A Brief Guide to the Revamped MLB Season

After months of deliberation, media subterfuge, and cost cutting, the MLB and the Players Association are set to bring baseball back for the late summer/early fall with a July 1st report  date. As such, here’s everything you need to know about renewed baseball season.

1. What we’re dealing with here is a 60-game season, which is about three times as short as the average season. This is going to dramatically change the energy with every game, cranking up the stakes, the intensity, the strategic managerial decisions of rotations and bullpens. On top of that, you’re going to be hearing a lot about the “legitimacy” of this season come playoffs time, when there may be a team or two around or below .500 that aren’t in the worst position to make a run. We’re in full chaos mode now, which is emphasized by changes like the following…

2. Fans of AAA and lower ball may be familiar with the new extra innings rule of placing a pinch runner in scoring position, creating a sense of urgency in both teams to wrap things up. In these current conditions – where time is of the essence – putting some extra juice into the game may not be the worst idea. It may also open up rosters to having players with a more diverse skill-set (hey there, Terrance Gore!). To go alongside this new pinch-running rule you’ve also got…

3. A universal DH rule is officially in effect for the 2020 MLB season! Cardinals fans, you should take a look at my column outlining which of your boys would fit best at the DH spot, and try not to lament the fact that your pitchers won’t have a chance to rake on the regular. As an American League boy myself, it’s tough to justify watching my pitcher flounder around at the plate -or maybe hurt himself in the process – when you can just give that job to a big boy that can hit the ball hard at a much more frequent clip. This also doubles as a health precaution, along with things like…

4. MLB is dramatically reducing how much time teams and reporters spend in clubhouses. Expect some brief at-the-stadium post-game shows and some socially distant interviews. The league is also encouraging pitchers to not use their own saliva to get hands and balls ready for throwing by letting them use a wet rag, although I’m not sure that’s going to stick, health-wise. And speaking of health…

5. This should be the disclaimer until someone hoists the Commissioner’s Trophy, but this baseball season is not a guarantee. As we speak, a couple players from the Rockies and the Phillies have caught the COVID-19 virus, and they may not be the last teams to get hit with problems before the new spring training starts. The final handshakes can go down, but at the end of the day if someone catches the coronavirus, the season has the potential to stop at the drop of the hat. In a country like the United States where cases keep piling up without signs of slowing down, I wouldn’t start saving up some scratch to go to a game this season.