It’s the middle of June and a meaningful game of Major League Baseball has not been played since last October (for Dodgers fans it’s been since early October). As the embarrassing back and forth shuffle continues between players and owners; Tony Clark and Rob Manfred, the calendar shortens day by day.
Since the shutdown of baseball — and all sports — due to the pandemic, one question that has lingered in the back of our minds is, what’s the value of a championship in a shortened season?
Generally speaking, fans don’t look back and question the Dodgers’ 1981 title that came with a nearly two month long, mid-season layoff thanks to a strike by the players union.
But things seem to be a whole lot different in 2020. Moreover, if you include current playoff seeding structure over that in place 39 years ago, the question gets even more convoluted. And in the latest proposals between players and owners, it gets even muddier than that.
Currently on the docket is a 16 team playoff system that really further devalues Rob Manfred’s “piece of metal” handed out to the World Series winner. On Thursday, ESPN’s Buster Olney shared his thoughts on the value of a championship in 2020…
Here’s what he had to say:
[A World Series championship in 2020] would be considered the outlier. It would be considered the year everyone’s going to remember as the ‘coronavirus season’ in baseball because the season’s so short. But let’s face it, all along I think the quest for Major League Baseball and the players — let’s try to make the best of a bad situation.
Not sure if the MLB insider showed enough of his work in that equation.
Sure it would be only a 60-66 game season. Sure there would be added playoff teams under this current proposal. But this is the hand that was dealt — every single team is playing with the same cards and the same opportunity. Unlike with the Astros ill-gotten title in 2017, here the playing field is even… why does that change the value of a ring over any other regular, full season?
There are absolutely cases to be made for and against in this argument, but the true value all along was friendship. Lame joke aside, what would a Dodgers championship mean to you in 2020, if it happened?