While most of the rest of the world has gone through at least some sort of shut down of professional sports, along with many other limited activities, Nicaragua was not really doing that. Monica Garcia Peralta of Havana Times is reporting about the consequences with regards to professional baseball on this, which has led to the death of a coach in the league and nearly half of a team contracting the virus, leaving some hospitalized.
On the morning of May 21, at a hospital in Masaya, Carlos Aranda, a coach of the San Fernando baseball team, died, after being on a respirator since the previous weekend with symptoms of coronavirus, according to league sources.
(from further down in the article)
Aranda was one of three members of San Fernando attended with Covid-19, out of a total of nine who suffered from the symptoms, reported EFE. The other eight remain in hospitals or under home quarantine. San Fernando had asked the sports authorities to suspend the series that took place last weekend against Managua’s Boer team, due to the Covid-19 cases presented by the team, but the authorities only agreed to reschedule a game for Sunday.
The players of both clubs played with masks, but the San Fernando team lost the series because it had to use outfielders as pitchers, due to lack of personnel.
Yes, you are reading that correctly. Nine players on one team couldn’t play because they were sick, the league refused to suspend/postpone/cancel the series and told the team that they must play.
Baseball Prospectus Research and Development Guru Harry Pavlidis shared this with me from a game that was being held on May 3rd:
I took this screenshot while watching a game last week or so. I was in shock. pic.twitter.com/npbFRuftpo
— Harry Pavlidis and one dog, at a safe distance (@harrypav) May 24, 2020
Obviously Major League Baseball isn’t going to have fans like this anytime soon. And unlike the league in Nicaragua, MLB is taking far more precautions with staff and personnel (or at least they plan to if they get around to playing this year) – but this is a situation that they should be paying attention to because of how quickly this could spread within one dugout or clubhouse.
Japan given the go-ahead to begin planning a season
Kaz Nagatsuka of the Japan Times is reporting that the Nippon Professional Baseball league and the J. League have been given the go-ahead to start planning their seasons. For now that will include games without fans.
The medical experts stressed, however, that the leagues would be required to keep paying close attention in order to prevent infections for the players, staff, their families and fans.
NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito described revised guidelines for preventing the spread of the coronavirus as being “about 80 pages.” They have been updated since their original creation in early April to include several new protocols, including how to deal with players potentially being reinfected with the virus after initially recovering. Concerns over lack of rest for players resulting in potentially weaker immune systems were also raised.
Also, the panel insisted the leagues should administer tests, including PCR and antigen tests, to all players.
It seems that the NPB is in a similar boat to MLB in their planning on how to plan on getting the testing protocols, separation of non-field level players during the game and things like that. What’s interesting here is that there were concerns about a lack of rest for players potentially resulting in a weaker immune system. That doesn’t seem to be on MLB’s radar, who has floated out the idea of double headers and rare off-days as they try to get in as many games as possible. Just an interesting difference at this point.