The University of Maine’s baseball team is coming off a shortened season in 2020, where they were only able to collect one victory in 13 games. Sports teams around the world have had to overcome many obstacles just to be able to suit up and play the game they love in a safe fashion. The team is already off to a rough start this season as they have had a total of nine games cancelled. Their most recent cancellation was due to weather and not COVID-19 conflictions, which is a bit encouraging. The Black Bears will hope to kick off their season this weekend as they face off against Merrimack College in a doubleheader series.
The team will have its hands full this season as they are a rather inexperienced baseball club. Having a team that consists of 15 first-years can be looked at from two different perspectives. One perspective is that they can all grow and build in the next few years and the team will then be really good. The other perspective is that they have little experience with each other, and the immediate future looks like it might be a rocky road. Not to mention, the team only consists of six seniors, who will need to expand their leadership roles.
Just a season ago, the Black Bears struggled on both sides of the ball, as they had a team that earned a run average of 9.00, while their opponents sat at a low 2.69. These numbers will have to be turned around if they hope to come out of this season with a winning record. Talks about this spring season must begin with highlighting the fact that the MLB was able to push through the entire season last year, when COVID-19 was still a “rookie.” With the vaccines being distributed to people all around the United States, there are some who wonder where athletes, and specifically professional athletes, should sit on the list, in terms of priority.
First and foremost, comes the health of every member of each team in any sport that is trying to take the field and compete. UMaine will have to follow numerous protocols in order to ensure that the team will be safe as well as others around them. For professional athletes, they will soon have access to the vaccine but the question is whether the majority of them will agree to receive it. The Wall Street Journal suggests that there is a significant percentage of players across the NFL, NBA and MLB who are hesitant to take the vaccine. Agreements between the league and the Player’s Association will be key in driving the process of vaccinating every player. Once the professional athletes are vaccinated, there is some hope that collegiate athletes will be able to gain access to the vaccine as well. One could argue that if it wasn’t for money, college student-athletes should have the ability to get the vaccine before pro-athletes due to sharing a campus with an entire student body.