Maybe the whole lockout thing was just a marketing ploy by the MLB to drum up intrigue for the 2022 season. Because if it was, it definitely worked. Never before have I been so excited that a Major League Baseball season was happening than on Thursday. When the notifications started popping up on my phone saying that the MLB and the players association did the unthinkable, actually agreed on something, I was ecstatic. I am not going to talk about the details of the new deal or anything, I’ll leave that to people that actually know what they’re talking about, but I can give you my reactions to a good day for the sport of baseball.
First off, I have to say that I really needed this. I am a Seattle sports fan and if you didn’t know, the Seahawks traded away Russell Wilson this week. The Mariners are now officially the best team in Seattle out of the big four leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL). I know that is a very scary thing to hear because the Mariners have been one of the most dismal franchises in all of sports basically my entire life. But it is the truth and if the baseball season didn’t happen this year, or was shortened quite a bit, it would have been a bleak time to be a Seattle fan. But alas, baseball is back meaning the Mariners are officially starting another quest to end their playoff drought.
The weirdest part about the whole lockout was the timing. The owners locked the players out before free agency ran its full course. That resulted in some players remaining free agents for much longer than anyone anticipated. There are still several big-name players that are unsigned and now they can once again negotiate terms with teams. Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman, Kris Bryant, Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, and others are able to meet with teams again in hopes to figure out where they will be playing baseball this year. This also means that whenever they sign with a team, they will have just under a month until the regular season starts. That is a very brief period of getting acquainted with your new teammates, coaches, facilities, and possibly even role. Could that lead to players leaning more toward returning to their previous team or taking shorter deals? We don’t this yet but we will soon find out as the free agency frenzy starts up again.
The short time between now and the first games of the season isn’t just going to hurt the unsigned players. This unusual offseason is going to have its impact on every player. For some, it might be positive. It could give them more time to recover from an injury or rejuvenation after getting to spend some unforeseen time with their family. It could also have negative impacts such as players coming into the season out of shape or unfocused. We aren’t exactly sure how these players are going to react to what has gone on over the past few months but at least we know that we will get to see them back on the field.
If you would have told me back when this lockout started that there would be no baseball this year I wouldn’t have been shocked. I also would have found a way to get through it. Sure, the summer would be pretty boring without baseball filling the gap in other sports but I would have been able to manage. I probably would have watched more movies, gone outside and walked my dog more, maybe picked up a hobby such as cooking or juggling. But luckily, I won’t have to resort to any of those things. They say distance makes the heart grow fonder and I have definitely experienced that with the MLB. I thought I had lost it but now I have it back, and I promise to cherish it and never take it for granted again.