The Coronavirus pandemic has disrupted virtually every sector around the world including sports. Most of the sporting events, including baseball, were inevitably canceled or postponed as the numbers rose beyond control. There is light at the end of the tunnel, though. Sporting action like soccer is back. Managing bodies in soccer have been able to craft resumption plans that have proven success. So, what about baseball? Do they have a plan to get back to the field or there won’t be any baseball this year? Most baseball fans are scratching their heads in anticipation of any news regarding the resumption of baseball. So let’s walk you through what we know about thus far.
Mexican Baseball League
The Mexican Baseball League was initially scheduled to get underway on April 6, 2020. However, the rising cases of new infections in Mexico forced the baseball officials to postpone the league until May 11, 2020. As time ticked, the infection wasn’t slowing down either, and again the LMB indefinitely postponed the league.
In their statement, they reiterated that they arrived in such a decision after factoring in the interests of its stakeholders. The LMB chiefs were still locked in discussions on how to start the league, and close sources are muting that July could be the month. In an interview with Septima Entrada, LMB president said they were not thinking of playing the season behind closed doors at the moment. The good news is that LMB chiefs have agreed to start the league on August 7, 2020. The postseason will then take place in October and November and will include 12 teams.
Major League Baseball has, in recent weeks, been locked in a stalemate between Commissioner Rob Manfred and the players union. The league was rescheduled to kick off on July 4 after months of coronavirus hiatus. The teams had started spring training but were forced to halt in March following the upsurge of the pandemic. The July 4th date became increasingly impossible given the underlying tussle between these two sides.
However, the MLB and its players later agreed on the proposed 60-game shortened season paving the way for the start of the campaign. The season will now commence on either July 23 or 24, 2020, and the teams will play 60 games instead of the normal 162 games in the regular season. The MLB bosses are wary of how the season and the playoffs will be affected if the coronavirus pandemic resurges in the fall. This explains why they have chosen to go with the shortened 60-game season. What’s interesting though, is that despite the lockdown, MLB teams have still gained value in 2020.
The Chinese Professional Baseball Leagues
While the rest of the world is still majorly fighting the Coronavirus pandemic drums, China seems to be bouncing back. This explains why the Chinese Professional Baseball League has already restarted. This league became the first baseball league to resume following the heat of coronavirus infection that started in Wuhan. On March 12, the Chinese Professional Baseball League restarted citing a low number of cases in Taiwan as the main reason for the move. The games as expected, restarted with stern health guidelines, with only 500 people only allowed to the stadium. This number included the players, umpires, officials, coaches, TV broadcasters and journalists. This small number of attendees meant fans won’t have a chance to watch the league from within the stadium as it unfolds.
South Korea’s Professional League
The South Korean Professional League (KBO) kicked off on Tuesday 5th May 2020 after delaying for more than a month due to the fears of coronavirus infections. The league was originally scheduled to start on March 28, 2020. The Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) league started in empty stadiums as part of the adherence to the strict health guidelines. The reopening of the league was one of the first signs that South Korea was returning to normal life even as the virus continues wreaking havoc across the world. The chiefs, however, hope that fans will be allowed if the Covid-19 pandemic is contained. KBO aims to conclude the 144 games of their regular season unless it is again halted by the prevailing situation. The July All-Star Game has officially been canceled while the play-off series was reduced to relieve the season scheduling plans.
The Italian Baseball league planned to open its season on June 14, 2020, with the option of extending it to July 12, 2020, depending on their preparedness.
The regular season comprising 10 teams is expected to wrap up between August 8 and 15, 2020. The conclusion of the season will be shortly followed by the play-offs between the two top teams of the two five-team groups.
If you were still in the dark regarding whether there will be baseball this year, then you have reason to smile. Already some top leagues have hit the ground running while others like the MLB will be coming back to your screens soon!