Exposed fans first sighed in relief when Walker was inducted, along with New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his 10th and final year in the league. qualification in January.
With the Yankees scheduled to face the Blue Jays at the Olympic Stadium in the final two preseason games in March, the year was about to become a festive one for baseball fans in La Belle Province.
It was not knowing the plans for 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit North America in early March. Major League Baseball had no choice but to end training camps, forcing the cancellation of Montreal games that have been presented continuously since 2014.
Walker and Jeter must too wait at least until next July to finally make the entrance to Cooperstown, because all the ceremonies were canceled. The museum was even closed for a good part of the year.
MLB, for their part, hoped to start the entire season in May. It was not until the end of July, the 23rd exactly that the players finally jumped on the field for a season shortened by 60 games.
Unlike the NHL and NBA, MLB did not go for a bubble system for the season, and it paid the price. Many teams deleted with outbreaks of the virus, special Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals, whose players did not follow established protocols.
Baseball did very well, though: only a handful of clubs failed to play 60 games.
It was not all bad times in 2020. Major League Baseball has, after all, succeeded in breaking new ground by breaking new ground with new rules. The designated hitter was first adopted in both leagues, overtime began with a runner in second place to speed up the outcome of games, while relief pitchers had to be used in at least three strokes or complete the game. handle.
Baseball has also gone from a modified playoff system with eight teams from each league in the playoffs, a formula that could become the norm if Commissioner Rob Manfred’s wishes are met.
Jays raises his head
This formula allowed the young and dynamic team of the Toronto Blue Jays to access the playoffs, thus accelerating the development process introduced by the management. After some difficult years, it seems that the Jays have finally found the way to go. Young Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette continued their ascent.
To support them, the management of the Jays, who had sparsely used since the beginning of this reconstruction, have finally pulled in their pockets to provide experience, especially with the arrival of appetizer and free agent Hyun-Jin Ryu, which finished in the top 3 in the Cy-Young Trophy poll for the second year in a row.
In the American, the Tampa Bay Rays confirmed their status as favorites with the best record in the league and number two in the majors, behind the Dodgers. Despite the fact that clubs were added to the play-offs, the logic was rarely respected, and the best route in each league ended up in the World Series. However, Dave Roberts and his band got the upper hand and gave up a championship in the city of Los Angelesat 32 years.
If MLB managed to save the furniture by presenting part of the season and the playoffs, it has not been smooth. In an interview with Sportico In October, the commissioner estimated MLB’s losses at around $ 3 billion. Manfred added that the 20 clubs are said to have entered into debt of around NOK 8 billion.
Negotiations are also difficult with the Players Association for 2021. MLB has still not confirmed the return of the designated hitter in National, while several financial disputes are undermining the discussions. With the renewal of the collective agreement to be negotiated at the end of the 2021 season, and the threat of a labor dispute that this entails, baseball cannot afford not to play an entire season in 2021.
Will owners and players find common ground?