A lot of changes are coming to Major League Baseball in the coming months. Besides the extermination of minor league teams, owners are pleading for a delay in order not to lose money. Rob Manfred is prone to cracking under pressure as the MLB commissioner.
Team owners losing more revenue is costly, but delaying the season is the wrong trail to follow. Especially, when there is a chance of fans in the stands in 2021. Besides gaining lost revenue from 2020, there are a lot of other reasons as to why Major League Baseball should start the season on-time. Delaying the season would only hurt the sport and league itself.
COVID-19 Vaccine on the Way
The Pfizer vaccine is currently being distributed with the Moderna edition coming soon. With the distribution rates faster than expected, many things are slowly easing back into normal.
With the widespread vaccine distribution around the corner, U.S. citizens are going to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. After that, Major League Baseball will have a handful of their issues slowly disappear.
Fans can safely enter stadiums without spreading the coronavirus to others if they are vaccinated. In that case, MLB owners can slowly make up the revenue they lost in 2020. Especially with more games played. With more revenue than 2020, money cuts won’t force the MLB to cut anymore minor league teams and lay off tons of staff.
If Major League Baseball requests vaccinations of players in early 2021, the Toronto Blue Jays have a chance at playing at their home in the Rogers Centre in Canada, instead of playing in Buffalo.
With the vaccine arriving, it would look ridiculous for Major League Baseball to delay the season when more promising rewards are on the way. Making a premature decision on the 2021 season would cost owners more money, delay the minor league season, and affect the players’ health and strength, much like what happened in the NFL.
With the 60-game season during a pandemic in 2020, the pandemic took its toll on multiple teams. The Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals depended on winning percentage rather than records in the standings when it came to playoff chances. All 28 other teams played a full 60 games, but that does not mean they were not impacted.
A couple of days into the 2020 season, 17 members of the Miami Marlins tested positive for the virus. As a result, Major League Baseball reshuffled the upcoming schedules for the Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees, and the Washington Nationals. The Marlins were scheduled to Baltimore, but because of the outbreak, Baltimore stayed home to host the Yankees. The Phillies were scheduled to play against the Yankees that Wednesday but hosted the Toronto Blue Jays instead.
Even if the vaccine arrives in time and if Major League Baseball implements proper protocols, more time in the 2021 Season gives teams breathing room, in case a surprise outbreak happens. With more time, Major League Baseball can actually host an All-Star Game in 2021.
Whether it is to host All-Star Game or give teams breathing room, Rob Manfred and the Major League Baseball staff delaying the season is a costly mistake that orchestrates disaster in the long run. Especially when doctors and scientists know more about the virus now than ever before.
Getting Players Ready.
Not just the revenue, but the players are the key source to Major League Baseball’s success.
Every year no matter the situation, players and staff fly in from all over the world to be with their respective teams. Delaying the season will make this process a long haul. However, there is an easier solution when you have players and staff coming from everywhere.
Even if the vaccine is not yet on MLB’s doorstep, teams should tell their personnel to report to the facilities in mid-January. That way the personnel can quarantine themselves at a hotel for two weeks and not associate with anyone. Therefore, spring training starts on time and Rob Manfred does not delay the 2021 season.
Also, players’ strength and conditioning matters other than the health side of things. Last season, the players stayed home from March until July, when mini-Spring Training began. As a result of the four-month hiatus, many players injured themselves and went on the injured list. Stretching at home does not always do the trick. With the proper protocols, vaccine or not, it is the MLB’s job to make sure their players are healthy and to make sure the teams implement proper stretching routines to make sure there are no strains or breaks in muscles or bones.