After weeks of there being little hope, the Miami Marlins would play baseball, in a few short weeks, the reality of the 2020 season begins.
If there was ever a time where Major League Baseball and the Miami Marlins have the chance to change the perception of the sport, the owners and the players, it’s right now.
After a tumultuous last few weeks of negotiations, whining, and fussing over the number of games that should be played and how much players’ prorated salaries should be, fans will finally see baseball over a 60-game schedule.
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"“The MLBPA agreed to the season length, financial and health details on Tuesday night,” Mark Powell of Call to the Pen writes. “Players will report to camps by July 1 to undergo testing for COVID-19, and the season is scheduled to begin on July 24.”"
It’s so close you can almost feel the slap of the glove as the ball reaches the plate.
This may not be what Miami Marlins fans want (including myself) or what they had hoped for when Spring Training started, but at least there will be something to cheer about. And with a shortened season, who knows what can happen. This is where MLB can really make what has been a poor situation that looks like a golden opportunity.
Every game matters. For teams like the Marlins, Pirates, Royals, and Tigers, the games matter because in this kind of format, every team – all 30 on the circuit – have a chance to win. As Miami Marlins fans know, the 1997 and 2003 World Series titles happened because of magic this organization found at the right time.
A 60-game format gives the Marlins, a team that jumped out to a 12-6-2 record in Spring Training, hope. A young team pushed by Don Mattingly to outperform their expectations and a roster of 30 players who may shock the world by being every bit as fun to watch as the teams of their World Series appearances. You cannot help but be a little excited at the prospects of the unknown.
And as a writer, I should start looking at the positives of what this kind of season can mean for the Miami faithful.
"“A 60-game season will include a universal DH, new extra-inning rules which place a runner on second base to begin the 10th, an Aug. 31 trade deadline and several teams of reserve players just in case of a COVID-19 outbreak,” Powell adds."
I’ve been preaching about how baseball should galvanize the masses and give us something positive to concentrate on in this time of fear and the unknown. Now, it has a chance. If the slate is wiped clean and baseball shows it has meaning, it could once again become the bandage we all need to feel. COVID-19 is still a real threat to this country, but if baseball can be played in a safe environment, then it provides that hope we are all looking for.
There is one week between now and the start of camp for the Miami Marlins and 29 other playoff hopefuls. It’s time to look at this roster and see, in a shortened time span, if Derek Jeter’s blueprint will continue to improve. It’s not the season any player wanted, but it could be the season the Marlins deserve.
Instead of finding ways to avoid this place in MLB history, maybe we should embrace it. It could be one of the most talked-about seasons for all the right reasons. The Marlins have a chance to make history. It doesn’t matter how they got to this moment. It only matters they take this opportunity and prove they can handle it.
That would mean a chance to be brilliant just like they were in 1997 and 2003. If anything, it has made that looked to be a depressing summer one of the more talked about periods in MLB history. Ready or not, we will see just how good these Marlins can be.