With the coronavirus continuing to wreak havoc across the globe, nobody knows whether a Major League Baseball season will take place in 2020. Even if it does, it’s just about guaranteed that it will span for fewer than the customary 162 games; beyond that, it’s entirely possible the contests will happen at neutral sites with no fans in the stands, and that the National and American Leagues will go away for at least this season. At what point, though, would it be worthwhile to simply give up on a potential 2020 campaign?
MLBTR’s Jeff Todd spoke on the subject of a potentially canceled season Monday, arguing that it’s too soon for the league to make such a decision. I agree, but there may sadly come a time in the next few months when MLB will have to shut down completely until at least 2021 because of this pandemic. Granted, that sort of doomsday scenario should be at least a few months away from coming to fruition. If we’re lucky, for example, things will restart by June or July. That should enable the league to squeeze in at least half of a typical 162-game schedule, and that doesn’t even factor in the possibility of an increase in doubleheaders or a season taking longer than usual on the calendar.
Unfortunately, the way things have gone of late, it seems just a 100-game campaign would be a welcome outcome for everyone with a real interest in MLB. Even that would be a historical occurrence, however, as Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci noted a few weeks back that the shortest year on record is the 1981 season. A strike cut off around a third of that season and limited teams to an average of 106 games apiece.
There isn’t much doubt that the shorter a season goes, the better the chances are of strange results. The cream tends to rise to the top over a full 162, but if we’re guaranteed to see 100 or fewer games in 2020, teams that never would’ve been looked at as realistic contenders in a whole season (or those that were supposed to push for glory) could finish far from expectations. Would that be good for the game, though, or would it would tarnish the results? Feel free to vote in the poll (link for app users) and share your thoughts in the comments section…