Well, it looks as if we’re going to have baseball, even as the news that Covid-19 has made a dramatic comeback as the nation starts to get back to a sense of normalcy. Finally an agreement has been made, after many weeks of back and forth between owners and players.Embed from Getty Images
What can we as fans expect from a 2020 season? Baseball as we knew it won’t be played, it will be a modified version of the game played without fans in the stands. Testing for the virus, and a myriad of rules in place to help prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic to players will be in place. Rule changes like a DL in the National League and having a runner on second base to start off on extra innings are huge changes for the NL.
From MLB.com here’s some Covid-19 rule changes:
What will be in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
Among the most pertinent measures are as follows:
• Players, coaches and support staff will be tested for COVID-19 every other day during Spring Training, the regular season and postseason.
• Players will receive temperature/symptom checks twice per day.
• Antibody testing will be conducted once per month.
• Social distancing will be encouraged as much as possible both on the field and off. Players and other team personnel not participating in the game will be sitting in the stands, at least six feet apart.
• Non-playing personnel must wear masks in the dugout and bullpen at all times.
• No pregame exchange of lineup cards.
• No celebratory contact (high-fives, fist bumps, hugs, etc.).
• No spitting or chewing of tobacco and/or sunflower seeds. Chewing gum is allowed.
• A ball will be thrown out once it has been touched by multiple players.Embed from Getty Images
When the dust settled in negotiations, it will be a 60-game season for 2020. Endless negotiation without positive results almost made this a must, as the days of summer just started, but as you mark out the time to the start of baseball’s playoff season, it doesn’t give the league too much time to have another Spring Training-like get ready, and the 60-game season to the playoffs.
So, we’ll get to see some baseball, but what can we expect? If we remember back to the ‘real’ Spring Training of a couple months ago, the Phillies we’re on the top of the whole league with a 14-5 record before the camps closed down. Can the Phillies carry this again into a short season?
The season setup will be 40 games against teams in the NL and a full 20 games against AL rivals. If anything, I think the league would have benefited without interleague play but do to the regional type of setups that will be in play, the Phillies will face a tougher schedule taking on the powerhouse Yankees and Red Sox more than they would have.
The schedules haven’t been released yet, but we know it won’t be a schedule that favors the Phillies, will that even matter in this shortened season? With everything being so different, will all teams face an equal burden of a season that will almost certainly be one that will be talked about for years to come.