2020 MLB SHORTENED SEASON STARTS TOMORROW
Last updated 7/21/2020 at 10:54am
There won’t be any peanuts or crackerjacks and nobody will care if they ever
come back because there will be major league baseball starting tomorrow but in a
The season was supposed to begin on March 26, but due the coronavirus
pandemic it was put on hold until further notice.
That notice came from MLB without the approval of the Players Association a
couple of weeks ago with all 30 teams seeing action either June 23 or 24.
It’s the shortest season since the 60-game slate since 1878, the second year of the
Rutherford B. Hayes administration, according to Sunday’s edition of the Houston
However, public health experts have mixed feelings about opening the season
tomorrow, although the nature of the sport produces less on-field risk than football,
basketball or hockey.
The biggest problem I see is for the baseball players staying safe away from the
ball park is teams traveling to and from hard-hit places like Texas, California and Florida,
according to the Associated Press article in Sunday’s editions.
MLB has provided each team with a 113-page operations manual detailing
protocols for its pandemic-shortened 60-game regular season.
Players will be tested every 48 hours with masks and social distancing a must at
all times except when on the field.
Some of the “normal” baseball habits such as high-fives, sunflower seeds, spitting
and licking the fingers are taboo. Even the team mascots won’t be allowed to get close.
There also are protocols for air travel, bus travel, private cars and hotels, along
with general guidance to avoid contact with people outside the baseball world, the article
Once the games begin tomorrow, MLB will pipe in crowd noise and teams will
have cutouts of fans behind home plate and other various parts of the ball park, The
Houston Astros plan to have cutouts in the outfield and Crawford boxes in left field to
compensate for a crowd-less game.
In extra-inning games each half-inning will begin with a runner on second base
and if the runner scored, it would be ruled an unearned run.
Pitchers coming out of the bullpen now must face a minimum of three batters
unless they retire the side earlier.
In a 60-game schedule, there will be less distance from the game’s top teams and
the cellar-dwellers. USA Sports Weekly has projected the three division winners of each
Our Houston Astros should win the AL West with a 35-25 record, one-game
ahead of Oakland (34-26), the Mighty New York Yankees are again favored in the AL
East while the Minnesota Twins are the pick in the AL Central.
If the Astros make it to October still in first place, new manager Dusty Baker will
become the first skipper in major league history to guide five franchises to the playoffs.
He has taken San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds and the Washington
Nationals to the playoffs.
In a surprise, Atlanta is picked over World Champion Washington in the NL East,
the St. Louis Cardinals are the choice in the NL Central while the LA Dodgers are an
overwhelming favorite in the NL West.
The Astros open the season at home on Friday against the Seattle Mariners for a
four-game series with the LA Dodgers coming in for two games Tuesday and
The 2019 Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander will pitch the opening game
for the eighth consecutive year and 12 th of his career. It will be his third straight opening
day with the Astros.
Verlander needs to pitch just 18 innings to become the only active player to log
3,000 innings and already leads active pitchers with 3,006 strikeouts.
KWICKIES…The Toronto Blue Jays won’t play their home games in Toronto
this year because Canada’s government doesn’t thing it’s safe for players to travel back
and forth from the United States, one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus
LeBron James’ rookie card was sold for a whopping $1.845 million.
Oakland Raiders’ owner Mark Davis is leaning toward no fans in the stands in the
NFL games this fall. “I don’t even know it’s safe to play,” he told ESPN on Monday.
Quarterback Donald Hammond III, who led Air Force to an 11-2 record last
season, could miss the 2020 season because he has fallen out of good standing at the
Alex Rodriguez, who is among four groups of bidders for a possible purchase of
the New York Mets, has called for baseball players to accept the type of revenue-sharing
system that is tied to a salary cap and sparked quick opposition from the player’s union.
Jon Rahm became the new No. 1 pro golfer in the world Sunday after winning the
PGA Tour Memorial Tournament last weekend at Dublin, Ohio by three strokes over
Texan Ryan Palmer last weekend. The tourney was founded by Jack Nicklaus and usually
attracts the world’s top golfers. Rahm became only the second Spaniard to attain No. 1
status since Seve Ballesteros several decades ago.
JUST BETWEEN US…Those of you who looked at me like I was some kind of
idiot for running my July 8 column again on July 15 must understand the real culprit can
be found at the office on Henrietta St.