SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The Major League Baseball season would be in full swing now with both the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s focusing in on their second series of the 2020 campaign.
Baseball fans are being deprived of the A’s first game against the Astros which was supposed to be filled with drama after Oakland pitcher Mike Fiers blew the whistle on Houston’s sign-stealing scandal.
The encounter will eventually happen, but there’s a reality it won’t come until 2021.
National baseball writers reported last week that both MLB and the MLBPA were hopeful to start the season by early June, but with coronavirus induced shelter-in-place orders popping up daily around the country, June seems optimistic.
“Throw out any timetable you’ve heard coming from the commissioner’s office,” said San Francisco Chronicle baseball writer John Shea. “Come on, let’s be real. What we’re seeing is baseball taking a seat in the back… like the way back.”
Shea spoke with KPIX sports director Dennis O’Donnell on Gameday last night and hypothesized that the season could be in jeopardy if the health crisis doesn’t improve by mid-to-late-July.
“Maybe there’s a two month season,” Shea said. “They could play upwards of 60 games and then come back for an extended postseason.”
Shea suggested that the league could abandon traditional formats and let all 30 teams in the playoffs and crown a champion like the World Baseball Classic with pool play to start.
“Gabe Kapler, first year playoff manager, who would have thought,” Shea joked.
If and when Major League Baseball receives the green light to play ball, there still will need to be time for a second spring training to help players — especially pitchers — ramp up to the season.
Shea recalled the scramble to start the 1995 season after the labor stoppage that canceled the 1994 World Series. “There were injuries,” he said. “We’re more aware about that stuff now.”
League executives might eventually have to consider playing many of their games without fans. As weeks go by, empty stadium ideas that once seemed absurd now seem to give sports hope for the foreseeable future.
“Maybe it’s a healing process,” Shea said. “And it’s a made-for-TV event.”