The Chicago White Sox and the rest of the MLB may not play this year as the coronavirus rages on. They are looking for ways to safely bring baseball back.
It’s hard to imagine a year without Chicago White Sox baseball being played, or any baseball for that matter. Since 1903, the world series has only twice been canceled and every season has had at least 100 games played. Yet due to the COVID-19 virus, there’s a chance that MLB will not be played this year at all.
Obviously the health of the world must be put as the first priority but when will we have baseball again? Could it be July 2020? 2021? 2022? We hope. What would the baseball impact of a missed season be on the White Sox? If everything is good to go by 2021, the White Sox will have a surplus of healthy starters in the rotation including Michael Kopech and Carlos Rodon. A lost year of development hurts some rebuilding teams but it probably wouldn’t hurt the White Sox much more than other teams.
Still, it is less than ideal to see that as the White Sox were finally looking to be good and competitive. The Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins would probably suffer more as they built their teams to be good in the short term. The White Sox would probably be the favorite to win the division in 2021. At the very least, they would be equal favorites with those two teams.
Nothing about the 2020 MLB season is official yet but if it is to be played at all, the season might take place in Arizona and will be shortened to 80-120 games or less. It will probably take at least 100 games to determine which teams are good or not unless the playoff format is significantly changed.
The best-case scenario is that the Arizona plan goes through, the teams play as many games as possible and the White Sox are one of the playoff teams under the new structure. Then, by the end of the season, it is safe enough to allow fans in the stands and we get to watch a World Series with the White Sox representing the AL.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. For games to work the players and umpires would have to engage in social distancing. How will fielders be able to tag the batters? How will the catcher be able to set up behind the plate with the batter standing right there? You can’t play baseball with players standing more than six feet away from each other. If they are quarantined together it might work. What looked to be a fun baseball season not occurring is now depressing. The health of the players and team employees must come first.