Baseball’s biggest hit will come OFF the field

MLB will need to win some fans back

Baseball’s biggest hit will come OFF the field
FILE - In this April 24, 2013, file photo, Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis stands on the Major League Baseball logo that serves as the on deck circle during the first inning of a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Indians, in Chicago. Major League Baseball rejected the players' offer for a 114-game regular season in the pandemic-delayed season with no additional salary cuts and told the union it did not plan to make a counterproposal, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday, June 3, 2020, because no statements were authorized. (Source: Charles Rex Arbogast)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Come next week, baseball is back! 

That's the good news. 

The bad news is, the PR hit this sport will continue to take off the field.

“I think it’s a tremendous hit,” longtime Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com told me during a Facetime interview on Tuesday. “They (Major League owners and players) couldn’t have come off any worse than they have in these negotations, considering what’s going on in the country. The pandemic, social unrest, unemployment. It’s been a disaster.”

So why, when baseball could have been the first major sport back, did this happen? Most fans blame the owners, but Hoynes had an interesting take on the players' union: were they setting up the next round of negotiations following next season?   

"They hadn't been tested in so many years," Hoynes said. "Did they have to show the owners how united they were?"

As for the Tribe, starting pitching is their strength, which of course is a huge advantage in a normal season, but in a 60-game season? That's a lot of early pressure.   

"They have to build up starters like they do in Spring Training," Hoynes says. "A questionable bullpen comes into play, and a poor start, I don't think a team, if they struggle through the first 15 games  ... that's tough."

This isn't perfect. Baseball's gonna have to win some fans back. And Hoynes believes free agents will be greatly affected over the winter. 

But in the meantime, safety protocols will be in place, and players are ready to go. At the very least, they'll start this long-awaited season. 

Baseball is back. For now. 

"I think they'll play," Hoynes says. "I really do."

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