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Despite MLB and MLBPA Being Far Apart on Agreement, Odds Still Favor Baseball Being First Major Sports League to Return

Major League Baseball Opening Day
Will Major League Baseball be the first sport to return? Photo by U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chad M. Trudeau (Wikimedia)
  • Despite the owners and MLBPA still at an impasse on the format for the season, MLB is still favorites to be the first league to return to play
  • The NHL has put together a plan to resume play, with no hard start date, while the NBA has a target re-start date without a firm plan on format
  • Which major sports league will be the first to return?

We’re starting to finally see some plans as to how major sports will continue. While Major League Baseball is in the midst of friction with its players, the NBA and NHL have a roadmap to return.

With COVID-19 still in different stages across the country, which of the four major sports will be the first to return to action?

Despite the posturing on both sides of the aisle in baseball, will they be able to return to the field first?

Odds on First Major Sport to Return to Play

Which League Will Play The Next Regular Season Or Post Season Game? Odds
MLB -110
NHL +200
NBA +200
NFL +750

Odds as of June 1st

MLB Owners & Players Still Negotiating Over Format

Logic would suggest that baseball would be the first to get back to business as we’ve already seen other leagues (like the Korean Baseball League) show us how they can get back in action.

The MLB teams could play in states like California, Florida, Arizona or even New York, which have all opened up for sports teams to return – albeit without fans.

Beyond that, Major League Baseball just needs to start; not restart. While the NBA and NHL have to figure out how to play out the rest of their seasons or go into the playoffs, baseball didn’t have that hurdle. However, the players and owners have different views on how things should play out, which is hampering everything.

The problem is that players want their full salaries and have proposed to play a 114-game season. Meanwhile, owners want prorated salaries based on how many games are played, and want to play a shortened 50-game season. This financial discrepancy is starting to get ugly and is putting the season in jeopardy.

The odds are starting to suggest that baseball might not even happen this season, which would be a big loss for everyone.

NBA, NHL Eyeing Late July

While baseball spins its wheels, the NHL has already announced a rough timeframe of late July for a return.

Meanwhile, the NBA is looking at a similar timeline with a similar structure too. Both leagues will likely play out the season in specific hub cities.

Overall, it’s the NHL that’s looked the most organized in this regard. They were the first to announce their return and they have a clear plan for the rest of their season (the NBA is still working on their format). If the MLB can’t get it together, the NHL is likely to be first to play games.

Could a COVID-19 Second Wave Come Into Play?

Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, major cities across the US have engaged in widespread protesting due to the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

It’s such a bizarre situation as a week ago, everyone had to stay home no matter what. Now that people are protesting – and it’s for a good cause – nobody is mentioning the social distancing measures. Hopefully, we don’t experience a second wave as some studies have shown that catching the virus outdoors is harder than indoors, but who knows at this point.

The good news for sports fans is it seems like there will be somewhere in Florida where teams can play. Whether it’s NBA, NHL or otherwise, Florida has seemingly done a pretty good job with the COVID-19 pandemic based on the official numbers. That means the leagues will be able to go there.

At this point, I’d bet on the NHL being the first back in action. Major League Baseball could get into a really protracted situation here as some owners have even suggested they cancel the season altogether. If they sort it out, they’ll be first to return. However, I actually think they won’t because things are getting ugly. That leaves the NHL as first in line in my view.

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