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How Do Fans Feel About Opt Outs & Social Distancing?

The MLB season is slated to start in just over a week. So close, yet so far.

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Cincinnati Reds v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, 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 Reacts.

The 2020 season is just over a week away from finally getting started. The Cardinals are schedule to take on the Pirates at Busch Stadium on Friday, July 24th. But with the return comes hard decisions for those most directly put at risk – the players.

Players were given the opportunity to not play this season. However, not all players have the same options. Those who fall into the “high risk” category can opt out of the season without losing any more of their salary and would still get credit to their service time. Players who aren’t high risk are still allowed to sit out the season, however they will forfeit their 2020 salary and will not accrue service time.

To date, only a small number of players have announced they will skip the season, but there have been a few big names, including David Price, Buster Posey, and Michael Kopech. Currently, the only Cardinals player that has decided to skip the season is Jordan Hicks, due to medical issues. A star player making that decision could alter not only his team’s outlook this year, but the outlook of the entire league due to the compressed schedule.

Even with those risks, though, fans seem to be understanding of a player making that hard choice. According to the latest SB Nation MLB FanPulse, 86 percent of fans say they would understand if a key player on their favorite team decided to miss the 2020 season.

The remaining fans were split, with eight percent saying they would be mad at baseball if that were to happen and five percent saying they would be mad at the player.

Despite 63 percent of fans saying if they were a MLB player they’d participate in the season, it’s clear fans understand the risks. When asked if they believe the MLB social distancing rules – these include no spitting and not being allowed within six feet of an umpire – more than two-thirds said they were unrealistic to enforce.

To vote in the Reacts surveys and have your voice heard each week, sign up here.