Arthur: It’s better to start the MLB season too late than too early

From SABR member Rob Arthur at Baseball Prospectus on May 1, 2020:

At this point, momentum seems to be building to begin playing baseball sooner rather than later. Jeff Passan reports that executives are certain there will be an MLB season, while Carl Quintanilla tweeted that they are targeting a late June start date. On the one hand, this information is great news for long-suffering fans. But on the other, a too-early start date risks wiping out any chance of a full (or near-full) season at all.

It’s understandable that MLB wants to get baseball back as soon as possible. (As one of many people whose livelihood depends on the game, trust me: so do I.) With states beginning the process of “re-opening,” the Commissioner’s office may believe the time is ripe to make plans for the return of baseball.

But re-opening in the wake of a pandemic is not like a light switch that, once flipped, will return our society to normal. Given the unprecedented nature of the shutdown and the virus itself, some of the norms and limitations imposed by the pandemic will persist for a long time.

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Originally published: May 1, 2020. Last Updated: May 1, 2020.