I believe the Minnesota Twins will be playing baseball in 2020, regardless of what happens over the next couple weeks.
Many in baseball believe that there won’t be baseball this year or that it will be a slimmed down, boring version. My site-expert asked me if I would write a column explaining my belief that there will be a Major League Baseball Season and some summer ball for the Minnesota Twins.
This is as a counterpoint to his assertion that there will be no season 2020, and if there is, the players won’t be happy with it. I happily accepted this assignment, and I hope that after reading my column that you will become a believer also, because there will be ball this year.
Just like Sam Kennedy, CEO of the Boston Red Sox, I am an optimist. Because of that, I believe there will be a Major League Baseball season this year. I believe that I will be able to see Miguel Sano hit a monstrous home run at Target Field this summer.
I can’t wait to see Byron Buxton make another deft-defying catch. I look forward to all of this when the weather turns warmer. Like I said, I’m an optimist.
True there are many reasons to believe that there will not be a MLB season in 2020. The grim reality of COVID-19 is all around us and it does not look like it is going away for some time. We have just seen numerous protests, violence, and unrest throughout the world, due to the racial injustice that people of color face every day.
Not to mention that the players and owners cannot even agree on the length of the schedule or compensation for the players, if there was to be a season. Like I said, there are a lot of issues to tackle before we can say, “Play Ball”.
But I believe these things can and will be worked out. I believe the players and the owners can agree on a schedule and compensation. I believe that we can start to fix the racial disparities and inequities that exist and yes, I do believe we can take the necessary precautions to ensure that the game can be played safely, and with cautious optimism, that all involved can stay healthy.
So about this time, you are probably saying, “What the heck is wrong with this guy. He must be crazy”. Well to counter that, I will tell you that we already have a fairly good idea of what a season would look like.
First, there will be no fans in the stands, at least at the start of the season. You may see partial crowds as the season progresses but that is very up in the air right now. That is a bitter pill to swallow, but that is a reality we must face for the 2020 season. I don’t like it, but there it is.
There will be extensive health and safety protocols put into place to protect the players, team personnel, umpires and hopefully fans. We will most likely have 30 team rosters and 20 or so players on a taxi squad. There will be a Universal DH. Play will be confined to regional schedules so that travel can be reduced. And finally, we probably will see an expanded playoff format, with roughly 14 teams involved.
I believe the return of baseball is related to the heart and soul of the game. True fans understand how intricate this game can be, the nuances of the sport, and the elegance and gracefulness of baseball. The return of baseball will help lift us out of the anxiety we feel about problems that are all around us.
This has happened so many times before in sports, such as the New Orleans Saints coming back to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and the Miracle on Ice that inspired us so much during the Cold War period. I think Sam Kennedy said it well: “Boy, I think the country needs baseball”.
So, I can’t wait to see our Minnesota Twins hit the field with their exciting brand of baseball. For Nelson Cruz to bring out his whoop-stick and hit bomba-sized home runs into the upper decks of MLB stadiums. Or Jose Berrios throw that wicked curveball making batters look silly. or Josh Donaldson showing us why he is one of the best all-around third baseman in baseball.
I can’t wait for all of it. I can’t wait for the Minnesota Twins to take the field once more. Like I said, I’m an optimist.