With the start of the 2020 Major League Baseball indefinitely delayed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there are myriad possibilities for when Opening Day will at last be held.
Of course, that’s under the assumption there will be any baseball at all in 2020. Whether or not that comes to fruition hinges on slowing the spread of the virus and establishing a safe environment for players and eventually fans.
MLB has already committed to not starting any activities before May 10, the tentative date for which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended mass gatherings of 50 or more people not be held through.
There are some within MLB who reportedly have discussed potentially holding Opening Day on the Fourth of July. There additionally has been whispers of possibly using the MLB All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium for the starting off point.
During an appearance on “Lunchtime with Roggin and Rodney,” Adrian Gonzalez explained why he strongly disagrees with the idea of using the All-Star Game to start the 2020 season, via AM 570 L.A. Sports:
“I think that’s a disservice to the All-Star Game itself. The All-Star Game has to be earned and it can’t be a popularity contest. If you start it with an All-Star Game, it is 100% going to be a popularity contest and it is going to be who the fans want to see versus who’s doing well.
“Somebody that maybe has never made an All-Star Game ends up going because he’s a rookie or second-year guy and he finished the (previous) season well. But we’ve seen plenty of sophomore slumps. So, starting with an All-Star Game, I don’t think is the right way to start. If anything, you can do it more like football and have it at the end of the year.
“More in a neutral site and a week or weekend experience. I think that’s better suited to give players the right to be called All-Stars. And you use that (original) date to make up games. I think you need as much time as possible to make up games.
“And if anything you have the All-Star Game in L.A. next year. Fans have been wanting it, you hope all of this is behind us. Starting the season with the All-Star Game, I don’t think it serves the players or anybody else all that well.”
Although Gonzalez noted the Midsummer Classic should not boil down to popularity, that is often what dictates who starts. MLB did change All-Star Game voting for the 2019 season, switching to a system in which ballots were counted over two rounds.
During the “Primary Round,” each team nominated one player per eligible position (three outfielders), who were voted on by fans. That set the table for “Election Day” in which the top three vote-getters at each position in each League during the Primary Round (including the top nine outfielders) were voted on by fans.
MLB presumably would prefer to begin the 2020 season well before the All-Star Game — currently scheduled for Tuesday, July 14 — as it in theory would allow for more regular-season contests to be played.
There also is the possibility the exhibition is cancelled altogether and that week is instead used to play regular season games.
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