Dr. Anthony Fauci talks about MLB resuming baseball games in the aftermath of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis that has halted all professional sports in the United States as part of an interview out today in Vanity Fair.
The interview covers a number of topics, with baseball just being addressed in one question, but its worth checking out to get his take on the possibility of sports seasons resuming in an altered fashion. Fauci mentions that he is a Washington Nationals fan and wants to see them play again, and talks about it being doable with teams being kept in one location and being subject to regular testing. Fauci notes that its “a really artificial way to do it, but when you think about it, it might be better than nothing.”
As a fan, I agree, it would be better than nothing. Baseball on television, in front of empty stands in a spring training stadium in Arizona, with only a couple of camera angles and broadcasters working remotely, would be manna from heaven right now. I think you’d have ratings through the roof for something like that.
Would it be perfect? No, but as Dr. Fauci notes, its better than nothing.
Its easy for me as a fan to say that, though. I’m not the one who would be living in a hotel in Arizona for months on end, possibly being isolated from my family. I’m not the one who would have to arrange the logistics for large scale testing, during the duration of whatever truncated season there is.
Let’s run numbers on the testing necessary — let’s say 100 people per team (players, coaches, support staff, whoever else) need to be tested once per week. That’s 3,000 tests per week, which would necessitate rapid turnaround of results.
The housing side of it would probably be the easiest part — no one is traveling right now, which means hotels are sitting empty right now. If you start spring training in mid-June with a July 4 start to the season and block out rooms through October, you’re talking about a large amount of space, but you’re also talking about a huge amount of vacant hotel rooms. And given that you aren’t paying for charter flights — if everyone played in Arizona, you’d be bussing to road games — it might be cheaper to put everyone up for a whole season than what travel costs would normally be.
I don’t know. Its a huge logistical nightmare riddled with unknowns, like so much in this current situation.
But if the choices are between trying to make something like that work, and having no baseball until 2021, well, I’ll see what’s behind Door #1.