The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has drastically changed everyday life, with schools and non-essential businesses twice closed down to help stop the spread. The sports world came to a halt as well, but the NBA, NHL and MLB, among others, have since resumed operations.
When MLB was forced to suspend operations in March, it led to the cancellation of remaining Spring Training games and an indefinite delay to the start of the regular season. While there was optimism play would eventually resume, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred conceded along the way it was unlikely the sport would play a 162-game schedule.
That put teams under more pressure to avoid slow starts, and for the Los Angeles Dodgers, in some essence tests their patient and long-term view. Manager Dave Roberts recently acknowledged as much, noting there will be a greater sense of urgency, via the team’s YouTube channel:
“How many times have you guys heard this? ‘It’s a long season. It’s a marathon. It’s early.’ Once we get going in ’20, you better not hear that. You won’t hear that from our guys, because it’s going to be a sprint. It’s interesting to see how we’re built for the course of 162 (games) and you talk about depth and all that stuff. But once that season gets started, it’s a sprint and it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out.”
The Dodgers, who boast one of the deepest rosters in all of baseball, have proven in the past they are built to withstand the grueling effects of a 162-game schedule.
Last season, 46 different players appeared in a game for the Dodgers. With rosters expanding in 2020, the organization once again has plenty of reinforcements on hand.
Roberts credits MLB
The initial plan for the 2020 season was for teams to begin with an active roster of 30 players, trim it to 28 after two weeks, then settle on 26 two weeks later.
However, MLB changed course and effective this past Thursday, is permitting clubs to keep 28-man active rosters through the postseason. The league also increased the number of players on a taxi squad from three to five.
“I think that getting it down to 28 makes it more of baseball that we know, so there’s not as much matching up potential,” Roberts said. “And the extra taxi squad I think gives everyone coverage, so I think they nailed it.”
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