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FanPulse: To Start the Season or Not to Start the Season?

A recent survey polled fans on teams playing games at spring training locations and the contract woes surrounding this weird time.

Miami Marlins v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse, a survey of fans across MLB. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Cardinals fans, and fans across the country. Sign up HERE to join FanPulse.

Last week, baseball fans across the country came out in favor of neutral site baseball games potentially throughout the postseason. They were also in favor of at least some regular season games at neutral sites.

However, fans made it abundantly clear that doesn’t mean they want that to be a season-long decision.

According to a recent SB Nation FanPulse survey, 60 percent of fans are against playing an entire season in Arizona. That plan had been floated by baseball earlier this month as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A similar plan was reported that would send every MLB team to their spring training facilities for the duration of the 2020 season. To do this, the leagues and conferences would need to be completely redrawn. National and American League teams would be mixed together based on their spring training location and proximity.

While, technically, this would give each team their own “home field” fans still don’t like the idea. Roughly 55 percent of fans nationally said they would be against this plan as well.

I’m not real sure how I feel about this. I miss baseball, and having a game (or games) to follow would be a nice ‘daily escape’ from the growing uncertainties of this pandemic. On the topic of the pandemic, the safety of teams would be concerning if they were to start playing games. Also, one of my favorite parts of baseball season is heading to Busch and spending time with family and friends; I’m sure many of you feel this way, too. So if games were played in Florida and/or Arizona without fans, this would cancel that out.

As we know, baseball has more to figure out than just what to do with the 2020 season. Last month the MLBPA and owners tentatively agreed that active players will receive a year of service time whatever the length of the season happens to be.

However, the deal has not been agreed to yet, and it does not address what would happen if the entire season is canceled. Most players, while not all, argue that they should not be forced to remain under contract for an additional year even if games aren’t played. Owners will argue that the season should count more than the year.

Fans seem to agree with the owners.

Some contracts are more directly affected by this decision than others — specifically, one-year deals. A team could miss out on seeing any actual in-game action from a player on a one-year deal. Or, in the case of the Dodgers and Mookie Betts, a team could have made a trade for a player entering the final year of his deal and not see that player in a regular season game.

If that is the case, fans are in favor of teams getting some sort of compensation.

The only place where Cardinals fans split from the rest of the country is in regards to one-year contracts. It was almost a complete flip in results within the Cardinals fanbase, with 57 percent of fans saying teams should not receive any compensation for one-year deals.

How that compensation would work could get messy. It seems unrealistic to just “undo” a trade like the Betts deal. It feels more likely that teams like the Dodgers could be given additional draft picks.

Speaking of draft picks, make sure you’re signed up to receive each week’s FanPulse survey. Next week will directly address the oddities around this year’s draft.