CHICAGO (CBS) — Memorial Day is usually loaded with baseball games, but the coronavirus pandemic has thus far prevented the season from starting.
Now, Major League Baseball is trying to find a way to get a shortened season started in early July.
The long layoff will be tough on both the Cubs and White Sox, but former pitcher Dan Plesac thinks it will be even more difficult on the South Side.
“I think there’s going to be more pressure on the White Sox and it’s going to be tougher, because they’re bringing in a lot more new and younger players, so I think the starting and stopping and starting again is going to hurt the White Sox,” Plesac said.
Plesac did express confidence that there will be baseball in 2020, even if the season is limited to 82 games.
“We’re going to have baseball. I think both sides are bickering right now – they’re negotiating – and it’s not about the DH. It’s not about roster size. It is about player safety. But the bottom line is it’s about money, and it always is about money,” he said. “But I think the players and the owners both understand that this would be a huge black eye for the game of baseball. I think by the middle of next week, there’ll be an agreement.”
But no fans will be attending games due to safety concerns amid the pandemic, and that will be an adjustment for the players too, Plesac said.
“I think the first week to 10 days of the games; of the schedule, you know, the players, it’s going to be odd. It’s going to seem like, you know, the pop of the glove. You’re going to be able to probably hear the local announces up in the booth – you’ll be able to hear that down in the field,” he said.
Also as the players are concerned, when their bodies start to get a little tired after 35 or 40 games, they tend to feed off the energy of the crowd.
“There’s a mojo that comes with the games when they’re live and their people are there. It’s going to be very difficult for the players about a month in to really get themselves mentally psyched up to play in a very quiet stadium,” Plesac said.
A second Spring Training could be a couple of weeks away, and maybe by the Fourth of July, America will be celebrating fireworks and baseball.