With the NBA , NCAA, the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12 , MLS and now NHL all suspending their seasons or events or playing in front of empty arenas, it was only a matter of time before MLB followed suit. Major League Baseball had already suspended player autographs and player access, and limited media in the clubhouses. Teams like the Marinersand A’s had already been trying to scramble to figure out where and how to play their first few games of the season. But now Spring Training has been halted and the season is facing delays. And you know what? It’s. The. Right. Thing. To. Do.
After a conference call among owners this afternoon, Major League Baseball is expected to suspend spring training. The league likely will delay the beginning of the regular season as well. At this point, it's a formality that ownership-level sources expect to happen.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 12, 2020
Even before the NBA had announced that their season was suspended, I started to wonder whether baseball was going to be delayed somehow. South by Southwest has been cancelled (oh and they aren’t issuing refunds). Coachella has been delayed. Long awaited movie releases are being delayed. Major conferences everywhere are cancelled or delayed. Cities are enacting bans on large crowd gatherings, and a baseball game certainly falls under that category.
Granted, many think COVID-19 is being blown out of proportion, or they think that it’s not as scary as influenza, so people might be freaking out for nothing. And most of us will (hopefully) not be affected by it. I mean, it’s just hitting old or immunocompromised people harder, so it’s not that big of a deal… right? Why all the fuss then? Well, for one, the US was super delayed in testing people, so we probably had/have way more cases than we realized. And two, the amount of cases are growing pretty quickly by the day:
“Why cancel games and gatherings? It’s an overreaction!”— Phil Mackey (@PhilMackey) March 12, 2020
Look at the numbers below. Coronavirus is basically doubling every 2-3 days. At that rate, we’d be looking at nearly *40 million* cases in 30 days.
Let’s be smart. https://t.co/i9f4oSpoMe
Coronavirus is hitting everyone differently. While yes, the elderly or the already more-prone-to-illness are getting hit the hardest, plenty of younger, healthy people are falling ill as well. The NBA suspension was a result of one (now two.. and likely more) player(s) testing positive for coronavirus. But one must question the logic of the people thinking it’s not a big deal: why are the elderly or the less-healthy people of our population less important than the young and healthy? And further, if you think about it – who makes up a lot of the Spring Training and Opening Day crowds? Many of the fans in attendance are in that older set of the population. And you know who else is there? Asthmatics, diabetics, people with lung and heart problems, your moms and dads and grandparents and kids that might not get hit but will carry it to their schools and teachers and their families… You get the idea.
To put life as we all know it on hold is going to be ridiculously hard. For those of us that are selfishly (but understandably) upset that we don’t get to enjoy our sports teams for the foreseeable future (myself included) – well, that’s pretty minor in the grand scheme of things. At the risk of getting political, so many hourly workers face being thrown into a financial tailspin. Many don’t have the luxury of working from home or adequate childcare when schools are going to be cancelled. Too many kids will be faced with hunger if their schools aren’t in session because the only hot meal they have in a day is their school lunch. Hopefully the teams (and all employers) follow the lead of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and figure out a way to compensate the workers that will be unable to work while things come to a screeching halt. And if the teams can’t help, hopefully the government will figure out a way to keep people fed able to pay for their homes.
So yeah, this sucks. It sucks so hard. But if we can nip this in the bud now, hopefully there will be a season that starts with minimal delay and living, breathing, healthy fans that get to be there for it.
At least the Astros and Red Sox get their suspensions that they should have gotten now. (Too soon?)
Marea is a contributor to TwinkieTown along with running Moonshots & Mustard.