When I woke up on Tuesday, the news had hit that Jeff Passan reported:
Major League Baseball and its players are increasingly focused on a plan that could allow them to start the season as early as May and has the support of high-ranking federal public health officials who believe the league can safely operate amid the coronavirus pandemic, sources told ESPN.
I was ecstatic that plans were being made to restart the cultural machine that is Major League Baseball – it was a sign of hope in a world where business and personal lives have been stalled by the coronavirus.
It was time to begin thinking of a way out of the bind and get not only baseball, but the entire country moving again in the wake of the crisis.
Unfortunately, by mid-day on Tuesday, Commissioner Rob Manfred countered the story with the following statement:
“MLB has been actively considering numerous contingency plans that would allow play to commence once the public health situation has improved to the point that it is safe to do so,” the commissioner’s office said in a statement Tuesday. “While we have discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option, we have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan.”
I realized that no “plan” existed for Passan’s proposal, and as social media aptly pointed out the stark realities which would render any plan at this time unfeasible – the biggest drawback being that players, coaches, accompanying media and employees, would have to be sequestered in Arizona away from their families – but other factors, such as the heat in Arizona and the lack of a minor league system to replenish teams in case of injury or illness also figured into the criticism.
Today is Wednesday, April 8th, when I awoke this morning there was no such news of hope that the MLB season could be started. But that does not mean that I believe the season is a lost cause in 2020. Quite the contrary, I believe there will be baseball.
I don’t have an elaborate plan to offer. I don’t have solutions for the many headaches a shortened season will cause around the league, but I believe a July start makes the most sense.
By late May, if not before, the federal and state governments should have an understanding of where the population stands with regard to fighting and shutting down the spread of the coronavirus.
And since this is a New York Yankees baseball blog, I can’t help but mention that a July start would benefit the team as key players, such as Aaron Judge, James Paxton and Aaron Hicks will be healed from injuries and ready to return to the lineup.
Instead of an All-Star break, schedule Opening Day around the country to kick off the season. By mid-July, it may even be possible to have fans in the stands. MLB could help initiate a return to normalcy and a fulfillment of the hope that the virus can be beaten.