(CBSNewYork)- Spring is in full bloom, but the bats remain silenced as the coronavirus pandemic continues to keep Major League Baseball, and all professional sports, from playing games. The league is continuing to discuss its options, the most recent of which adds Texas as a potential destination where teams can be isolated in order to play games safely.
That plan is the latest in a series of reports which have also had the league considering moving all teams to Arizona or having them return to their spring training complexes in Florida and Arizona. For CBS 2 sports anchor Steve Overmyer, the plan that makes the most sense is for teams to relocate to the desert for the summer, where they can play games and also house athletes’ families.
“That was a really big thing when talking to a couple of the players, they needed to have their families out there in isolation as well. If they’re going to play an entire season, they have to have their families along with them in Phoenix,” said Overmyer in an interview with CBS Local’s Katie Johnston. “They’ve also said they’re going to need some time to get ready, so they’re going to need at least a month’s worth of practice, and maybe even some, some practice games or spring training games, if you will, to get back into shape. Hopefully we’re going to have, in some way, shape or form, at least a shortened season, and at least we’ll see baseball, hopefully by maybe June.”
If that is the case, and baseball is able to ramp up in time for an Opening Day sometime in June, how will that affect the New York teams? The Mets and Yankees entered Spring Training with vastly different expectations. For the Queens residents, this season would hopefully be one in which they could contend for a playoff spot at least, a division title in the best-case scenario. But, because of the way that their team is built, Overmyer thinks a shortened year could see the Mets struggle.
“I feel like it’s gonna take a lot longer for these pitchers to get ready. It usually takes about two weeks for the hitters to get ready, but it’s going to take a full month for the pitchers to get ready, and teams that are relying very heavily on arms, like the Mets, are probably going to get off to a slower start,” said Overmyer. “And when you’re talking about a shortened season, a slower start is a lot more impactful. If you have a terrible first 30 games in a 162 game-season, that’s not going to be as impactful. The fact that they might only play 60 or 80 games. If they can’t get out of the gates fast right from the beginning, that could really hurt the Mets, specifically because they’re really pitching focused.”
The Mets rotation is arguably one of the best in baseball when healthy, but they are already down one starter following Noah Syndergaard’s Tommy John surgery in March. With his loss and less time to ramp up, the Mets could struggle.
But, while Syndergaard’s injury was significant, the Yankees were bitten by the injury bug so often in Spring Training that most fans are actually hoping this unanticipated rest period could help the team. Overmyer says not so fast, my friends.
“I actually think that this is worse for the Yankees, because this is a team that is built again for the 162-game stretch. Now you reduce that down into something that is a little bit more of a question mark,” said Overmyer. “You think about what happened last year with the Washington Nationals they got off to a 19-and-31 start… that team might not even make the postseason in this year. The Yankees are one of those teams that are favorites to win the World Series. It’s going to be imperative for them to get off to a fast start. And if their guys are still hurt and they still can’t go through spring training as they need to, this is a team that probably could get hurt more than any other.”