Why baseball coming back is pointless
Column by: Collin Frazier
Sports is always something that can ease tensions, unify people, and bring joy into peoples’ lives. For me, one sport that has always brought me happiness is baseball, and my Cincinnati Reds were primed for a stellar season with many great offseason additions… and then COVID-19 happened. This put the sports world at a sudden stopping point. Fortunately, the sports world is now back in motion, somewhat, with the NHL and NBA playoffs in full swing, and baseball in the midst of its modified season. While there hasn’t been too many issues on the court or on the ice rink, the same cannot be said on the diamond. That’s why I think this baseball season is pointless.
The first reason this season is pointless to me is the reduced number of games. I realize that 60 games is better than none, but it is not really fair to assume the best team can be seen out of that many games. A usual MLB season consists of 162 games, almost triple the amount this season. It isn’t fair to assume that a team with only 5 more wins in a division (12% of the season) is better than every other team in the division. As well, the fight for a playoff spot will not be as much of an intense battle. The new MLB rule states that, along with two wild card spots, the top two teams in each division (West, Central, and East) of the AL and NL are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. I have always been a fan of competition, and I feel that the second place team making the playoffs diminishes that. It is basically saying “hey, even if the team is not the best in the division, you can still make the playoffs!” (Yes, I realize that is the same logic for the wild card, but at least with the wild card you need to have a better record than EVERY team in the conference, not just the division.)
The second reason this season is pointless is the elephant in the room: COVID-19 is still prominent in the USA (probably because not enough masks are worn nor people properly keep their social distance, but I digress). Between the three prominent sports occurring right now, the MLB roster has the most athletes. The NHL can only have 23, the NBA 15, and the MLB 26. I realize that is only 3 more athletes than the NHL, but that only decreases the space players can have between each other, and more of a chance for a player to contract COVID-19. Speaking of, the MLB has had the most issues with contracting COVID-19. First, the Miami Marlins had an outbreak with over 20 cases, resulting in postponement of games. Next, the Philadelphia Phillies had an outbreak; more postponement. More recently, the St. Louis Cardinals and my beloved Cincinnati Reds; take a wild guess at what resulted from it. This constant string of postponements just makes the game frustrating and not a true representation of what the season would look like because it seems like there is a doubleheader after doubleheader; not what the real MLB season should look like.
Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited to have some kind sports going on during this crazy time we live in, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of player safety and the spirit of competition. I feel the MLB should have waited until next season where, hopefully, the virus is contained (which is dependent on EVERYBODY) and play could be true to form. Then again, I am a Reds fan, so I may feel this way because of how frustrating it is to watch them and I just want out of my misery.