It’s easy in this day and age to allow yourself to get caught up in the minute by minute roller coaster as social media brings news and opinion to your doorstep. Yesterday within 9 minutes the players rebuttal to the owner’s proposal came out, and as has become usual at this point, it sounded dire. If you leave it there, optimism seems, well, stupid.
Here are ten reasons to believe we will see a season in 2020.
10. The Other Leagues are Coming Back – If all the issues at hand were genuine, this wouldn’t be a consideration, but this is one outside force that truly should matter to both the players and the owners. Nobody wants to be the one league or worse, one entity within said league that fails to get it done.
9. The Looming CBA Negotiations – This item has played a role in causing immense pessimism too. Sure, there are real arguments to be had about pay and how much the owners will pay in 2020 but the posturing is primarily about 2021. Things that would be small skirmishes in a normal year become all out battles in an effort to make the next wave lean their way.
8. Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder? – People have said this for generations, but how often do people really have the stomach to put it into practice? That reunion after a long time apart can be sweet, as long as someone is still waiting for you when you get home. I suspect baseball is not prepared to face the possibility that they gave away any percentage of an already dwindling fan base.
7. Safety is No Longer the Focus – Long ago, it seemed safety and health were going to be the biggest concerns, that is no longer the case. I’m no doctor but society at large has begun the process of moving on toward normalcy, and both sides of the argument in baseball have lurched toward money. As soon as the main source of argument left safety and entered money, they lost the ability to blame COVID-19 for missing the entire season.
6. 2 Years Away from Live Competition – Whatever profession you are involved with, take two years off and see how you look when you come back. These are professional athletes and I’m sure they’ll find a way to stay sharp, but there is no replacement for live baseball. I don’t see Chad Kuhl signing up with the Wild Things to hone his skills.
5. Rob Manfred Uses the Power Given to Him in March – That’s right, all this back and forth, all the will they won’t they could very well have a conclusion already written. Craig told us all about it here.
4. Players Won’t Want to Lose the PR Opportunity – If the players refuse to accept any proposal from the owners (fair or unfair) and Rob Manfred exercises his power, the players will miss out on their share of the PR of cooperation. This is the other side of the CBA posturing; nobody wants to overplay their hand.
3. No Fan Silliness Can’t last – This is a reality. I fully support the peaceful protests going on across the country seeking justice and equal treatment for all of us, as do seemingly most politicians. Sure, I’m not stupid, I know it’s politically expedient to show support and I absolutely get some of it isn’t genuine, but none of that can stop the reality that these gatherings are no different than having fans at games. Couple that with the WHO proclaiming that non-symptomatic COVID-19 carriers are not spreading the virus and keeping fans away is going to continue to become less a certainty and more an outlier. This reality should give the owners a bit more bargaining power, perhaps an increase in percentage paid should fans be allowed to attend?
2. City Budgets are Shot – Cities all across our country have, in the name of our safety, destroyed their budgets. Sports bring money to businesses all around the events and missing out on the windfall to jump start recovery seems unlikely to me long term. As with reopening, nobody wants to be first, but Texas and Arizona will quickly show the way forward. Want to let Houston and Arlington boat race other cities? Maybe, but my gut says it sweeps faster than the virus itself did.
1. They Can’t be This Stupid – When adults gather and seemingly go out of their way to out stupid each other, look past it for the hidden agendas. Bottom line, if Baseball is the only major league to not return, they deserve what they get, and I’m sure they know this.
I have from day one and continue now to believe baseball will be back this season. It won’t be normal, and we’ll find some of the ultimate method to be distasteful, but I firmly believe we’ll be watching baseball well into the Fall. Ah man, I can hardly wait to argue about whether they should be playing baseball in New York on Thanksgiving or step aside for the NFL.