The league was starting to gear up for its preseason when the full gravity of the coronavirus pandemic hit, leading to the league’s managers scrapping Spring Training and waiting things out. Since then, the pandemic has shown no signs of abating in the United States, so the league has had to come up with a Plan B for the season.
The league and its players’ union agreed on a 60-game season that would be played without fans at stadiums all across the country, rather than be confined to one geographical area, like the NBA is doing. They have also enacted a variety of safety protocols that include, among other things, batters being required to carry their own gear to and from the dugout and the batter’s box.
However, the league hadn’t said anything about the mid-season All-Star Game, which pits the top players — as voted on by the fans — from the American League and the National League against one another for an exhibition game.
On Friday, however, the league announced there will be no All-Star Game this season.
The L.A. Dodgers had been tapped to be the host of the 2020 game — an event that would have served as the figurative icing on the cake for a $100-million expansion and renovation project that has been taking place at the 58-year-old Dodger Stadium.
“When we get back to baseball, Dodger fans will be greeted with the most significant upgrade to the fan experience in the history of our storied venue,” Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully said of the changes being made to the stadium.
Instead, the Dodgers will host the 2022 All-Star Game, as the 2021 game has already been awarded to the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park.
“I want to thank the Dodgers organization and the City of Los Angeles for being collaborative partners in the early stages of All-Star preparation and for being patient and understanding in navigating the uncertainty created by the pandemic,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said, via ESPN.
It appears as if the coronavirus pandemic may yet bedevil Major League Baseball in ways unrelated to shortening the season, informing strict safety protocols, and canceling the All-Star Game. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, an unidentified MLB player held a birthday party in June at which several attendees were infected with the coronavirus. That raises the possibility that the safety protocols put in place may be for naught, especially if players aren’t going to abide by them.