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Guess the date: When will the MLB return?
Let's get some guesses going on when you think the MLB will play their next regular season game.
I'm going to take a tab at it and say July 13th.
I don't think it will be July 1, like is being rumored right now. Unless things change quickly
I think mid-July. I'm saying something like July 15, but more likely either the 13 or July 20th.
I'll take July 8.
??/??/2021. Beginning a 'season' this year is easy. Planning for what, at this point, seems to be the inevitable infection of players and others involved is impossible. If there's no dead certainty that what's begun will play out to a satisfactory conclusion why take a chance on chaos?
I'm going to use this thread to raise the topic of the start of the 2021 season. Up until now, I had assumed that the season would start on time. But, based on this linked Jason Stark article (The Athletic), it appears that many in baseball believe that MLB will again have a truncated season, and that it probably won't start on time.
The owners may oppose starting the season if games can't be played with fans in the stands (a sentiment I can understand given the huge losses incurred during the fanless 2020 season). And it may come down to when can it be reasonably anticipated that players get vaccinated, and second, when can fans be allowed in stadiums, and will they need to be vaccinated for that to happen.
For ST to start on time, it may require a special designation that baseball players get bumped to the head of the vaccine line. And, even assuming that, it probably is unlikely that the typical fan will get vaccinated by the regular start of the season, and possibly not until May or June. So the question is then, will fans be allowed in the stands without a vaccination, and if not, then it's hard to see the season starting on time.
All that said, it's the players' position that the season should start on time, with or without fans. If the players are adamant on this position, and the league is adamant about not playing to empty stadiums, then there may be a legal fight on whether, based on contract interpretation, the league has the authority not to play. I opined on this last year that the league had the right to not play games in force majeure situations, and that Covid-19 was one of those situations. The question may be whether the league has forfeited its right to this contract interpretation given the fact that games were played in '20, albeit pursuant to a negotiated deal with the MLBPA.
Anyway, as of today, there's a lot that's up in the air. Hopefully, some of these unanswered questions get answered sooner than later.
The owners want to push back the season, thinking that more time for a vaccine will mean they'll have more people in the stands and therefor more money. They also want expanded playoffs, which would be more money for them. So they propose these things to the players, and offer the players (who are largely being frozen out in free agency and a rightfully pissed)... universal DH. Which is also something MLB wants anyway.
This is *bonkers*. They've offered the players absolutely nothing in the way of assurances that they'll split any new money. The players have every right to be skeptical that it would be split. And they have every reason to believe that expanded playoffs will depress free agent value. Marginal wins mean less when more teams make it, hell the Indians have made that their core mission the last 3 or 4 offseasons. There's no competitive reason for teams to go nuts in free agency when they can just make a wild card spot anyway. Hell, all the big market teams are already treating the luxury tax as a salary cap, and the whole model was built and agreed to under the premise that teams like the Yankees would overspend anyway.
The MLB proposal is just a naked ask of "more money, please", while offering absolutely nothing of value to the players.
For further reading, I suggest this twitter thread from a labor lawyer outlining why the players didn't counter their proposal at all:
Here's a good summary of an agreement between MLB and the MLBPA on Covid-related protocols for spring training and during the season. Players will be subject to fines for violating safety-related protocols and will require special permission for leaving hotels when on the road. Players will be strongly encouraged, but not required, to get vaccinated.