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There should not be an asterisk attached to the 2020 World Series winner

The shortened season only adds pressure to each game and makes capturing a World Series title much more difficult.

The 2016 World Series Film

The 2020 baseball season is, finally, all but upon us. We’ve seen COVID-19 delay the season for over three months, and a brutal negotiation process between MLB and the MLBPA postponed it even further. But have no fear, we will see baseball return within the next week.

The season will be strange, there’s no doubt about that. We are going to see things that the game has never seen before. For instance, a 60-game season, a universal DH, the stands will (most likely) be empty, along with many other changes. However, with even with all the funky alterations to the game we love, there is one thing that shouldn’t change about this season: the legitimacy of the World Series champion.

Teams will be playing 102 fewer games than they should be, I get that. That will make the season even harder, and that much more of a grind. A shortened season will not make things easier by any stretch of the imagination.

Think about the damage that a 10-day IL stint can have on a team. If a team’s superstar were to miss 10 games due to injury, his team would lose him for one-sixth of the season. In a 162-game marathon, teams can rest their star players. This isn’t a marathon anymore; this is a full-blown sprint. Just think about how one blown save or one injury could cost a team a playoff spot.

A championship doesn’t deserve an asterisk, it’s still hard to come out on top and there’s nothing that will make the Commissioner’s Trophy any easier to attain, especially if baseball implements an expanded playoff format. We all know how difficult it is for a team to go through two or three rounds of postseason baseball before the World Series. Now just imagine adding more competition to a team’s path.

When I hear the word “asterisk” while discussing baseball, the 2017 Houston Astros come to mind, and I’m sure a large portion of others can say the same. The reason for that is obvious: they cheated. The team hoisting the World Series trophy in 2020 (hopefully) will not have used a scam on their way to the top. Instead, that team most likely overcame a plethora of obstacles (just doing your job in an awful time like this is challenging enough) and found ways to beat their opponents. It would be unfair to discredit everything they went through throughout an abnormal year just because they played fewer regular season games.

I’ve seen many posit that the 2020 champions would not be legitimate if a “bad” team were to win, because they wouldn’t have made the postseason if it were a full season. If that were to happen, we should tip our caps to whoever comes out victorious, even if it’s a below average team that was able to get hot and stay hot. Most of us would want to see teams like the Yankees and Dodgers square off in the Fall Classic, but everyone also loves a Cinderella story. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see the a young Toronto Blue Jays or Detroit Tigers squad make a run at a title and surprising the league by arriving a year or two early?

I realize that many people will disagree, and will feel that this year’s champion will inevitably have to be discounted. But the 2020 World Series may truly be one of the hardest Fall Classic’s to win in recent memory due to the added pressure and emphasis on each game, all while adapting to the rule changes, safety guidelines, and harrowing global circumstances. The 2020 World Series should not have an asterisk attached to it.