Major league baseball has an curious inclination that if given two choices will inevitably choose the wrong one. It shouldn’t be this way, baseball is basically a binary system: safe or out, ball or strike, in or out.
They have, of course, tried to get around any sort of arbitrary ruling by introducing instant replay, robots and anything else just short of flipping a coin. So, when they knew that the coronavirus was going to have a huge influence on the season early on, the union and the owners should have gotten together and come up with a plan for the season. They did not because they hate one another and always assume that the other side is trying to get over on them, so they unnecessarily dragged the negotiations out and came up with a 60-game season and extended playoffs. They shouldn’t have bothered.
These games will be attended by no one although they could get those weird dummies with the wildly flailing arms that car dealers used to use to sit in the stands. Or they could just fill in the background with photos of Beto O’Rourke. The players will be segregated from one another and encouraged not to spit. “There’s no spitting in baseball.”
This will make for strange arguments at home plate where the batter, catcher, umpire and manager will all have to observe “social distancing” while disputing the call. There will be no need for the manager to turn his hat around (à la Earl Weaver) since he won’t be allowed within 10 feet of the umpire anyway. If it’s a close play at the plate and the manager wants to point out where the infraction took place, as he advances on the plate, the umpire will have to back up. This will be an easy way for managers to run umpires into the dugout. Games will be delayed while the batboy fetches the bat, everyone getting out his way while he retrieves the bat (for sanitizing). Each pitcher will be responsible for his own resin bag.
60 games is 37 per cent of the regular season. This means that Chris Davis has a good chance of striking out fewer than 200 times this year. That may invoke a bonus clause in his contract. For all the players who would’ve received bonuses for 30 home runs, 100 RBI, or 20 wins, they’re out of luck unless they have extremely savvy agents who have worked out the math and adjusted it to make their players eligible.
Earlier this year National ace Max Scherzer commented that the owners were out to screw the players. He pointed out that the owners had pro-rated the players salaries based on playing half the games (80) but then wanted to cut them even more when they played even fewer. The problem with this was they hadn’t played any games, so until they decided no one knew, but since they hadn’t played any games no one had gotten paid at all.
In keeping with their ability to screw things up, Major League Baseball has decided that all teams will have the designated hitter and, in a softball twist, if the game ends tied, a runner will be allowed on second base to start the overtime innings. This assumes the inflated fans will be tired of baseball by then. Why not allow a pitching coach to throw three balls to a hitter and the team that hits the most home runs wins?
In fact, why not hit pop flies to the infielders and see who can catch it while keeping the 6-foot social distance?
Baseball. No runs, no hits, many errors.