Yesterday morning we wrote about what’s happening around the world with regards to sports, the coronavirus, and the possibility of the Reds and Major League Baseball possibly playing games in empty stadiums.

A lot has happened in the 24 hours since then. Both the KBO in Korea and the NPB in Japan – the top two baseball leagues in the world outside of Major League Baseball – have postponed the start of their regular seasons. The San Jose Sharks of the NHL will have to play at least three home games in an empty arena after the county they play in has banned gatherings of 1000 or more people.

And then after a conference call with the 30 owners, Major League Baseball – along with the NHL, NBA, and MLS all announced that they would be closing off locker room access to media for the time being. The post game will now include a press conference like situation, as well as a roped off area to interview a player. What isn’t clear is who gets to decide who shows up to these from the team.

Major League Baseball has said that this is a temporary measure and things will go back to normal once the medical staff concludes it’s safe to have everyone in the locker room again. There’s a whole lot of reasons that this reasoning doesn’t add up, including the fact that the players will still be interacting with plenty of staff, medical people, team staff, clubbies, security, and so on. We’ll also gloss right on by the fact that while this is being done to “protect” the players, the owners and MLB the entity have said the plan is to move forward for now (though they did note it could change with more information) with fans in the stands, which means that they don’t really care about protecting them from the virus and it’s spread.

Jeff Passan had this tweet last night after MLB announced their plan of keeping media out of the locker rooms.

This is where things start to get interesting. What does it mean, exactly? Obviously it means that they could potentially move games elsewhere. It feels like this is in response to something like what happened to the San Jose Sharks, where their county is barring gatherings of more than 1000 people, and thus they could be forced to either postpone their games, or play them in an empty arena (empty meaning no fans – essential staff/tv crews/media would likely still be there).

In the Reds specific scenario, if Hamilton County were to do something similar – for example – perhaps an option would be to play those games on the road instead. Where, exactly, isn’t clear. Would they simply try to swap home/road series with the team they would have been facing? Would they explore playing games in available Triple-A stadiums that can seat 10,000 people? Not much of that is clear right now. And maybe it doesn’t get to that point. But it’s been discussed by the league and the owners and they apparently have some sort of working plan if needed.

Hey, at least we’re not all focused on this Houston Astros story anymore, right?

16 Responses

  1. donm10

    Prediction: Players in all leagues will love the media out of their dressing rooms and they will never set foot in there again. It’s a silly practice anyway.

    • CP

      Nah, the media in the dressing room is free marketing. MLB loves itself some free marketing.

  2. MK

    I am concerned for the players interaction with fans in autograph settings. I know in the past player have refused to use a pen the have seen the seeker hold in their mouths. The players are handed balls, cards, photos, hat and all kind of personal items to sign. Who knows what kind of germs are passed.

    • Doug Gray

      MLB sent out a memo about that last week – suggesting, but not requiring, that teams have pregame autograph sessions in the clubhouse where the sign a bunch of baseballs and then toss those to fans in the crowd rather than sign the fans items. I do not know if the Reds are doing this, but some teams have been.

    • Kevin Patrick

      I have spent the last couple months making sure that I have the entire 40 man roster and spring invites on baseball cards so that when my son and I go to Spring training next week, that we will be ready. I guess I made a mistake! Its hard to complain about trying to get Mike Moustakas and Freddy Galvis autographs on cards when people are dying. They’re going to look at my 11 year old like a rabid dog. lol. We collect cards… not baseballs.

      • Dfherrmann

        That’s sad. Especially if your son doesn’t fit understand the reason for new precautions.
        Hopefully this is temporary and the virus is contained.
        Crossing fingers and praying

    • Dfherrmann

      Gloves and masks.
      It may look impersonal but it allows fans their items signed and the players still deal with the public somewhat safely.

      • Doug Gray

        Unless literally everyone is wearing them, this isn’t going to work.

  3. Rut

    As someone who lives a mile from Biogen HQ — where they just had 5 people test positive for Covid-19 yesterday and I see their folks at lunch and grocery store all the time — whether or not media is allowed access to players or even if fans will be allowed to attend games is pretty low on the care factor here.

    All it takes is 1 or 2 players to get it and the games themselves will be cancelled or postponed anyway.

  4. RedsFan11

    As of today with the massive over the top paranoia the media spreads and the over abundance of caution teams are taking, I’d say we sit at 50/50 chance of OD being cancelled.

    If cases start popping up in the tri-state area will probably be a guarantee

  5. donm10

    Perhaps these are questions better posed elsewhere but- quarantining the population and cancelling events will obviously help stop the spread but is it actually better for overall health? I’ve often heard that things like the flu are rampant in the winter because people spend all their time cooped up indoors. Will the quarantine spike instances of regular flu and other diseases? Might the young and healthy among us be better off going out, getting the virus, and allowing their bodies to build resilience toward it? As pro athletes are generally healthy people, is the real risk to the fans and media? Interesting times for sure.

    • Doug Gray

      No, young people getting the virus is not better because they spread it to the vulnerable, who will die.

      • donm10

        Sadly Doug, you are right. But the question was if the young and healthy would be better off. I unfortunately see this as one of those situations where what is best for society will not be best for everyone. And no matter how many events are cancelled people are still going to have to interact with one another. Dark statements and I apologize for going beyond the baseball discussion. Tough Decisions, for sure, and I wish you all and your loved ones the best of health.

      • donm10

        Hopefully all the campus area bars are well stocked because that’s where many of them are going to be.

  6. RedNat

    Hopefully this is a lesson to mlb to start the season later like it used to be. March is still prime flu season and i suspect this will be a yearly occurrence from here on out. Even if it isnt coronavirus and a bad flu season instead.

    I used to love when opening day was the same day as the ncaa championship game. Greatest sports day of the year and the official start of spring

  7. RedsFan11

    Updating previous estimate to 99% chance OD is cancelled.