Legends On Deck

What Does The Future of Baseball Really Look Like?

As I’m sitting here in my living room, which happens to be next to my temporary office that I have had for the past two months due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, I am wondering to myself, what does the future of pro-ball really look like?

Just a few short months ago we were all preparing for a new baseball season, one that had many promises not only on the big league level, but also in the minors. Now, on June 11, 2020, most of us fans have no idea what will happen to the game, since the MLB and Players Union still have not come to an agreement as to when the season should start and for that I am truly bummed.

This past week, I started to reminisce on what baseball was like, watching old clips from the 1986 World Series, as the New York Mets stunned the Boston Red Sox to win an improbable Game 6 and then take Game 7. What is awesome is that watching the game that took place over 30 years ago, still brings back so many wonderful memories.  Those were simpler times, heck, just last season, which seems so far off now, was just a regular season of baseball and we, I mean all of us, had no inclination that baseball would be where it is at now.

On Tuesday night, I got a small glimpse of what baseball may look like in the new Covid-19 era.  My son’s little league team had their first game again after a two month shutdown and prior to arriving to the park, I was very excited for him and all the kids who have been waiting to play, but what I didn’t expect was to encounter a set of new rules that each of us had to follow.

First, the parents and fans were asked not to sit on the bleachers, but if they did, they had to stay 6-feet apart.  That was minor rule, but the biggest issue I experienced was that the players were not allowed in the dugout and had to remain 6-feet apart.  And even though that seemed like a tough task with a group of 8-11 year old’s, we all managed to take it in stride and get back to what we were there for and that was to play baseball. I never realized how much I missed the sport until Tuesday night watching my little man play. Actually the game was filled with good drama as we found ourselves down 8-5 in the last inning only to battle back to 8-6 and with the tying run at the plate, the lightening alarm rang and it forced us to end the game. Life in the summer months living in Florida.

Kids are resilient and even though it was a very weird experience to say the least, I really hope we can get back soon to allowing the kids to just play the game without all the extra rules, but it seems highly likely this may be our new norm.

This new norm has caused a delay in the majors and there will be new rules in all levels of baseball if they ever get started again and as of now us fans will not be allowed anywhere near the games outside of watching them on TV.  How did we get to this point and will it ever change and go back to where we were Pre-Covid 19? I just feel that these new rules are going to take away from the full game experience.  Trust me, I am not insensitive to where Covid has brought us, because it has changed how we are with each other, but when it comes to playing sports, there is only so much you can do to keep people at a safe distance without it interfering with how the game is played.

First, Covid was supposed to determine when the MLB could start the season and now it’s the disagreement between ownership and the players on what the salaries should be in a shortened season. With these issues in the forefront, it would be very sad if baseball did not start again in 2020.

The other sad part that seems almost imminent is that the minor league baseball season will be cancelled. How is that even possible and why? So many ball players that are vying for an opportunity to play in the show, now their future is up in the air. So many jobs will be lost due to the delay in starting the MLB season as well as cancelling the MiLB season. No one saw this coming and I truly believe no one knows what the outcome will be and how we will all adapt to it. But I truly feel for the players and the fans, we need this sport, it has been apart of our lives for so many years and where it is headed, it doesn’t feel good.

So if I had to answer my own question, What does the future of pro ball really look like? Well from a fans perspective, it looks very bleak, and to all fans of the game I say, there is no joy in Mudville as the Mighty Casey has struck out.

Damn You Covid-19, for not only taking away precious lives, but for also trying to ruin greatest sport in the history of sports and somewhat succeeding. If we continue down this road, professional baseball will never be the same again.

 

David Conde
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