Time to Cancel 2020 Baseball Season: A Lesson for Colleges and Universities

tags: baseball, sports, public health, COVID-19

Michael T. Barry Jr., Editor, is a doctoral candidate in history at American University in Washington, DC. Michael is also a documentary filmmaker, specializing in oral history. His films “U Street Contested” and “The Universal Soldier: Vietnam” have won and been nominated for numerous awards, as they have screened at film festivals and historic venues across the country. He teaches American history at Montgomery College in Maryland. 

Ever since I can remember, baseball has been a staple of my summers. As a kid, I would spend every single day playing backyard games with my friends and then nights watching my beloved Boston Red Sox. In adulthood, the backyard games have gone away, but the seven o’clock Red Sox games are still a daily tradition for me and my family.

Like so many of us, I found the postponement of the MLB season due to COVID-19 disappointing. That being said, I understood the health risks of returning and appreciated the league’s decision to take care and precaution. With this in mind, I had mixed feelings when the league unveiled its plan for a sixty-game-season starting in July.

Watching sports has always been my way of relaxing after a long day of work. For this reason, I was excited baseball was soon returning and was cautiously optimistic. I wondered how baseball would look in the COVID world: how would a first baseman watch the bag while a runner is on? How would players shake hands or high-five after games as is tradition? How would players tag one another on the basepaths? Would all players wear masks? And most importantly, how would players interact off the field with the general public?

To be honest, once the games started, my questions and anxieties did not go away. For something that has long been relaxing to me, I now found watching MLB games quite nerve-racking. While watching 2020 games, I spend most the time worrying about the players’ health and safety.


MLB owners and the powers-that-be can afford a season of lost profits. If the season is not productive, fun, and safe, it must be canceled. It hurts me to say because I truly love baseball, but we cannot simply ignore COVID away. It is here and it is clear that MLB’s plan cannot stop it from spreading amongst its personnel. Our best bet is to plan and hope for better in 2021. This is not just about fun or entertainment—it is a global human rights and health issue. MLB needs to do the right thing and put the safety of human beings ahead of profits.

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