By Christopher Abdelmalek
This is not a drill! Baseball is back.
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have reached an agreement on a reduced 60-game league year to begin with players reporting to training camp (again) beginning July 1. The delay in the start of the season was caused by the pandemic of Covid-19.
Many players and personnel feared safety concerns about continuing the season at the time and the two sides finally came to an agreement last Tuesday afternoon. Safety protocols have been implemented and agreed upon by both sides.
This season will mark the shortest season in MLB history since the inception of the American League. This season will also be put on without any fans in attendance. This is for the safety of the players, coaches, staff as well as the fans themselves.
There will be some modifications to this season as well including the addition of the universal DH (designated hitter) and extra-inning games will start with a player on second base for each team’s inning to speed the game up and prevent long games.
With baseball coming back, the sense of normalcy slowly starts to creep back in to those in Orange County. However, in lieu of people in the stands, what will MLB do for the fans to get the most out of the season. Generating revenue will be a key focus for the league to make up for lost time and games.
There have been some suggestions to use streaming services and offering fans the chance to watch and interact in the game like never before. But how would that work? Offering a service at a rate of $1 per game to watch it from the dugout or, say, behind third base would be ideal.
Some fans were asked about if they would enjoy the games this upcoming season if offered as a streaming service:
Natalie S. of Cypress says “No, it’s free to watch on TV. I wouldn’t waste a dollar. I’d rather go to the game.”
“Yeah, of course, that’s an easy buy, if it was a playoff game or maybe a good regular season series,” commented Richard L. from Huntington Beach.
Manuel M. of Westminster said, “No, I’m limiting myself to a certain amount of games I could watch in an evening. I watch baseball for the sport, of course I have my team (Angels), but I follow just about every team.”
MLB should consider something innovative to draw attention to their sport. It has been declining in recent years and it will have its opportunity to shine on the grandest stage as the only professional sport back in session. Give the fans something to make them feel a part of the game since they will not be able to attend the games themselves.
Nevertheless, baseball is back!