Just over a month since Opening Day 2020, Major League Baseball (MLB) has dealt with many issues due to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The league was on the brink of shutting down the entire season due to multiple COVID-19 outbreaks on several teams.
COVID-19 cases spread throughout the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals organizations making both teams shutdown baseball activities for over a week.
This was the beginning of a scheduling nightmare that forced teams to switch up their schedules last minute. Scheduling conflicts have also left teams trying to squeeze in double headers and seven inning games to keep up with the MLB’s demanding schedule.
The Toronto Blue Jays were denied access to have home games in Canada, leaving their season in limbo. Luckily, they have found a new home for the time being, playing their home games at Sahlen Field, their Triple-A affiliate ballpark in Buffalo, New York.
Racial injustices have also played a factor in many teams cancelling games. Players have been very open about their thoughts on and off the field. They have taken to social media to show support in demanding justice and change, while also supporting other professional sports leagues such as the NBA and WNBA. The Major League Baseball Players Association has used their platform to kneel and show solidarity with one another, igniting the change that needs to be seen in the United States.
The MLB’s star players also released a video in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, ending with the phrase “One Team. One Dream. Be the change.”
With all these factors playing into a reduced season, many baseball fans felt that the season might never finish and would be put on halt for certain circumstances.
Despite all those issues, there has definitely been many exciting moments in such a short time. The Los Angeles Dodgers sit atop the standings with a 29-10 record. The addition of right fielder Mookie Betts in the offseason to an already stacked lineup has increased their chances of capturing a title. The New York Yankees have been a powerhouse in the American League, even while dealing with injuries to right fielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.
Some bright spots have been the San Diego Padres (aka Slam Diego) behind young phenom shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. He leads the majors in runs, RBI’s and home runs. The Padres built a lineup throughout the past couple of years so that they could contend. With the Dodgers being in their division, they have a lot of work cut out for them throughout the rest of the season.
In the American League, the Oakland Athletics (A’s) have quietly started with a 22-12 record. Consistent hitting and clutch comebacks have the A’s on top of their division.
One team flying under the radar has been the Chicago White Sox. The franchise has built a team with a bunch of young talent. They won seven straight games, only trailing the Minnesota Twins by two games for the division. They have the bulk of their lineup on contract for more than four years, keeping the future very bright for the team. The White Sox may be sleepers right now, but the next few seasons will prove they are legit contenders.
The MLBl has tried to keep up with the constant changing of the COVID-19 pandemic while keeping players and coaches safe. Giving a platform to let players speak on injustices is the next step for the league and showing solidarity while caring for players’ needs is what is most important.
The 2020 season has not been perfect by far, but the level of play has been top notch. New stars are emerging while teams that have been deemed bad in the past are finally coming around.
The shortened season has left little time for players to sit back and relax, as there is much to do on and off the diamond. Time will tell if the players can keep the intensity going into the playoffs throughout the fall, and if they can keep COVID-19 away from the league.