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Wednesday, April 01, 2020

When the Game Cannot Go On

It’s becoming clear that leaving your jacket behind was a mistake.

The sun has been giving this mid-March day a Fourth of July tint all afternoon, and you’ve been waiting all winter to brave the outdoors free from layers. That sun was still out when you got to the ballpark just before 5 pm, and the air felt mild, so you left your jacket in the car. You should have known better. The high school baseball game you’re watching probably wasn’t going to end until 7:30, when the sun was nearly gone — along with whatever lies it promised you about warmth.

Now, that 7:30 final out is beginning to feel wildly optimistic. One of the starting pitchers had trouble throwing strikes in the first inning, needing 33 pitches to get through it, according to your count. The second inning is shaping up to be even worse. The same pitcher hit the first batter, and has walked three more to force home a run.

Really, it isn’t his fault. He isn’t going to pitch in the majors, or even in college. He isn’t a baseball player at all, really. He’s just playing the part, like so many other kids you’ve seen, happy for any chance to be outside with his friends.



QLE Posted: April 01, 2020 at 01:31 AM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fans, high school baseball

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   1. The Duke Posted: April 01, 2020 at 10:46 AM (#5935473)
A lot can happen in 4 weeks. But if baseball sticks to refusing to play without fans In the stands, it will be a long long wait. I wish Trump and Trudeau would force them to come back to provide some entertainment.
   2. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: April 01, 2020 at 10:56 AM (#5935478)
Has MLB said they won’t play in empty stadiums? I hadn’t heard that. Obviously we are nowhere near playing even in empty stadiums yet but at some point it’s going to be necessary to have a season.
   3. Jay Seaver Posted: April 01, 2020 at 02:50 PM (#5935583)
Not as such, but it was reported that the players were unwilling to come back until the various bans on large gatherings were lifted and there could be fans in the stands. It's a difference that may be splitting hairs, but which I suppose could give them the room to say "we're comfortable with people we know in the confines of a dugout or bullpen, but won't risk getting thousands of strangers together".

Like I said in the other thread, practically speaking, it's a pretty good way to use the language of being concerned about the fans while also saying "look, you're not going to cram 50 of us into Fenway Park's visiting clubhouse until we know that every last Covid-19 virus in North America is destroyed".
   4. Karl from NY Posted: April 01, 2020 at 03:03 PM (#5935587)
Has MLB said they won’t play in empty stadiums?

Not officially, but there's been a few offhand comments that they don't want to. One reason is they have insurance coverage for cancelled events, but playing without fans doesn't trigger that.
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 01, 2020 at 04:56 PM (#5935633)
I think events have moved faster than the planning. When MLB canceled spring training, they initially postponed the start of the regular season for only 2 weeks, which seems ridiculously optimistic in retrospect. Same for players opting to stay at spring training sites so they would be ready for the resumption of the schedule. The agreement of MLB & the MLBPA on playing when mass gatherings were allowed and travel restrictions were lifted was made pretty early, and it now seems more likely that there could be games without spectators, or severe restrictions on them. I suspect MLB and the Players Union are researching all the options, and will eventually go with whatever allows for the earliest start to the season with reasonable safety. They probably need another month to have any idea of what is realistic.
   6. The Duke Posted: April 01, 2020 at 09:54 PM (#5935702)
According to Passan, the agreement says that games won't resume until there are no bans on mass gatherings that would limit the ability to play in front of fans, that there are no travel restrictions and that medical experts determine games wouldn't pose a health risk to organizations or spectators.

This was reported on March 26. That feels like a lifetime ago but it was only a week.
   7. . Posted: April 02, 2020 at 07:10 AM (#5935733)
According to Passan, the agreement says that games won't resume until there are no bans on mass gatherings that would limit the ability to play in front of fans, that there are no travel restrictions and that medical experts determine games wouldn't pose a health risk to organizations or spectators.

If that's accurate, there is no chance of a baseball season in 2020. There's literally zero chance games can be organized in 2020 such that the COVID risk to fans, players, workers is zero. That's probably not even going to be likely in 2021.

For all of us who are sports fans, the reality of all of this is that mass gatherings like baseball crowds are going to be, and should be, the very last thing to come back fully on-line, surpassed only by things like indoor mass gatherings like basketball crowds. And at this point, more things are still going off-line -- see, e.g., NYC playgrounds -- so we're really not even at the end of the beginning. We're weeks away from even dipping our toes into liberalizing anything at all. It's going to take a fundamental shift in risk perception and aversion to even think of pro sports in 2020. COVID isn't going to just go away.
   8. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 02, 2020 at 08:20 AM (#5935744)
I guess it will be a long summer of Lotte Giants intrasquad games on youtube.

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