Striking Out With COVID-19

Drew Stangelo, Chief Sports Editor

As the Major League Baseball [MLB] season comes to a close, it is a great time to look back on what we learned, gained, and experienced throughout the season. Although it seems like forever ago, the MLB season got off to a rocky start. Like, a really rocky start. Following all other major sports, MLB suspended play in mid-March due to COVID-19. The original plan was to push back the season two weeks but like all of us, the MLB didn’t know COVID-19 would take hold of the entire world. Thus, shutting us down and keeping us, the now-infamous word, quarantined. As COVID-19 took its toll around the globe, the MLB and the MLB Players Association [MLBPA] were in a heated argument over how, when, and where the season would restart. A forced season, a Triple-A ballpark, and multiple star players contracting the virus later, the season started on July 23.
Of course, leading up to the season was a little rocky but, this MLB season has been phenomenal. Multiple rule changes due to the pandemic, such as expanding the postseason, implementing the DH in the national league, and teams only playing teams within their region, has made the season as exciting as ever. Baseball often gets a bad wrap for being a so-called “boring” game. The pandemic however has enabled young, up and coming teams such as the San Diego Padres, Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox to become relevant and deeply entrenched in the playoff picture. Teams that would normally be selling off veteran players at the deadline were wheeling and dealing to improve their chances of making the expanded playoffs. Teams like the Marlins, who in a normal season wouldn’t even consider making a major trade for a veteran, pulled off a blockbuster to acquire Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Starling Marte. Many young players have also risen to stardom in this 60-game season. Young phenoms, Fernando Tatis Jr. [pictured left], Luis Robert [pictured right] and Kyle Lewis have been putting on a show. In my opinion, this is no mistake. The designated hitter [DH] in the National League has given manager’s more flexibility with their lineup which limits injuries to stars that the popularity of the league depends on. The DH also adds more offense in the National League making games more exciting and easy to watch.
Over a 162 game season, the best teams usually prevail. However, in a 60 game shortened season, all it takes is a 6,7,8-game win streak and you could be sitting atop your division with a comfortable cushion. Many negatives have stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic but in regards to the MLB, it’s been a massive positive. There has not been as many people talking about baseball in years which as a seemingly dying game, needs desperately. Behind young stars and hopefully permanent rule changes, the Coronavirus pandemic could actually be what baseball needed most.