Over the last few months my feelings toward Major League Baseball have gone through what feels like a journey through the 5 Stages of Grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. With what appears to be no end in sight to the negotiations between MLB and the MLBPA, I look back on the last month and the moments that stick out to me, which have ultimately have led me to where I currently stand as it pertains to my favorite pastime.
1. One Month Ago: This was the last time that there was any talk about the heath protocols, when the MLBPA responded to the 67 page medical and safety protocol, originally presented them by MLB a week earlier. Since this time there has been no comment on steps that have been taken to address the concerns that the players had concerning the original draft. I also haven’t heard a peep from anyone on either side and a minimal murmur from a few people on the media side I follow on Twitter. Why is this? Shouldn’t you address whether or not it is reasonable to expect you can play and keep everyone safe before squabbling over money?
2. One Week Ago: The MLB Draft took place and everything felt kind of normal, even if it was just for a short time. Heck even Rob Manfred got in on the fun and excitement by 100% guaranteeing that there would be an MLB Season. However, after all of this excitement, as we all know Rob is not so sure anymore. Also remember that the young men that we chosen by their respective MLB Teams have no where to go, the draft was only 5 rounds thanks to the agreement between MLB and the MLBPA in exchange for $170 Million and service time and once again that the boys drafted have nowhere to go because there is no MiLB season.
3. One Day Ago: The MLB Players and their movement was given a rallying cry or more of a hashtag to be specific. #When&Where is everywhere, even on T-Shirts. In response to Manfred’s wavering optimism, the players are calling him out and rightfully so. However, this campaign makes me start to wonder if everyone has forgotten about the global pandemic taking place. Have they been given clearance from medical professionals concerning the when and where? With there being spikes in states that are homes for certain MLB Teams is this even a possibility. Let me make it abundantly clear that this is not a discussion about the legitimacy of COVID-19, it is about the fact that the fear of a spike was the original reason for shutting down the game to begin with.
4. One Hour Ago: As I had a lot of time to think about the current situation over the past 24 hours of so, I as a fan have my own slogan, #Who&How. Who is going to play and how is it reasonably expected to happen? In the beginning it appeared to all be about the virus, with certain players teetering between playing and not due to health risks and concerns, having to be away from family members and putting others in their lives at risk. These are all viable worries that could and should be addressed with a waiver, but that doesn’t seem to be on the table currently. The how is just as unclear as it was when baseball was shut down back on March 12th, as some institutions are still unsure that they will be returning in the fall and it is unknown if a resurgence of the virus could shut everything down again or at least make us pause. This brings me back to the fact that the medical and safety protocols haven’t been addressed in a month.
5. One Minute Ago: I am a huge baseball fan that enjoys nothing more than watching, researching, talking about and reading and writing articles on baseball. Everything that is going on right now isn’t baseball. I can’t read or write another article on the top 5 Pittsburgh Pirates of all time at a given position, the forgotten players of yesteryear, a trade that had a negative effect on a season that happened years ago, a prospect or draftee’s current potential that honestly hasn’t changed because they aren’t able to play right now and feelings on the battle between MLB and the MLBPA. I just can’t anymore.
For now I will be anxiously awaiting the return of my favorite sport and pastime, while continuing to work behind the scenes to help Minor League Baseball Players in anyway that I can because it is a passion of mine. So to MLB Owners, Players and Media Members, I will be here to greet the game with open arms when it returns; just let me know When and Where.