PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – APRIL 7
By Leo Haggerty
HUGE FOUL BALL FOR MLB
First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.
A quick and concise memo to Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association. As Steven Malcolm sings, “What Was You Thinking” with this plan to start the 2020 season in May with contests in Arizona.
Now, I want to applaud MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA President Tony Clark for thinking “outside the box” in an attempt to bring America’s pastime back as soon as possible. In my opinion, there are three massive reasons why this plan would be a Pandora’s box that should not be implemented.
Here’s the first, and probably the biggest reason this plan is ticketed for failure. This isn’t just a quarantine. It’s a deployment.
You are asking all team personnel to relocate to Arizona. You are asking them to only travel to and from the venues where the games are played. You are asking them to, for the rest of the day, be sequestered in their hotel rooms. Are you seeing the same problems that I am?
I don’t think the powers that be with the MLB and the MLBPA have taken the opinion of one major stakeholder group. That’s the players wives and significant others.
Here’s a scenario that will happen if this plan is enacted. A player will be leaving their wife/significant other who, in a majority of cases, have multiple small children that are in their home 24/7 for five months with a good possibility that they will be the only caregiver.
I think if you poll the player’s wives/significant others on if they’re onboard with this outcome, the answer wouldn’t be no. It would be hell no and maybe a little stronger verbiage. Enough said there.
The second problem is the Coronavirus itself. If COVID-19 rears its ugly head and infects any of the individuals participating in the “Arizona Experiment”, what happens then?
Do you quarantine an entire team for 14 days? Hey, here’s even bigger problems. What do you do if a couple of umpires test positive? What if a media member, who will undoubtedly be covering the events, is found to be symptomatic? Quite a dilemma, correct?.
The final part of the paradox is logistics. Is there enough hotel space to accommodate 30 Big League teams for the duration of the season in case teams cannot return to their home cities?
We’re not just talking about players and coaches here. There’s a plethora of auxiliary personnel that are vital to franchises so they stay up and running.
Hey, guys. I know you want to get back to playing baseball and, on paper, this looks like a doable solution. In reality, as I have outlined above, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
No one is faulting you for trying. This is just a plan that has more risks than rewards.
So, put the pin back in the grenade before it goes off and come up with a Plan B. It’s the prudent thing to do.