I did a radio interview soon after the coronavirus stoppage. The host asked, “Will we have baseball this year?” and I immediately said, “Oh, sure, we’ll have baseball. It might be June or so, but we’ll have it.” The more and more that I hear, the more and more that goes on, the less and less I’m confident that I was right.
This weekend, the president had a conference call with all the major commissioners. Afterwards, he was quoted as saying he really thinks the football season will be able to proceed and “August and September” stadiums should be OK for people to be in them. Now, obviously, if it’s that long it’s not a good thing for baseball. It’s possible, I guess, that July could see them playing games without fans and then gradually opening the stadiums (imagine if they only allowed a certain number of people to come–Cardinals games would look like the Marlins games always do) throughout the rest of the season.
However, California’s governor says he doesn’t think people going to football games will be an option for his state even then. If that’s the case, would MLB want to run the portion of the season they could run without fans at all? Or would it even be feasible to have games even in empty stadiums? Could it be that, as the curve flattens, it lengthens enough to keep baseball away for all of 2020?
On the other hand, it looks like Italy is starting to see a decrease in cases. If that continues through April (and does so here as well, of course), would that give enough confidence that camps could theoretically open by the end of May? You’d like to think that, if it’s at all possible, they’d get some sort of season in.
So I don’t know. When this all started, I looked at the length of the season and couldn’t fathom something wiping out all of it. Now, after experiencing what seems like three decades over the last month, it seems easier to believe that this thing will never end and we’ll be dealing with it for all time. It’s not going to be that bad, of course, but it really seems much more likely that 2020 will be a blip in the record books, a gap in everybody’s baseball card.
Let’s hope that things get better soon and we can start looking at real timelines. Let’s hope.