No one wants any more individuals to die due to COVID-19. No one is arguing that. But there is still vast disagreement on how to reopen to this “new normal”, a phrase I cringe at, and how to protect those in high-risk populations.
One thing is certain. Major League Baseball is going about this the right way and have become the leaders in the sporting world on how to get us back on track.
From plans starting right after things began to lockdown in March to this past week seeing major strides to formalize plans, MLB has shown the lengths they will go to ensure baseball, and other sports for that matter, aren’t thrown to the curb like some wish they would in 2020.
This has led to the report that the league is on the move to ensure no further derailments of a season occur due to the novel coronavirus.
As reported by Jared Diamond and Louise Radnofsky of the Wall Street Journal, the league will not suspend the season or sequester players if they test positive for the virus during the season.
How leagues haven’t publicized that route yet is beyond me. While some disagree, I think they are absolutely in the wrong camp.
When looking at the data and numbers, not only from a state-by-state basis but from a national one too, you see that deaths of men from COVID-19 for ages 15-44 years old total 1,019 for a breakdown of 39 ages 15-24, 270 for ages 25-34, and 710 for ages 35-44. This may seem high but remember that the average age of an MLB player is 27.2. A low-risk group and the numbers above include the older range of 35-44 as there are a few players in that group but it is a small grouping.
So, when you think of professional athletes, who have access to some of the world’s best health and wellness care, stopping a season due to a positive test when the chances of death are astronomically low is smart.
This does not mean the league will not be mandating continuous testing and social distancing measures. People close to the matter have come out and said the league believes they could access tens of thousands of tests without taking resources away from frontline workers and the general populace.
From allowing those in high-risk groups to not participate in the season to no high-fives or spitting and removing anyone who tests positive for the virus to be removed from the population, this is a logical and straightforward proposal that other leagues need to start publicizing. Not only will this get a lot of sanity back in our community, but also the economy with jobs in the field of sport. Can you tell I am one of them?
While this is only one part of the equation, the other being the battle between the league and MLBPA on revenue sharing and contracts, it is a step in the right direction to help an industry that is estimated to produce $11 billion annually.
There still will not be fans present at games and players have stated the “biodome” concept, which would have kept players and management away from family and the outside world for months, was a non-starter in negotiations. This is a step in the right direction.
It doesn’t guarantee complete safety, but nothing in our world does. Risks are taken by bold leaders and MLB has filled that role that many others in our society haven’t.
See you on the diamond, boys.