Nobody knows when the 2020 regular season will begin or end. MLB hasn't yet ruled anything out; the goal is to play 162 games but that could prove impossible. To play a full regular season and avoid having playoff games in the wintertime, the season would need to begin in late May, two months later than the initial opening day.
Two months seems conservative based on the direction of things and when looking at professional sports leagues in countries affected by COVID-19 prior to the U.S.
There is so much uncertainty in a baseball player's world right now. There are the first-world problems for major-leaguers like how do I stay in shape, and the real-life concerns of low-paid minor-leaguers wondering how they stay in shape while also keeping food on the table.
On the field, hitters don't have it quite as bad as pitchers. Hitters will still need to find their timing against live pitching again, but pitchers are so dedicated to their routines and were right on the doorstep of being in regular-season mode when spring training was halted.
Should they maintain that intensity? Should they treat this current period as if it were December? Should they protect their arms more than usual?
Phillies manager Joe Girardi joined MLB Network Sunday over the phone and was asked about the most recent message he gave his team:
"We said look, we're gonna have time to prepare for the regular season," Girardi relayed. "Kinda keep it up like your offseason workouts right before you come to spring training, if you're a pitcher and throwing some light bullpen (sessions), do that. Because we really don't know how long we're going to be out and then we don't know how long the season's going to continue. Like, will we play regular season in the month of October? So if you continue to throw five or six innings like you're used to now, you'll be out of gas in the month of October.
"So we told our players, just kinda wait by the phone. A lot of guys stayed in Clearwater, especially the rehab guys. And we should know more as time goes on. But we have to be flexible and let the health officials and our government and Major League Baseball do what they have to do."
We're all in wait-and-see mode. Things are changing rapidly. Just two days ago the Yankees voted unanimously to remain in Tampa, but now only a skeleton crew will remain after a Yankees minor-leaguer tested positive for COVID-19. That was the first known COVID-19 case in professional baseball.