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Thursday, March 05, 2020

Coronavirus Risk Raises Questions About MLB London Series

The status of a potential coronavirus outbreak is raising questions about a pair of Major League Baseball games slated for London in June, as teams brace for possible scheduling and travel changes.

Following last year’s pair of regular-season matchups between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox at London Stadium (pictured above), MLB is slated to return this season with a two-game series between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. That series, scheduled for June 13-14, is still on for now, but the risks surrounding coronavirus are raising questions about whether MLB and the two teams will not move forward with the London appearance.

For the time being, MLB has not made any scheduling changes or imposed travel restrictions because of coronavirus, and continues to consult with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health organizations. It also has not delved into hypotheticals, including the possibility of cancelling the London series, but all indications are that teams are preparing for the possibility of changes to scheduling and travel.

 

QLE Posted: March 05, 2020 at 12:51 AM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: coronavirus, london, neutral site games

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   1. Jack Sommers Posted: March 05, 2020 at 09:18 AM (#5928272)
They don't mention the Padres DBacks series in Mexico April 18-19

Anyway, all it's going to take is one player contracting the virus to shut things down.
   2. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: March 05, 2020 at 09:37 AM (#5928275)
Derek Bell thinks it won't take even that.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 05, 2020 at 09:49 AM (#5928280)
Anyway, all it's going to take is one player contracting the virus to shut things down.

Shut down MLB, over one player? No way. If you follow that standard, you'll have everyone locked up in their homes within a couple of weeks.
   4. Jack Sommers Posted: March 05, 2020 at 11:52 AM (#5928308)
Oh really ?

MLB clubhouses are like petri dishes. If one active player in a clubhouse contracts the virus the entire lockeroom probably needs to be quarantined and every player coach clubby team personnel and even media members that have been there should/would be tested.

And if one team can’t report to work, none can.

This stuff can flip on a dime. Just because we are woefully behind the curve in testing, prevention and preparation doesnt mean we are immune from sudden and massive lockdowns.
   5. PreservedFish Posted: March 05, 2020 at 12:07 PM (#5928312)
A player with coronavirus would certainly be sent home. I think they'd wait for more than that to actually cancel the games.

   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 05, 2020 at 12:35 PM (#5928319)
Just because we are woefully behind the curve in testing, prevention and preparation doesnt mean we are immune from sudden and massive lockdowns.

No, but because of our civil liberties we are immune from sudden and massive lockdowns. Unless you're actively infected the Gov't generally doesn't have the right to quarantine you. All the quarantines of suspected contact cases are voluntary.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 05, 2020 at 12:40 PM (#5928321)
A player with coronavirus would certainly be sent home. I think they'd wait for more than that to actually cancel the games.

Agreed. Based on foreign examples, they'll probably play in empty stadiums before cancelling the games.

Given the small number of players, and they're all concentrated in spring camps, it's probably fairly easy to monitor their health daily, and quarantine anyone with symptoms.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: March 05, 2020 at 12:58 PM (#5928323)
And players, healthy young adults, are among the lowest risk groups. Sure, a clubhouse is probably a cesspool of viruses and infections, but so is a cafeteria, a bathroom, a bus, etc.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: March 05, 2020 at 12:59 PM (#5928324)
they're all concentrated in ... camps

And people say we can't enact draconian China-style measures.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 05, 2020 at 01:35 PM (#5928330)
And people say we can't enact draconian China-style measures.

Well, you can, as long as you pay everyone a minimum of $500G p.a. to be there :-)
   11. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: March 05, 2020 at 02:29 PM (#5928349)
What % of revenue in MLB is a function of at/around game attendance? Gotta be higher than the other major sports.
   12. Spahn Insane Posted: March 05, 2020 at 02:29 PM (#5928350)
No, but because of our civil liberties we are immune from sudden and massive lockdowns. Unless you're actively infected the Gov't generally doesn't have the right to quarantine you. All the quarantines of suspected contact cases are voluntary.

Which has exactly nothing to do with whether MLB might decide on such a "lockdown" of its own volition as to its own employees.
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 05, 2020 at 03:03 PM (#5928357)
A player with coronavirus would certainly be sent home.
Guaranteed it will be Brandon Morrow. He's probably already at home anyway.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 05, 2020 at 03:15 PM (#5928362)

Which has exactly nothing to do with whether MLB might decide on such a "lockdown" of its own volition as to its own employees.


That's not a "lockdown". MLB has no authority to force its players to remain home.

They can cancel games, that's it.
   15. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: March 05, 2020 at 03:16 PM (#5928363)
Guaranteed it will be Brandon Morrow. He's probably already at home anyway.

I hope you already know he's already suffered 2 separate injuries this spring.
   16. RJ in TO Posted: March 05, 2020 at 03:34 PM (#5928365)
I assume both those injuries involved stepping on rakes.
   17. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: March 05, 2020 at 06:28 PM (#5928392)
No, but because of our civil liberties we are immune from sudden and massive lockdowns. Unless you're actively infected the Gov't generally doesn't have the right to quarantine you. All the quarantines of suspected contact cases are voluntary.


Well I'm sure when you walk into work next week with a fever and cough none of your fellow workers will be overly impressed with you carrying on about how no one will infringe on your civil liberties dammit!

The issue is that people with mild symptoms of maybe just a cold aren't really sure if they should self quarantine or not, it's a bit tricky right now for everyone.

A player with coronavirus would certainly be sent home.


Thankfully Nick Johnson is still no longer active, he'd have died from this thing by now.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: March 05, 2020 at 06:28 PM (#5928393)
And if one team can’t report to work, none can.

Huh? If one team can't report to work then one game gets cancelled each day in that period. Obviously they'd start testing everybody else ASAP, maybe they shut down everybody for as long as that takes (one week?), then off we go. MLB will come up with some adjustment for dealing with the fact that some teams have missed more early games than others (assuming it lasts into the regular season). I assume MLB has a contingency plan in case a team dies in a plane crash and they'd implement a minor version of that.

Now if it spreads so quickly that it's across MLB, that's a different story.

What % of revenue in MLB is a function of at/around game attendance? Gotta be higher than the other major sports.

Certainly higher than NFL but I suspect not that much higher than NBA and NHL now.** A huge shift in MLB has occurred in the last CBA (or was it 2 CBAs ago) -- every team now gets about $200 M in central/shared revenue while keeping just 52% of their local revenue. (If you are a relatively low-drawing team, this works to your advantage ... well, the central revenue works to everybody's advantage, the shared bit works to your advantage if you're a low-drawing team.

Now if there are no fans allowed then the local revenue is only the local TV revenue and nobody will be getting $200 M in central/shared revenue. I can imagine they might even waive/alter the shared revenue bit during such a period. A trickier question is how much the players get paid if there are no ticket sales.

** The NFL is the most extreme because every game is covered by a network contract -- i.e. no local TV rights to sell. Also with just 16 games (or is it more now), all on a weekend or at night, it's not that hard to (nearly) sell out every game no matter how much you stink so local tix/concessions revenues are probably prettty close. That's why you can go years with no team in LA and keep one in Green Bay -- the market advantages of LA relative to Green Bay aren't anywhere near as massive as they "should" be. The NFL is corporate socialism at its finest (don't tell anybody).

The NBA and NHL are closer to MLB with multiple games per week and most games broadcast on the RSN not as part of a national contract. Still every game either weekend or night (no getaway afternoon games necessary). I don't know what the NBA and NHL local revenue sharing agreements are relative to MLB. Of course their stadia are smaller so average attendance per game I assume is lower, don't know how ticket prices compare, the ratio of TV viewers to in-person viewers might be higher which would suggest a lower reliance on attendance. But I'm guessing they are in similar ballparks. (I realize that could be taken as a pun but I don't think anybody could find that humorous or witty so it's not intended as a pun. YMMV)
   19. Zach Posted: March 05, 2020 at 06:55 PM (#5928398)
I imagine the audience for daytime television could be very large in the next few weeks.
   20. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 05, 2020 at 07:18 PM (#5928402)
Well I'm sure when you walk into work next week with a fever and cough none of your fellow workers will be overly impressed with you carrying on about how no one will infringe on your civil liberties dammit!


I'm not saying what an individual should do. Of course you should stay home if you're at all sick.

I'm just saying that the Gov't can't enforce mass lockdowns, and that's a good thing.
   21. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: March 05, 2020 at 08:37 PM (#5928411)
I'm just saying that the Gov't can't enforce mass lockdowns, and that's a good thing.

I've read numerous articles that contradict this directly. For example:
In the U.S., quarantine is the most extreme use of government power over people who have committed no crime. As a legal matter, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized a seemingly unlimited local power to quarantine as early as 1824, in the case Gibbons v. Ogden. It reaffirmed this power in 1900, noting that “from an early day the power of the States to enact and enforce quarantine laws for the safety and the protection of the health of their inhabitants … is beyond question.”

Government officials can prevent travel, require vaccinations, make people submit to medical exams, and commandeer private property. Even those who are not sick can be ordered into quarantine—confined to their home or another location with others who may also have been exposed to a virus. When quarantine is medically justified, individual rights give way to the greater good. As the Court stated in Jacobson v. Massachusetts in 1905, “Upon the principle of self-defense, of paramount necessity, a community has the right to protect itself against an epidemic of disease which threatens the safety of its members.” The constitutional structure tolerates such substantial restriction of liberties for at least a limited time in a true public-health emergency. That said, constitutional protections during quarantine do exist. For example, health officials must use the least restrictive means consistent with medical guidance, and the government must have good reason to believe you’ve been exposed.

   22. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: March 05, 2020 at 09:03 PM (#5928413)
18 - point of clarification on my question, walt (and thanks for weighing in!) - I was thinking in aggregate, versus for each team (so, gate sharing is moot here). the other thing is that i'm also thinking of team-held revenues beyond tickets (so, concessions, neighboring businesses owned by the team, and so on)
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 05, 2020 at 09:04 PM (#5928414)
I've read numerous articles that contradict this directly. For example:

I would hope a modern Supreme Court would disagree. That kind of Gov't power is far more dangerous than any virus. At one point the Supreme Court was peachy keen with involuntarily sterilizing the mentally retarded. I'd take anything that Oliver Wendle Holmes had a hand in with a huge pile of salt.

I also suspect that a modern Gov't would never do it. People will quarantine themselves readily enough. If an epidemic is bad in any one place, people will stay home on their own. Real quarantine can be reserved for the actually infected.

   24. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: March 05, 2020 at 09:24 PM (#5928419)
That kind of Gov't power is far more dangerous than any virus.

The 1918 influenza outbreak literally may have killed 5% of the human population. That's a high end estimate, but even if it's something like half that, you're talking about 8 million Americans dead.

As for modern Supreme Courts, you're old enough to remember Ford ordering the swine flu shot.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 05, 2020 at 09:37 PM (#5928422)
The 1918 influenza outbreak literally may have killed 5% of the human population. That's a high end estimate, but even if it's something like half that, you're talking about 8 million Americans dead.

That's just scare mongering. I wrote a White Paper on the influenza for a previous employer that was taking lots of life insurance risk.

The 1918-19 influenza killed 600,000 Americans (or 0.6 deaths per 1000 people). That's with a rudimentary health care system, half the medical professionals overseas due to WW1, mass over-crowding (also due to the war), and Gov't censorship hindering any real response because it was "bad for morale". The Gov't literally insisted on continuing a War Bond rally in Philadelphia while the virus was running amok.

The critical difference is this virus isn't airborne. It's nothing like as contagious. If only 20% of people confined to a cruise ship caught it, it's nothing like the danger that an avian flu is.

If you actually had an airborne, avian flu type virus, with severe mortality, maybe you could get 0.2-0.3 death per 1000, which would be 1 million people. Without airborne transmission that's virtually impossible. You need extended contact with an infected person.

As for modern Supreme Courts, you're old enough to remember Ford ordering the swine flu shot.

Then you're old enough to know it was halted after people started getting sick and dying from the vaccine.

In any case, if you want to give Donald Trump the power to impose mandatory quarantines on Election day, I won't argue with you too strenuously.
   26. homerwannabee Posted: March 05, 2020 at 09:42 PM (#5928423)
I've seen other countries. The U.S. is woefully behind. The fact that we have only cancelled less than 1 out of a thousand sporting events is scary.
I predict that only after we hit 5,000 cases will the U.S. start to crack down.
Italy with 3,000 cases has already banned fan attendence for two weeks.
But Americans are hard headed. So only when things get dire will we respond.
   27. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 05, 2020 at 11:13 PM (#5928437)
I hope you already know he's already suffered 2 separate injuries this spring.
Exactly. That's why he's already home.
   28. BrianBrianson Posted: March 06, 2020 at 08:07 AM (#5928458)
If you actually had an airborne, avian flu type virus, with severe mortality, maybe you could get 0.2-0.3 death per 1000, which would be 1 million people. Without airborne transmission that's virtually impossible. You need extended contact with an infected person.


It depends, because some details aren't yet understood, but it looks like the fact that symptoms are really mild to almost non-existent in the young is really pushing the transmission rate up because people aren't realising they're infected, and it seems like you stay contagious for a long time. Yeah, transmission isn't super-easy, but it seems like everything else works to make it particularly rough. So, at least a few million deaths in the States is plausible.

I would guess at this point, there are simply too many people infected in too many places to make quarantine practical at all. But our knowledge of where it's broken out is driven a lot by where we're testing, and probably less by where it's occurring, and so we may bounce along thinking quarantine for a while.
   29. villageidiom Posted: March 06, 2020 at 12:19 PM (#5928528)
It would be fitting if the Field of Dreams game has to be played in front of zero fans because of the virus. Just a bunch of ballplayers, and ghosts.
   30. giannis Posted: March 06, 2020 at 12:54 PM (#5928544)
have they played in London before?
   31. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: March 06, 2020 at 12:58 PM (#5928546)
It would be fitting if the Field of Dreams game has to be played in front of zero fans because of the virus. Just a bunch of ballplayers, and ghosts.
Eh, they have a doctor on-premises.
   32. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: March 06, 2020 at 03:15 PM (#5928585)
Yeah, but he is playing RF.
   33. Srul Itza Posted: March 06, 2020 at 03:47 PM (#5928592)
So, at least a few million deaths in the States is plausible.


Yeah, if ever single person in America gets it.

Not likely, based on current studies in other infected areas.
   34. . Posted: March 06, 2020 at 04:01 PM (#5928594)
In any case, if you want to give Donald Trump the power to impose mandatory quarantines on Election day, I won't argue with you too strenuously.


You know what? -- November is a long way still, but if there are still quarantines and the like in place, the election could be complete chaos. There could be drum-beating to postpone it, there could be a situation where there are, say, 300,000 people under quarantine in PA and Trump wins it by 20,000 votes, etc. The legitimacy of a Trump re-election is already hanging by threads in the eyes of the opposition.

I'm not sure the republic can withstand another totally chaotic election. This thing really does have the chance to be a major cultural watershed.
   35. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 06, 2020 at 06:18 PM (#5928622)
Even merely for the primaries, every state that hasn’t gone yet should be figuring out how to enable people who are quarantined to vote.
   36. Howie Menckel Posted: March 06, 2020 at 07:39 PM (#5928628)
have they played in London before?

Yankees-Red Sox last year.

the Yankees won 17-13 and 12-8, which is not far behind the scoring in some of the NFL games over there.
   37. Snowboy Posted: March 06, 2020 at 10:14 PM (#5928642)
The Smiths - Panic (Official Music Video)

Panic in the streets of London...
(And if you sing it as "Hang the DH" it still works. YMMV.)
   38. Jack Sommers Posted: March 12, 2020 at 02:31 AM (#5929816)
Shut down MLB, over one player? No way. If you follow that standard, you'll have everyone locked up in their homes within a couple of weeks.


As you can see, MLB is on the precipice of delaying the start of the season. And that's without a player testing positive yet, which of course will happen sooner or later.

And yes....we are about a week, maybe two away from lock down.

Case
Case
Cluster
Cluser
Boom

The exponential aspect of this thing is literally off the charts.

A player with coronavirus would certainly be sent home. I think they'd wait for more than that to actually cancel the games.


So as we've ween tonight with the NBA.......all it takes is one.

I stand by my initial comment.

   39. PreservedFish Posted: March 12, 2020 at 08:13 AM (#5929835)
Looks like you were right, and I was wrong.

Gobert's diagnosis hastened things, obviously, but the element I didn't grasp last week was how quickly we'd get to the point where all large gatherings would be seen as an undue hazard. The NBA was going to be playing in front of ghost crowds pretty soon. At that point it's like why bother? MLB could easily postpone Opening Day before any player is diagnosed.
   40. Rusty Priske Posted: March 12, 2020 at 08:47 AM (#5929845)
So, at least a few million deaths in the States is plausible.



Yeah, if ever single person in America gets it.

Not likely, based on current studies in other infected areas.


This is wrong.

I worked out the plausible death toll in Canada, and in the U.S. it would be MUCH higher due to the larger population.

If the numbers hold (which I admit they likely will not - due to people taking this very seriously), Canada is expected to have an infection rate of 35-70%. Taking the conservative amount of 35%, along with the reported 3.4% mortality rate, that is nearly 450,000 deaths. In Canada.

What multiplier will the U.S. get for population? How much for the president actively misleading the populace?

Again, I am not claiming it will be that high, but it is plausible. Anyone saying that it is being blown out of proportion is wrong.
   41. PreservedFish Posted: March 12, 2020 at 09:02 AM (#5929847)
About .2% of the Diamond Princess passengers have died. That cruise ship was a natural closed experiment, and exposure would have been as close to universal as possible. Therefore we do not need to worry about infection rates. I assume the passengers skew older, and probably plenty of the underlying conditions that make the infection extra dangerous. But perhaps not many actual, like, 90 year olds. I dunno.

0.2% of the US population is 650,000. I'm betting that's higher than reality, hopefully much higher, but it's plausible.
   42. BrianBrianson Posted: March 12, 2020 at 09:12 AM (#5929848)
The Diamond Princess probably skews fairly old, but probably also got way better medical care than you could plausibly expect if the infection rate in the US becomes the ~20% it was on that ship. So, it's a sensible starting point, but it's not realistically an upper limit.

It's also kind of small number statistics, but let's say it represents 500k-1M Americans dying. I could take that as a plausible baseline expectation if the virus really breaks out.
   43. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 12, 2020 at 09:40 AM (#5929855)
Why bother playing in front of ghost crowds? Pretty soon you’re going to have a captive TV audience afraid to leave their homes.

But yeah, the risk to the players and their families is something to consider, obviously.
   44. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: March 12, 2020 at 09:46 AM (#5929857)
If I were the publishers of "MLB The Show", I'd be setting up some kind of virtual league in anticipation of a delayed start to the real baseball season. See if you can get a few MLB players signed up, stream the games live on Twitch and YouTube. Any suspension is probably going to be for more than a couple of weeks.
   45. Welcome to Gator Hammock (CoB). Posted: March 12, 2020 at 10:00 AM (#5929860)
#41 Someone linked it in the other thread, but the American Hospital Association gave a webinar on 2/26 and their person put his estimate at ~480,000
   46. Sunday silence Posted: March 15, 2020 at 11:25 PM (#5930822)
That cruise ship was a natural closed experiment, and exposure would have been as close to universal as possible.


no. the passengers were quarantined at some pt. so that probably limited the exposure to some extent. Further complicating the matter is that the US is now taking steps to close down lots of activities to maybe that makes it comparable to what was happening there. There's lots of factors here its hard to speak in broad generalities.

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