In the past, Major League Baseball has dealt with its fair share of work stoppages. Even before the infamous strike that wiped out the end of the 1994 season and postseason and shortened the 1995 season, there were still a handful work stoppages as MLB and the players never really had an extended period of labor peace from 1972 onwards. So, it’s not really too much of a shock in the grand scheme of things to see that MLB is once again putting the red light on any games being played.
With that being said, the current circumstances of this particular stoppage in play are unprecedented and are about as wide-reaching as anything that has hit not just the baseball world, but the entire actual world in general. Sports leagues and other major events across the planet have been either postponing or cancelling any further gatherings in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. There were a handful of organizations and events who were shutting things down before March 11, but the entire game changed when Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz ended up getting it, which set off a massive chain of events that have brought us to the point where Major League Baseball joined the rest of the sporting world in putting their activities on hold for the foreseeable future.
So, there’s no denying that this stinks. Even if the previous season ends in pain, I’m always looking forward to a new season of baseball — especially when the Braves figure to be good. I suppose it’s because the Braves are my favorite sports team overall and baseball is my favorite sport that the anticipation for baseball season is just different. You spend two seasons of the calendar in the cold with the surrounding environment getting bare and brown, with the goal being to wait it out so that you can get to the time of year where it’s warm, sunny, and lush. It’s always a breath of fresh air to see the green expanse of an outfield at a major league ballpark and Opening Day is always welcomed with open arms.
With that being said, putting the brakes on things for the time being is absolutely the right thing to do. The most important thing to do during a pandemic that’s affecting so many people right now is to make sure that it doesn’t escalate any further than it has to. Considering how easy it is to spread the virus when compared to the flu, there is no reason to put hundreds and thousands of people in the same place where all it takes is someone coughing into the open air or someone with uncleaned hands to start spreading it among the public. Instead of taking the risk of having that happen and making things worse, the best course of action is to put the kibosh on these big gatherings while medical and health professionals do their best to get a real grasp of how to really and truly stop this thing.
Major League Baseball To Delay Opening Day 2020 By At Least Two Weeks, Spring Training Games Cancelled As Of 4:00 p.m. (ET) Today: https://t.co/BeV4iPNiTE— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) March 12, 2020
I’m bummed that the season is going to be delayed, but I’m actually a little relieved that leagues are starting to take action on this thing. While the idea of sports being an escape from the real world is definitely true, it’s impossible to really and truly escape when you have something like the thought of possibly getting and/or transmitting this virus hanging around in the back of your mind. It disrupts your peace of mind, and I don’t know about you all but I’d rather be worried about an umpire calling strike three right down the middle for a ball than to have any sort of concerns about the public health in general. You want everybody in the ballpark, stadium, or arena to have their minds completely on what’s going on between the lines and there was no way that this was going to happen as long as the threat of the coronavirus was literally floating around.
So while it’s disappointing that things are going to be pushed back for a bit, it’s definitely understandable. The players understand as well, and they’re the ones who probably want more than anything or anyone to be out there playing the game that they love. Old friend Jason Heyward also had the right idea when it came to thinking about who’s really vulnerable at this time:
Jason Heyward: “I’m more worried about going and saying hello to my parents. They’re 62, 63 years old. I got teammates with kids. Relatives. I’m just more worried about that – the safety of everyone else that may not be able to fight it off.”— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) March 12, 2020
That’s who the focus needs to be on at this point. It’s imperative that anybody who’s truly vulnerable to COVID-19 can get the treatment that they need if they end up catching it and are showing some severe symptoms. That goes for everybody since this could get bad for anybody who catches it (regardless of age), but it’s an especially tender time for people who are in that age group. In order to make all of these cancellations and postponements truly worth it, vulnerable and affected people have to be taken care of and the people who are tasked with stopping this have to do their job to finally get this thing under control. That’s another conversation for another website, so I’m not going to get on my soapbox when it comes to how this is all being handled.
Additionally, this is a time to keep in mind all of the stadium workers and other people involved with this entire industry who are going to be losing out on money due to all of the cancelled and postponed events. The onus will be placed squarely on the sports teams and organizations in order to make sure that those workers are taken care of. They’re the ones who make sure that everything at the venue can go off without a hitch. If you’ve ever bought so much as a hot dog from a baseball game, those people who work concessions should be kept in your thoughts right now since they’ll be dealing with some lost income as well. It’s going to be a rough time for a lot of people when it comes to finance, and that’s especially true when it comes to people who work at stadiums. Mark Cuban has already set the standard for what teams should be doing for these people:
Mark Cuban is taking care of Mavs employees who can’t work during the NBA suspension pic.twitter.com/fdwYISUNbW— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 12, 2020
The major hope is that we’ll be able to return to a normal schedule at a point where COVID-19 is no longer running around largely unchecked. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with any large gathering until respected organizations like the CDC and the WHO figure that it’s the right time to do so. Again, this is all about bringing true peace of mind to the point where we don’t have to worry about the coronavirus being a threat to people in general — especially the ones who we know and love. As long as this progresses towards accomplishing the goal of getting everything under control to where we won’t have to worry about hospitals being overwhelmed, then losing out on baseball is an absolute necessity. I’d much rather look back on this and reminisce like “Haha, remember when the world panicked itself into shutting down?” than to look back on this as a time when I lost family and friends because nobody did anything about COVID-19.
The best case scenario is that everything does indeed calm down and that the games can continue as scheduled in mid-April. The worst case scenario is that we’re hunkered down for most of this calendar year and dealing with the “longest offseason ever” would be small potatoes compared to everything else that would be happening in the world in that scenario. Clearly we’re all waiting for this to blow over as soon as possible. So until the next Braves game, I’m not telling you all to panic or live in fear. Instead, just try to be very careful if you’re out in public and keep on thoroughly washing your hands on a regular basis. Hopefully sooner rather than later, we can finally get this baseball season underway and we can start complaining about Brian Snitker’s managerial decisions again. This could also result in Cole Hamels not actually missing any starts, so there’s that. But seriously, everybody please take care of yourselves right now.