June 17, 2021

Opt-Outs, Uneasiness Abound During MLB’s First Weekend Back (FanGraphs)

July 3, 2019 was a pretty typical day for major league baseball. Cody Bellinger hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning against Arizona to give the Dodgers their league-leading 59th win of the season in their 88th game. Last-place Cincinnati defeated first-place Milwaukee to bring all five NL Central teams within 4.5 games of each other. Stephen Strasburg struck out 14 Marlins without allowing a run. Mike Trout hit two dingers, because of course he did. There were close games and there were clunkers, thrilling displays and frustrating setbacks. You probably forgot about all of it.

This July 3 was, well, different. Temperatures notwithstanding, it might as well have been mid-February, as players from all 30 organizations gathered in their respective ballparks for their first official team workouts in months, after the global COVID-19 pandemic suspended the major league season. Players and staff rejoined their teammates only after first undergoing intake tests for the virus, with several wondering even as they took the field whether they were doing the right thing by attempting to play at all. Those circumstances made for a strange and chaotic first weekend of…

Read “Opt-Outs, Uneasiness Abound During MLB’s First Weekend Back” at FanGraphs