The President had a conference call today with the commissioners of the major sports leagues to discuss the ongoing Coronavirus/COVID-19 crisis, which has shut down play for pretty much all major sports. The President said today that he wanted to see play resume and to have fans in stadiums and arenas soon, and was hopeful that the NFL would be able to begin its season on time in September with fans in the seats.
However, California governor Gavin Newsom was more pessimistic. In comments today, Newsom said he “does not see” NFL games being played before tens of thousands of fans in California in September.
Ken Rosenthal just wrote about MLB contemplating the possibility of teams playing in spring training stadiums in front of empty seats in an abbreviated schedule later this spring, something that would likely require teams to relocate to Arizona, where the stadiums are close together and travel would be less of an issue than it would be in Florida. Even that would require overcoming huge logistical hurdles, however, and likely require players, coaches and staff to essentially exist in a “bubble” to protect them from potentially being exposed to COVID-19.
I am sure that MLB and the players would like nothing more than to figure out a way to try to play some games this season, even in front of empty stands, even in an abbreviated schedule. It is becoming harder and harder, however, for me to see how that could come together in a way that is at all feasible. Without a there being a huge uptick in testing capabilities in the next couple of months, it seems like it would be next to impossible for MLB to be able to have games in played, even in Arizona with empty seats, in a manner that would allow the players, and everyone around them, to be safe.
Hopefully I’m wrong, but I’m coming to believe that there won’t be baseball again until 2021.