COVID-19 has robbed our society of too much over the past few weeks and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. One of the less important aspects of life that it has taken from us entertainment in the form of sport. For those of us on this medium, it has stolen Milwaukee Brewers’ baseball.
Reports coming from a number of sources suggest that baseball might be coming back in May. Specifically MLB and the MLB Players’ Association are in process of formulating a plan to play all games in Arizona. Games would be played without fans in stadiums.
The ideas are getting more outside the box as MLB and the players' assoc looks for ways to get the baseball season started.— Anthony Witrado (@awitrado) April 7, 2020
The latest, according to AP: Playing all games in the Phoenix area. @ForbesSports https://t.co/OYLFTF1gOS
The plan is being backed by high-ranking federal public health officials who believe the league can safely operate in the wake of this pandemic.
NEWS: Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are focusing on a plan backed by federal health officials that could have players in training camps by May and games soon thereafter.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 7, 2020
Details at ESPN on how MLB may return -- and the difficulty in doing so: https://t.co/zDoNa3k4pm
Brewers’ pitcher, Brett Anderson, has already responded to the news with displeasure.
Players would be separated from their families for months, but players would receive paychecks. To pull this off, players, coaches, and other essential personnel would have to be sequestered in local hotels where they would be isolated from the rest of the world. Travel would only take place between stadiums to play games.
If the plan were to come to fruition, there would likely be a two- to three-week spring training prior to the opening of the season. As for the very real potential of a player, coach, or other baseball personnel testing positive for coronavirus, it would not mean the quarantine for an entire team or the shutdown of the season. It would set up the possibility of expanded rosters and more players receiving major league service time. This is believed to have appeal to the union. Nonetheless, just as is the case with Brett Anderson, there is likely to be resistance from some of the players that will be mandated to accept such an agreement.
There are going to be players who oppose the Arizona plan — who prefer to wait and see if alternative solutions for playing present themselves. And it’s easy to understand why: separating from your family for potentially months at a time is an enormous ask of anyone. pic.twitter.com/0DQPTvWS5B— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 7, 2020
On the other hand, there will be a number of players that will be onboard. Yet the are a number of issues in relation to the players and coaches that come to mind if MLB and the players’ association come to an agreement. Players and coaches could have comorbidity that could make them more susceptible and vulnerable to this virus. As Passan notes, Mike Trout would likely miss the birth of his child as would others around the sport. The death of loved ones is also possible and maybe even likely. Not being able to mourn with family at home would become real.
If baseball were able to come back in some form, it would be a welcome entertainment to many of us. That would be especially true of BCB readers. Yet there would be consequences to those that play, coach, and manage baseball unlike anything seen previously. The question to be answered, is it worth it?
MLB has just recently responded to these reports with the following statement: