The MLB is Heading Toward a 50-Game Season, Which Would Be… Kind of Awesome!

Photo: Michael Reaves | Credit: Getty Images

While the MLB and Players Association are still at a standstill, it’s becoming more and more clear that we’re heading toward a 50-ish game season. The owners continue to push for further reduced player salaries, while the players refuse to take any additional pay cuts (beyond their already agreed-upon prorated salaries).

The only thing the owners care about, though, is playoff games and Rob Manfred can (and will) force a 50-game season without the players’ approval. That season would end in an expanded playoff and more money for the MLB…. which is likely why you see the owners dragging their feet.

Trust me, if you are a diehard baseball fan like I am, you love the 162-game season. Baseball is the only sport where you can legitimately watch your favorite team almost every single night. It’s glorious.

But, I’m here to calm some of the concerns and consternation surrounding my baseball family, right now. A 50-game season has PLENTY of upside… and makes a lot of sense from a business standpoint.


Obviously, the biggest factor that comes into play during these negotiations is money. Owners claim they will lose money, if the league plays a bunch of games without fans in the stands. They refuse to show the evidence… so their word is all we have to go on.

If you do assume most teams would take a hit if games are played in empty stadiums, then you have to wonder why the league would want to start the season back up at all… but the answer is a simple one.

Playoffs… If the league plays an expanded playoffs, everything is on the table. More national TV money and possible fans in the stands, depending on where the pandemic is come that time.

The playoffs will bring in HUGE money. That’s money that owners have been watching fall out of their pockets, since the pandemic struck. They will want playoffs that are as expanded as possible, followed by a TV bidding war on who will get rights to anything that isn’t already claimed.

Fan Interest

The MLB has been trying for a couple of years to increase the overall fan interest to the game. Currently the NFL and the NBA both attract all types of people, no matter their age. The MLB cannot say the same.

It has already tried implementing various pace-of-play related components, to speed up the game. They’ve looked into pitch clocks, implemented a limit on mound visits and have recently added a rule forcing pitchers to face a minimum of 3 batters during every outing.

But with a 50 game season, the excitement would build itself. Every game would have playoff implications. The whole season would be a playoff race. The casual baseball fan doesn’t want to watch 162 games a year…. but 50 games?

This format kills two birds with one stone, from a fan interest standpoint. It would bring in more viewers than ever, which is huge for revenue during a time with no fans in attendance. It would also increase the chance that the once “casual” fans will enjoy the league beyond the shortened 2020 season.

I’d love more games too, but this is the best route back for the MLB, at this point. Now, let’s just shake hands, sign the paperwork and start preparing for baseball again. I’m done with the KBO and their teddy bear fanbase.

But what about the players?

Of course, there is no way the players should be paid their full salaries if they are only playing 50 games. They’d actually get just about 1/3 of their salaries… and apparently some might not even play for that amount.

At this point, I’m not sure how many are really worried about Coronavirus, and how many are just standing by principle…

The fear without an agreement is that several of the game’s biggest stars may decide to sit out this season, believing it’s not worth the health risk while receiving only about 33% of their annual salary to play this season.

One owner says he has already been informed that several of his players indicated they wouldn’t play this year under those conditions, forfeiting their salary while not receiving service time.

USA Today – Bob Nightengale

Technically, if this ends in a 50-game season, then the players win the negotiation. They threatened to force the owners to do this… it might actually come to fruition. Most players will play, no matter what is being threatened right now.

If the Minnesota Twins win a World Series during the shortened pandemic season, I know a banner will still go up and a parade will still take place.

Cameron Thompson | Minnesota Sports Fan

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