front-end games postponed being made up at season’s end. But that’s simply impossible. The World Series already stretches to the end of October, and there’s no way that MLB wants to see its Fall Classic run into Election Day in November.
On the other end, there was talk circulating about an 81 (?)-game schedule being played, which is bizarre if only for the “half-way mark” number of games. As Brett had counted up yesterday, permanently canceling all games through May puts teams ~130 games for a full season. So even making May a resumption of spring training and starting games in June would still place the season at 100 games. Perhaps because of the fear that the coronavirus will kick back up again (possibly with a vengeance) in the colder fall months, MLB is interested in trimming both the front and back ends of the season.
We’ll see. Surely there will be more developments and news in the days to come.