Baseball is five days away and through a mix of rage and confusion, I'm on the precipice of being excited. Baseball, as a sport and entertainment activity, rules. As an entity, governing body, and presenter of entertainment, Major League Baseball sucks. Ken Burns's documentary Baseball showcased baseball as an oxymoron, a beacon of progressivism built on a foundation of conservatism.
This generation's iteration of progressivism is stupid rule changes. I'll agree with Adam Ottavino's take on the new extra innings, runner on second rule. It's not real baseball. I feel the same about the new three batter minimum rule. The conservatism foundation continues to manifest itself in the same way it has throughout the history of baseball, the structural oppression of the majority of their labor market. Throw in a world-stopping pandemic and you get the recipe for a real shitshow of a drink, stirred by the swizzle stick that is Rob Manfred.
I'm still operating under the belief that we will not have a World Series this season. All it's going to take is for one starting infield or pitcher/catcher battery or two-thirds of a star outfield to test positive for Covid-19 for teams to start questioning the legitimacy of the season. We haven't had that yet but it's foolish of us to think that we will not, at some point, have a team outbreak. MLS told FC Dallas to leave after they experienced an outbreak of 10 players and coaches. Freddie Freeman tested positive and prayed for his life but he's back at camp now and hoping to be ready for Opening Day. What happens when a player of his caliber tests positive and misses one-third of the season?
Luis Urias of the Brewers is the only player we know of who has tested positive and he has not rejoined the club. That leaves Orlando Arcia and Eric Sogard as the exclusive shortstop options and that is not ideal. Smoak is going to get a fair chance at first but I'm hoping for a short leash. It seems like it's going to be nearly impossible for any team to bounce back from a slow start that lingers past the first two series of the year. An ideal world sees a fast start in early at-bats from Gyorko, Smoak, Cain, and Gamel with Yelich doing normal Yelich things. The pitching causes concern. The Brewers are counting on a lot from Adrian Houser and need to partner that with health from Brent Suter and consistency from either Corbin Burnes or Freddy Peralta. Woodruff is an underrate ace and I expect ace level things from him.
The best case scenario for this team is a 40-42 win campaign that sees a deep playoff run. Worst case sees this team finish below .500 with a tough schedule. More realistically is somewhere in between.