Cancel the first month of games this season?
Say it ain’t Soler!
But that’s exactly what baseball’s owners and their commissioner signaled their willingness to do Monday, according to multiple reports — apparently (conveniently?) forgetting how “disastrous” commissioner Rob Manfred said losing regular-season games would be just two weeks ago.
Assuming a delay to the season would last only that mere month before a labor agreement could be reached in time to start in May — a big assumption once games start falling off the schedule — that could mean an unheard-of Cubs-White Sox Opening Day at Wrigley Field on May 3.
Whether that would cause the kind of stir and excitement it sounds like also assumes, in turn, that fans still give a rat’s ass enough to give owners any of their hard-earned money for a ticket at that point.
May 3 actually is the second scheduled game in May for the Cubs, with a series finale in Milwaukee scheduled May 1 ahead of an off day.
If today’s deadline passes and MLB’s reported threat wipes out exactly the 27 games games from March 31 through April, here’s what that means for the Cubs:
- No April look in Atlanta at the defending World Series champ, which probably also means no look in April at former Cub Jorge Soler, the World Series MVP expected by many to re-sign with the Atlanta Braves as a free agent after the lockout.
- In all, the Cubs would lose 14 games against 2021 playoff teams, including six against an NL Central-champion Brewers team that owned the Cubs last year (going 15-4 against the North Siders).
- That includes the only series at Wrigley against AL power Tampa Bay, April 18-20.
- On the other hand, the softest looking road trip of the season — six games in Pittsburgh and Colorado (April 12-17) also gets lost, along with four more games against the woeful Pirates and three against the weakened Reds.
Advantage Cubs? Disadvantage Cubs?
The two bigger questions at that point will be:
How many games can we even count on after April?
And: How many fans will care enough to be paying attention by then.