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Will MLB teams play ball? Why things may be OK, and how they might fall apart.

Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News on

Published in Baseball

Major League Baseball unveiled a big surprise Thursday afternoon: A schedule for the 2021 season.

Not 2020, 2021. And it came a few weeks earlier than it would in a non-pandemic-muddled year, too. It's unclear why MLB felt the need to book their calendars next summer when the coronavirus trajectory and impact could not be more of an unknown.

It seemed odd to plan for something more familiar when the most unfamiliar, unprecedented type of baseball season is still hanging precariously in the balance.

There are two weeks until the season is scheduled to begin. Will it happen?

Here are reasons to be pessimistic and optimistic that we'll see a World Series this October.

Pessimism: One slip-up can cause disaster

 

Let's start with the bad news. Get it out of the way.

Shortened or not, starting a baseball season during a pandemic is a tall task. One skim through the 100-plus page health, safety and new rule manual MLB and MLB Player's Association agreed-upon details shows how complicated the rules are.

Everyone in baseball needs to be on board 100% to follow the rules, because disaster is one slip-up away.

A's pitcher Jake Diekman, who's at an elevated risk because of his ulcerative colitis, highlighted that truth when he slammed MLB for not preparing adequately for the initial round of testing that resulted in multiple teams -- including the Houston Astros, Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants -- having to cancel their workouts. Most of the A's took tests on Friday and, after shipments destined for the lab in Utah sat stalled at SFO, didn't get their results until a day after their report date.

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