Hope all of you are doing well. I’m bunkered in West Chester, OH, twenty miles north of an idle Great American Ball Park. Would love to hear each of you check-in in the comments section. Please stay home as much as you can and stay safe.
[Featured image: https://twitter.com/Reds/status/1237756193042554880/photo/3]
Negotiate the New CBA Now
The billionaire MLB owners and millionaire players of the MLBPA should use the opportunity forced on them by COVID to negotiate the next CBA beyond 2021. Make sacrifices. Fans need good news from the sport.
There is zero chance the negotiators can today guess when baseball might resume. So start by assuming the 2020 season will be a wipeout and work comprehensively on service time, salaries, etc. based on that for a new long-term CBA.
If it ends there’s a chance to play a short season in 2020 (which I doubt) negotiate that on the spot. Negotiating now about any configuration of the 2020 season when so much uncertainty exists whether it will be played at all is a waste of time.
If the 2020 season is cancelled, the time spent dickering over various partial season proposals — instead of working on a sound long-term deal — will have been wasted.
Doubtful There Will be Baseball in 2020
The reason I’m pessimistic about any baseball season in 2020 — and I’ve never hoped more to be wrong about something — is I don’t see the *end* of the virus being tidy enough to permit crowds for a long time. And we’re nowhere near the end now. The impact here has barely begun.
Only three public health fixes will make it safe for fans to get back in a crowd: (1) vaccine, (2) effective anti-viral treatment, (3) universal, cheap self-testing with strict quarantine of people who test positive.
Until we have one of those scientific breakthroughs, people who haven’t had the virus (and we’re hoping that’s the vast majority of people) won’t feel safe in crowds, nor should public health officials allow it.
Could MLB be resumed without crowds? Sure. But it’s hard to see players, coaches and support staff be asked to be around each other in groups if it isn’t safe for the average fan to be there. They have families, too, including parents and grandparents.
If MLB was somehow resumed, one positive test result among an active player or coach would undercut the season. Two-week quarantines would be required for everyone in that organization and also opposing teams.
So while certain limited aspects of our lives may resume in a few months when the incidence of COVID drops, it’s hard to see how mass gatherings like sporting events could be part of that.
It’s up to science to deliver one of those fixes. Social distancing and other public health steps we all take will help bide time to get there.