Expectations

Expect the unexpected and you’ll never be surprised, right? Although if you’re expecting it, is it unexpected? Regardless of that philosophical quandary, it’s safe to say that when the Yankees played their final game of 2019, none of us would have expected the situation we’re in now. But here we are now, unsure of what to expect going forward.

There are some things laid out for us: an expanded roster (which was coming anyway), a universal DH (thank the baseball gods), and a condensed, sprint of a schedule against a limited spate of opponents.

Given what we know about baseball in general, combined with these unique circumstances, here are a few things I expect, some more serious than others.

I expect that the pitchers will be ahead of the hitters. This is a baseball truism that, like all baseball truisms, doesn’t always hold, uh, true, but for now, I certainly expect it. Gerrit Cole is reportedly already up to the mid-high 90’s with his fastball and I’d imagine a lot of other pitchers are pretty geared up. It’s likely been easier for them, generally speaking, to ramp up to their game shape than it has been for hitters. Despite the universal DH–more on that shortly–I think the beginning of the season, league-wide, will be a little lower scoring than normal.

As for the universal DH, I expect that fans of the NL will finally come around. First, they’ll see it’s not the unholy abomination they think it is. Second, they’ll realize how much more appealing it is to watch nine real hitters instead of eight. Third, they’ll realize that the double-switch is not the be-all, end-all of baseball strategy.

But, unfortunately, what I expect is actually…nothing. And by that I mean I don’t expect a single meaningful pitch to be thrown this year. There are still a few weeks until the start of the season, but with news trickling in every day about players testing positive for COVID and with David Price deciding to sit out the year, I feel like things are coming to a head. We even got one hell of an omen yesterday with Masahiro Tanaka taking a line drive to the head (all well wishes to him for a speedy recovery, of course). Every day, holding a season feels more and more irresponsible and less and less ethical or likely.

Do I want there to be a baseball season? I used to say yes but that I knew there shouldn’t be. At this point, I don’t even think I really want it anymore. The risks are too great and the rewards too small.

And one last expectation, though this is more for you: I’m about to be a dad a second time over, so I’ll likely be gone from this space (and the podcast) for a little bit. Please don’t miss me too much.

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7 Comments

  1. Matt – congrats & good luck with child #2. I have a feeling you won’t miss much baseball-wise this year (I agree with you right down the line) and I’ll personally miss both the game and this site if it doesn’t happen.

  2. The Original Drew

    Congratulations Matt! All the best to you and your family.

  3. JG (Ben Francisco)

    I’m not optimistic there will be any sports in 2020.

    On another note, we have good news with Judge’s progress. However, Stanton seems to have suffered a set back, of course…

  4. Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.

  5. dasit

    imho it is irresponsible to play this season when we still don’t understand the effects of the virus. this is not (primarily) about fatality rates, this is about effects to the brain/lungs/kidneys/etc that we are just starting to discover. it feels like forever, but it’s been 8 months since the first person on the planet got the virus. we don’t have a clue what it does long-term. if i was a player deciding whether or not to play, i would apply the “what would make me feel stupider?” test. scenario one: i sit out the season, everything turns out fine, i lose money/service time/etc. scenario two: i play and i (along with my family members) end up with permanent neurological and respiratory damage that ends my career and wrecks my life. playing baseball is fun, but so is having a sense of taste and smell (i have a friend who is 4 months out from catching the virus and has yet to recover either). i miss baseball, but i don’t want 5 (or 1 or 10 or whatever) percent of mlb players, coaches and staff to be permanently disabled. rant over. congrats on dadhood 2.0!

  6. bardos

    This “season” will be a disaster for the game… and all for the money. Should be suspended.

  7. Nick

    I really don’t know how to respond to the idea that a very scary but also “very baseball” injury is somehow some kind of omen about the mistake baseball is making in coming back this year. Come on, man.

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