MLB teams could play a shortened schedule this season for the first time since 1995 due to the coronavirus pandemic. That doesn't mean you should question the eventual champion, according to Hunter Pence.
The Giants outfielder said he won't on his Instagram Story on Tuesday night. No matter how long the season lasts, Pence thinks the World Series winners will be worthy of lifting the Commissioner's Trophy.
Whenever baseball resumes, Hunter Pence won’t throw shade at the eventual World Series champs pic.twitter.com/bXQED0A8af— Marcus White (@marcuspwhite) March 25, 2020
"By the way, no matter how many games we have this year, if you win the World Series, you're a champion," the two-time World Series champion said. "I mean, a trophy's a trophy. I'm not gonna be mad at it, and it's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be the best in the world, and this is all we got. So, no haterade here. It is different though, but this is a really weird circumstance."
MLB initially pushed back Opening Day to no sooner than April 9, but guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention restricting events with 50-plus people pushed it back further. Eight weeks from the CDC guidelines would be May 10, but Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said last week that he was "not equipped or capable of answering" when the season might start, with state and local governments nationwide citizens to stay at home and non-essential businesses closed in order to prevent COVID-19's spread from overwhelming public health systems.
A's manager Bob Melvin hopes the season can last at least 81 games, while Oakland reliever Liam Hendriks told NBC Sports California's Brodie Brazil that players are ready for a 162-game season. The decision of when to start the season, however, largely is out of the sport's hands.
The United States has 52,671 confirmed cases, and climbing, as of this writing. Nearly 700 people have died nationwide. South Korea and Japan's leagues have begun playing games in empty stadiums, but the former reported its fewest number of confirmed cases in four weeks Monday. Japan, meanwhile, announced the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo on Tuesday.
When the MLB season begins, then, remains an unanswered question. What happens to the future champion is much easier to address, at least according to Pence.