More details are beginning to roll out about the agreement between Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association with regards to the 2020 season. We wrote about some of it earlier – how the money is being handled, how the service time will be handled, a little bit about the draft, and more. But Jeff Passan of ESPN reported more on Friday afternoon about what the two sides agreed upon with regards to when they could begin playing games again – and it’s pretty complicated.
* The caveat agreed to by the players and league is that they will consider playing games at neutral sites instead of home ballparks — and will consider the feasibility of playing in empty stadiums and just how proper a solution it may be for both sides and especially fans.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 27, 2020
Right now there are bans all over the country on mass gatherings. And there’s a reason for that. A soccer match in Italy back in February is believed to be a major reason that the virus spread so quickly in their country, and in a specific town. If we are going to “flatten the curve” on this thing, we need to prolong the spread of it. That’s why we are all being told, and in some cases forced, to keep our distance from each other.
On one hand, it seems that both the owners and players want games to take place with fans. That’s great and all, but you have to also wonder about the risk – and right now it just seems like considering that is pretty crazy. But it also seems that at some point the two sides understand that they may have to reconsider that idea and play in empty stadiums.
That’s happening in both Korea and Japan right now during their versions of spring training, but we’re already running into a problem. Three players in Japan have recently tested positive for the coronavirus/COVID-19. That, however, isn’t stopping the team and league from planning to try and move forward for a start date of their season of April 24th.
The fact that this happened in Japan brings that last part that Passan tweeted up front. “Medical experts determine games will not pose a risk to health of teams and fans”.
We know that this virus is causing damage to the lungs of people who aren’t even among those who need to be hospitalized from it. The “young and healthy” are at lesser risk, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t see symptoms or face real issues (not to mention that if you have it you can give it to others). Olympic Gold Medalist swimmer Cameron van der Burgh is 31-years-old and has noted his struggles with the virus in the last week, noting that even walking has led to serious fatigue and exhaustion for hours.
You may always be able to get some slightly differing opinions from doctors – but it feels safe to say that what we know right now suggests that until there’s a vaccine available, there’s going to be some risk to the health of teams, right?
Right now it seems that Major League Baseball has ideas of what would allow them to get to a point where they could play games. The issue at hand is that we don’t have much of an idea of when those “qualifications” can be met.