Now that Major League Baseball has implemented a 60-game schedule for the 2020 season, what can we as baseball fans expect? How about expect the unexpected.
How about a 20-20 season from Atlanta Braves phenom Ronald Acuna Jr? That's 20 homers and 20 steals in not even half the season. How about a hitter bat .400? The last to do that through the first 60 games of a season was Braves Hall of Famer Chipper Jones in 2008 when he tallied a
The popular theme to this season is that it will be a sprint and not a marathon, as is usually the case during a normal 162-game slate. But what if this sprint slows to a halt amid the coronavirus pandemic? What if amid all the excitement of a season finally starting four months later than normal, the season ends prematurely because the pandemic hasn't dissipated but continues to strengthen in impact on life as we know it?
I have my doubts that the season will finish, even if it will take just 66 days to conclude the regular season schedule. Too many variables associated with the coronavirus pandemic exist for the season not to be compromised in some way. If the players and members of each team's organization are not going to be confined to a “bubble,” where they are tested periodically and restricted in the places they go and the people they come in contact with, much like what the NBA has planned for its teams and players; if they are free to come and go as they please, it's hard not to imagine the virus being spread at a more prolific rate.
Atlanta Braves fans learned on Saturday that four Atlanta Braves players tested positive for COVID-19, including all-star first baseman Freddie Freeman. It's a sobering reality of where we are in the world today but by all means this should not be a surprise. Freeman might be one of the most notable baseball players to be diagnosed with the coronavirus so far, but we would be naïve to think he will be the last.
His diagnosis came three weeks before the start of the season. What will happen when a player is diagnosed during the season and has to be quarantined for two weeks or roughly one-fourth of the team's season?
How many players to test positive will it take before MLB pulls the plug on its season, especially if there's more impactful players like Freeman that get sick.
This season is destined to look nothing like any we've seen before just like life as we know it, looks nothing like we've ever seen before.
—Clint Thompson is a special contributor to The Union-Recorder.