On Monday, the Cactus League asked the office of Major League Baseball to delay spring training by three weeks as a way to curb the rise of COVID outbreaks in Arizona.
That sent a scare among baseball fans that the 2021 season will be truncated like the 2020 season was.
That won’t happen. Because of contracts.
As part of the current collective bargaining agreement, MLB can shorten the season only one way: in a national emergency. That was declared in 2020. But not now.
That means MLB cannot play fewer than 162 games unless they were to get approval from the players union. That has as much chance of happening as common sense in government.
And if MLB were to delay the start of the season by one month, they can’t just delay the post-season. They have ironclad contracts in place. The only thing that would happen if they delayed the season until May First is they would have to make up the roughly twenty-two games they cancelled in April during the remainder of the season. Meaning a ton of double headers.
Which will probably happen anyway. Because expect a lot more COVID positives in 2021 now that the players are no longer playing in a bubble. Look what has happened in the NBA and NHL. That will happen this season until players, coaches, trainers, umpires, get vaccinated.
So, don’t worry. There will be 162 games this season. Players won’t give up one penny. It’s just going to be crazy season with stops and starts.