PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – MAY 11
By Leo Haggerty

THIS IS A BAD DECISION

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 terse memo to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred.  Back off the idea of restarting the 2020 season.  It’s an extremely bad idea and here’s why.

In case you haven’t been following along, people are dying at a rate of between 2,000 and 3,000 A DAY.  Also, with the country starting to move away from the “shelter in place” mode to an opening of businesses, that number will undoubtedly go higher in the next couple of months. You can almost “Book that, Dan-O” for sure.

MLB needs to take note of what just transpired with the latest attempt for competitive sports to return.  That was last Saturday when UFC 249 debuted in Jacksonville.

The event was staged in front of no fans.  To say it was lacking the buzz of a normal UFC extravaganza is an understatement but there was a bigger problem.

Give the UFC credit.  They gave it a shot but I would strongly suggest they rethink another event for the following reason for the following reason.

The UFC had to do somewhere around 1,200 Covid-19 tests just to insure that a twelve-fight card could take place.  My assumption would be that this encompassed about 100 fighters and referees as well as cornermen along with UFC officials plus media members.

To their credit, the UFC was able to identify one of its combatants, and two of his cornermen, as having the coronavirus.  They were, according to UFC officials, immediately quarantined after that positive test result.

Now, here’s my complaint.  The UFC used, conservatively, over a thousand COVID-19 test procedures to put on 249 in Florida.  That was over 1,000 tests kits that could have gone to doctors and nurses that are on the front line fighting the pandemic. Are you starting to follow me here?

So, as I always say, do the math.  With 30 teams, MLB would be running through an average of at least 3,000 test DAILY.  That comes to 21,000 over a seven-day period that cannot be used elsewhere and, to me, that’s just totally unacceptable.

Commission Manfred, and the owners, must decide if taking that many COVID-19 tests away from the general public is worth playing baseball.  Add to that the fact that the contests will be played in EMPTY stadiums that aren’t even located in the team’s home venue.  Who thinks that’s a good idea?

Plus, the Major League Baseball Players Association has to sign off on any plan especially when it puts its members in harms way.  Can’t see MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark recommending this to the rank and file.

Let’s review.  The Big Leagues will be hijacking a multitudinous amount of coronavirus testing supplies that could be used by the populous just to play a game.  That’s a big negative.

Add to that the fact that all individuals involved will be at risk.  God forbid, someone passes away who contracted the virus at one of the venues.  That would be a public relations nightmare that MLB may never recover.

In my mind, this is no-brainer for MLB.  Wake up and accept the reality of the situation.  Don’t choose money over lives because that’s the perception you will be giving to everyone.

It’s simply just not safe.  The risk isn’t worth the reward.

Hopefully, MLB, you’re listening.  Do the right thing, please.