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FanPulse: Neutral-site plans not popular... yet

Also, the survey reveals interesting differences on whether players should be getting service time if COVID-19 cancels the season.

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Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse, a survey of fans across MLB. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged in Rays 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, this week fans made it abundantly clear that doesn’t mean they want that to be a season-long decision.

In the most recent FanPulse sent out by SB Nation, we went deeper in asking fans about the various plans being offered, and found the plans being offered are not popular with the fanbase... yet. If it means baseball instead of no baseball, maybe folks change their tune.

Since this survey went out, R.J. Anderson has reported at CBS Sports that a new plan has expanded to include Dallas and some stadiums in Florida too. That was not captured in the polling we have.

Here are the results

According to this week’s SB Nation FanPulse survey, 60 percent of fans are against playing an entire season in Arizona. That plan had been floated by baseball earlier in the 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.

Contracts without baseball played

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.

However, the deal has not been agreed to and 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, it appears, agree with the owners.

Some contracts are more directly affected by this decision than others, specifically, one-year deals. Theoretically, 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, they could have made a trade for an expiring contract and not see that player in a single regular season game.

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

Rays fans, however, aren’t in agreement with the rest of the country in regards to player contracts. Unlike other fans, the Rays fanbase voted against giving teams compensation for one-year contracts. They also came out in favor of allowing 2020 to count as a year of service time even without any games, unlike the rest of the country.

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. The next survey will directly address the oddities around this year’s MLB draft.