Margalus: Scarcity is suddenly baseball’s problem, and maybe opportunity

From SABR member Jim Margalus at Sox Machine on March 16, 2020:

In the absence of baseball, one might naturally be drawn to setting a return date for baseball.

I would recommend against it, because trying to project a calendar will invariably lead to disappointment. In fact, you already may be. Major League Baseball technically only pushed back its Opening Day two weeks, but the Center for Disease Control pushed it back further with a recommendation to cancel events of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks.

That right there effectively pushes the start of the season into June, and I don’t expect it to stop there. Between what we don’t know about the new coronavirus and the difficulty of shaping 30 cities into some form of acceptable, there are too many unknowns to feel confident about the return of any normalish baseball season.

Here’s where I’d like to say, “That might not be a bad thing,” but of course it sucks. Just like the fanless game in Baltimore back in 2015, something terrible had to have happened to get to this stage. But having lived in a metropolitan area that doesn’t embrace professional sports on the standard terms, I’ve seen abbreviated calendars and outright absences generate unique opportunities and environments in time.

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Originally published: March 19, 2020. Last Updated: March 19, 2020.