For a sport that has prided itself as America’s Pastime for generations, Major League Baseball can’t seem to get out of its own way. Between the ongoing pandemic and the contentious labor negotiations, the league hasn’t done themselves any favors in the eyes of the public. Case in point is the current arrangement of a 60-game season in 2020. Let’s just say fans are not too confident that even a 60-game season will reach a conclusion as scheduled.
In fact, only 53 percent of fans polled believe it is a good idea to have a 2020 season at all.
A season of any length will have some incredibly difficult roadblocks to overcome in the near future, especially as it pertains to the health of the players and staffs across the league. With so many variables and the risks that COVID-19 poses to the public, it is difficult to envision a 2020 season without some sort of meaningful interruption by October.
Then there is the actual legitimacy of a 60-game season and how this season will be ultimately remembered. After all, the bar for making the postseason has never been lower for teams across the league in recent history. There is the chance of teams who perform well in relatively small samples force their way into the postseason. For example, the Mariners last season started 18-12 in their first 30 games, which would represent half of the entire season this year. While Seattle did fade from that point onwards, even a .500 record over the subsequent 30 games could keep a similar club in the midst of a postseason berth this year. And don’t forget that the eventual 2019 World Series champion Nationals started their season with a 19-31 record in their first 50 games. The margin for error among clubs expecting to contend (Astros, Yankees, Dodgers) has become increasingly razor thin. Fans realize this conundrum facing baseball, which is one reason out of possibly many why only 47 percent of those polled are happy with the 60-game arrangement.
In turn, commissioner Rob Manfred’s popularity continues to sink like a rock. Or, better yet, a load of bricks.
The collective fanbases around the sport are also not letting team owners off the hook for the ongoing labor strife within the sport. Of those polled, 68 percent of voters currently blame owners for the negotiations that are continuously leading to nowhere. Thanks to those missteps, the likelihood of a player’s strike once the current CBA expires following the 2021 season appears to be increasing with each passing week.
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