Baseball is back in full swing this year, despite the four month delay caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Major League Baseball (MLB) had to readjust their season in light of the health concerns and regulations made by officials and the government. The original date for opening day was scheduled to take place on March 26, but was rescheduled and took place on July 23. Not only this, but instead of the usual 162 games played by each team, the MLB resolved that teams would play 60 games to comply with the shortened time span for the season. Playoffs are set to be played in “bubbles” to quarantine players and coaches during the pandemic. The location of these bubbles have been designated for San Diego, Los Angeles, Houston and Arlington. Playoffs begin September 29 with the American League (AL) wild card series in Los Angeles.
This season has seen the rise of many unsuspecting teams and new star-players. The National League (NL) in particular has seen some top tier competition this year. Two stand-out teams in the NL include the San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers. So far the two teams have the second best and best records in baseball as of September 15, respectively. Both SoCal teams also have MVP contenders on each team: rookie and Padre Fernando Tatis Jr. as well as veteran all-star and new Dodger Mookie Betts. Not only is the league seeing some fierce competition from the NL West Division, but teams such as the Chicago Cubs and the Atlanta Braves are not too far behind in the battle for a spot in the playoffs. As for the AL, top teams include the Chicago White Sox, with a record of 31-16, and the Tampa Bay Rays with a record of 30-17.
In terms of stats, the Dodgers currently lead the league in homeruns and lowest earned run average (ERA), while the New York Mets lead in batting average, the Braves in on-base plus slugging (OPS) and the Cleveland Indians with the most strikeouts by their pitchers. The Dodgers are projected to have the most wins before the playoffs begin.
Although the MLB has seen some setbacks to the season with its start date, no fans in attendance and even players and teams testing positive for the COVID-19 virus, baseball continues to push through the obstacles and provide fans the entertainment they longed for in its absence.