Saturday, April 4, 2020

And Then Reality Reared Its Ugly Head

I had a lot of fun yesterday thinking and speculating about what it might take to manage a pitching staff through a compressed season if baseball was to return later in the summer.  It would be interesting to see how sheer necessity would force managers away from a by-the-numbers, try to get 5 innings from your stater and then use 4 or 5 relievers to bring it home.

I remember feeling pretty happy imagining myself actually being able to watch some Mets games this summer, but then at some point reality set in. I had to ask myself what had to happen in order for any sort of season to take place - even the much discussed scenario of playing in empty stadiums.

Let's say were were looking to start the season around the 4th of July.  We would have to reassemble players from the various places that they scattered by the end of May to give them time to prepare.  Currently the experts who are modeling this pandemic tell us that many states won't even see the peak of cases until some point in May.  It seems unlikely that we're going to ask a bunch of major league ballplayers to move around the country during that time.

But if we do, we're definitely going to have to test and screen these players, coaches, umpires and all of the ancillary personnel that support them.  It seems extremely unlikely that none of them will have the virus.  You just hope not too many.

Alright, now you everyone together.  But where?  Do you want the teams that train in Florida like the Mets to go back to that state where its Governor has continually botched chances to prepare for the virus?  Right now Florida is expected to hit its peak of demand of hospital resources the first week of May.  It's probably still going to be pretty rough going for some weeks after.

But say you successfully got the team back together and ready to start the season.  There won't be any fans in the ballpark and you've isolated players, coaches and support personnel who tested positive for the virus to keep the rest healthy.  So far so good.

But these players have lives outside of the ballpark.  Many have families, girlfriends, boyfriends, whatever.  Are we going to make them live in some sort of isolation away from everyone else in order to keep them healthy?  And even if we go to that extreme and a player on a team contracts the virus anyway, what do we do then?  At the least that whole team has been exposed, and possibly other teams they have played during that 2 week incubation period.

The whole thing seems unlikely and impractical.  And we haven't even gotten to the question of having a pool of players available to step in and replaced injured players without the minor leagues keeping potential replacements in baseball shape.

Despite the pleasure my personal fantasy of a return to baseball seems, it's probably quite unlikely that we return to anything close to normal in baseball until there is a level of immunity built up in the general population.  Maybe not even until a vaccine is developed and widely available, which experts tell us could take a year to a year-and-a-half or longer.  Maybe I should start placing my hopes in baseball coming back on time in 2021.

I'll miss baseball immensely.  I do, in fact, right now.  Just another piece of the topsy-turvy bull crap that COVID-19 has inflicted on life is facing the possibility of a spring and summer without the game I've spent 50 years following.  But I don't need it back if it's not safe for them to be back.  No game is worth more than even a single life.

See you tomorrow.  Please stay well.

I'm not sure if anyone who read the old blog will find their way here after all these many years, but if you do please drop me an email or comment if you'd prefer. I'd honestly love to hear from you. Also, I will be posting here regularly if you're inclined to come back.

 Follow me on Twitter @MikeSteffanos

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Defense Doesn't Rest

A renewed emphasis on defense would be a good thing for the New York Mets. Mike Vaccaro had an interesting column in the New York Post  abou...