When MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told ESPN that he no longer was "100 percent" confident in the prospect of a 2020 MLB season, just days after saying the exact opposite, many began writing the obituary for this campaign and writing off any chance of it happening.
But Manfred eventually used his authority to mandate a 60-game schedule, and after some back-and-forth about the league's safety protocols for batting the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 MLB season was given the green light last week. While many players vocally expressed their frustration with the lack of agreement in the negotiations between the league and the MLB Players' Association, A's shortstop Marcus Semien tried to keep a positive attitude and firm belief that he and his Oakland teammates would indeed be taking the field together in 2020.
"I was optimistic the entire time that we were going to play," Semien told The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal. "In our meetings with (union head) Tony (Clark), he was saying (commissioner) Rob (Manfred) and the owners want to play, we’re going to play. Once we heard that, it was like, 'All right, let’s do this, however we have to do it. I’m going to train and get ready and prepare for a shorter season.' "
Semien is the A's player representative for the union, and although doubt crept into his mind, he remained confident that an agreement could be reached.
"There were days before when we didn’t know if we were going to play, where you had some bad days mentally, when you were just like, 'Man, I wish I was doing what I’ve been doing my whole life, what I’ve been doing for the last 6-7 years, playing Major League Baseball during the summer.'
"Once we heard the news (about returning), I was glad I stayed optimistic. And I’m happy we’re in the place we’re in today."
Although angst likely remains between the two sides due to the tense negotiations, Semien is at least content with the fact that he'll be able to get back on the field this summer with his Oakland teammates.