On Saturday, all pro sports commissioners met with President Donald Trump on a conference call. Fans eagerly awaited the results from the conference call, and there were quick speculations throughout the afternoon. Baseball fans split down the middle between worried and relieved. The result didn’t solve the question of if and when the 2020 season would start, but it did somewhat provide a little clarity. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Trump hopes to have fans back in the stands between August and September. Therefore, the NFL season, as of right now, is still on schedule. However, there hasn’t been a confirmation by medical experts if this is a realistic timeline. Also, Gavin Newsome, the governor of California, feels differently. He stated that he doesn’t expect that projection to happen. All of this begs the question: when will Texas Rangers and MLB come back?
California Governor Gavin Newsom's full response when asked if he anticipated the NFL to open in August or September with full stadiums: pic.twitter.com/5gpk76kfsH
— LindseyThiry (@LindseyThiry) April 4, 2020
The easy answer is that no one knows. However, the projection for resuming baseball still sits at June 1st. If we are going by that timeframe and President Trump’s projection, then you’re looking at two months of fan-less stands; however, from the Rangers perspective, they’d be playing Globe Life Field’s inaugural game without a single fan in the stands. Players have gone on record saying they want to play with fans in the stands. Though it may be a choice of one or the other, and not both.
Some previous suggestions
There was discussion about teams playing in Spring Training facilities, but there are some issues that come with that idea. First, most teams share a facility with another (Rangers/Royals, Cardinals/Marlins, Reds/Indians, etc.), so scheduling would be a nightmare. Also, fifteen teams play in Arizona and fifteen in Florida. Therefore, one team is off every day, or a team is traveling to the opposite side of the country. Either idea creates havoc on the schedule makers and health of each organization. Plus, if each park features fans-less stands, there’s a risk of assembly at the front of each park, cutting away the social distancing and starting back at square one.
Tailgating becomes a significant issue for sports and just because the parks won’t allow fans, doesn’t mean fans won’t gather somewhere else. A lot of baseball fans recall back to late April of 2015 when the White Sox and Orioles played a game closed to the public. I remember watching the game live, and fans gathered outside Camden Yards. It’s a risk that will require a lot more security for fifteen different facilities or parks (depending on where baseball wants to play these games).
Should MLB cancel the 2020 season?
The more I think about it, the more I, unfortunately, say this is the best decision. There are too many variables at stake, and the risk provides more. It’s different than a labor dispute because those can overcome at any point. If one single MLB player or staff member even contracts symptoms of COVID-19, then all bets are off. The question is if baseball is willing to take that risk? Coronavirus cases continue to increase. It’ll be a while before the league makes a decision, but this far along in the year, I believe that MLB will pull the plug on the 2020 season and everyone will head to 2021 with a fresh new start. Believe me, I don’t like typing these words as much as you guys don’t like reading it.
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