MLB is starting the season by playing without spectators due to safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic. But Samardzija doesn't sound entirely sure that safety is at the top of the league's mind, and he took a shot at the owners while explaining why he sees fans coming back soon.
"I wouldn't put the carriage before the horse," the right-hander told reporters Friday, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. "I think there's going to be fans in the stands. I think we've seen with these owners, they're not scared of anything, and they're not scared to put anyone at risk if they get the opportunity to, especially if it makes them money.
"So there's going to be people in the stands. They're going to be socially distanced and rows apart, and that's how it's going to be. Owners have already said that's what they want. To the fans, I just want them to be safe, too. If that means they have to watch us from home, so be it."
Negotiations for a 2020 season between the league and its players grew tense as the months dragged on. The sides haggled over economics, health concerns, and the number of games that would be played.
Ultimately, commissioner Rob Manfred exercised his right to unilaterally implement a 60-game schedule, while owners and players later reached agreement on health and safety protocols. As for fans, it was reported last week that MLB would likely let teams create their own fan policies based on crowd regulations in their respective jurisdictions.
Samardzija also expressed his displeasure with the 60-game slate that was implemented at Manfred's behest.
"I'd rather have 82 games, 90 games, which we were definitely able to do and had a window to do," he said.