Come What May, The 2022 Baseball Season Moves Forward

Major League Baseball Advances Into MayCreative Commons Attribution 2.0

By Tyler Maher

We’re officially into May, which means nearly a month of regular-season baseball is in the books. 

It’s been an eventful month, to say the least. After the lockout threatened to severely delay (or possibly cancel) Opening Day, the season finally kicked off on April 7 – only a week later than originally planned – following an abbreviated spring training. And despite Rob Manfred’s threats to the contrary, no games were erased from the schedule, which seemed like a foregone conclusion at many points during the lockout.

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a lot to cheer for since then. MLB’s main storylines over the past few weeks have been largely controversial, if not downright negative.

As expected, the shortened spring has contributed to a wave of injuries in the early going that has sidelined many of the sport’s top stars. While injuries are unavoidable, their frequency has increased this year due to the quick ramp-up to the season. I think we can all agree that the game would be more fun if Jacob deGrom, Fernando Tatis Jr., and Kris Bryant were healthy right now.

Players have also continued to miss time with COVID, making this the third season in a row that has been impacted by the pandemic. A number of players remain unvaccinated as well, rendering them ineligible to play in Toronto and stirring up ugly political debates within fan bases.

Due to the heightened injury risk this time of year, managers are also frequently pulling their starting pitchers after the fifth or sixth inning, regardless of how well they’re throwing. We’ve already missed out on several potentially historic pitching performances as a result, including Clayton Kershaw’s chance at a perfect game. When the season’s first no-hitter occurred on April 29 at Citi Field, Mets starter Tylor Megill contributed just five of New York’s hitless innings, making the feat substantially less meaningful.

With the way teams have been swinging the bat these days, it was only a matter of time until we saw our first no-no. Despite the introduction of the universal DH, offense is down across the sport, which is never fun. While early-season weather and short spring training seem to be factors, the biggest explanation is likely the ball itself, which is once again a major issue. A couple of years after being “juiced,” it is now “deadened” thanks to stricter manufacturing regulations as well as the installation of humidors at many parks across the league. The players aren’t too happy about it and neither are fans, who must watch games with increasingly less action.

There’s also the whole Trevor Bauer thing and…actually, let’s not get into that right now.

It hasn’t been all bad, though. Miguel Cabrera got his 3,000th hit despite Aaron Boone’s best efforts to delay his pursuit of history. That was definitely a cool moment, especially since we won’t see another player reach the milestone for quite a while. Seiya Suzuki has become an instant sensation with the Cubs, injecting a desperately needed spark into the North Side after last summer’s fire sale. The Hall of Fame also reconfigured its veterans’ committees to pre- and post-1980, which should help address the relative lack of modern players in Cooperstown compared to other eras.

Still, it’s been a bumpy start to the season. Hopefully, things get a bit smoother in May.

Tyler Maher is a Content Editor for The Game Day who is still waiting for it to feel like spring in Boston.

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