For a vast swath of America, there is a hole in our collective hearts where sports once existed.
Due to the highly contagious nature of COVID-19, and the fact that we have no cure or vaccine for the illness, professional sports the world over have been on halt. We can’t have 10-25 people all crashing into one another out on the pitch or the base-path, let alone the tens of thousands of spectators all crowding around one another and using communal lavatories. Not until we get this thing figured out, at least.
For many, the loss of Major League Baseball stings the most. This is America’s national pastime, after all. Having The Big Show shut down has made this entire pandemic feel ever more real. And scary.
But there is hope on the horizon, it seems.
Major League Baseball expects to offer a return-to-play proposal to the MLB Players Association within a week, as teams have begun to encourage players to prepare for a “spring” training that could begin in mid-June and a season that could start in early July, sources familiar with the discussions told ESPN.
Although a significant number of hurdles remain and some industry leaders believe June and July return dates are overly optimistic, ownership’s approval of a plan and dialogue about specifics with the union would mark two vital steps toward baseball’s return from a season so far delayed six weeks by the coronavirus pandemic.
General managers and managers from at least a dozen teams have reached out to players to suggest that they ramp up baseball activities, those familiar with the conversations — including executives, players and agents — told ESPN. Some teams have suggested that players prepare for a spring training that could begin as early as June 10 and a season that could begin July 1, dates first suggested publicly by former player Trevor Plouffe. Other teams, sources said, are being more general in their timetables, understanding the complications that hard dates can cause and wanting instead to nudge players toward being in game shape.
In the interim, however, ESPN has been airing live, fan-less professional baseball games from the Korean Baseball Association, with most games starting between 1am and 6am EST.