The 2020 season is just over a week away from finally getting started. But with the return comes hard decisions for those most directly put at risk – the players.
Players were given the opportunity to not play this season. However, not all players have the same options. Those who fall into the “high risk” category can opt out of the season without losing any more of their salary and would still get credit to their service time. Players who aren’t high risk are still allowed to sit out the season, however they will forfeit their 2020 salary and will not accrue service time.
To date, only a small fraction of players have announced they will skip the season, but there have been a few big names. A star player making that decision could alter not only his team’s outlook this year, but the outlook of the entire league due to the compressed schedule.
Even with those risks, though, fans seem to be understanding of a player making that hard choice. According to the latest SB Nation MLB FanPulse, 86 percent of fans say they would understand if a key player on their favorite team decided to miss the 2020 season.
To date, no Twins have chosen to opt out, but high profile players like Buster Posey, David Price, and stud White Sox pitching prospect Michael Kopech have made that decision. Its unlikely this poll will find its way to any of the players who decided to stay home, but I’m sure they’d be pleased to know the fans are largely on their side.
The remaining fans were split, with eight percent saying they would be mad at baseball if that were to happen and five percent saying they would be mad at the player.
Despite 63 percent of fans saying if they were a MLB player they’d participate in the season, it’s clear fans understand the risks. When asked if they believe the MLB social distancing rules – these include no spitting and not being allowed within six feet of an umpire – more than two-thirds said they were unrealistic to enforce. If that’s the case, one has to wonder if and how this nascent season could possibly succeed.
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